Archive for the ‘Catholic World News’ Category

Pope Francis: Don’t ‘overdramatize’ your complaints to God

Vatican City, Sep 30, 2014 / 09:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily on Tuesday Pope Francis said “complaining” to God in times of suffering can be a prayer, but cautioned not to exaggerate our difficulties in front of those undergoing major tragedies.

“Our life is too easy, our complaints are overdramatized,” the pontiff told those in the Vatican’s Saint Martha house in his Sept. 30 daily Mass.

“Faced with the complaints of so many people, of so many brothers and sisters who are in the dark, who have almost lost all memory, almost lost all hope – who are experiencing this exile from themselves, who are exiled, even from themselves,” our complaints are “nothing!”

Turning to the day’s first reading from book of Job, the Bishop of Rome drew attention to how his prayer seems to be a curse after having lost “everything he possessed” and “his body had become a plague, a disgusting plague.”

“He had lost all patience and he says these things. They are ugly! But he was always accustomed to speak the truth and this is the truth that he feels at that moment,” the pontiff observed, recalling how the prophet Jeremiah also cursed the day in which he was born.

“But is this man blaspheming? This is my question: Is this man who is so very alone, blaspheming? Is it blasphemy when Jesus complains – ‘Father, why have You forsaken me?’ This is the mystery.”

The Roman Pontiff went on to speak about how he has listened to many “who are experiencing difficult and painful situations, who have lost a great deal or feel lonely and abandoned and they come to complain and ask these questions: Why? Why?”

Referring to how they often rebel against God, the Roman Pontiff explained that what he tells them is “Continue to pray just like this, because this is a prayer. It was a prayer when Jesus said to his father: ‘Why have You forsaken me!’”

Prayer means being truthful before God, he said, adding that we should all “pray with reality” because “true prayer comes from the heart, from the moment that we are living in.”

He went on to explain how there are many people in the same situation as Job who “do not understand what has happened to them, or why” as well as “many brothers and sisters who have no hope.”

“Just think of the tragedies, the great tragedies, for example, of these brothers and sisters of ours who because they are Christians were driven out of their homes and left with nothing: ‘But, Lord, I have believed in you. Why? Is believing in you a curse, Lord?’”

Pope Francis also drew attention to the elderly “who are sidelined,” the sick and the “many lonely people in hospitals,” assuring that the Church constantly offers prayers all who walk in darkness.

“The Church prays! She takes this pain upon herself and prays,” he said, noting that are many of us who although we are “are not sick, or hungry, who have no pressing needs,” act “like martyrs and stop praying” as soon as we undergo “a little darkness of soul.”

Observing how there are even some who say “I am angry with God, I will not go to Mass,” the pontiff said that when asked why, the answer is usually “Over some trifling thing.”

Saint Therese of Lisieux, who celebrates her feast day on Oct. 1, also underwent these trials at the end of her life, he said, noting that in her final moments she “tried to think of heaven, but heard a voice within herself, telling her not to be silly, not to be led astray by fantasies.”

“We all go through this situation, we experience this situation. There are so many people who think it all ends in nothing. Yet Saint Therese prayed and asked for strength to persevere in the dark. This is called entering into patience.”

Bringing to mind the many who have lost everything or live in exile, the Pope explained that “Jesus walked this path: from sunset on the Mount of Olives to the last word from the Cross: ‘Father, why have you forsaken me!”

Pope Francis concluded his homily by giving two suggestions which can help us in moments of darkness, the first being “to prepare ourselves for when the darkness comes.”

Secondly, we should “Pray, pray as the Church prays; pray with the Church for so many brothers and sisters who suffer exile from themselves, who are in darkness and suffering, without hope at hand.”

This, he said, “is the prayer of the Church for these Suffering Jesus’ who are everywhere.”

Synod at heart of papal liturgies for month of October

Vatican City, Sep 30, 2014 / 05:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The schedule of liturgical celebrations over which Pope Francis will preside in October is mainly booked with events surrounding the synod of bishops, which culminates with the beatification of Po…

Hundreds gather as pastor’s Iranian imprisonment reaches two years

Washington D.C., Sep 30, 2014 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Hundreds of advocates gathered Sept. 25 in Washington, D.C., to pray for the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who has now been imprisoned in Iran for the past two years.

At the prayer vigil, Abedini’s wife read from a letter in which the imprisoned pastor reassured his 8-year-old daughter that “ Lord Jesus Christ is in control,” and expressed his wish that she “learn important lessons during these trying times,” particularly that “everything that is happening in it is for His good purpose.”

Born and raised as a Muslim in Iran, Abedini converted to Christianity in 2000, becoming an American citizen in 2010 following his marriage to his wife Naghmeh, who also is an American citizen.

After his conversion to Christianity, Abedini began working with house churches in Iran. Although his work was technically legal, it drew complaints from the government, and he agreed to shift his work towards non-religious humanitarian efforts.

While visiting non-religious orphanages in September 2012, Pastor Abedini was arrested on charges of threatening national security. He was sentenced to eight years in prison; he has now served two years.

Human rights groups following the case have claimed that the true reason for the imprisonment was the pastor’s Christian faith and his conversion away from Islam.

Both the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama have called on the Iranian government to release Abedini. Nearly 300,000 people have signed an online petition calling for his freedom.

At the vigil, Naghmeh thanked those present for “standing with us.”

She read from a letter sent by her husband to their daughter for her eighth birthday.

The imprisoned pastor expressed his wish that he would be released soon, but told his daughter that even if he was not set free, they would sing ‘Hallelujah’ together “either separated by prison walls or together at home.”

“So, let Daddy hear you sing a loud ‘Hallelujah’ that I can hear all the way here in the prison!” he said in the letter.

The Abedini children Rebekkah and Jacob then led the crowd in singing some of their father’s favorite hymns.

Also present was Rev. Franklin Graham, who was introduced as a spiritual advisor to the Abedini family.

“We’ve asked you tonight to pray for Pastor Saeed and to pray for others who are imprisoned,” he said, asking the crowd to “remember those who are persecuted for their belief,” particularly Christians.

The prayer vigil concluded with a prayer walk in front of the White House.

In addition to the D.C. event, more than 500 other prayer vigils in 33 countries around the world had been scheduled to recognize the pastor’s second year of imprisonment in Iran.


Pope Francis’ Letter on Beatification of Alvaro del Portillo

Here is a translation of the full text of a letter sent by Pope Francis to the prelate of Opus Dei, on the occasion of Saturday’s beatification of Alvaro del Portillo (1914-1994). The text was sent on June 26, feast of Saint Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei.

* * *

Dear Brother:

The beatification of…

Funeral Masses by Another Name

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university. Q: I see with increasing frequency programs for funeral Masses entitled, “A Celebration of Life,” or something si…

First woman appointed to a Vatican congregation joyful

Vatican City, Sep 30, 2014 / 02:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The first woman ever to be appointed a member of a Vatican congregation explains that “women still have much to give to the Church with their personal charisma.”

Sr. Luzia Premoli, superior general of the Combonian Missionary Sisters, was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples on Sept. 13, and spoke recently to CNA.

“The appointment took me by surprise, I did not expect it … but I was also joyful, because the appointment is a concretization of Pope Francis’ wish for more women in high ranking positions in the Catholic Church,” Sr. Premoli said.

She added that her appointment “shows Pope Francis’ commitment” to having more women as decision-makers in the ranks of the Church.

While women served in the Vatican already, as consultants or even under-secretaries and members of pontifical councils, there had never been a woman appointed as a member of a congregation, the higher ranking departments of the Roman curia.

A native of Brazil and a Comboni sister from the age of 23, Sr. Premoli spent eight years as a missionary in Mozambique, and another eight in Brazil, where she was appointed provincial.

She was elected superior general of her order in 2010.

“Our charism is that of evangelizing peoples who have still not received the Gospel, and to help local Churches to be missionaries in their local environment and at the same time to be open to all the missionary challenges in the world,” Sr. Premoli said.

Asked what she remembered most about her missionary experience, Sr. Premoli spoke of her time in Mozambique.

“I was there in 1989, it was the time of a civil war, and I noticed that people evaluated every little thing they had: a piece of soap, a dress … after four years, I went back to Brazil on a vacation, and I felt just like I was going to another world, where things were wasted, and there was a love for unnecessary things.”

She added that her experience “was a lesson to live a more sober life, to be able to evaluate everything we have.”

During her experience as a missionary, she was also impressed by the fact that “in the midst of tragedies, women always carried their children on their shoulders, and that children were quiet and calm, as though the mother’s touch let them feel protected.”

Motherhood is the contribution women can give to Church’s life, according to Sr. Premoli.

“The Church is called ‘mother’, and a mother must bear the announce ment of this full and joyful life Jesus had given us.”

She underscored that “although the Church has given an organization with almost exclusively men in the top ranks, the communities are full of women that give their personal contribution to the life of the Church.”

The biggest contribution women can give to Church’s life is “the way women gaze at things, and their being heartfelt. Women have this peculiar passion, which probably come from their being capable of maternity,” explained Sr. Premoli.

Sr. Premoli explained that “missionaries are needed everywhere, since mission can no longer be circumscribed to geographical areas. There is a mission within cities, there is a mission in different countries.”

Pope to Celebrate Synod’s Opening Mass

The Vatican confirmed today that on Sunday Pope Francis will celebrate the opening Mass of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. “On Sunday, October 5, 2014, XXVII Ordinary Time, at 10am, the Holy Father Francis will celebrate Mass in the Vatican Basilica on the occasion of the opening…

Jesuits’ history shows trust in God amid trials, Pope Francis says

Rome, Italy, Sep 30, 2014 / 12:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The suppression and subsequent restoration of the Society of Jesus shows the importance of discernment and trusting in God even in tribulation, rather than relying on one’s own cunning or dwelling on one’s persecution, Pope Francis reflected on Saturday.

“God is merciful, God crowns with mercy. God loves us and saves us. Sometimes the path that leads to life is narrow and cramped, but the tribulation, if lived in the light of mercy, purifies us like fire, it gives us much consolation and inflames our hearts, endearing prayer to it,” Pope Francis preached at Vespers in the Church of the Gesu Sept. 27.

The Gesu is the mother church of the Society of Jesus, having been home to the Society’s superiors general until its suppression in 1773.

The Vespers service marked the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus. Pope Francis, the first member of the Society of Jesus to be elected to the papacy, reflected on the Jesuits’ prayerful response to suppression.

“Today, remembering its restoration, we are called to recover our memory, calling to mind the benefits received and the particular gifts. Today, I want to do that here with you,” he told his fellow Jesuits.

“Our brother Jesuits in the suppression were fervent in the spirit and in the service of the Lord, rejoicing in hope, constant in tribulation, persevering in prayer. And that gave honor to the Society, but certainly not the praise of its merits,” the Pope said in his homily. “It will always be this way.”

Pius VII restored the Society of Jesus in 1814, slightly more than 40 years after decades after Clement XIV had suppressed the order by his papal brief “Dominus ac Redemptor.”

The brief marked the culmination of anti-Jesuit religious, political, and cultural action that took force in Portugal in 1759 and soon extended throughout Catholic Europe and its colonies in the New World and elsewhere.

The Jesuits lost many of their churches, universities, missions, and other property. Most of their members were forced to leave the order. The Jesuits survived as a collective body primarily in areas under Orthodox Russian control and in Lutheran Prussia, where the political authorities blocked the implementation of the suppression.

Pope Francis cited St. John Paul II’s 1990 message to the Jesuits, which blamed the order’s suppression on “the enemies of the Church.”

Pope Francis praised the pre-suppression actions of the Society’s Superior General, Lorenzo Ricci, saying he watched “the clouds thickening on the horizon” and strengthened the Jesuits in their mission

“In times of trial and tribulation, dust clouds of doubt and suffering are always raised and it is not easy to move forward, to continue the journey. Many temptations come, especially in difficult times and in crises: to stop to discuss ideas, to allow oneself to be carried away by the desolation, to focus on the fact of being persecuted, and not to see the other,” the Pope said.

He praised Fr. Ricci’s ability “to avoid being harnessed by these temptations” and to propose to the Jesuits “a vision of the things that rooted them even more in the spirituality of the Society.”

“In a time of confusion and turmoil he discerned. He did not waste time discussing ideas and complaining, but he took on the charge of the vocation of the Society.”

This attitude “led the Jesuits to experience the death and resurrection of the Lord.”

“Faced with the loss of everything, even of their public identity, they did not resist the will of God, they did not resist the conflict, trying to save themselves,” the Pope said. “The Society – and this is beautiful – lived the conflict to the end, without minimizing it. It lived humiliation along with the humiliated Christ; it obeyed.”

“You never save yourself from conflict with cunning and with strategies of resistance,” Pope Francis said.

“In the confusion and humiliation, the Society preferred to live the discernment of God’s will, without seeking a way out of the conflict in a seemingly quiet manner.”

“It is never apparent tranquility that satisfies our hearts, but true peace that is a gift from God. One should never seek the easy ‘compromise’ nor practice facile ‘irenicism’.”

Pope Francis said that only spiritual discernment saves from the true “suppression” of a heart of selfishness and worldliness.

“Our hope, is Jesus; it is only Jesus.” He added that Fr. Ricci and the suppressed Jesuits knew that “hope, even in darkness, is greater than our expectations.”

The Pope noted that Fr. Ricci’s writings ahead of the order’s suppression spoke about the sins of the Jesuits, and his own.

“He does not defend himself, feeling like a victim of history, but he recognizes himself as a sinner. Looking at oneself and recognizing oneself as a sinner avoids being in a position of considering oneself a victim before an executioner.”

This self-recognition places oneself “in the correct attitude to receive consolation.”

Fr. Ricci continued to recommend prayer and docility to God’s grace, “holiness of life, humility and the spirit of obedience” as the suppression of the order spread throughout Catholic countries.

“Trust must grow precisely when circumstances throw us to the ground,” Pope Francis said.

“Of importance for Fr. Ricci is that the Society, until the last, is true to the spirit of its vocation, which is for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.”

“The Society, even faced with its own demise, remained true to the purpose for which it was founded,” he said, noting Fr. Ricci’s exhortations to charity, unity, obedience, patience, and “true friendship with God.”

“Everything else is worldliness,” Pope Francis commented.

“The Society experienced the supreme test of the sacrifice unjustly asked of it, taking up the prayer of Tobit.”

The Pope said it is not surprising to be “tossed around by the waves” of circumstances.

“Even the boat of Peter can be tossed about today,” he said. “The night and the powers of darkness are always near. It is tiring to row.”

However, citing Pius VII’s restoration decree, he encouraged the Jesuits to be “brave and expert rowers.”

“Row, be strong, even with the headwind! We row in the service of the Church. We row together! But while we row – we all row, even the Pope rows in the barque of Peter – we must pray a lot.”

Pope Francis praised contemporary Jesuits’ work with refugees and displaced persons and the order’s efforts to “integrate service to faith and the promotion of justice in conformity with the Gospel.”

He noted that at the time of the order’s restoration, the Jesuits had a “small flock” but after the “test of the cross” they began again to invest “in the great mission of bringing the light of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”

“This is how we must feel today therefore: outbound, in mission,” the Pope exhorted. “The Jesuit identity is that of a man who loves God and loves and serves his brothers, showing by example not only that in which he believes, but also that in which he hopes, and who is the One in whom he has put his trust. The Jesuit wants to be a companion of Jesus, one who has the same feelings of Jesus.”

The Pope prayed that the Virgin Mary “watch over us and protect us always.”

Cardinal Parolin’s Address to 69th Session of UN General Assembly

Here below is the address of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, at the 69th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (New York, Monday 29 September 2014). *** 
Mr President,
In extending to you the Holy See’s congratulations on your election to the presidency of the sixty-ninth …

Pope Appoints New Bishop of Salford, England

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop John Arnold, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster, as Bishop of Salford. He will succeed Bishop Terence Brain who was appointed in 1997. Bishop Arnold was ordained priest in July 1983 and after complet…

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