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Pope greets Polish pilgrims on St John Paul II’s feast day

(Vatican Radio) During Saturday’s Jubilee of Mercy audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis extended a special greeting to the Polish pilgrims present, remembering the 1050th anniversary of the baptism of their nation, and the feast day the Polish-born pontiff, St John Paul II.

Listen to Ann Schneible’s report:

“Exactly 38 years ago, at about this time, in this square, there resounded these words to men and women throughout the world: ‘Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ’.”

In remembrance of the feast day of St John Paul II, Pope Francis recalled these words delivered by his predecessor during his first Mass as the Roman pontiff on October 22, 1978.

The legacy of the papacy of John Paul II, who was born Karol Józef Wojtyła, is a prolific one.

Over the course of his more than 26 years in office, he visited 129 countries, founded World Youth Day, and was instrumental in the fall of the Berlin Wall.

St John Paul II also had a special devotion to the Divine Mercy; in the year 2000, he officially designated the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday which he himself had founded.

A poet and an avid sportsman, he continued to write poetry throughout his pontificate, and remained active until his final years.

The Polish-born pontiff was also known for his writings on human sexuality, most notably his Theology of the Body.

John Paul II was beatified in 2011 by Benedict XVI, and was canonized three years later by Pope Francis on the feast of Divine Mercy.

Addressing the 100,000 pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square this Saturday, Pope Francis reflected on how it was Poland’s historical and cultural inheritance which filled John Paul II with hope, strength, and courage to “open wide the doors of Christ”.

“This invitation,” the Pope said, “was transformed by an unceasing proclamation of the Gospel of mercy for the world and for mankind, of which this Jubilee Year is a continuation”

The Holy Father went on to reflect on the feast of St John Paul II, especially his relevance for young people, the suffering, and newly married couples.

“May his consistent witness of faith be a lesson for you, dear young people, for confronting the challenges of life,” the Pope said. He then invited the sick to “embrace with hope the cross of illness,” and told newly married couples to seek his intercession in order that their new families may never be lacking in love.

(from Vatican Radio)

Audience for the Jubilee of Mercy: English summary

(Vatican Radio) In his latest special audience for the Jubilee Year of Mercy on Saturday, Pope Francis spoke on the role of dialogue in bringing God’s merciful love to the world.

Addressing the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, the Pope centred his catechesis on Jesus’ dialogue with the Samaritan woman, as recounted in John’s Gospel.

The following is the official English-language synthesis of Pope Francis’ homily for the Jubilee of Mercy general audience at the Vatican:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Throughout this Jubilee Year, we have reflected on God’s mercy and our own responsibility, as followers of Jesus, to be “merciful like the Father”.  In this light, we now turn to the dialogue of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4:6-15).  Through dialogue, in fact, we come to know and respect others; we come to see each individual as a gift of God.  How much we need to encourage dialogue in our families, our schools and our workplaces!  For only through dialogue can we truly understand others and their needs, and work together for the good of society and the care of our common home.  Dialogue between the religions can make a real contribution to the building of a world of peace and solidarity.  God has placed a seed of goodness in each of us and he asks us to use it in the service of his creation.  Through dialogue, mutual acceptance and fraternal cooperation, may we make God’s merciful love ever more evident in our world.

(from Vatican Radio)

Listecki: Anti-Catholicism ‘equal opportunity prejudice’ in campaign

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki called anti-Catholicism "an equal opportunity prejudice" evident in the presidential election.

‘Today’ show’s Roker credits Catholic schools for success in life, career

Al Roker, weather and feature anchor on NBC's "Today" show, told a Sioux City Catholic audience that he owes his success in life and his career to the Catholic education he received growing up.

Ham Lake parishioner brings divine mercy documentary to Andover theater

Last winter, Donna Zroka and other parishioners at the Church of St. Paul in Ham Lake saw a movie trailer for “The Original Image of Divine Mercy.” The documentary traces the history of the painting that’s based on the description St. Faustina Kowalska recorded in her diary after receiving revelations from Jesus in the 1930s.

Papal apartment in Castel Gandolfo opens to public

(Vatican Radio)  A press release from the Holy See announced that beginning on October 22nd, the pontifical apartment in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo will be opened to the public for the first time ever. Visits to the formerly private apartment are being run by the Vatican Museums and details of the opening and closing hours can be found by going to the official website of the Vatican Museums (

At a special inauguration ceremony on Friday, the Director of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, paid tribute to this “unexpected gift from the Pope” and spoke of the beauty of the setting with its views over Lake Albano and the densely wooded surrounding hills and of the sense of history that pervades the Apostolic Palace.

Journalists and others attending the inauguration listened to a selection of popular Chinese music performed by a Chinese choir.

The apartment on display to the public includes the Pope’s private library, his study, his chapel and his bedroom where during the Nazi occupation Jewish women gave birth to their babies whilst they were being secretly sheltered at the Palace by Pope Pius XII. 


(from Vatican Radio)

Three Catholics who serve Minnesota share how their faith guides their work for the common good

All eyes may be locked on the upcoming presidential election, but closer to home, public officials continue to serve the needs of the community by promoting justice and advocating for change across the state. For many, faith serves as the lens for addressing key issues, making fair decisions and withstanding the pressures of public service.

Roots of Cathedral parish, city of St. Paul trace back 175 years

The log chapel that started it all

Pope: 'invest in the future by giving formation to young people'

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday spoke of the importance of promoting and supporting young people so they can face the challenges of life.

“Providing formation for young people is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow” he said.

The Pope was addressing members of the John Paul II Foundation that is celebrating the 35th anniversary from its foundation.

To those present in the Vatican for the occasion, Pope Francis said the anniversary is a good moment to look back and draw up a balance of the work done in the past years, but it is also a time to look to the future with new goals and objectives.   
The John Paul II Foundation was established by a Papal Decree on October 16, 1981 as a religious, educational, charitable and non-profit organization.

Pointing out that the work of the Foundation spans many countries and has benefited many students – especially in Eastern Europe – the Pope said: “I encourage you to continue in your commitment to promote and support the younger generation, so that it can face the challenges of life with evangelical sensitivity and with faith. Providing youth with formation is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow!”

The Pope also commented on the soon-to-end Holy Year of Mercy saying it has inspired us to reflect and to meditate on the greatness of Divine Mercy in a time in which man, thanks to enormous progress in various fields of technology and science, “tends to feel self-sufficient, as if   emancipated from a higher authority, and believes that everything depends upon himself”.

“As Christians, he said, we are aware that everything is a gift from God and that true wealth is not wealth, which indeed can enslave us, but love for God that sets us free”.

Pope Francis also recalled his recent journey to Poland, where – he said – he experienced the joy of faith within the World Youth Day celebrations. 

He recalled the Polish Saint Faustina Kowalska and St. John Paul II whom, he said, were both apostles of Divine Mercy. 

Saint John Paul II, the Pope continued, in his Encyclical “Dives in misericordia”, says that especially through his life and action Jesus revealed how love is present in the world we live in: “love at work, a love that speaks to man and embraces the whole of humanity”. 

“This love is particularly noticeable when in contact with suffering, injustice, poverty and all those conditions that, in various ways, manifest man's physical and moral limitations and frailty” he said.

And the Pope recalled Saint Faustina saying that in her diary, she wrote that the Lord Jesus himself had urged her to trust in Jesus' endless mercy, and to live life mercifully toward others.

“May the words, and especially the examples of the lives of these two luminous witnesses, Pope Francis concluded, always inspire your generous commitment”.

The John Paul II Foundation was established by Saint John Paul II in October 1981 when he celebrated the third anniversary of his election as Pontiff. His aim was to support Catholic education in former Soviet Union countries by providing fellowships and bursaries to students from Eastern Europe.  


(from Vatican Radio)

Pope: urges Christians to reject envy and conflicts and work for unity

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said humility, gentleness and magnanimity are the three key attitudes to build unity within the Church and urged Christians to reject envy, jealousy and conflicts. He was speaking at his Mass celebrated on Friday in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.


Listen to this report by Susy Hodges that includes clips of the Pope's voice: 

Taking his inspiration from the greeting at Mass “peace be with you,” the Pope focused his homily on what is required to nurture peace and unity and avoid war and conflicts. He said our Lord’s greeting “creates a bond” of peace and unites us to create a unity of spirit and warned that if there’s no peace and if we aren’t able to greet each other in the widest sense of the word, there will never be unity. The Pope explained that this concept applies for unity in the world, unity in the town, in the district and in the family.

The evil spirit sows wars, Christians must avoid conflicts

“The evil spirit always sows wars. Jealousy, envy, conflicts, gossip…. are things that destroy peace and therefore there cannot be unity. And how should a Christian behave to promote unity, to find this unity?  Paul tells us clearly: ‘live in a manner worthy, with all humility, gentleness and magnanimity.’  These three attitudes: humility - we cannot sow peace without humility.  Where there is arrogance, there is always war and the desire to defeat the other and believing one is superior. Without humility there is no peace and without peace there is no unity.”

Rediscover gentleness and practice mutual support

Pope Francis lamented how nowadays we have lost the ability to speak gently and instead tend to shout at each other or speak badly about other people.  He urged Christians to rediscover gentleness, saying by so doing, we are able to put up with each other, give mutual support, “be patient and put up with the faults of others or the things we don’t like.”

Help build unity with the bond of peace

“First: humility, second: gentleness with this mutual support, and third: magnanimity: a big heart, a wide-open heart that can accommodate everybody and that does not condemn, that does not become smaller because of trifling things: ‘who said that,’ ‘I heard that,’ ‘who…’ no, a large heart, there is room for everybody. And this creates the bond of peace; this is the worthy manner in which to behave to create the bond of peace which is the creator of unity. The Holy Spirit is the creator of unity but this encourages and prepares the creation of unity.”

These three attitudes, said the Pope, are the right way to respond to that call to the mystery of the Church that is the mystery of the Body of Christ.

“The mystery of the Church is the mystery of the Body of Christ: ‘one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all’ and who works ‘through all and in all:’ this is the unity that Jesus asked the Father to grant us and we must help create this unity with the bond of peace.  And the bond of peace grows with humility, with gentleness and mutual support and with magnanimity.” 

(from Vatican Radio)