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Angelus: Pope appeals for dialogue after Jerusalem violence

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has appealed for moderation and dialogue after a surge of violence and killings over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said he is following “with trepidation the grave tensions and violence of the last days in Jerusalem.”

Last week Arab gunmen, shooting from the site – which is Holy to Jews and to Muslims -  killed two Israeli policemen sparking a wave of violence in which three Palestinians were killed in street clashes and a Palestinian fatally stabbed three members of an Israeli family.

“I feel the need to express a heartfelt appeal for moderation and dialogue” Francis said and he invited all faithful to join him in prayer so that the Lord may inspire all sides to come together with proposals for reconciliation and peace. 

Tensions over the site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount, have surged in the past couple of days following the installation by Israel of metal detectors after two Israeli policemen were killed near there earlier this month.

The measures angered the Palestinians, who accuse Israel of trying to take control over a sacred place.

Israel now says it is willing to consider alternatives to the controversial metal detectors it installed and has called on the Muslim world to put forward other suggestions.

 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis donates €25 thousand to ease East Africa famine

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has donated €25 thousand to the efforts of the United NationsFood and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, in support of people facing famine and food insecurity in East Africa.

The Holy Father had pledged personal assistance in a message to FAO's Conference on 3 July 2017, in which he said he was "inspired also by the desire to encourage Governments".

Click below to hear our report

In February of this year, famine was declared in parts of South Sudan (where civil strife has largely interrupted daily life). While the situation has eased after a significant scaling up in the humanitarian response, some 6 million people in the country are still struggling to find enough food every day.

Meanwhile, there are an estimated 16 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in five other East African countries: Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. That figure represents an increase of about 30 percent since late 2016.

Below, please find the official statement regarding the donation

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Pope Francis donates to FAO to assist drought and conflict-stricken populations in East Africa

Gesture aims to encourage governments to support FAO's emergency response

21 July 2017, Rome - In an unprecedented move, Pope Francis has symbolically donated €25,000 to FAO's efforts supporting people facing food insecurity and famine in East Africa.

Pope Francis said the funds are "a symbolic contribution to an FAO programme that provides seeds to rural families in areas affected by the combined effects of conflicts and drought."

The pontiff's remarks were contained in a letter written to FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva by Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN food agencies in Rome.

Pope Francis' gesture stemmed from a pledge he made in a message to FAO's Conference on 3 July 2017 and was "inspired also by the desire to encourage Governments," Monsignor Chica wrote in the letter.

Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in February and while the situation has eased after a significant scaling up in the humanitarian response, some 6 million people in the country are still struggling to find enough food every day.

Meanwhile the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in five other East African countries - Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda - is currently estimated at about 16 million, which marks an increase of about 30 percent since late 2016.

Pope Francis, who has made solidarity a major theme of his pontificate, is set to visit FAO's headquarters on 16 October to mark World Food Day. This year the event is being held under the slogan: "Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development".

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope's Message to World Movement of Christian Workers

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the International Meeting of the World Movement of Christian Workers which has been taking place in Ávila, Spain, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation.

120 delegates representing the Movement, present today in 79 countries are attending the event. The theme of the meeting is, "Land, Home and Work for a Worthy Life". The message, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, stresses that "the dignity of the person is closely united to these three realities" that remind us that the fundamental experience of the human being "is to feel rooted in the world, in one Family, in a society. "

"Land, home, and work - continues the Message - means fighting because every person lives in a manner consistent with his dignity and nobody is discarded. To this we encourage our faith in God, who sent his Son into the world because, sharing the story of his people, living in a family and working with his hands, he could redeem and save the human person with his Death and resurrection ".

Finally, the Pope urges the Christian Workers Movement "to persevere with renewed impetus in the effort to bring the Gospel into the world of work".

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope endorses campaign to put 'Laudato Sì' into action

(Vatican Radio) Following the 2nd anniversary of the publication of his encyclical “Laudato Sì – On Care of our Common Home”, Pope Francis has endorsed a pledge campaign that aims to mobilize at least 1 million people to directly engage in turning the encyclical’s message into action. 

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:

Organized and promoted by the Global Catholic Climate Movement, the pledge  calls on those who sign to answer the call of Laudato Sì by praying with and for creation, living more simply, and advocating to protect our common home.

The "Laudato Sì Pledge campaign" has received support from Church leaders from around the globe including Cardinal Turkson, Cardinal Tagle, Cardinal Ribat, Cardinal Cupich and Cardinal Marx. It has also garnered the support of major environmental leaders.

Tomás Insua, Executive Director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, said, "We are grateful and inspired by Pope Francis' endorsement of the Laudato Si' Pledge. With 1.2 billion Catholics around the world, we have a critical role to play in tackling climate change and the wider ecological crisis. Pope Francis has already changed the discussion around climate change and this pledge is inviting us to put the Church's teachings into action and answer the urgent call for strong political action and lifestyle change put forth in Laudato Si'."

The Pope's endorsement adds to the momentum of recent Catholic climate action: Pope Francis requested that Angela Merkel uplift the Paris climate accord during the G20 summit, several Catholic organizations recently divested from fossil fuels, GCCM joined other Christian groups calling on governments to take strong action before the G7 last month and the Movement’s Executive Director joined other scientific, political and faith leaders in publishing a letter in Nature Magazine pushing the G20 to recognize the urgency of the climate crisis. 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope to catechists: Be creative

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to an International Catechetical Symposium which is taking place this week at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina in Buenos Aires, and has as its theme “blessed are those who believe”.

Listen: 

In the message to the symposium, the Holy Father points out that “being a catechist is a vocation of service in the Church, that has been received as a gift from the Lord and must in turn be transmitted.”

He goes on to say that the catechist walks with Christ, therefore is not a person who starts from his own ideas and tastes. He or she  looks for the Lord and that searching makes their heart burn.

Pope Francis also notes in his message that the role of the catechist is a creative one because this person seeks different ways and means to announce the good news of Christ. The Pope adds that “this quest to make Jesus known as supreme beauty leads us to find new signs and forms for the transmission of the faith.”

The means may be different, the Holy Father underlines, “but the important thing is to keep in mind the style of Jesus, who adapted to the people around him in order to bring them the love of God.”

The Pope continues that, it is necessary to know how to "change" and adapt, in order to transmit God’s message even though the message itself is always the same.

Finally, Pope Francis encourages catechists taking part in the symposium to be joyful messengers, guardians of good and beauty who shine in the faithful life of the missionary disciple.”


 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope to beatify a bishop and a priest in Colombia

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis will beatify two martyred Colombian clerics when he travels to visit their South American nation in September.

The director of the Holy See Press office, Greg Burke, said that Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve of Arauca and Father Pedro Ramirez Ramos will be beatified on September 8th during an open-air Mass in the city of Villavicencio presided over by the Pope.  

Linda Bordoni reports:

It was thanks to Bishop Jaramillo’s work of evangelization and promotion of the local Church in a vast territory where contraband and drug trafficking were rampant that development was made possible. Jaramillo was taken hostage in 1989 by armed bandits some 800 kilometers east of Bogota, and found dead the following day, shot with four bullets to the head.

Francis also recognized the martyrdom of Father Pedro Ramirez who was killed at the start of the Colombian civil war in 1948 when guerrilla factions set upon him as he sought refuge in his parish church. He refused to flee and abandon the people so the insurgents destroyed the door of the building, seized him and accused him of hiding weapons in the adjacent convent. They killed him on April 10 and impeded the faithful from giving a Christian burial to his mortal remains for some ten days. To this day, Father Pedro is known in Colombia as “the martyr of Armero.”

Pope Francis is scheduled to make his first apostolic visit to Colombia from 6 to 11 September, visiting the cities of Bogotá, Villavicencio, Medellín and Cartagena.

The journey is a pastoral one but is widely expected to further cement the peace accords signed by the government and the FARC rebel group aimed at putting an end to five decaded of civil conflict. The country’s second largest guerrilla group – the ELN – is also currently holding peace negotiations in neighboring Ecuador.

 

(from Vatican Radio)

St. Bridget of Sweden

Today, July 23, the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Bridget of Sweden.  Bridget received visions of Christ’s suffering many times throughout her life, and went on to found the order of the Most Holy Savior.Daughter of Birger Persson, the governor and provincial judge of Uppland, and of Ingeborg Bengtsdotter, Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303. From the time she was a child, she was greatly devoted to the passion of Jesus. When she was only ten, it is recorded that she had a vision of Jesus on the cross and heard him say, “Look at me, my daughter." "Who has treated you like this?" cried little Bridget. Jesus answered, "Those who despise me and refuse my love for them.â€�  From that moment on, Bridget tried to stop people from offending Jesus.When she was 14, Bridget married an 18-year old man named Ulf. Like Bridget, Ulf had set his heart on serving God. They had eight children, of whom one was St. Catherine of Sweden. Bridget and Ulf also served the Swedish court, Bridget as the queen's personal maid. Bridget tried to help King Magnus and Queen Blanche lead better lives, however for the most part, they did not listen to her.All her life, Bridget had marvelous visions and received special messages from God. In obedience to them, she visited many rulers and important people in the Church. She explained humbly what God expected of them. After her husband died, Bridget put away her rich clothes and lived as a poor nun. Later, in 1346, she began the order of the Most Holy Savior, also known as Bridgettines. She still kept up her own busy life, traveling about doing good everywhere she went. And through all this activity, Jesus continued to reveal many secrets to her, which she received without the least bit of pride.Shortly before she died, the saint went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. At the shrines there, she had visions of what Jesus had said and done in each place. All St. Bridget's revelations on the sufferings of Jesus were published after her death. St. Bridget died in Rome on July 23, 1373. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Boniface IX in 1391."True wisdom, then, consists in works, not in great talents, which the world admires; for the wise in the world's estimation . . . are the foolish who set at naught the will of God, and know not how to control their passions." --Saint Bridget of Sweden.