Pope Francis: Mass at Vatican parish and Angelus

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday in the parish church of Vatican City, dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of Our Lady. The choir intoned the Attende, Domine! at the entrance, and the readings were those of the fifth Sunday of Lent: from the prophet, Isaiah; Psalm 126 – the Lord has done great things for us; the Letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Philippians; and a reading from the Gospel according to St John, in which the woman caught in adultery and subject under law to death by stoning, is presented to Jesus for judgment, and he says, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast his stone.

VATICAN CITY, March 18, 2013 - Here is the translation of the homily Pope Francis gave at the parish of St. Ann's in Vatican City on Sunday.

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This is beautiful: first Jesus alone on the mountain praying. He prayed alone (cf. John 8:1). Then he went again to the Temple, and all the people went to him (cf. 8:2). Jesus among the people. And then, at the end, they left him alone with the woman (cf. 8:9). That solitude of Jesus! But it is a fruitful solitude: it is that of prayer with the Father and that other, which is so beautiful, which is precisely the Church’s message today, the [fruitful solitude] of his mercy with this woman.

There is also a difference among the people: there are the people who went with him; he sat down and began to teach them: the people who wanted to hear Jesus’ words, the people with open hearts, in need of the Word of God. There were others, who heard nothing, they could not hear; and they are those who brought the woman: Listen, Master, here is one, and one that ... We must do to her what Moses commanded us to do to these women (cf. 8:4-5). 

We too believe that we are these people, who, on the one hand wants to listen to Jesus, but, on the other hand, we like to cudgel others, to condemn others. And Jesus’ message is: mercy. For me, I say this humbly, it is the strongest message of the Lord: mercy. But he himself said it: I have not come for the just; the just justify themselves. Go ahead, blessed Lord, if you can do it, I cannot! But they think that they can do it. I have come for sinners (cf. Mark 2:17).

Think about that complaining after the calling of Matthew: But he goes around with sinners! (cf. Matthew 2:16). And he has come for us when we recognize that we are sinners. But if we are like that Pharisee at the altar – I thank you, Lord, that I am not like all the others, and that I am not like the man at the gate, like that publican (cf. Luke 18:11-12) – then we do not know the Lord’s heart, and we will never have the joy to experience this mercy! It is not easy to entrust oneself to God’s mercy, because it is an inscrutable abyss. But we must do it! “Oh, father, if you knew my life, you would not speak this way!” “Why, what have you done?” “Oh, I have done terrible things!” “All the better! Go to Jesus: he would be happy if you told him these things!” He forgets, he has a special capacity to forget. He forgets, he kisses you, he embraces you and he says to you: “Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11). That is the only counsel he gives you. After a month, we are in the same situation ... Let us return to the Lord. The Lord never wearies of forgiving: never! We are the ones who grow weary of asking forgiveness. And let us ask for the grace to never weary of asking forgiveness because he never wearies of forgiving. Let us ask for this grace.

[At the conclusion of the Eucharistic Celebration, the pastor priest of Sant’Anna in the Vatican, Father Bruno Silvestrini, O.S.A., and the vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, offered their greetings to Pope Francis. Then the Holy Father concluded with these words:]

There are a few people here who are not parishioners: these Argentine priests, one is my auxiliary bishop, but today they are parishioners. But I would like to introduce you to a priest who comes from a great distance, who came, a priest who for a long time has been working with street kids, with drug addicts. He opened a school for them, he has done a lot of things to help them to know Jesus, and today all of these young people from the street, because of the studies they undertook, are working, they are able to work, they believe in and love Jesus. I would like to ask you, Gonzalo, come and greet the people: pray for him. He works in Uruguay, he is the founder of the Liceo Jubilar Juan Pablo II, he does this work. I don’t know how he came here today. But I will find out! Thank you. Pray for him.

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 Following the Mass, just like a local parish priest, Pope Francis greeted parishioners at the church door, before going briefly to the crowd gathered outside the St Anne’s Gate.

After returning into the church to take off his liturgical vestments, Pope Francis again greeted the faithful outside, before making his way to his study and the window overlooking St Peter’s Square, below which was gathered a crowd 300 thousand-strong, more than rivalling the throng of people who braved cold, rain and dark to meet the Pope on Wednesday – the night of his election - and receive his blessing for the first time. Dozens of national flags were visible in the packed Square, and a deafening cheer went up when, at last, Pope Francis appeared. Mercy was once again the cornerstone of his reflections ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion.

He told a story, of an elderly widow he encountered during a Mass for the sick celebrated in connection with a visit of the image of Our Lady of Fatima. “I went to confession during the Mass,” he said, “and near the end – I had to go to do confirmations afterward, and an elderly lady approached me – humble [she was] so very humble, more than eighty years old. I looked at her, and said, ‘Grandmother,’ – where I come from, we call elderly people grandmother and grandfather – ‘would you like to make your confession?’ ‘Yes,’ she said – and I said, ‘but, if you have not sinned…’ and she said, ‘we all have sinned.’ [I replied], ‘if perhaps He should not forgive [you]?’ and, sure, she replied, ‘The Lord forgives everything.’ I asked, ‘How do you know this for sure, madam?’ and she replied, ‘If the Lord hadn’t forgiven all, then the world wouldn’t [still] be here.’ And, I wanted to ask her, ‘Madam, did you study at the Gregorian (the Pontifical Gregorian University, founded in 1551 by St Ignatius Loyola, the oldest Jesuit university in the world)?’ – because that is wisdom, which the Holy Spirit gives – interior wisdom regarding the mercy of God. Let us not forget this word: God never tires of forgiving us,” he repeated, “but we sometimes tire of asking Him to forgive us.” Pope Francis went on to say, “Let us never tire of asking God’s forgiveness.”

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Pope's Homily During Mass at Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah Parish in Rome

ROME, May 26, 2013  - Here is the translation of Pope Francis' homily during Sunday Mass at the parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah in Rome today.

The Holy Father’s homily was especially directed toward children at the parish who were making their first communion. He also engages in a dialogue with them.

Dear brothers and sisters,

The pastor’s words made me think of a beautiful thing about Our Lady. When Our Lady, just having received the announcement that she would be the mother of Jesus, and the announcement that her cousin Elizabeth was expecting, the Gospel says, she set out in haste; she did not wait. She did not say to herself, “But I’m pregnant now, so I had better look after my health. My cousin will have friends who perhaps will help her.” She heard something and she “set out in haste.” It is lovely to think about these actions of Our Lady, our Mother, who sets out in haste, because it tells us about helping. She goes to help, she does not go to boast and say to her cousin: “Now listen, I’m in charge now because I am God’s mamma!” No she did not do that. She went to help! And Our Lady is always like this. She is our Mother, who always comes in haste when we need help. It would be nice to add to the litanies of Our Lady one that says “Lady who sets out in haste, pray for us!” This is beautiful, isn’t it? Because she always goes in haste she does not forget her children. And when her children are in difficulty, have a need and they call upon her, she goes in haste. And this makes us safe, the safety of always having our mother near, at our side. We go, we travel better in life when we have our mamma near. Let us think about this grace of Our Lady, this grace that she gives us: of being with us, but without making us wait. Always! She is – we have confidence in this – there to help us. Our Lady who always goes in haste, for us.

Our Lady also helps us to understand God well, Jesus, to understand the life of Jesus, the life of God, to understand well what the Lord is, how the Lord is, who is God. I ask you, children: “Who knows who God is?” Raise your hand, tell me. Okay! Creator of the earth. And how many Gods are there? 1? But they told me that there are 3: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! How do we explain this? Is there 1 or is there 3? 1? 1? And how do we explain that one is the Father, the other the Son and the other Holy Spirit? Louder, louder! Good answer. They are 3 in 1, 3 persons in 1. And what does the Father do? The Father is the origin, the Father, who created everything, created us. What does the Son do? What does Jesus do? Who knows how to say what Jesus does? He loves us? And what else? What did Jesus do on the earth? He saved us! And Jesus came to give his life for us. The Father creates the world; Jesus saves us. And the Holy Spirit, what does he do? He loves us! He gives you love! All the children together: the Father creates everything, he creates the world, Jesus saves us; and the Holy Spirit? He loves us! And this is the Christian life: talking to the Father, talking to the Son, talking to the Holy Spirit. Jesus saved us, but he also walks with us in life. Is this true? And how does he walk? What does he do when he walks with us in life? This is hard. The one who answers it wins! What does Jesus do when he walks with us? Louder! The first one: he helps us. He guides us! Very good! He walks with us, he helps us, he guides us and he teaches us how to go forward. And Jesus also gives us the strength to walk. Is that right? He supports us! Good! In difficulties, right? And even in school work! He supports us, he helps us, he guides us, he supports us. Okay! Jesus is always with us. Good. But listen, Jesus gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? You know how he gives us strength! Louder, I can’t hear you! In Communion he gives us strength, the way he helps us is by giving us strength. He comes to us. But when you say “He gives us Communion,” a piece of bread gives you so much strength? It’s not bread? It’s bread? This is bread but what is on the altar, is it bread or not? It looks like bread! It’s not really bread. What is it? It is the body of Jesus. Jesus comes into our heart. Well, let’s all think about this: the Father gave us life; Jesus gave us salvation, he accompanies us, he guides us, he supports us, he teaches us; and the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit give us? He loves us! He gives us love. Let us think about God like this and ask Our Lady, Our Lady who is our Mother, always quick to help us, that she help us always to understand well how God is: how the Father is, how the Son is and how the Holy Spirit is. Amen.

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Pope Francis' Homily at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Rome

ROME, January 20, 2014  - Pope Francis went on a pastoral visit yesterday to the parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Castro Pretorio, in the central sector of the diocese of Rome.

The Holy Father presided over the Eucharistic Celebration in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, at the end of which he greeted the sick, then he met with the Salesian Community, to whom the parish is entrusted, and with the parish priest, Fr. Valerio Baresi, S.D.B., and the Missionary Sisters of the Risen Christ.

Finally, before returning to the Vatican, Pope Francis met with the young people of the parish.

Here is a translation of the homily that the Pope gave in the course of the Holy Mass.

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This passage of the Gospel is beautiful. John who was baptizing and Jesus, who was baptized earlier – a few days earlier – came and passed before John. And John felt within himself the strength of the Holy Spirit to give witness of Jesus. Looking at Him, and looking at the people who were around Him, he says: “Behold the Lamb of God, He who takes away the sin of the world.” And he gives witness of Jesus: this is Jesus, this is He who comes to save us; this is He who will give us the strength to hope.

Jesus is called the Lamb: He is the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. We might think: but how, a lamb, which is so weak, a little weak lamb, how can it take away so many sins, so many malicious actions? With Love, with His meekness. Jesus never stopped being a lamb: meek, good, full of love, close to little ones, close to the poor. He was there, among the people. He healed all, taught, prayed. Jesus was as weak as a lamb, but he had the strength to take our sins upon Himself, all of them. “But Father, you don’t know my life: I have a load that I cannot even carry in a truck.” So many times, when we look at our conscience, we find some things that are very big! But He carries them. He came for this: to forgive, to make peace in the world, but first in hearts. Perhaps each one of us has something that is tormenting him in his heart, perhaps he has darkness in his heart, perhaps he feels  a bit sad because of a fault. He came to take all this away; He gives us peace. He forgives everything. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away sin”: He takes the sin away with the root and all! This is the salvation of Jesus, with His love and His meekness. And being what John the Baptist says of Him, who gives witness of Jesus as Savior, we must grow in trust in Jesus.

So many times we trust a doctor: that is good, because the doctor is there to cure us; we trust a person: brothers, sisters can help us. It’s good to have this human trust among ourselves, but we forget to trust the Lord: this is the key of success in life. Trust in the Lord, let us entrust ourselves to the Lord! “Lord, look at my life: I am in darkness, I have this difficulty, I have this sin …”all that we have:  “Look at this: I entrust myself to you!” And this is a wager we must do: to entrust ourselves to Him, who never disappoints. Never, never! Listen well, you boys and girls, who begin life now: Jesus never disappoints. Never. This is John’s testimony: Jesus, the good One, the meek One , who will end  like a lamb, killed, without crying out. He came to save us, to take sin away. Mine, yours, and that of the world: all, all.

And now I invite you to do something: let us close our eyes and imagine that scene, on the bank of the river, John who is baptizing and Jesus who is passing by. And let us hear John’s voice: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” We look at Jesus and, in silence, each one of us will say something to Jesus from his heart, in silence. [Silent pause]

May the Lord Jesus, who is meek and good – He is a lamb – who came to take sins away, accompany us on the path of our life. So be it.

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Pope's Homily at Roman Parish of San Gregorio Magno
"Only Jesus power is able to help us to come out of these dead areas of the heart"

VATICAN CITY, April 07, 2014  - On Sunday, Pope Francis went on a pastoral visit to the parish of San Gregorio Magno (Saint Gregory the Great) at Magliana, in the western sector of the diocese of Rome.

On his arrival, he greeted the faithful in the Square in front of the church, and met with children and youth in the sports field, then with the sick and the elderly,  engaged couples and couples who recently baptized their children. Afterwards the Holy Father met with different social realities present in the territory of the parish and heard the confession of some penitents.

Finally the Pope presided over the celebration of Holy Mass, at the end of which he greeted the relatives of the priests.

Following is a translation of the transcript of the homily the Holy Father gave in the course of the Holy Mass.

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Today’s three Readings tell us about the Resurrection; they tell to us about life. That beautiful promise of the Lord: “”Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves” (Ezekiel 37:12); it is the promise of the Lord who has life and the strength to give life, so that those who are dead can come to life again. The Second Reading tells us that we are under the Holy Spirit and Christ is in us, his Spirit will resurrect us. And in the Third Reading, the Gospel, we saw how Jesus gave life to Lazarus. Lazarus, who was dead, came back to life.

I simply want to say a very small thing. All of us have within some areas, some parts of our heart that are not alive, that are somewhat dead; and some have so many parts of the heart that are dead, a real spiritual necrosis! And when we are aware that we have this situation, we wish to get out of it, but we cannot. Only Jesus’ power, only Jesus’ power is able to help us to come out of these dead areas of the heart, these tombs of sin, which we all have. We are all sinners! However, if we are very attached to these sepulchers, and guard them within us, and do not want our whole heart to rise again to life, we become corrupt and our soul begins to give out, as Martha says, a “bad odor” (John 11:39), the odor of a person who is attached to sin. And Lent is for this. So that all of us, who are sinners, do not end up attached to sin, but are able to hear what Jesus said to Lazarus: “He cried out with a loud voice: ‘Lazarus, come out!’” (John 11:43). Today I invite you to think for a moment, in silence, here: where, within, is my necrosis? Where is the dead part of my soul? Where is my tomb? Think a minute, all in silence. We think: what is that part of my heart which can be corrupted, because I am attached to sins or to sin or to some sin? And remove the stone, and remove the stone of shame and let the Lord say to us, as he said to Lazarus: “”Come out!” So that our whole soul is healed, that it rise again by the love of Jesus, by the strength of Jesus. He is able to forgive us. We are all in need of it! All of us. We are all sinners, but we must be careful not to become corrupt! Sinners we are, but He forgives us. We hear Jesus’ voice that, with the power of God, says to us:  “Come out!” Come out of that tomb you have within. Come out, I will give you life, I will make you happy, I will bless you, I want you for myself.”

May the Lord today, on this Sunday, in which there is so much talk of the Resurrection, give us all the grace we need to rise again from our sins, to come out of our tombs, with Jesus’ voice who calls us, to come out, to come to Him.

And something else: in the Fifth Sunday of Lent, those who were preparing for Baptism in the Church, received the Word of God. This community today will also make the same gesture. And I would like to give you the Gospel, so that you can take the Gospel home. This Gospel is a pocket Gospel , which we can always have with us, to read some passage; to open it and thus read something of the Gospel, when I am in a queue or on the bus, but when I am comfortable in the bus, because if I’m not comfortable, I must mind my pockets! Always read a little piece of the Gospel. It will do us so much good, so much good! -- a little bit every day. It is a present which I have brought for your whole community, so that today, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, you receive the Word of God and so you are also able to hear the voice of Jesus who says to you: “Come out! Come! Come out!” -- and prepare yourselves for the Easter night.

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Text of Pope's Homily at St. Joseph all'Aurelio Parish in Rome
"Prayer, thanksgiving and help to others, and we will come to the Birth of the Anointed One, of Christ, anointed with grace"

VATICAN CITY, December 15, 2014  - Here below is a translation of the text of Pope Francis' homily Sunday night at the parish of Saint Joseph all’Aurelio, in the western sector of the Diocese of Rome:

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On this Sunday the Church anticipates somewhat the joy of Christmas, and therefore it is called “the Sunday of joy.” In this time, time of preparation for Christmas, we put on dark vestments for the Mass, but today there are these rose ones, so that the joy of Christmas blossoms. And the joy of Christmas is a special joy; however, it is not a joy that is only for Christmas day, it is for the whole life of a Christian. It is a serene, tranquil joy, a joy that always accompanies a Christian. Also in difficult moments, in moments of difficulty this joy becomes peace. When a Christian is a true Christians he never loses peace, even in sufferings. That peace is a gift of the Lord. Christian joy is a gift of the Lord. “Ah, Father, we have had a great lunch, we are all happy." This is good, a great lunch is fine, but this is not the Christian joy of which we speak today; Christian joy is something else. It leads us also to celebrate, it’s true, but it is something else. Therefore, the Church wants to have this Christian joy understood.

The Apostle Saint Paul said to the Thessalonians: “Brothers, always be happy” And, how can I be happy? He says: "Pray, uninterruptedly, and give thanks in everything.” We find Christian joy in prayer; it comes from prayer and also from rendering thanks to God. “Thank you, Lord, for so many beautiful things!” However, there are people who do not know how to thank God: they are always looking for something to complain about. I knew a Sister – far from here! – this Sister was good, she worked … but her life was a lamentation, a lamentation of the many things that happened …. In the convent she was called “Sister Complaint.” We understand. However, a Christian cannot live like that, always looking for something to lament. “He has something that I don’t have, he … Did you see what happened? …” This isn’t Christian! And one feels badly to meet Christians with a sad face, with that restless face of sadness, which isn’t peace. A man or woman saint never had a mournful face, never! The saints always had a joyful face or, at least in suffering, a peaceful face. The greatest suffering, Jesus’ martyrdom: He had that peaceful face and was concerned about the others: his Mother, John, the thief, he was concerned about the others.

To have this Christian joy we must first pray, then give thanks. And, how must I render thanks? Remember your life, and think of the many good things that life has given you: so many. “But, Father, it’s true, but I have received so many bad things!” – Yes, it’s true, it happens to everyone. But think of the good things” – “I had a Christian family, Christian parents, thanks be to God I have a job, my family is not suffering hunger, we are all healthy …” I don’t know, so many things, and we must thank God for this. And this accustoms us to joy. To pray, to give thanks …

And then the First Reading suggests to us another dimension that will help us to have joy: to bring to others the glad tidings. We are Christians. “Christians” comes from “Christ,” and “Christ” means “anointed.” And we are “anointed”: the Lord’s Spirit is upon me, because the Lord has consecrated me by anointing me. We are anointed: Christians means “anointed ones.” And why are we anointed?  To do what? “He has sent me to bring good tidings” to whom? “To the afflicted,” “to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, (Cf. Isaiah 61:1-2). This is Christ’s vocation and also the vocation of Christians. To go to others, to those who are in need, be it in material or spiritual need … So many people suffer anguish because of family problems … To bring peace there, to bring Jesus’ anointing, the oil of Jesus that does so much good and consoles souls.

Therefore, to have this joy in preparation for Christmas, first, pray: “Lord, may I live this Christmas with true joy.” Not with the joy of consumerism which brings us to December 24 full of anguish because “ah, I’m lacking this, I’m lacking that …” No, this isn’t God’s joy. Pray.

Second: render thanks to the Lord for the good things he has given us.

Third, think how I can go to others, to those who have difficulties, problems – we think of the sick, of so many problems – to bring some anointing, peace, joy. This is the Christian’s joy. Do you agree?  

There are just 15 days, somewhat less: 13 days. Let us pray during these days. But don’t forget: we pray asking for the joy of Christmas. We thank God for the many things He has given us, first of all the faith. This is a great grace. Third, we think where we can go to bring some relief, peace to those who suffer. Prayer, thanksgiving and help to others, and we will come to the Birth of the Anointed One, of Christ, anointed with grace, with prayer, with thanksgiving and help to others.

May Our Lady accompany you on this path to Christmas. But joy, joy!

[Original text: Italian]

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Text of Pope's Words to Various Groups at Roman Parish of St. Joseph all'Aurelio
"You, who will make your First Communion, always remember that day your whole life: the first day that Jesus came in to us"

VATICAN CITY, December 15, 2014  - Here below is a translation of additional remarks from Pope Francis' pastoral visit to the Roman Parish of Saint Joseph all’Aurelio, as he met with different parish groups Sunday night:

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THE HOLY FATHER’S WORDS IN THE COURSE OF MEETINGS WITH DIFFERENT PARISH GROUPS

MEETING WITH CHILDREN

Good evening! Thank you for your very warm welcome! Thank you so much.

What team do you root for? A bit of everything, a bit of everything … There are those of you here who are going to make their First Communion. Do you know? This year was the 70th anniversary of my First Communion: 70 years ago I made my First Communion. A long time ago, no? I made it on October 8, 1944 – were some of you born at that time?

But I remember it as if it were today. I was prepared, for a year, by a very good Sister, who was called Dolores. She was so good. She taught me the catechism … And also the catechists, both were called Alice. They taught us. Then the day arrived. At that time, you couldn’t even have a drop of water before Mass, nothing, not even a drop of water. It was Pius XII who saved us from this dictatorship! He was good … And we all entered the church with our hands stuck together, like this … and we sang, a song that perhaps you know: O holy altar, guarded by the Angels, I come to you for the first time …” Is this song sung? It’s not sung. We sang this song. But I shall never forget that day.

And then, in the afternoon, we returned to the church for Confirmation – the same day. And Confirmation was done with all the children in a circle, in the church – they had removed the benches – and the Bishop passed by and gave us Confirmation. I don’t forget that day. You, who will make your First Communion, always remember that day your whole life: the first day that Jesus came in to us. He comes, makes himself one with us, makes himself our food, our nourishment to give us strength. And, also, don’t forget the catechists. Know that I have never forgotten them in my life; and when the Sister who prepared me died, on October 17 of the year ’87, I went there and was there with her corpse and I prayed so much, because that Sister brought me close to Jesus. Don’t forget the catechists, all right? Don’t forget the date, ok? And every year, on the date, go make a good Confession and Communion: all right? OK, thank you. Now I bless all the baby Jesus figurines, all. Lift up the babies, all of them! Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thank you. And please, pray for me!

MEETING WITH NOMADS

Thank you for your welcome … make yourselves comfortable. I greet you and wish you every good. May there always be peace in your families, may there be work, may there be joy -- the joy of Jesus, the peace of Jesus, and thus to go forward. Do not lose hope in difficult moments, because hope does not disappoint: the Lord gives it. And, sooner or later, the Lord awaits us always, always. He is close to us. Perhaps we don’t see him, but he is close and loves us so much. Trust in the Lord, hope in the Lord and go forward with your work. I thank those who created the school of peace. The school of peace is a very important seed, which will give its fruits in time. Patience is needed, but it will give its fruits. Always forward with this. Thank you so much and, please, pray for me! We pray to Our Lady and then a blessing. Hail O Mary, … [Blessing] Thank you so much!

MEETING WITH THE SICK

I thank you for your welcome, thank you so much. Please, don’t forget to pray for me! Do you do it? I thank you also for the witness you give, witness of patience, of love of God, of hope in the Lord: this does so much good to the Church. You “water” the Church continually with your life, with your sufferings, with your patience. Thank you so much, I truly thank you. Without the sick, the Church would not go forward; you are strength in the Church, you are true strength. The Lord willed that you be visited by this sickness, but go forward: go forward with patience, also with joy. Joy is the peace that the Lord gives us, that peace within. We are all moving towards the end of our life, all of us … And here, the majority of us are of the past century … And so, we must look ahead because the Lord waits for us there. Yes, he always waits for us. We don’t know when it will be, but he waits for us. And this hope gives us peace and also joy. Thank you. Thank you so much for your witness and your existence in the Church. Let us pray to Our Lady: Hail O Mary, … [Blessing] And those, who are they? Monks? Friars? Ah, the students who are to become priests … [No, to become doctors! [laughs] They are frightened! [A word to the future doctors … ] Pray for me, pray for me. And forward! May the Lord bless your hands, that you may be good doctors in the future. Thank you.

MEETING WITH RECENTLY BAPTIZED CHILDREN

I thank you all for your welcome. It’s lovely to see so many children … A child always says a word of hope with his being; a child always goes forward, he leads us to the future … He is a seed of the future. There are so many things in a child, and you, parents  -- but you can’t say this; it’s something secret of each one of you – how many times do you think that the child: “will become this, or that, or this other in life …” and this is lovely, to think of the future, because it is a prayer.  It is to say to God: "protect my child for the future.” Our hopes are in the little boy, in the little girl. We give them a seed of faith, of life and they will take it forward to their children, to their grandchildren … and life is like that. And, in Baptism, you gave the faith, you transmitted the faith through the Sacrament, but after many years, they will do the same with their children, and thus the faith – from the time of Jesus to today -- is like a chain that is transmitted by parents. And this is a beautiful responsibility! Don’t forget the day of your Baptism, don’t ever forget it! 

I should be somewhat curious to ask a question, but I won’t do so … Or I will do so, but I won’t ask for an answer … How many of you know the day of your Baptism? No, don’t say anything, don’t say anything … However, if you don’t know it, go find out: call your aunt, your mother, your godmother: “When was I baptized?” Because it is a feast day, that is, it is the day that we encountered Jesus for the first time. This is a task for the home.

When was I baptized? And this is beautiful, it’s beautiful! I was baptized, precisely, on Christmas Day! Eight days after my birth, in fact on that day, because at that time it was the custom – at least in Argentina – to baptize children eight days after their birth. Remember this always. I pray for you. May you have joy, joy with these children, joy in the home, joy in hope, so much joy. And I give you my blessing.

Let’s pray to Our Lady: Hail O Mary … [Blessing] I’ll tell you something. First of all, I ask you to pray for me, as I need it. However, what I wanted to say is this: children cry, make noise, go from one side to the other … and I am so annoyed when a child cries in church and people want him to go outside. No! It is the best homily! The cry of a child is God’s voice. Truly, never, never chase them out of the church! Thank you so much!

[Original text: Italian]

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Pope's Homily at Roman Parish of Ognissanti (All Saints)

"Worship, liturgical celebrations are the privileged realm to listen to the Lords voice, which guides us on the way of rectitude and Christian perfection."

ROME, March 09, 2015  - On Saturday, the Holy Father presided over the Eucharistic celebration in the Roman parish of All Saints on the via Appia Nuova, in commemoration of the first Mass celebrated in Italian in that parish -- according to the renewed liturgical norms established by Vatican Council II --, by Blessed Paul VI on March 7, 1965.

Following is a translation of the homily that Pope Francis gave after the proclamation of the Holy Gospel, as well as of the words he addressed at the end of the Mass to the faithful gathered in the courtyard of Saint Philip’s Institute.

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Jesus went to Jerusalem on the occasion of the Jewish Passover. Arriving at the Temple, he did not find people who sought God but people attending to their own affairs: merchants of livestock for the offering of sacrifices; money-changers  who exchanged “impure” money bearing the image of the Emperor with money approved by the religious authorities to pay the Temple’s annual tax. What do we find when we go to our churches? I leave you with the question. The unworthy trade, source of rich earnings, aroused Jesus’ energetic reaction. He overturned the benches and threw the money on the ground, and drove out the merchants saying to them: “You shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade!” (John 2:16).

This expression does not refer only to the traffic practiced in the courtyards of the Temple. Rather, it concerns a type of religiosity. Jesus’ gesture is a gesture of “cleansing,” of purification, and the attitude that He repudiates can be drawn from the prophetic texts, according to which God is not pleased with external worship made of material sacrifices and based on personal interest (Cf. Isaiah 1:11-17; Jeremiah 7:2-11). This gesture is a call to genuine worship, to correspondence between the liturgy and life; a call that is valid for every time and also for us today – the correspondence between liturgy and life. The liturgy is not something strange, there, distant, and while it is being celebrated I am thinking of many things, or I pray the Rosary. No, no. There is a correspondence between the liturgical celebration, which I then carry into my life; and on this more progress must be made, there is such a long way yet to go.

The Conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium defines the liturgy as “the first and indispensable source from which the faithful can draw the true Christian spirit”(n. 14). This means to reaffirm the essential bond that unites the life of Jesus’ disciple and liturgical worship. It is not, first of all, a doctrine to understand or a rite to carry out; it is, of course, this also but, in another way, it is essentially different: it is a source of life and light for our journey of faith.

Therefore, the Church calls us to have and to promote a genuine liturgical life, so there can be harmony between what the liturgy celebrates and what we experience in our life. It is about experiencing in life what we have received through faith and what we have celebrated here (Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10).

Jesus’ disciple does not go to church only to observe a precept, to feel right with a God who must then not “disturb” him too much. “But I, Lord, go every Sunday, I fulfil ...,but you don’t involve yourself in my life, don’t disturb me.” This is the attitude of so many Catholics, so many. Jesus’ disciple goes to church to encounter the Lord and to find in his grace, operating in the Sacraments, the strength to think and act according to the Gospel. So we cannot delude ourselves by going into the house of the Lord and “covering” with prayers and devotional practices behavior that is contrary to the exigencies of justice, of honesty and of charity to our neighbor. We cannot substitute with “religious tributes” what is owed to our neighbor, to postpone a true conversion. Worship, liturgical celebrations are the privileged realm to listen to the Lord’s voice, which guides us on the way of rectitude and Christian perfection.

It is about undertaking a journey of conversion and penance, to remove from our life the dross of sin, as Jesus did, cleansing the Temple of narrow interests. And Lent is the favorable time for all this; it is the time of interior renewal, of the remission of sins, the time in which we are called to rediscover the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, which makes us pass from the darkness of sin to the light of grace and friendship with Jesus. We must not forget the great strength that this Sacrament has for Christian life: it makes us grow in our union with God; it makes us reacquire lost joy and experience the consolation of feeling ourselves personally received in the merciful embrace of God.

Dear brothers and sisters, this church was built thanks to the apostolic zeal of Saint Luigi Orione. Fifty years ago, precisely here, Blessed Paul VI inaugurated, in a certain sense, the liturgical reform with the celebration of the Mass in the language spoken by the people. i hope this circumstance will revive in all of you love for the house of God. In it you find great spiritual help. Every time you so wish, you can experience here the regenerating power of personal and community prayer. Listening to the Word of God, proclaimed in the liturgical assembly, sustains you in the journey of your Christian life. Between these walls you meet not as strangers but as brothers, capable of gladly shaking hands, because you are united by the love of Christ, foundation of the hope and commitment of every believer.

In this Mass, we confidently clasp Him, Jesus Christ, the cornerstone, renewing our resolution to commit ourselves to purify and cleanse the interior of the Church, spiritual edifice, of which each one of us is a living part by dint of our Baptism. So be it.

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Pope's Address to Communion and Liberation Movement

"Only one who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy really knows the Lord."

VATICAN CITY, March 09, 2015 - On Saturday, Pope Francis met in Saint Peter’s Square with the Communion and Liberation movement, on the 60thanniversary of the birth of the Movement and the 10thanniversary of the death of its founder, Monsignor Luigi Giussani.

After the greeting by the President of Communion and Liberation, Don Julian Carron, Pope Francis gave an address to those present, which we translate below.

* * * 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

I welcome you all and thank you for your warm affection! I give my cordial greeting to the Cardinals and Bishops. I greet Don Julian Carron, President ofyour Fraternity and I thank him for the words he addressed to me on your behalf.I also thank don Julian for the beautiful letter he wrote to all, inviting you to come. Thank you so much!

My first thought goes to your Founder, Monsignor Luigi Giussani, remembering the 10thanniversary of his birth into Heaven. I am grateful to Don Giussani for several reasons. The first, more personal, is the good this man did to me and to my priestly life, through the reading of his books and his articles. The other reason is that his thought is profoundly human and reaches man’s profoundest longing. You know how important the experience of encounter was for Don Giussani: encounter not with an idea but with a Person, with Jesus Christ. Thus he educated to freedom, guiding the encounter with Christ, because Christ gives us true freedom. Speaking of encounter there comes to my mind Caravaggio’s “The Calling of Matthew,” before which I paused at length <in the church> of Saint Louis of the French, every time I came to Rome. None of those who were there, including Matthew avid for money, could believe the message of that finger that pointed at him, the message of those eyes that looked at him with mercy and chose him for his following. He felt that wonder of the encounter. Thus is the encounter with Christ, who comes and invites us.

Everything in your life, today as in the time of Jesus, begins with an encounter. An encounter with this Man, the carpenter of Nazareth, a man like all others, but, at the same time, different. We think of John’s Gospel, where he recounts the disciples first encounter with Jesus (Cf. 35-42). Andrew, John, Simon: felt that they had been looked at in their depth, known intimately, and this generated surprise in them, a wonder that made them feel immediately bound to Him ... Or when, after the Resurrection, Jesus asks Peter: “Do you love Me?” (John 21:15), and Peter answers: “Yes”; that yes was not the result of will power, it did not come solely from the decision of the man Simon: it came first from Grace, it was that “primerear,” the preceding of Grace. This was the decisive discovery for Saint Paul, for Saint Augustine, and so many other Saints: Jesus Christ is always first He “primereas” us; He awaits us. Jesus Christ precedes us always, and when we arrive, He is already there awaiting us. He is like the flower of the almond tree: it is the one that flowers first and announces spring.

And this dynamic, which arouses wonder and adherence, cannot be understood without mercy. Only one who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy really knows the Lord. The privileged place of encounter is the caress of mercy of Jesus Christ on my sin. And it is because of this that you have heard me say sometimes that the post, the privileged place of the encounter with Jesus Christ is my sin. It is thanks to this embrace of mercy that one feels like answering and changing, and from which a different life can flow. Christian morality is not the titanic, willful effort of one who decides to be coherent and who succeeds, a sort of solitary challenge in face of the world. No, this isn’t Christian morality; it’s something else. Christian morality is an answer, it is a moved answer in face of astonishing mercy, unforeseeable, in fact, “unjust” according to human criteria, of One who knows me, knows my betrayals and loves me anyway, esteems me, embraces me, calls me again, hopes in me, expects from me. Christian morality is not ever to fall, but to get up always, thanks to his hand, which takes us. And the way of the Church is also this: to let God’s great mercy manifest itself. In past days I said to the new Cardinals: “The way of the Church is that of not condemning any one eternally; to spread God’s mercy to all persons who ask for it with a sincere heart: the way of the Church is, in fact, that of going out of her enclosure to go and seek those far away on the “peripheries” of existence; that of adopting integrally the logic of God,” which is that of mercy (Homily, February 15, 2015). The Church must also feel the joyful impulse of becoming a flower of the almond tree, that is spring, as Jesus was or the whole of humanity.

Today you also remember the 60 years of the beginning of your Movement, “born in the Church – as Benedict XVI said – not from an organizational will of the Hierarchy, but originating from a renewed encounter with Jesus and thus, we can say, from an impulse stemming ultimately from the Holy Spirit” (Address to the Communion and Liberation pilgrimage, March 24, 2007: Insegnamenti III, 1 [2007], 557).

After sixty years, the original charism has not lost its freshness and vitality. However, remember that the center is not the charism; the center is only one, it is Jesus, Jesus Christ! When I put my spiritual method at the center, my spiritual journey, my way of acting it, I leave the way. The whole spirituality, all the charisms in the Church must be “decentralized”: the Lord alone is at the center! Therefore, when in the First Letter to the Corinthians Paul speaks of charisms, of this very beautiful reality of the Church, of the Mystical Body, he ends by talking about love, that is, about what comes form God, what is proper to God, and which enables us to imitate Him. Never forget this, be decentralized.

And then the charism is not kept in a bottle of distilled water! Fidelity to the charism does not mean to “petrify it” – it is the devil who “petrifies,” don’t forget this! Fidelity to the charism does not mean to write it on a parchment and put it in a frame. The reference to the legacy that Don Giussani left cannot be reduced to a museum of memories, of decisions taken, of norms of conduct. It certainly entails fidelity to the tradition, but fidelity to the tradition – Mahler said – “means to keep alive the fire and not adore the ashes.” Don Giussani would never forgive your losing the freedom and being transformed into museum guides and adorers of ashes. Keep the fire alive of the memory of that first encounter and be free!

Thus, centered on Christ and on the Gospel, you can be arms, hands, feet, mind and heart of an “outgoing” Church. The way of the Church is to go forth to seek those that are far in the peripheries, to serve Jesus in every marginalized, abandoned person, without faith, disappointed by the Church, prisoner of his own egoism.

“To go forth” also means to reject self-reference in all its forms; it means to be able to listen to one who is not like us, learning from everyone, with sincere humility. When we are slaves to self-reference, we end up by cultivating a “brand spirituality”: “I am CL.” This is the brand. And then we fall into the thousand snares that self-referent satisfaction offers us, that looking at ourselves in the mirror, which leads to disorienting us and transforming us into mere managers of an NGO.

Dear friends, I would like to end with two very significant quotes of Don Giussani, one of the beginning and one of the end of his life.

The first: “Christianity is never realized in history as fixity of positions to defend, which refer to the new as pure antithesis; Christianity is principle of redemption, which assumes the new, saving it” (Bears Hope. First Writings, Genoa,1967, 119).This was around 1967.

The second of 2004: “Not only did I not ever intend ‘to found’ anything, but I hold that the genius of the Movement that I have seen born is of having felt the urgency to proclaim the need to return to the elementary aspects of Christianity, that is to say, the passion of the Christian event as such in its original elements, and that’s all” (Letter to John Paul II, January 26, 2004, on the occasion of the 50thanniversary of Communion and Liberation).

May the Lord bless you and Our Lady protect you. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me!

Thank you.

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Pope's Homily at Roman Parish of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer - Tor Bella Monaca

We cannot deceive Jesus: He knows us from within

ROME, March 09, 2015 - On Sunday, Pope Francis made a pastoral visit to the parish of Mary, Mother of the Redeember at Tor Bella Monaca, in the eastern sector of the diocese of Rome.

After meeting with several groups and realities of the Parish and hearing several Confessions, the Holy Father celebrated the Mass.

The following is a translation of the Pope’s homily:

* * *

In this passage of the Gospel which we just heard, there are two things that strike me: an image and a word.

The image is that of Jesus with the whip in hand who chases out all those who were taking advantage of the Temple to carry out their business. These businessmen who were selling animals for sacrifices, were money-changers ... It was the sacred – the sacred Temple, and this filth, out. This is the image. And Jesus takes a whip and goes in, to clean the Temple a bit.

And the phrase, the word, is where it says that so many people believed in Him, a terrible phrase: “but Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25).

We cannot deceive Jesus: He knows us from within. He did not trust himself. He, Jesus, did not trust himself to them. And this can be a good question in the middle of Lent: Can Jesus trust himself to me? Can Jesus trust himself to me or am I two-faced? Do I pretend to be Catholic, to be close to the Church, and then live like a pagan? “But Jesus doesn’t know it, no one is going to tell him.” He does know it. “He needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man.” Jesus knows all that is in our heart: we cannot deceive Jesus. Before  Him, we cannot pretend  to be saints, and close our eyes, behave like this, and then lead a life that is not the one He wills for us. And he knows it. And we all know the name that Jesus gave to these two-faced persons: hypocrites.

It will do us good, today, to enter in our hearts and see Jesus, and say to Him: “Look, Lord, there are good things but also things that aren’t good. Jesus, do you trust yourself to me? I am a sinner ...” This doesn’t alarm Jesus. If you say to him: “I am a sinner,” he is not alarmed. What distances Him from us is two-facedness: to have oneself be seen as just in order to cover one’s hidden sin. “But I go to church every Sunday, and I ...” Yes, we can say all this. However, if your heart isn’t just, if you do not do justice, if you don’t love those in need of love, if you don’t live according to the spirit of the Beatitudes, you’re not a Catholic. You are a hypocrite. First: can Jesus trust himself to me? In our prayer, let us ask him: Lord, do you trust me?

Second, the gesture. When we enter in our hearts, we find things that aren’t right, that are not good, as Jesus found that filth of trade in the Temple of the money-changers. There is filth also within us; there are sins of egoism, of arrogance, of pride, of cupidity, of envy, of jealousy ... so many sins! We can also continue the dialogue with Jesus: “Jesus, do you trust me? I want you to trust me. So I open the door and cleanse my soul.” And we must ask the Lord that, as He went to cleanse the Temple, that he come to cleanse our soul. And we imagine that he comes with a whip of cords ... No, that doesn’t cleanse the soul! Do you know what Jesus’ whip is to cleanse our soul? Mercy. Open your heart to Jesus’ mercy! Say: “Jesus, look at all this filth! Come and cleanse us. Cleanse us with Your mercy, with Your gentle words; cleanse us with Your caresses.” And if we open our heart to Jesus’ mercy, so that He cleanses our heart, our soul, Jesus will trust Himself to us.

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