Thousands attended an open-air Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Latin and Albanian in Mother Teresa Square on Sunday. The liturgical readings reflected aspects of Albania's history. The first, from the Book of Exodus, told how “I bore you on eagle's wings”, whereas the epistle was St Paul's letter to the Romans in which the apostle tells how he preached in Illyria, which at that time included the current territory of Albania. However, in his homily the Holy Father commented on the passage from the Gospel of St Luke,
This morning (Sunday) Pope Francis began his visit to Tirana, Albania - his fourth apostolic trip and the second by a pontiff to the 'Land of the Eagles'. In his address, the Holy Father spoke about Albania's path to recovering civil liberties and religious freedom, warning of the exploitation of differences between religions and praising the peaceful co-existence and collaboration between those of different religious beliefs in Albania. “I am very happy to be here with you, in this noble land of Albania, a land of heroes
Pope Francis has named Bishop Blase J Cupich, head of the Diocese of Spokane, Washington State, to succeed Cardinal Francis E George as archbishop of Chicago. Bishop Cupich was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1949, to a Croatian immigrant family... During a press conference on Saturday morning in Chicago, reporters asked .. what message Francis may be trying to send by choosing him. Bishop Cupich answered: “His priority is not to send a message but a bishop, and that’s what he’s sending you, someone to serve the needs of people.. I think he sent a pastor, not a messenger.”
Fifteen people were killed and 34 injured were yesterday when suspected members of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram launched a gun and bomb attack on the Federal College of Education (FCE) in the capital of Kano State in northern Nigeria.According to reports armed men fired shots as they approached a hall at the FCE’s new site at Gadon Kaya on Zaria Road at around 2pm as a lecture was underway. One detonated a suicide device while the other launched improvised explosive devices (IED), before opening fire on students who were attempting to escape.
The leaders of Iraq’s Christians have called on the United Nations to urgently address the growing refugee crisis before a freezing winter forces displaced Christians to leave the country. “We Christians in Iraq have a future if the international community gives us immediate assistance. Don’t forget us,” Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako told a conference at the UN in Geneva. The patriarch told the delegates that “People are disappointed how little help has been received to date.” He was addressing a conference
Catholic Bishops in the Holy Land have expressed concern over the Israeli Ministry of the Interior announcement that Christian Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel can now change their registration in the Ministry from Arabs to 'Arameans '. The bishops write: 'What does this mean? 'Arameans were an ancient people that dwelt in the Middle East. Their language, Aramaic, was the lingua franca of the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian Empires. It was adopted by the Jews in the Babylonian Exile and has remained important for them until today, because a large part of the rabbinic tradition
Pope Francis will visit Albania this Sunday, 21 September 2014. IThis will be the second visit of a Pope to Albania, after Pope St John Paul II’s visit to the country in 1993. Pope Francis trip will begin with a welcoming ceremony at Tirana’s 'Mother Teresa' international airport, where he will be greeted by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. From the airport the Pope will travel to the Presidential Palace where he will pay a courtesy visit to the President, Bujar Nishani. Afterwards he will address representatives of the civil authorities.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has learned that the lawyers who represented Meriam Ibrahim, whose conviction for apostasy and adultery was overturned by the Appeal Court on 23 June, are currently defending the case at the Supreme Court and plan to take it to Sudan’s Constitutional Court for a final ruling on the constitutionality of apostasy in the criminal code. Earlier this week the lawyers, who have faced threats and pressure since taking on Mrs Ibrahim’s case, were also issued with travel bans by Sudan’s legal regulatory board,
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling on the Pakistani government to fulfill its pledge to compensate the victims of the attack on All Saints Church in Peshawar, ahead of the anniversary of the bombing that took place on 22 September 2013. CSW’s call for justice and compensation echoes the Pakistan Supreme Court ruling of 19 June 2014, which ordered the federal government to compensate the victims swiftly and emphasised the need for a “Special Police Force to be established
Pope Francis has appointed the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP as the new Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. He has been Bishop of Parramatta since 2010. Archbishop-elect Anthony Fisher will be the ninth Metropolitan Archbishop of Sydney. He succeeds Cardinal George Pell who was appointed to a new senior role in the Vatican earlier this year. "The Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Sydney is delighted to welcome Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP as the ninth Archbishop of Sydney," said Bishop Peter Comensoli,
..."The privileged place to encounter Jesus Christ is in our sins"... this may seem like "heresy” but St Paul also said as much when he said he would boast of only two things: his sins and the Risen Christ who saved him. "This is why the ability to acknowledge our own sins, to acknowledge our misery, to acknowledge what we are and what we are capable of doing or have done is the very door that opens us to the Lord’s caress, His forgiveness, to His Word 'Go in peace, your faith has saved you!',
Pope Francis met a delegation of 40 world Jewish leaders for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, yesterday. Among those attending the event at Casa Santa Marta, were World Jewish Congress President Ronald S Lauder, Latin American Jewish Congress President Jack Terpins, WJC Treasurer Chella Safra and a number of Jewish community heads and senior WJC officials. "We want to share with the Pope our message of peace and prosperity for the New Year,"
Around 240,000 children have returned to United Nations-run classrooms in Gaza where many of their schools have been damaged and destroyed. "After the traumatic 50 days of brutal conflict, death, destruction and massive displacement, we are determined to give the children a sense of renewed hope and better prospects by opening the schools so soon again" the Commissioner-General of UNRWA said in a statement. More than 90 schools in Gaza were used as shelters
Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to go out and spread the Gospel message, during today's general audience in St Peter's Square, attended by more than 50,000 pilgrims. The Holy Father explained that when we profess the Creed, we state that we believe in a Catholic and apostolic Church. He said: “Catholic means universal and a clear sign of this Catholicity is that she speaks all languages. This is none other than the effect of the Pentecost. Indeed, it was the Holy Spirit that enabled the Apostles and the entire Church
The international meeting 'The Pastoral Project of 'Evangelii gaudium', organised by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, will be held in the Vatican from 18 to 20 September and will be attended by more than 2,000 pastoral workers from seventy countries worldwide. Bishops, priests, catechists, consecrated persons, pastoral workers and members of associations and movements will explore in depth the content of the apostolic Exhortation that Pope Francis has indicated as the programme for his papacy.
Christian Aid has today welcomed the publication of a new report outlining in economic terms the global benefits of transitioning to a low carbon economy. The New Climate Economy report has been produced by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate which includes former Mexican President Filipe Calderon, British economist Nick Stern and Bank of America Chairman Chad Holliday, among others. The report, Better Growth, Better Climate, states that between now and 2030,
Two more detainees from Nanle County Christian Church, Henan Province, detained in November 2013 after a group of church members attempted to petition a higher authority about a land dispute involving the church, have been found guilty of “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order”. On 9 September Zhang Cuijuan was sentenced to one and a half years in prison, while Zhao Junling was sentenced to one year in prison with a reprieve of two years, during which he will be under surveillance.
A bishop in India has described the areas engulfed by catastrophic floods last week, as 'Ground Zero'. Bishop Peter Celestine, bishop of Jammu-Srinagar said: "The State of Jammu and Kashmir has experienced the worst-ever floods in living history and our area is like Ground Zero. Bishop Celestine said that as a result of the floods the lives and livelihood of the people of the state, particularly in the Kashmir region have been completely upturned. He said: "The Catholic Church needs to respond to this grim situation, We need to provide urgently,
Pope Francis reflected on the role of pastors, during his homily at Mass this morning, the feast of the martyr saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, bishop. Beautiful homilies are useless if you are not close to the people, if you do not suffer with the people and do not give hope, they are vanity, he told the congregation in Casa Santa Marta. The Gospel of the day speaks of Jesus approaching a funeral procession: a widow of Nain lost her only son. The Pope said that not only does the Lord perform the miracle of bringing her son back to life, he does something more,
A Nigerian bishop said this week that at least 2,500 Catholics from his diocese have been killed by Boko Haram. Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, from the diocese of Maiduguri in north eastern Nigeria, has taken refuge together with thousands of Catholics, in the parish of Saint Teresa in Yola in Adamawa state. He said the majority of the displaced faithful now sheltering in the parish, narrowly escaped death as Boko Haram rampaged through their villages. When people fled, families were separated, and many desperate parents are still searching for their children.
Some history textbooks, still used in Turkish schools today, when outlining the end of the Ottoman Empire, describe Armenians and other Christian communities, as enemy forces at the service of foreign powers - the Armenian magazine Agos has learnt. Journalists from the magazine, examined text books listed on the website of the Ministry of Education, for use in primary and secondary schools in Turkey for the new school year, which just started.
Five hundred representatives from around the world, present at the Focolare Movement’s General Assembly in Rome, elected Maria Voce on 12 September for a second consecutive term as its President. Maria Voce, is an Italian lawyer. She also studied Theology and Canon Law. A significant part of her Focolare life was spent in Istanbul where she established warm ecumenical and interreligious relations, including with the present Patriarch Bartholomew I. Maria Voce was the first president to succeed the founder, Chiara Lubich, who died in March 2008.
The was gentle harp music at Peter's Basilica in Rome on Sunday morning, as Pope Francis presided over the marriage of 20 couples from the diocese of Rome. The brides and grooms included people of different ages. Some had been living together. One man's previous marriage had been annulled. One of the women had a child from a previous relationship. This was the first marriage Pope Francis has conducted in his 18-month papacy. The last wedding to be presided over by a Pope took place under Saint John Paul II in 2000.
On Saturday morning, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Italian Military Memorial of Redipuglia which is set in an area which was the scene of heavy fighting between Italian and the Austro-Hungarian forces during WWI. The Mass, which marked the centenary of the beginning of the war, was offered for the victims of all wars. Standing at an altar under the massive monument, where around 100,000 Italian soldiers are buried, the Pope said: "even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal,
At the entrance of 'Azza refugee camp in front of our house is a large 'Boycott Israel' painting. I can see it through the window while typing. After the horrible bloodshed in Gaza, Mary, the kids and I decided not to buy anymore any Israeli products in the nearby supermarket. That's not so easy because the shops here are full of Israeli products, as a result of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s (the so-called Paris Protocols, associated with the Oslo agreements), which in practice gives Israeli products preferential treatment.