Pope Francis begins his ministry

Vatican City, Mar 19, 2013 - Pope Francis formally began his ministry as bishop of Rome and as pope by pledging to protect the Catholic Church, the dignity of each person and the beauty of creation, just like St. Joseph protected Mary and Jesus. "To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love is to open up a horizon of hope," he told between 150,000 and 200,000 people gathered under sunny skies in St. Peter's Square and the nearby streets. With representatives of other Christian churches and communities, delegations from 132 countries, Jewish and Muslim leaders as well as Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Jains present, Pope Francis preached the Gospel, but insisted the values it espouses are essentially human, "involving everyone." While the rites and rituals of the inauguration of his ministry as pope took place immediately before the Mass, the liturgy itself was a celebration of the feast of St. Joseph, patron of the universal church and "also the name day of my venerable predecessor," Pope Benedict XVI, the former Joseph Ratzinger. The retired pope was not present at the liturgy, but the crowds applauded enthusiastically when Pope Francis said, "We are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude."

-CNS


Pope Francis Message: Mass for the inauguration of the pontificate

 

Vatican City, Mar 19, 2013 - " Authentic power is service " and "the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross," a "humble, real, rich faith, "a service that is "to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves": " this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out. " Mass for the beginning of the pontificate is traditionally the occasion for the new Pope to outline, in a way the focal points of his pontificate. Francis speaks of "service" and "protection" and "tenderness" and "humility" and "constant presence" and "respect for all of God's creatures and the environment in which we live" and, in the end, he asks " Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be "protectors" of creation, protectors of God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world!. "

There are kings and queens, heads of state and government to listen to the Pope's request: 132 delegations. From pretty much all over the world. With the exception of China, whose old and new leaders who only know how to repeat the stale phrases about papal"interference" in matters of religion.

There are also 33 delegations from other Christian churches and confessions: 14 from the Eastern Churches, 10 from the Western, 3 international. There was also - and for the first time for the beginning of a pontificate - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Armenian Catholicos Karekin II, Metropolitan Hilarion for the Moscow Patriarchate, the secretary of the World Council of Churches Olav Fykse Tveit. There was a significant Jewish delegation, composed of 16 people, both from the Roman and Jerusalem Chief Rabbinate. There are representatives of Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jainists.

And there is a massive presence of the "people of God". An immense crowd since early morning found its way to St. Peter's Square. Maybe 200 thousand people, among whom the Pope toured in his open topped popemobile. He spent almost half an hour greeting pilgrims in the midst of flags and banners from all over the world, including one from the San Lorenzo football Club, a team of which he is notoriously a fan. Several times the jeep stops to let him kiss a child, once the Pope climbed down from the jeep to kiss a young ill pilgrim. The bells of the church ringing loudly. The sun was shining.

Images were beamed from Buenos Aires, where a large crowd gathered in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, which Francis surprised overnight, with a greeting by phone.

The ceremony of the "beginning of the Petrine ministry" begins inside the basilica, at the tomb of Peter, where the ring "fisherman" and the pallium are placed.  The same pallium used by Benedict XVI, and today, the new Pope reminds us, is his predecessor's name day, expressing his closeness "with prayer, full of affection and gratitude."

On the feast day of St. Joseph, the Pope's homily begins with a reflection on the man who had the task of "protecting".

" The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus". " How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.".

" How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God's presence and receptive to God's plans, and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a "protector" because he is able to hear God's voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God's call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!"

" The vocation of being a "protector", however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God's creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God's gifts!".

" Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are "Herods" who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.".

" Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be "protectors" of creation, protectors of God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be "protectors", we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!".

" Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power. Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it? Jesus' three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God's people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!".

" In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, "hoping against hope, believed" (Rom 4:18). Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ. It is a hope built on the rock which is God".

"To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!

I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me!". (FP)

- Asianews


Pope Francis I: Never yield to pessimism and discouragement

Vatican City, Mar 15, 2013 - Never yield to pessimism and discouragement, bitterness to the devil offers us every day, "seek" new methods of evangelization "to" respond to the mission of Jesus himself and always bring the 'man to Jesus, "follow the Spirit that fosters communion in the Church.

It is almost a keynote speech - with an echo of the prophets of doom - addressed today by Pope Francis to the College of Cardinal s during a very "familiar" meeting held in the Clementine Hall. With a new significant reference to "courage" and the teaching of Benedict XVI and an underscoring of '"collegiality" that unites the Cardinal s.

The climate was also indicated by his wish to inform his "brothers cardinal" of a heart attack that struck Card. Meja, who is hospitalized, but is better and to whom he has sent his greetings.

In his speech, partly improvised, the Pope above all recalled, "My first encounter with the crowd assembled in St. Peter's Square. With the striking image of the praying and joyful people still imprinted in my mind, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the bishops , priests, consecrated persons, young people, families, the elderly for their spiritual closeness, that is so touching and fervent. "

"A thought full of grateful affection and deep gratitude - he continued - goes to my venerated predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who during the years of his papacy has enriched and strengthened the Church with his teaching, his kindness, his guidance, his faith, his humility and gentleness that will remain a spiritual heritage for everyone. The Petrine ministry, lived with total dedication, had a wise and humble interpreter in him, with his eyes still fixed on Christ, the risen Christ present and alive in the Eucharist. He will always be in our fervent prayers, our unceasing remembrance, our undying gratitude and affection. We feel that Benedict XVI has ignited a flame at the bottom of our hearts: it will continue to burn because it will be fueled by his prayer, which still support the Church in its spiritual and missionary journey. "

The second reference is to the communion experienced in these days of preparation and Conclave. "Driven by a deep sense of responsibility and supported by a great love for Christ and for the Church, we prayed together, sharing our fraternal feelings, our experiences and reflections. In this climate of great cordiality, a shared understanding and openness has grown among us "and this, he added," is good, because we are brothers and someone said to me, the Cardinal s were the priests of the Holy Father. But we are one community, that friendship, that closeness will do good for all of us. And this knowledge, this shared opening facilitated docility to the Holy Spirit. He, the Paraclete is the supreme protagonist of every initiative and expression of faith". "It 's strange: it makes me think the following. The Paraclete makes all the difference in the churches and it seems to be an apostle of Babel. But on the other hand, it also makes the unity of these differences not in equality, but in harmony. I remember that Father of the Church who termed it thus: 'Ipse harmonia est'.' This Holy Spirit, who gives us, each of us different gifts, unites us in this community of the Church that worships the Father, the Son and to Him, the Holy Spirit. "

"Starting from this authentic collegial affection that unites the College of Cardinal s, I wish to express my willingness to serve the Gospel with renewed love, helping the Church to become more and more in Christ and with Christ, the fruitful vine of the Lord. Stimulated also by the celebration of the Year of Faith, all together, pastors and faithful, we will strive to respond faithfully to the same mission as always: to bring Jesus Christ to man and lead man to an encounter with Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life, truly present in the Church and contemporary in every man. Such a meeting leads us to become new men in the mystery of grace, the soul stirring Christian joy which is a gifted hundredfold by Christ to those who welcome Him into their lives. "

Another reference to Benedict XVI who "recalled many times in his teachings and, most recently, with the brave and humble gesture", it "is Christ who guides the Church through his Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church with its life-giving and unifying force: he makes one body of many, the Mystical Body of Christ. " "Let us never give in to pessimism, a bitterness that the devil offers us every day: Never give in to pessimism and discouragement, we have the firm conviction that the Holy Spirit gives the Church, with his mighty breath, the courage to persevere and also to seek new methods of evangelization, to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Christian truth is attractive and persuasive because it answers the deep need of human existence, announcing convincingly that Christ is the only Saviour of all man and of all men. This announcement remains as valid today as it was at the beginning of Christianity, when the first great missionary expansion of the Gospel took place. "

"Dear Brother, take strength! - he continued - Half of us are in old age: old age is - I like to say so - the seat of wisdom. Old people have walked into the wisdom of life, such as the aged Simeon, the aged Anna at the Temple. And that wisdom made them recognize Jesus. We give this wisdom to the young people: good wine, which over the years becomes good, we give young people the knowledge of life. I am reminded of what a German poet of old said: 'Es ist ruhig, das Alter, und fromm'' it is the time of peace and prayer. And also to give young people this wisdom. "

"You will now return to your sees to continue your ministry enriched by the experience of these days, so full of faith and of ecclesial communion. Such a unique and incomparable experience, has allowed us to deeply understand the beauty of the Church and that it is a reflection of the splendor of the Risen Christ: one day we'll look at that beautiful face of the Risen Christ. "

"To the powerful intercession of Mary, our Mother, Mother of the Church, I entrust my ministry and your ministry. Beneath her maternal gaze, each of us can walk happy and docile to the voice of her divine Son, strengthening unity, persevering in agreement in prayer and witnessing the genuine belief in the continued presence of the Lord. With these sentiments - and they are true! - with these sentiments, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing, which I extend to your collaborators and to the people entrusted to your pastoral care. "


Pope Francis I meeting Benedict XVI

Vatican City, Mar 15, 2013 - The press secretary for the Vatican Father Thomas Rosica said that, there was a phone call between the two of them, and I think it would have been a very warm phone call. The pope himself, Pope Francis, told us that that happened, and it's a great way to start off the pontificate. We heard from the balcony, one of the first things that Pope Francis said was, "Join me, please, in saying some prayers of Thanksgiving for him." He invited this massive crowd to pray the "Our Father" and the "Hail Mary" for his predecessor, Pope Benedict .

Also he added that it's likely they both will meet tomorrow or the next day.

Later the Vatican spokesman Father Frederico Lombardi confirmed that Pope Francis has postponed his plan to visit Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo this Thursday.

Pope Francis has a set schedule before his installation on March 19.

16 Saturday
Paul VI Audience Hall, at 11:00
Audience to the media representatives

17 - 5th Sunday of Lent
Saint Peter's Square, at 12:00
Angelus

19 Tuesday
Saint Peter's Square, at 9:30
Celebration of Holy Mass for the beginning of the Petrine Ministry

20 Wednesday
Audience to the Fraternal Delegates

Also, Pope Francis is expected to soon choose the Vatican's new secretary of state.


Homily of Pope Francis - Mar 14, 2013

HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER POPE FRANCIS

Sistine Chapel
Thursday, 14 March 2013

In these three readings, I see a common element: that of movement. In the first reading, it is the movement of a journey; in the second reading, the movement of building the Church; in the third, in the Gospel, the movement involved in professing the faith. Journeying, building, professing.

Journeying. "O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord" (Is 2:5). This is the first thing that God said to Abraham: Walk in my presence and live blamelessly. Journeying: our life is a journey, and when we stop moving, things go wrong. Always journeying, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with the blamelessness that God asked of Abraham in his promise.

Building. Building the Church. We speak of stones: stones are solid; but living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. Building the Church, the Bride of Christ, on the cornerstone that is the Lord himself. This is another kind of movement in our lives: building.

Thirdly, professing. We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord. When we are not walking, we stop moving. When we are not building on the stones, what happens? The same thing that happens to children on the beach when they build sandcastles: everything is swept away, there is no solidity. When we do not profess Jesus Christ, the saying of Léon Bloy comes to mind: "Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil ." When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil , a demonic worldliness.

Journeying, building, professing. But things are not so straightforward, because in journeying, building, professing, there can sometimes be jolts, movements that are not properly part of the journey: movements that pull us back.

This Gospel continues with a situation of a particular kind. The same Peter who professed Jesus Christ, now says to him: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. That has nothing to do with it. I will follow you on other terms, but without the Cross. When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly: we may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

My wish is that all of us, after these days of grace, will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward.

My prayer for all of us is that the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, will grant us this grace: to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ crucified. Amen.

 


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