Pope Francis prays for the
migrants killed this week by an air strike on a detention center in Libya, and
recalls the many victims of massacres in Afghanistan, Mali, Burkina Faso and
By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis on Sunday invited the faithful to join him in
prayer for the “poor, unarmed people who were killed or injured by an air
strike on a detention center for migrants in Libya”.
addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus
assessment of the attack reported that 53 people were killed in the strike,
including 6 children, and that 130 others were injured.
said “there are reports that following the first impact, some refugees and
migrants were fired upon by guards as they tried to escape.”
international community, the Pope added, must not tolerate such serious
went on to express his hope that “humanitarian corridors may be opened in an
organized and concerted manner for the migrants who are most in need”.
the Pope said he wished to remember “all the victims of the recent massacres in
Afghanistan, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger,” and before saying goodbye to the
faithful he had a special greeting for the Eritrean community in Rome to whom
he said: “I pray for your people!”
Photo: (Julia Le Duc | AP Photo)
The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto MartínezRamírez and his nearly
2-year-old daughter, Valeria, lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros,
Mexico, Monday, June 24, 2019, after they drowned trying to cross the river to
Brownsville, Texas. Pope Franc is “profoundly saddened by their death, and
is praying for them and for all migrants who have lost their lives while
seeking to flee war and misery.”
expressed sadness over the fate of the father and young daughter who drowned in
the Rio Grande while trying to cross into the United States.
immense sadness, the Holy Father has seen the images of the father and his baby
daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande River while trying to cross the border
between Mexico and the United States,” the Vatican’s interim spokesman,
Alessandro Gisotti, said in a statement.
is profoundly saddened by their death, and is praying for them and for all
migrants who have lost their lives while seeking to flee war and misery.”
which have been widely published around the world, show the bodies of a father
and his 23-month-old daughter face down along the banks of the Rio Grande near
Matamoros, Mexico, across the river from Brownsville, Texas.
in off-the-cuff comments during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square, the
pontiff complimented the people of Mexico for being “so welcoming to migrants.
God bless you.” A group of Mexicans attending the audience cheered and waved a
Mexican flag in response.
has frequently been vocal in his support of Mexico’s efforts to help migrants
and critical of the U.S. for blocking them at the border. During a visit to the
U.S.-Mexico border in 2016, he criticized then-presidential candidate Donald
Trump, suggesting that anyone who wanted to build a wall along the border was
“not a Christian.”
the pontiff donated $500,000 to help migrants in Mexico, offering assistance to
local projects that provide food, lodging and basic necessities.
Photo: Pope Francis blesses a child after celebrating a Mass for migrants on the sixth anniversary of his trip to the island of Lampedusa, in the Vatican July 8, 2019. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS
Francis said on Monday that “no one is exempt” from helping migrants,
in an indirect rebuke of Italy’s hardline interior minister MatteoSalvini who
has tried to shut the country’s ports to non-governmental migrant rescue ships.
celebrated a closed-door Mass especially for migrants in St. Peter’s Basilica
on the sixth anniversary of his trip to Lampedusa, the southern island where
tens of thousands of migrants from north Africa have arrived in recent years.
Thousands have died at sea trying to make it there.
least ones (among us) are abandoned and cheated into dying in the desert; these
least ones are tortured, abused and violated in detention camps; these least
ones face the waves of an unforgiving sea; these least ones are left in
reception camps too long for them to be called temporary,” said Francis.
was broadcast on television but journalists and the general public were not
allowed to attend in order to preserve the intimacy of the occasion. It was
attended by some 250 people, including migrants, volunteers and representatives
of Church groups and other organizations that help migrants.
last month adopted new rules threatening NGO ships entering territorial waters
without permission with large fines and the impounding of vessels. One captain
migration policy has led to clashes between NGOs and the authorities. Italy’s
coalition government, which includes Salvini’s right-wing League, has also
accused other European countries of leaving it alone to deal with sea arrivals.
migrants came ashore on Sunday from a rescue boat that had breached for the
second time in a week Salvini’s ban.
weakest and most vulnerable must be helped,” the pope said in his homily
is a tremendous responsibility, from which no one is exempt if we wish to
fulfil the mission of salvation and liberation, in which the Lord himself has
called us to cooperate.”
appeared to be a reference to the recent stand-off between the Italian
government and the charity ships, a prayer read by one of the participants
said: “Lord Jesus, bless the rescuers in the Mediterranean Sea, and make
grow in each of us the courage of truth and respect for every human life.”
Francis says “sadness is not a Christian attitude”. Speaking to the faithful at
morning Mass he commented on how it is possible to overcome the difficulties of
life with the support and closeness of the Holy Spirit.
Francis reflected on the Holy Spirit, the protagonist, he said, of the Gospel
passage of the day. He was speaking during his homily at Mass on Tuesday
morning at the Casa Santa Marta
on Jesus’ farewell speech to the disciples before going to Heaven, the Pope
said He gives us a true catechesis on the Holy Spirit.
disciples, he noted, are sad to hear that their Master will soon leave them,
but Jesus reproaches them pointing out that although “grief has filled your
hearts, (…) it is better for you that I go”.
can one not be sad?” he continued, and said that “to counter sadness, we pray
to the Lord to keep the renewed youth of the spirit within us”.
It is the
Holy Spirit, the Pope said, who ensures that we continue to be renewed and
youthful in our faith.
Christians must not be
Spirit, Pope Francis explained, gives us the capacity to carry our crosses. He
reflected on the reading from the Acts of the Apostles that tells of how Paul
and Silas, who had been stripped, beaten, chained and imprisoned, sang hymns to
Spirit, he said, renews everything. The Holy Spirit accompanies us in life and
sustains us. And calling the Spirit the ‘Paraclete’, the Pope explained the
meaning of this “strange” word – which – he said, refers to “He who is near me
and supports me so that I don’t fall, so I keep my spirit youthful”.
Christian is always young,” the Pope continued, and when the heart of a
Christian begins to age, so does his Christian vocation.
you are young in heart and soul, or you are not fully Christian” he said.
Daily dialogue with the
Spirit allows us to go forward:
said that there is sorrow and pain in all of our lives, but he highlighted the
example of Paul and Silas who were beaten and were suffering, and yet, he said
“they were full of joy, they sang…”
explained that this is where the “youthful” part comes in as youth looks ahead
with hope. But to be able to have this youthful attitude, he added, we need a
daily dialogue with the Holy Spirit, who is always with us.
the great gift that Jesus left us: this support, which allows us to go forward”
Sin makes the soul grow
old, the Spirit keeps it young:
Francis concluded his homily with words of encouragement and hope saying that
even if we are sinners, the Spirit helps us to repent and look ahead: “speak to
the Spirit who will give you support and restore your youthfulness”.
the other hand, he said ages one: “the soul ages, everything ages”.
there are difficult moments, but in these moments “we feel that the Spirit
helps us to move forward (…) and to overcome difficulties. Even martyrdom,”
ask the Lord not to lose this renewed youthfulness, not to be Christians who
have retired and have lost their joy,” he said: “a Christian never retires, a
Christian lives because he is young – when he is a true Christian”.
Vatican announces the date of the canonization of Blessed John Henry Newman
along with four others on the third Sunday of October 2019.
At a Consistory of cardinals on Monday, Pope Francis formally approved Blessed John Henry Newman’s canonisation along with that of Sister Mariam Thresia, of GiuseppinaVannini, of Dulce Lopes Pontes and of Margarita Bays.
February, the Pope signed a decree recognising a second miracle attributed to
Blessed John Henry Newman, the inexplicable healing of a woman with a
Henry Newman was one of the most prominent converts to Catholicism from
Anglicanism of the 19th century. He was already an esteemed Anglican theologian
when he founded the Oxford Movement to return the Church of England to its
Catholic roots, before himself converting to the Catholic faith. He was
renowned as a brilliant thinker and was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. He
died in Birmingham in 1890, aged 89, after founding the Birmingham Oratory.
Thresia of India is the founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the
Sister GiuseppinaVannini is the founder of the Daughters of
Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes of the Congregation of the
Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God.Marguerite Bays of Switzerland, of the Third Order of
Saint Francis of Assisi.
Photo/Gregorio Borgia) Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Camerino, Italy, Sunday,
June 16, 2019.
Francis called Friday for a reform of the way theology is taught in Catholic
schools, saying students must learn about dialogue with Judaism and Islam, and
that overall there must be greater freedom in theological research and academic
Jesuit pope made the call during a speech at the Jesuit-run theology university
in Naples. It follows his outreach this year to the Muslim world with the
signing of a joint statement with the imam of Cairo’s Al Azhar, the seat of
Sunni learning, establishing the relationship between Catholics and Muslims as
brothers, with a common mission to promote peace.
speech, Francis said dialogue and partnership with the Muslim world is
necessary “to build a peaceful existence, even when there are the troublesome
episodes by fanatic enemies of dialogue.”
theology students must learn the culture, language and way of thinking of Jews
and Muslims, he said, “to better understand and live out our relationship.”
theologically doctrinaire papacies of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI,
Francis has stressed instead the need to “walk together” with interfaith
partners, often joking that theologians should ruminate on a deserted island
while religious leaders press ahead with dialogue on the ground. He has also
called for a more pastoral, merciful and conscience-driven approach to sticky
theological problems, such as Communion for the civilly remarried.