USA OFFICIAL USA WEBSITE Thu, 05 Nov 2015 23:25:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Gestures of Peace Mon, 02 Nov 2015 04:08:24 +0000 A series of events for peace and unity ]]> A series of events for peace and unity ]]> 0 The Earth Cube Sun, 01 Nov 2015 22:38:09 +0000 The new environmental revolution]]> The new environmental revolution]]> 0 Children’s Word of Life | November 2015 Sun, 01 Nov 2015 15:12:25 +0000 Children's Word of Life November 2015

« That they may all be one. »

(John 17:21)

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Teens Word of Life – November 2015 Sun, 01 Nov 2015 15:11:15 +0000 2015-11-wol-teens-featured

« That they may all be one. »
(Jn 17:21)

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Word of Life – November 2015 Sun, 01 Nov 2015 05:05:16 +0000

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We can share God’s own dream and, as Jesus did, live and pray for unity. It will lead us down his path of death and resurrection together with him.

This is the last, heartfelt prayer that Jesus spoke to the Father. He knew he was asking the thing closest to his heart. God, indeed, created humanity as his family, to give it every good thing, sharing his very own divine life. What do parents dream for their children if not that they should care for one another, help one another, live united with one another? And what saddens them more than seeing their children divided by jealousy or money matters, even to the point of not speaking to each other? God too has dreamt from all eternity of a family of his own living united as children in a communion of love with him and with one another.

The Bible’s dramatic origin story speaks to us of sin and of the progressive break-up of the human family. As we read in the book of Genesis, the man accused the woman, Cain killed his own brother, Lamech took pride in his exaggerated vendetta, Babel generated misunderstanding and the separation of peoples… God’s project looked like a failure.

Nonetheless, he did not give in and with determination sought the reunification of his family. The story begins again with Noah, with the choice of Abraham, with the birth of the chosen people. And so it goes on, to the point of deciding to send his Son to earth entrusted with a great mission: to gather into one family the separated children, to welcome the lost sinners into a single fold, to break down the walls of separation and the hostilities among peoples to create one new people (see Eph 2:14-16).

God does not cease to dream of unity, and for this reason Jesus asks it of him as the greatest gift he can implore for all of us – ‘Father, I pray

That they may all be one.

Every family looks like its parents. So too the family of God. God is Love not only because he loves what he creates; but he is Love in himself, in mutual giving and communion, lived out by each of the three divine Persons with the others.

Therefore when God created the human race he made it in his image and likeness and he impressed upon it the same capacity for relationship, so that every person may live in mutual self-giving. A more complete version of the words in the prayer of Jesus that we want to live this month, in fact, says:

‘that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us.’

The model for our unity is nothing less than the unity that exists between the Father and Jesus. It seems impossible, so profound is it. It is, however, made possible by that ‘As’, which means also ‘Because’. We can be united as the Father and Jesus are united because they draw us into their own unity, they give it to us as a gift.

‘That they may all be one.’

Precisely this is the work of Jesus, making all of us one, as he is with the Father, one single family, one people. To do this he made himself one of us, took upon himself all our divisions and our sins, nailing them to the cross.

He himself pointed out the way he would take to bring us to unity: ‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself’ (Jn 12:32). As the High Priest had prophesied, he had to die ‘to gather into one the dispersed children of God’ (Jn 11:52). In his mystery of death and resurrection, he has gathered up all things into himself (see Eph 1:10), has recreated the unity broken by sin, has remade the family around the Father and has made us again brothers and sisters of one another.

Jesus has completed his mission. What is left now is our part, our participation, our ‘yes’ to his prayer:

‘That they may all be one.’

What is our contribution to fulfilling this prayer?

In the first place we have to make it our own. We can offer our lips and heart to Jesus so that he can continue speaking these words to the Father and with trust we can repeat his prayer every day. Unity is a gift from above, to be asked with faith, without ever growing tired.

More than this it must be constantly at the forefront of our thoughts and wishes. If this is God’s dream, we want it to be ours as well. Periodically and before every decision, every choice, every action, we can ask ourselves: does this help to build unity, is it the best thing to do to bring about unity?

And finally we ought to run to wherever disunity is most evident and take it upon ourselves as Jesus did. There may be friction in our family or among people we know, tensions in our neighbourhood, disagreements at work, in the parish, among the Churches. Never shy away from dissension and incomprehension, never be indifferent, but take to them our love that becomes listening, attention to the other person, sharing in the pain that results from that open wound.

And above all live in unity with whoever is open to sharing Jesus’s ideal and prayer, without giving weight to misunderstandings or contrasting ideas, but content with ‘what is less perfect in unity more than what is more perfect in disunity’, accepting the differences with joy, indeed considering them richnesses for a unity that is never a reduction to uniformity.

Yes, at times this will put us on the cross, but is it precisely the way Jesus chose to remake the unity of the human family, the way we too wish to walk with him.

Fabio Ciardi

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Remembering Chiara Luce Badano Sat, 31 Oct 2015 04:21:50 +0000 chiara-luce-badano-teen

From an article by Megan Bodenschatz

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Chiara Luce Badando website

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Children’s Word of Life | October 2015 Sat, 17 Oct 2015 16:46:39 +0000 Children's Word of Life October 2015

« By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. »

(John 13:35)

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Teens Word of Life – October 2015 Sat, 17 Oct 2015 16:33:53 +0000 2015-10-wol-teens-featured

« By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another »
(Jn 13:35)

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The Pope in Philadelphia Sat, 03 Oct 2015 01:13:42 +0000 Photo © Renato Araujo
Photo © Renato Araujo

The Pope concluded his visit in the city of Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence and the Consitution of the United States had been written. It was a historic visit that had a deep effect the people of the United States.

At Independence Hall, a central landmark,with his usual smile Pope Francis clarified that he is niether right nor left. He highlighted the importance of religious liberty and dialogue in an increasingly multicultural society, emphasising what is positive in the people of the United States: “We remember the great struggles that led to the abolition of slavery, the extension of the vote, the growth of the workers movement and the progressive efforts to eliminate every form of racism and prejudice directed towards successive waves of new Americans,” the Pope said.

He extended special greetings to Hispanic immigrants from a Pope who was the son of an immigrant family: “You bring with you many talents to your new land. Never be ashamed of your traditions,” he told an applauding crowd. He mentioned the fervid faith and family deep family values of the Hispanic population: “As you make your contribution, you will not only establish yourselves here, but you will help to renew society from within.” Jennifer Huertas from Puerto Rico, who has been living in the United States for two years: “The Pope asks us not to forget our roots, and to recognise the uniqueness of every individual. Yes, diversity isn’t something bad, because every human being is unique.”

A few hours later, he attended the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families with young and older families, singles, men and women Religious and priests who had prepared the city with particular care. After listening to six testimonies from couples and families who recounted how they tried to overcome their struggles through faith in God, the Pope delivered a very animated homily, highlighting the importance of family life. A boy had asked him what God was doing before He created the world: “God loved, because God is Love,” the Pope answered.

His words enchanted the half million people who had waited for hours along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. “It was fantastic to see the Pope,” says Thea from Los Angeles. “I especially liked when he pointed out that God had not placed Jesus in the midst of a Kingdom, but in a family. Nowadays, very few people visit their parents, many of my friends live like that and it’s painful. It’s not always easy in my own family either, it is often hard to listen deeply to one another, but the Pope’s words will help me to face this difficulty.”

On the following day, the crowds continued to wait patiently to hear the Pope, singing and dancing as they waited in long lines at security checkpoints. Never loosing their cool, they smiled and thanked the police officers for their work. “My son turned 2 today, but my wife and I thought that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that couldn’t be missed,” one security officer said.

Photo © Andrea Re

Around a million people attended the Mass and, another million watched it on television. Francis greeted everyone and blessed children before the Mass began with Scripture readings in Spanish and Vietnamese. The liturgical readings of that Sunday contained strong words, where Moses and Jesus both affirmed that even people who do not belong to their group could perform miracles in the Lord’s name. “We must not be scandalised by the freedom of God,” the Pope told the crowd. Then he invited families to perform small gestures of love and compassion: a warm meal after a long workday, a warm embrace: “Love is shown in the small things,” he said. This means being “prophets,” overcoming the “scandal of a love that is restricted and petty” and he sent a clear message to the Church that must accept diveristy and trust the action of the Holy Spirit.

He also had other significant encounters: with prisoners, and the survivors of sexual abuse by the clergy; regarding which the Pope said “God weeps.” It is like a Black Mass, “there are no excuses.”

His six-day visit was a breath of fresh air, not only for the American Catholic Church, but for the whole country. The Pope highlighted the cultural values of the land beginning from the country’s founding, and he invited Americans to be faithful to those values: love, family, the dignity of every human being, caring for the poor.

While leaving the United States, he sent a message on Twitter: “With my gratitude, may Christ’s love continue to guide the American people! #GodBlessAmerica.”

Susanne Janssen and Sarah Mundell – Living City Magazine

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“Welcome to New York, Holy Father” Wed, 30 Sep 2015 02:32:17 +0000 20150926-03“Welcome, Holy Father” posters appeared all around the city already on Thursday. The taxi driver watching the Pope on TV was not indifferent: “So, you’re going to see the Pope tomorrow? Congratulations!”

“Everyone finds the Pope appealing because he is authentic,” a non-Catholic man on the train said. He’s right: Francis does not need to attract attention or make himself appealing to all. And so he gave us a lesson before the UN’s General Assembly: on sustainable development, climate change and the issue of refugees: “We must not be appalled by the numbers… we have to look at their faces and listen to their stories,” he said in Washington. And at the UN: “Every man must be able to have concrete access to indispensable material and spiritual goods: a home, a dignified and well paid job, enough food, drinking water and religious freedom. ” He again strongly criticized drug trafficking, sexual exploitation of people, the arms rackets. In the same way as he had clearly denounced before the US Congress, he made another appeal to put aside divisions and antagonisms between political parties and to help the poor.

The sacredness of each human being is a theme he strongly feels, and at the end of his speech, there were unending rounds of applause. He then left and greeted the people from his Fiat car which seemed so tiny amid the huge limousines.

20150926-aAt Ground Zero, 500 representatives of various religions were all waiting to pray together for peace. Sue Kopp, a focolarina of New York who was able to participate in the rite, affirmed: “It was so meaningful also due to the diversity of this country. This place, which seemed so sacred to me, and marked by such immense suffering, has been transformed into a place of hope. The dream of a civilization of love, is becoming a reality.”.

Joe Klock, of New Humanity (an International NGO accredited at the UN) said; “The Pope   underlined the importance of building unity in diversity, where peace and love reign among the nations and the hearts of all. This reality demonstrates that the world needs the spirituality of unity, which seems to be precisely tailored to this country!”

Also in New York, the Pope visited some charitable organizations, among which a model school in Harlem. And then, in Central Park. The 80,000 lucky people were able to get entrance tickets, waited for hours, even to get just a glimpse of him.

The Mass was celebrated at Madison Square Garden, where the seats are usually occupied by basketball stars and pop singers. The people waited for hours to enter but no one complained. Then the big surprise: Pope Francis arrived 20 minutes earlier than planned!

20150926-02The altar, the chair and the pulpit were simply handcrafted . Cardinal Timothy Dolan had the impression that the Pope would have appreciated this more than if the items were made by a designer. And here, Francis became the pastor of the immense city, recalling the reading from the book of Isaiah 9.1: “The people walking in the darkness saw a great light.”. He spoke about the difficulties of the multicultural cities where the light is absent due to so much smog. “But Jesus walks down our streets today,” he said and continued to invite all to go out towards the others, with the heart of a “merciful father waiting for his children to come home.”
The church is alive in the cities, the Pope stressed, and so Christians have to bear witness to the light of the Good News. The applause went on and on.
As in all the other countries, also in the USA the Pope has touched the heart of each one of us.

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