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Running after Poverty...

Posted on Sep 14, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Like his patron, St. Francis, Pope Francis keeps the poor and vulnerable before our eyes, even going so far as to install showers at St. Peter’s Basilica for the poor and homeless. And when he came to Assisi in 2013, Pope Francis went first to a church-run center for physically challenged children and spent 45 minutes personally greeting them, and saying to them and their caregivers, “We are among the wounds of Jesus. Jesus is hidden in these young people.
We treat the wounds of Jesus here.”

That awareness of those who suffer, that compassion, is why people run after Pope Francis, and why they ran after St. Francis. It is why a little boy ran onto the stage in St. Peter’s Square and clung to the leg of Pope Francis. The boy felt drawn to this grandfatherly man who, like Jesus, welcomes little children and blesses them.

Nor is Pope Francis simply a saintly-but-sentimental man; for he also challenges us and reminds us of the dangers of our materialism. Those can create a culture of comfort that makes us think only of ourselves, a culture of waste that seizes God’s gifts only to savor them briefly and then discard them, a culture of indifference that desensitizes us to the suffering of others.


COT_JPiWEAAvus9Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here.

 

 

 


Pope Francis reminds us that the Church itself can get caught up in this kind of materialism. In Assisi, in the room where St. Francis stripped himself of his material goods, the pope said, “Many of you have been stripped by this savage world, which doesn’t provide work, which doesn’t help, to which it makes no difference that children die of hunger.” Then he added, “This is a good occasion to invite the Church itself to strip itself.”

He has not let up on that message he delivered in Assisi. He gave a clear warning to the Vatican Curia last December, listing the dangers that positions of power can bring. It was an indication of the changes that are under way—bringing the Church away from temptation, into Christ-like action.

Compassion and the challenge of the Gospel: that is why people run after Pope Francis.

Murray Bodo, OFM, is a popular author and poet. His new book is Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality (Franciscan Media).

 

The post Running after Poverty appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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Papa Stronsay Calendar 2016 Pre-Order...

Posted on Sep 12, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The Papa Stronsay Calendar has been growing in popularity over the years, and we hope that the year 2016 will be no exception!
The 2016 Papa Stronsay Calendar is nearing completion so we offer you the chance to get in early and pre-order your copy now!
Our calendar makes a great gift for friends and family (and even for yourself!).
You can even conveniently order you calendars right here on this very page:
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Want to keep up-to-date with developments?  Just subscribe below, and we’ll let you know when each new Papa Stronsay Calendar is available!
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Obviously we only send emails relevant to the Calendar, and we don’t share your address with anyone else.
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Pope Francis and Saint Francis...

Posted on Sep 12, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

When Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose to be called Pope Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, many people around the world were surprised but approved instantly.

Although Francis of Assisi was canonized two years after he died in 1226, no pope had ever selected that name. Cardinal Bergoglio’s choice was innovative (patron of ecology), yet traditional (Francis and Catherine of Siena are co-patrons of Italy). Pope Francis will certainly have more to say about his namesake when he visits Assisi on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

A new papal style and new priorities have clearly emerged. Indeed, in one of the general congregations before the conclave, Cardinal Bergoglio stated that the Church needs to be less “self-referential” and more focused on calling attention to Jesus than to itself. Francis of Assisi could not have agreed more strongly.

Perhaps Popes Nicholas IV, Sixtus IV, Sixtus V, and Clement XIV (all Franciscans) didn’t choose the name Francis because they wanted to avoid setting the bar too high for themselves. Or maybe they passed over the name for the same reason other popes have not taken the name Peter—out of respect.

Pope Francis has certainly set the bar high for himself—and, by extension, for the Catholic Church. Other Christians quickly resonated with his name choice because St. Francis of Assisi can teach everyone a great deal.

Pope Francis in America

COT_JPiWEAAvus9Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here.

 

 

 

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Photo: Catholic News Service

The post Pope Francis and Saint Francis appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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The Joy of Pope Francis...

Posted on Sep 11, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Pope Francis radiates joy at public events (think World Youth Day in Brazil and similar gatherings in Korea and Albania) and in private meetings. His interviews with journalists for Catholic magazines and daily newspapers reveal a profound joy. Reporters who cover papal trips see that same joy when he answers their questions during flights back to Rome. So do people who receive a phone call from him in response to a letter they have written.

“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus,” he writes to open “The Joy of the Gospel” (his November 2013 apostolic exhortation). He continues, “Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly reborn” (1).

Pope Francis has coined memorable expressions such as “There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter” (6), “An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral” (10), and we must not allow defeatism to turn us into “disillusioned pessimists, sourpusses” (85).

But Pope Francis is no Pollyanna, refusing to take seriously threats to human dignity on all fronts. Consider this quote: “Today, our challenge is not so much atheism as the need to respond adequately to many people’s thirst for God, lest they try to satisfy it with alienating solutions or with a disembodied Jesus who demands nothing of us with regard to others” (89). Earlier he had written, “We have to state, without mincing words, that there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them” (48). Joy can indeed lead to deep compassion.

A lifetime of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ reflects a deep inner joy and encourages the same among all Christians.

Pope Francis in America

COT_JPiWEAAvus9Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here.

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Photo: giulio napolitano/Shutterstock

The post The Joy of Pope Francis appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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Is There Really a Heaven?...

Posted on Sep 10, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Have you ever wondered if there really was a heaven?  I know I have, but I have always been cautiously optimistic.

You’ve heard the stories of people that were clinically dead and a few minutes later come back to life with incredible stories of what they experienced–from bright lights to seeing a loved one on the “other side.”  The stories always seemed wonderful, but I was still doubtful. How can that be true? Would God really want us to know what was waiting for us when we were going to heaven?

One day, while working in the Customer Service department a woman called to cancel her subscription to the St. Anthony Messenger magazine. When I asked her why she was canceling she told me she was 80 years old. Two weeks before, while on the operating table, she died for four minutes.

She asked me if I had ever heard the stories of the bright, white light. When I told her yes she giggled and said it was absolutely true. I asked her if she was afraid and she said no. She had a great sense of peace as she was heading to the bright light. She knew she was dead and heading to heaven and then in an instant she heard a voice telling her that her job was not done. She had things to do before she could come Home.

I don’t know about you, but that put goosebumps down my arms! This lady was canceling her newspapers, magazines and bank accounts so that when she finally does go Home her responsibilities would be less for those that remain behind. She was so joyful, so inspiring, so awesome, I believed her!

Upon reflection of this woman’s story, I was thinking why is it I have no problem believing in the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In a word, I have faith. Jesus is in my heart. He is a part of my being, of who I am.

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Featured image: Shutterstock

The post Is There Really a Heaven? appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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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."