Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Benedict XVI: God Wants Us to Be Happy Always

Tells Mexican Children on Saturday of Their Special Place in His Heart

LEON, Mexico, MARCH 25, 2012 ( On Saturday thousands of young people gathered to hear the words of Pope Benedict XVI in Leon’s Plaza de la Paz.
“You have a very special place in the Pope’s heart,” he told them, speaking from the balcony of the house of Count Rul.
The Pope’s address to the young people came towards the end of the day, following a private meeting he had held with Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón. He had also received the keys of the city of Leon from the mayor, Ricardo Sheffield.
Benedict XVI expressed his closeness to all the children of Mexico, especially those who suffer, or who have been victims of violence, or are lacking food.
“I am grateful for this encounter of faith, and for the festive and joyful presence expressed in song,” the Pope said as he thanked them for the songs they had previously sung for him, Caminos de Guanajuato and Cielito lindo.
“Today we are full of jubilation, and this is important. God wants us to be happy always. He knows us and he loves us. If we allow the love of Christ to change our heart, then we can change the world. This is the secret of authentic happiness.”
“This place where we stand today has a name which expresses the yearning present in the heart of each and every person: ‘la paz’, (Peace),” he said.
The gift of peace
“This is a gift which comes from on high. ‘Peace be with you’ (Jn 20:21),” the Pope explained. “These are the words of the Risen Lord. We hear them during each Mass, and today they resound anew in this place, with the hope that each one of you will be transformed, becoming a sower and messenger of that peace for which Christ offered his life.”
He urged them to be close to Jesus, “as the best of friends.”
“He will never tire of speaking to those who always love and who do good,” the Pontiff told the young people gathered in the plaza.
The Pope told them that each one present was a gift of God to Mexico. “Your family, the Church, your school and those who have responsibility in society must work together to ensure that you receive a better world as your inheritance, without jealousies and divisions,” he said.
The Holy Father then invited everyone to protect and care for children, “so that nothing may extinguish their smile, but that they may live in peace and look to the future with confidence.”
Benedict XVI concluded by saying he wished he had more time to spend with them, but that while he now had to leave they could remain united in prayer. “So I invite you to pray continually, even in your homes; in this way, you will experience the happiness of speaking about God with your families."
“Pray for everyone, and also for me,” he asked. “I will pray for all of you, so that Mexico may be a place in which everyone can live in serenity and harmony.”

Saturday, 24 March 2012

In 3 Decades, 1,000 Missionaries Slain

ROME, MARCH 22, 2012 ( According to a report published Wednesday by the Rome-based Fides news agency, at least 1,000 missionaries were killed in the period from 1980 to 2011.
In the years 1980-89 there are 115 deaths among missionaries recorded. This number is below the true total, Fides said, as it only refers to confirmed cases.
In the following decade there was a sharp increase in deaths, for a total of 604. Among the causes for the much higher number was a widening of the criteria for counting deaths. Instead of just being deaths due to direct religious persecution the number now includes all those killed in a violent manner in the course of their pastoral duties.
As well, the Rwanda conflict in 1994 caused at least 248 victims among missionary workers. Fides also mentioned improvements in the mass media, with news being spread from even isolated places, as another reason for the higher total.
In the period 2001-11 there were 255 recorded deaths among missionaries. In the most recent year, 2011 there were 26 missionaries killed: 18 priests, 4 women religious, and 4 laypeople.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Pope Blesses Eucharistic Congress Bell

Symbol of a Call to the Eucharist

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2012 ( During Wednesday’s general audience Benedict XVI blessed the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) bell. The IEC will take place June 10-17 in Dublin.
The bell was presented to the Pope by an Irish delegation, led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin. The bell has been touring Ireland and up to around a quarter of a million people have rung it, according to a press release published by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Since commencing the first phase of its pilgrimage on St Patrick’s Day last year, the bell has visited the 26 dioceses of Ireland, more than 1,000 parishes, more than 100 schools, and a dozen hospitals and nursing homes, calling people to "Come to the Congress."
After being blessed the bell was taken into St. Peter’s Basilica to remain for a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Congresses.
“We are truly delighted that with this visit the Bell has brought parishes, schools and hospitals all over Ireland into a closer Communion with the Pope as we enter the final phase of preparation for the Eucharistic Congress,” said Father Kevin Doran, secretary-general of the IEC.
Along with the Bell are the four Eucharistic Congress Icons which represent the four parts of the Mass, and correspond to each of the four stages of the pastoral preparation program for the Congress.
According to a long-standing tradition, it is said that St. Patrick left a bell in each Church he consecrated as a way to call people to the Eucharist.
Organizers expect up to 25,000 pilgrims will attend the IEC each day, including 12,000 international pilgrims representing 99 different countries.