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(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports)

2016 HOLY WEEK & EASTER AT THE VATICAN

POPE FRANCIS LAUNCHES "FRANCISCUS" INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT
["I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of the mercy and tenderness of God."]


MARCH 20 -
Pope Francis launches Instagram account, 19 March, 2016. - AFP Pope Francis today launched his new INSTAGRAM account with a tweet in which he said: "I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of the mercy and tenderness of God." It was Pope Francis himself who inaugurated his account, called "Franciscus," from his residence at the Casa Santa Marta. He also posted his first image, a picture of himself in prayer. To create his startup profile, the Holy Father was assisted by Kevin Systrom, the CEO and co-founder of Instagram, and Msgr. Lucio Adrian Ruiz, secretary of the Secretariat for Communication. Founded in 2010, Instagram has approximately 400 million users worldwide and shares photos and videos with a community of followers. The launch of the Pope’s Instagram account will increase his substantial presence on social media platforms. His Twitter account, with the hashtag “@Pontifex,” has more than 26 million followers. Speaking earlier this week with Vatican Radio, the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Monsignor Dario Viganò said the decision to open an Instagram account arises from the Pope’s conviction that pictures can reveal many things that words can’t. The aim of this papal Instagram account, he said, is to tell the story of the Pontificate of Pope Francis through images. FULL REPORT, MORE INSTAGRAM PHOTOS...

ALSO: FROM VATICAN RADIO - Pope Francis presided Procession & Mass of Palm Sunday


MARCH 20 -Pope Francis walks in Procession during the Solemn Mass for Palm Sunday. - AP (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday presided at the Procession and Mass for Palm Sunday, as the Church enters into the celebration of Holy Week. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem one week before His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Listen to Seàn-Patrick Lovett's report: DOWNLOAD AUDIO HERE The crowds in Jerusalem joyfully welcomed Jesus, the Pope said in his homily, and "we have made that enthusiasm our own: by waving our olive and palm branches we have expressed our praise and our joy, our desire to receive Jesus who comes to us." The Holy Father continued: "Nothing could dampen their enthusiasm for Jesus’ entry. May nothing prevent us from finding in Him the source of our joy, true joy, which abides and brings peace; for it is Jesus alone who saves us from the snares of sin, death, fear and sadness." Pope Francis' homily focused on the redemptive Passion of Jesus, who emptied Himself, dying on the Cross for our sake. Even "at the height of His annihilation, He reveals the true face of God, which is mercy."

ALSO: HOLY THURSDAY -
Pope Francis celebrated the Missa in coena Domini – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper


MARCH 24 -Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass in Coena Domini at Castelnuovo di Porto - 2016 - RadioVatican
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated the Missa in coena Domini – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper – on Thursday, leading the Church of Rome into the sacred Paschal Triduum that culminates in the great Easter Vigil in the night between Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday. This year, the Holy Father celebrated the Lord’s Supper at a temporary welcome and living facility for refugees and asylum-seekers located on the outskirts of Rome. At present, the C.A.R.A. Centre – as it is acronymously styled in Italian – is host to nearly 900 asylum-seekers from 25 different countries spread across Africa, Asia, and even Europe. The Auxilium cooperative is present at the Centre, as well, performing educational, cultural and legal services for the C.A.R.A. guests. Auxilium was founded by an energetic group of university students from Italy’s Basilicata region in 1999, and has grown into a nationwide service organization with international partners. READ MORE...RELATED,
Pope Francis will once again focus attention on marginalized members of society during the traditional “Washing of the Feet” ceremony – also known as the “Mandatum”...  AND, Holy Thursday 'Missa in coena Domini': Pope calls for acts of fraternity...

ALSO: GOOD FRIDAY - Pope Francis at the Via Crucis at the Coliseum


MARCH 26 -Pope Francis on Friday evening presided over the Stations of the Cross in the Coliseum. - AFP
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday evening presided over the Stations of the Cross in the Coliseum. During his prayer at the end of the service, the Holy Father lamented the those Christians killed for their faith by “barbarous blades amid cowardly silence, as well as the fact the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas had become “insatiable cemeteries,” blaming “our indifferent and anaesthetised conscience.” Stations of the Cross of Good Friday (Coliseum – 2016) O Cross of Christ! O Cross of Christ, symbol of divine love and of human injustice, icon of the supreme sacrifice for love and of boundless selfishness even unto madness, instrument of death and the way of resurrection, sign of obedience and emblem of betrayal, the gallows of persecution and the banner of victory. O Cross of Christ, today too we see you raised up in our sisters and brothers killed, burned alive, throats slit and decapitated by barbarous blades amid cowardly silence. O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the faces of children, of women and people, worn out and fearful, who flee from war and violence and who often only find death and many Pilates who wash their hands. O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those filled with knowledge and not with the spirit, scholars of death and not of life, who instead of teaching mercy and life, threaten with punishment and death, and who condemn the just. O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in unfaithful ministers who, instead of stripping themselves of their own vain ambitions, divest even the innocent of their dignity. O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the hardened hearts of those who easily judge others, with hearts ready to condemn even to the point of stoning, without ever recognizing their own sins and faults. O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in expressions of fundamentalism and in terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence.  O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those who wish to remove you from public places and exclude you from public life, in the name of a pagan laicism or that equality you yourself taught us. O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the powerful and in arms dealers who feed the cauldron of war with the innocent blood of our brothers and sisters, and give their children blood-soaked bread to eat. READ MORE...ALSO, WATCH VIDEO-- Pope Francis opens the Holy Door in a Roman homeless center... ALSO,
'Homeless Jesus:' the new statue installed in the Vatican...

ALSO: SATURDAY EASTER  VIGIL - Pope at Easter Vigil urges us to let Risen Christ into our lives


Pope Francis holds a candle during the Easter Vigil mass at the Saint Peter's Basilica - ANSA
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday evening presided at the Easter Vigil in St Peter’s Basilica, with the baptism of 12 catechumens from Italy, Albania, Cameroon, Korea, India and China. In his homily the Pope reflected on the actions of Peter who ran to Jesus’ tomb on the first Easter morning. Even though he, like the other disciples, had not believed the testimony of the women who had already found the empty grave, the Pope noted that Peter was not overwhelmed by doubt or consumed by remorse. Like the women who had gone to bury the body, the Pope said, Peter did not give into sadness and darkness but allowed the light of God to enter his heart. Like Peter and the women, he said, let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but instead break open our sealed tombs and let the Risen Christ into our hearts. Though we will always encounter problem, we must let the light of Christ shine on them, knowing that He is always at our side and will not let us down Pope Francis said this certainty is the foundation of our Christian hope which is not mere optimism or a desire to be courageous. The Spirit, he said, does not remove evil with a magic wand. But rather He pours into us the vitality of life and the knowledge that Christ has conquered fear, sin and death, compelling us to set out and announce this Easter message to others.READ MORE... Please find below the English translation of Pope Francis’ homily at the Mass of the Easter Vigil...WATCH VIDEOS...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Pope Francis launches "Franciscus" Instagram account


Pope Francis launches Instagram account, 19 March, 2016. - AFP

MANILA, MARCH 28, 2016 (VATICAN RADIO) Pope Francis today launched his new INSTAGRAM account with a tweet in which he said: "I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of the mercy and tenderness of God."

Listen to Seàn-Patrick Lovett's report: DOWNLOAD AUDIO HERE

It was Pope Francis himself who inaugurated his account, called "Franciscus," from his residence at the Casa Santa Marta. He also posted his first image, a picture of himself in prayer.

To create his startup profile, the Holy Father was assisted by Kevin Systrom, the CEO and co-founder of Instagram, and Msgr. Lucio Adrian Ruiz, secretary of the Secretariat for Communication.

Founded in 2010, Instagram has approximately 400 million users worldwide and shares photos and videos with a community of followers. The launch of the Pope’s Instagram account will increase his substantial presence on social media platforms. His Twitter account, with the hashtag “@Pontifex,” has more than 26 million followers.

Speaking earlier this week with Vatican Radio, the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Monsignor Dario Viganò said the decision to open an Instagram account arises from the Pope’s conviction that pictures can reveal many things that words can’t.

The aim of this papal Instagram account, he said, is to tell the story of the Pontificate of Pope Francis through images.

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CBC NEWS CANADA

#Blessed? Pope Francis begins 'new journey,' joins Instagram; He's already scored himself more than 750,000 followers By Haydn Watters, CBC News Posted: Mar 19, 2016 3:22 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 20, 2016 11:02 AM ET


Insta-pope: Francis has joined Instagram

Pope Francis has upped his social media game yet again. This time, he's gotten himself an Instagram account.

The pontiff joined the social media app Saturday under the moniker @Franciscus — which is Latin for Francis. While he's only had the account for a few hours now, he has already scored himself more than 750,000 followers.

Pope Francis releases rock album Wake Up ​Pope Benedict takes to Twitter His first Instagram post was a photo of himself, head bowed and hands clasped in a praying position, coupled with the caption "Pray for me."

Another photo posted a few hours later shows the Pope bowing his head again behind a large gold cross.

The Vatican says the Instagram feed will include photos and videos from the Pope's daily life that highlight "closeness" and "inclusion."

"Instagram will help recount the Papacy through images, to enable all those who wish to accompany and know more about Pope Francis' pontificate to encounter his gestures of tenderness and mercy," said Monsignor Dario E. Viganò, the prefect of the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications, in a written statement.

The move to Instagram comes after the Pope met with Kevin Systrom, one of the photo-sharing app's co-founders and current CEO. Systrom visited the Pope at the Vatican in late February, where they discussed the power of photographs.

Systrom wrote about Pope Francis joining Instagram, calling it an "incredible moment."

"Your messages of humility, compassion and mercy will leave a lasting mark," he said in a photo he posted on his Instagram account on Saturday.

But he was far from the only one talking.

It started with the Pope on Twitter, where he announced his arrival to Instagram.

The Pope is already a social media star on Twitter, where his English-language account @Pontifex has nearly 9 million followers.



There were also a few guesses about which social platform the Pope turns to next.

Despite admitting he is a technology "dinosaur" that doesn't know how to work a computer, the Pope recently called social media and text messages "a gift of God" if used wisely.


VATICAN RADIO

Pope Francis: Homily for Mass of Palm Sunday


Pope Francis walks in Procession during the Solemn Mass for Palm Sunday. - AP

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday presided at the Procession and Mass for Palm Sunday, as the Church enters into the celebration of Holy Week.

Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem one week before His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

Listen to Seàn-Patrick Lovett's report: DOWNLOAD AUDIO HERE

The crowds in Jerusalem joyfully welcomed Jesus, the Pope said in his homily, and "we have made that enthusiasm our own: by waving our olive and palm branches we have expressed our praise and our joy, our desire to receive Jesus who comes to us."

The Holy Father continued: "Nothing could dampen their enthusiasm for Jesus’ entry. May nothing prevent us from finding in Him the source of our joy, true joy, which abides and brings peace; for it is Jesus alone who saves us from the snares of sin, death, fear and sadness."

Pope Francis' homily focused on the redemptive Passion of Jesus, who emptied Himself, dying on the Cross for our sake. Even "at the height of His annihilation, He reveals the true face of God, which is mercy."

READ MORE...

"If the mystery of evil is unfathomable," the Pope continued, "then the reality of Love poured out through Him is infinite, reaching even to the tomb and to hell. He takes upon Himself all our pain that He may redeem it, bringing light to darkness, life to death, love to hatred."


Pope Francis leads the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week.

God's way of acting, Pope Francis said, may seem very different from our own; nonetheless, we are called to "we are called to choose His way: the way of service, of giving, of forgetfulness of ourselves." Jesus, he concluded, "invites us to walk on his path. Let us turn our faces to Him, let us ask for the grace to understand something of the mystery of His obliteration for our sake; and then, in silence, let us contemplate the mystery of this Week."

Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis' prepared homily for Palm Sunday 2016: Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Palm Sunday, 20 March 2016 (Beginning paragraphs of the full text)

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (cf. Lk 19:38), the crowd of Jerusalem exclaimed joyfully as they welcomed Jesus. We have made that enthusiasm our own: by waving our olive and palm branches we have expressed our praise and our joy, our desire to receive Jesus who comes to us. Just as He entered Jerusalem, so He desires to enter our cities and our lives.


Catholics participate in the Palm Sunday procession - REUTERS

As He did in the Gospel, riding on a donkey, so too He comes to us in humility; He comes “in the name of the Lord”.

Through the power of His divine love He forgives our sins and reconciles us to the Father and with ourselves.

Jesus is pleased with the crowd’s showing their affection for Him. When the Pharisees ask Him to silence the children and the others who are acclaiming Him, He responds: “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Lk 19:40).

Nothing could dampen their enthusiasm for Jesus’ entry. May nothing prevent us from finding in Him the source of our joy, true joy, which abides and brings peace; for it is Jesus alone who saves us from the snares of sin, death, fear and sadness.

Today’s liturgy teaches us that the Lord has not saved us by His triumphal entry or by means of powerful miracles.

The Apostle Paul, in the second reading, epitomizes in two verbs the path of redemption: Jesus “emptied” and “humbled” Himself (Phil 2:7-8).

These two verbs show the boundlessness of God’s love for us. Jesus emptied Himself: He did not cling to the glory that was His as the Son of God, but became the Son of man in order to be in solidarity with us sinners in all things; yet He was without sin. Even more, He lived among us in “the condition of a servant” (v. 7); not of a king or a prince, but of a servant.

Therefore He humbled Himself, and the abyss of His humiliation, as Holy Week shows us, seems to be bottomless.


VATICAN RADIO -HOLY THURSDAY (The Supper of the Lord)

Pope Francis celebrated the Missa in coena Domini – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper


Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass in Coena Domini at Castelnuovo di Porto - 2016 - RadioVatican

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated the Missa in coena Domini – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper – on Thursday, leading the Church of Rome into the sacred Paschal Triduum that culminates in the great Easter Vigil in the night between Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday.

This year, the Holy Father celebrated the Lord’s Supper at a temporary welcome and living facility for refugees and asylum-seekers located on the outskirts of Rome.

At present, the C.A.R.A. Centre – as it is acronymously styled in Italian – is host to nearly 900 asylum-seekers from 25 different countries spread across Africa, Asia, and even Europe.

The Auxilium cooperative is present at the Centre, as well, performing educational, cultural and legal services for the C.A.R.A. guests.

Auxilium was founded by an energetic group of university students from Italy’s Basilicata region in 1999, and has grown into a nationwide service organization with international partners.

READ MORE...

Service was a major theme of the Holy Thursday liturgy: Pope Francis, in imitation of Christ at the Last Supper, performed the ritual washing of the feet of a dozen people – eleven guests of the C.A.R.A. Centre and one woman who works at the Centre for Auxilium.

Four of the guests taking part in the ritual were Nigerian Catholics, three others – all three women – were Coptic Christians from Eritrea, three others were Muslims from Syria, Pakistan and Mali, and one was an Indian Hindu.

The majority of the guests at the facility are Muslim, and there are many Protestants and Coptic Christians as well – though the Auxilium group that operates the Centre – since 2014 – informs that there has never been any tension as a result of the religious diversity of the guests, and that among all the guests and Auxilium staff there was enormous enthusiasm for the Papal visit.

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RELATED FROM VATICAN RADIO (RV)

Pope Francis will once again focus attention on marginalized members of society during the traditional “Washing of the Feet” ceremony – also known as the “Mandatum”


Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass in Coena Domini at Castelnuovo di Porto - 2016 - RadioVatican


Vatican Radio) Pope Francis will once again focus attention on marginalized members of society during the traditional “Washing of the Feet” ceremony – also known as the “Mandatum” – on Holy Thursday.

The ceremony this year will take place during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which the Pope will celebrate at the Centre for Asylum Seekers (Centro di Accoglienza per Richiedenti Asilo, or CARA) in Castelnuovo di Porto, located 25 kilometres north of Rome.

There he will wash the feet of twelve refugees from various countries; in previous years, he has invited prisoners, the elderly, and disabled persons to take part in the ceremony.

To help understand the Biblical and Pastoral significance of the Mandatum, Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, offers the following reflection on the ceremony:


Biblical and Pastoral Reflection on Feet Washing on Holy Thursday
By Father Thomas Rosica, CSB
CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
English language attaché, Holy See Press Office

Both the Jewish and Christian traditions view eating and feasting as more than simply an opportunity to refuel the body, enjoy certain delicacies, or celebrate a particular occasion. Eating and feasting became for both traditions, encounters with transcendent realities and even union with the divine. In the New Testament, so much of Jesus’ own ministry took place during meals at table.

Jesus attends many meals throughout the four Gospels: with Levi and his business colleagues, with Simon the Pharisee, with Lazarus and his sisters in Bethany, with Zacchaeus and the crowd in Jericho, with outcasts and centurions, with crowds on Galilean hillsides, and with disciples in their homes. It is ultimately during the final meal that Jesus leaves us with his most precious gift in the Eucharist.


It is as though the whole history of salvation ends tonight just as it begins — with bare feet and the voice of God speaking to us through his own flesh and blood: “As I have done for you, so you must also do.” The washing of the feet is integral to the Last Supper. It is John’s way of saying to Christ’s followers throughout the ages: “You must remember his sacrifice in the Mass, but you must also remember his admonition to go out and serve the world.” FROM SALT & LIGHT TV ONLINE

The Scripture readings for Holy Thursday root us deeply in our Jewish past: celebrating the Passover with the Jewish people, receiving from St. Paul that which was handed on to him, namely the Eucharistic banquet, and looking at Jesus squarely in the face as he kneels before us to wash our feet in humble service.

Instead of presenting to us one of the synoptic Gospel stories of the “institution” of the Eucharist, the Church offers us John’s account of the disturbing posture of the Master kneeling before his friends to wash their feet in a gesture of humility and service.

As Jesus wraps a towel around his waist, takes a pitcher of water, stoops down and begins washing the feet of his disciples, he teaches his friends that liberation and new life are won not in presiding over multitudes from royal thrones nor by the quantity of bloody sacrifices offered on temple altars but by walking with the lowly and poor and serving them as a foot washer along the journey.

It is as though the whole history of salvation ends tonight just as it begins — with bare feet and the voice of God speaking to us through his own flesh and blood: “As I have done for you, so you must also do.”

The washing of the feet is integral to the Last Supper. It is the evangelist John’s way of saying to Christ’s followers throughout the ages: “You must remember his sacrifice in the Mass, but you must also remember his admonition to go out and serve the world.”


IMAGE FROM SALT & LIGHT TV

At the Last Supper, Jesus teaches us that true authority in the Church comes from being a servant, from laying down our lives for our friends. His life is a feast for the poor and for sinners. It must be the same for those who receive the Lord’s body and blood. From the Eucharist must flow a certain style of communitarian life, a genuine care for our neighbors, and for strangers.

Three years ago on Holy Thursday evening, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 young people at a Roman Juvenile Detention Center, including young women, and two Muslims.

That Pope Francis washed the feet of young men and women in a detention centre in Rome on his first Holy Thursday, and has continued that gesture over the past Holy Thursdays in a centre for the elderly and infirm and then a maximum security facility in Rome, should call our minds and hearts to the simple and spontaneous gesture of love, affection, forgiveness and mercy that have been the hallmarks of the Bishop of Rome since his election in March 2013.

Just as Jesus gave an example to his disciples in the humble gesture of foot washing, so too the Vicar of Christ offers us an example that we might learn from it and imitate this gesture.

Pope Francis’ simple gesture of washing the feet speaks for itself. He has taught the world profound messages over the past three years of his Petrine ministry to the world. He has brought many to Jesus Christ through the simplicity of his messages and gestures. He shows us how to put the Eucharist into practice in our daily lives.

 
The Passion of the Christ video of the Last Supper with the song "Rememberance" by Matt Maher. Category Film & Animation License Standard YouTube License Music "Remembrance (Communion Song)" by Matt Maher (Google Play • iTunes)
https://youtu.be/ItcURbkjXOA


Matt Maher is a versatile songwriter who has been on a journey that began in full-time ministry at his home church, and now up to being seen as a respected worship leader with an international platform. Along the way, Maher has ventured to build bridges between communities and inspire others to creative excellence-all for the glory of God.

LYRICS TO THE VIDEO SONG BACKGROUND, MATT's 'REMEMBRANCE'

"Remembrance"
Oh, how could it be
That my God would welcome me into this mystery
Say take this bread, take this wine
Now the simple made divine for any to receive
By Your mercy, we come to Your table
By Your grace, You are making us faithful
Lord, we remember You
And remembrance leads us to worship
And as we worship You
Our worship leads to communion
We respond to Your invitation, we remember You
See His body, His blood
Know that He has overcome every trial we will face
None too lost to be saved
None too broken or ashamed, all are welcome in this place
By Your mercy, we come to Your table
By Your grace, You are making us faithful
Lord, we remember You
And remembrance leads us to worship
And as we worship You
Our worship leads to communion
We respond to Your invitation, we remember You
Dying You destroyed our death
Rising You restored our life
Lord Jesus, come in glory
Lord Jesus, come in glory
Lord Jesus, come in glory
Lord Jesus, come in glory
Lord, we remember You
And remembrance leads us to worship
And as we worship You
Our worship leads to communion
We respond to Your invitation
We respond to Your invitation, we remember You
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RELATED FROM VATICA RADIO
Holy Thursday 'Missa in coena Domini': Pope calls for acts of fraternity


Pope's gesture to refugees seen as vital sign of welcome

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday evening celebrated the Missa in coena Domini – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper – leading the Church of Rome into the great three-day liturgical action that culminates in the great Easter Vigil. The Holy Father celebrated the first liturgy of the Triduum at the C.A.R.A.

Welcome and Hospitality Centre operated by the Auxilium cooperative. Located a short distance outside the Rome city limits, in Castelnuovo di Porto, the Centre currently provides temporary lodging and services to 892 asylum seekers from 25 different countries. Click below to hear our report

In his homily, Pope Francis renewed his condemnation of those who – like Judas Iscariot – sow discord for gain and trade in arms, selling the tools of bloodshed for profit.

“Each of us has a story, each of you has a story you carry with you.

Many crosses, many sorrows: but also an open heart that wants brotherhood.

The Holy Father also spoke of the communicative power of concrete actions, saying that gestures of fraternity, concord and peace among people of different religion and cultural tradition who truly desire peace and resolve to live as brothers and sisters is a powerful witness to a world sorely in need of such signs.

“Let each, in his religious language,” concluded Pope Francis, “pray the Lord that this brotherhood be contagious in the world, that there be no 30 pieces of silver to purchase a brother’s murder, that there be always brotherhood and goodness.”


VATICAN RADIO -GOOD FRIDAY

Pope Francis at the Via Crucis at the Coliseum 26/03/2016 06:54SHARE:


Pope Francis on Friday evening presided over the Stations of the Cross outside the Coliseum of Rome on March 25, 2016. - AFP

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday evening presided over the Stations of the Cross in the Coliseum. During his prayer at the end of the service, the Holy Father lamented the those Christians killed for their faith by “barbarous blades amid cowardly silence, as well as the fact the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas had become “insatiable cemeteries,” blaming “our indifferent and anaesthetised conscience.”

Stations of the Cross of Good Friday
(Coliseum – 2016)

O Cross of Christ!
O Cross of Christ, symbol of divine love and of human injustice, icon of the supreme sacrifice for love and of boundless selfishness even unto madness, instrument of death and the way of resurrection, sign of obedience and emblem of betrayal, the gallows of persecution and the banner of victory.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you raised up in our sisters and brothers killed, burned alive, throats slit and decapitated by barbarous blades amid cowardly silence.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the faces of children, of women and people, worn out and fearful, who flee from war and violence and who often only find death and many Pilates who wash their hands.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those filled with knowledge and not with the spirit, scholars of death and not of life, who instead of teaching mercy and life, threaten with punishment and death, and who condemn the just.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in unfaithful ministers who, instead of stripping themselves of their own vain ambitions, divest even the innocent of their dignity.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the hardened hearts of those who easily judge others, with hearts ready to condemn even to the point of stoning, without ever recognizing their own sins and faults.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in expressions of fundamentalism and in terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those who wish to remove you from public places and exclude you from public life, in the name of a pagan laicism or that equality you yourself taught us.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the powerful and in arms dealers who feed the cauldron of war with the innocent blood of our brothers and sisters, and give their children blood-soaked bread to eat.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in traitors who, for thirty pieces of silver, would consign anyone to death.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in thieves and corrupt officials who, instead of safeguarding the common good and morals, sell themselves in the despicable market-place of immorality.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the foolish who build warehouses to store up treasures that perish, leaving Lazarus to die of hunger at their doorsteps.


"O Cross of Christ, Today Too We See You. Teach Us" Whispers in the Loggia

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the destroyers of our “common home”, who by their selfishness ruin the future of coming generations.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the elderly who have been abandoned by their families, in the disabled and in children starving and cast-off by our egotistical and hypocritical society.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas which have become insatiable cemeteries, reflections of our indifferent and anesthetized conscience.

O Cross of Christ, image of love without end and way of the Resurrection, today too we see you in noble and upright persons who do good without seeking praise or admiration from others.

O Cross of Christ, we, too, see you in ministers who are faithful and humble, who illuminate the darkness of our lives like candles that burn freely in order to brighten the lives of the least among us.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the faces of consecrated women and men – good Samaritans – who have left everything to bind up, in evangelical silence, the wounds of poverty and injustice.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the merciful who have found in mercy the greatest expression of justice and faith.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in simple men and women who live their faith joyfully day in and day out, in filial observance of your commandments.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the contrite, who in the depths of the misery of their sins, are able to cry out: Lord, remember me in your kingdom!

O Cross of Christ, we, too, see you in the blessed and the saints who know how to cross the dark night of faith without ever losing trust in you and without claiming to understand your mysterious silence.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in families that live their vocation of married life in fidelity and fruitfulness.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in volunteers who generously assist those in need and the downtrodden.

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those persecuted for their faith who, amid their suffering, continue to offer an authentic witness to Jesus and the Gospel.


O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in ministers who are faithful and humble, who illuminate the darkness of our lives like candles that burn freely in order to brighten the lives of the least among us. PHOTO FROM SALT & LIGHT TV

O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those who dream, those with the heart of a child, who work to make the world a better place, ever more human and just.

In you, Holy Cross, we see God who loves even to the end, and we see the hatred of those who want to dominate, that hatred which blinds the minds and hearts of those who prefer darkness to light.

O Cross of Christ, Arc of Noah that saved humanity from the flood of sin, save us from evil and from the Evil One. O Throne of David and seal of the divine and eternal Covenant, awaken us from the seduction of vanity! O cry of love, inspire in us a desire for God, for goodness and for light.

O Cross of Christ, teach us that the rising of the sun is more powerful than the darkness of night.

O Cross of Christ, teach us that the apparent victory of evil vanishes before the empty tomb and before the certainty of the Resurrection and the love of God which nothing can defeat, obscure or weaken. Amen!

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Pope Francis opens the Holy Door in a Roman homeless center 2015-12-18 10.2K ? 0 ? HTTP://ROMEREPORTS.COM

(VIDEO ONLY) Pope Francis opened the "Holy Door of Charity” at a center for homeless people, located at Rome's main rail station. He prayed to a litany of saints moments before and mentioned Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a "martyr of charity.”

 

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'Homeless Jesus:' the new statue installed in the Vatican 2016-03-26 607 ? 0 ?


Homeless Jesus – a Visual Prayer --BY SARAH MAC DONALD | JOURNALIST: Visual reminders are necessary as they can stir people into action when statistics fail to find a listening ear. This is the effect Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, who has become renowned for his “Homeless Jesus” sculptures, hopes art should impart to its perceivers. Commenting on the same statue which was installed in Dublin in May, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said: “For the Christian, the homeless are not just statistics; our belief recalls that the plight of the homeless is our plight. This image of the “Homeless Jesus” reminds us of the demands of belief in Jesus Christ. It challenges us, before we feel we can enter the cathedral, if we have the right credentials to enter.” THE WORLD MISSION MAGAZINE ONLINE, PART OF THE JANUARY 2016 ISSUE.


The “Homeless Jesus” sculpture was installed Feb. 21 in front of St. Alban’s Episcopal in Davidson. (Angie Moses/Herald Weekly photo)

You will not recognize his face. He could be one among many who roam the streets without a roof for the night. However, he is nothing less than Christ. The remains of the crucifixion are what the holes in his feet reveal.

This is the new bronze statue the Pope blessed during the Jubilee of Mercy. It will remain in the Vatican, alongside the Pope's charity offices, dedicated to the poor in the area.

The life-size piece of work was crafted by Canadian sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz. He says what moved him to do it was a homeless person he found sleeping on a bench during the Christmas holidays.

It is not the only sculpture by this specialized artist that reflects powerful images, scenes or themes related to the Gospel.


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HOLY SATURDAY AND EASTER

Pope at Easter Vigil urges us to let Risen Christ into our lives 26/03/2016 21:30SHARE:


Pope Francis holds a candle during the Easter Vigil mass at the Saint Peter's Basilica - ANSA

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday evening presided at the Easter Vigil in St Peter’s Basilica, with the baptism of 12 catechumens from Italy, Albania, Cameroon, Korea, India and China.

In his homily the Pope reflected on the actions of Peter who ran to Jesus’ tomb on the first Easter morning. Even though he, like the other disciples, had not believed the testimony of the women who had already found the empty grave, the Pope noted that Peter was not overwhelmed by doubt or consumed by remorse.

Like the women who had gone to bury the body, the Pope said, Peter did not give into sadness and darkness but allowed the light of God to enter his heart.

Like Peter and the women, he said, let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but instead break open our sealed tombs and let the Risen Christ into our hearts.

Though we will always encounter problem, we must let the light of Christ shine on them, knowing that He is always at our side and will not let us down Pope Francis said this certainty is the foundation of our Christian hope which is not mere optimism or a desire to be courageous.

The Spirit, he said, does not remove evil with a magic wand. But rather He pours into us the vitality of life and the knowledge that Christ has conquered fear, sin and death, compelling us to set out and announce this Easter message to others.

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Please find below the English translation of Pope Francis’ homily at the Mass of the Easter Vigil

“Peter ran to the tomb” (Lk 24:12). What thoughts crossed Peter’s mind and stirred his heart as he ran to the tomb?


EASTER VIGIL 2016

The Gospel tells us that the eleven, including Peter, had not believed the testimony of the women, their Easter proclamation. Quite the contrary, “these words seemed to them an idle tale” (v. 11).

Thus there was doubt in Peter’s heart, together with many other worries: sadness at the death of the beloved Master and disillusionment for having denied him three times during his Passion.

There is, however, something which signals a change in him: after listening to the women and refusing to believe them, “Peter rose” (v. 12).

He did not remain sedentary, in thought; he did not stay at home as the others did. He did not succumb to the sombre atmosphere of those days, nor was he overwhelmed by his doubts. He was not consumed by remorse, fear or the continuous gossip that leads nowhere. He was looking for Jesus, not himself. He preferred the path of encounter and trust. And so, he got up, just as he was, and ran towards the tomb from where he would return “amazed” (v. 12).

This marked the beginning of Peter’s resurrection, the resurrection of his heart. Without giving in to sadness or darkness, he made room for hope: he allowed the light of God to enter into his heart, without smothering it.

The women too, who had gone out early in the morning to perform a work of mercy, taking the perfumed ointments to the tomb, had the same experience. They were “frightened and bowed their faces”, and yet they were deeply affected by the words of the angel: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (v. 5).

We, like Peter and the women, cannot discover life by being sad, bereft of hope. Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord so that he may enter and grant us life. Let us give him the stones of our rancour and the boulders of our past, those heavy burdens of our weaknesses and falls. Christ wants to come and take us by the hand to bring us out of our anguish.

This is the first stone to be moved aside this night: the lack of hope which imprisons us within ourselves. May the Lord free us from this trap, from being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the centre of our lives.

We see and will continue to see problems both within and without. They will always be there. But tonight it is important to shed the light of the Risen Lord upon our problems, and in a certain sense, to “evangelize” them. Let us not allow darkness and fear to distract us and control us; we must cry out to them: the Lord “is not here, but has risen!” (v. 6).

He is our greatest joy; he is always at our side and will never let us down.


EASTER VIGIL 2016

This is the foundation of our hope, which is not mere optimism, nor a psychological attitude or desire to be courageous. Christian hope is a gift that God gives us if we come out of ourselves and open our hearts to him. This hope does not disappoint us because the Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts (cf. Rom 5:5).

The Paraclete does not make everything look appealing. He does not remove evil with a magic wand. But he pours into us the vitality of life, which is not the absence of problems, but the certainty of being loved and always forgiven by Christ, who for us has conquered sin, death and fear. Today is the celebration of our hope, the celebration of this truth: nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from his love (cf. Rom 8:39).

The Lord is alive and wants to be sought among the living. After having found him, each person is sent out by him to announce the Easter message, to awaken and resurrect hope in hearts burdened by sadness, in those who struggle to find meaning in life. There is so necessary today.

However, we must not proclaim ourselves. Rather, as joyful servants of hope, we must announce the Risen One by our lives and by our love; otherwise we will be only an international organization full of followers and good rules, yet incapable of offering the hope for which the world longs.

How can we strengthen our hope? The liturgy of this night offers some guidance. It teaches us to remember the works of God. The readings describe God’s faithfulness, the history of his love towards us. The living word of God is able to involve us in this history of love, nourishing our hope and renewing our joy. The Gospel also reminds us of this: in order to kindle hope in the hearts of the women, the angel tells them: “Remember what [Jesus] told you” (v. 6).

Let us not forget his words and his works, otherwise we will lose hope. Let us instead remember the Lord, his goodness and his life-giving words which have touched us. Let us remember them and make them ours, to be sentinels of the morning who know how to help others see the signs of the Risen Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is risen! Let us open our hearts to hope and go forth. May the memory of his works and his words be the bright star which directs our steps in the ways of faith towards the Easter that will have no end.

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URBI ET ORBI -Easter message and Urbi et Orbi blessing of the Holy Father

 

EASTER SUNDAY MASS

 


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