Home » Articles posted by Junno Arocho Esteves

Pope: Catholics, Methodists can strengthen each other through shared witness of faith

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Catholics and Methodists can strengthen each other through a shared witness of faith, especially through acts of love toward the poor and the marginalized, Pope Francis said.

The mutual call to holiness shared by both communities “is necessarily a call to communion with others, too,” the pope said Oct. 19. Read more »

Comments Off on Pope: Catholics, Methodists can strengthen each other through shared witness of faith

Women must not be subjugated, but eliminating differences between sexes ‘isn’t right,’ pope says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — While societies must find a way to overcome the subjugation of women, pretending there are no differences between men and women or even using technology to change a person’s sex is not the answer, Pope Francis said.

Using science “to radically eliminate any difference between the sexes, and, as a result, the covenant between man and woman, is not right,” the pope said Oct. 5, opening the Pontifical Academy for Life’s general assembly. Read more »

Comments Off on Women must not be subjugated, but eliminating differences between sexes ‘isn’t right,’ pope says

Christians aren’t ‘whiny and angry,’ they find hope in the Resurrection, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Real hope lies in the proclamation of Jesus’ death and resurrection, not just with one’s words but also in deeds, Pope Francis said.

Christians are called to be witnesses of the resurrection through “their way of welcoming, smiling and loving” instead of just “repeating memorized lines,” the pope said Oct. 4 during his weekly general audience. Read more »

Comments Off on Christians aren’t ‘whiny and angry,’ they find hope in the Resurrection, pope says

Share the journey of hope with immigrants, Pope Franics says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The same hope that moves people to seek a better life for themselves and their loved ones also moves the hearts of men and women to welcome migrants and refugees with open arms, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis poses for a selfie as he greets immigrants and representatives of Caritas Internationalis during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sept. 27. Caritas Internationalis was kicking off its “Share the Journey” campaign in support of immigrants. Next to the pope is Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“Those who come to our land and we who go toward their heart to understand them, to understand their culture and language” embark on a shared journey that “without hope cannot be done,” the pope said Sept. 27 at his weekly general audience.

“Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to share the journey! Do not be afraid to share hope,” he said.

During the audience, Pope Francis launched the “Share the Journey” campaign, an initiative sponsored by Caritas Internationalis, the global network of Catholic charitable agencies.

The campaign encourages Catholics to understand, get to know and welcome refugees and migrants.

Continuing his series of audience talks on Christian hope, the pope reflected on the enemies of hope who, like the Greek myth of Pandora’s box, “unleash so many misfortunes throughout the world’s history.”

However, he said, few people remember that at the end of the story, the final item unleashed from the box is hope, which is what “sustains life, protects it, cares for it and makes it grow.”

“If humankind had not cultivated hope, if they had not been sustained by this virtue, they would have remained in the caves and would not leave their mark in world history,” the pope said. Hope “is the most divine thing that exists in the human heart.”

While the poor tend to be “the bearers of hope,” he said, there are others, especially young men and women, who may have the “misfortune” of having everything, but who are not taught the “virtue of waiting and patience.”

“They are destined to the worst punishment: that of not desiring anything,” he said. “To close the door to desires, to dreams — they look young, but instead autumn has already fallen in their hearts. They are the youths of autumn.”

This emptiness of the soul, he added, is an obstacle to hope and leads Christians to fall into the temptation that ancient monks would call “the midday devil.”

“This temptation surprises us when we least expect it: the days become dull and boring,” and nothing seems worthy of one’s fatigue, he said. “This attitude is called sloth; it erodes life from within until it becomes an empty shell.”

Pope Francis urged Christians to keep hope alive and fight against desperation through Jesus “who can open wide the doors” and “look beyond the horizon.

“If Jesus conquered the world, he is able to conquer within us all that stands in the way of goodness,” the pope said. “If God is with us, no one can rob us of the virtue we absolutely need to live. No one will rob us of hope.”

     

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on Share the journey of hope with immigrants, Pope Franics says

Those who govern are called to humility and service, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Those who govern or are in positions of authority are called to be humble and serve the good of the people God entrusts to them rather than the interests of their party or themselves, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis gives the homily as he celebrates Mass Sept. 18 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

Without prayer, a leader risks serving his own selfish desires or political party, closing himself or herself in a “circle from which there is no escape,” the pope said Sept. 18 during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta.

“Who has more power than a ruler? The people, who have given him the power, and God, from whom power comes through the people,” the pope said. “When he has this awareness of being subordinate, he prays.”

In his homily, the pope reflected on the day’s reading from St. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy in which he asks that “supplications, prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority.”

The pope also spoke about the day’s Gospel reading from St. Luke, which recounted Jesus’ healing of a slave at the behest of his master, a Roman centurion.

“This man felt the need for prayer” not because it was a last resort but because he knew that “there was someone above him, there is another who is in charge,” the pope said.

Praying for politicians and those who lead, the pope continued, is important “because it is the prayer for the common good of the people who are entrusted to him.”

Leaders also must pray and ask the Lord for wisdom so that they find their true strength in God and in the people and not “in small groups or in myself,” he said.

And leaders who claim they cannot pray because they are agnostic or atheist, he said, at least must examine their consciences and seek counsel from those their people consider wise.

Christians “cannot leave rulers alone, we must accompany them with prayer,” the pope said. And when a leader does “awful things,” he added, they need even more prayers.

“Pray, do penance for those who govern,” the pope said. “The prayer of intercession, it is beautiful what Paul says, is for all leaders, for all those in power. Why? So ‘that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life.’ When a leader is free and can govern in peace, all people benefit from this.”

     

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on Those who govern are called to humility and service, pope says

Salesian priest recounts his kidnapping in Yemen, imprisonment

By

Catholic News Service

ROME — Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil was sitting in a room in an unknown location, one of several he had been relocated to during his 18-month imprisonment, when he received some unexpected news.

Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was released Sept. 12 after having been kidnapped 18 months ago in Yemen, kneels at the feet of Pope Francis during a Sept. 13 meeting at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

“Those who kept me came to where I slept (and said), ‘I bring you good news. We are sending you home. If you need to go to the bathroom, go. Take a shower, but quickly.’” Father Uzhunnalil told reporters Sept. 16 at the Salesian headquarters in Rome.

The Salesian priest from India was kidnapped March 4, 2016, from a home for the aged and disabled run by the Missionaries of Charity in Aden, Yemen. On that day, four Missionaries of Charity and 12 others were murdered in the attack by uniformed gunmen.

Seeing a group of Missionaries of Charity sisters seated at the news conference in Rome, Father Uzhunnalil expressed his condolences. However, the memory of the four sisters’ martyrdom still proved too difficult to bear.

Silence filled the room as the Salesian priest covered his eyes, tears streaming down his face while doing his utmost to hold back emotions that he thought he could contain.

“I thank God Almighty for this day, for keeping me safe, healthy, clear minded; my emotions were in control until now,” he said after regaining his composure. 

“I don’t want to speak too much about the sisters because I get too emotional,” he said.

Although reports following his kidnapping suggested the attack was carried out by the so-called Islamic State, Father Uzhunnalil said his captors never identified themselves.

Knowing very little Arabic, Father Uzhunnalil said he spoke to the militants with the few words he knew: “Ana hindiin” (“I am Indian”). To this day, the Indian priest still wonders why he was the only one spared in the slaughter.

“Why they did not kill me, why they didn’t tie my hands, I don’t know,” he said. “Perhaps they wanted some ransom or whatever it is. I only believe that maybe God had put that into their heads when I said, ‘I am Indian,’ and they made me sit there while they killed the others, the sisters.”

After leaving him in the trunk of the car, the militants ransacked the chapel taking the tabernacle, wrapping it with the altar linen and placing it near the kidnapped priest. With his hands unbound, Father Uzhunnalil carefully moved the linen and found “four or five small hosts,” which he kept to celebrate the Eucharist the first few days of his capture.

After his short supply ran out, he said, he continued reciting the Mass prayers when alone despite not having bread and wine.

“I peacefully was able to say my Eucharist all from memory, although bread and wine wasn’t available. But I prayed to God to give me those items spiritually,” Father Uzhunnalil said.

He spent most of his days praying for the pope, his bishop, his Salesian brothers, and “certainly those sisters, all those persons whom God had called” on the day of his abduction.

Father Uzhunnalil said he found consolation in the words of a hymn, “One day at a time, sweet Jesus.”

“Just give me the strength to do every day what I have to do. Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never be mine. Lord, help me today, show me the way, one day at a time,” he would sing to himself in the solitude of his room.

On Sept. 11, Father Uzhunnalil was given the news of his liberation. After traveling for hours blindfolded, the priest along with two of his captors waited in the car.

Several hours later, his captors told him “some arrangements weren’t done” and they headed back.

Not understanding the church’s teaching on the Holy Trinity and the “unity of God in three persons,” Father Uzhunnalil recalled, one of his captors said, “You might have prayed to the third God, now you must pray to the second God so tomorrow can go well.”

Returning to his cell, he slept briefly when he was rustled out of bed in the middle of the night Sept. 12 and taken on the same long ride, his head once again covered. He was then moved to another vehicle where a person pulled up his picture on a cell phone and asked the priest, “Is this you?”

After confirming his identity, the driver drove for more than a day through the desert and told him: “Now you are free, now you are safe.”

Father Uzhunnalil was then taken to the Omani capital of Moscat where he received medical treatment, fresh clothes, and a shaving kit.

While he knows few details about arrangements for his release, Father Uzhunnalil expressed his gratitude to those who helped secure his liberation, including Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said of Oman, the government authorities of India, and the Vatican, including Pope Francis whom he met the day after his release.

As Pope Francis entered the room Sept. 13, the Salesian knelt before him and kissed his feet. Visibly moved by the gesture, the pope helped him up and kissed his hands.

Before blessing Father Uzhunnalil, the pope embraced him and said he would continue to pray for him as he had done during his imprisonment.

“In that meeting, the pope kissed my hand. I never deserved it,” he said. “I’m only grateful to God for his blessings, I’m sure he prayed much for me.”

Even his captors, Father Uzhunnalil said, knew of the pope’s efforts and inadvertently gave him a reason to hope.

“One of the captors told me, ‘The pope has said you will be freed soon but nothing is happening still.’ From that, I knew that the whole world was there, the whole church was there, the world was worried for me. So, I am grateful,” he said.

 

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

Comments Off on Salesian priest recounts his kidnapping in Yemen, imprisonment

Vatican reform process ‘nearly complete,’ C9 member says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals, the so-called C9, is nearly done with its work of advising the pope on a major reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, the secretary of the council said.

Pope Francis leads the 18th meeting of his Council of Cardinals at the Vatican Feb. 13. Seated to the left of the pope are: Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, secretary of the council; Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the council; Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India; Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, retired archbishop of Santiago, Chile; Cardinal George Pell, head of the Secretariat for the Economy. Seated at right are: Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany; Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo; Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano, handout)

Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, secretary of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, told Vatican Radio Sept. 11 that “as far as the reform process of the Roman Curia is concerned, it is even more than three-quarters of the way there; it is almost complete.”

“It is nearly complete at the level of proposals made to the pope,” he said.

The Council of Cardinals was meeting at the Vatican Sept. 11-13. Pope Francis, who returned from his visit to Colombia Sept. 11, did not attend the first day’s meeting.

Bishop Semeraro told Vatican Radio of the council’s work in advising the pope on the reform of the Vatican’s organization and church governance, describing it as a three-step process of “listening” to the contributions from the bishops, the Roman Curia and “many people who have written,” reflecting on those proposals and checking them over.

“Listening, reflecting, checking and then making a proposal to the pope” because the Council of Cardinals does not issue a decree; “the Council of Cardinals proposes to the pope,” he said.

Throughout their meetings, he continued, Pope Francis takes part “primarily by listening” and “intervenes when he recounts his personal experiences when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, or of current situations in the life of the church.”

The work of the council is not only dedicated to reforming the Roman Curia but to informing, advising and collaborating with Pope Francis concerning various situations in the church, Bishop Semeraro said.

One example, he added, was to discuss “the very painful reality of the abuse of minors.”

“This, in itself, is not part of the reform of the Roman Curia. Yet, the pope has decided to listen to the council, too, about these steps. And, when it comes to clarifying or intervening, the pope intervenes but with great discretion. He mostly listens,” Bishops Semeraro said.

Regarding the time frame of the reform, the Italian prelate said the final proposals dealing with all the dicasteries “will be more or less complete in a few months” and that it will be up to the pope “to decide how and when to implement them.”

“Right now the pope has preferred a gradual implementation, as well as a sort of breaking-in period. In some cases, the pope has already intervened to make corrections because in passing from theory to practice, needs for correction have emerged,” Bishop Semeraro said.

     

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on Vatican reform process ‘nearly complete,’ C9 member says

Church is always in need of repair, reform, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Although the church is built upon a strong foundation, it is always in need of being reformed and repaired, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 23. (CNS/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Before reciting the Angelus prayer Aug. 27, Pope Francis said that Christians are the “living stones” that Christ uses to fill in the gaps and crevices that continually appear.

“Even with us today, Jesus wants to continue building his church, this house with solid foundations yet where cracks aren’t lacking and which still needs to be repaired. Always,” the pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

The pope spoke about the day’s Gospel reading from St. Matthew in which Peter proclaims that Jesus is “the Christ, the son of the living God.”

With Peter’s affirmation, the pope said, Jesus understands that “thanks to the faith given him by the father, there is a solid foundation upon which he can build his community, his church.”

Christ proclaimed Peter the rock upon which he would build his church, the pope said. And Christ sees every believer, no matter how small, as a precious stone that he can use “in the right place” and continue building up the church.

“Each one of us is a small stone, but in Jesus’ hands we participate in the construction of the church,” the pope said. “And all of us, as small as we are, are made into ‘living stones’ because when Jesus takes a stone in his hand, he makes it his own, he makes it alive, full of life, full of the life of the Holy Spirit, full of life from his love.”

“Thus, we have a place and mission in the church: to be a community of life made up of many stones, all different, that form one single edifice in the sign of brotherhood and communion,” Pope Francis said.

The Gospel, he added, reminds Christians that Jesus wanted Peter and his successors, the popes, to be the “visible center of communion” for the church.

     

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on Church is always in need of repair, reform, pope says

Pope Francis calls Vatican II’s liturgical reforms ‘irreversible’

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church must continue to work to understand the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and why they were made, rather than rethinking them, Pope Francis said. Read more »

Comments Off on Pope Francis calls Vatican II’s liturgical reforms ‘irreversible’

Imprisonment without hope for the future is torture, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Although prisoners must pay a price for their crimes, incarceration must not be used as a method of torture but rather an opportunity to become contributing members of society, Pope Francis said. Read more »

Comments Off on Imprisonment without hope for the future is torture, pope says
Marquee Powered By Know How Media.