Pope Announces Visit to South Sudan

Pope Announces Visit to South Sudan

Pope Francis, following the recitation of the Angelus announces a visit to the African nation of South Sudan. He also offers prayers for Bolivia and recalls a new Saint and Blessed for the Church.

Pope Francis during his Angelus on Sunday invited the faithful to pray for the African nation of South Sudan which he said, he wished to visit next year. The Pope had already expressed this wish during an audience with the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir.

South Sudan

Speaking to the faithful in St Peter’s Square, the Pope said he wished to renew his invitation “to all those involved in the national political process to seek what unites and to overcome what divides, in a spirit of true brotherhood.” He also recalled the spiritual retreat for the Authorities of the country, which took place in the Vatican last April.

The Pontiff said, “The South Sudanese people have suffered too much in recent years and look forward with great hope to a better future, especially the definitive end of conflicts and lasting peace. I therefore urge those responsible to continue, tirelessly, with their commitment to an inclusive dialogue in the search for consensus for the good of the nation.” The Pope expressed the hope that the international community would not neglect to accompany South Sudan on the path to national reconciliation.

Following its independence in 2011, South Sudan erupted into civil war in 2013. The President Salva Kiir accused his Vice-President Rieck Machar of orchestrating a coup against him. Up to 400,000 people have been killed and more than 4 million displaced in the conflict.

Prayers for Bolivia

After the recitation of the Hail Mary, Pope Francis also invited people to pray for Bolivia, near he said, to his homeland.

The South American country has been engulfed in political unrest following disputed results of an October 20 election.

A number of people have died as a result of the violence and more than 300 have been injured.

The Pope called on all Bolivians, particularly political and social actors, “to wait constructively and unconditionally, in a climate of peace and serenity, for the results of the process of revising the elections, which is currently under way. In peace.”

A New Saint and Blessed

Turning his attention to Granada in Spain, Pope Francis invited the faithful to applaud Blessed Maria Emilia Riquelme y Zayas, founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and of Mary Immaculate, who was proclaimed Blessed on Saturday. He also recalled a Mass of thanksgiving being celebrated on Sunday for the equipollent canonization of St. Bartholomew Fernandes of the Martyrs. The new Blessed, he said was exemplary in the fervor of Eucharistic adoration and generous in the service of the neediest, while the new Saint was a great evangelizer and pastor of his people.

By: Vatican News 

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Pope at Mass: The Devil Destroys Because He Is Envious

Pope at Mass: The Devil Destroys Because He Is Envious

In his homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday, Pope Francis reflects on the Book of Wisdom and describes how the devil tries to destroy humanity out of jealousy because God became Man.

The devil exists, sowing hatred and death throughout the world because he is envious that the Son of God became man. This was at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning.

The Pope was reflecting on the First Reading from the Book of Wisdom, and the first verse in particular, which begins: “God created us for incorruption, and made us in His image”. The same verse continues adding: “But through the devil’s envy, death entered the world”.

Pope Francis explained how “the envy of that proud angel who refused to accept the incarnation” led him “to destroy humanity”. That is how “jealousy, envy, rivalry” entered our hearts, said the Pope, while instead “we could live in peace like brothers and sisters”. This is where “the struggle and the desire to destroy” begins, he added.

Gossip destroys others

Pope Francis described an imaginary dialogue with the faithful: “But Father, I don’t destroy anyone”. “No? And what about your gossiping? When you talk badly about someone you destroy them”. The Pope quoted the Apostle James: “The tongue is a fearsome weapon”. “Gossip kills. Slander kills”, he said.

We are fighting a war inside ourselves, continued Pope Francis, and we have done so from the beginning. “Cain and Abel were brothers”, he said, “but the jealousy and the envy of the one destroyed the other”. This is the way it is, said the Pope, just watch the evening news: “wars, destruction, people dying of illnesses caused by wars”.

Berlin Wall anniversary

Pope Francis recalled the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the horrors of war, the Nazis, and those who “tortured anyone who was not of ‘pure race’ “.

Behind all this there is someone who moves us to do these things. It’s what we call temptation. When we go to confession, we say to the priest: “Father, I was tempted by this, that, and the other…”. Someone touches your heart to lead you down the wrong road. Someone sows destruction and hatred in our hearts. Today we have to say it clearly, there are many who sow hatred in the world, who destroy.

The Pope said he often has the impression the news is a story of hatred and destruction, wars and terrorist attacks. “So many children die of hunger and disease” because they have no water, no education, or healthcare, said the Pope. Instead, “the money needed for this goes to manufacturing weapons of destruction”. This is what happens in the world, but also “in my soul and in yours”, he continued, because of the devil’s envy and hatred. “And why is the devil envious?” asked the Pope: he is envious “of our human nature”.

Do you know why? Because the Son of God became one of us. The devil cannot bare that.

Mud of politics

That is why he destroys, said Pope Francis, and that is “the root of the devil’s envy, the root of our evils, our temptations, it is the root of wars, hunger, of all the calamities in the world”. It is not the norm to destroy and sow hatred, the Pope continued, not even in politics. “But some people do it”. Often one politician is tempted to sling mud at another, “to destroy the other”, using both lies and truth. This is not healthy and clean political rivalry “for the good of the country”. Those kinds of politicians use insults to diminish opponents, afraid they may appear more competent.

I want all of us to think about this: why is there so much hatred in the world today? In families that cannot be reconciled, in our neighbourhood, in the workplace, in politics… The devil is the sower of hatred: “Death entered the world through the devil’s envy”. Some say: but Father, the devil does not exist, it is evil, such an ethereal evil… But God’s Word is clear. The devil got angry with Jesus. Read the Gospel: it’s clear, whether we have faith or not.

Pope Francis concluded praying that God “may make our hearts grow in faith in Jesus Christ, His Son”, who assumed our human nature, “to fight with our flesh and to be victorious in our flesh” over the devil and evil. May this faith “give us the strength not to play the game of the envious one, the great liar, the sower of hatred”.

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An Act of Remembrance…

…yesterday at the University where I have spent the past two years as Visiting Research Fellow. A goodish number of staff and students gathered, and the service was traditional, reverent, and moving. It is sad to see that large numbers of young people do not know the Lord’s Prayer –  or perhaps are shy and uncertain about saying it –  and are unfamiliar with traditional hymns.  But there was solemnity, silence, and  – attendance at such events being voluntary – something touching about the gathering.

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With ecumenical goodwill…

…and in a spirit of real friendship and co-operation, the Schools Bible Project has thrived for 30 years. In a couple of weeks’ time we will have our 2019 Prizegiving, with pupils from schools across Britain arriving at WESTMINSTER ABBEY to receive their prizes for essays on  New Testament themes. The  project is simple: pupils are invited to imagine themselves present at a major event in the life of Christ – we offer a choice of six events, including some of his great miracles etc – and to write about it. Some choose to be, for example, a bridesmaid at the Wedding at Cana, or a Roman soldier  at the Crucifixion, or one of the Apostles during the storm at sea. They can invent a character  or be some one who is actually recorded in the Scriptures as being present. The aim is simply to offer the opportunity to encounter Christ and to understand the significance of it all. The Project fulfils the requirements of the standard RE curriculum, and  has proved popular with pupils and teachers alike.

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