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How to automate your RSS newsfeed
This page will teach you how to set us a newsfeed so that it goes directly into your email. The concept applies to any automated newsfeed that directs the news so that you do not have to check multiple websites to read the news.  Here is an info page from CNA (Catholic News Agency)  READ MORE

Consecration of Bishop of Duluth (USA)

Fr. Daniel John Felton (66) was consecrated as Bishop of Duluth (USA). [Read More]

Consecration of Titular Archbishop of Città Ducale, Apostolic Nuncio to Benin and Apostolic Nuncio to Togo

Msgr. Mark Gerard Miles (53) was consecrated as Titular Archbishop of Città Ducale, Apostolic Nuncio to Benin and Apostolic Nuncio to Togo. [Read More]

Consecration of Titular Bishop of Dionysiana and Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio (USA)

Fr. Gary Wayne Janak (58) was consecrated as Titular Bishop of Dionysiana and Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio (USA). [Read More]


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DeSantis Blasts YouTube for Removing Florida COVID Video

CV NEWS FEED // Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-FL, sharply criticized YouTube at a roundtable of scientific experts Monday after the tech giant removed a video of [Read More]

Over 100 Corporate Leaders Conspire to Stop Election Integrity Laws

CV NEWS FEED // Over 100 executives of major corporations held an online meeting Saturday to plan ways of thwarting election integrity laws being considered in [Read More]

SCOTUS Rules Against CA Restrictions on Home Prayer Gatherings

CV NEWS FEED // The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of religious complainants against a California COVID restriction on in-home religious gatherings. “…California treats some [Read More]

 


Vatican New Feed from EWTN
 

 

American priest reveals communication ‘mix-up’ about end of Vatican job

Rome Newsroom, Apr 6, 2021 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- Msgr. Robert Oliver, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, said last week that due to a “mix-up,” he was not told in advance that his service on the Vatican’s safeguarding commission was ending after six years.

Oliver had been secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) since its beginning in 2014. For the two years prior, he had been promoter of justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

On March 24, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had extended the terms of 15 members of the commission for a year, adding a member, Chilean survivor of clerical sexual abuse Juan Carlos Cruz, for a term of three years. Oliver’s term as secretary was not renewed.

Oliver said in a Good Friday homily in Boston on April 2 that he had learned the news from journalists as he was boarding a plane to come to Boston for a visit.

“It was just a few days ago that I was at the airport returning to Boston, for what I thought was going to be just a short trip,” he said. “We were just about to board the plane and my phone lit up, and several media members were asking why it was that the Vatican had announced that my service at the Holy See was ending.”

“Well, it seems that through a rather amusing mix-up in communications, unfortunately my superiors in Rome had kind of failed to let me know,” Oliver said.

The priest explained that he then spoke to his bishop, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, who confirmed that the news was true and he would be returning to Boston archdiocese.

O’Malley is also president of the PCPM, a position he will continue to hold, according to the Archdiocese of Boston.

Oliver’s homily was delivered during the Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord, celebrated by O’Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

In his homily, Oliver reflected on the image of Jesus on the cross, with his arms outstretched, and the feelings of “rejection, anger, all of us have experienced in our life.”

“And there’s the sense, really, that there was still so much that I had hoped to achieve,” he said.

He noted that for 20 years he has worked with Cardinal O’Malley for victims of abuse and for priests wrongly accused of abuse, “hoping to contribute something to the reform of our Church.”

He said that as he has tried to process his thoughts and emotions about the end of his time in Rome, he is primarily filled with gratitude.

“In the homily, I wanted to convey clearly my joy at coming home to serve in the archdiocese and that the time in Rome will remain an important chapter in my years of priestly ministry,” Oliver told CNA via email, calling the end of his service at the Vatican “not at all unexpected.”

“In fact, I ended up serving longer than the expected time,” he said.

In the homily, he said: “But OK, now it’s time for a change, and the readings put the cross before us. But really, feelings of rejection? There hangs the Savior of the world, of every human being, one cast out and alone, on the hill of Golgotha. Anger? What depth of hatred can lead someone to nail another person to a cross and to stand there taunting him and spitting on him for hours?”

“And there are the arms of our Savior stretched out to his executioners and praying for forgiveness.”

Oliver said that he had been given a warm welcome in Boston, but did not know what he would be doing next, describing himself as being in a “free agent period, just like professional athletes.”

“Maybe the Patriots still have a bit of money left over,” he joked.

He said that he had been particularly touched by an email he received from a young woman who had been the victim of clerical sexual abuse and afterward ignored by the Church. She had been traumatized by her experience and almost committed suicide, he said.

The woman wrote to him after hearing that his term in Rome had ended. Oliver said that she wrote: “I’m so sorry to hear the news. It must be so difficult for you, I can’t possibly imagine. Please know how valuable your service as a priest is. Please know that God has great things ahead for you. Take a moment today and pause.”

“This is a victim of abuse by a priest,” he said, “when feeling completely rejected and alone, rejected by the Church, and she’s writing these words to a priest. This is evangelization.”

“As St. Paul writes in Ephesians, we need strength, we need the divine strength of God to understand these things, to comprehend the breadth, and the length, the depth, and the height of the love of the Crucified Savior,” he concluded.

“He has borne our sins. He welcomes us to the Father. He wishes us to respond, he wishes us to bring this life to others, and to speak to them about what he has done in our lives.”

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Pope Francis urges Catholics to pray for people risking lives to fight for fundamental rights

CNA Staff, Apr 6, 2021 / 09:30 am (CNA).- Pope Francis is inviting Catholics around the world to pray this month for people risking their lives by standing up for fundamental rights.

The pope made the appeal in his prayer intention for April, released on Tuesday.

“Let us pray for those who risk their lives while fighting for fundamental rights under dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and even in democracies in crisis, that they may see their sacrifice and their work bear abundant fruit,” reads the monthly prayer intention, issued April 6 by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

The network also released an accompanying video, in which Pope Francis explained the rationale for the prayer intention.

Speaking in Spanish, the pope said: “Defending fundamental human rights demands courage and determination. I’m referring to actively combatting poverty, inequality, the lack of work, land, and housing, and the denial of social and labor rights.”

“Often, in practice, fundamental human rights are not equal for all. There are first-, second-, and third-class people, and those who are disposable. No. They must be equal for all.”

He continued: “In some places, defending people’s dignity can mean going to prison, even without a trial. Or it might mean slander.”

“Every human being has the right to develop fully, and this fundamental right cannot be denied by any country.”

pic.twitter.com/N3IOv27C39

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 6, 2021 Although the prayer intention and video did not mention any countries by name, the pope has called attention repeatedly in recent weeks to the crisis in Burma following a military coup.

“Once again and with great sadness, I feel the urgency to speak about the tragic situation in Myanmar, where many people, mostly young people, are losing their lives to give hope to their country,” he said at the end of a general audience on March 17.

The advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners estimates that security forces have killed 570 protesters in the Southeast Asian country as of April 5.

Freedom House, a U.S.-based NGO, issued a report in March 2020 arguing that democracy was decreasing not only in authoritarian states but also in countries with a long history of upholding basic rights.

Its “Freedom in the World 2020” report found that political rights and civil liberties had deteriorated worldwide for a 14th year in succession.

Among the territories highlighted in the study was Hong Kong. In recent months, Western governments have accused China of undermining the territory’s democratic system.

Under a “national security” law that came into force last summer, a number of local Catholics have been arrested and charged with terrorism, sedition, and foreign collusion.

Pope Francis has not addressed the situation publicly.

The Standard, an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, said last month that Vatican Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher had defended the Holy See’s approach.

It quoted the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States as saying that, concerning Hong Kong, “I don’t think that ‘grandstanding’ statements can be terribly effective.”

“I think you have to ask what effect [a statement] is going to have? Is it going to produce a positive change, or does it make the situation more complicated for the local Church and for relations with the Holy See? At the moment, we feel that’s the right approach,” Gallagher reportedly said.

Commenting on the pope's prayer intention for April, Fr. Fréderic Fornos, S.J., international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, said: “It’s not the first time that Pope Francis has insisted on the importance of people’s fundamental rights.”

“In his latest encyclical, Fratelli tutti, he denounced the fact that ‘While one part of humanity lives in opulence, another part sees its own dignity denied, scorned or trampled upon, and its fundamental rights discarded or violated.’”

“Pope Francis asks us this month to pray for ‘those who risk their lives while fighting for fundamental rights under dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and even in democracies in crisis.’”

“It’s an invitation to remember those men and women, in so many countries of the world, who continue to be in prison or in dangerous situations, or who have lost their life, and many of them in the name of their faith in Jesus Christ. Let us not forget them; let us pray for them.”

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Pope Francis at the Regina Coeli: ‘Never tire of seeking the risen Christ’

CNA Staff, Apr 5, 2021 / 05:25 am (CNA).- Pope Francis said Monday that Christians should “never tire of seeking the risen Christ.”

Speaking before the recitation of the Regina Coeli April 5, the pope noted that Easter Monday is known in Italy as Lunedì dell’Angelo, or the Monday of the Angel.

Referring to the Gospel reading (Matthew 28:1-15) in which Mary Magdalene and the other Mary encountered an angel at the empty tomb while looking for Jesus, he observed that the angel greeted the women with the words “Do not be afraid.”

“We can reap a precious teaching from the angel’s words: we should never tire of seeking the risen Christ who gives life in abundance to those who meet him,” he said.

The pope gave his address in the library of the Apostolic Palace due to coronavirus restrictions. Italy entered a three-day nationwide lockdown on Saturday. Easter Monday -- also known in Italy as La Pasquetta, or “Little Easter” -- marked the final day of the lockdown, which the authorities hope will help to reduce a third wave of the virus.

Standing beneath Pietro Perugino’s painting of the Resurrection, Pope Francis recalled the angel’s next words to the women: “I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.”

He commented: “This expression ‘He has risen’ goes beyond human capacity. Even the women who had gone to the tomb and had found it open and empty could not confirm ‘He has risen,’ but they could only say that the tomb was empty.”

“‘He has risen’ is a message… Only an angel could say that Jesus had risen, only an angel with the authority to be the bearer of a heavenly message, with the power given by God to say it, just as an angel -- only an angel -- had been able to say to Mary: ‘You will conceive a son, [….] and he will be called the Son of the Most High’ (Luke 1:31-32).”

The pope pointed out that in St. Matthew’s account there was a “great earthquake” as the angel rolled back the stone at the entrance to Jesus’ tomb and sat upon it.

“That large stone, that was supposed to be the seal of the victory of evil and death, was put underfoot, it becomes the footstool of the angel of the Lord. All of the plans and defenses of Jesus’ enemies and persecutors were in vain. All the seals had crumbled,” he said.

“The image of the angel sitting on the stone before the tomb is the concrete manifestation, the visible manifestation of God’s victory over evil, the manifestation of Christ’s victory over the prince of this world, the manifestation of the victory of light over darkness.”

“Jesus’ tomb was not opened by a physical phenomenon, but by the Lord’s intervention.”

Francis contrasted the fear-filled reaction of the guards with that of the women at the tomb.

He said: “To find Christ means to discover peace in our hearts. The same women of the Gospel, after initially being shaken -- that is understandable -- experience great joy in discovering the Master alive.”

Quoting a Communion antiphon, he continued: “In this Easter season, my wish is that everyone might have the same spiritual experience, welcoming in our hearts, in our homes, and in our families the joyful proclamation of Easter: ‘Christ, having risen from the dead, dies now no more; death will no longer have dominion over him.’”

“The Easter proclamation is this: Christ is alive, Christ accompanies my life, Christ is beside me. Christ knocks at the door of my heart so you can let him in, Christ is alive. In these days of Easter, it would be good for us to repeat this: the Lord is alive.”

The pope added that it was the Resurrection that inspired Catholics to pray the Regina Coeli prayer throughout the 50 days of Easter.

“The angel Gabriel had greeted [Mary] thus the first time: ‘Rejoice, full of grace!’ Now Mary’s joy is complete: Jesus lives, Love has conquered. May this be our joy as well,” he said.

Speaking immediately after he had recited the Regina Coeli, the pope greeted those watching via television and live stream.

“I am thinking in particular of the elderly, those who are ill, connected from their own homes or rest homes. To them, I send a word of encouragement and recognition of their witness: I am near them,” he said.

Concluding his address, the pope said he hoped that everyone would live out the Easter Octave with faith.

“Take every opportune occasion to witness to the joy and peace of the Risen Lord,” he urged.

“A happy, peaceful, and holy Easter to everyone! And please do not forget to pray for me.”

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Full text: Pope Francis’ Easter Urbi et Orbi blessing 2021

Vatican City, Apr 4, 2021 / 06:00 am (CNA).- On Easter Sunday 2021, Pope Francis offered Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. Afterward, he gave the Urbi et Orbi message and blessing. The following is the full text of the pope’s Easter message.



Dear Brothers and Sisters, a good, happy and peaceful Easter!

Today, throughout the world, the Church’s proclamation resounds: “Jesus, who was crucified, has risen as he said. Alleluia!”

The Easter message does not offer us a mirage or reveal a magic formula. It does not point to an escape from the difficult situation we are experiencing. The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. Nonetheless – and this is scandalous – armed conflicts have not ended and military arsenals are being strengthened. That is today’s scandal.

In the face of, or better, in the midst of this complex reality, the Easter message speaks concisely of the event that gives us the hope that does not disappoint: “Jesus who was crucified has risen.” It speaks to us not about angels or ghosts, but about a man, a man of flesh and bone, with a face and a name: Jesus. The Gospel testifies that this Jesus, crucified under Pontius Pilate for claiming he was the Christ, the Son of God, rose on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, just as he had foretold to his disciples.

The crucified Jesus, none other, has risen from the dead. God the Father raised Jesus, his Son, because he fully accomplished his saving will. Jesus took upon himself our weakness, our infirmities, even our death. He endured our sufferings and bore the weight of our sins. Because of this, God the Father exalted him and now Jesus Christ lives forever; he is the Lord.

The witnesses report an important detail: the risen Jesus bears the marks of the wounds in his hands, feet and side. These wounds are the everlasting seal of his love for us. All those who experience a painful trial in body or spirit can find refuge in these wounds and, through them, receive the grace of the hope that does not disappoint.

The risen Christ is hope for all who continue to suffer from the pandemic, both the sick and those who have lost a loved one. May the Lord give them comfort and sustain the valiant efforts of doctors and nurses. Everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us, requires assistance and has the right to have access to necessary care. This is even more evident in these times when all of us are called to combat the pandemic. Vaccines are an essential tool in this fight. I urge the entire international community, in a spirit of global responsibility, to commit to overcoming delays in the distribution of vaccines and to facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries.

The crucified and risen Lord is comfort for those who have lost their jobs or experience serious economic difficulties and lack adequate social protection. May he inspire public authorities to act so that everyone, especially families in greatest need, will be offered the assistance needed for a decent standard of living. Sadly, the pandemic has dramatically increased the number of the poor and the despair of thousands of people.

“The poor of every kind must begin once more to hope.” Saint John Paul II spoke these words during his visit to Haiti. It is precisely to the beloved Haitian people that my thoughts turn in these days. I urge them not to be overwhelmed by difficulties, but to look to the future with confidence and hope. And my thoughts turn especially to you, my dear Haitian brothers and sisters. I am close to you and I want a definitive resolution to your problems. I am praying for this, dear Haitian brothers and sisters.

The risen Jesus is hope for all those young people forced to go long periods without attending school or university, or spending time with their friends. Experiencing real human relationships, not just virtual relationships, is something that everyone needs, especially at an age when a person’s character and personality is being formed. I express my closeness to young people throughout the world and, in these days, especially to the young people of Myanmar committed to supporting democracy and making their voices heard peacefully, in the knowledge that hatred can be dispelled only by love.

May the light of the risen Jesus be a source of rebirth for migrants fleeing from war and extreme poverty. Let us recognize in their faces the marred and suffering face of the Lord as he walked the path to Calvary. May they never lack concrete signs of solidarity and human fraternity, a pledge of the victory of life over death that we celebrate on this day. I thank the nations that generously receive people who are suffering and seeking refuge. Lebanon and Jordan in particular are taking in many refugees who have fled from the conflict in Syria.

May the people of Lebanon, who are undergoing times of difficulty and uncertainty, experience the consolation of the Risen Lord and find support from the international community in their vocation to be a land of encounter, coexistence and pluralism.

May Christ our peace finally bring an end to the clash of arms in beloved and war-torn Syria, where millions of people are presently living in inhumane conditions; in Yemen, whose situation has met with a deafening and scandalous silence; and in Libya, where at last there is hope that a decade of bloody strife and clashes may come to an end. May all parties involved commit themselves effectively to ending conflicts and allowing war-weary peoples to live in peace and to begin the reconstruction of their respective countries.

The Resurrection naturally takes us to Jerusalem. On Jerusalem we ask the Lord to grant peace and security (cf. Ps 122), so that it can embrace its calling to be a place of encounter where all can see one another as brothers and sisters, and where Israelis and Palestinians will rediscover the power of dialogue for reaching a stable solution that will enable the two states to dwell side by side in peace and prosperity.

On this festive day, my thoughts also return to Iraq, which I had the joy of visiting last month. I pray that it may continue along the path of peace and thus fulfill God’s dream for a human family hospitable and welcoming to all his children.[1]

May the power of the risen Lord sustain the peoples of Africa who see their future compromised by internal violence and international terrorism, especially in the Sahel and Nigeria, as well as in Tigray and the Cabo Delgado region. May the efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully continue, in respect for human rights and the sacredness of life, through fraternal and constructive dialogue in a spirit of reconciliation and true solidarity.

There are still too many wars and too much violence in the world! May the Lord, who is our peace, help us to overcome the mindset of war. May he grant that prisoners of conflicts, especially in eastern Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, may return safely to their families, and may he inspire world leaders to curb the race for new weaponry. Today, April 4, marks the International Awareness Day against anti-personnel landmines, insidious and horrible devices that kill or maim many innocent people each year and prevent humanity from “walking together on the paths of life without fearing the threat of destruction and death!”[2] How much better our world would be without these instruments of death!

Dear brothers and sisters, once again this year, in various places many Christians have celebrated Easter under severe restrictions and, at times, without being able to attend liturgical celebrations. We pray that those restrictions, as well as all restrictions on freedom of worship and religion worldwide, may be lifted and everyone be allowed to pray and praise God freely.

Amid the many hardships we are enduring, let us never forget that we have been healed by the wounds of Christ (cf. 1 Pet 2:24). In the light of the Risen Lord, our sufferings are now transfigured. Where there was death, now there is life. Where there was mourning, now there is consolation. In embracing the cross, Jesus bestowed meaning on our sufferings and now we pray that the benefits of that healing will spread throughout the world. A good, happy and serene Easter to all of you!



[1] Address at the Interreligious Meeting in Ur, 6 March 2021.

[2] John Paul II, Angelus, 28 February 1999.

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Pope Francis on Easter: Christ’s wounds are the ‘seal of his love for us’

Vatican City, Apr 4, 2021 / 04:25 am (CNA).- May those who suffer take refuge in the wounds of Christ, and through them, receive the hope which does not disappoint, Pope Francis prayed on Easter Sunday.

In his Urbi et Orbi blessing April 4, the pope said the witnesses of Christ’s resurrection “report an important detail: the risen Jesus bears the marks of the wounds in his hands, feet and side.”

“These wounds are the everlasting seal of his love for us,” Francis said. “All those who experience a painful trial in body or spirit can find refuge in these wounds and, through them, receive the grace of the hope that does not disappoint.”

“Amid the many hardships we are enduring, let us never forget that we have been healed by the wounds of Christ,” he said.

The pope added: “In the light of the Risen Lord, our sufferings are now transfigured. Where there was death, now there is life. Where there was mourning, now there is consolation. In embracing the cross, Jesus bestowed meaning on our sufferings and now we pray that the benefits of that healing will spread throughout the world. A good, happy and serene Easter to all of you!”

Pope Francis gave the Easter Urbi et Orbi message and blessing from the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, where he had offered Easter Sunday Mass with a congregation of around 200 people.

With Italy in a new lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, the blessing was given inside the basilica, instead of from the central loggia overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

After the proclamation of the Gospel, sung in Latin and Greek, the pope did not pronounce a homily, but kept a moment of silence for personal reflection.

At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis thanked everyone who helped to make the Holy Week and Easter liturgies at the Vatican beautiful. He also thanked Cardinal Angelo Comastri, who has recently retired, for his 16 years of service as the archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica.

In the Urbi et Orbi blessing, Pope Francis noted that “once again this year, in various places many Christians have celebrated Easter under severe restrictions and, at times, without being able to attend liturgical celebrations.”

“We pray that those restrictions, as well as all restrictions on freedom of worship and religion worldwide, may be lifted and everyone be allowed to pray and praise God freely,” he said.

The pope explained that “Today, throughout the world, the Church’s proclamation resounds: ‘Jesus, who was crucified, has risen as he said. Alleluia!’”

The Easter message, he continued, is not a mirage or a magic formula, nor is it an escape from the difficult situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the severe social and economic crises it has caused.

“Nonetheless – and this is scandalous – armed conflicts have not ended and military arsenals are being strengthened,” he said.

“In the face of, or better, in the midst of this complex reality, the Easter message speaks concisely of the event that gives us the hope that does not disappoint,” the pope explained. “‘Jesus who was crucified has risen.’”

This message is about a man “of flesh and bone, with a face and a name: Jesus,” he said.

“The crucified Jesus, none other, has risen from the dead. God the Father raised Jesus, his Son, because he fully accomplished his saving will,” the pope added. “Jesus took upon himself our weakness, our infirmities, even our death. He endured our sufferings and bore the weight of our sins. Because of this, God the Father exalted him and now Jesus Christ lives forever; he is the Lord.”

Pope Francis prayed that those who are sick with the coronavirus, or who have lost loved ones in the pandemic, may be comforted by the Risen Christ.

He prayed for the vulnerable, for those who have lost their jobs, and for anyone experiencing financial insecurity.

He also prayed that the risen Jesus would give hope to all the children and young adults forced to go a long time without attending school or university, or without seeing their friends.

“I express my closeness to young people throughout the world,” Francis said, “and, in these days, especially to the young people of Myanmar committed to supporting democracy and making their voices heard peacefully, in the knowledge that hatred can be dispelled only by love.”

He prayed that Jesus will be a source of rebirth to migrants fleeing war and poverty, and thanked Lebanon and Jordan for taking in so many refugees of the conflict in Syria.

“May the people of Lebanon, who are undergoing times of difficulty and uncertainty, experience the consolation of the Risen Lord and find support from the international community in their vocation to be a land of encounter, coexistence and pluralism,” he said.

The pope prayed that Christ would bring peace to the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Libya. Remembering his trip to Iraq last month, he said, “I pray that it may continue along the path of peace and thus fulfill God’s dream for a human family hospitable and welcoming to all his children.”

For the people of Africa, he prayed for freedom from internal violence and international terrorism, especially in the Sahel, Nigeria, Tigray, and the Cabo Delgado region.

“There are still too many wars and too much violence in the world!” he emphasized. “May the Lord, who is our peace, help us to overcome the mindset of war. May he grant that prisoners of conflicts, especially in eastern Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, may return safely to their families, and may he inspire world leaders to curb the race for new weaponry.”

At the end of the Easter message, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti read the pronouncement of the plenary indulgence associated with the Urbi et Orbi before Pope Francis bestowed his blessing on the city of Rome and the world.

[Read More]

Full Text: Pope Francis’ homily for Easter Vigil at the Vatican

Vatican City, Apr 3, 2021 / 03:30 pm (CNA).- Here is the full text of the Easter Vigil homily of Pope Francis, delivered April 3 at St. Peter's Basilica.

The women thought they would find a body to anoint; instead they found an empty tomb. They went to mourn the dead; instead they heard a proclamation of life. 

For this reason, the Gospel  tells us, the women “were seized with trembling and amazement” (Mk 16:8). Full of fear, trembling, and full of amazement. A fear mingled with joy that took their hearts by surprise when they saw the great stone before the tomb rolled away and inside a young man in a white robe. 

Wonder at hearing the words: “Do not be afraid! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen.” And a message: “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.”

May we too accept this message, the message of Easter. Let us go to Galilee, where the Risen Lord has gone ahead of us. Yet what does it mean “to go to Galilee?” 

To go to Galilee means, first, to begin anew. For the disciples it meant going back to the place where the Lord first sought them out and called them to follow him. The place of their first  encounter and the place of their first love. 

From that moment on, leaving their nets behind, they followed Jesus, listening to his preaching and witnessing the miracles he performed. Yet, though they were always with him, they did not fully understand him. Frequently they misunderstood his words and in the face of the cross they abandoned him and fled. 

Even so, the Risen Lord once more appears as the  one who goes ahead of them to Galilee. He precedes them. He stands before them and constantly calls them to follow him. He says to them: “Let us start over from where we began. Let us begin anew. I want you to be with me again, in spite of everything”. 

In this Galilee, we learn to be amazed by the Lord’s infinite love, which opens new trails along the path of our defeats. He is like this, and he invites us to Galilee to be like this.

This is the first Easter message that I would offer you: it is always possible to begin anew,  because there is always a new life that God can awaken in us in spite of all our failures. 

Even from the rubble of our hearts -- each of us knows, knows the rubble of his own heart. From the rubble of our hearts, God can create a work of art; from the ruined remnants of our humanity, God can  prepare a new history. He never ceases to go ahead of us: in the cross of suffering, desolation and  death, and in the glory of a life that rises again, a history that changes, a hope that is reborn. In these dark months of the pandemic, let us listen to the Risen Lord as he invites us to begin anew and  never lose hope.  

Going to Galilee also means setting out on new paths. It means walking away from the tomb. The women were looking for Jesus in the tomb; they went to recall what they had  experienced with him, which was now gone forever. They went to indulge in their grief. 

There is a kind of faith that can become the memory of something once beautiful, now simply to be recalled.  Many people -- we too --  experience such a “faith of memories,” as if Jesus were someone from the past, an old friend from their youth who is now far distant, an event that took place long ago, when they attended catechism as a child. A faith made up of habits, things from the past, lovely childhood memories, but no longer a faith that moves me, or challenges me.

Going to Galilee, on the other hand, means realizing that faith, if it is to be alive, must get back on the road. It must daily renew the first steps of the journey, the amazement of the first encounter. And it must continue to trust, not thinking it already knows everything, but embracing the humility of those who let themselves be surprised by God’s ways. 

We are afraid of God's surprises; we are often afraid that God will surprise us. And today the Lord invites us to let ourselves be surprised.

Let us go to Galilee, then, to discover that God cannot be filed away  among our childhood memories, but is alive and filled with surprises. Risen from the dead, Jesus  never ceases to amaze us.  

This, then, is the second message of Easter: faith is not an album of past memories; Jesus is  not outdated. He is alive here and now. He walks beside you each day, in every situation you are  experiencing, in every trial you have to endure, in your deepest hopes and dreams. 

He opens new doors when you least expect it, he urges you not to indulge in nostalgia for the past or cynicism about the present. Even if you feel that all is lost, please let yourself be open to amazement at the newness Jesus brings: he will surely surprise you.  

Going to Galilee also means going to the peripheries. Galilee was an outpost: the people living in that diverse and disparate region were those farthest from the ritual purity of Jerusalem. Yet that is where Jesus began his mission. There he brought his message to those struggling to live from day to day, proclaiming this message to the excluded, the vulnerable and the poor. There he brought the face and presence of God, who tirelessly seeks out those who are discouraged or lost, who goes to the very peripheries  of existence, since in his eyes no one is least, no one is excluded. 

The Risen Lord is asking his disciples to go there even today. He asks us to go to Galilee, to this “real Galilee”. It is the settings of daily life, the streets we travel every day, the corners of our cities. There the Lord goes ahead of us and makes himself present in the lives of those around us, those who share in our day, our home, our work, our difficulties and hopes. 

In Galilee we learn that we can find the Risen One in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the  enthusiasm of those who dream and the resignation of those who are discouraged, in the smiles of  those who rejoice and the tears of those who suffer, and above all in the poor and those on the  fringes. We will be amazed how the greatness of God is revealed in littleness, how his beauty  shines forth in the poor and simple. 

And this is the third message of Easter: Jesus, the Risen Lord, loves us without limits and is  there at every moment of our lives. Having made himself present in the heart of our world, he  invites us to overcome barriers, banish prejudices and draw near to those around us every day in  order to rediscover the grace of everyday life. 

Let us recognize him here present in our Galilees, in everyday life. With him, life will change. For beyond all defeats, evil and violence, beyond all  suffering and death, the Risen One lives and the Risen One guides history.  

Sister, brother, if on this night you are experiencing an hour of darkness, a day that has not yet dawned, a light dimmed or a dream shattered, go open your heart with amazement to the  message of Easter: “Do not be afraid, he has risen! He awaits you in Galilee”. 

Your expectations  will not remain unfulfilled, your tears will be dried, your fears will be replaced by hope. For the Lord always goes ahead of you, he always walks before you. And, with Him, life always begins anew. 

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Pope Francis at Easter Vigil: 'The Risen Lord loves us without limits'

Vatican City, Apr 3, 2021 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- At the Vatican's Easter Vigil Mass, Pope Francis said that Jesus’ love is without limits and always provides the grace to begin anew.

The pope said in his homily on April 3 that "it is always possible to begin anew because there is always a new life that God can awaken in us in spite of all our failures.”

He continued: “From the rubble of our hearts, God can create a work of art; from the ruined remnants of our humanity, God can prepare a new history. He never ceases to go ahead of us: in the cross of suffering, desolation and death, and in the glory of a life that rises again, a history that changes, a hope that is reborn.”

“Jesus, the Risen Lord, loves us without limits and is there at every moment of our lives,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Easter Vigil, which takes place on Holy Saturday night, “is the greatest and most noble of all solemnities and it is to be unique in every single Church,” according to the Roman Missal.

Pope Francis offered the Vigil Mass at the basilica’s Altar of the Chair with about 200 people present.

St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world, is normally packed for the Easter Vigil. This year’s Easter Triduum liturgies were once again scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The preparation of the Paschal candle was omitted and no baptisms took place at the vigil, only a renewal of baptismal promises.

The liturgy began in darkness with the blessing of the new fire. The pope and concelebrating cardinals then processed through the dark church carrying lit candles to signify the light of Christ coming to dispel the darkness.



“If on this night you are experiencing an hour of darkness, a day that has not yet dawned, a light dimmed, or a dream shattered, go open your heart with amazement to the message of Easter: ‘Do not be afraid, he has risen! He awaits you in Galilee,’” Pope Francis said in his homily.

“Your expectations will not remain unfulfilled, your tears will be dried, your fears will be replaced by hope. For the Lord always goes ahead of you, he always walks before you. And, with him, life always begins anew.”

During the liturgy, a cantor sang the Exsultet Easter Proclamation, which tells the story of salvation from the creation, the testing and fall of Adam, the liberation of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, and culminates in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and leads us to salvation.



The basilica was lit up gradually until it was fully illuminated at the Gloria, when the bells of St. Peter’s tolled.

In his homily, the pope asked people to reflect on the angel’s message to Mary Magdalene and the others who went to anoint Jesus’ body, but found an empty tomb, as described in the Gospel of Mark:

“Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter,  ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.”

Pope Francis said: “Let us go to Galilee, where the Risen Lord has gone ahead of us. Yet what  does it mean ‘to go to Galilee?’”

The pope then explained that “going to Galilee” can mean setting out on new paths, beginning anew, and going out to the peripheries.

“Galilee was an outpost: the people living in that diverse and disparate region were those farthest from the ritual purity of Jerusalem. Yet that is where Jesus began his mission. There he brought his message to those struggling to live from day to day … the excluded, the vulnerable and the poor,” he said.

“There he brought the face and presence of God, who tirelessly seeks out those who are discouraged or lost, who goes to the very peripheries of existence, since in his eyes no one is least, no one is excluded.”



Pope Francis said that he thinks many people today view the Catholic faith as a thing of the past or “lovely childhood memories” that no longer influence their daily lives.

“God cannot be filed away among our childhood memories, but is alive and filled with surprises. Risen from the dead, Jesus never ceases to amaze us,” he said.

Pope Francis continued: “Jesus is not outdated. He is alive here and now. He walks beside you each day, in every situation you are experiencing, in every trial you have to endure, in your deepest hopes and dreams. … Even if you feel that all is lost, please, let yourself be open to amazement at the newness Jesus brings: He will surely surprise you.”

 

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