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From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

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By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican expressed “grave concern” over the situation of a bishop in mainland China who has been in government custody for almost 10 months and moved repeatedly in an apparent attempt to prevent him from assuming leadership of his diocese.

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin had been coadjutor bishop of Wenzhou and should have taken over leadership of the diocese in September when his predecessor died. Instead, officials took him to northern China “on a trip.”

“The Holy See is following with grave concern the personal situation of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, forcibly removed from his episcopal see some time ago,” said Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, in a statement June 26.

“The diocesan Catholic community and his relatives have no news or reasons for his removal, nor do they know where he is being held,” Burke said.

The treatment of Bishop Zhumin “and other similar episodes,” Burke said, do not foster the kind of understanding that the Vatican wants to reach with the Chinese government.

While Bishop Zhumin was approved by the Vatican as bishop of Wenzhou, his election was not recognized by the government.

The Vatican hopes that the bishop “may return as soon as possible to the diocese and that he can be assured the possibility of serenely exercising his episcopal ministry,” Burke said.

Michael Clauss, Germany’s ambassador to China, posted a statement on his embassy’s website June 20 saying the bishop appears to have been forced by authorities to move to unknown locations four times over the past year, the Associated Press reported. The ambassador called on China to allow the bishop full freedom of movement.

AsiaNews, a Rome-based Catholic news agency, said June 21 that Chinese authorities appeared to be trying to get Bishop Zhumin to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. The bishop was seen arriving at Wenzhou airport June 16, “accompanied by government officials, who took him to an unknown location,” AsiaNews said.

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1 hour 43 min

IMAGE: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Cancer prevention programs and campaigns need to reach everyone, Pope Francis said.

“Spreading a culture of life — made up of attitudes and behaviors — is greatly needed, a true culture (that is) of the people, serious, accessible to everyone and not based on commercial interests,” he said in an address to members of the Italian League for the Fight Against Tumors June 26.

The pope praised the volunteer organization, which promotes education, prevention, research and support for those with cancer and their families.

He said their service represented a constant “decentralization toward the peripheries,” emphasizing that the “peripheries” include any person who is marginalized by society or other people, and those who may be forced to compromise or abandon their daily routine and relationships because of illness.

Taking care of those who are ill “is a priceless richness for society,” he said, and reminds both the church and civil society “to not be afraid of closeness, to not be afraid of tenderness, to not be afraid of ‘wasting time'” by offering support, comfort and solidarity to those who need it.

“Since good health is a primary and fundamental necessity for every person, it is desirable that oncological prevention be extended to everyone, thanks to collaboration between public and private services and initiatives by civil society and charities.”

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2 hours 30 min

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is home to four Catholic Press Association affiliated news outlets, and all four were honored at the 2017 Catholic Press Association Awards Banquet June 23 in Quebec, Canada.

St. Anthony Messenger magazine led the way among local outlets with 11 awards, including second place for Magazine of the Year: National General Interest Magazine. The Franciscan Media-operated publication totaled three first-place, four second-place, three third-place and one honorable mention awards. Franciscan Media took home 16 awards in the books category as well.

Comboni Missions, the magazine of the Comboni Missionaries, brought home four awards. Comboni Missions was named second place for Magazine of the Year: Mission Magazine, and also earned third place for Best Magazine Coverage of the Year of Mercy. Comboni Missions also won second place for Best Mission Magazine Feature Article and Best Magazine Editorial.

Glenmary Challenge, the magazine of the Glenmary Home Missioners, earned an honorable mention for Magazine of the Year: Mission Magazine, along with three other awards. Glenmary Challenge won first place for Best Personality Profile on a Religious Leader. Glenmary also won a second place and an honorable mention in Best Essay Originating with A Magazine of Newsletter, Mission Magazine.

The Catholic Telegraph brought home a first place for Best Sports Journalism, Sports News for the story “DePaul Cristo Rey joins all Christian athletic league,” by former new media editor John Stegeman. “Stories of same-sex attracted Catholics propel growth of Courage,” also by Stegeman, earned an honorable mention in the larger division of non-weekly diocesan newspapers for Best Feature Writing.

St. Anthony Messenger
First Place: Best Magazine Editorial, “Minding what matters” by Kathleen M. Carroll
First Place: Best In-Depth/Analysis Writing: Analysis, “What Ramadan taught me about Lent” by Joe McHugh
First Place: Best Feature Article: General Interest Magazine, “Franciscan Respite for Refugees” by Toni Cashnelli
Second Place: Magazine/Newsletter of the Year: National General Interest Magazine “St. Anthony Messenger”
Second Place: Best Regular Column: Spiritual Life, “Ask a Franciscan” by Father Pat McCloskey, OFM
Second Place: Best Illustration, Either with Art Work or Photography, “Bags” by Jon Krause.
Second Place: Best Personality Profile: Person of Interest, “The Legacy of St. Maria Goretti” by Rita E. Piro
Second Place: Best Short Story, “My Father is Beautiful” by Liz Dolan.
Third Place: Best Layout of Article or Column: General Interest Magazine, “Flavors of the Bible” by Jeanne Kortekamp.
Third Place: Best Essay Originating with a Magazine or Newsletter: General Interest Magazine, “Mary’s Loneliness,” by Jim Van Vurst, OFM.
Honorable Mention: Best Essay Originating with a Magazine or Newsletter: General Interest Magazine, “The Road to Easter” by Mary Sharon Moore.

Comboni Missions
Second Place: Magazine/Newsletter of the Year: Mission Magazine, “Comboni Missions”
Second Place: Best Feature Article, Mission Magazine. “Pope Francis in Africa”
Third Place: Best Magazine Coverage of the Year of Mercy, articles by Kathleen M. Carroll
Third Place: Best Magazine Editorial, “Crumbs from the Table” by Kathleen M. Carroll

Glenmary Challenge
First Place: Best Magazine Personality Profile, “Brother reaches across brokenness” by Frank Lesko
Second Place: Best Essay Originating With a Magazine/Newsletter: Mission Magazine, “A vision for the future of Appalachia” by Father John S. Rausch
Honorable Mention: Magazine/Newsletter of the Year: Mission Magazine, “Glenmary Challenge”
Honorable Mention: Best Essay Originating With a Magazine/Newsletter: Mission Magazine, “Waiting for the church” by Brother David Henley

The Catholic Telegraph
First Place: Best Sports Journalism: Sports News, “DPCR joins Christian Athletic Conference” by John Stegeman
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Honorable Mention: Best Feature Writing: Non-weekly Diocesan Newspaper, Circulation 25,001 or more, “Stories of Same-Sex Attracted Catholics Propel the growth of Courage” by John Stegeman
To view this story, click here

3 hours 33 min

On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at the Archdiocesan Priests Convocation in Columbus, celebrated Mass at St. Brigid of Kildare. The four day convocation focused on the sacraments of the church. For the story, go to page 8 on The July Edition of The Catholic Telegraph to be in homes beginning June 27, 2017.

St. Brigid Kildare Church, Dublin OhioSt. Brigid Kildare Church, Dublin Ohio

4 hours 17 min

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

By Dennis Sadowski

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Christian faith leaders pledged anew to build a “circle of protection” around vital social programs identified for deep spending cuts under President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget, saying their action is consistent with biblical principles.

Coming together during a news conference at the National Press Club June 21, more than a dozen leaders, including representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA, lined up shoulder-to-shoulder in a unified front to defend a broad array of domestic and international aid programs that, they argued, sustain life.

They used strong language in criticizing planned cuts in food and nutrition, education, elderly services, health care, air and water protection, employment training and more. They said they feared that people will be harmed or even die if the budget as proposed is adopted.

“There is a troubling momentum at this time in Washington, D.C., for creating a serious imbalance in overall spending priorities, one that will place those who struggle on the margins of society, on the peripheries, in grave danger,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

Bishop Dewane and the others repeated a simple message: A budget is a moral document that reflects the values and priorities of a country and they are concerned that the priorities being eyed by Washington have gone askew.

What particularly concerns the Circle of Protection group is how the budget assembled by Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, slices $52 billion from programs that help Americans cope with sickness, unemployment and homelessness to pay for a corresponding increase in the Pentagon budget.

The Rev. Carlos Malave, executive director of Christian Churches Together in the USA, charged that “the few” at the top end of the U.S. economy “are denying the masses a future” in the pursuit of power and riches.

“We’re here because we believe in a different world. We’re here because we believe all can have life and life in abundance,” he said, saying a massive increase in military spending does not uphold human dignity.

Bishop Dewane called it “scary” when the defense budget is contrasted with cuts in social services. While he said defense spending is needed, he suggested that some shaving there would be in order.

“One part of the budget (defense) is about defending killing, if you want to put it that way,” he told Catholic News Service. “But the other (reduced social service spending) kills also.”

There has been little appetite in Congress for the stringent Trump budget. Democrats, as expected, have voiced strong opposition to any change in spending priorities. Republicans have described the Trump budget plan simply as a starting point.

The budget that will emerge later this summer is expected to limit the size of the cuts while boosting military spending in some fashion. And there’s likely to be changes in how programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps, function.

With those expectations looming, the Circle of Protection umbrella group of faith leaders is preparing to up its game to stop what these leaders see as an unfair targeting of poor people.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, an ecumenical advocacy organization, said the group wanted members of Congress to stand up for the Christian values they hold and “speak as people of faith.” He called for a mobilization of religious congregations to tell Congress that programs that promote human life must become a priority for the country.

“Underneath the headlines in Washington, there are moral choices we make,” Rev. Wallis told CNS. “We want to make those moral choices clear. For us, this is not a matter of politics or partisan loyalty.

“What if a legislator can say, ‘I’m hearing from my Christian constituents that we have to form a circle of protection because people are in jeopardy?’ That circle has to be broadened. We’re lifting that up,” he said.

The Circle of Protection coalition released a two-page statement during the news briefing. In it, the leaders stressed that the country must address the national debt, but also called on Congress to “approve a budget that weighs the importance of providing for critical needs and that responsibly manages the country’s fiscal issues; but the most vulnerable should not carry the burden of solving this challenge.”

The statement cited how the recently House-passed American Health Care Act would cut more than $800 billion from Medicaid over the next decade and end health insurance under the Affordable Care Act for 23 million people, including 14 million poor individuals. On top of that, the administration’s budget would cut another $600 billion Medicaid in the same period.

Such cuts would place people’s lives at risk, the statement said. Released June 22, the Senate’s health care reform bill, called Better Care Reconciliation Act, proposes similar cuts in Medicaid.

Bishop Dewane said the challenge ahead requires the Circle of Protection members to help lawmakers in Congress see the faces behind the numbers of the federal budget.

“There’s where you make connections if you’re looking at a budget,” he explained to CNS. “Behind every number, there’s human faces. And that’s what I think they’re not seeing. They’re caught up in that number, but behind it are human faces and that’s who we need to look to.”

The leaders acknowledged they face a tremendous challenge in advocating for America’s poor and vulnerable because powerful special interests carry great influence in Congress.

Still, they say they hope their message, rooted in the Bible will sway Congress to act on behalf of vulnerable Americans.

“Wouldn’t that be a great cable news story to see legislators,” Rev. Wallis said, “who expressed their Christian faith, to come together apart from party and say, ‘We are together as Christians going to protect the poor. It’s very simple. It’s very clear. It’s very unified and … it’s very biblical.”

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Editors: The full Circle of Protection statement can be read online at

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Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

2 days 20 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Leonardo Munoz, EPA

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Days after rebels in Colombia announced turning in the last of their cache of weapons over to international observers, the Vatican announced June 23 details of Pope Francis’ September trip to the war-torn South American country.

The pope is scheduled to visit four cities, starting his trip in the Colombian capital of Bogota Sept. 6, followed by day trips to Villavicencio and Medellin Sept. 8 and 9, respectively, and heading back to Rome from Cartagena after Mass Sept. 10.

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos had said the pontiff had promised him he would visit Colombia if the government and the rebel group known as FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias) signed a peace agreement. Though Colombian voters last year rejected a referendum on the peace agreement between the government and FARC, Santos later negotiated a modified deal with Colombian opposition leader and former President Alvaro Uribe. The process came with help from the Vatican, including the pope, who met with the two men in late 2016.

The rebels began turning in their weapons to United Nations observers in early June and all were expected to be turned in by June 20, bringing 52 years of war to an end.

The pope is expected to take part Sept. 8 in several acts of reconciliation, including a Mass and prayer, in Villavicencio, according to a schedule released by the Vatican.

Colombian Vice President Oscar Naranjo said in an interview published June 23 in El Tiempo newspaper that that pope’s trip comes at a time in the country “when the discussion stops being about how to win the war, but how to achieve peace.” The pope’s trip cannot be “just another episode” in the national discourse about peace, said Naranjo.

According to some estimates, more than 220,000 have died in the decades-long conflict, tens of thousands have been injured, and more than 7 million were displaced. Concerns about the end of the conflict were reawakened when a bomb exploded inside a mall bathroom in Bogota June 17, killing three and injuring nine people. Some blamed another rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional). The group, however, denied involvement and said it doesn’t target civilians.

While in Colombia, the pope also is set to meet in Bogota Sept. 7 with the directive committee of the Latin American bishops’ council, known as CELAM for its Spanish acronym.

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Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.

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2 days 22 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: The World Seen From Rome

On the occasion of the International Day against Abuse and Illicit Trafficking of Drugs, June 26, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, released the following message. Here is the Vatican-provided text:


The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs, established by the United Nations, is an important opportunity for drawing attention to the fact that narcotics continue to “rage in impressive forms and dimensions”.[1] It is a phenomenon that is fuelled – not without concessions and compromises on the part of institutions – by “a shameful market that crosses national and continental borders”,[2] intertwined with mafias and drug trafficking.

Nowadays we are faced with a scenario of profoundly changed dependencies, compared to the recent past.[3] Drugs have become a consumer product made compatible with everyday life, with leisure activity and even with the pursuit of well-being.

Cocaine consumption is associated with a greater spread of heroin, which “still represents the highest percentage (80%) of new requests for opioid-related treatment in Europe”.[4] In addition, new intoxicating, psychoactive substances, available at low cost and anonymously on the market via the internet, also find their way into places of detention and mobilize in trafficking many people recruited from peripheral areas of hardship where they also find new consumers.

The most commonly consumed recreational drug, however, is cannabis, about which there is an international debate which tends to overlook the ethical judgment of the substance, by definition negative as with any other drug,[5] focusing on possible therapeutic uses, a field in which we await scientific data to be validated by monitoring periods, as for any experiment worthy of public consideration.

Before deciding on these issues, starting from various kinds of prejudices, it would be better to understand trends in the use of cannabis, related damages and the consequences of regulatory policies in the various countries, that push the illegal market to develop products intended to affect patterns of consumption and to reaffirm the primacy of the desire that is compulsively satisfied by the substance.

Pathological gambling or ludopathy has for some time been a rampant scourge that further diversifies addictions. The legalization of gambling, even when it is supported by the intention of unmasking its criminal management, exponentially increases the number of pathological players; moreover, taxation by the state is to be considered incompatible from an ethical standpoint and contradictory in terms of prevention. The definition of models of intervention and adequate monitoring systems, associated with the allocation of funds, is highly desirable to tackle the phenomenon.

As the landscape of addictions diversifies, indifference and at times indirect complicity in this phenomenon contributes to diverting the attention of public opinion and governments, focused on other emergencies. But faced with surprising events, which require unexpected efforts, resources and responses, it is often the emergency solution that prevails over a serious culture of prevention capable of being equipped with goals, tools and resources to ensure consistency and durability in addressing the problems.

This is confirmed in many countries by the collapse of planned efforts, institutional services and resources; the offering that has for decades seen the advancement of addictions has, in many cases, been reduced to a marginal bulwark, invested in the task of curbing in solitude the desertification caused by years of inattention.

The present-day picture of addictions shows, in many cases, gaps in planning, policies and prospects, the sign of sluggish progress, inadequate faced with the drug market, which is highly competitive and flexible to demand, and always open to novelties such as recently-created, extremely powerful synthetic opiates, ecstasy and amphetamines. It is precisely the growing and widespread consumption of ecstasy that may serve as an indicator of how the use of illicit substances has now spread into everyday areas of life, and how the user no longer identifies with the heroin addict, but rather with the new profile of the user of multiple substances and alcohol.

As a result, intervention strategies can not solely specialist or directed at damage reduction, nor can drugs still be considered as a phenomenon that is collusive with social disorder and deviance. Damage reduction must necessarily involve taking on board both the toxicological aspect and integration with personalized therapeutic programs of a psycho-social nature, without giving rise to forms of chronic use, which are harmful to the person and ethically reprehensible. Designed to avoid the collateral damage of addiction, risk reduction instead expresses a more epidemiological rather than therapeutic approach, taking the form of a strategy of social control strategy and hygienic prophylaxis. The real risk is that this can lead in a more aseptic and less visible way to the psychological and social death of the addict, by differentiating it from the physical one.

Considering people as irrecoverable is an act of capitulation that denies the psychological dynamics of change and offers an alibi for disengagement from the addict and the institutions that have the task of preventing and treating. In other words, it can not be accepted that society metabolizes drug use as a chronic epochal trait, similar to alcoholism and tobacco, withdrawing from exchange on the margins of freedom of the state and the citizen in relation to substance use.

Naturally, one must not minimize the addictions that arise and develop with complex characteristics related to existing clinical evidence or that which is consequent to the use of psychoactive substances: it is the case of the so-called “double diagnosis”, in the field of psychiatric disorders, which is very demanding during treatment.

“Clearly there is no single cause of drug addiction. Rather, there are many factors that contribute to it, among which are the absence of a family, social pressures, the propaganda of drug dealers, and the desire for new experiences. Every drug addict has a unique personal story and must be listened to, understood, loved, and, insofar as possible, healed and purified. We cannot stoop to the injustice of categorizing drug addicts as if they were mere objects or broken machines; each person must be valued and appreciated in his or her dignity in order to enable them to be healed”.[6]

“Good practices” against resigned standardization, or delegation to the few with good will, require us to assume the duty of prevention, an attitude of concern oriented towards taking care, in terms of promoting health in its broader and more comprehensive sense. Broad policies and strategies, based on primary prevention, cannot but invoke all social actors, starting from the commitment to education.

The scenario which we must all face is marked by the loss of the ancient primacy of the family and the school, the emptying of authority of adult figures and the difficulties that arise in terms of parenting; this proves that this is not time for “protagonism”, but rather for “networks” capable of reactivating social educational synergies by overcoming unnecessary competition, delegation and forms of dereliction. To prevent young people from growing up without “care”, bred rather than educated, attracted by “healing prosthetics”, as drugs appear to them, all social actors must connect and invest in the shared ground of basic and indispensable education values aiming at the integral formation of the person. In this regard, the commitment and perseverance of private social workers and volunteers is to be noted; since the emergence of the drug problem they have provided the first responses. Their work, often undervalued, deserves concrete support and careful attention. From the therapeutic communities, among other things, there come signs of change of high educational value, useful in rehabilitation paths and even more so in the field of prevention.

Educational aspects are crucial, especially in the vulnerable and incomplete time of adolescence, when there is an alternation of intense moments of discovery and curiosity, but also of depression, apathy and behaviour that may symbolically or genuinely endanger life. These forms of conduct, deliberately transgressive, are aimed at overcoming the suffering caused by the sensation of being in front of the insurmountable wall of a never-ending present and an unseen future. They are appeals to live, but also appeals for help and support addressed to adults who are able to convey the taste of life and the sense of how precious it is.[7]

Young people, as Pope Francis has said, “They look for that “vertigo” that makes them feel alive. So, let us give it to them! Let us stimulate all that which helps them transform their dreams into plans, and that can reveal that all the potential they have is a bridge, a passage towards a vocation (in the broadest sense of the word). Let us propose broad aims to them, great challenges, and let us help them achieve them, to reach their targets. Let us not leave them alone. So, challenge them more than they challenge us. Let us not allow that “vertigo” to reach them from others, those which only put their lives at risk; let us give this to them. But the right vertigo, which satisfies that desire to move, to go ahead”.[8]

To combat the ephemeral happiness of addictions requires creative love and adults capable of teaching and practising healthy self-care. A spiritual vision of existence, projected towards the search for meaning, open to the encounter with others, constitutes the greatest educational legacy that must be handed down between generations, today more than ever.

Otherwise, addictions will contribute to killing humanity, as we are well aware that he who does not love himself is not capable of loving his neighbour.


[1] Pope Francis, Address to participants in the 31st Drug Enforcement Conference, 20 June 2014.

[2] Ibidem

[3] Department for Anti-Drug policies, Annual Report to Parliament on the use of illicit substances and drug dependency in Italy for the year 2016.

[4] European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, European Report on Drugs, 2017.

[5] The “No to any type of drug” has been reiterated several times by Pope Francis. Cf, for example, the General Audience of 7 May 2014.

[6] Pope Francis, Address to participants in the meeting organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue, 24 November 2016.

[7] Cf. David Le Breton, Shedding one’s skin in adolescence, Bologna, EDB, 2016.

[8] Pope Francis, Address at the Diocesan Pastoral Convention on the theme: “Let’s not leave them alone! Accompanying parents in the education of teenage children”, 19 June 2017.

[Courtesy of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development]
2 hours 34 min

‘The journey of a Christian starts anew every morning, trusting in the Lord and open to his many surprises.’

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, today, June 26, 2017, marking his last daily Mass until after the summer break and his Sept. 6-11 Apostolic Trip to Colombia.

Drawing inspiration from today’s readings, the Holy Father focused on when God asks a 75-year-old Abraham to leave his country, his homeland, his father’s house and go forth where to Lord directed him.

The Bible and the Gospels, the Jesuit Pope said, are full of stories and episodes in which the prophets and the disciples are called to go forth.

Don’t be “too settled, stationary, fixed,” the Pope noted, saying the lifestyle of a Christian is based on three dimensions: renouncing and going forth, trusting in G0d’s promises and receiving His blessing.

“To be a Christian always implies this dimension of stripping oneself of something,” the Pope said, noting this dimension reflects Jesus’s renunciation on the Cross. “There is always the need to ‘go forth,’ to take a first step.”

If Christians do not have the “capacity” to be “stripped and to renounce,” the Pope warned, they are not “authentic Christians.”

Abraham did not build a house, the Jesuit Pope observed, but only pitched a tent, showing “he was on a journey and trusted God.” Every morning, a Christian’s journey and trust in God’s surprises, he noted, starts anew.

At times, the Pope recognized, these surprises are good and bad, “such as illness or of a death,” but, he encouraged: “We must always be open because we know that He will take us to a safe place, to a land that has been prepared especially for us.”

“A Christian,” he noted, “does not read the horoscope to foresee the future; a Christian does not consult a fortune teller who looks into a crystal ball or reads your palm…” the Pope said.

Like Abraham, we walk toward a new land, the Pope stressed, noting Christians allow themselves to be guided by God who takes them on the path toward fulfilling His promises.

Pope Francis concluded, noting, “Deep down, Christian life is so simple!”

2 hours 44 min

‘Peace is possible – Peace is the only way.’ This is at the heart of the message of Salesian Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon (Myanmar), which His Eminence has provided to ZENIT on June 26, 2017. In the message, found below, Burma’s first cardinal appeals for an end to crimes against the Rohingyas minority.

Myanmar is emerging from decades of military rule after Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won the 2015 elections and took office in April last year.

The Muslim minority of the Rohingyas is considered by the UN to be one of the most persecuted. According to data from the Arakan Project, a humanitarian organization defending Rohingyas rights, since 2010, some 100,000 members of the minority have fled Burma (Myanmar) by sea. Violence between radical Buddhists and Rohingyas has left, since 2012, more than 200 dead and 140,000 displaced.

A few days before Christmas, Burma’s first cardinal in history recognized how his nation suffers from war and violence, and appealed: ‘It is time for all Burmese people to be united so that 2017 may really be the year of peace.” He proposed that “all those who flock to our monasteries, churches, temples and mosques bring signs and banners with the phrase ‘Stop all wars!'” ***

Dear-Friends,                                                                        26 June 2017


I am a pastor.  I am not a professional in politics or international law. The terms and laws discussed by the international community are beyond my mandate. I am moved by human suffering.   Moved by my faith vision of justice with compassion,  I have been raising voice against all kinds of oppression in this country.

This nation has a great potential to provide a great future to her sons and daughters. But  millions are  now in poverty,  millions in  unsafe migration, forced into modern forms of slavery. Conflicts and displacements. I have never compromised on the rights of any people to their  dignity.    My faith has inspired me to raise my voice at a great personal risk.   Even when many voices were muted, I have raised my voices against religious extremism,  the plight of IDPs, treatment of  minorities.  I have opposed all the anti minority laws.

The sad and the pestering suffering of the people in Rakhine state has been one of my great concerns.  This concern is shared by Pope Francis who has raised his voice on behalf of the Muslims known as ‘Rohingyas’ .

We continue to raise our voice on behalf of them.  When as boat people they were perishing in the seas,  I have pointed out the inhuman root causes of this tragedy.   At the UN in March 2016 and again in the British Parliament in May 2016 I described the horrific persecution of ‘Rohingyas’ as : an appalling scar on the conscience of my  country. Recently when the report of the UN on the treatment of  ‘Rohingyas’  we have appealed to the government to ‘ Let the devastating  report serve as a wake up call for all”

Again, it is for legal scholars, and human rights experts, to determine how to categories egregious human rights violations in Rakhine State, Kachin State and northern Shan State, and indeed throughout Myanmar.  Even experts like Mr. Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary general  advised all groups to be careful in use of terms.  Allegations of ‘ethnic cleansing’, war crimes and crimes against humanity should be fully and independently investigated. The warnings of potential genocide need to be heeded.  Therefore, I called “on the government of Myanmar to work with the international community to investigate the crimes reported by the United Nations, in a truly independent way that results in justice and accountability.”

Myanmar as a nation faces many challenges.   We are anxious that all parties pursue the path of peace. Democracy is not perfect but we are eager that extreme positions and words do not force a relapse into days when no one had any rights.  Myanmar cannot live through another such spell.

The world  is increasingly judging the government on how the IDPs and the minorities are treated in Rakhine.  Myanmar government must move away from positions that are not conducive to peace and its good name in the international community.  Those who support ‘Rohingyas’ are right in condemning all human rights violations but they too need to  move forward  maximizing peace based on justice at every opportunity.   Intransigent  positions and words may not further the cause of the victims for whom all of us continue to raise our voice.  Continued pressure coupled with an openness to engage all parties is the way forward.

Myanmar is moving, not fast as the international community and human rights groups wish but changes are happening. Peace Conferences are held  where all stakeholders sit for dialogue.   Inter religious peace  gatherings are gaining strength, sidelining the extremist elements.   These steps are not perfect but encouraging signs.   Let not words and categories stall the rebuilding process.

We need to bring all parties together in unity, not divide at this moment.

Let our actions and words help to strengthen the consensus building  processes without sacrificing our commitment to  the refugees, IDPs and  persecuted people like known as ‘Rohingyas’.

Peace is possible – Peace is the only way

With great joy we greet our Muslim brothers and sister  “joyous  Ramadan”.

The holy month has given way to celebration of fraternity. Ramadan is the joyous occasion of our hope of peace and generosity.  You have fasted, you have prayed and you have given help to the poor.

The Muslim community has served the poor and vulnerable in this country through commendable generosity.

Ramadan reaffirms our commitment to contribute towards peace.   There are areas in our country some of our brothers and sisters find life challenged through war and displacement.

May our prayers bring peace and joy to such brothers and sisters

Ramadan wishes and prayers to all

+ Charles Cardinal Bo

Archbishop of Yangon.

[Text of Message provided to ZENIT by Cardinal Bo]
3 hours 41 min

The Holy See expressed its “grave concern” after the disappearance of Msgr. Pierre Shao Zhumin, Bishop of Wenzhou, in the coastal province of Zhejiang (Continental China). A statement released by Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, on June 26, 2017, pleads for his return, stressing the need to foster “ways of understanding.” The Chinese diocese has had no news regarding the Bishop since May 18.

“The Holy See is observing with grave concern the personal situation of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, forcibly removed from his episcopal see some time ago,” reads the statement. At age 54, he has been bishop of his diocese since the death of his predecessor in September 2016.

“The diocesan Catholic community and his relatives have no news or reasons for his removal, nor do they know where he is being held,” specifies Burke. “In this respect, the Holy See, profoundly saddened for this and other similar episodes that unfortunately do not facilitate ways of understanding, expresses the hope that Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin may return as soon as possible to the diocese and that he can be assured the possibility of serenely exercising his episcopal ministry.”

“We are all invited to pray for Bishop Shao Zhumin and for the path of the Catholic Church in China,” concluded the message.

According to the Churches of Asia Agency (EDA) of the Foreign Missions of Paris, Bishop Wenzhou disappeared from circulation after having been “invited” last May 18 to an interview with functionaries of the local Office of Religious Affairs. Since then, the Bishop has not reappeared in public. On May 22, he made it know that he was in need of wine for Mass, but no one was able to contact him on his mobile phone. According to local sources, Monsignor Shao is in Wenzhou, retained in a police residence.

EDA offered an analysis of the situation, estimating that the diocese of Wenzhou “could be described as emblematic of the efforts the Holy See deploys to foster the unity of the ‘underground’ communities and the ‘official’ local Church.” Efforts, notes the agency, that evidently do not satisfy the Chinese authorities. “

In view of fostering the unity of the two communities, in 2007 Rome appointed Father Vincent Zhu Weifang, member of the “official” clergy, Bishop of Wenzhou, with Father Shao Zhumin, member of the “underground” clergy as Co-adjutor. However, after the death of Monsignor Zhu on September 7, 2016 his successor Monsignor Shao came up against “permanent manoeuvres of interference by the civil authorities in the life of the Church.” He never stopped “being subjected to the harassment of the authorities.”

“With this new ‘incommunicado’ episode that is prolonged, one could think that the young Bishop is facing renewed pressures by the authorities to lead him to come to terms with the religious policy of the government in place,” concludes EDA.

7 hours 43 min
Pope Francis received in audience the members of the Italian League for the Fight against Tumors (LILT) at midday today, June 26, 2017 in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. Here is the Vatican Press Office-provided translation of the Pope’s address:

Holy Father’s Address

Dear friends,

I welcome you and thank the president for the kind words he has addressed to me on behalf of you all.

The commitment of your Institution constitutes a dual richness for society. On the one hand, your many services contribute to shaping in people and in families a style of prevention: or rather, it promotes a mentality that oncological prevention is above all a lifestyle. At the same time, along with the very many and diverse situations in Italy, you nurture voluntary work, an emblematic expression of that gratuity that should increasingly have an impact on our daily life.

Your work represents a very useful tool for raising awareness and for formation. There is a great need to spread a culture of life, made up of attitudes and behaviours. A true popular culture, serious, accessible to all, and not based on commercial interests. More specifically, families need to be accompanied on a path of prevention: a path that involves the different generations in a fraternal “pact”, a path that values the experience of those who have lived, along with their relatives, the arduous path of oncological pathology.

Equally valuable is the collaboration of the volunteers of the Italian League for the Fight against Tumours with the healthcare structures, both public and private, as well as the help offered to families in ensuring assistance, especially in the often tiring and relentless continuity of everyday life.

This latter aspect constitutes a witness with which the ecclesial community is particularly in harmony and sharing, as it is called by vocation and mission to live in service to those who suffer and to live this in accordance to the typically Christian duality of humility and silence. Indeed, good is accomplished and is effective especially when it is done without seeking recompense and visibility, in the concrete situations of daily life.

In this service of yours, there is also a continuous decentralization towards the peripheries. Indeed, “periphery” refers to every man and woman who lives in a condition of marginalization; the periphery is every person confined to the margins of society and relationships, especially when disease infringes upon the usual rhythms of life, as is the case with oncological pathologies. It is the periphery that calls to the responsibility of each one of us, since every Christian, along with every many inspired by the desire for truth and goodness, constitutes a conscious instrument of grace.

Caring for others, as witnessed in everyday life with many people who are sick, is an inestimable wealth for society: it reminds the entire civil and ecclesial community not to be afraid of closeness, not to be afraid of tenderness, not to be afraid of “spending time” with bonds that offer and welcome mutual support and comfort, spaces for authentic rather than formal solidarity.

Lastly, I would like to emphasize that since health is a primary and fundamental common good for every person, it is to be hoped that oncological prevention be extended to all, thanks to collaboration between public and private services, civil and charitable initiatives. In this way, with your specific contribution, in this sector too we can try to ensure that our societies become ever more inclusive.

Thank you for this meeting. I entrust your effort and that of the volunteers, along with all the sick people you encounter, to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, Salus infirmorum , and I bless you from my heart. Thank you.

7 hours 53 min
‘Our Christian life begins with the sign of water, with Baptism.’ Pope Francis gave this reminder to participants in the 54th “Sette Colli” Swimming Trophy competition in Rome, June 23-25, 2017, when he received them in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace at noon on Saturday, June 24, 2017. Recognizing their familiarity with water, the Argentine Pontiff, remembered the words of St. Francis of Assisi, after whom he chose his name as Pope: ‘Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.’

Their challenge to themselves, in competing and living in contact with water, Pope Francis noted, can also be a contribution to a different culture of water.

“Water is life, without water life does not exist.”

“Talking about life means talking about God, origin and wellspring of life,” he said, underscoring, “our Christian life begins with the sign of water, with Baptism.”

The water in which they swim, dive, play, and compete, the Pope noted, requires several forms of attention: “the value of the body, which must be cared for and not idolized; the need for interiority and the search for meaning in what you do; the strength and courage to resist fatigue; the clear vision of which port to look for in life and how to reach it; and the value of authenticity, which means transparency, clarity, inner cleanliness.”

In contact with water, he observed, swimmers learn to be repelled by anything that is “polluting,” in sport and in life.

Pope Francis concluded, thanking the managers and athletes for their visit, wishing them the best, and imparting upon them his blessing.


On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full Text:

11 hours 29 min

In accordance with Canon 76 § 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, Pope Francis has granted the “Ecclesiastica Communio” to His Beatitude Youssef Absi.

On June 21, 2017, the Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchal Church canonically elected His Beatitude Absi as Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites

Pope Francis sent to the new Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites the following Vatican-provided text for the concession of the “Ecclesiastica Communio”:


Message of the Holy Father
To His Beatitude YOUSSEF
Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites

It is with great joy that I received the letter in which you informed me of your election as Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites by the Synod of Bishops, requesting the Ecclesiastica Communio.

I wish to congratulate you and assure you from now on of my prayer that Christ, Good Shepherd, will support you in the fulfilment of the mission entrusted to you and for the service required of you.

The election of Your Beatitude comes at the time of a delicate situation for the venerable Greco-Melkite Church and when many Christian communities in the Middle East are called to bear witness in a special way to their faith in the dead and risen Christ. In this particularly difficult time, Pastors are called upon to manifest communion, unity, closeness, solidarity and transparency before the suffering people of God.

I am certain that your Beatitude, in fraternal harmony with all the Synod Fathers, will know, in all evangelical wisdom, how to be not only “Pater et Caput” in the service of the faithful of the Greco-Melkite Church, but also a faithful and authentic witness to the Risen One.

Therefore, Beatitude, as the Successor of Peter called by Jesus to preserve in unity His one Church, I grant you with deep joy the Ecclesiastical Communion solicited in accordance with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

By commending you to the maternal protection of the Most Holy Mother of God, I willingly grant you the Apostolic Blessing which I extend to bishops, priests, religious and to all the faithful of the Greek Melkite Church.

From the Vatican, 22 June 2017


[Vatican-provided text]
12 hours 8 min
Pope Francis received the participants in the 32nd General Chapter of the Congregation of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Resurrectionists) the morning of Saturday, June 24, 2017. The General Chapter took place in Rome, June 11-25, 2017, on the theme: “ Witnesses of the Presence of the Risen Lord: from Community to the World.” Below is a Vatican Press Office – provided translation of Pope Francis’ address to those present: *** Dear Brothers, I am pleased to receive you on the occasion of your General Chapter. I thank the Superior General for his kind words, and through you, I greet all your confrères present in fifteen countries on four continents. As spiritual sons of Bogdan Jański, the apostle of Polish émigrés in France in the nineteenth century, you were founded in order to testify that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the basis of the Christian life, to proclaim the need for personal resurrection, and to support the community in its mission of service to the Kingdom of God. In close connection to the charism of the Institute, you have chosen as the theme of this Chapter: Witnesses of the Presence of the Risen Lord: from Community to the World. I would like to reflect with you on three particular phrases.1. Witnesses of the Presence of the Risen Lord. In a word, missionaries, apostles of the Living One. In this regard, I would propose to you as an icon Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles. On Easter morn, having encountered the risen Jesus, she proclaimed him to the other disciples. She sought Jesus dead and found him alive. This is the joyful Good News she brought to the others: Christ is alive and he has the power to conquer death and bestow eternal life.This brings us to a first reflection. Nostalgia for a past that was rich in vocations and impressive achievements must not prevent you from seeing the life that the Lord is causing to blossom, today too, in your midst. Do not yield to nostalgia, but be men who, moved by faith in the God of history and of life, proclaim the coming of the dawn amid the darkness of the night (cf. Is 21:11-12). Men of contemplation, who, with the eyes of the heart fixed on the Lord, can see what others, caught up in the concerns of this world, cannot. Men capable of proclaiming, with the boldness born of the Spirit, that Jesus Christ is alive and is Lord.

A second reflection is this. Mary Magdalene and the other women who went to the tomb that morning (cf. Lk 24:1-8) were women “on the move”: they abandoned their “nest” and set out; they took a risk. The Spirit is calling you too, Brothers of the Resurrection, to be men who set out, to be an Institute “on the move” towards every human periphery, wherever the light of the Gospel needs to be brought. The Spirit is calling you to be seekers of the face of God wherever it is to be found: not in the tombs – “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (v. 5) – but where it lives: in the community and in mission.

2. From Community to the World. Like the disciples of Emmaus, allow the Risen One to walk at your side, both as individuals and in community, especially along the path of disappointment and abandonment (cf. Lk 24:11ff.). This encounter will make you run once more, filled with joy and without delay, to the community, and from the community to the entire world, in order to tell others that “The Lord is risen indeed!” (v. 34).

Those who believe in the Risen One have the courage to “go forth” and bring to others the Good News of the Resurrection, embracing the risks of testimony, even as the Apostles did. How many people are waiting for this joyful proclamation! It is not right for us to deprive them of it. If the resurrection of Christ is our greatest certainty and our most precious treasure, how can we not run to proclaim it to others?

A concrete way of showing this is fraternal life in community. It entails accepting the brothers the Lord has given us: not those whom we choose, but those the Lord has given us. As the Apostle Paul tells us, now that Christ has risen from the dead, we can no longer look at others from a human point of view (cf. 2 Cor 5:16). We view them and we accept them as a gift from the Lord. Others are a gift not to be taken for granted or looked down upon, but a gift to be received with respect, because in our brothers, especially if they are weak and frail, Christ comes to meet us.

I urge you to be builders of evangelical communities and not merely their “consumers”. I ask you to make fraternal life in community your primary form of evangelization. May communities be open to mission and flee every form of self-absorption, which leads to death. Do not let problems – for problems will always be there – overwhelm you. Instead, cultivate the mysticism of encounter and, together with the brothers the Lord has given you, as you dwell “in the light of the loving relationship of the three divine Persons”, seek ways and means to move forward (cf. Apostolic Letter To All Consecrated People, 21 November 2014, I, 2). In a society that tends to reduce everything to flat uniformity, where injustice gives rise to divisions and hostility, in a world torn and aggressive, ensure that the witness of fraternal life and community will never be lacking!

3. Prophets of joy and of Easter hope. The Risen Lord poured out upon his disciples two forms of consolation: interior joy and the light of the paschal mystery. The joy of recognizing the presence of the Risen Jesus draws you into his Person and his will: for this very reason, it leads to mission. The light of the paschal mystery brings new hope, a “trustworthy hope”, as Pope Benedict XVI has said (Spe Salvi, 2). Risen in order to enable others to rise, set free in order to bring freedom to others, born to new life in order to bring new life to birth in everyone who crosses our path: this is your vocation and mission as Brothers of the Resurrection.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Lk 24:5). May these words continually resound in your hearts. They will help you to overcome moments of sadness and will open before you horizons of joy and hope. They will enable you to shatter tombstones, and give you the strength to proclaim the Good News in this culture so often marked by death. If we have the courage to descend to our personal and community tombs, we will see how Jesus can make us rise from them. This will enable us to rediscover the joy, the happiness and the passion of those moments when we first made of our lives a gift to God and others.

Dear brothers, I conclude by repeating something I have often said to consecrated persons, especially during the Year of Consecrated Life: remember the past with gratitude, live the present with passion, and embrace the future with hope. A grateful memory of the past: not archaeology, because charism is always a wellspring of living water, not a bottle of distilled water. A passion for maintaining ever alive and young our first love, who is Jesus. Hope, in the knowledge that Jesus is with us and guides our steps, even as he guided the steps of our founders.

May Mary, who in a singular way experienced and continues to experience the mystery of her Son’s Resurrection, watch over your journey with a Mother’s love. I give all of you my blessing. And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me. Thank you!

[Original text: Italian] [Courtesy of the Vatican Press Office]
12 hours 20 min
Pope Francis received the participants in the 54th “Sette Colli” Swimming Trophy competition in Rome, June 23-25, 2017, in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace at noon on Saturday, June 24, 2017. Below is a Vatican Press Office – provided translation of the Pope’s address to those present: *** Dear friends of the Italian Swimming Federation and athletes competing for the “Sette Colli” Swimming Trophy in Rome.

I thank the president of the Federation for his words introducing our meeting.
These are days of joy and enthusiasm for you and for the sports fans who support you, because sport is also a celebration. A celebration not without content, as it transmits values that are increasingly necessary in a society like ours, which is defined as “fluid”, without firm points of reference. Your sport is performed in water, but it is not “fluid”; rather, it is very “solid” as it requires constant commitment and fortitude.

For this familiarity that you have with water, I like to remember the words of St. Francis of Assisi: “Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste”.

Your challenge to yourselves, competing, living in contact with water, can also be a contribution to a different culture of water: water is life, without water life does not exist. And talking about life means talking about God, origin and wellspring of life, and also our Christian life begins with the sign of water, with Baptism.

The water in which you swim, dive, play, and compete, requires several forms of attention: the value of the body, which must be cared for and not idolized; the need for interiority and the search for meaning in what you do; the strength and courage to resist fatigue; the clear vision of which port to look for in life and how to reach it; and the value of authenticity, which means transparency, clarity, inner cleanliness.

In contact with water, you learn to be repelled by anything that is polluting, in sport and in life.

Dear managers and athletes, I thank you for your visit. I wish you every good to your activity, your families, and your plans. May the Lord bless you and always give you the joy of participating in sport together in a brotherly spirit.

[Original Text: Italian] [Courtesy of the Vatican Press Office]
14 hours 11 min

The Holy See Press Office announced Pope Francis’ itinerary for his Sept. 6-11 visit to the South American country of Colombia. Below is the Vatican Radio – provided program of his apostolic trip:


The full program of the Pope’s visit is below:

Wednesday 6 September 2017


11:00  Departure by air from Rome Fiumicino airport for Bogotá

16:30  Arrival in the military area (CATAM) of Bogotá airport


Thursday 7 September 2017


09:00  ENCOUNTER WITH THE AUTHORITIES in Plaza de Armas de la Casa de Nariño

09:30  COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT in the Protocol Hall of the Casa de Nariño


10:50  BLESSING OF THE FAITHFUL from the balcony of the Cardinal’s Palace

11:00  MEETING WITH BISHOPS in the Hall of the Cardinal’s Palace


16:30  HOLY MASS in the Simon Bolivar Park

Friday 8 September 2017


07:50  Departure from the military area (CATAM) of Bogotá airport for Villavicencio

08:30  Arrival at the Apiay air base in Villavicencio

09:30  HOLY MASS in the CATAMA area


17:20  PAUSE AT THE CROSS OF THE RECONCILIATION in the Parque de los Fundadores

18:00  Departure by air per Bogotá

18:45  Arrival in the military area (CATAM) of Bogotá airport.

Saturday 9 September 2017


08:20  Departure by air from the military area (CATAM) of Bogotá airport for Rionegro

09:10  Arrival at the Rionegro air base.

09:15  Helicopter transfer to Medellin airport

10:15  HOLY MASS at the Enrique Olaya Herrera airport of Medellin



Helicopter transfer to the Rionegro air base

17:30  Departure by air for Bogotá

18:25  Arrival in the military area (CATAM) of Bogotá airport

Sunday 10 September 2017


08:30 Departure by air for Cartagena

10:00  Arrival at Cartagena airport

10:30  BLESSING of the FIRST STONE of the HOUSES for the HOMELESS and the work of TALITHA QUM in St. Francis of Assisi Square

12:00  ANGELUS in front of the Church of St. Peter Claver


15:45  Helicopter transfer from the naval base to the port area of Contecar

16:30  HOLY MASS in the port area of Contecar

18:30  Helicopter transfer to Cartagena airport


19:00  Departure by air for Rome Ciampino airport

Monday 11 September 2017


12:40  Arrival at Rome Ciampino airport

[Courtesy of Vatican Radio]
14 hours 48 min

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Before the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In today’s Gospel (Cf. Matthew 10:26-33), the Lord Jesus, after calling and sending His disciples on mission, He instructed and prepared them to face the trials and persecutions they would encounter. To go on mission is not to engage in tourism, and Jesus admonishes His disciples: “You will encounter persecutions.” Thus He exhorts them: “Have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed [. . .] What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light [. . .] And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (vv. 26-28). They can only kill the body, but they do not have power to kill the soul: have no fear of them. Jesus’ sending the disciples on mission does not guarantee them success, as it does not shelter them from failures and sufferings. They must take into account be it the possibility of rejection be it that of persecution. This is somewhat frightening, but it is the truth.

The disciple is called to conform himself to Christ’s own life, who was persecuted by men, knew rejection, abandonment and death on the cross. Christian mission dominated by tranquillity does to exist. Difficulties and tribulations are part of the work of evangelization, and we are called to find in them the occasion to verify the authenticity of our faith and of our relationship with Jesus. We must regard these difficulties as the possibility to be even more missionaries and to grow in that trust of God, our Father, who does not abandon His children in the hour of the storm. In the difficulties of Christian witness in the world, we are never forgotten, but always helped by the Father’s loving concern. Therefore, in today’s Gospel, for a good three times Jesus reassures the disciples saying: “Have no fear!”

In our days also, brothers and sisters, persecution against Christians is present. We pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted and we praise God because, despite this, they continue to witness their faith with courage and fidelity. May their example help us to not hesitate in taking a position in favor of Christ, witnessing Him courageously in everyday situations, even in apparently tranquil contexts. In fact, a form of test could also be the absence of hostilities and tribulations. In addition to being “sheep in the midst of wolves,” in our time also the Lord sends us as watchmen in the midst of people who do not want to be awakened from worldly torpor, who ignore the words of Truth of the Gospel, constructing their own ephemeral truths. And if we move and live in these contexts and say the Words of the Gospel, this annoys and we will not be looked at well.

However, in all of this the Lord continues to say to us, as He said to the disciples of His time: “Have no fear!” Let us not forget this word: When we have some tribulation, some persecution, something that makes us suffer, we must always listen to Jesus’ voice in our heart: “Have no fear! Have no fear; go on! I am with you!”  Have no fear of one who derides you and mistreats you; and have no fear of one who ignores or honors you “before” others but “behind” you combats the Gospel. There are so many that smile before us but behind us they combat the Gospel. We all know them. Jesus does not leave us alone: each one is precious for Jesus, and He accompanies us.

May the Virgin Mary, model of humble and courageous adherence to the Word of God, help us to understand that, in witnessing the faith, successes do not count but fidelity, fidelity to Christ, recognizing in any circumstances, even the most problematic, the inestimable gift of being His missionary disciples.

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]


After the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I express my closeness to the population of the Chinese village of Xinmo, affected yesterday morning by a landslide caused by heavy rains. I pray for the deceased and the wounded and for all those that lost their home. May God comfort the families and support the rescuers. I am very close to them!

Proclaimed Blessed today at Vilnius (Lithuania) was Bishop Theophilus Matulionis, killed out of hatred for the faith in 1962, when he was already almost 90 years old. We praise God for the witness of this strenuous defender of the Church and of man’s dignity. We greet him with applause and all the Lithuanian people!

My greeting goes to you all, Romans and pilgrims! In particular, I greet the Archbishop Major, the Bishops, the priests and the faithful of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, as well as the pilgrims of Byelorussia, who are observing the 159th anniversary of the Canonization of Saint Josaphat. I unite myself spiritually to the Divine Liturgy that you will celebrate shortly in St. Peter’s Basilica, invoking the Lord for each one the courage of Christian witness and the gift of peace for the beloved Ukrainian land.

I greet the Ministers of Komorow (Poland) and the other Polish faithful, with a thought also for the pilgrims to the Shrine of the Mother of God of Gietrzwald. I greet the Chilean faithful of Santiago de Chile, Rancagua and Copiapo, as well as those of Montpellier and Corsica. I greet the Confirmation candidates of Tombolo and the pilgrimage of the Order of Minims of Saint Francis of Paula.

I wish you all a good Sunday and, please, do no forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and good-bye!

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

1 day 8 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Live Catholic Headlines
Washington D.C., Jun 26, 2017 / 12:32 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- In one of the biggest religious cases of the term, the US Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a church-owned playground can be eligible for a public benefit program. 3 hours 21 min
Vatican City, Jun 26, 2017 / 08:04 am (EWTN News).- On Monday the Vatican issued a statement on the situation of the Chinese Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, who has not been returned since being forcibly removed from his diocese by the Chinese state May 18. 7 hours 49 min
Vatican City, Jun 25, 2017 / 12:37 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- In his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that following Christ does not mean our lives will be free from all earthly troubles. 1 day 3 hours
Rome, Italy, Jun 25, 2017 / 05:00 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Discernment is one of the words Pope Francis repeats most, especially when speaking to priests and seminarians. 1 day 10 hours
Reykjavik, Iceland, Jun 24, 2017 / 05:02 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Bishop David Tencer of Reykjavik last week consecrated a new wooden church building, a gift from the Slovak Catholic Church. 2 days 10 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday received the Italian League for the Fight against Tumors, stressing the importance of accompanying families and those on the margins on the path of prevention and cure. Listen to this report: Thanking those gathered for their commitment, Pope Francis told them that their  work was a very useful tool of awareness and training, adding that there was a real need to promote  a culture of life, based on attitudes and behaviors. The League’s commitment to the fight against cancerous tumours is based mainly on three fronts: primary prevention in the form of lifestyle, promotion of a culture of early diagnosis and rehabilitation and social reintegration with attention to the family unit. In particular the Pope noted, that families need to be accompanied on a path of prevention; A path he said, that involves the various generations. But he also said, that  equally valuable was the collaboration of volunteers from the league who provide assistance to families, so that they can continue their everyday lives. Another aspect the Holy Father touched on was the pastoral help of the ecclesial community who are called by vocation and mission, he observed to be at the service of  those who suffer. During his discourse the Pope stressed the importance of helping those on the peripheries of society who have to deal with a disease like cancer, saying that every Christian filled with a desire to do good, “is a conscious instrument of grace.” In conclusion, Pope Francis said that "Taking care", of the sick was an invaluable wealth for society and was a reminder to  the entire civil and ecclesial community of the importance of  offering support, comfort and tenderness.     (from Vatican Radio)... 8 hours 9 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent special greetings to Lithuanian Catholics on Sunday as he recalled the Beatification, in Vilnius, of the nation’s first Soviet-era martyr. “Today in Vilnius, Bishop Teofilius Matulionis , who was murdered because of hatred towards the faith in 1962 when he was almost 90-years-old, will be Beatified” the  Pope said to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus. “Let us give thanks to the Lord for the witness of this courageous defender of the faith and of human dignity. Let us pay our respects to him and to the entire Lithuanian people with applause” he said. Bishop Matulionis was a priest and bishop who continually defied communist rule and spent much of his ministry in prison. He was declared a martyr by Pope Francis on December 16, clearing the way for his beatification.   (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 6 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his closeness and grief for the victims of a landslide that engulfed a village in Sichuan province in south-western China . Speaking on Sunday after the recitation of the Angelus in St. Peters’ Square, the Pope said “I am close to the population of the Chinese village of Xinmo that was struck yesterday morning by a landslide caused by heavy rains”. “I pray for the dead and for the injured, he said, and for those who have lost their homes. May God comfort affected families and sustain rescuers.” Meanwhile almost 100 people remain missing after the huge landslide buried homes in Xinmo and hopes of finding survivors are fading. The bodies of fifteen people have so far been recovered, but many more are feared trapped beneath the rubble. Thousands of rescuers were deployed after some 40 homes were destroyed in Xinmo village in Maoxian county. Emergency workers have been digging through earth and rocks for a second day, with rescue dogs scouring the debris for some 93 people who remain unaccounted for. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 6 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Resurrection on Saturday. Listen to the report by Chris Altieri : The Congregation of the Resurrection, or “Resurrectionists” were founded in 1836 under the leadership of Polish revert to Catholicism, Bogdan Janski , who served especially the Polish faithful who had emigrated from their native country to take up new lives in France in the 19 th century, along with Peter Semenenko, and Jerome Kajsiewicz, in order to administer parishes and educate young people. In remarks to the participants, who have been spending the past two weeks exploring the theme, “Witnesses of the presence of the Risen Lord: from community to the world,” Pope Francis encouraged the General Chapter and the whole Congregation to go forward boldly in their mission of service. One Mission, past, present and future “[R]emember the past with gratitude, live the present with passion, and embrace the future with hope,” Pope Francis said. “Those who believe in the Risen One have the courage to ‘go forth’ and bring to others the Good News of the resurrection,” Pope Francis also said, “embracing the risks of testimony, even as the Apostles did.” The Holy Father went on to say, “How many people are waiting for this joyful proclamation!  It is not right for us to deprive them of it.  If the resurrection of Christ is our greatest certainty and our most precious treasure, how can we not run to proclaim it to others?” The 33 rd General Chapter of the “Resurrectionists” opened in Rome on June 11 th , and concludes Sunday, June 25 th . Click below to hear our report   (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 7 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received athletes, organisers and sponsors of the "Settecolli" international swimming competition on Saturday. The Settecolli event is the last major competition ahead of the  World Championships in Budapest in July  In remarks to his guests, who were gathered in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace on Saturday, Pope Francis said that swimming - especially competitive swimming - is an extremely demanding form of athleticism that requires the cultivation of many virtues, and also presses us to reflect on the gift of water. "Your competitiveness, your racing, your living in contact with water, can also be a contribution to a different 'culture of water': water is life - without water there is no life - and to talk about life is to talk about God, the origin and source of life. Even our Christian life begins with the sign of water, with Baptism," Pope Francis said. More than 700 athletes from 36 countries are participating in the Settecolli competition this weekend.   (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 7 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Reliable world news and analysis from a Catholic perspective.

Catholic churches in Indonesia altered their Mass schedule on June 25, to ease traffic congestion as Muslims marked their feast of Eid al Fitr.

8 hours 52 min

Nearly 1,500 doctors and medical students have signed an open letter protesting a move to put the British Medical Association (BMA) on record in favor of decriminalizing abortion.

9 hours 1 min

The US Supreme Court has agree to hear the appeal of a Colorado court’s ruling that a baker violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by declining to prepare a cake for the wedding of a homosexual couple.

9 hours 7 min

The Islamic faculty of Al Azhar University has made a proposal for legislation that would counteract the use of religious rhetoric to justify violence.

9 hours 12 min

In a statement issued for the UN’s International Day Against Drug Abuse, Cardinal Peter Turkson argues that giving young people a “spiritual vision of existence” is the best way to combat the lure of recreational drug use.

9 hours 48 min

In a June 26 audience with the Italian League for the Fight against Tumors, Pope Francis praised the efforts of the organization to foster a culture of cancer prevention and to promote volunteer efforts to help families.

11 hours 52 min

The Holy See has expressed “grave concern” over the plight of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou. The prelate, whose ministry is recognized by the Holy See but not by the Chinese government, has been detained by Communist officials, and his whereabouts are unknown.

12 hours 7 min

Archbishop Teofilius Matulionis (1873-1962), who suffered intense persecution from the Soviet regime during his 33 years as a bishop, was beatified as a martyr at the cathedral in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, on June 25.

12 hours 20 min

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 10:24-33), Pope Francis said in his June 25 Angelus address that the disciple must expect rejection and persecution.

12 hours 46 min

Pope Francis received participants in an Italian swimming competition on June 24 and reflected on water and values associated with athletics.

12 hours 55 min

Pope Francis met with participants in the general chapter of the Congregation of the Resurrection on June 24 and reflected on the theme of their meeting, “Witnesses of the Presence of the Risen Lord: from Community to the World.”

13 hours 7 min

The Holy See Press Office has announced the schedule for Pope Francis’s apostolic journey to Colombia.

13 hours 37 min