Friday, 29 March 2013

The world record homily of Pope Francis

An English subtitled version of his homily at the Juvenile prison, Rome–Alison

How many minutes does it take to make a good homily? This is a typical question that normally divides theological students at the end of every mass. The question sometimes is asked not only by theological student as we can always read it in the face many Christian whenever they are liberated after being trapped in a long and unending homily, which unfortunately characterizes most of our liturgical activities nowadays. It is really pathetic sometimes to be in a parish where average parishioners hardly understand English and the preacher go about moving from Greek to Latin and even sometimes to Hebrew just to show he passed many years in the Seminary. I am surely not saying that those are not necessary but the problem is that many at times, they are done in wrong places.

pope washes prisoners legYesterday, during the Holy Thursday mass, at the Regina Coeli, the Roman juvenile prison, Pope Francis made “a World record” of the most touching short homily ever. He preached for only three minutes.And I mean three minutes! But it was a three minutes homily full of signification.

The danger in this type of situation is to say that he is not the only person to make a short homily. That’s true but what made his three minutes preaching to win many souls was not only the limpidity of his words but also the gest that followed his sermon.

After this short homily, he took on a stole of the deacon, a stole of service, to concretize what he just said and went down not only washing the feet of the prisoners, but also kissing their feet after washing them. Here is the full text of the world record homily.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Pope Francis and his option for the poor

Pope Francis in his bid to reach the most abandoned of the society decided to celebrate the mass of the Holy Thursday at the prison of minors in Rome. His decision to celebrate this very important mass in the prison, contrary to the customary celebration at the Papal basilica of Saint John of Lateran has once demonstrated his determination to reach as many abandoned of the society as possible.
In his homily, he reiterated what he said in the homily of his inauguration mass. During that mass just like today, pope Francis insists that the strong should serve the weak and the rich the poor.

''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

How long and faithful will Pope Francis be with his option for the Poor?

The new pope has been very wonderful. I can now understand578488_637607132933003_1012570427_n BFtlxtXCQAA6gyhwhy he has never ceased to ask for prayers in all his public appearance. He has never passed a day without making a thought provoking decision. I mean decisions that are worth making and are necessary for todays demand of the petrine ministry. We have heard him change the “norms and uses” in the Vatican city, starting from greeting all those who attended his first Sunday mass through changing the customary location of the celebration of the Holy Thursday Mass. We have also heard of his recent decision to live longer in the apartment of Saint Martha instead of moving to his Vatican residence. All these are good ideas and worthy of emulation.

However, the question that remains is how long will this last. We would want them to continue like this but still, Cardinal Francis Georges, omi, thinks it might not always work out, institutionally speaking. Here is what he has to say about that.  

ROME — — Pope Francis continued on Tuesday to remind his flock of the duty to protect all of creation and embrace the poor.
Cardinal Francis George intends to carry that call back with him to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago when he returns Wednesday. But he also intends to accept the challenge himself.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Homily of Pope Francis at the inaugural Mass of Petrine Ministry

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.
I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.
In the Gospel we heard that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model” (Redemptoris Custos, 1).
How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.
How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

On the way to the Conclave: the reunion of Cardinals or journalists?

As the days of the Sede Vacante prolong and the days to the Conclave approach, Saint Peter’s Square becomes more and more a place of attraction.  The number of journalists and pilgrims increases every day and the antenna of every media house turned to the Eternal City.
Fake bishopCovers of many International Magazines and Newspapers are decorated with different images of Cardinals ranging from the image of young Cardinals through that of the aged ones and even to that of a “comedian” called Ralph Napierski Who to attract the attention of the Media put on a Bishop-like attire and a pair of sports shoes and went about taking pictures with different Cardinals. In fact, it seems actually, that any News briefing without a headline on Conclave either makes the media house uninformed or not up-to-date. The situation reminds me, exactly what the News briefings used to be during the Arab springtime.   
This morning, the Cardinals had their fourth session. From their facial expression as they came out, it was clear that the gathering of these princes of the Church has been a fraternal gathering. So, as the morning session usually ends around 12:30pm, by 12:45 pm, the whole arena was surrounded by the guards who were leading out these “red buttoned princes”. The experience of the past days has, surely thought the Security Service on duty to accompany the cardinals as the journalists were ready, if possible, to force words out of their mouth. For this reason, the cardinals were either to appear very serious – a kind of “do not disturb my tranquillity”- in order not to be cornered to an angle by the journalists. It was really a spectacular scene seeing some of them almost disguised so as not to attract the attention of a troop of walking cameras and microphones.
For example, as they were coming out from the morning session, there were many fast walking Cardinals and some who though were walking quietly, had the air of “please-do-not-ask-me-any-question”. There were also some who appeared natural and smiling as they walked along - a normal attitude for the red buttoned princes. But these ones were obliged to be rescued from the throng of journalists. The two categories that were less disturbed were those who either were on private cars and Cardinal Philippe Barbarincardinal Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, France. The former, because the journalists had no option than to either photograph them or video their fast moving cars, and the later because being on a bicycle and without any clerical attire was taken to be like every Tom and Jerry.

Monday, 4 March 2013

The date of the conclave announced?

IMG_1991On the bid to elect the successor of Benedict XVI, the princes of the Catholic Church, the Cardinals have assembled in Rome for the meeting that will lead them to the Conclave. They started with the first session this morning. A calm session in which every participant was really involved, as father Frederic Lombadi, SJ, director of the Vatican Radio, expressed it.
The arena of Saint Peter also wears a festive look with many tourists and journalists all around the Square. They all move from one direction to the other. A situation which looks unusual, even for those who are used to Saint Peter’s square. Apart from the number of journalists moving about with their materials, there were also a number of temporary installations of communication houses. The journalists move about looking for any person with red buttons.
There was almost a pandemonium when the Cardinals started coming out. As the journalists run after them, they move very fast to indicate that  they were not yet disposed to speak. And even when one or two of them stopped to answer their questions, they were almost stampeded as Cameras of different sizes and Microphones of different dimensions were raining on them. Every media house was just trying to be the first to announce the date of the conclave. But were they able to obtain the date of the conclave?
One Spanish speaking Cardinal whose name I ignore answered the question. Looking a bit exhausted after the morning session, he responded with a smile on his face that the date of the conclave has not yet been fixed.
And here ends the News of the morning sessions. Follow us @ The truth will make you free for more information on the Conclave and the election of the successor of Saint Peter.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Pope that we need: Sede vacante - Vacant Seat

imagesAs the Petrine seat remains vacant waiting for the next Pastor of the flock of God, people of God all over the world keeps on praying for the continuous presence of the Holy Spirit among the princes of the Church as they are preparing for the election of a new Successor of Saint Peter. As they start their congress tomorrow for the eventual commencement of the Conclave, which likely might not start before Monday, 11th Match 2013, and every media house seems to have its own candidate for the office of the Vicar of Christ. They move about asking the point of view of every passer-by, whether he knows anything about the papal election or not.  
Their speculations are all about who should be the next pope, whether from Africa, from Europe, Latin America or from Asia, as if what matters is the geographical origin of the pope. Anyone who passes around Saint Peter’s Square these days notices that the Media houses are seriously doing propaganda and lobbying as if the Petrine office is a political post which one’s political family or logo determines the manifestos which the elect will execute at his nomination. All they forget, I would say, all they claim to have forgotten, however, is that the Church of God is not a political party. They also portray to the world an image which resembles a situation of political uncertainty, just like what we observe in nations in the absence of a ruler. A situation where nothing moves on and more especially, where there is a fear of an imminent coup-d’état.