Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Pope Francis to priests: “we need constantly to stir up God’s grace”

Bishops around the world celebrate a Mass at which he blesses new oils used in the diocese for baptisms, pre-baptisms, Anointing of the Sick, ordinations, and other consecrations. Priests who attend renew their priestly commitment to be the Shepherds the Lord has called them to be. The laity present asked by the bishop to pray and fraternally support their priests in their holy mission. As bishop of Rome, Pope Francis does what other bishops have done. 


His homily today Pope Francis has a clear exhortation to all: living one’s vocation is not business as usual, that you are made for another, that Christ has you to do His work. Mediocre priests and bishops are plentiful and the Pope wants to change this attitude. Thanks be to God. One gets the sense that deacons, priests and bishops who act like church bureaucrats (bishop’s secretaries, curial officials, the pastor-king types, etc.) are not living their God-given vocation with consistency and love. Questions that arrive from pondering the homily: What type of priest does God give to us? What type of priest does the Church expect for the People of God? What type of priest do the People want/need? Can we continue to excuse priests who seem to be negligent of their own need for conversion and the People’s? Wearing the sacred robes of the priest have a particular meaning for the pastoral care of souls. The ordained ministry impacts the priest’s own conversion as well as the people who stand in front of  the priest.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, This morning I have the joy of celebrating my first Chrism Mass as the Bishop of Rome. I greet all of you with affection, especially you, dear priests, who, like myself, today recall the day of your ordination.

Anointing of Jesus/ From Augustine's "La ...

“Anointing of Jesus,” St Augustine’s “The City of God,” book I-X.

The readings of our Mass speak of God’s “anointed ones”: the suffering Servant of Isaiah, King David and Jesus our Lord. All three have this in common: the anointing that they receive is meant in turn to anoint God’s faithful people, whose servants they are; they are anointed for the poor, for prisoners, for the oppressed… A fine image of this “being for” others can be found in the Psalm: “It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down upon the collar of his robe” (Ps 133:2). The image of spreading oil, flowing down from the beard of Aaron upon the collar of his sacred robe, is an image of the priestly anointing which, through Christ, the Anointed One, reaches the ends of the earth, represented by the robe.

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Francis: Election of a Pope from the Ends of the Earth

francesco nuovo papa.jpg

The Vatican Information Service reported today that a documentary will be published on the new pontificate. The documentary is titled, “Francesco – Elezione di un Papa che viene dalla fine del mondo” (Francis: Election of a Pope from the Ends of the Earth) … made in collaboration with the Officina della Comunicazione (OC) and the Italian newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera.


The DVD will be distributed as a supplement to the Friday, 2 April edition of the newspaper.” On its own the Italian version will cost 10.90 euro; English, Spanish and French editions are planned.


“The documentary registers the events following Pope Benedict XVI’s renunciation of the papacy, the days of the Sede Vacante, and the conclave that brought the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new Pope. Through images and previously unpublished interviews with four cardinals–Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Peter; Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals–it reconstructs the most important stages of this period, culminating in the meeting of the two pontiffs this past Saturday, 23 March, in Castel Gandolfo.”

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Following Jesus means stepping outside ourselves, Pope tells us today

The first Wednesday General Audience of Pope Francis was delivered today. Indeed, Pope Francis is moving us away from the narcissism in which we find ourselves, either personally, or as a Church. The Pope’s text follows, and Vatican Radio’s carrying of the English portion of the address.


Georg Gaenswein and Pope Francis 27 Mar 2013.jpg

I am pleased to welcome you to my first general audience. With deep gratitude and veneration I am taking up the “witness” from the hands of my beloved predecessor, Benedict XVI. After Easter we will resume the catechesis on the Year of Faith. Today I would like to focus a little on Holy Week. With Palm Sunday we began this week – the center of the whole liturgical year – in which we accompany Jesus in His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

But what does it mean for us to live Holy Week? What does it means to follow Jesus on His way to the Cross on Calvary and the Resurrection? In His earthly mission, Jesus walked the streets of the Holy Land; He called twelve simple people to remain with Him, to share His journey and continue His mission; He chose them among the people full of faith in the promises of God. He spoke to everyone, without distinction, to the great and the lowly; to the rich young man and the poor widow, the powerful and the weak; He brought the mercy and forgiveness of God to all; He healed, comforted, understood, gave hope, He led all to the presence of God, who is interested in every man and woman, like a good father and a good mother is interested in each child. God did not wait for us to go to Him, but He moved towards us, without calculation, without measures. This is how God is: He is always the first, He moves towards us. Jesus lived the daily realities of most ordinary people: He was moved by the crowd that seemed like a flock without a shepherd, and He cried in front of the suffering of Martha and Mary on the death of their brother Lazarus; He called a tax collector to be His disciple and also suffered the betrayal of a friend. In Christ, God has given us the assurance that He is with us, in our midst. “Foxes”, Jesus said, “have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest His head” (Mt 8:20). Jesus did not have a home because His house is the people — that is, us; His mission is to open all God’s doors, to be the loving presence of God.

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Private notes of Jorge Bergoglio from pre-conclave meetings published

Reading the notes from the pre-conclave meetings of the cardinals meeting in the General Congregation is not usual reading material for most people. One has to admit that it is interesting to know what the cardinals think and what they verbalize with regard to the life of the Church and the proposal for future ministry. Zenit.org published today the notes of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis). Nothing really new except that now we know with better certainty the perspective of the made elected the Supreme Pontiff. The notes follow:


The archbishop of Havana says that a speech given by Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) during the cardinals’ pre-conclave meetings was “masterful” and “clear.”


Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino spoke of Cardinal Bergoglio’s speech at a Mass on Saturday in Cuba, having returned home from his trip to Rome to bid farewell to Benedict, participate in the conclave, and welcome Francis.

Cardinal Ortega said that Cardinal Bergoglio gave him the handwritten notes of the speech, and the permission to share the contents.


“Allow me to let you know, almost as an absolute first fruit, the thought of the Holy Father Francis on the mission of the Church,” Cardinal Ortega said.

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Pope Francis’ books draw on Ignatian spirituality

Have you been wondering what the Pope has published? Well, look no further. L’Osservatore Romano is publishing an article in tomorrow’s edition on Francis’ books. With Pope Francis leading the Church I think there will be a resurgence of Ignatian spirituality –as distinct from “Jesuit spirituality”, inhabiting our Christian lives. I am sure these books will be published in various languages before long.

The first two books in Italian by Jorge Mario Bergoglio were presented on Tuesday, 26 March in the offices of Civiltà Cattolica. They are published by Editrice Missionaria Italiana (Emi): Umiltà, la strada verso Dio (Bologna, 2013,  64 pages, € 6.90, with an afterword by Enzo Bianchi) and Guarire dalla corruzione (Bologna 2013, 64 pages, € 6.90, with an afterword by Pietro Grasso) and are collections of  addresses that the Cardinal Archbishop of  Buenos Aires gave in 2005 to the faithful of the archdiocese.

Both books draw on the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola to describe  its deep inner workings and offer solutions to extremely pertinent phenomena such as corruption in both society and the Church, as well as the urgent need for an ecclesial life distinguished by brotherly holiness.

Speakers at the meeting chaired by Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor-in-chief  of the Jesuit journal, were Lucetta Scaraffia, an Italian historian, Fr Luigi Ciotti and Lorenzo FazzinI, director of Editrice Missionaria Italiana.

Bergoglio stated:

“Factions fighting to impose the hegemony of their own viewpoint and preferences are  fairly common in religious communities, both local and provincial. This occurs when charitable openness to neighbour is replaced by each individual’s own ideas. It is no longer the religious  family as a whole which the religious defends, but only the part of it that concerns him. People no longer adhere to the unity that contributes to configuring the Body of Christ, but rather to the divisive, distorting, and debilitating conflict. For formation teachers and superiors it is not always easy to inculcate a sense of belonging to the family spirit, especially when it is necessary to shape inner attitudes, even small ones, but which have repercussions at this level of the institutional body. One of the effective attitudes that must acquire substance in the hearts of young religious is that of ‘self-accusation’, for it is in the absence of this practice that the spirit of  separation and division is rooted. It is therefore essential first of all to ban every  reference, even an unconscious one, and every kind of pharisaic attitude that presents self-accusation as something puerile or characteristic of the cowardly. Self-accusation, rather, presupposes a rare courage in order to open the door to unknown realities and let others see beyond my appearance. It means removing all our make-up so that the truth may shine through.

The accusation of ourselves (which is only a means) is the basis in which the fundamental option puts down roots: for anti-individualism and for a family and Church spirit which brings us to relate as good children and good siblings, so as to succeed later in being good parents. Accusing ourselves implies a fundamentally communitarian attitude.”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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