CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON PLACING MAN AT THE CENTER OF SOCIETY - POPE FRANCIS AT THE ANGELUS: A CALL FOR PEACE, SEA SUNDAY AND A SALUTE TO CAMILLIANS - POPE APOLOGIZES TO HOSPITAL STAFF, PATIENTS FOR CANCELLED VISIT - CARDINAL PAROLIN, IN MEXICO, TO FOCUS ON MIGRATION ISSUES
Monday, July 14, 2014
Last nights final game of the 2014 World Cup was a hard fought, well-played nail biter of a match, won by Germany (as you know by now) with a single goal in the second overtime. We will probably never know if Argentinian Pope Francis congratulated German Pope emeritus Benedict, but it is fun to imagine a conversation between the two, one of whom Francis - is a real, true soccer (the US name) fan who still has his membership card in his much loved San Lorenzo team in Buenos Aires.

Not long ago I read a fun little book about Francis called The Pope Who Loves Soccer (Sole Books) by Michael Part. It is an easy read perfect for kids - and goes back and forth between his youth in Argentina and the first days of his papacy. Travel with Jorge Bergoglio back to 1946 which was, as the book jacket notes, an amazing Championship year for his beloved San Lorenzo, It is a year where he never missed a game, and the one game he will never forget.

Argentina placed second in the 2014 World Cup but the sun still rose this morning and life went on in a fairly normal fashion in 30 of the 32 countries whose teams played in Brazil, though Germans will celebrate like mad for a long time to come and Argentineans are just mad as they mourn and, unfortunately in some places, riot.

CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON PLACING MAN AT THE CENTER OF SOCIETY

The Vatican newpaper, LOsservatore Romano, highlighted Pope Francis meeting on Saturday with the participants of an international conference held in the Casina Pio IV in Vatican City on the theme, For an ever more inclusive economy, a theme proposed in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium. The conference participants met to study new modalities to save man, so that he returns to the center: the center of society, the center of thoughts, the center of reflection. To bring man, once again to the center.

In off-the-cuff remarks, the Holy Father criticized what he termed the reigning anthropological reductionism. I believe that this moment is the most powerful time of anthropological reductionism, he said. When man loses his humanity, what awaits us?

The answer, states LOsservatore Romano, brings us to a theme dear to the magisterium of his pontificate (as he) has noted many times that what happens can be called throwaway politics, sociology, attitudes: what isnt needed is thrown away because man is not at the center. And when man is not at the center, something else is at the center and man is at the service of that something else.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, also spoke and explained to the Pope the significance of the two-day meeting of 70 representatives of the public sector, business, economics, and academia meeting at the Vatican. The objective, he indicated, is to respond to the challenge of fostering an economic and social system adapted to the challenges of the 21st century. And the will,underscored Cardinal Turkson, is that of making a contribution to the construction of a more just and equal society. (LOsservatore Romano)

POPE FRANCIS AT THE ANGELUS: A CALL FOR PEACE, SEA SUNDAY AND A SALUTE TO CAMILLIANS

Sunday, after praying the Angelus with an enormous crowd in St. Peters Square, Pope Francis, in light of the tragic events of recent days, issued yet another appeal for peace in the Middle East and afterward, prayed silently with the faithful in a hushed square.

I still recall, he began, the June 8 meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, President Peres and President Abbas, when we invoked the gift of peace and heard the call to break the cycle of hatred and violence. Some might think that such a meeting took place in vain. But no, because prayer helps us not to allow ourselves to be overcome by evil, nor resign ourselves to violence and hatred taking over dialogue and reconciliation.

Francis urged the parties concerned and all those who have political responsibility at local and international levels to offer a prayer and make some effort to bring an end to all hostilities and to achieve the desired peace for the good of all. And I invite everyone to unite in prayer. In silence everyone, let us pray.

And then: Lord, help us! Grant us peace, teach us peace, guide us toward peace. Open our eyes and our hearts and give us the courage to say: No more war! War destroys everything. Give us the courage to take concrete actions to build peace. Make us willing to listen to the cry of our citizens who ask us to transform our weapons into instruments of peace, our fears into trust, and our tensions into forgiveness.

In additional post-Angelus reflections, the Holy Father noted that the Church was marking Sea Sunday and he greeted all seafarers, fishermen and their families, urging Christian communities, particularly those living in coastal areas, to be attentive to them. I also invite the chaplains and volunteers of the Apostleship of the Sea to continue their commitment to the pastoral care of these brothers and sisters, entrusting all, especially those who are in difficulty and away from home, to the maternal protection of Mary, Star of the Sea.

In concluding remarks, Pope Francis blessed all the spiritual sons and daughters of St. Camillus de Lellis many of whom, wearing red, were in the square, as July 14 marks the 400th anniversary of the saints death. He invited the Camillian family, in this jubilee year, to be a sign of the Lord Jesus who, as the Good Samaritan, tends to the wounds of the body and the spirit of suffering humanity, pouring the oil of consolation and the wine of hope. To those of you gathered here in St Peter's Square, as well as to health professionals serving in hospitals and nursing homes, it is my hope that you may continue grow in the charism of charity, fuelled by daily contact with the sick.

POPE APOLOGIZES TO HOSPITAL STAFF, PATIENTS FOR CANCELLED VISIT

Sunday, the Holy Father sent a video message to the patients and staff of Romes Gemelli Hospital and apologized for having to recently cancel a planned visit. Pope Francis said he was sorry to have canceled the visit scheduled for June 27th. He also expressed sorrow for the disappointment caused by his last-minute cancelation, apologizing to the organizers and to the sick who were looking forward to praying with him. He explained that he had a headache he had hoped would vanish during the day but instead it worsened, causing nausea and, as a result, I could not come.

I extend my apologies not only to the hospital directors but to all those who have worked with such effort and passion. Above all, I include the patients waiting to be able to pray together during the Holy Mass, whom I would have liked to greet personally. He said that those who experience the fragility of the human body can be powerful witnesses of the fact that the Gospel and the love of God are worth much more than riches and power.

The Pope encouraged the ill to seek in prayer the flavor of the things of God; bear witness that your strength lies in God alone. You who, as patients, experience the frailty of the body, can offer a powerful testimony to those who are near you of how the Gospel and the merciful love of the Father are a precious asset in life, not money or power. Indeed, even when a person is important according to a worldly logic, he is not able to add even one extra day to his own life.

In his video message, the Pope mentioned the summer season, noting that many people go on holiday to relax. However, he stated, summer is also a difficult moment especially for the elderly and the sick, who are more likely to remain alone and who encounter greater difficulties in obtaining certain services, especially in big cities. So, this time of repose is also the time in which the difficulties in life can become even greater.

CARDINAL PAROLIN, IN MEXICO, TO FOCUS ON MIGRATION ISSUES

Cardinal Pietro Parolin arrived in Mexico City on Sunday to participate in a seminar entitled Colloquium Mexico-Holy See on International Migration and Development. The Vaticans Secretary of State said these issues are a huge challenge that is currently facing the entire human family.

In an address Monday to President Enrique Pea Nieto of Mexico, he noted that the Vatican considers the issue of migration as an extremely important one, and appreciates the efforts made by Mexico, both at a national and at an international policy level. Cardinal Parolin specifically mentioned the Mexican Immigration Reform that was ratified in 2011 and its underlying principles that uphold the rights of immigrants.

He said the Church supports policies that protect the dignity and rights of all migrants. And, from a pastoral point of view, the secretary of State expressed the Popes gratitude for the many initiatives the Mexican government has embraced to aid migrants and to meet their needs.

The aim of the seminar, to which Cardinal Parolin was invited when the president of Mexico visited the Vatican last month, is to find ways to coordinate a joint program between the Mexican government and the Holy See on the issue of migration. During the meeting participants will exchange ideas and identify areas of interest on issues related to international migration, social inclusion, human rights, respect for the dignity of migrants and the contribution of migration to the development of the countries of origin and destination.

The Mexico meeting is an occasion to continue working on a shared agenda, especially in multilateral fora, and to make the protection of individuals, their welfare and development into a core issue. The seminar comes at a time when the Mexican government is dealing with a humanitarian crisis which sees thousands of migrant children traveling alone to the United States. All Central American countries are reportedly involved in this forced exodus, and the Catholic Church is in the forefront of the nations humanitarian response as almost all hostels for migrants in Mexico are run by Catholic organization. (Vatican Radio)

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