- Monday, 03 June 2013 16:22
Dear friends of the Diocese of Bergamo,
I am pleased to welcome you here, at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, in this place that is home to every Catholic. I affectionately greet your Pastor, Bishop Francesco Beschi, and thank him for the kind words he addressed to me on behalf of all.
Exactly fifty years ago, just at this moment, Blessed John XXIII left this world. Those who, like me, [are of] a certain age, retain a vivid memory of the commotion that spread everywhere in those days: St. Peter’s Square had become a sanctuary in the open, day and night welcoming the faithful of all ages and social conditions, in trepidation and prayer for the Pope’s health. The whole world had recognized in Pope John a pastor and a father: a shepherd because [he was] father. What made him such? How could he reach the hearts of so many different people, even many non-Christians? To answer this question, we can refer to his episcopal motto, oboedientia et pax: obedience and peace. “These words,” noted the then-Archbishop Roncalli on the eve of his episcopal ordination, “are [in a way] my story and my life.” (Journal of a Soul, retreat in preparation for consecration as bishop, 13-17 March 1925).
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- Tuesday, 28 May 2013 10:18
Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory:that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church.
Mother of the beauty that blossoms from fidelity to daily work, remove us from the torpor of laziness, of pettiness, and defeatism. Cloak Pastors with that compassion that unifies and integrates: that we might discover the joy of a humble and fraternal servant Church.
Mother of the tenderness which enfolds in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who have not known what it means to belong.
Intercede with your Son that our hands, our feet and our hearts may be swift: that we may build the Church with the truth in charity.
Mother, we will be the People of God, on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom. Amen.
23 May 2013
- Thursday, 23 May 2013 08:44
One of the things I like about Pope Francis is the common imagery used in his homilies. No long ago he warned of becoming a babysitter church. Today’s Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae with members of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches the Holy Father used the biblical –and common– metaphor of salt to speak about faith, hope and charity. Mark’s gospel for Mass today provides a good amount of grist for the mill. Salt helps to savor the faith as much as it opens taste buds to share this faith with others.
I think one of the reasons the Holy Father latched onto the use of the image of salt is basic encouragement of Eastern Christians to resist becoming “Museum-piece Christians.” So often the Eastern Christians are treated pretty poorly by Western Christians that it is too shameful to speak about; however, Eastern Christians also love the ghetto mentality. Isolation is a value for them, it seems. Frequently, you hear them complain and criticize the Roman Church for negligence when in reality they seem to prefer being someone’s door mat. If you read between the lines the Pope is giving a personal witness to Eastern Christians in living differently. Later in his homily, the Pope talks about Christianity’s originality. For me, I think the pope is criticizing those who want a uniform theological and liturgical tradition, which is not what it means to be Catholic. Francis, said,
“Salt makes sense when you [use] it in order to make things more tasty. I also consider that salt stored in the bottle, with moisture, loses strength and is rendered useless. The salt that we have received is to be given out, to be given away, [in order] to spice things up: otherwise, it becomes bland and useless. We must ask the Lord not to [let us] become Christians with flavor-less salt, with salt that stays closed in the bottle. Salt also has another special feature: when salt is used well, one does not notice the taste of salt. The savor of salt – it cannot be perceived! What one tastes is the flavor of the food: salt helps improve the flavor of the meal.“
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- Tuesday, 21 May 2013 08:56
A Saturday May 19th Q&A session with the various members of ecclesial movements and Pope Francis was inspiring to me. More than 120 thousand attended the events. The pope said much; much of it not available in print but what is available is here due the translations of the Vatican Information Service. It is hard to nail the pope down on all the things he said because a fair of amount of talks are off-the-cuff. This 3 minute video presentation by Rome Reports gives a good sense as to what we are supposed to be about. Nevertheless, there is enough to reflect on and to see where we find ourselves viz-a-viz Francis’ response.
Q: “How were you able to achieve certainty of faith in your life, and what path can you indicate to us so that each one of us can overcome our fragility of faith?”
A: “I have had the good fortune to grow up in a family where the faith was lived in a simple and concrete manner … The first proclamation is in the home, within the family, right? And this makes me think of the love of so many mothers and so many grandmothers in the transmission of the faith. … We do not find our faith in the abstract, no! It is always a person who preaches it to us, who tells us who Jesus is, who gives us the faith, who gives us the first announcement. … But there is a very important day for me: September 21, 1953. I was almost 17. It was the ‘Students’ Day’…. Before going to the festival, I went to my parish and met a priest I did not know, but I felt the need to confess. … After confession I felt that something had changed. I was not the same. I felt a voice call me: I was convinced that I had to become a priest. This experience of faith is important. We say that we must seek God, go to him to ask for forgiveness … but when we go, He is already waiting for us. He is the first one there! … And this creates wonder in the hearts of those who do not believe, and this is how faith grows! With an encounter with a Person, with an encounter with the Lord.”
Regarding fragility: “Fragility’s biggest enemy curiously enough, is fear. But do not be afraid! We are weak, we know it but He is stronger! If you are with him, then there is no problem! A child is fragile–I see many today–but they are with their fathers and their mothers so they are safe! We too are safe with the Lord; we are secure. Faith grows with the Lord, out of the very hands of the Lord.”
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- Monday, 20 May 2013 14:20
Jesuit Father Alfonso José Gomez met his first Jesuit in 1979 who later turned out to be his religious superior in Argentina; with the passage of time this Jesuit became a bishop, and now pope, Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio (bishop) now Pope Francis. Many of us are still interested to know more about the man who sits in the Chair of Peter. The Indian Jesuit journal Jivan published an interview with Father Gomez conducted by Father John Rose, SJ.
There are many things I find interesting the in this interview. But the most important thing I read was the line: “He…helped me to follow Christ.” That’s it. Nothing more needs to be said.
A life of simplicity is the new pope’s way of proceeding.