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Papa Francis The First | His Holiness Papa Francisco

Grateful for Freedom...

About two weeks ago, I heard the first of the street fireworks, signaling the beginning of summer and the fact that July 4th is on the way. You can’t buy much more than garden variety fireworks in this area, so the worst of what we have around here are the types of things that go “bang!” very loudly, with no pretty colors to follow.

That evening, I had been reading the news before going outside to sit for a bit. There had been a story about how there will be no more Catholic Masses in Mosul at this time, a mandate from the Islamist group currently in control of the city. The article featured a photo of children in a refugee camp, playing a version of kickball; I suppose the inference was that these were Catholic children, though the caption was not clear.

Hearing the cherry bomb go off the other night after reading that story, I thought about what it would be like to hear that kind of sound on a regular basis, from gunfire rather than fireworks. What is it like to live in a place where you don’t know what you’ll encounter when you walk down your street, or go to the store for food? If the bus you got on to go to work or visit your mother was wired to explode or might run over an IED?

When the septic system backed up later that week, I remembered the picture of the refugee camp, and thought, “This mess is nothing compared to what I’d have to live with if I was forced from my home.”

No great insights here, but it sure does make me grateful for the freedom to live in relative safety and comfort. I’ll be thinking of that on the Fourth when I see an American flag or hear the fireworks going off.


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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."