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Pope Francis: ‘God loves you, even if you forget Him’

January 16, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jan 16, 2019 / 05:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- God the Father will always be there for his beloved children, Pope Francis said Wednesday, with a reminder that the unconditional love of God is not limited by our own sense of guilt or unworthiness.

“God is looking for you, even if you do not seek Him. God loves you, even if you forget Him. God sees beauty in you, even if you think you have squandered all your talents in vain,” Pope Francis said in his general audience Jan. 16.

The pope reflected on the first two words of the “Our Father,” focusing on the depth of personal love for each person found within God’s fatherhood.

“It may be that we too happen to walk on paths far from God, as happened to the prodigal son; or  fall into a loneliness that makes us feel abandoned in the world; or, again, do wrong and are paralyzed by a sense of guilt,” Pope Francis explained.

In those moments, one’s prayer should simply start by saying the word, “Father,” with the tenderness of a child who calls out “Papa” or “Abbà,” in the original Aramaic, Francis said.

“You have a father who loves you!” Pope Francis said enthusiastically. Call out to God as “Father,” and God will answer you, he said.

If you respond to God by saying, “But, Father, I have done this …” God will answer, “‘I never lost sight of you. I saw everything. But I was always there, close to you, faithful to my love for you,’” Pope Francis said.

To call God “Father,” the pope explained, is to have  “the whole world of Jesus poured into one’s heart.”

Pope Francis described the intimacy of the Aramaic expression “Abbà” used twice in the letters of St. Paul. In his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul wrote, “As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!'”

Francis repeated the words that Italian children use, “Papa” and “Babbo,” which are equivalent to saying “Daddy” to exemplify the depth and closeness found in the word “Abba.”

“We continue to say ‘Our Father,’ but with the heart we are invited to say ‘Papa,’ to have a relationship with God like that of a child with his father, who says ‘Papa, Babbo,’” he said.

“These expressions evoke love, evoke warmth, something that projects us into the context of childhood: the image of a child completely enveloped by the embrace of a father who feels infinite tenderness for him,” he said.

Pope Francis continued, “dear brothers and sisters, to pray well, we must get to have a child’s heart … like a child in the arms of his father.”

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Pope advances sainthood causes of 17 women

January 15, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jan 15, 2019 / 11:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis approved Tuesday the next step in the canonization causes of 17 women from four countries, including the martyrdom of 14 religious sisters killed in Spain at the start of the Spanish Civil War.

After meeting with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Jan. 15, the pope gave his approval to the declaration of the martyrdom of Sr. Maria del Carmen and 13 companions, all religious sisters of the Order of Franciscan Conceptionists, who were killed in Madrid in 1936.

Francis also approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Swiss laywoman Bl. Marguerite Bays, paving the way for her canonization in 2019.

Bays, who was born in La Pierraz, Switzerland in 1815, was a member of the Secular Franciscan Order. She never married but gave her life to the needs of the people of her parish and neighborhood, especially the sick and dying, children and young girls, and the poor, whom she called “God’s favorites.”

After developing intestinal cancer at the age of 35, Bays asked Our Lady to intercede that her suffering from cancer would be exchanged for a suffering more directly connected to the suffering of Christ at his Passion.

The holy woman was miraculously healed of the cancer Dec. 8, 1854, the day Bl. Pius IX declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. After the healing, Bays began to experience a sort-of ecstatic immobilization every Friday, where she would relive physically and spiritually the events of Christ’s passion. Bays also received the stigmata.

Bays’ deep devotion to prayer, which had been a focus of her life since childhood, included a strong love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and for praying the rosary. She also loved the Eucharist and spent many hours in adoration.

Bays died at 3:00pm, on Friday, June 27, 1879, and was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1995.

Two women were also declared Venerable Jan. 15: Anna Kaworek, a Pole and cofounder of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Michael the Archangel (1872-1936); Maria Soledad Sanjurjo Santos (religious name Maria Consolata), a sister of the Congregation of the Servants of Mary Ministers of the Infirm (1892-1973) from Puerto Rico.

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New structure for Vatican Press Office announced

January 11, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jan 11, 2019 / 07:57 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican announced Friday that Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Vatican communications department, has amended the organizational structure of the Holy See Press Office to include a senior advisor… […]

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Pope’s Romania trip confirmed for early summer

January 11, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jan 11, 2019 / 03:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican confirmed Friday that Pope Francis will travel to Romania to the cities of Bucharest, Iaşi, and Blaj, and to a Marian shrine in eastern Transylvania, at the end of May and beginning of June.

The trip is set for May 31 to June 2 and will include a stop at a Marian shrine located in the Șumuleu Ciuc neighborhood of the city of Miercurea Ciuc, which is in a Hungarian ethno-cultural region of Romania.

CNA reported in November that Pope Francis had told the Romanian bishops during their ad limina meeting Nov. 9 that he would be visiting their country this year, though the precise date was not confirmed at the time.

Francis’ visit to the country follows exactly 20 years after Pope St. John Paul II was the first pope to go to Romania in 1999.

The motto of the visit is “Let’s Walk Together.” The trip’s logo, in blue and gold, depicts a group of Romanian people walking beneath an image of Our Lady, which according to a statement from the Holy See Press Office, evokes the Virgin Mary’s care and protection of the Romanian people.

The press office also noted that Romania has often been called “the garden of the Mother of God,” which is a phrase also used by Pope St. John Paul II during his visit to the country.

“The visit of Pope Francis takes up this Marian accent, inviting everyone to join forces under the protective mantle of the Madonna,” the statement continued.

As of 2011, the Catholics in Romania numbered 870,774; making up 4.3 percent of the population. The Catholic Church is the second largest denomination after the Romanian Orthodox Church.

The Romanian bishops’ conference is composed of 17 bishops, including both bishops of Roman Catholic dioceses and Greek Catholic dioceses, that is, dioceses of the Byzantine rite.

The pope will be in Romania just one week before the Feast of Pentecost, which is for many Romanian and Hungarian people an important day of pilgrimage to the Șumuleu Ciuc neighborhood.

The pilgrimage is made in commemoration of the Catholic Szekely population’s resistance to pressure from the Hungarian King John II Sigismund Zapolya to convert to Protestantantism. The group refused to abandon the Catholic faith and emerged victorious in a battle which took place on the Saturday before Pentecost in 1567.

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