Tag: Pope Francis

Pope Francis Says That Helping the poor is not a papal fad, but a duty

Pope Francis Says That Helping the poor is not a papal fad, but a duty

Pope Francis

As the rich get richer, the increasing misery and cries of the poor are ignored every day, Pope Francis said.

“We Christians cannot stand with arms folded in indifference” or thrown up in the air in helpless resignation, the pope said in his homily Nov. 18, the World Day of the Poor.

“As believers, we must stretch out our hands as Jesus does with us,” freely and lovingly offering help to the poor and all those in need, the pope said at the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. About 6,000 poor people attended the Mass as special guests; they were joined by volunteers and others who assist disadvantaged communities.

After the Mass and Angelus, the pope joined some 1,500 poor people in the Vatican’s audience hall for a multi-course lunch. Many parishes, schools and volunteer groups across Rome also offered a number of services and meals for the poor that day.

God always hears the cries of those in need, the pope said in his homily at the Mass, but what about “us? Do we have eyes to see, ears to hear, hands outstretched to offer help?”

Pope Francis urged everyone to pray for the grace to hear the cries of all the poor: “the stifled cry of the unborn, of starving children, of young people more used to the explosion of bombs than happy shouts of the playground.”

May people hear the cry of the abandoned elderly, those who lack any support, refugees and “entire peoples deprived even of the great natural resources at their disposal,” he said.

Referring to the Gospel story of the poor man begging for scraps, Pope Francis many people today are just like Lazarus and “weep while the wealthy few feast on what, in justice, belongs to all. Injustice is the perverse root of poverty.”

Every day, he said, the cry of the poor becomes louder, but it is increasingly ignored. Their cries are “drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich,” he said.

The pope reflected on St. Matthew’s account of what Jesus did after he fed thousands with just five loaves and two fish. The passage (Mt 14: 22-32) explains that instead of gloating or basking in the glory of successfully feeding so many people, Jesus goes up to the mountain to pray.

“He teaches us the courage to leave, to leave behind the success that swells the heart and the tranquillity that deadens the soul,” the pope said.

But then Jesus goes back down the mountain to the people who still need him, he said.

“This is the road Jesus tells us to take — to go up to God and to come down to our brothers and sisters,” to tear oneself away from a life of ease and comfort and leave behind fleeting pleasures, glories and superfluous possessions, the pope said.

Jesus sets people free from the things that do not matter so they will be able to embrace the true treasures in life: God and one’s neighbor, he added.

The other event in the passage according to St. Matthew, the pope said, is how the storm and the winds died down after Jesus got into the boat carrying his frightened disciples.

The secret to navigating life and its momentary storms, the pope said, “is to invite Jesus on board. The rudder of life must be surrendered to him” because it is he who gives life, hope, healing and freedom from fear.

The third thing Jesus does is stretch out his hand to Peter, who, in his fear and doubt, is sinking in the water.

Everyone wants true life and needs the hand of the Lord to save them from evil, the pope said.

“This is the beginning of faith — to cast off the pride that makes us feel self-sufficient and to realize that we are in need of salvation,” he said. “Faith grows in this climate” of being not on a pedestal aloof from the world but with those crying for help.

“This is why it is important for all of us to live our faith in contact with those in need,” the pope said. “This is not a sociological option or a pontifical fad. It is a theological requirement” to acknowledge one’s own spiritual poverty and that everyone, especially the poor, is pleading for salvation.

“Rouse us, Lord, from our idle calm, from the quiet lull of our safe harbors. Set us free from the moorings of self-absorption that weigh life down; free us from constantly seeking success. Teach us to know how to ‘leave’ in order to set out on the road you have shown us: to God and our neighbor,” he said.

The pope established the World Day of the Poor to encourage the whole church to reach out to those in need and let the poor know their cries have not gone unheard, the pope said in his message this year.

U.N. groups estimate there are some 700 million people in the world who are unable to meet their basic needs and that 10 percent of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty.

The Place and honour of Women in the Catholic Church

The Place and honour of Women in the Catholic Church

The role of women can never be over-emphasized. Women constitute the great majority of members of the consecrated life within the church. Catholic women have played diverse roles, with religious institutes providing a formal space for their participation and convents providing spaces for their self-government, prayer and influence through many centuries.

Roles of women

Catholic women have played a formidable role as educationalists and health care administrators, with religious sisters and nuns extensively involved in developing and running the church’s worldwide health and education service networks.

In religious vocations, Catholic women and men are ascribed different roles, with women serving as nuns, religious sisters or abbesses, but in other roles, the Catholic Church does not distinguish between men and women, who may be equally recognized as saintsdoctors of the churchcatechists in schoolsaltar servers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass, or as readers (lectors) during the liturgy

Ordination of women

The role of women is not to act as priest. Right from the beginning when instituted Priesthood, God never called a woman to climb the altar, He has always use men even in the family of Priest, the women were never called as priest.

Jesus, came and continue with the selection of his apostles; all men. Yes,women were among his disciples but not His Apostles he called to follow him.

The argument for women being ordained as deacons is based on the fact that “the first deacons were called forth by apostles, not by Christ.” The Church claims that Jesus called on his apostles and his apostles were male. Though according to this theory it does not apply to deacons. Also, again citing scripture, the only person who had the job title of “deacon” is Phoebe, a woman.

According to Catherine Wessinger, Catholic lay women have been increasingly called to play important roles in the Catholic Church; this trend is particularly strong in the United States.

Cynthia Stewart asserts that, although the hierarchy of the Church is entirely male as a result of the restriction against ordination of women. The vast majority of Catholics that participate in lay ministry are women. According to Stewart, approximately 85 percent of all Church roles that do not require ordination are performed by women.

Stewart identifies several reasons for the increased role that lay women play in the Catholic Church:

  1. a shift in cultural attitudes leading to greater acceptance of women in leadership roles
  2. an increase in outreach ministries targeted at groups with whom women have traditionally worked (e.g. elderly and children)
  3. a greater willingness on the part of women to accept lower salaries than those offered by the secular world.

The importance of women to the “life and mission of the Church” was emphasized by Pope John Paul II who wrote:

“The presence and the role of women in the life and mission of the Church, although not linked to the ministerial priesthood, remain absolutely necessary and irreplaceable. As the Declaration Inter Insigniores points out, ‘The Church desires that Christian women should become fully aware of the greatness of their mission: today their role is of capital importance both for the renewal and humanization of society and for the rediscovery by believers of the true face of the Church”

Conclusion

God have always honoured women from the beginning. God has used Women Leaders to save his People; Israel. Leadership roles are honour giving to women by God. God has also honour woman by making Mothers of the Priests. For instance, Jesus’s Mother was named Mary is woman. The Church can never do without Women as Mothers, Nuns, Nurse, Educationist, and several other roles but not as Priest which God the Father and His Son Jesus, never apportion to women

Read Pope Francis’ ‘Spirit Filled’ Pentecost Homily

Read Pope Francis’ ‘Spirit Filled’ Pentecost Homily

The Spirit does not only change hearts; he changes situations. Like the wind that blows everywhere, he penetrates to the most unimaginable situations.

Here is Pope Francis’ homily from today’s celebration of Pentecost

In the first reading of today’s Liturgy, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is compared to “the rush of a violent wind” (Acts 2:2). What does this image tell us? It makes us think of a powerful force that is not an end in itself, but effects change. Wind in fact brings change: warmth when it is cold, cool when it is hot, rain when the land is parched… this is way it brings change. The Holy Spirit, on a very different level, does the same. He is the divine force that changes the world. The Sequence reminded us of this: the Spirit is “in toil, comfort sweet; solace in the midst of woe”. And so we beseech him: “Heal our wounds, our strength renew; on our dryness pour your dew; wash the stains of guilt away”. The Spirit enters into situations and transforms them. He changes hearts and he changes situations.

The Holy Spirit changes hearts. Jesus had told his disciples: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). That is exactly what happened. Those disciples, at first fearful, huddled behind closed doors even after the Master’s resurrection, are transformed by the Spirit and, as Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “they bear witness to him” (cf. Jn 15:27). No longer hesitant, they are courageous and starting from Jerusalem, they go forth to the ends of the earth. Timid while Jesus was still among them, they are bold when he is gone, because the Spirit changed their hearts.

The Spirit frees hearts chained by fear. He overcomes all resistance. To those content with half measures he inspires whole-hearted generosity. He opens hearts that are closed. He impels the comfortable to go out and serve. He drives the self-satisfied to set out in new directions. He makes the lukewarm thrill to new dreams. That is what it means to change hearts. Plenty of people promise change, new beginnings, prodigious renewals, but experience teaches us that no earthly attempt to change reality can ever completely satisfy the human heart. Yet the change that the Spirit brings is different. It does not revolutionize life around us, but changes our hearts. It does not free us from the weight of our problems, but liberates us within so that we can face them. It does not give us everything at once, but makes us press on confidently, never growing weary of life. The Spirit keeps our hearts young – a renewed youth. Youth, for all our attempts to prolong it, sooner or later fades away; the Spirit, instead, prevents the only kind of aging that is unhealthy: namely, growing old within. How does he do this? By renewing our hearts, by pardoning sinners. Here is the great change: from guilty he makes us righteous and thus changes everything. From slaves of sin we become free, from servants we become beloved children, from worthless worthy, from disillusioned filled with hope. By the working of the Holy Spirit, joy is reborn and peace blossoms in our hearts.

Today, then, let us learn what to do when we are in need of real change. And who among us does not need a change? Particularly when we are downcast, wearied by life’s burdens, oppressed by our own weakness, at those times when it is hard to keep going and loving seems impossible. In those moments, we need a powerful “jolt”: the Holy Spirit, the power of God. In the Creed we profess that he is the “giver of life”. How good it would be for us each day to feel this jolt of life! To say when we wake up each morning: “Come, Holy Spirit, come into my heart, come into my day”.

The Spirit does not only change hearts; he changes situations. Like the wind that blows everywhere, he penetrates to the most unimaginable situations. In the Acts of the Apostles – a book we need to pick up and read, whose main character is the Holy Spirit – we are caught up in an amazing series of events. When the disciples least expect it, the Holy Spirit sends them out to the pagans. He opens up new paths, as in the episode of the deacon Philip. The Spirit drives Philip to a desert road from Jerusalem to Gaza… (How heartrending that name sounds to us today! May the Spirit change hearts and situations and bring peace to the Holy Land!) Along the way, Philip preaches to an Ethiopian court official and baptizes him. Then the Spirit brings him to Azotus, and then on to Caesarea, in constantly new situations, to spread the newness of God. Then too, there is Paul, “compelled by the Spirit” (Acts 20:22), who travels far and wide, bringing the Gospel to peoples he had never seen. Where the Spirit is, something is always happening; where he blows, things are never calm.

When, in the life of our communities, we experience a certain “listlessness”, when we prefer peace and quiet to the newness of God, it is a bad sign. It means that we are trying to find shelter from the wind of the Spirit. When we live for self-preservation and keep close to home, it is not a good sign. The Spirit blows, but we lower our sails. And yet, how often have we seen him work wonders! Frequently, even in the bleakest of times, the Spirit has raised up the most outstanding holiness! Because he is the soul of the Church, who constantly enlivens her with renewed hope, fills her with joy, makes her fruitful, and causes new life to blossom. In a family, when a new baby is born, it upsets our schedules, it makes us lose sleep, but it also brings us a joy that renews our lives, driving us on, expanding us in love. So it is with the Spirit: he brings a “taste of childhood” to the Church. Time and time again he gives new birth. He revives our first love. The Spirit reminds the Church that, for all her centuries of history, she is always the youthful bride with whom the Lord is madly in love. Let us never tire of welcoming the Spirit into our lives, of invoking him before everything we do: “Come, Holy Spirit!”

He will bring his power of change, a unique power that is, so to say, both centripetal and centrifugal. It is centripetal, that is, it seeks the centre, because it works deep within our hearts. It brings unity amid division, peace amid affliction, strength amid temptations. Paul reminds us of this in the second reading, when he writes that the fruits of the Spirit are joy, peace, faithfulness and self-control (cf. Gal 5:22). The Spirit grants intimacy with God, the inner strength to keep going. Yet, at the same time, he is a centrifugal force, that is, one pushing outward. The one who centres us is also the one who drives us to the peripheries, to every human periphery. The one who reveals God also opens our hearts to our brothers and sisters. He sends us, he makes us witnesses, and so he pours out on us – again in the words of Paul – love, kindness, generosity and gentleness. Only in the Consoler Spirit do we speak words of life and truly encourage others. Those who live by the Spirit live in this constant spiritual tension: they find themselves pulled both towards God and towards the world.

Let us ask him to make us live in exactly that way. Holy Spirit, violent wind of God, blow upon us, blow into our hearts and make us breathe forth the tenderness of the Father! Blow upon the Church and impel her to the ends of the earth, so that, brought by you, she may bring nothing other than you. Blow upon our world the soothing warmth of peace and the refreshing cool of hope. Come Holy Spirit, change us within and renew the face of the earth. Amen.

Pope in Padre Pio’s Hometown: The Devil Gets Inside Us

Pope in Padre Pio’s Hometown: The Devil Gets Inside Us

Pope Francis prays in front of the mortal remains of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) at the Santa Maria delle Grazie sanctuary in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy March 17, 2018.

But St. Pio had the solution for this torment, Francis says.

Today during his visit to the hometown of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Pope Francis reflected on how the devil tormented the Italian saint, and how he torments us.

Noting how Francesco Forgione was born in Pietrelcina, and returned there for health reasons, the pope said that this period “was not, for him, an easy time.”

The future saint was “greatly tormented inwardly and feared to fall prey to sin, feeling he was under assault by the devil,” Francis said. “And this did not give him peace, because he was restless.”

The Bishop of Rome then asked the crowd, “But do you believe that the devil exists? … You are not very convinced? … I will tell the bishop to do some catechesis … Does the devil exist or not?”

The crowd answered yes, and the pope went on to explain that the devil “goes everywhere, he gets inside us, he moves us, he torments us, he deceives us.”

Father Pio “was afraid that the devil would assail him, would drive him to sin,” Francis continued. And the friar spoke to a few people in an attempt to “clarify what was happening in his soul.”

But Padre Pio was able to draw strength during this trying time, Pope Francis recalled, saying that it was from the “continuous prayer and the trust he was able to place in the Lord.”

“‘All the ugly ghosts,’ so he said, ‘that the devil is introducing into my mind disappear when I trustfully abandon myself to the arms of Jesus.’”

Pope Francis remarked that in this statement there is “all theology!”

“You have a problem, you are sad, you are sick — abandon yourself to the arms of Jesus,” he said. “And this is what [Pio] did. He loved Jesus and he trusted in Him.”

Padre Pio would write about how he would thirst more and more for God after receiving Him in the Sacrament of the Eucharist in the morning.

“Father Pio immersed himself in prayer to adhere ever better to the divine plans,” Francis said. “Through the celebration of Holy Mass, which constituted the heart of his day and the fullness of his spirituality, he reached a high level of union with the Lord. During this period, he received special mystical gifts from above, which preceded the manifestation in his flesh of the signs of the Passion of Christ.”