Pope Francis celebrated his first Mass in Sistine Chapel

Vatican City Mar 14, 2013 - To walk in Christ, to build the Church, to witness Jesus with his cross, said Pope Francis. "When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil . [. . . ] When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly; we are bishops, priests, cardinals, Popes, but not disciples of the Lord."

This afternoon, Pope Francis celebrated Mass with the 114 Cardinal electors in the same Sistine Chapel where he was elected yesterday. He entered the hall, his hand on the pastoral cross that once belonged to Benedict XVI, to deliver his first homily off-the cuff in Italian.

Inside, like an ordinary priest, he went to the ambo to comment the readings. The first one was about Isaiah announcing the coming of the Kingdom of God. The another was from the First Letter of Peter, "Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God/ and, like living stones, let yourselves be built". And the third was from Matthew when Jesus told Peter, "you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it ."

"In these three readings I see that there is something in common: it is movement. In the first reading, movement is the journey [itself]; in the second reading, movement is in the up-building of the Church. In the third, in the Gospel, the movement is in [the act of] profession: walking, building, professing.

"The first thing God said to Abraham, 'Walk in my presence and be blameless'," a sign that "our life is a journey and when we stop, there is something wrong. Walking always, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with that blamelessness, which God asks of Abraham, in his promise.

"Building: to build the Church. There is talk of stones: stones have consistency, but [the stones spoken of are] living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. Build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, the cornerstone of which is the same Lord."

In the end, "we can walk as much we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a pitiful NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ. When one does not walk, one stalls. When one does not build on solid rocks, what happens? What happens is what happens to children on the beach when they make sandcastles: everything collapses, it is without consistency. [. . .] When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil .

"Walking, building-constructing, professing: the thing, however, is not so easy, because in walking, in building, in professing, there are sometimes shake-ups - there are movements that are not part of the path: there are movements that pull us back.

"The same Peter who confessed Jesus Christ, says, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. This has nothing to do with it.' He says, 'I'll follow you on other ways, that do not include the Cross.' When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly; we are bishops, priests, cardinals, Popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

"I would like that all of us," the pope said in concluding, that "after these days of grace, [we] might have the courage - the courage - to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward.

"My hope for all of us is that the Holy Spirit, that the prayer of Our Lady, our Mother, might grant us this grace: to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ Crucified. So be it." (FP)


Pope Francis I is the first Jesuit pope

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013- Jorge Bergoglio, is the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from Latin America, from what used to be called the Third World and also the first to have chosen the name Francis, undoubtedly significant and indicative of a style and a program, which also emerged from the first words that he addressed to the huge crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square. " Brothers and sisters good evening. You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinal s have gone almost to the ends of the earth to get him... but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome. First of all I would like to say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord will bless him and that our Lady will protect him." He then recited an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be. " And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and the people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with the help of my Cardinal Vicar, may be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city. And now I would like to give the blessing. But first I want to ask you a favour. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me - the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer - your prayer for me - in silence".

Described above all as a pastor, very attentive to those who are in trouble of any kind, he leads a life that eschews any "worldliness" and it is not uncommon to meet him on the buses of Argentina's capital.

The successor of Benedict XVI is also the only one who, in the Conclave of 2005, was a real contender. According to unofficial reports on that occasion, he asked those who voted, not to think about him.

Descended from an Italian family,  originally from Asti, the 266ththe successor of St. Peter was born in Buenos Aires December 17, 1936. He studied and graduated as a chemical engineer, but then chose the priesthood and entered the seminary in Villa Devoto. On March 11, 1958 he joined the novitiate of the Society of Jesus, he studied humanities in Chile and in 1963, returning to Buenos Aires, took a degree in philosophy at the college up San Jose 'de San Miguel. Between 1964 and 1965 he was a professor of literature and psychology in the College of the Immaculate Conception of Santa Fe in 1966 and he taught the same subjects in the Savior's college in Buenos Aires. From 1967 to 1970 he studied theology at the Theological Faculty of the College of San Jose, San Miguel, from where he graduated.

On 13 December 1969 he was ordained a priest. In 1970-71, he made the third probation in Alcala de Henares (Spain), and on April 22, 1973 he made his perpetual profession. He was novices master at Villa Barilari, San Miguel (1972-1973), professor at the faculty of theology, a consultant for the Province and rector of the Major Seminary. On 31 July 1973, he was elected Provincial of Argentina, a position he held for six years. Between 1980 and 1986, he was rector of the Major Seminary and Dean of the Faculty' of philosophy and theology in the same Seminary and parish priest of San Jose Patriarch, in the Diocese of San Miguel. In March 1986 he traveled to Germany to complete his doctoral thesis.  Following this his superiors posted him to the College of the Savior, from where he moved to the church of the Society in the city of Cordoba as spiritual director and confessor.

On 20 May 1992, John Paul II appointed him auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires. On 3 June 1997 he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and on February 28, 1998 Archbishop of Buenos Aires, on the death of Cardinal Quarracino.

He is also the author of the following books: Meditaciones para religiosos del 1982, Reflexiones sobre la vida apostolica del 1986 and Reflexiones de esperanza del 1992. He is Grand Chancellor of the Catholic University of Argentina. He was a speaker at the 10th General / Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 2001). From November 2005 to November 2011 he was president of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina. John Paul II created him a cardinal in the consistory of 21 February 2001. (FP)


Habemus Papum! Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis I

Vatican City - Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ is the new pope. The announcement of the election was made by the protodeacon Card. Jean Louis Tauran, who uttered the words " Nuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus Papam. Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum Jorge Mario sanctae romanae ecclesiae cardinalem Bergoglio, qui sibi nomen imposuit Francescus." Waiting for the new Pope in St Peter's Square there were about 150 thousand faithful, who steadily increased throughout the day despite the bad weather that has pounded the city of Rome. A few minutes before the pope appeared, together they all shouted "Long live the Pope".

The "white smoke" that announces a successful election in Conclave and the bells of St Peter's Basilica ringing "a festa" announcing the event to the world, began at 19.06. Before the opening of the doors central loggia of St. Peter, a military tattoo was relayed by the police and army of Vatican City State, first of all the Swiss Guards, the "bodyguards" to the Holy Father.


Pope Benedict XVI resignation announcement

The Pope himself announces: "I have reached the certainty that my strength, advanced age, are no longer appropriate to exercise the Petrine ministry properly." The Pontiff has decided that he will resign on February 28.

Text of the speech that Pope himself announced the move in Latin, during the consistory for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinal s on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI


People give witness to ways Pope John Paul changed, saved their lives

VATICAN CITY - Hundreds of people have been giving public witness to the ways Pope John Paul II changed or even saved their lives.

Men and women of all ages and nationalities have sent personal stories to www.karol-wojtyla.org -- a website run by the Diocese of Rome dedicated to the late pope's beatification and canonization.

As of April 28, the multi-lingual site published more than 400 testimonies from people sharing the ways they feel Pope John Paul interceded on their behalf or brought them back to the church.

Many are notes of thanks for prayers answered, such as a risky surgery gone well or troubles in the family resolved.

Others are personal accounts of meeting or seeing the pope during one of his many trips abroad and the feeling of being in the presence of a holy and charismatic man. Others were influenced by the way Pope John Paul reached out to people in every walk of life.

One woman wrote that she was driven to prostitution to support her family and had lost her faith in God. "I ask for pardon ... in a moment of anger, I tore your picture to pieces," she wrote.

She implored the late pope to "always be near me. I ask you this. I don't have anyone but you! Please help me find my faith again. I will continue to speak with you. I love you."

Some tell of miraculous healings from illnesses like multiple sclerosis or lung cancer. There is even the testimony of the French nun whose healing was accepted as the miracle needed for Pope John Paul's May 1 beatification.

Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, a member of the Little Sisters of the Catholic Motherhood, had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and believes she was cured in 2005 through the Polish pope's intercession. Her story recounts the debilitating progression of her disease, the miraculous healing, and how her new life has left her with a new love for the Eucharist and a devotion to the holy sacrament.

One man from Calgary, Canada, wrote about being trapped underwater after a helicopter carrying 20 workers crashed into the Persian Gulf. He said that, inexplicably, he found himself alive and floating on the water's surface even though he hadn't been able to unlatch himself from the seat straps.

He said he was one of eight people to survive the crash. Even his rosary, which he kept locked in his briefcase, was recovered.

"Personally I believe that the sainthood of John Paul II and his prayers also on my behalf to the God Almighty saved my life," he wrote.

A writer from Barentu, Eritrea, who was living in Rome said his mother and uncle were cured thanks to prayers to Pope John Paul after doctors had given up on them. The writer said he used to pray at Pope John Paul's tomb and cry.

One year, a day after the anniversary of the pope's death, he phoned his relatives in Eritrea to find that his mother and uncle were fine. The family now prays the rosary in a chapel that another relative built out of straw, he wrote.

There are stories of miraculous births after infertility or repeated miscarriages, and the tale of an Italian child prodigy named Karol who, the mother said, would have died at birth because of severe medical complications, if not for the intercession of Pope John Paul.

Today, the child is 4 years old, and "the miracle isn't over," she wrote in April.

He knows the multiplication table up to the number 14, can count backwards and do fractions, and he can name and identify on a map major cities in Italy and capitals of the world, she wrote.

"Obviously I can't list everything he knows and the beautiful thing is no one ever forced him. It's like a game for him. I don't know about you, but I still see the pope's blessings day after day," said the mother.


-CNS



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