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Pope Francis’ prayer for the Immaculate Conception: ‘You never stop loving your children’

December 8, 2019 CNA Daily News 1

Rome, Italy, Dec 8, 2019 / 10:01 am (CNA).- For the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Pope Francis Sunday venerated a statue of the Virgin Mary located in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna, reciting a prayer he wrote for the occasion.

“I entrust to you all those who, in this city and in the whole world, are oppressed by distrust, by discouragement due to sin; those who think that for them there is no more hope, that their faults are too many and too great, and that God has no time to waste with them,” the pope prayed Dec. 8.

“I entrust them to you, because you are not only a mother, and as such you never stop loving your children, but you are also the Immaculate, full of grace, and you can reflect right into the deepest darkness a ray of the light of the Risen Christ.”

“We thank you, Immaculate Mother,” he continued, “for reminding us that, by the love of Jesus Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin, but free, free to love, to love each other, to help each other as brothers, even if different from us.”

On the feast day, Pope Francis also offered a prayer before the Byzantine Marian icon Salus Populi Romani in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

The statue of the Immaculate Conception in Piazza di Spagna sits atop a nearly 40-foot-high column. It was dedicated Dec. 8, 1857, just a few years after the Catholic Church proclaimed the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Since the 1950s, it has been a custom for popes to venerate the statue for the feast day.

The statue is adorned with flower wreaths hung around Mary’s outstretched arms and laid at the base of the statue.

Below is the full text of the original prayer Pope Francis offered for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 8.

O Mary Immaculate,
we gather around you once again.
The more we go on in life
the more our gratitude to God increases
for giving to us as a mother, we that are sinners,
You, who are the Immaculate.
Among all human beings, you are the only one
preserved from sin, as the mother of Jesus
Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
But this your unique privilege
it was given to you for the sake of us all, your children.
In fact, looking at you, we see the victory of Christ,
the victory of God’s love over evil:
where sin abounded, that is, in the human heart,
grace overflowed,
for the gentle power of the Blood of Jesus.
You, Mother, remind us that, yes, we are sinners,
but we are no longer slaves to sin!
Your Son, with his Sacrifice,
he broke the dominion of evil, he won the world.
Your heart tells this to all generations
as clear as the sky where the wind has dispeled every cloud.

And so you remind us that it’s not the same thing
to be sinners and to be corrupt: it is very different.
It is one thing to fall, but then, repent, confess it
and rise again with the help of God’s mercy.
Another thing is the hypocritical connivance with evil,
the corruption of the heart, which is impeccable outside,
but inside is full of evil intentions and petty selfishness.
Your clear purity recalls us to sincerity,
to transparency, to simplicity.
How much we need to be released
from the corruption of the heart, which is the most serious danger!
This seems impossible to us, we are so inured,
and instead it is at hand. Enough
to raise our eyes to your Mother’s smile, to your pristine beauty,
to feel again that we are not made for evil,
but for good, for love, for God!

For this, O Virgin Mary,
today I entrust to you all those who, in this city
and in the whole world, are oppressed by distrust,
by discouragement due to sin;
those who think that for them there is no more hope,
that their faults are too many and too great,
and that God has no time to waste with them.
I entrust them to you, because you are not only a mother,
and as such you never stop loving your children,
but you are also the Immaculate, full of grace,
and you can reflect right into the deepest darkness
a ray of the light of the Risen Christ.
He, and He alone, breaks the chains of evil,
free from the most relentless addictions,
dissolves from the most criminal ties,
softens the most hardened hearts.
And if this happens inside people,
how the face of the city changes!
In small gestures and in great choices,
vicious circles become virtuous little by little,
the quality of life becomes better
and the most breathable social climate.

We thank you, Immaculate Mother,
for reminding us that, by the love of Jesus Christ,
we are no longer slaves to sin,
but free, free to love, to love each other,
to help each other as brothers, even if different from us.
Thank you for encouraging us with your candor
not to be ashamed of good, but of evil;
help us to keep the evil one away from us,
who with deceit draws us to himself, into the coils of death;
give us the sweet memory that we are children of God,
the Father of immense goodness,
the eternal source of life, beauty and love. Amen.

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Cardinal Tagle named head of Vatican evangelization office

December 8, 2019 CNA Daily News 2

Vatican City, Dec 8, 2019 / 09:09 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Sunday appointed Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines, to lead the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Tagle, 62, follows Cardinal Fernando Filoni as prefect, usually referred to by its historic name of Propaganda Fide.

Charged with the Church’s missionary works and territories, Propaganda Fide is one of the largest curial departments, with a size and scope exceeding almost any other.

The beneficiary of centuries of dedicated legacies and bequests, Propaganda Fide is also the most financially autonomous curial department.

Praedicate evangelium, the new curial constitution, not yet promulgated, is expected to place an even further emphasis on evangelization as the structural priority of the Church’s mission, with the possible merger of the  Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization into a single larger department.

As the head of a curial department, Tagle will no longer be the archbishop of Manila, a post he has held since December 2011. He was made a cardinal by Benedict XVI in 2012.

Since 2015, he has been president of Caritas Internationalis. Tagle was also very involved in the October 2018 youth synod.

Tagle was born in Manila in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1982 for the Diocese of Imus, Philippines. He served as bishop of Imus from 2001 to 2011.

His episcopal motto is Dominus est (It is the Lord). From 1997 to 2002 he was on the International Theological Commission, appointed by St. Pope John Paul II.

Filoni, who headed Propaganda Fide since 2011, was Dec. 8 named Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, following the retirement of Cardinal Edwin O’Brien at the age of 80.

In a statement Dec. 8, O’Brien said he accepts and appreciates the pope’s decision to accept his resignation, appointing Cardinal Filoni as his successor.

The order supports around 80% of the total operating budget of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, supporting parishes, schools, and Christians in Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Cyprus.

“Throughout my more than eight years as Grand Master, my personal faith and love of our Church have deepened as I have witnessed our members’ commitment to the goals of our Order, expressed in different cultures and languages, all profoundly Catholic!” O’Brien said.

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Why an Argentine priest says ‘I love my cassock!’

December 7, 2019 CNA Daily News 1

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec 8, 2019 / 12:00 am (CNA).- A popular Argentine priest has explained why he frequently wears a priestly cassock, even while the garment has fallen out of favor among some priests.

Fr. Christian Viñas, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Cambaceres, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, explained in a recent essay why he wears his cassock as often as possible.

In the essay, entitled “I love my cassock!” Viñas explained that “Christ sends us all the time as sons to feed, console, correct, teach and sanctify. Of course to do that we must show ourselves and have to be seen as available.”

Viñas considers the cassock to be “uniquely priestly,” and “indispensable to identify us for what we are: Priests of the Lord! Dead to the world, so that others may live, and live in abundance (Jn 10:10). And in the world but not of the world (Jn 15:19).”

“The cassock of course never goes unnoticed. It situates us, distinguishes us, preserves us, and presents us in society. And, in a society like ours where the ideologues of hate sow all the time aversion against those in uniform, from clerics and nuns, to soldiers and police, on to hotel and building porters, it constitutes a clear identification of what one is and for Whom one is,” he wrote.

By wearing the cassock, “we receive anything from glowing praises to violent insults, to requests for confession, to spontaneous venting, to asking for advice, to requests for blessings for entire families, right out in public,”  Viñas said

Viñas says he has time for all of them. “I always stop even though I am often going from one urgent thing  to another. They are the children God puts on my path and they don’t take away my time but they give meaning to the time, as a priest, He gives to me,”

In the U.S., the norms regarding priestly clothing stipulate that while “a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests. The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric.”

“I love my cassock, amid the pushback from the world. Give me the grace, Lord, to live and die with it, and for it!” Vinas wrote.

 

A version of this story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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