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Mgr. Rugambwa opens the Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies

Rome - "Let us reflect together on the ‘mission heart of the Christian faith’ in the light of the Apostolic Missionary Exhortation of Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium. Let us have the courage of conversion, discernment, and authentic reform of each of us and of the institutions we serve, that is to say the Pontifical Mission Societies". This is how His Exc. Mgr. Protase Rugambwa, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies , opened the works of the General Assembly of the PMS this morning, which will take place in Rome until Saturday, June 3 .
In greeting and thanking all those who "work on behalf and in favor of the Pontifical Mission Societies", Archbishop Rugambwa emphasized: "In full communion with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, let us not stop animating each other so that without fear and with great joy, may the announcement of the risen Christ make the Church a community of reconciled, open to welcome everyone, always ready to bring and communicate to everyone the efficacy of salvation. No one is excluded, all at the heart of evangelization, so that Churches rediscover at the center of their Christian faith the only mission assigned to them by the Lord Jesus Christ. "
Tracing a budget of the activities carried out in the past year, the President of the PMS cited the conclusion of the integration work in the Statutes of the texts concerning the Administrative Office and the Finance Committee; the establishment of a humanitarian disaster Committee; the Continental meeting of the National Directors of the PMS, which represent "an important tool for exchanging, verifying and growing of communion and unity at the service of mission and animation".
Mgr. Rugambwa then announced the Holy Father's approval of the proposal to "convene an Extraordinary Missionary Month, in October 2019 to commemorate the centenary of the enactment of the encyclical Maximum illud and to promote the missionary commitment of the Church in line with Evangelii Gaudium". The General Assembly will dedicate some of the work to the topic by elaborating proposals for Missionary October 2019. The President also thanked the Commission that is working on the introduction of a common brand, "to help us better assert the unique identity of PMS internationally in respect of differences and local needs".
In the second part of his speech, Mgr. Rugambwa focused on presenting some challenges, recalling his previous five-year intervention: "We have not yet exhausted our reflection and our discussion of the PMS as Societies which belong to the Pope and Bishops, the relationship between the Universal Mission of the Church and the PMS, their collocation and cooperation with other mission forces, civil law on charitable organizations, prospects and work plans".
The Archbishop thus called for a frank and open confrontation, "on the future of institutions that cannot simply be dragged by the obsolete repetition of what has always been done", to have "boldness and creativity in discerning and rethinking our structures, styles and methods" to "rediscover the mission as the heart of the Christian faith".
"At the center and at the outskirts of our work of animation, collection and distribution - he stressed - we must grow in greater harmony and cooperation thanks to an ever-changing conversion that overcomes inadequate and annoying forms of anti-evangelical attention-seeking behaviour".
Mgr. Rugambwa thus concluded his speech: "These provocations require to be better reflected, thought, analyzed, and prayed. It is not about doing everything and immediately. This is not a violent distortion. It is rather a change of mentality and modes of the apostolic work of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The more we focus on our interest, our passion, the true needs of the mission, the more our conversion takes place, to end protagonism and begin the ecclesial, fraternal and evangelical service that saves".

Pope says murdered Copts are martyrs and prays for conversion of terrorists

(Vatican Radio) On the second day running, Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity with Egypt's Coptic Christians following an attack on a bus carrying Coptic pilgrims to a remote desert monastery.

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:

Leading thousands of pilgrims in the Regina Caeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, the Pope said he wished to express, yet again, his closeness to his dear brother, Pope Tawadros II and to the whole Egyptian nation that two days ago suffered “another act of ferocious violence.”

“The victims, amongst which were also children, were killed after having refused to renounce their Christian faith” he said.

The Pope prayed that the Lord “may welcome these courageous witnesses, these martyrs, in his peace and convert the hearts of the terrorists”.

The Islamic so-called State group claimed responsibility for Friday's attack, which killed 29 people.

On Saturday during a visit to Genoa, Francis prayed for the victims and lamented that there were more martyrs today than in early Christian times.

 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis prays for victims of Manchester attack

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday asked for prayers for the victims of the Manchester concert attack and decried how “so many young lives were cruelly broken”.

Speaking to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis also said he is “close to the relatives and all those who are weeping for the dead.”

British investigators are still looking for other suspects in the May 22 bombing at an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 people. Police have 11 suspects in custody but are looking for other members of the network of attacker Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent

 

(from Vatican Radio)

The power of Christians lies in prayer and preaching – Pope in Genoa

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis wrapped up an intense 1-day apostolic visit to the Italian port city of Genoa with the celebration of Mass.

To the faithful present for the open-air ceremony in Genoa’s Kennedy Square, the Pope said Christians must never tire of working for the common good, they must never fear going out into the world with Christ’s message of peace and hope…

Listen to the report by Robin Gomes:

“Christian prayer is not a way of being a little bit at peace with oneself or finding some interior harmony; we pray in order to bring all to God, to entrust the world to Him,” Pope Francis said on Saturday.  He was delivering a homily at an evening Mass in the Italian port city of Genoa.  The Mass at the Kennedy Square seafront was the final event of his day-long visit to the city, during which he met the clergy and religious, youth, prisoners, children and staff of a pediatric hospital and lunched with the poor and the marginalized.   

Prayer – God's power and strength

Commenting on the scripture readings of Sunday, the Pope explained that in Christ’s Ascensio n “the power of Jesus, the strength of God” is revealed that has “linked earth with heaven for us”.  And this power continues even today and will last forever in Christ’s unceasing prayers and intercession for us before the Father, every moment….especially at every Mass.  And  “Jesus has gifted this capacity to intercede also to us, to his Church, that has the power and also the duty to intercede and pray for all.”

The power of prayer lies in anchoring ourselves on God with our burdens, persons and situations in order not to be submerged by what he described as this “evil of living”.  Prayer allows God to enter our time.   “Prayer is intercession. It’s not tranquility, it’s charity,” the Pope stressed. 

The Pope said our power lies not in triumphing or shouting loud according to the logic of the world but in exercising the ‘gentle power of prayer’, with which one can even stop wars and obtain peace. 

Proclamation - reachig out, not closed in

Another power of Jesus revealed in the Ascension is that of proclamation.   When Jesus sent his disciples to proclaim Him with the power of the Holy Spirit, He trusted us with all our shortcomings.  And in this, a great imperfection that we need to overcome immediately is that of closing ourselves.  It’s because the Gospel cannot be shut in and sealed, because God's love is dynamic and wants to reach others.  Hence to proclaim Him, one needs to go out, come out of oneself.

With the Lord is it is forbidden to relax in acquired comforts.  A Christian is always on the move with the Lord towards other.  He is a pilgrim, a missionary, a hopeful marathon man, gentle but intent on walking, the Pope said.  The Lord desires that the proclamation goes ahead with his strength, not with that of the world, with the limpid and meek strength of joyful witnessing.  This, the Pope said, is urgent. 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis visits Genoa's Giannina Gaslini Pediatric Hospital

“Faith works primarily through charity and without it, it is dead. So I encourage you to carry out your delicate work motivated by charity", said Pope Francis  to the staff members of  “Giannini Gaslini” Pediatric Hospital during his day long visit to the Italian city of Genoa on Saturday.  

The Pope said that he couldn’t miss this visit where children are cared for, because the suffering of children is certainly something very difficult to accept. And added that  it is there that the Lord called him to be,  though briefly, close to the children and their relatives.  "Often and again I ask myself: 'Why do children suffer?', and I don't find any explantion," the Pope said.  "I only look at the crucifix and stand still there." 

Pope Francis commended the devoted service of the hospital staff, the President of the Foundation, the Archbishop of Genoa, physicians, paramedics,  the various specialized staff, as well as the Cappucchin Friars Minor and all those who assist and help the children with love and dedication and said that they in fact also need their  gestures of friendship, of  understanding, of affection and paternal and maternal support.

This institute is an act of love of Senator Gerolamo  Gaslini he said who in honour of his daughter who died of a tender age had founded the hospital by sacrificing all he had: companies, establishments, property, money, and even his home. This is why this hospital is known and appreciated in Italy and around the world and has a special role of continuing to be a symbol of generosity and solidarity he said.   In founding of the Hospital he observed, Gaslini said: "It is my firm will that this Institute has the Catholic faith as its foundation and guide [...] that it ferments every activity and comforts every pain." The pope called them to  often think of the "good Samaritan" of the Gospel- attentive to the needs of their small patients, accepting tenderly  their fragility, and seeing the Lord in them. Whoever serves the sick with love serves Jesus who opens the Kingdom of Heaven he affirmed.

The Pope hoped that the Hospital, faithful to its mission, will continue its appreciated work of care and research through the generous and disinterested contribution and contribute to all categories and at all levels. He concluded assuring the staff, patients and their relatives of his prayer and blessings.

Earlier on Wednesday linking-up live via telephone to a parish radio in Genova that broadcasts a Wednesday weekly programme especially dedicated to the children’s hospital, Pope Francis told the little patients that it is with joy that he is preparing to be with them.

"Istituto Giannina Gaslini" is a tertiary level pediatric hospital affiliated to the University of Genoa and  is considered one of the foremost children’s hospitals in Europe and is formally recognized as a Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Healthcare.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope to Genovese clergy: creative fidelity key to mission

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with the bishops, priests, religious and seminarians of the Archdiocese of Genoa and the whole region of Liguria on Saturday, during the course of a one-day pastoral visit.

The questions from clergy and religious came from two secular priests, Don Andrea Carcasole and Don Pasquale Revello: the President of the Italian Union of Women Religious Superiors for the Liguria Region; and  Fr. Andrea Caruso, O.F.M. Cap.

Their queries focused on the search for ways to maintain hope and nourish the interior life of faith in today’s frenetic world – and the Holy Father’s responses centered on the imitation of Christ, the fostering of a sense of fraternity among the clergy and of genuine diocesan ecclesial unity, and the cultivation of a rich, mission-focused interior life of prayer.

“What we want,” said Pope Francis, “is pastoral conversion, missionary conversion.”

The Pope also condemned the practice – diffuse in Latin America and at one time not too long ago present also in Italy and other places, of encouraging poor young women to join a religious congregation as novices – often in order to shore up diminishing numbers – and then to abandon the girls and young women for whom religious life is not their calling.

“It is a scandal,” said Pope Francis.

“Work [to foster vocations – (It. lavoro vocazionale)] is difficult, but we must do it,” he said. “It is a challenge,” Pope Francis continued. “We need to be creative.”

(from Vatican Radio)