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December, 2017
Volume 43, Number 4
19 March 2013
Greg Kandra

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, right, walks with Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, after attending Pope Francis’ inaugural Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 19 March. For the first time since the Great Schism of 1054, the Orthodox ecumenical patriarch attended a pope’s inaugural Mass. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Tags: Pope Francis Ecumenism Christian Unity Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

19 March 2013
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating his inaugural Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 19 March. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope begins his ministry with a Mass rich in symbolism (CNS) Although attempts were made to simplify the ceremony, Pope Francis officially inaugurated his ministry as pope and bishop of Rome in a liturgy filled with biblical symbolism and signs of the universality of his mission. But before the solemn rites began on 19 March, Pope Francis — known for choosing public transport over chauffeur-driven limousines — took his first spin in the popemobile, blessing the tens of thousands of people who arrived in St. Peter’s Square as early as 4 a.m. to pray with him. He waved and, at one point, gave a thumbs-up to the faithful. He also kissed three babies held up to him by the chief of Vatican security, Domenico Gianni, and other officers. But he climbed out of the open jeep used as a popemobile to kiss a severely disabled man…

Below is video of the pope receiving his pallium and ring:

Homily of Pope Francis at inaugural Mass (Vatican Radio) The full text of the Holy Father’s homily…

While in Rome, patriarch meets with Lebanese leaders (Fides) Today consultations are continuing in Rome between the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter of Antioch and political leaders of the Lebanese delegation, who arrived in the city to attend the opening Mass of the Petrine ministry of Pope Francis. Discussions will focus on the impasse on the electoral law that is paralyzing the political life in Lebanon, while there is a growing risk that the Syrian conflict destabilizes Lebanon…

Syria rebels, regime blame each other for first alleged chemical weapons attack (CBS News) Syrian state media accused rebels of firing a chemical weapon for the first time on Tuesday in the north of the country, killing at least 15 people in the war-torn Aleppo province. Rebels quickly denied the report and accused regime forces of firing a chemical weapon on a long-range missile…

Car bombs strike Iraq on 10th anniversary of US invasion (Reuters) Car bombs and a suicide blast hit Shiite districts of Baghdad and south of Iraq’s capital on Tuesday, killing at least 50 people on the 10th anniversary of the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein. Sunni Islamist insurgents tied to al Qaeda have stepped up attacks on Shiite targets since the start of the year in a campaign to stoke sectarian tension and undermine Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s government. Tuesday’s car bombs exploded near a busy Baghdad market, close to the heavily fortified Green Zone and in other districts across the capital…

Tags: Iraq Pope Francis Lebanon Syrian Civil War Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter

18 March 2013
Greg Kandra

Women hold candles and pictures of newly elected Pope Francis during a Mass of thanksgiving in his honor at a church in Kolkata, India, on 17 March. (photo: CNS/Rupak De Chowdhuri, Reuters)

Tags: India Pope Francis Indian Christians Indian Catholics

15 March 2013
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis addresses the College of Cardinals in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall on 15 March. Young people need the wisdom and knowledge of older people, whose insight is like “fine wine that gets better with age,” he told the cardinals. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)

Tags: Pope Francis Vatican Pope

15 March 2013
Greg Kandra

Newly elected Pope Francis breaks the seal to enter his residence at the Vatican on 15 March. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)

Pope meets with College of Cardinals (CNS) Never give in to the devil’s pessimism, discouragement and bitterness, Pope Francis said; Christians need to share the Gospel message with joy and courage because it will truly answer people’s deepest needs. Young people also need the wisdom and knowledge of older people, whose insight is like “fine wine that gets better with age,” he told the College of Cardinals on 15 March. His remarks came during a meeting in the Clementine Hall in the apostolic palace with all the cardinals who were present in Rome, including the non-elector cardinals who were over the age of 80 and did not vote in the conclave…

Pope reaches out to Jews (Associated Press) Like his predecessor, Pope Francis reached out to Rome’s Jewish community at the very start of his pontificate, pledging to continue to strengthen the increasingly close ties between Catholics and Jews. Just hours after he was elected the first non-European pope in history, Pope Francis sent a letter to Rome’s chief rabbi, Riccardo di Segni, saying he hoped to “contribute to the progress that relations between Jews and Catholics” have seen since the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council. Jewish leaders welcomed the election of a pontiff seen as an ally when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires. Israeli President Shimon Peres said the pope would be a “welcome guest in the Holy Land” while Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, said the new pope “always had an open ear for our concerns”…

Pope will meet with Eastern rite delegates (VIS) Announcing the pope’s schedule for next week, the Vatican notes: “On Wednesday, 20 March, he will hold an audience with fraternal delegates representing the heads of the various Eastern-rite churches, so there will not be a General Audience”…

Egyptian Christians look to new pope for comfort (Euronews) In Egypt, which has one of the largest Christian communities in the region, our reporter asked Bishop Krikor Augustinos Coussan, primate of the Armenian Catholic community there, what Christians were hoping from Pope Francis: “We ask the pope to use all his power to bring a comprehensive and equitable peace especially in the Middle East, the country of Jesus and the apostles who carried the Gospel of Christ and his teachings to the whole world”…

A humanitarian perspective on the new pope (Vatican Radio) One organisation that has warmly welcomed the new Holy Father is CAFOD, the official aid agency for England and Wales. It said that, “This choice of pope puts service to the poor and tackling injustice at the forefront of the church’s mission in the world.” Speaking to Lydia O’Kane about the new pope, Tom O’Connor, CAFOD’s director of communities, said: “There’s a real tangible sense of enthusiasm…”

Tags: Pope Francis Middle East Christians Middle East Ecumenism Catholic-Jewish relations

14 March 2013
Greg Kandra

A sand sculpture of the newly-elected Pope Francis, created by Indian artist Sudarshan Patnaik, adorns a beach in Puri, India, on 14 March. (photo: CNS/Reuters)

Tags: India Pope Francis Pope Art

14 March 2013
Greg Kandra

Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, waves after praying at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome on 14 March. At right is Cardinal Agostino Vallini, papal vicar for Rome. (photo: CNS/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Pope Francis makes visit to Marian basilica in Rome (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis, elected in the conclave Wednesday evening, made his first and officially unscheduled visit to the Rome Basilica of Saint Mary Major early Thursday, surprising residents and children on their way to a nearby school…

(You can watch a video of his visit below.)

Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio? Read his official biography (VIS) Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite, was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires. He studied as and holds a degree as a chemical technician, but then chose the priesthood and entered the seminary of Villa Devoto…

India welcomes Pope Francis as ‘a man of dialogue and charity’ (Fides) “All the people of India, Hindus and Christians, welcome with joy Pope Francis. We believe he will be a man of dialogue and charity,” says Msgr. Felix Machado, Bishop of Vasai, expressing the feelings of the Indian Church. The bishop says the received a large number of phone calls and messages of congratulations from Christian faithful, priests, and nuns. He also received messages from Hindus, he says, noting “The first to call and congratulate me was a well-known Hindu religious leader who said ‘We also prayed for the new pope, we are happy with you, he is also our pope’ ”…

Missionary world celebrates the election of a pope who is close to the poor (Fides) “Pope Francis is a man of great pastoral ability of strong faith, a man of prayer and very close to the priests, the elderly, the poor, and above all, a man who emphasized the missionary commitment of the Church in our community and in our city.” This is what the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Msgr. Joaquín Sucunza points out in a note sent to Fides Agency…

Russian Orthodox Church welcomes election of new pope (Voice of Russia) The Russian Orthodox Church welcomes the election of the new pontiff, Pope Francis. The 76-year-old Argentinean, Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was elected by a Conclave of 115 voting cardinals after five ballots. The head of the press-service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, Deacon Alexander Volkov said that “the Russian Orthodox Church welcomes the decision of the conclave of cardinals of the Roman Catholic church, and, as before, hopes that relations between the Orthodox and Catholic churches will develop in a positive spirit”…

Peres: New pope brings spirit of hope and peace (Jerusalem Post) President Shimon Peres on Thursday welcomed the announcement of the new pontiff, saying Pope Francis brings with him “a spirit of hope and peace.” Peres made his remarks to a delegation of 14 Polish bishops who are rounding up a weeklong spiritual renewal in Israel. “The new pope will be welcomed in the Holy Land with love and appreciation by Jews, Muslims and Christians as one,” Peres said…

Patriarch Sviatoslav on Pope Francis: ‘He knows our Tradition very well’ (Religious Information Service of Ukraine) RISU correspondent in Rome, Oksana Shkodziska, took the following comments of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk about Pope Francis: “The newly-elected Pope Francis was mentored by one of our priests, Stepan Chmil who is now buried in the basilica of St. Sophia in Rome,” the patriarch said. “Today’s pope, during his time as a student of the Salesian school, awoke many hours before his classmates to concelebrate at our Divine Liturgy with Father Stepan. He knows our Tradition very well, as well as our Liturgy. The last time I had an opportunity to see him was as I was preparing to leave Argentina for Ukraine. I asked him to bear witness to the process of beatifying Father Stepan Chmil, to which, he gladly agreed. The Holy Father very well knows not only of our Church, but also our liturgy, our rites, and our spirituality…”

Report: Iran stepping up weapons lifeline to Syria (Reuters) Iran has significantly stepped up military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in recent months, solidifying its position alongside Russia as the government’s lifeline in an increasingly sectarian civil war, Western diplomats said. Iranian weapons continue to pour into Syria from Iraq but also increasingly along other routes, including via Turkey and Lebanon, in violation of a U.N. arms embargo on Iran, Western officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Iraqi and Turkish officials denied the allegations…

70,000 Indian children exploited in coal mines (Fides) From a bamboo ladder, children descend into humid wells up to 60 feet deep. They crouch to get into a hole and crawl in the mud before starting their long day of work in extracting coal. We are talking about children of the state of Meghalaya in northeast India who work as miners, that every day are faced with death and live in fear of that the place where they are forced to work in inhuman conditions might collapse and bury them alive…

Tags: India Pope Francis Vatican Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Russian Orthodox Church

13 March 2013
Greg Kandra

Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, greets the crowd from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. The 76-year-old Jesuit is from Buenos Aires, Argentina — making him both the first pontiff from the Americas and the first Jesuit pope. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Tags: Pope Francis Vatican Pope Papacy

12 March 2013
Greg Kandra

Huddled in the rain, people in St. Peter’s Square watch on a large television monitor as cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel to begin the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI on 12 March. Shut off from the outside world, the 115 cardinals will cast their ballots to select a new pontiff. (photo: CNS/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters)

The conclave to elect to new pope began today, and so did the waiting:

Invoking the aid of the Holy Spirit and the holy men and women from all over the world recognized as saints, 115 cardinals processed slowly into the Sistine Chapel to begin the process to elect a pope.

Once in the chapel, the cardinals from 48 countries vowed that, if elected pope, they would faithfully fulfill the ministry of universal pastor of the church and would defend the rights and freedom of the Holy See.

They also solemnly swore to scrupulously follow the rules for the election of a pope and keep secret the results of the votes, unless they have express permission from the new pope to reveal details.

After reciting the oath together, each cardinal walked up to the Book of the Gospels, put his right hand on it, said his name and sealed his oath, “So help me God and these holy Gospels that I touch with my hand.”

The portion filmed by Vatican television ended with Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, saying, “Extra omnes,” ordering out everyone not authorized to remain.

There’s more the Catholic News Service site.

Tags: Vatican Catholic Pope Papacy Rome

11 March 2013
Greg Kandra

In their new village home in Kerala, boys say grace before their meal. (photo: Sean Sprague)

In 2003, we took readers to a community in southwestern India caring for the poor and sick, where people were finding a new home with a new family:

Ajith, 7, and his brother, Ranjith, 10, used to eat dirt to stave off hunger pangs while living on the streets in a remote corner of India’s southwestern state, Kerala. The diet of the two boys, who had been abandoned by their parents, greatly improved, however, after they found a home in a village established two and a half years ago by a Syro-Malabar Catholic priest, Vincentian Father Anthony Plackal.

“We had no food, shelter or clothes, but now we are happy and well-fed,” Ranjith said. “We even attend school.”

The village, located in Vettikkuzi near the Christian heartland of Irinjalakuda, provides much-needed shelter and a new sense of “family” to local homeless people, young and old, healthy and infirm. Ajith and Ranjith live with 80 other residents, or patients as they are called, in six brick homes scattered across the gardens of the community’s 13 acres.

Local demand for the services of the project, dubbed Sacred Scripture Social Message Into Living Experience, or SSSMILE, is growing. The constant devotion of local religious and the construction of a new dormitory, built with financial assistance from CNEWA, will enable the village to help even more of those in need.

Read more on this remarkable project from the November 2003 issue of the magazine.

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