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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Catholic News World : Sat. September 26, 2015 - SHARE

 2015

SHARE #LIVE #PopeFrancis in the #USA - Meeting for #Religious #Freedom - Video - Text



Local time: 16.30/17.30-Pope Francis participates in the meeting for religious freedom with the Hispanic community and other immigrants in Independence Hall, on the occasion of his apostolic visit to the United States. FULL TEXT Below please find the full English translation of the Pope’s words at the Meeting for Religious Liberty Address of Pope Francis at the Meeting for Religious Liberty, Independence Mall, Philadelphia

Dear Friends,
    One of the highlights of my visit is to stand here, before Independence Hall, the birthplace of the United States of America. It was here that the freedoms which define this country were first proclaimed. The Declaration of Independence stated that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that governments exist to protect and defend those rights. Those ringing words continue to inspire us today, even as they have inspired peoples throughout the world to fight for the freedom to live in accordance with their dignity.
But history also shows that these or any truths must constantly be reaffirmed, re-appropriated and defended. The history of this nation is also the tale of a constant effort, lasting to our own day, to embody those lofty principles in social and political life. We remember the great struggles which led to the abolition of slavery, the extension of voting rights, the growth of the labor movement, and the gradual effort to eliminate every kind of racism and prejudice directed at successive waves of new Americans. This shows that, when a country is determined to remain true to its founding principles, based on respect for human dignity, it is strengthened and renewed. All of us benefit from remembering our past. A people which remembers does not repeat past errors; instead, it looks with confidence to the challenges of the present and the future. Remembrance saves a people’s soul from whatever or whoever would attempt to dominate it or use it for their interests. When individuals and communities are guaranteed the effective exercise of their rights, they are not only free to realize their potential, they also contribute to the welfare and enrichment of society.
In this place which is symbolic of the American way, I would like to reflect with you on the right to religious freedom. It is a fundamental right which shapes the way we interact socially and personally with our neighbors whose religious views differ from our own. Religious freedom certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in community, as our consciences dictate. But religious liberty, by its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families.
Our various religious traditions serve society primarily by the message they proclaim. They call individuals and communities to worship God, the source of all life, liberty and happiness. They remind us of the transcendent dimension of human existence and our irreducible freedom in the face of every claim to absolute power. We need but look at history, especially the history of the last century, to see the atrocities perpetrated by systems which claimed to build one or another “earthly paradise” by dominating peoples, subjecting them to apparently indisputable principles and denying them any kind of rights. Our rich religious traditions seek to offer meaning and direction, “they have an enduring power to open new horizons, to stimulate thought, to expand the mind and heart” (Evangelii Gaudium, 256). They call to conversion, reconciliation, concern for the future of society, self-sacrifice in the service of the common good, and compassion for those in need. At the heart of their spiritual mission is the proclamation of the truth and dignity of the human person and human rights.
Our religious traditions remind us that, as human beings, we are called to acknowledge an Other, who reveals our relational identity in the face of every effort to impose “a uniformity to which the egotism of the powerful, the conformism of the weak, or the ideology of the utopian would seek to impose on us” (M. de Certeau).
In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality, it is imperative that the followers of the various religions join their voices in calling for peace, tolerance and respect for the dignity and rights of others.
We live in a world subject to the “globalization of the technocratic paradigm” (Laudato Si’, 106), which consciously aims at a one-dimensional uniformity and seeks to eliminate all differences and traditions in a superficial quest for unity. The religions thus have the right and the duty to make clear that it is possible to build a society where “a healthy pluralism which respects differences and values them as such” (Evangelii Gaudium, 255) is a “precious ally in the commitment to defending human dignity… and a path to peace in our troubled world” (ibid., 257).
The Quakers who founded Philadelphia were inspired by a profound evangelical sense of the dignity of each individual and the ideal of a community united by brotherly love. This conviction led them to found a colony which would be a haven of religious freedom and tolerance. That sense of fraternal concern for the dignity of all, especially the weak and the vulnerable, became an essential part of the American spirit. During his visit to the United States in 1987, Saint John Paul II paid moving homage to this, reminding all Americans that: “The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones” (Farewell Address, 19 September 1987, 3). I take this opportunity to thank all those, of whatever religion, who have sought to serve the God of peace by building cities of brotherly love, by caring for our neighbors in need, by defending the dignity of God’s gift of life in all its stages, by defending the cause of the poor and the immigrant. All too often, those most in need of our help are unable to be heard. You are their voice, and many of you have faithfully made their cry heard. In this witness, which frequently encounters powerful resistance, you remind American democracy of the ideals for which it was founded, and that society is weakened whenever and wherever injustice prevails.
Among us today are members of America’s large Hispanic population, as well as representatives of recent immigrants to the United States. I greet all of you with particular affection! Many of you have emigrated to this country at great personal cost, but in the hope of building a new life. Do not be discouraged by whatever challenges and hardships you face. I ask you not to forget that, like those who came here before you, you bring many gifts to your new nation. You should never be ashamed of your traditions. Do not forget the lessons you learned from your elders, which are something you can bring to enrich the life of this American land. I repeat, do not be ashamed of what is part of you, your life blood. You are also called to be responsible citizens, and to contribute fruitfully to the life of the communities in which you live. I think in particular of the vibrant faith which so many of you possess, the deep sense of family life and all those other values which you have inherited. By contributing your gifts, you will not only find your place here, you will help to renew society from within. Dear friends, I thank you for your warm welcome and for joining me here today. May this country and each of you be renewed in gratitude for the many blessings and freedoms that you enjoy. And may you defend these rights, especially your religious freedom, for it has been given to you by God himself. May he bless you all. I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.

Register NOW for the #Catholic #Scolars #Conference in #Ottawa #Canada on Oct. 2-3, 2015 - Amazing Speakers!

2015 Schedule

Register NOW - Many Spaces Still Available until Fri, Oct. 2, 2015 
A Conference on
The Church in Secular Society
With the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars
At the Dominican University College
96 Empress Avenue, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1R 7G3
October 2 and 3, 2015
Schedule
Friday Oct. 2
5:30-6:30 PM  Registration
6:30-7:00        Welcoming Remarks by Dr. Robert Berard, President of the Canadian Fellowship of Catholic Scholars
7:00-7:30        Compline/Evening prayer with His Excellency, Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Archbishop of Ottawa
7:30-8:15       “On Ecclesia & Secularity: In Conversation with John Henry Newman & Charles Taylor”, by Dr. Donald Graham, Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology, the Institute of Theology, St. Augustine Seminary
8:15-8:30        Break
8:30-9:15        “People of Faith must Engage Secular Society” by Miriam Westen, PhD candidate in Theology, editor at jesuscaritasest.org
9:15-10:30      Reception
Saturday Oct. 3
7:30-8:00 AM             Registration
8:00-8:15        Welcoming Remarks by Dominican University College representative
8:15-9:00       "The Silencing of the Christian Voice in Canadian Society: The Curious Case of Trinity Western Law School”, by Dr. J. Kent Donlevy, J.D., Barrister & Solicitor, University of Calgary
9:00-9:15        Break
9:15-10:00      “The Supreme Court and Canada’s Christian Culture”, Gwen Landolt, Legal Counsel, REAL Women of Canada
10:00-10:15    Break
10:15-11:00    ”The Uses of Literature for Faith,” by Dr. Ryan Topping, Fellow, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Merrimack, New Hampshire
11:00-11:15    Break
11:15-12:00    “The Catholic Church in Secular English Canada Today”, by Dr. Germain Mckenzie-Gonzalez, Catholic University of America
12:00-1:00 PM            Lunch in Dominican University College Cafeteria
1:00-1:45        "Papal Encyclicals and Catholic Apologetics: from Pope John XXIII to Pope Francis" by Dr. Glenn Siniscalchi, Professor of Theology, Notre Dame College, Ohio
1:45-2:00        Break
2:00--2:45       “Conscience Rights for Physicians” by Alex Schadenberg, International Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
2:45-3:00        Break
3:00-3:45        “Freedom of Conscience in Canada” by Sean Murphy, Director, Protection of Conscience Project
3:45-4:00        Break
4:00-5:00        Closing Remarks
Registration Details: Registration costs: clergy – free; students $10; general $20;
Saturday lunch, coffee breaks and reception cost - $20.
To pre-register, mail cheques payable “The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars” to Patrick Redmond, 44 Augusta Drive Way, Markham, Ontario, L6E 1B5.
Registration also available at the door.
For further information, email pmredmond@sympatico.ca

#PopeFrancis "...with confident assurance in all our needs, let us turn to Mary, our Blessed Mother." #Philadelphia Mass Homily and Video

Please find below an English translation of Pope Francis’ homily at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia:
This morning I learned something about the history of this beautiful Cathedral: the story behind its high walls and windows. I would like to think, though, that the history of the Church in this city and state is really a story not about building walls, but about breaking them down. It is a story about generation after generation of committed Catholics going out to the peripheries, and building communities of worship, education, charity and service to the larger society.
That story is seen in the many shrines which dot this city, and the many parish churches whose towers and steeples speak of God’s presence in the midst of our communities. It is seen in the efforts of all those dedicated priests, religious and laity who for over two centuries have ministered to the spiritual needs of the poor, the immigrant, the sick and those in prison. And it is seen in the hundreds of schools where religious brothers and sisters trained children to read and write, to love God and neighbor, and to contribute as good citizens to the life of American society. All of this is a great legacy which you have received, and which you have been called to enrich and pass on. Most of you know the story of Saint Katharine Drexel, one of the great saints raised up by this local Church. When she spoke to Pope Leo XIII of the needs of the missions, the Pope – he was a very wise Pope! – asked her pointedly: “What about you? What are you going to do?”. Those words changed Katharine’s life, because they reminded her that, in the end, every Christian man and woman, by virtue of baptism, has received a mission. Each one of us has to respond, as best we can, to the Lord’s call to build up his Body, the Church. “What about you?” I would like to dwell on two aspects of these words in the context of our particular mission to transmit the joy of the Gospel and to build up the Church, whether as priests, deacons, or members of institutes of consecrated life.
First, those words – “What about you?” – were addressed to a young person, a young woman with high ideals, and they changed her life. They made her think of the immense work that had to be done, and to realize that she was being called to do her part. How many young people in our parishes and schools have the same high ideals, generosity of spirit, and love for Christ and the Church! Do we challenge them? Do we make space for them and help them to do their part? To find ways of sharing their enthusiasm and gifts with our communities, above all in works of mercy and concern for others? Do we share our own joy and enthusiasm in serving the Lord?
One of the great challenges facing the Church in this generation is to foster in all the faithful a sense of personal responsibility for the Church’s mission, and to enable them to fulfill that responsibility as missionary disciples, as a leaven of the Gospel in our world. This will require creativity in adapting to changed situations, carrying forward the legacy of the past not primarily by maintaining our structures and institutions, which have served us well, but above all by being open to the possibilities which the Spirit opens up to us and communicating the joy of the Gospel, daily and in every season of our life.
“What about you?” It is significant that those words of the elderly Pope were also addressed to a lay woman. We know that the future of the Church in a rapidly changing society will call, and even now calls, for a much more active engagement on the part of the laity. The Church in the United States has always devoted immense effort to the work of catechesis and education. Our challenge today is to build on those solid foundations and to foster a sense of collaboration and shared responsibility in planning for the future of our parishes and institutions. This does not mean relinquishing the spiritual authority with which we have been entrusted; rather, it means discerning and employing wisely the manifold gifts which the Spirit pours out upon the Church. In a particular way, it means valuing the immense contribution which women, lay and religious, have made and continue to make, to the life of our communities. Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you for the way in which each of you has answered Jesus’ question which inspired your own vocation: “What about you?”. I encourage you to be renewed in the joy of that first encounter with Jesus and to draw from that joy renewed fidelity and strength. I look forward to being with you in these days and I ask you to bring my affectionate greetings to those who could not be with us, especially the many elderly priests and religious who join us in spirit.
During these days of the World Meeting of Families, I would ask you in a particular way to reflect on our ministry to families, to couples preparing for marriage, and to our young people. I know how much is being done in your local Churches to respond to the needs of families and to support them in their journey of faith. I ask you to pray fervently for them, and for the deliberations of the forthcoming Synod on the Family. Now, with gratitude for all we have received, and with confident assurance in all our needs, let us turn to Mary, our Blessed Mother. With a mother’s love, may she intercede for the growth of the Church in America in prophetic witness to the power of her Son’s Cross to bring joy, hope and strength into our world. I pray for each of you, and I ask you, please, to pray for me.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Sat. September 26, 2015

First reading
2 Corinthians 4:7-15 
We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us. We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are consigned to our death every day, for the sake of Jesus, so that in our mortal flesh the life of Jesus, too, may be openly shown. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
  But as we have the same spirit of faith that is mentioned in scripture – I believed, and therefore I spoke – we too believe and therefore we too speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us. You see, all this is for your benefit, so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.

PsalmPsalm 125:1-6 
Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap.
When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,
  it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
  on our lips there were songs.
Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap.
The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels
  the Lord worked for them!’
What marvels the Lord worked for us!
  Indeed we were glad.
Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap.
Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
  as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
  will sing when they reap.
Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap.
They go out, they go out, full of tears,
  carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song,
  carrying their sheaves.
Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap.

Gospel AcclamationMt28:19,20
Alleluia, alleluia!
Go, make disciples of all the nations.
I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.
Alleluia!

Gospel
Matthew 28:16-20 ©
The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’

2015

Saint September 26 : North American #Martyrs (some places)

JOURNEY OF A BISHOP REPORT: French Jesuits were among the first missionaries to go to Canada and North America after J. Cartier discovered Canada in 1534. Their mission region extended from Nova Scotia to Maryland.
John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil and John de Lalande (the first six Jesuits, the last two laymen) preached the gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians, and after being tortured, they were martyred.

The martyrdoms took place between 1642 and 1649: Goupil in 1642, Jogues and Lalande on October 18 and 19, 1646 in the area of what is now Auriesville, New York; Daniel on July 4, 1648, Brebeuf and Lalemant in March 1649, Garnier and Chabanel in December 1649--all of these five in Huronia, near present-day Midland, Ontario. Ten years after the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village in which he died. These martyrs are co-patrons of Canada.
The missionaries arrived in Canada less than a century after its discovery by Cartier in 1534, in the hope of converting the Indians and setting up "New France." Their opponents were often the English and Dutch colonists. When Isaac Jogues returned to Paris after his first capture and torture, he said to his superior: "Yes, Father, I want whatever our Lord wants, even if it costs a thousand lives." He had written in his mission report: "These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense."



Isaac Jogues' declaration on leaving France to return to the mission in Canada is heroic:

"My heart tells me that if I have the blessing of being used for this mission, I shall go and I shall not  return; but I would be glad if our Lord should fulfil the sacrifice where he began it, and that the small amount of blood I shed in that land should turn out to be an advance payment for that which I would give from all the veins of my body and heart."

In the Office of Readings we have an excerpt from the mission journal of St. John de Brébeuf, who had been a student of the great Jesuit spiritual writer, Louis Lallemant. He wrote:
For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.... I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.... On receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit.... My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it.

[Excerpted and adapted from Enzo Lodi, Saints of the Roman Calendar
In 1999, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter on the Canadian Martyrs to mark the 350th anniversary of the final deaths of these heroic priests in 1649. It may be accessed at: http://www.cccb.ca/site/Files/martyrse.pdf.
SHARED FROM JOURNEY OF A BISHOP

#Novena to the #Archangels - St. Michael, St. Gabriel - SHARE this #Prayer



September 29th is the Feast of the Archangels. Here are three novenas to the archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and ST. Raphael.Novena to St. Michael the Archangel

Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value on my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and people. And since you are God's messenger for the care of his people, I entrust to you this special request: (Mention your request).

St. Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God's holy Will, my petition will be granted.

Pray for me, St. Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever. Amen.


Novena to St. Gabriel the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Gabriel the Archangel, I venerate you as the "Angel of the Incarnation," because God has specially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-Man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Give me a tender and devoted Mother, more like your own.

I venerate you also as the "strength from God," because you are the giver of God's strength, consoler and comforter chosen to strengthen God's faithful and to teach them important truths. I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life. Steady my resolutions, renew my courage, comfort and console me in the problems, trials, and sufferings of daily living, as you consoled our Savior in His agony and Mary in her sorrows and Joseph in his trials. I put my confidence in you.

St. Gabriel, I ask you especially for this favor: (Mention your request). Through your earnest love for the Son of God-Made-Man and for His blessed Mother, I beg of you, intercede for me that my request may be granted, if it be God's holy Will.

Pray for us, St. Gabriel the Archangel. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray. Almighty and ever-living God, since You chose the Archangel Gabriel from among all the Angels to announce the mystery of Your Son's Incarnation, mercifully grant that we who honor him on earth may feel the benefit of his patronage in heaven. You live and reign for ever. Amen.



Novena to St. Raphael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

Holy Archangel Raphael, standing so close to the throne of God and offering Him our prayers, I venerate you as God's special Friend and Messenger. I choose you as my Patron and wish to love and obey you as young Tobiah did. I consecrate to you my body and soul,all my work, and my whole life. I want you to be my Guide and Counselor in all the dangerous and difficult problems and decisions of my life.

Remember, dearest, St. Raphael, that the grace of God preserved you with the good Angels in heaven when the proud ones were cast into hell. I entreat you, therefore, to help me in my struggle against the world, the spirit of impurity, and the devil. Defend me from all dangers and every occasion of sin. Direct me always in the way of peace, safety, and salvation. Offer my prayers to God as you offered those of Tobiah, so that through your intercession I may obtain the graces necessary for the salvation of my soul. I ask you to pray that God grant me this favor if it be His holy Will: (Mention your request).

St. Raphael, help me to love and serve my God faithfully, to die in His grace, and finally to merit to join you in seeing and praising God forever in heaven. Amen.

Saint September 26 : Sts. Cosmas and Damian : Patrons of #Physicians, #Dentists, #Barbers, Veterinarians and Orphanages


Sts. Cosmas and Damian
MARTYRS
Feast: September 26
Information:
Feast Day:
September 26
Born:
3rd century AD, Arabia
Died:
287 AD, Aegea, Roman province of Syria
Major Shrine:
Convent of the Poor Clares in Madrid, Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Bitonto, Bari, Italy
Patron of:
surgeons, physicians, dentists, protectors of children, barbers, pharmacists, veterinarians, orphanages, day-care centers, confectioners, children in house, against hernia, against the plague.

Early Christian physicians and martyrs whose feast is celebrated on 27 September. They were twins, born in Arabia, and practised the art of healing in the seaport Ægea, now Ayash (Ajass), on the Gulf of Iskanderun in Cilicia, Asia Minor, and attained a great reputation. They accepted no pay for their services and were, therefore, called anargyroi, "the silverless". In this way they brought many to the Catholic Faith. When the Diocletian persecution began, the Prefect Lysias had Cosmas and Damian arrested, and ordered them to recant. They remained constant under torture, in a miraculous manner suffered no injury from water, fire, air, nor on the cross, and were finally beheaded with the sword. Their three brothers, Anthimus, Leontius, and Euprepius died as martyrs with them. The execution took place 27 September, probably in the year 287. At a later date a number of fables grew up about them, connected in part with their relics. The remains of the martyrs were buried in the city of Cyrus in Syria; the Emperor Justinian I (527-565) sumptuously restored the city in their honour. Having been cured of a dangerous illness by the intercession of Cosmas and Damian, Justinian, in gratitude for their aid, rebuilt and adorned their church at Constantinople, and it became a celebrated place of pilgrimage. At Rome Pope Felix IV (526-530) erected a church in their honour, the mosaics of which are still among the most valuable art remains of the city. The Greek Church celebrates the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian on 1 July, 17 October, and 1 November, and venerates three pairs of saints of the same name and profession. Cosmas and Damian are regarded as the patrons of physicians and surgeons and are sometimes represented with medical emblems. They are invoked in the Canon of the Mass and in the Litany of the Saints.

Friday, September 25, 2015

#Pope Francis in the USA - #HolyMass in #MadisonSquare Garden in #NewYork - Video - Homily - with over 20000

Started on 25 Sep 2015 Local Time (Friday 25 September):17.30/20.00- Pope Francis presides at the celebration of Holy Mass in New York, on the occasion of his apostolic visit to the United States. FULL TEXT Homily Please find below an English translation of the Pope’s homily during Mass at Madison Square Garden in New York:
Homily of Pope Francis Mass at Madison Square Garden, New York Friday 25 September 2015
We are in Madison Square Garden, a place synonymous with this city. This is the site of important athletic, artistic and musical events attracting people not only from this city, but from the whole world. In this place, which represents both the variety and the common interests of so many different people, we have listened to the words: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Is 9:1). The people who walked – caught up in their activities and routines, amid their successes and failures, their worries and expectations – have seen a great light. The people who walked – with all their joys and hopes, their disappointments and regrets – have seen a great light. In every age, the People of God are called to contemplate this light. A light for the nations, as the elderly Simeon joyfully expressed it.  A light meant to shine on every corner of this city, on our fellow citizens, on every part of our lives. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”.
 One special quality of God’s people is their ability to see, to contemplate, even in “moments of darkness”, the light which Christ brings. God’s faithful people can see, discern and contemplate his living presence in the midst of life, in the midst of the city. Together with the prophet Isaiah, we can say: The people who walk, breathe and live in the midst of smog, have seen a great light, have experienced a breath of fresh air. Living in a big city is not always easy. A multicultural context presents many complex challenges. Yet big cities are a reminder of the hidden riches present in our world: in the diversity of its cultures, traditions and historical experiences.
 In the variety of its languages, costumes and cuisine. Big cities bring together all the different ways which we human beings have discovered to express the meaning of life, wherever we may be. But big cities also conceal the faces of all those people who don’t appear to belong, or are second-class citizens. In big cities, beneath the roar of traffic, beneath “the rapid pace of change”, so many faces pass by unnoticed because they have no “right” to be there, no right to be part of the city. They are the foreigners, the children who go without schooling, those deprived of medical insurance, the homeless, the forgotten elderly. These people stand at the edges of our great avenues, in our streets, in deafening anonymity. They become part of an urban landscape which is more and more taken for granted, in our eyes, and especially in our hearts. Knowing that Jesus still walks our streets, that he is part of the lives of his people, that he is involved with us in one vast history of salvation, fills us with hope. A hope which liberates us from the forces pushing us to isolation and lack of concern for the lives of others, for the life of our city. A hope which frees us from empty “connections”, from abstract analyses, or sensationalist routines. A hope which is unafraid of involvement, which acts as a leaven wherever we happen to live and work. A hope which makes us see, even in the midst of smog, the presence of God as he continues to walk the streets of our city. What is it like, this light travelling through our streets? How do we encounter God, who lives with us amid the smog of our cities? How do we encounter Jesus, alive and at work in the daily life of our multicultural cities? The prophet Isaiah can guide us in this process of “learning to see”. He presents Jesus to us as “Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace”. In this way, he introduces us to the life of the Son, so that his life can be our life. Wonderful Counselor.
 The Gospels tell us how many people came up to Jesus to ask: “Master, what must we do?” The first thing that Jesus does in response is to propose, to encourage, to motivate. He keeps telling his disciples to go, to go out. He urges them to go out and meet others where they really are, not where we think they should be. Go out, again and again, go out without fear, without hesitation. Go out and proclaim this joy which is for all the people.
The Mighty God. In Jesus, God himself became Emmanuel, God-with-us, the God who walks alongside us, who gets involved in our lives, in our homes, in the midst of our “pots and pans”, as Saint Teresa of Jesus liked to say. The Everlasting Father. No one or anything can separate us from his Love. Go out and proclaim, go out and show that God is in your midst as a merciful Father who himself goes out, morning and evening, to see if his son has returned home and, as soon as he sees him coming, runs out to embrace him. An embrace which wants to take up, purify and elevate the dignity of his children. A Father who, in his embrace, is “glad tidings to the poor, healing to the afflicted, liberty to captives, comfort to those who mourn” (Is 61:1-2).
Prince of Peace. Go out to others and share the good news that God, our Father, walks at our side. He frees us from anonymity, from a life of emptiness and selfishness, and brings us to the school of encounter. He removes us from the fray of competition and self-absorption, and he opens before us the path of peace. That peace which is born of accepting others, that peace which fills our hearts whenever we look upon those in need as our brothers and sisters. God is living in our cities. The Church is living in our cities, and she wants to be like yeast in the dough. She wants to relate to everyone, to stand at everyone’s side, as she proclaims the marvels of the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Eternal Father, the Prince of Peace. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”. And we ourselves are witnesses of that light. 

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25-09-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 164 

Summary
- The Pope at the United States Congress: political activity must promote the good of the person and be based on human dignity
- The Holy Father: there is no social or moral justification for homelessness
- Vespers with the clergy and religious of the Cathedral of New York: gratitude and hard work are the two pillars of spiritual life
- Notice

- The Pope at the White House: as the son of migrants, happy to be a guest in a country largely built by such families
- Meeting with United States bishops: never repeat the crimes of the past
- The canonisation of Blessed Junipero Serra: Jesus has no 'shortlist' of people worthy of His message
- Other Pontifical Acts
The Pope at the United States Congress: political activity must promote the good of the person and be based on human dignity
Vatican City, 25 September 2015 (VIS) – The United States Congress, which met yesterday in joint session (an assembly of both the House of Representatives and the Senate) was addressed by a Pope for the first time in its history. Francis' arrival was announced by the speaker of the House of Representatives and Republican house leader John Boehner, and by the vice president of the United States, the Democrat Joe Biden. The extraordinary session was also attended by, among others, the dean of the Diplomatic Corps, the Supreme Court, and the secretary of State John Kerry.
 The Pope was greeted with a standing ovation and delivered a discourse in English, published in full below, in which he underlined that all political activity must serve the good of the human person and be based on respect and dignity. Francis referred to four great Americans: President Abraham Lincoln, “guardian of liberty”, the political activist Martin Luther King, whose “dream of equality continues to inspire us all”, Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, whose “social activism, passion for justice and the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel”, and the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton, “a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and … a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions”.
The following is the full text of the Holy Father's address:
“I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in 'the land of the free and the home of the brave'. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.
 “Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.
“Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolises the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.
“Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organisations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.
“I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land. I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realise their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults. I wish to dialogue with all of you, and I would like to do so through the historical memory of your people.
“My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans. The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self-sacrifice – some at the cost of their lives – to build a better future. They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people. A people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity. These men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality. In honouring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves.
“I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.
“This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who laboured tirelessly that 'this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom'. Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.
“All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarisation which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.
“Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice. We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.
“The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.
“In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.
“Here I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people. All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity. 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'. If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.
“Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfil his 'dream' of full civil and political rights for African Americans. That dream continues to inspire us all. I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of 'dreams'. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.
“In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our 'neighbours' and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognise that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.
“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'.
“This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.
“This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.
“In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.
“How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.
“It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. 'Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good'. This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to 'enter into dialogue with all people about our common home'. 'We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all'.
“In 'Laudato Si’', I call for a courageous and responsible effort to 'redirect our steps', and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a 'culture of care' and 'an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature'. 'We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology'; 'to devise intelligent ways of… developing and limiting our power'; and to put technology 'at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral'. In this regard, I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead.
“A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a 'pointless slaughter', another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography he wrote: 'I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating Him; born to love Him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers'. Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.
“From this perspective of dialogue, I would like to recognise the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past. It is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same. When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue – a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons – new opportunities open up for all. This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces.
“Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.
“Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God.
Four representatives of the American people.
“I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families. It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.
“In particular, I would like to call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable, the young. For many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair. Their problems are our problems. We cannot avoid them. We need to face them together, to talk about them and to seek effective solutions rather than getting bogged down in discussions. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.
“A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to 'dream' of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.
“In these remarks I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people. It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream. God bless America!”
After his address, the Pope was accompanied by House Speaker Boehmer to the Hall of Statuary where he viewed the statue of Fr. Junipero Serra, before proceeding to the Great Hall of the Library of Congress, where he presented the gift of a precious edition of the Bible. Then, accompanied by the leaders of Congress and members of the papal entourage, they both appeared on the balcony from where the Pope greeted and blessed the crowd gathered in the National Mall.
“Good day to you all!” he said, in Spanish. “I thank you for your welcome and your presence. I thank the most important people here: the children. I wish to ask God to bless them. Lord, Father of all, bless this people, bless each one of them, bless their families, give them what they need most. And I ask you, please to pray for me. And those of you who do not believe, or are unable to pray, please wish me well. God bless America!”
The Holy Father: there is no social or moral justification for homelessness
Vatican City, 25 September 2015 (VIS) – After his address to the United States Congress, Pope Francis transferred to the church of St. Patrick, the first parish in Washington, founded in 1794 to offer pastoral service to the Irish workers who were building the White House and Capitol, to where the United States government transferred in 1880 (Philadelphia was the temporary capital of the United States in the meantime). The church has a centre for health and education for the homeless, dedicated to Cardinal James Hickey, archbishop of Washington between 1980 and 2000, who had promoted diocesan health care services for the needy and migrants. The cardinal chose to spend the final years of his life in a home for the elderly without recourse to the Sisters of the Poor.
Francis arrived at the church shortly after 11 a.m. (5 p.m. in Rome), where he was awaited by two hundred homeless people whom he greeted and thanked for welcoming him and for their efforts to make the meeting possible. He spoke to them about the importance of St. Joseph, “the one I go to whenever I am 'in a fix'”. “You make me think of St. Joseph. Your faces remind me of his”.
“Joseph had to face some difficult situations in his life”, he continued. “One of them was the time when Mary was about to give birth, to have Jesus … and there was no place for them in the inn. … I can imagine Joseph, with his wife about to have a child, with no shelter, no home, no place to stay. The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person. The Son of God knew what it was to start life without a roof over His head”.
“We can imagine what Joseph must have been thinking. How is it that the Son of God has no home? Why are we homeless, why don’t we have housing? These are questions which many of you may ask daily. Like St. Joseph, you may ask: Why are we homeless, without a place to live? These are questions which all of us might well ask. Why do these, our brothers and sisters, have no place to live? Why are these brothers and sisters of ours homeless?”.
“Joseph’s questions are timely even today; they accompany all those who throughout history have been, and are, homeless. Joseph was someone who asked questions. But first and foremost, he was a man of faith. Faith gave Joseph the power to find light just at the moment when everything seemed dark. Faith sustained him amid the troubles of life. Thanks to faith, Joseph was able to press forward when everything seemed to be holding him back. In the face of unjust and painful situations, faith brings us the light which scatters the darkness. As it did for Joseph, faith makes us open to the quiet presence of God at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation. God is present in every one of you, in each one of us”.
“We can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing. There are many unjust situations, but we know that God is suffering with us, experiencing them at our side. He does not abandon us. We know that Jesus wanted to show solidarity with every person. He wanted everyone to experience His companionship, His help, His love. He identified with all those who suffer, who weep, who suffer any kind of injustice. He tells us this clearly: 'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me'”.
“Faith makes us know that God is at our side, that God is in our midst and His presence spurs us to charity. Charity is born of the call of a God Who continues to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another. Jesus keeps knocking on our doors, the doors of our lives. He doesn’t do this by magic, with special effects, with flashing lights and fireworks. Jesus keeps knocking on our door in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the faces of our neighbours, in the faces of those at our side”.
“Dear friends, one of the most effective ways we have to help is that of prayer. Prayer unites us; it makes us brothers and sisters … and reminds us of a beautiful truth which we sometimes forget. In prayer, we all learn to say 'Father', 'Dad'. We learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. In prayer, there are no rich and poor people, there are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. In prayer, there is no first or second class, there is brotherhood. It is in prayer that our hearts find the strength not to be cold and insensitive in the face of injustice. In prayer, God keeps calling us, opening our hearts to charity”.
“How good it is for us to pray together. How good it is to encounter one another in this place where we see one another as brothers and sisters, where we realise that we need one another. Today I want to be one with you. I need your support, your closeness. I would like to invite you to pray together, for one another, with one another. That way we can keep helping one another to experience the joy of knowing that Jesus is in our midst, and that Jesus helps us to find solutions to the injustices which He Himself already experienced. Are you ready to pray together? I will begin in Spanish and you follow in English”.
All those present recited the Lord's Prayer along with the Pope. Before leaving, the Holy Father blessed them with the following words: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace”, adding “And, please, don’t forget to pray for me”.
Vespers with the clergy and religious of the Cathedral of New York: gratitude and hard work are the two pillars of spiritual life
Vatican City, 25 September 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis arrived at John Kennedy Airport in New York at 5 p.m. (11 p.m. in Rome), where he was received by the cardinal archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan and Bishop Nicholas A. Di Marzio of Brooklyn, accompanied by Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza. The governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo and the mayor of the city, Bill de Blasio, were also present. The Holy Father transferred by helicopter to Manhattan, where he boarded the popemobile to travel to Cathedral of St. Patrick, where he celebrated Vespers with clergy and men and women religious.
“I have two thoughts today for my Muslim brothers and sisters. First, my good wishes as you celebrate today the day of sacrifice. I wish my greetings could have been warmer. Second, my closeness, on account of the tragedy which your people experienced today in Mecca. In this moment of prayer, I join, and all of us join, in praying to God, our almighty and merciful Father” he said.
 He went on to refer to the Cathedral of St. Patrick, “built up over many years through the sacrifices of many men and women, can serve as a symbol of the work of generations of American priests and religious, and lay faithful who helped build up the Church in the United States. ... Many did so at the cost of extraordinary sacrifice and with heroic charity. I think for example of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who founded the first free Catholic school for girls in America, or St. John Neumann, the founder of the first system of Catholic education in the United States.
“This evening, my brothers and sisters, I have come to join you – priests and men and women of consecrated life – in praying that our vocations will continue to build up the great edifice of God’s Kingdom in this country. I know that, as a presbyterate in the midst of God’s people, you suffered greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalised the Church in the most vulnerable of her members. In the words of the Book of Revelation, I say that you 'have come forth from the great tribulation' I accompany you at this moment of pain and difficulty, and I thank God for your faithful service to His people”.
Then, “in the hope of helping you to persevere on the path of fidelity to Jesus Christ”, he offered reflections on two aspects: the spirit of gratitude and of hard work.
Regarding gratitude, he observed that “the joy of men and women who love God attracts others to Him; priests and religious are called to find and radiate lasting satisfaction in their vocation. Joy springs from a grateful heart. Truly, we have received much, so many graces, so many blessings, and we rejoice in this. It will do us good to think back on our lives with the grace of remembrance. … Remembrance of the amazement which our encounter with Jesus Christ awakens in our hearts. … Let us seek the grace of remembrance so as to grow in the spirit of gratitude”.
“A grateful heart is spontaneously impelled to serve the Lord and to find expression in a life of commitment to our work”, he continued. “Once we come to realise how much God has given us, a life of self-sacrifice, of working for Him and for others, becomes a privileged way of responding to his great love. Yet, if we are honest, we know how easily this spirit of generous self-sacrifice can be dampened. There are a couple of ways that this can happen; both ways are examples of that 'spiritual worldliness' which weakens our commitment … to serve, and diminishes the wonder, the amazement, of our first encounter with Christ”.
“We can get caught up measuring the value of our apostolic works by the standards of efficiency, good management and outward success which govern the business world. Not that these things are unimportant! We have been entrusted with a great responsibility, and God’s people rightly expect accountability from us. But the true worth of our apostolate is measured by the value it has in God’s eyes. To see and evaluate things from God’s perspective calls for constant conversion in the first days and years of our vocation and, need I say, it calls for great humility. The cross shows us a different way of measuring success. Ours is to plant the seeds: God sees to the fruits of our labours. And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus, and His life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, in the failure of the cross”.
“The other danger comes when we become jealous of our free time, when we think that surrounding ourselves with worldly comforts will help us serve better”, he warned. “The problem with this reasoning is that it can blunt the power of God’s daily call to conversion, to encounter with Him. Slowly but surely, it diminishes our spirit of sacrifice, our spirit of renunciation and hard work. It also alienates people who suffer material poverty and are forced to make greater sacrifices than ourselves, without being consecrated. Rest is needed, as are moments of leisure and self-enrichment, but we need to learn how to rest in a way that deepens our desire to serve with generosity. Closeness to the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, the sick, the exploited, the elderly living alone, prisoners and all God’s other poor, will teach us a different way of resting, one which is more Christian and generous”.
Gratitude and hard work: these are two pillars of the spiritual life which I have wanted, this evening, to share with you priests and religious. I thank you for prayers and work. … In a special way I would like to express my esteem and my gratitude to the religious women of the United States. What would the Church be without you? Women of strength, fighters, with that spirit of courage which puts you in the front lines in the proclamation of the Gospel. To you, religious women, sisters and mothers of this people, I wish to say … a big thank you, and to tell you that I love you very much”.
“I know that many of you are in the front lines in meeting the challenges of adapting to an evolving pastoral landscape”, he concluded. “Whatever difficulties and trials you face, I ask you, like St. Peter, to be at peace and to respond to them as Christ did: He thanked the Father, took up His cross and looked forward!”.
This brought to a close the Pope's first day in New York. Today, 25 September, Francis will address the Assembly of the United Nations, will attend an interreligious meeting at Ground Zero, will visit migrant families in Brooklyn and will celebrate Mass in Madison Square Garden.
Notice
Vatican City, 25 September 2015 (VIS) – Due to the Holy Father's apostolic trip, an extraordinary Vatican Information Service bulletin will be published on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September.
24-09-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 163 
The Pope at the White House: as the son of migrants, happy to be a guest in a country largely built by such families
Vatican City, 24 September 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday more than two hundred thousand people awaited Pope Francis outside the White House, where shortly after 9 a.m. local time (3 p.m.in Rome) he was welcomed by President Barack Obama and the First Lady, Michelle Obama. They accompanied him to the podium erected in the grounds of the presidential residence, where before two thousand people the Holy Father gave his first address in the United States.
In his discourse he affirmed that, “as the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families”, and highlighted the commitment of American Catholics, along with their fellow citizens, to constructing a tolerant and inclusive society and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. The Pope also mentioned the importance of the right to religious freedom and the duty of defending it from anything that might threaten or compromise it.
 Francis praised Barack Obama's initiative for reducing air pollution. “Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation”, he said. “When it comes to the care of our 'common home', we are living at a critical moment of history. We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about 'a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change'. Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition not only of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions of people living under a system which has overlooked them. Our common home has been part of this group of the excluded which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies. To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honour it. … Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. As Christians inspired by this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home”.
The Holy Father also mentioned recent efforts “to mend broken relationships and to open new doors to cooperation within our human family” which “represent positive steps along the path of reconciliation, justice and freedom. I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children”.
“Mr. President”, he concluded, “once again I thank you for your welcome, and I look forward to these days in your country. God bless America!”.
At the end of the welcome ceremony, the Pope and the president retired to the Oval Office where an exchange of gifts and a private discussion took place, attended by members of President Obama's family. The Pope's gift was a bronze medallion commemorating the Eighth World Meeting of Families, to be celebrated on 27 September in Philadelphia.
Meeting with United States bishops: never repeat the crimes of the past
Vatican City, 24 September 2015 (VIS) – The challenges of a nation whose vast resources require not insignificant moral responsibility in a world seeking new equilibria of peace, prosperity and integration, the importance of never again repeating past “crimes” against victims of abuse, the need for dialogue instead of hard and bellicose language, and the defence of the excluded, migrants and the environment were some of the themes that Pope Francis considered yesterday in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington D.C., during his meeting with the episcopate of the United States. The following are extensive extracts from his address.
 “My first word to you is one of thanksgiving to God for the power of the Gospel which has brought about remarkable growth of Christ’s Church in these lands and enabled its generous contribution, past and present, to American society and to the world. … I appreciate the unfailing commitment of the Church in America to the cause of life and that of the family, which is the primary reason for my present visit. I am well aware of the immense efforts you have made to welcome and integrate those immigrants who continue to look to America, like so many others before them, in the hope of enjoying its blessings of freedom and prosperity. I also appreciate the efforts which you are making to fulfil the Church’s mission of education in schools at every level and in the charitable services offered by your numerous institutions. These works are often carried out without appreciation or support, often with heroic sacrifice, out of obedience to a divine mandate which we may not disobey. I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful. I realise how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.
“I speak to you as the Bishop of Rome, called by God in old age, and from a land which is also American, to watch over the unity of the universal Church and to encourage in charity the journey of all the particular Churches toward ever greater knowledge, faith and love of Christ. … I too know how hard it is to sow the Gospel among people from different worlds, with hearts often hardened by the trials of a lengthy journey. Nor am I unaware of the efforts made over the years to build up the Church amid the prairies, mountains, cities and suburbs of a frequently inhospitable land, where frontiers are always provisional and easy answers do not always work. What does work is the combination of the epic struggle of the pioneers and the homely wisdom and endurance of the settlers”.
“It is not my intention to offer a plan or to devise a strategy. ... I have no wish to tell you what to do, because we all know what it is that the Lord asks of us. Instead, I would turn once again to the demanding task – ancient yet never new – of seeking out the paths we need to take and the spirit with which we need to work. … We are bishops of the Church, shepherds appointed by God to feed his flock. Our greatest joy is to be shepherds, and only shepherds, pastors with undivided hearts and selfless devotion. … The heart of our identity is to be sought in constant prayer, in preaching and in shepherding the flock entrusted to our care”.
“Ours must not be just any kind of prayer, but familiar union with Christ, in which we daily encounter His gaze and sense that He is asking us the question: 'Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?'. One in which we can calmly reply: 'Lord, here is Your mother, here are Your brothers! I hand them over to You; they are the ones whom You entrusted to me'”.
“Such trusting union with Christ is what nourishes the life of a pastor. It is not about preaching complicated doctrines, but joyfully proclaiming Christ Who died and rose for our sake. The 'style' of our mission should make our hearers feel that the message we preach is meant 'for us'. … May the closeness of the shepherd make them them long once again for the Father’s embrace. Be vigilant that the flock may always encounter in the heart of their pastor that 'taste of eternity' which they seek in vain in the things of this world”.
“Shepherds who do not pasture themselves but are able to step back, away from the centre, to 'decrease', in order to feed God’s family with Christ. Who keep constant watch, standing on the heights to look out with God’s eyes on the flock which is His alone. … Shepherds who do not lower our gaze, concerned only with our concerns, but raise it constantly toward the horizons which God opens before us and which surpass all that we ourselves can foresee or plan. Who also watch over ourselves, so as to flee the temptation of narcissism, which blinds the eyes of the shepherd, makes his voice unrecognisable and his actions fruitless”.
“Certainly it is helpful for a bishop to have the farsightedness of a leader and the shrewdness of an administrator, but we fall into hopeless decline whenever we confuse the power of strength with the strength of that powerlessness with which God has redeemed us. Bishops need to be lucidly aware of the battle between light and darkness being fought in this world. Woe to us, however, if we make of the cross a banner of worldly struggles and fail to realise that the price of lasting victory is allowing ourselves to be wounded and consumed. … I know that you face many challenges, and that the field in which you sow is unyielding and that there is always the temptation to give in to fear, to lick one’s wounds, to think back on bygone times and to devise harsh responses to fierce opposition. And yet we are promoters of the culture of encounter. We are living sacraments of the embrace between God’s riches and our poverty. We are witnesses of the abasement and the condescension of God Who anticipates in love our every response”.
“Dialogue is our method, not as a shrewd strategy but out of fidelity to the One Who never wearies of visiting the marketplace. … I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly. ... Do not be afraid to set out on that 'exodus' which is necessary for all authentic dialogue. Otherwise, we fail to understand the thinking of others, or to realise deep down that the brother or sister we wish to reach and redeem, with the power and the closeness of love, counts more than their positions, distant as they may be from what we hold as true and certain. Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor, it has no place in his heart; although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing. … We need to … remember that Jesus’ Church is kept whole not by 'consuming fire from heaven', but by the secret warmth of the Spirit, Who 'heals what is wounded, bends what is rigid, straightens what is crooked'”.
“The great mission which the Lord gives us is one which we carry out in communion, collegially. The world is already so torn and divided, brokenness is now everywhere. Consequently, the Church, 'the seamless garment of the Lord' cannot allow herself to be rent, broken or fought over. … It is imperative, therefore, to watch over that unity, to safeguard it, to promote it and to bear witness to it as a sign and instrument which, beyond every barrier, unites nations, races, classes and generations. … This service to unity is particularly important for this nation, whose vast material and spiritual, cultural and political, historical and human, scientific and technological resources impose significant moral responsibilities in a world which is seeking, confusedly and laboriously, new balances of peace, prosperity and integration. ... I encourage you, then, my brothers, to confront the challenging issues of our time. Ever present within each of them is life as gift and responsibility. The future freedom and dignity of our societies depends on how we face these challenges”.
“The innocent victims of abortion, children who die of hunger or from bombings, immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature – at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not masters. It is wrong, then, to look the other way or to remain silent. No less important is the Gospel of the Family, which in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia I will emphatically proclaim together with you and the entire Church”.
“These essential aspects of the Church’s mission belong to the core of what we have received from the Lord. It is our duty to preserve and communicate them, even when the tenor of the times becomes resistant and even hostile to that message. I urge you to offer this witness, with the means and creativity born of love, and with the humility of truth. It needs to be preached and proclaimed to those without, but also to find room in people’s hearts and in the conscience of society. To this end, it is important that the Church in the United States also be a humble home, a family fire which attracts men and women through the attractive light and warmth of love. … Only a Church which can gather around the family fire remains able to attract others. And not any fire, but the one which blazed forth on Easter morn”.
“Before concluding, allow me to offer two recommendations which are close to my heart. The first refers to your fatherhood as bishops. Be pastors close to people, pastors who are neighbours and servants. Let this closeness be expressed in a special way towards your priests. … Find ways to encourage their spiritual growth, lest they yield to the temptation to become notaries and bureaucrats, but instead reflect the motherhood of the Church, which gives birth to and raises her sons and daughters”.
“My second recommendation has to do with immigrants. I ask you to excuse me if in some way I am pleading my own case. The Church in the United States knows like few others the hopes present in the hearts of these 'pilgrims'. From the beginning you have learned their languages, promoted their cause, made their contributions your own, defended their rights, helped them to prosper, and kept alive the flame of their faith. Even today, no American institution does more for immigrants than your Christian communities. Now you are facing this stream of Latin immigration which affects many of your dioceses. Not only as the Bishop of Rome, but also as a pastor from the South, I feel the need to thank and encourage you. Perhaps it will not be easy for you to look into their soul; perhaps you will be challenged by their diversity. But know that they also possess resources meant to be shared. So do not be afraid to welcome them. Offer them the warmth of the love of Christ and you will unlock the mystery of their heart. I am certain that, as so often in the past, these people will enrich America and its Church”.
The canonisation of Blessed Junipero Serra: Jesus has no 'shortlist' of people worthy of His message
Vatican City, 24 September 2015 (VIS) – Blessed Junipero Serra (1713-1784), known as the “Apostle of California”, was canonised yesterday by Pope Francis during a solemn Mass celebrated in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the title under which, since 1847, the Virgin Mary is the patroness of the United States.
The new saint, born in Mallorca, Spain, was a missionary first in Mexico, where he learned the Pame language in order to teach the indigenous peoples the catechism and ordinary prayers, which he translated for them. He was also master of novices in the apostolic College of San Fernando. In 1767, the Jesuits were expelled from the missions of Baja California, which were entrusted to the Franciscans. Fr. Junipero was appointed Superior and arrived with 14 companions in the territory in 1760, where he founded the first mission of San Diego. He went on to found missions in Alta California: San Carlos de Monterrey, San Anselmo, San Gabriel and San Luis Obispo. In California alone he travelled 9,900 kilometres and 5,400 nautical miles to found new missions from which there derive the Franciscan names of Californian cities such as San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. Serra was beatified by John Paul II in 1988.
 In his homily the Pope cites St. Paul's words to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, rejoice!”. “Paul tells us to rejoice; he practically orders us to rejoice. This command resonates with the desire we all have for a fulfilling life, a meaningful life, a joyful life. … Something deep within us invites us to rejoice and tells us not to settle for placebos which simply keep us comfortable. At the same time, though, we all know the struggles of everyday life. So much seems to stand in the way of this invitation to rejoice. Our daily routine can often lead us to a kind of glum apathy which gradually becomes a habit, with a fatal consequence: our hearts grow numb”.
“We don’t want apathy to guide our lives … or do we?”, he continued. “We don’t want the force of habit to rule our life … or do we? So we ought to ask ourselves: What can we do to keep our heart from growing numb, becoming anaesthetised? How do we make the joy of the Gospel increase and take deeper root in our lives? Jesus gives the answer. He said to his disciples then and he says it to us now: Go forth! Proclaim! The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away”.
The spirit of the world “tells us to be like everyone else, to settle for what comes easy. Faced with this human way of thinking, 'we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and for the world'. It is the responsibility to proclaim the message of Jesus. For the source of our joy is 'an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of our own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy'. Go out to all, proclaim by anointing and anoint by proclaiming. This is what the Lord tells us today. He tells us that a Christian finds joy in mission: Go out to people of every nation! A Christian experiences joy in following a command: Go forth and proclaim the good news! A Christian finds ever new joy in answering a call: Go forth and anoint!”.
“Jesus sends His disciples out to all nations. To every people. We too were part of all those people of two thousand years ago. Jesus did not provide a short list of who is, or is not, worthy of receiving His message, His presence. Instead, He always embraced life as He saw it. In faces of pain, hunger, sickness and sin. In faces of the wounded, in thirst, weariness, doubt and pity. Far from expecting a beautiful life, smartly-dressed and neatly groomed, He embraced life as He found it. It made no difference whether it was dirty, unkempt, broken. Jesus said: Go out and tell the good news to everyone. Go out and in my name embrace life as it is, and not as you think it should be. Go out to the highways and byways, go out to tell the good news fearlessly, without prejudice, without superiority, without condescension, to all those who have lost the joy of living. Go out to proclaim the merciful embrace of the Father. Go out to those who are burdened by pain and failure, who feel that their lives are empty, and proclaim the 'folly' of a loving Father Who wants to anoint them with the oil of hope, the oil of salvation. Go out to proclaim the good news that error, deceitful illusions and falsehoods do not have the last word in a person’s life. Go out with the balm which soothes wounds and heals hearts”.
Mission is “never the fruit of a perfectly planned program or a well-organised manual. Mission is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven. Mission is born of a constant experience of God’s merciful anointing. The Church, the holy People of God, treads the dust-laden paths of history, so often traversed by conflict, injustice and violence, in order to encounter her children, our brothers and sisters. The holy and faithful People of God are not afraid of losing their way; they are afraid of becoming self-enclosed, frozen into elites, clinging to their own security. They know that self-enclosure, in all the many forms it takes, is the cause of so much apathy. So let us go out, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. The People of God can embrace everyone because we are the disciples of the One who knelt before his own to wash their feet.
“The reason we are here today is that many other people wanted to respond to that call. They believed that 'life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort'. We are heirs to the bold missionary spirit of so many men and women who preferred not to be 'shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security … within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving'. We are indebted to a tradition, a chain of witnesses who have made it possible for the good news of the Gospel to be, in every generation, both 'good' and 'new'”.
“Today we remember one of those witnesses who testified to the joy of the Gospel in these lands, Fr. Junipero Serra. He was the embodiment of 'a Church which goes forth', a Church which sets out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God. Junipero Serra left his native land and its way of life. He was excited about blazing trails, going forth to meet many people, learning and valuing their particular customs and ways of life. He learned how to bring to birth and nurture God’s life in the faces of everyone he met; he made them his brothers and sisters. Junipero sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it. Mistreatment and wrongs which today still trouble us, especially because of the hurt which they cause in the lives of many people”.
Father Serra “had a motto which inspired his life and work, a saying he lived his life by: siempre adelante! Keep moving forward! For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb, from being anaesthetised. He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting. He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting. He kept going forward to the end of his life. Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward! Let’s keep moving forward!”.
After the Mass for canonisation the Holy Father proceeded to the new St. John Paul II archdiocesan seminary, inaugurated in 2011, inhabited by 47 seminarians who awaited Francis at the entrance to the institution. The Pope unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit and returned to the nunciature in Washington D.C., where he spent the night.
Today, 24 September, at 10 a.m. local time (4 p.m. in Rome), the Holy Father will address the United States Congress assembled in joint session, an extraordinary gathering of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. He will subsequently meet with homeless people in the St. Patrick parish. After leaving the At 5 p.m. local time (11 p.m. in Rome) he will depart by air for New York, where he will conclude the day with Vespers in St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 24 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the metropolitan archdiocese of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela, Italy, presented by Archbishop Calogero La Piana, S.D.B., in accordance with canon 402 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Laws.
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Alba, Italy, presented by Bishop Giacomo Lanzetti, in accordance with canon 402 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Laws.
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Goya, Argentina, presented by Bishop Ricardo Oscar Faifer, upon reaching the age limit. He is succeeded by Bishop Adolfo Ramon Canecin, coadjutor of the same diocese.
- appointed Archbishop Luis Gerardo Cabrera Herrera, O.F.M., of Cuenca, Ecuador as archbishop of Guayaquil (area 14,637, population 3,275,192, Catholics 2,783,913, priests 202, permanent deacons 21, religious 607), Ecuador. He succeeds Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
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