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Pope Francis encourages Marian shrines around the world to pray for Synod on Synodality
Posted on 05/28/2023 15:15 PM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, May 28, 2023 / 07:15 am (CNA).
From the Philippines to Portugal, Marian shrines around the world will participate in a special day of prayer this Wednesday for the work of the Synod on Synodality.
In his Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis announced that the day of prayer for the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place on May 31, the last day of the month dedicated to Mary.
“Let us ask the Virgin Mary to accompany this important stage of the synod with her maternal protection,” the pope said.
The shrines of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Poland, the Knock Shrine in Ireland, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels in Costa Rica, Our Lady of Fourvière in France, and many other Marian shrines have confirmed their participation.
In the Philippines, 26 Marian shrines and minor basilicas will simultaneously hold prayers for the synod.
Nicaragua has announced that all parishes will take part in a full day of prayer for the synod. All dioceses in India, Malaysia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will participate in the day of prayer.
Pope Francis also spoke about the upcoming Synod of Bishops at Pentecost Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica earlier in the day. He said: “Let us place the Holy Spirit at the beginning and at the heart of the work of the synod.”
“We walk together, because the Spirit, as at Pentecost, loves to descend while ‘everyone is together,’” he added. “The people of God, to be filled with the Spirit, must therefore walk together, hold a synod.”
After the Mass for the solemnity of Pentecost, Pope Francis appeared in the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace to deliver the Regina Caeli address to the crowd gathered in a sunny St. Peter’s Square.
The pope prayed for people in Myanmar and Bangladesh affected by Cyclone Mocha. He also marked the 150th anniversary of the death of Italian novelist Alessandro Manzoni, the author of one of the pope’s favorite books, “The Betrothed.”
Pope Francis reflected on how the Holy Spirit has the power to free people from “the prisons of fear.”
He said that only once the apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit, they dared to leave the upper room and go into the world to forgive sins and announce the good news of the Gospel.
“Thanks to [the Holy Spirit], fears are overcome and doors open. Because this is what the Spirit does: he makes us feel God’s closeness and so his love drives away fear, illuminates the path, consoles, supports in adversity,” the pope said.
“In the face of fears and closures, then, let us invoke the Holy Spirit for us, for the Church, and for the whole world: Because a new Pentecost can drive away the fears that assail us and rekindle the fire of God’s love.”
“Holy Mary, who was the first to be filled with the Holy Spirit, intercede for us,” Pope Francis said.
On Pentecost, Pope Francis says Holy Spirit can bring harmony to ‘a polarized Church’
Posted on 05/28/2023 13:15 PM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, May 28, 2023 / 05:15 am (CNA).
On the solemnity of Pentecost, Pope Francis urged Catholics to invoke the Holy Spirit daily to bring harmony to a divided world, a polarized Church, and to broken hearts.
Speaking in St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope explained that the role of the Holy Spirit, both at the beginning of the creation of the world and at all times, is to make “created realities pass from disorder to order” and “from confusion to harmony.”
“In our world today, there is so much discord, such great division. We are all ‘connected,’ yet find ourselves disconnected from one another, anesthetized by indifference and overwhelmed by solitude,” Pope Francis said in his homily on May 28.
“If the world is divided, if the Church is polarized, if hearts are broken, let us not waste time in criticizing others and growing angry with one another; instead, let us invoke the Holy Spirit. He is capable of resolving these things,” he said.
The pope added that without the Holy Spirit, “the Church is lifeless, faith is mere doctrine, morality mere duty, pastoral work mere toil. … With him, on the other hand, faith is life, the love of the Lord conquers us, and hope is reborn.”
“Let us put the Holy Spirit back at the center of the Church; otherwise, our hearts will not be consumed by love for Jesus but by love for ourselves,” he said.
Pope Francis added that he sees the Holy Spirit as not only as the “soul of the Church” but also as “the heart of synodality.”
He called for the Synod on Synodality, which will culminate in October with the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to “place the Holy Spirit at the beginning and at the heart of the work of the synod.”
“The synod now taking place is — and should be — a journey in accordance with the Spirit, not a parliament for demanding rights and claiming needs in accordance with the agenda of the world, nor an occasion for following wherever the wind is blowing, but the opportunity to be docile to the breath of the Holy Spirit,” he pope said.
Pope Francis, who canceled all of his audiences on Friday due to a fever, presided over the Mass but was not the main celebrant. The pope sat at the front of the congregation in a white chair to the right of the altar.
Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, the Brazilian prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, served as the main celebrant for the Pentecost Mass.
In his homily, Pope Francis underlined that the Holy Spirit also forgives sins, reconciles souls, and creates harmony in hearts that are “wounded by evil, broken by hurts, torn apart by feelings of guilt.”
“Only the Holy Spirit restores harmony in the heart, for he is the one who creates ‘intimacy with God,’” he said, citing St. Basil.
“Let’s invoke the Holy Spirit every day. Let’s start each day by praying to him. Let’s become docile to him,” Francis said.
During the Mass, the Palestrina Choir from Dublin led the congregation in the traditional “Veni Sancte Spiritus” sequence for the Mass for Pentecost.
Pope Francis urged Catholics to invoke the Holy Spirit daily upon the whole world to bring unity and peace.
The solemnity of Pentecost, which is celebrated 50 days after Easter, marks the descent of the Holy Spirit. Thousands were gathered inside St. Peter’s Basilica for the Mass.
At the end of his homily, Pope Francis prayed: “Holy Spirit, Spirit of Jesus and of the Father, inexhaustible wellspring of harmony, to you we entrust the world; to you we consecrate the Church and our hearts.”
“Come, Creator Spirit, harmony of humanity, renew the face of the earth. Come, giver of gifts, harmony of the Church, make us united in you. Come, Spirit of forgiveness, harmony of the heart, transform us as only you can, through the intercession of Mary.”
Everything you need to know about Pentecost
Posted on 05/28/2023 10:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Denver, Colo., May 28, 2023 / 02:00 am (CNA).
This weekend, the Church celebrates Pentecost, one of the most important feast days of the year that concludes the Easter season and celebrates the beginning of the Church.
Here’s what you need to know about the feast day.
The timing and origins of Pentecost
Pentecost always occurs 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus and 10 days after his ascension into heaven. Because Easter is a moveable feast without a fixed date, and Pentecost depends on the timing of Easter, Pentecost can fall anywhere between May 10 and June 13.
The timing of these feasts is also where Catholics get the concept of the novena — nine days of prayer — because in Acts 1, Mary and the Apostles prayed together “continuously” for nine days after the Ascension leading up to Pentecost. Traditionally, the Church prays the novena to the Holy Spirit in the days before Pentecost.
The name of the day itself is derived from the Greek word “pentecoste,” meaning 50th.
There is a parallel Jewish holiday, Shavu’ot, which falls 50 days after Passover. Shavu’ot is sometimes called the festival of weeks, referring to the seven weeks since Passover.
Originally a harvest feast, Shavu’ot now commemorates the sealing of the Old Covenant on Mount Sinai, when the Lord revealed the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai. Every year, the Jewish people renew their acceptance of the gift of the Torah on this feast.
What happens at Pentecost?
In the Christian tradition, Pentecost is the celebration of the person of the Holy Spirit coming upon the Apostles, Mary, and the first followers of Jesus, who were gathered together in the Upper Room.
A “strong, driving” wind filled the room where they were gathered, and tongues of fire came to rest on their heads, allowing them to speak in different languages so that they could understand each other. It was such a strange phenomenon that some people thought the Christians were just drunk — but Peter pointed out that it was only the morning, and said the phenomenon was caused by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit also gave the apostles the other gifts and fruits necessary to fulfill the great commission — to go out and preach the Gospel to all nations. It fulfills the New Testament promise from Christ (Luke 24:46-49) that the Apostles would be “clothed with power” before they would be sent out to spread the Gospel.
Where’s that in the bible?
The main event of Pentecost (the strong driving wind and tongues of fire) takes place in Acts 2:13, though the events immediately following (Peter’s homily, the baptism of thousands) continue through verse 41.
Happy Birthday, Church!
It was right after Pentecost that Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, preached his first homily to Jews and other non-believers, in which he opened the scriptures of the Old Testament, showing how the prophet Joel prophesied events and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
He also told the people that the Jesus they crucified is the Lord and was raised from the dead, which “cut them to the heart.” When they asked what they should do, Peter exhorted them to repent of their sins and to be baptized. According to the account in Acts, about 3,000 people were baptized following Peter’s sermon.
For this reason, Pentecost is considered the birthday of the Church — Peter, the first Pope, preaches for the first time and converts thousands of new believers. The apostles and believers, for the first time, were united by a common language, and a common zeal and purpose to go and preach the Gospel.
Pentecost vestments and customs around the world
Typically, priests will wear red vestments on Pentecost, symbolic of the burning fire of God’s love and the tongues of fire that descended on the apostles.
However, in some parts of the world, Pentecost is also referred to as “WhitSunday”, or White Sunday, referring to the white vestments that are typically worn in Britain and Ireland. The white is symbolic of the dove of the Holy Spirit, and typical of the vestments that catechumens desiring baptism wear on that day.
An Italian Pentecost tradition is to scatter rose leaves from the ceiling of the churches to recall the miracle of the fiery tongues, and so in some places in Italy, Pentecost is sometimes called Pascha Rosatum (Easter roses).
In France, it is tradition to blow trumpets during Mass to recall the sound of the driving wind of the Holy Spirit.
In Asia, it is typical to have an extra service, called genuflexion, during which long poems and prayers are recited. In Russia, Mass-goers often carry flowers or green branches during Pentecost services.
This article was originally published on CNA June 2, 2017, and was updated May 26, 2023.
Pope on Pentecost: Synod is journey in the Spirit, not 'a parliament'
Posted on 05/28/2023 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Catholic Church's current Synod of Bishops should not be a "parliament for demanding rights," but a "journey in accordance with the Spirit," Pope Francis said.
The synod, which seeks to gather input from all baptized Catholics on building a listening church, is not "an occasion for following wherever the wind is blowing, but the opportunity to submit to the breath of the Spirit," he said.
In his homily for Pentecost Mass in St. Peter's Basilica May 28, the pope said that the Holy Spirit is "the heart of synodality and the driving force of evangelization."
"Without him, the church is lifeless, faith is mere doctrine, morality only a duty" and "pastoral work mere toil," he said. "We often hear so many so-called thinkers and theologians who give us cold doctrines that seem mathematical because they lack the Spirit."
Pope Francis, seated to the side of the basilica's main altar, spoke without difficulty just two days after he had cleared his day's schedule due to a fever.
Brazilian Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, was the main celebrant at the altar alongside Cardinals Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals, and Leonardo Sandri, vice dean.
Reflecting on St. John's account of Jesus breathing on the apostles to impart the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis urged Christians to seek harmony in the church without doing away with the differences that enrich its character.
"The Spirit does not inaugurate the church by providing the community with rules and regulations, but by descending upon each of the apostles, every one of them receives particular graces and charisms," he explained. The Spirit "does not eliminate differences of cultures but harmonizes everything without reducing them to bland uniformity."
Embracing difference, the pope said, is key to resisting the temptation to look back in time with nostalgia or become "caught up in our plans and projects."
At Pentecost, however, "the life of the church began not from a precise and detailed plan, but from the shared experience of God's love," he said.
Pope Francis asked Christians to invoke the Holy Spirit daily to create harmony where there is division in the church and beyond.
"Let us think of the wars, so many conflicts, it seems incredible the evil of which we are capable. Yet fueling our hostilities is the spirit of division, the devil, whose very name means 'divider,'" he said.
Conversely, the Holy Spirit "opposes the spirit of division because he is harmony, the Spirit of unity, the bringer of peace."
"If the world is divided, if the church is polarized, if hearts are broken, let us not waste time in criticizing others and growing angry with one another," Pope Francis said, "instead, let us invoke the Holy Spirit."
The pope encouraged Christians to reflect on their relationship with the Holy Spirit and asked them to develop a faith that is "docile in the Spirit," and not "stubbornly attached" to "so-called doctrines that are only cold expressions of life."
"If we want harmony let us seek (the Spirit), not worldly substitutes," he said.
At the end of Mass, Pope Francis he smiled and waved to onlookers as he was taken down the basilica's central nave while seated in a wheelchair.
Reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer with an estimated 15,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square after the Mass, Pope Francis again spoke of the synod, asking people to join special prayers planned for May 31, the end of the month traditionally dedicated to Mary.
"At the conclusion of the month of May," he said, "Marian shrines around the world are planning moments of prayer to support preparations for the upcoming ordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops," which is scheduled to meet in October at the Vatican. "We ask the Virgin Mary to accompany this important stage of the synod with her maternal protection."
"And to her we also entrust the desire for peace of so many peoples throughout the world, especially of the tormented Ukraine," he said.
Pope appeals for solidarity for communities affected by Cyclone Mocha
Posted on 05/28/2023 04:27 AM ()
Pope Francis launches an appeal to authorities to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to peoples struck by a powerful cyclone in the Bay of Bengal that has wreaked death and destruction in areas between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Pope at Regina Coeli: The Spirit frees us from fears and opens doors
Posted on 05/28/2023 04:05 AM ()
On the Solemnity of Pentecost Pope Francis invites Christians to cast out fears and revive the flame of God’s love.
Pope on Pentecost: Let us invoke the Spirit daily upon our whole world
Posted on 05/28/2023 02:56 AM ()
In his homily for the Solemnity of Pentecost, Pope Francis calls on us to invoke daily the Spirit who gives "harmony to the world" and "directs the course of time and renews the face of the earth."
Vatican Museums: Full joy, a gift of the Spirit
Posted on 05/28/2023 00:00 AM ()
"To proclaim Christ means demonstrating that believing in Him and following Him is not only something right and just, but also beautiful. The Heart of the Gospel is the beauty of God’s salvific love manifested in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.” Inspired by these words of Pope Francis, the collaboration between the Vatican Museums and Vatican News continues as we present various masterpieces from the Pontifical collection accompanied by the words of the Popes.
Solemnity of Pentecost - Sunday, May 28th
Posted on 05/27/2023 17:00 PM (St. Anthony Church)
Pope Francis resumes normal schedule one day after fever
Posted on 05/27/2023 15:09 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, May 27, 2023 / 07:09 am (CNA).
Pope Francis resumed his normal schedule of appointments on Saturday morning after suffering from a fever the day prior, a Vatican communications official said.
Andrea Tornielli, the editorial director of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, wrote on Twitter on the morning of May 27 that Pope Francis had “resumed his regular audiences.”
Questa mattina #PapaFrancesco ha ripreso regolarmente le udienze— Andrea Tornielli (@Tornielli) May 27, 2023
A Vatican spokesman confirmed to CNA on Friday that the pope had canceled meetings in the morning May 26 due to a fever.
Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, said that “due to a feverish condition, Pope Francis did not receive [anyone] in audience this morning.”
According to the Vatican’s daily news bulletin, Pope Francis had his regular Saturday morning meeting with the prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, Archbishop Robert Prevost.
He also met with delegations from the Orthodox Church of Athens and Loyola University of Seville, and with Father Wagner Ferreira da Silva, president of the Brazilian Catholic community Canção Nova.
The pope also had an audience with participants in a conference organized by the Jesuit magazine “La Civiltà Cattolica” and Georgetown University on “The Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination.”
Film director Martin Scorsese and his wife Helen Morris attended the conference and took part in the papal audience.
On Friday afternoon, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, spoke briefly with journalists about the pope’s condition.
“The pope was tired. He had a very, very busy day yesterday,” Parolin said, according to the French-language media outlet La Presse. “They were telling me last night that he met with a lot of people, and in the context of this meeting with Scholas Occurrentes, he wanted to greet them all, and probably at some point the stamina fails.”
Pope Francis is scheduled to say Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the solemnity of Pentecost on May 28, followed by the recitation of the Regina Caeli antiphon.
The 86-year-old pope was hospitalized for four days at the end of March for a lung infection.