Friday, December 25, 2015

Pope's Christmas Message Urbi et Orbi


Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Christmas!

Christ is born for us, let us rejoice in the day of our salvation!

Let us open our hearts to receive the grace of this day, which is Christ himself.  Jesus is the radiant "day” which has dawned on the horizon of humanity.  A day of mercy, in which God our Father has revealed his great tenderness to the entire world.  A day of light, which dispels the darkness of fear and anxiety.  A day of peace, which makes for encounter, dialogue and, above all, reconciliation.  A day of joy: a "great joy” for the poor, the lowly and for all the people (cf. Lk 2:10).

On this day, Jesus, the Saviour is born of the Virgin Mary.  The Crib makes us see the "sign” which God has given us: "a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12).  Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too set out to see this sign, this event which is renewed yearly in the Church.  Christmas is an event which is renewed in every family, parish and community which receives the love of God made incarnate in Jesus Christ.  Like Mary, the Church shows to everyone the "sign” of God: the Child whom she bore in her womb and to whom she gave birth, yet who is the Son of the Most High, since he "is of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:20).  He is truly the Saviour, for he is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sin of the world (cf. Jn 1:29).  With the shepherds, let us bow down before the Lamb, let us worship God’s goodness made flesh, and let us allow tears of repentance to fill our eyes and cleanse our hearts.  This is something we all need!

He alone, he alone can save us.  Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst.  The grace of God can convert hearts and offer mankind a way out of humanly insoluble situations.

Where God is born, hope is born.  He brings hope.  Where God is born, peace is born.  And where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war.  Yet precisely where the incarnate Son of God came into the world, tensions and violence persist, and peace remains a gift to be implored and built.  May Israelis and Palestinians resume direct dialogue and reach an agreement which will enable the two peoples to live together in harmony, ending a conflict which has long set them at odds, with grave repercussions for the entire region.

We pray to the Lord that the agreement reached in the United Nations may succeed in halting as quickly as possible the clash of arms in Syria and in remedying the extremely grave humanitarian situation of its suffering people.  It is likewise urgent that the agreement on Libya be supported by all, so as to overcome the grave divisions and violence afflicting the country.  May the attention of the international community be unanimously directed to ending the atrocities which in those countries, as well as in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, even now reap numerous victims, cause immense suffering and do not even spare the historical and cultural patrimony of entire peoples.  My thoughts also turn to those affected by brutal acts of terrorism, particularly the recent massacres which took place in Egyptian airspace, in Beirut, Paris, Bamako and Tunis.

To our brothers and sisters who in many parts of the world are being persecuted for their faith, may the Child Jesus grant consolation and strength.  They are our martyrs of today.

We also pray for peace and concord among the peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and South Sudan, that dialogue may lead to a strengthened common commitment to the building of civil societies animated by a sincere spirit of reconciliation and of mutual understanding.

May Christmas also bring true peace to Ukraine, offer comfort to those suffering from the effects of the conflict, and inspire willingess to carry out the agreements made to restore concord in the entire country.

May the joy of this day illumine the efforts of the Colombian people so that, inspired by hope, they  may continue their commitment to working for the desired peace.

Where God is born, hope is born; and where hope is born, persons regain their dignity.  Yet even today great numbers of men and woman are deprived of their human dignity and, like the child Jesus, suffer cold, poverty, and rejection.  May our closeness today be felt by those who are most vulnerable, especially child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and the drug trade.

Nor may our encouragement be lacking to all those fleeing extreme poverty or war, travelling all too often in inhumane conditions and not infrequently at the risk of their lives.  May God repay all those, both individuals and states, who generously work to provide assistance and welcome to the numerous migrants and refugees, helping them to build a dignified future for themselves and for their dear ones, and to be integrated in the societies which receive them.

On this festal day may the Lord grant renewed hope to all those who lack employment – and they are so many!; may he sustain the commitment of those with public responsibilities in political and economic life, that they may work to pursue the common good and to protect the dignity of every human life.

Where God is born, mercy flourishes.  Mercy is the most precious gift which God gives us, especially during this Jubilee year in which we are called to discover that tender love of our heavenly Father for each of us.  May the Lord enable prisoners in particular to experience his merciful love, which heals wounds and triumphs over evil.

Today, then, let us together rejoice in the day of our salvation.   As we contemplate the Crib, let us gaze on the open arms of Jesus, which show us the merciful embrace of God, as we hear the cries of the Child who whispers to us: "for my brethren and companions’ sake, I will say: Peace be within you” (Ps 121[122]:8).

Christmas Greetings of the Holy Father (after the Urbi et Orbi Blessing)

To you, dear brothers and sisters all over the world who have come to this Square and to all those who join us by radio, television and other media, I offer my most cordial good wishes.

It is Christmas of the Holy Year of Mercy, and so I pray that all can welcome into their lives the mercy of God which Jesus Christ has bestowed on us, so that we in turn can show mercy to our brothers and sisters.  In this way, we will make peace grow!  Happy Christmas!


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Thursday, December 24, 2015

From Pope Francis - December 23, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 23 December 2015 -

Three pieces of advice from Pope Francis
to think about during Christmas.


During his meeting with the delegations who donated the Nativity scene and Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on how to think about those pieces of art.

POPE FRANCIS

"I invite you, then, to pause before the Nativity scene, for there God's tenderness speaks to us. There we contemplate divine mercy, made flesh so that we gaze tenderly upon it.”

For the Catholic Church, Nativity scenes are not simple decorative objects. They contain a powerful message.

POPE FRANCIS

"Jesus did not simply appear on earth, and did not dedicate just a little of His time to us, but rather came to share our life and to receive our desires, as He wanted and still wants to live here, along with us and for us. Our world, which at Christmas became His world, is important to Him. The creche reminds us of this: God, in his great mercy, descended to us to stay with us.”

The Pope recalled that representations of the mystery of the Nativity are a proposition about the kind of life that Christians must lead.

POPE FRANCIS

"The Nativity also tells us that the Lord never imposes upon us with force. To save us, He did not change history by performing a grand miracle. Instead, He lived with simplicity, humility and meekness. God does not like the dramatic revolutions of the powerful of history, and does not use a magic wand to change situations. Instead He makes Himself small, He becomes a child, to attract us with love, to touch our hearts with His humble goodness, to draw attention through His poverty to those who worry about accumulating the false treasures of this world.”


Although it's normal to take down a Nativity scene after Christmas, the Vatican traditionally keeps the one in St. Peter's Square up until February 2nd. That day also marks the liturgical celebration of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It leaves plenty of time to meditate on this scene.


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Saturday, December 19, 2015

"The Best of China"
with Fr. Tomás Del Valle-Reyes


Map of China

    


 Discovering the 21st Century
330 West - 38 Street, Suite 503,
 New York, NY 10018
Ph: (212) 244-4778 







The Best of China: Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Suzhou & Shanghai
March 2 to 13, 2016


Day 1, Wednesday 
Board Air China CA 982 leaves JFK at 4:30pm (13 hours non-stop to Beijing). Cross International Dateline.

Day 2, Thursday 
Arrive Beijing International Airport at 18:30 hours in the evening. Meet your guide and transfer to Beijing Feitian Hotel. (D)

Day 3, Friday 
Beijing (B,L,D) 
Beijing is the capital city of China. It offers many of the sights that make China one of the world's most popular destinations. Start your tour with Tiananmen Square, the largest public plaza in the world and Lavish Royal Garden-Summer Palace built by Empress Dowager Cixi. Followed by Forbidden City which was the Imperial Palace for Ming and Qing emperors with 9,999 rooms full of legendary stories of the royal families/the Summer Palace which was the summer resort for the emperors of Qing Dynasty. Followed by The Forbiden City in the afternoon.

Day 4, Saturday 
Beijing (B,L,D) 
A whole day excursion to the Great Wall of China, over 3,000 miles long at an elevation of 1000 meters. It is a sight and feeling you will never forget. We will visit the most notorious Temple of Heaven.

Day 5, Sunday 
Beijing-Xian (B,L,D) 
After a few stops, Today we will fly to The City of Xian another Great City in China. Visit Ancient City Wall, which was built around the city to protect it from invators. The History Museum which was only opened in 1992 and is rated as the best museum in China. Days Hotel & Suites Xincing Xi'an
B,L,D

Day 6, Monday 
Xian (B,L,D) 
Visit the famous Terra Cotta Warriors Museum which was uncovered by farmers digging a well in 1974. It is an underground vault of earth and timber that eventually yielded 6,000 life-sized terra cotta soldiers and their horses in battle formation guarding the First Emperor's tombs. This magnificent sight is still under excavation. Enjoy Tang Dynasty Show in the evening.

Day 7, Tuesday 
Xian-Guilin (B,L,D) 
Today we Fly to Guilin, the most scenic city in China if not the World. Visit Duxiu Hill; and the Enchanted Reed Flute Cave, one of the most extraordinary scenery in Guilin. Universal Guilin Hotel

Day 8, Wednesday 
Guilin (B,L,D) 
A whole day luncheon cruise on the meandering, crystalling water of the Li River. You will have the most fascinated view of ancients limestone rocks. Stop in Yangshuo Free Market where it requires your best bargain skills and patience to obtain the most beautiful souvenirs. Deluxe Coach back to Guilin after your exhausting and satisfying nerve-competing bargain with peddlers.

Day 9, Thursday 
Guilin-Suzhou (B,L,D) 
Today we fly to Shanghai airport and transfer to Suzhou the city known as "Venice of Orient" by Marco Polo. It is a famed silk production center and a celebrated retreat brimming with gardens and canals. Visit magic Double Embroidery Research Institute. Castle Hotel.

Day 10 Friday 
Suzhou-Shanghai (B,L,D) 
Visit the masterpiece New Master Garden; A dragon boat cruise on the Grand Canal; Silk factory where you can purchase your silk shirts for the lowest prices. Half and hour train or bus to Shanghai. New Century Hotel Shanghai.

Day 11, Saturday 
Shanghai (B,L,D) 
Visit European styled BUND, symbol of Shanghai. Nanking Road which is the busiest shopping center in China and also a chance for you to have a close view of ordinary people's life. Followed by Jade Buddha Temple. In the Afternoon we will visit Yu Garden, an old section of Shanghai; Shanghai Museum which is one of the best Museums in China and Children’s Palace. Acrobatic Show in the evening.

Day 12, Sunday 
Shanghai (B) 
Free on your own to explore the city--- the Paris of Orient, do your last minute shopping.

Day 13 Monday
(B) 
Leave Shanghai to New York. Arriving the same day.(B)

PRICE:
$4,395.00 - PP/ double occupancy
$5,045.00 - single occupancy (includes additional $650 fee a single room).

INCLUDES:

  • R/T Airfare
  • Ground transportation R/T airport - hotel and at destinations. 
  • All Local Flights/ or First Class High Speed Trains. 
  • All hotel accommodations. 
  • Entrance fees to all sites on itinerary. 
  • Tips 
  • All Taxes 
  • National and Local guides
  • Meals included as specified. 
  • $180.00 Visa Fee is Included. We will need your passport and a passport photo for processing of the visa.
For more information or to make a reservation, click here to contact Mercedes Torres.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

From Pope Francis - December 16, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 16 December 2015 -


Salvation can't be bought! Jesus is free!


Pilgrims always show plenty of love for Pope Francis ahead of the general audience. But on the day before his birthday, they seemed especially affectionate.

However, the best gift came from the Pope himself. He allowed this mother to get close enough to the Popemobile for her son to receive a blessing.

During his catechesis, the Pope explained some of the Jubilee of Mercy's most important symbols. One of them is walking through the Holy Door. It symbolizes when Jesus said in the Gospel that He is the door to salvation. Walking through it, the Pope explained, shows a true desire for conversion. But the Pope also included a warning.

POPE FRANCIS

"Be careful. There may be some that are ready to pass through, and a scammer tells them they must pay. Salvation can't be bought. The door is Jesus and Jesus is free.”

The Pope added that another great symbol of the Jubilee is confession, because it allows people to experience divine mercy directly. 

Further, he highlighted that a clear demonstration that people have converted is when they love and forgive, especially the worst among them.

POPE FRANCIS


"How many times have I told myself the same thing: 'Father, I am not capable of forgiveness.' But how can ask God to forgive us if afterward we are not capable of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a great thing. Forgiveness is not easy, because our heart is poor and with only its strengths we cannot do it. But if we open ourselves and leave ourselves for God to be merciful with us, we can be capable of forgiveness.”

Despite the winter weather and smaller crowd size during this time of year, the Pope still held the audience in St. Peter's Square instead of indoors.



© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana



Thursday, December 10, 2015

From Pope Francis - December 9, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 9 December 2015 -


Pope Francis during the general audience explains why he 
convened the Jubilee of Mercy.


During his weekly general audience, Pope Francis explained why he decided to convene a Jubilee of Mercy. He said that the Church needed this extraordinary moment and that it could be a moment to experience the forgiveness of God in our lives.

The Pope also suggested that mercy is needed within institutions, especially the Church. He said that mercy must become more readily accessible to all.

SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:

"Dear Brothers and Sisters:

With the opening of the Holy Door yesterday in Saint Peter’s, we inaugurated the Jubilee of Mercy. This extraordinary Holy Year reminds us that, amid profound changes in our world, the Church is called to bear convincing witness to God’s mercy, which alone can triumph over human sin and bring true freedom.

God’s mercy, made present in our midst by the incarnation of his Son, is the very heart of the Gospel. This Year of Grace reminds us that mercy is what "pleases God most”, and that it has to find clear expression in our lives and in the Church’s structures. In today’s world, mercy and forgiveness often appear overwhelmed by self-interest, hedonism and venality, while in the Christian life they can be stifled by hypocrisy and worldliness. Forgetfulness of God’s mercy blinds us even to seeing sin for what it is. That is why this Holy Year of Mercy is so important. 


Let us ask the Lord to make us ever more aware of his mercy at work in our lives and ever more effective in testifying to its transforming power in our world.”


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Pope Francis in Kenya

State House in Nairobi, Kenya
- Wednesday, 25 November 2015 -

Terrorism and violence feed on poverty and fear.


With these 21 canon salvos, Pope Francis was welcomed to the State House in Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta's official residence.

Afterward, the Pope planted a tree in the presidential complex. He followed a Kenyan custom, in which children plant trees to signify hope in the future.

The Kenyan president spoke before Pope Francis and discussed the many challenges his country faces.

UHURU KENYATTA
President of Kenya

"Your Holiness, like you, as a nation we want to combat the vices of corruption, which sacrifices people and our environment in the pursuit of illegal profit. Indeed, it misdirects resources, sows hatred, and divides our people.”

Speaking before the country's top political leaders and diplomats, the Pope delivered a speech focused on ecology and social inequality.

He praised the natural beauty of Kenya and asked for Kenyans to be sensible and responsible in the face of the grave environmental crisis the entire world is facing.

POPE FRANCIS

"In a world which continues to exploit rather than protect our common home, they must inspire the efforts of national leaders to promote responsible models of economic development.”

In the face of division and injustice, the Pope explained, all people are called to seek out reconciliation, peace, and healing.

POPE FRANCIS

"Experience shows that violence, conflict and terrorism feed on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration.”

With that in mind, he invited politicians to work tirelessly to preserve the values that sustain democracy. He told them they must truly practice a vocation of service to all of the Kenyan public, with integrity and transparency.

POPE FRANCIS

"I ask you in particular to show genuine concern for the needs of the poor, the aspirations of the young, and a just distribution of the natural and human resources with which the Creator has blessed your country.”

Pope Francis again thanked them for the warm welcome. He said God bless Kenya in Swahili, and the crowd went wild.


"God bless Kenya!”


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Thursday, November 19, 2015

From Pope Francis - November 18, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 18 November 2015 -

Pope Francis discusses the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy 
during the general audience.


Pope Francis spoke about the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, which will begin on December 8th, during his general audience. He also mentioned the Holy Door, which will be opened during an official ceremony. The Pope added that all are welcome to God's mercy, and for that reason the Church must always keep all of its doors open to all, especially those who seek forgiveness and mercy.

SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

As the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy approaches, today we consider the great open door of God’s mercy, symbolized by the Holy Doors which will open in Churches throughout the world. The recent Synod of Bishops on the Family encouraged families in a particular way to enter this door of mercy and to open the doors of their hearts to others.

Jesus tells us that he stands knocking at our door, asking that we open it to him (Rev 3:20). How important it is for us to be good doorkeepers, capable of opening our doors and making our homes places of encounter and welcome, especially to our brothers and sisters in need! Jesus also tells us that he himself is the door (Jn 10:9) which leads to salvation; if we pass through him, we will find lasting security and freedom.  As guardians of that door, we in the Church are called to be welcoming to all who seek to enter the fold of the Good Shepherd. 

May the doors of our Christian homes be signs and symbols of the door of God’s mercy, a door ever open to all who knock and desire to meet Jesus.


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thursday, November 12, 2015

From Pope Francis - November 11, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 11 November 2015 -

"Put down your cell phones and talk to one another."


To start off his weekly general audience, Pope Francis made his way through St. Peter's Square, in the popemobile, blessing crowds along the way. 

In his catechesis, Pope Francis talked about the family, focusing on the need to restore the basics, starting with actually having a conversation with one another at the dinner table.   

POPE FRANCIS 

"A family that rarely eats together, or a family where no one speaks, opting instead to watch television or look at smartphones, is not much of a family.” 

Reflecting on the Gospel reading, the Pope said that through the Eucharist, Jesus shows just how important food is- to nurture the body and soul. Food, he added, is meant for social interaction. 

POPE FRANCIS

"Families should speak at the table. They should listen. No silence! I'm not talking about a reflective silence, this silence is one of selfishness. Everyone does their own thing. One watches television, someone is on the computer and no one talks. No! No more silence. Let's restore family interaction.” 

He said it's unacceptable for rich countries to waste food, while people in other parts of the world go hungry. Furthermore, he said it's a contradiction, that to solve the issue, even more money is spent. 

POPE FRANCIS

"This senseless issue distracts us from true hunger of the body and the soul.” 


Keeping in line with the theme of the family, the Pope also congratulated newlywed couples attending the audience, calling on them to be open to life. 



© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thursday, November 5, 2015

From Pope Francis - November 4, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 4 November 2015 -

Pope's General Audience focuses on family and forgiveness.


Pope Francis focused the catechesis of his weekly general audience on how families can teach forgiveness. He said the family is the first place where people learn the virtue.

Further, the Pope added that he hopes the Jubilee of Mercy will encourage families to become more forgiving.

SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Following the recent Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which reflected on the vocation and mission of the family, today we reflect on the importance of the family as the place where we learn the value of forgiveness. Each day, in the words of the Our Father, we ask God to forgive us and to grant us the grace to forgive others. As difficult as forgiveness may be, it is essential for our personal growth, our capacity to acknowledge our failures and to mend broken relationships.


It is a virtue we learn first in the family. Forgiveness strengthens families in love and, through them, makes society as a whole more loving and humane. It is a solid rock on which to build our lives and an eloquent sign of our Christian discipleship and obedience to the Father’s will. May the coming Jubilee of Mercy encourage families everywhere to rediscover the power of forgiveness, and enable the great family of the Church to proclaim the power of God’s reconciling love at work in our world.


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thursday, October 29, 2015

From Pope Francis - October 28, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 28 October 2015 -

Pope's General Audience dedicated to inter-religious dialogue.


This week's general audience marks the 50th anniversary of 'Nostra Aetate' Declaration, which defines the relationship between the Catholic Church and non-Christian religions. 

In his catechesis, the Pope encouraged all believers to embrace diversity and to work together 'in confronting the many problems affecting our human family.'

READ THE POPE'S CATECHESIS: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Today’s Audience marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate on the Church’s Relation to Non-Christian Religions. I welcome the followers of the different religions who have joined us, especially those who have come from great distances. The Council’s Declaration was an expression of the Church’s esteem for the followers of other religious traditions, and her openness to dialogue in the service of understanding and friendship. 

The past fifty years have seen much progress in this regard. In a special way, we give thanks to God for the significant advances made in relations between Christians and Jews, and in those between Christians and Muslims. The world rightly expects believers to work together with all people of good will in confronting the many problems affecting our human family.

It is my hope that the forthcoming Jubilee of Mercy will be an occasion for ever greater interreligious cooperation in works of charity, reconciliation and care for God’s gift of creation. As we look to the future of interreligous dialogue, let us pray that, in accordance with family, peacefully united in and through our diversities

Speaker: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England, Wales, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Nigeria, Israel, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and the United States of America. In a particular way I greet the ecumenical delegation from Korea, and I renew my thanks to the representatives of the different religions who have joined us today. God bless you all. 


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thursday, October 22, 2015

From Pope Francis - October 21, 20

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 21 October 2015 -

Faithfulness to one's spouse doesn't limit liberty-it enhances it.

In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis reflected on faithfulness between husband and wife. It's one of the pillars that build a healthy family life, he said, but it's a factor that's being threatened as people steer away from long term commitments. 

POPE FRANCIS

"Currently, some factors like the search for personal satisfaction at all costs, or the non negotiable exaltation of liberty, have weakened this promise. Faithfulness is dishonored through broken promises, or when spouses take the word with leniency.”  

Being faithful to one's spouse, he added, gives life to beauty and makes the bond of marriage, all that more powerful. It's something that affects not just family life, he said, but society as a whole. 

POPE FRANCIS

"Faithfulness also includes caring and educating one's children. It means caring for the elderly in our families. It means protecting and helping the most fragile members of our family. Helping one another by enhancing our strengths  and accepting our weaknesses.”

Every day, he added, millions of families build on this faithfulness even though often times, it's ignored by society. 

POPE FRANCIS

"It's necessary for society to re-integrate the honor that comes with faithfulness. Knowing that the promise men and women commit to, depends on the grace and mercy of God. The bond that comes from the love or friendship is beautiful and it never destroys liberty.” 


Since Bishops taking part in the Synod had the day off today, many of them attended the Pope's general audience. Before concluding, the Pope asked all Christians for their prayer, so that the Synod of the Family may carry out its mission. 


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thursday, October 15, 2015

From Pope Francis - October 14, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 14 October 2015 -


"Nurture your children's faith."


In his weekly catechesis, Pope Francis talked about raising children and keeping the promise of loving them. He emphasized the importance of fostering a 'mysterious relationship by leaving room for God in their young lives.' 

When this promise is broken, said the Pope, a 'scandal' follows. The Church, he added, also makes promises to children through Baptism. 

SUMMARY OF POPE'S CATECHESIS: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters


In our catechesis on the family, we now consider the promises we make to our children by bringing them into the world.  The greatest of these is love; every child trusts that he or she will be loved and cared for.  

When that promise is broken, the result is a "scandal” which Jesus condemns, telling us that their angels in heaven stand in God’s presence (cf. Mt 18:10).  The Church too, in Baptism, makes promises to our children, promises to be kept by parents and the Christian community as a whole.  In experiencing human love, each child comes to sense the presence of a God who loves children. 

 It is important for us to foster this mysterious relationship by leaving room for God in their young lives.  Parents, in and through the love they show for their children, help them to appreciate their identity and uniqueness as sons and daughters of God.  
Jesus taught us to become like little children; in protecting our children, and protecting the family, may we keep the great promise which God has given to us in them, and through them, to our human family.


Speaker: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia, Papua New Guinea, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Canada and the United States of America.  I ask you to pray for the Synod on the Family, and to be witnesses of God’s presence in the world through your family life.  God bless you all!


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thursday, October 1, 2015

From Pope Francis - September 30, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 30 September 2015 -

Pope Francis recalls his trip to Cuba and the United States
in general audience.


Pope Francis recalled his visit to Cuba and the United States, especially his stop at the World Meeting of Families with which he concluded his trip. 

He thanked his hosts Raul Castro, Barack Obama and Ban Ki-moon. He said that it was no coincidence that the World Meeting of Families was held in the United States, a country that has proven that it can develop economically and technologically without forgetting its religious roots.


SUMMARY OF THE CATECHISM OF THE POPE IN ENGLISH:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  

My recent apostolic journey to Cuba and the United States of America was centred on the Eighth World Meeting of Families.  In Cuba, I wished to embrace all Cubans without exception, to proclaim the transforming power of God’s mercy, and to renew the hope expressed by Saint John Paul II that Cuba will open itself to the world and the world to Cuba.  

As a sign of hope and building new bridges, I then travelled to Washington, where, in addressing the nation’s leaders, I recalled the contribution which America’s tradition of religious freedom has made to the life of the nation.  


Before the United Nations in New York, I renewed the Church’s encouragement for its efforts to promote peace, justice, integral human development and care for creation.  My visit culminated in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.  There we celebrated the beauty of God’s plan for the family, which, as the fruitful covenant between a man and a woman, is the key to a future of authentic prosperity and solidarity for our world. 


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Resorts Casino, Atlantic City - October 15th, 2015

The next trip Resort Casino is Thursday, October 15th, 2015 The bus will leave at 9:30 am sharp and will return after six hours at the casino. Please make check payable to St. Columba in the amount of $30. Payments can be dropped off at the rectory during office hours or can be put through the slot at the convent door. Because of the need to pay for the bus in advance, anyone deciding to go on the trip on the day it occurs will be charged $35

Please spread the word to all you think may be interested. See you on the bus!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

From Pope Francis - September 16, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 16 September 2015 -


The Pope also highlighted the need for a theology of women.


Pope Francis started off his weekly general audience in the popemobile, greeting crowds and blessing pilgrims in St. Peter's Square. 

It was a windy morning, so the Pope had to fend off his mozzetta a few times, which kept getting in the way. 

In his catechesis, the Pope focused on the importance of marriage and the family. Strong families, he explained, lead to strong societies. 

POPE FRANCIS 

"The family saves us from so many attacks, from destruction and from ideological colonizations, like money or ideologies that threaten the world. The family sets the foundation to defend itself.”

Part of that strength, said the Pope, comes from women—from their maternal instincts to the role they play within the family. The Pope then criticized popular narratives that describe women as those who trigger temptation and wrongdoing. 

POPE FRANCIS

"There is the need for theology of women. A theology that will meet the high standard of this blessing for women and for future generations.” 

Even though marriage and the family are facing challenges and at times are even ridiculed in modern society, the Pope said it's a foundation that should not be ignored. 

He also called for Christians to show solidarity with believers and non believers. 

POPE FRANCIS

"Without proselytizing. No! We should walk together and through this blessing and this mission God has given us, to be brothers and sisters, so the world can move forward.” 


Given that on Saturday the Pope is traveling to Cuba and then to the US to lead the World Meeting of Families, he also asked everyone to keep him in their prayers. 


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Weekly Events at St. Columba

From Pope Francis - September 9, 2015

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 9 September 2015 -


Pope Francis explains the relationship between
the family and Christian community.


Pope Francis explained why the relationship between the family and the Church is so important. He said that the connection between the two is natural, because the Church is a "spiritual family” and the family is a small church. He added that "families and parishes are the two places where we encounter, in every age, that communion of love which has its ultimate source in God.”

SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In our continuing catechesis on the family, we reflect today on the connection between the family and the Christian community. The Church is the home of those who believe in Jesus Christ as the source of the unity of the entire human family.  Christ chose to enter our history, to become part of a human family, and to form a community which welcomes all who wish to hear his good news of the Father’s love.  


There is a close bond, then, between the family and the Church.  Families and parishes are the two places where we encounter, in every age, that communion of love which has its ultimate source in God.  Just as our families are domestic churches, our parishes are called to be welcoming families.  This "covenant” has to be renewed, with the courage and vision born of faith, so that these centers of love, evangelization, and solidarity can, with the help of God’s grace and despite all our limitations, work true miracles for the shaping of a more fraternal and humane world.


© Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana