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Pope Francis in Mexico – Day 4

This morning Pope Francis departed the Apostolic Nunciature, went to the Benito Juárez Airport in Mexico City, and departed by plane to the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez (wikipedia page), which is a city within the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas. Pope Francis landed at the Ángel Alino Corzo airport shortly after 9:00 a.m. and was welcomed on arrival by the city’s Archbishop Fabio Martínez Castilla and local dignitaries (summary video). From there, he took off by helicopter to the municipal sports center in the city of San Cristobal de Las Casas (or St. Christopher of the Houses) where, at approximately 10:15 a.m. he presided at Mass with various indigenous communities of Chiapas and delivered a homily (full text, full video, summary video, pic 1, pic 2). The readings of the Mass were spoken in indigenous languages as Pope Francis had given a decree authorizing it, as well as other texts. At conclusion of the Mass, a representative of the indigenous communities addressed Pope Francis with words of thanks.

Afterwards, Pope Francis traveled to San Cristobal de Las Casas’ Diocesan Curia center for where he had lunch with eight natives representing the different members of the community (summary video).

At approximately 3 p.m. he visited the Cathedral of San Cristobal de Las Casas. While there, he offered a bouquet of flowers to the image of the Madonna, prayed at the tomb of Bishop Samuel Ruiz of San Cristóbal, and met with a gathering of elderly and sick people (full video, summary video).

After, Pope Francis boarded a popemobile and traveled to a local helipad from where he departed for the Victor Manuel Reyna stadium in Tuxtla Gutierrez. He toured around in a popemobile among the faithful outside and inside the stadium (pic 1, pic 2), and was later welcomed by the governor of Chiapas who presented him with the keys to the city. At approximately 4:15 p.m. began a gathering on the topic of families. Archbishop Fabio Martínez Castillo gave a welcoming address, a number of people gave their insights on the topic, and then Pope Francis spoke regarding the topic of families (full text, alt trnsln, full video, summary video). Also during the meeting, a disabled child in a wheelchair was lifted up from the crowds and Pope Francis went out to greet and bless the child (summary video). He also led all of those present who were married to renew their marriage vows with him officiating.

After the meeting concluded, he departed for the airport by popemobile. Along the way, after about 10 km he also stopped to unveil a plaque commemorating the visit. He then departed by plane to return to Mexico City and then back to the Apostolic Nunciature for the night. As usual at the nunciature, large crowds were gathered and Pope Francis addressed them, encouraged them to pray, and led them in praying a Hail Mary.

Additionally, in a press briefing today, Father Federico Lombardi revealed that Pope Francis is planning to visit his homeland of Argentina, but no dates have been set.

Also today, Pope Francis sent three tweets:

In the heart of every person is a desire to live in freedom, in a place where change is possible in fellowship and solidarity. (link)

Among the poor being treated worst is our planet. We cannot pretend all is fine in the face of the great environmental crisis. (link)

I prefer a family with a tired face from sacrifices made rather than a pretty one which is unfamiliar with tenderness and compassion. (link)

Additionally today, it was announced that Pope Francis personally announced on a website of the Roman Catholic diocese of Padua that the diocese would now be using the Whatsapp app to deliver content to many of its faithful.

In Pope Francis related news:

Acting on assignment of Pope Francis, some on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors have expressed frustration at some Vatican officials resisting the group’s recommendations.

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!


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Pope Francis in Mexico – Day 3

This morning Pope Francis greeted contributors and benefactors of the Apostolic Nunciature in Mexico City. Following that, he boarded the popemobile and traveled to the a nearby military camp where he took off by helicopter for the city of Ecatepec (wikipedia page), which is a city within the Mexico City metropolis area.

Upon his arrival at Ecatepec he was welcomed by the Bishop Oscar Roberto Domínguez Couttolenc, as well as by some local authorities, including the President of the Municipality, who presented him with the keys to the city. He then boarded a popemobile and traveled to Ecatepec’s Centre for Advanced Studies where at approximately 11:30 a.m. he celebrated Mass with hundreds of thousands of faithfuls and gave a homily (more details, full text, full video, summary video). Bishop, Mons. Oscar Roberto Domínguez Couttolenc then expressed some thanksgiving for the occasion, after which Pope Francis gave an Angelus Address (full text) and then led them reciting the Angelus prayer.

Following that, Pope Francis then traveled to the Diocesan Seminary of Ecatepec. While there, he signed the guestbook with a message (full text, full image).

Afterwards, Pope Francis boarded a helicopter from Ecatepec back to Mexico City where at approximately 5 p.m. he visited the Federico Gómez Children’s Hospital (pic 1, pic 2, pic 3). At the hospital, he was welcomed by First Lady Angelica Rivera, other officials, staff, and met with child patients and their parents. While there, he helped administer medicine to a young child (summary video), one patient sang Ave Maria to him (summary video), he gave an address (full text, alt trnsln, full video, summary video, pic), and visited the Hematology-Oncology department and various child patients there. He then returned by popemobile to the Apostolic Nunciature.

After arriving at the nunciature, he addressed the crowds outside (pic 1, pic 2), and met with a small gathering of Mexican Jesuits who had come to visit him (pic 1, pic 2, pic 3, pic 4).

Also today, Pope Francis made some appointments and sent four tweets:

Simply looking at you, O Mother, to have eyes only for you, looking upon you without saying anything... (link – Pope Francis’ second tweet with a picture)

Lent is a time for reconsidering our feelings, for letting our eyes be opened to injustice, to open our hearts to those suffering. (link)

May the Lord help us overcome the temptations of wealth, vanity and pride which seek to destroy the truth of the Gospel. (link)

Jesus is waiting for us and wants to heal our hearts of all that tears us down. He is the God who has a name: Mercy. (link)

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!


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Pope Francis in Mexico – Day 2

This morning Pope Francis departed the Apostolic Nunciature and traveled to the National Palace of Mexico City where upon arrival at approximately 9:30 a.m., Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto and the First Lady held a welcome ceremony. Following that, he met privately with the president and afterwards exchanged gifts, including Pope Francis giving President Nieto the gift of a mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe produced by the Vatican Mosaic Studio. He then met with a gathering of Mexican diplomats and addressed them (full text, full video, summary video, img 1, img 2). Afterward he walked around some of the palace with the president and then departed by popemobile to the nearby Cathedral of the Assumption for a meeting with local bishops.

Pope Francis arrived at the Cathedral of the Assumption at approximately 11 a.m. where he received the keys to the city from the head of the Federal District Government, he entered the Cathedral, prayed for a while (summary video), and then met a gathering of Mexican bishops and addressed them (more details, full text, full video, summary video). At the conclusion, he led them in reciting the Angelus prayer. Following that, he greeted the individual archbishops, signed the Book of Honour, and took a photo with the bishops. In the Greater Sacristy, he greeted members of the Travel organizing committee, as well as representatives of other Christian denominations. Lastly, he met the family of the head of the Federal District Government, and then departed by popemobile to the Apostolic Nunciature. And here’s a nice picture of a line of popemobiles/cars at the cathedral.

After lunch at the nunciature, Pope Francis traveled by popemobile to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe where he celebrated Mass and gave a homily (more details in Italian, full text, full video, summary video, img). After Mass, Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera spoke, and then Pope Francis placed a crown on the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. He then also visited the “Camarín” which houses the original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe and dwelt a while there in silent prayer (more details, summary video, img 1, img 2). After all of that, he returned by popemobile to the nunciature.

Upon arrival at the nunciature, crowds once again were gathered outside and he addressed them, encouraged them to pray to God through Our Lady, and led them in reciting a Hail Mary.

Today Pope Francis also made an array of appointments and sent several tweets:

Mexico has a young face. This makes it possible to contemplate and plan for a future, for a tomorrow. This offers hope. (link)

Mary is the woman who says yes, a yes of surrender to God, a yes of surrender to her brothers and sisters. May we follow her example. (link)

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!


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Pope Francis in Cuba & Mexico – Day 1

This morning Pope Francis departed Rome (summary video) on an apostolic journey to Mexico with a brief stop in Cuba to visit Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox church. As he departed he sent telegram to the president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella and while in the air, he sent telegrams to heads of state of the nations he few over (full text). Also on the flight, Pope Francis addressed reporters aboard (full text). Also in the in-flight comments, in celebration of Dr. Gasbarri retirement (the papal journey organizer) and thus this being his final official journey with Pope Francis, he thanked him for all his work over the years and invited the reporters to celebrate with a little party for him onboard. Also while on the flight, Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki gave Pope Francis the gift of a Mexican sombrero (summary video), journalist Noel Diaz, shined his shoes (summary video 1, summary video 2), and he received other gifts from various reporters. Also while on the flight, Pope Francis sent special greetings and blessing to EWTN’s foundress Mother Angelica (more details).

Upon arriving at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba, he was welcomed at the airport by President of Cuba (summary video), Raul Castro and then proceeded to the airport’s Presidential Lounge where for about three hours he met with Patriarch Kirill (more details, summary video). Also while together, they exchanged gifts and signed a joint declaration (full text, full video pt1, full video pt2, summary video). Also, here’s a nice analysis by a spokesman from the Russian Orthodox church, and some after-comments by Kirill on the meeting. The meeting is quite historically significant in that it is the first meeting between the heads of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches since the Great Schism of 1054 (summary video).

Some super good parts of the declaration include:

We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you... so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn17:21). ...It is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples.

We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions.

We call upon Christians... to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel....

We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm15:5). .... We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another's foundation” (Rm15:20).

Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.

Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn17:21).

At the conclusion of the signing, Pope Francis gave some further remarks (full text) as well as Patriarch Kirill (full text in Spanish), including:

I don’t want to go without giving a heartfelt thank you to Cuba, to the great Cuban people, and to their president here present, Raul Castro. I thank you for your active availability. If it continues like this, Cuba will be the capital of unity.

After the meeting in Cuba, Pope Francis continued his journey by returning to his plane and taking off for Mexico. After take-off, Pope Francis sent a telegram to Cuban President Raul Castro, thanking him for hosting the encounter between himself and Patriarch Kirill (full text). Also while on the plane, Pope Francis spoke again with journalists regarding the encounter (full text in Italian, summary video). He then arrived in Mexico City’s Benito Juárez International Airport just before 7:30 p.m. local hour and was greeted with a ceremony at the airport by the president and the first lady of Mexico (full video, summary video 1, summary video 2), and then retired for the night to the local Apostolic Nunciature. Upon arrival at the nunciature, crowds had gathered outside and Pope Francis briefly addressed them; he told them that he “needed to rest” after a very long day, but he encouraged them to look to the Virgin Mary and he prayed a Hail Mary with the crowd before returning inside.

As well, here is a good follow-up interview with Fr. Lombardi regarding the day’s events. Additionally, he revealed that Pope Francis has of late been calling a youth prison in Buenos Aires about every two weeks.

Also it was reported today that Pope Francis sent condolences to victims of a prison riot in Mexico. And today, Pope Francis made several appointments and sent several tweets:

In Mexico I will look into the eyes of the Virgin Mary and implore her to look upon us always with mercy. I entrust my journey to her. (link)

Today is a day of grace. The meeting with Patriarch Kirill is a gift from God. Pray for us. (link)

Dear Mexican friends, you are in my heart. Let us put our trust in the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe who always looks on us with tenderness. (link)

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!


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Common Home, Our Responsibility

As is Pope Francis’ custom before embarking on a big journey abroad, he visited the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome where he prayed before an icon there. Following this he traveled to the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran where he heard the confessions of several priests and shared copies of his new book The Name of God is Mercy.

As part of a Lenten fraternity campaign promoted by the Bishops of Brazil, today Pope Francis sent a Lenten message to Brazilian faithful (full text).

And he made an appointment.

In Pope Francis related news:

There’s a nice summary article of the planned journey of Pope Francis to Mexico largely quoting a press conference with Father Federico Lombardi.

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!


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This Pope Doesn’t Invent It

Organized by the Prelature of the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, this morning, Pope Francis inaugurated the “KeepLent” initiative by sending a voice message broadcast through the “Telegram” instant messaging app (full text).

Later, he held a General Audience at St. Peter’s Square and spoke regarding adopting God’s plans for the planet Earth through the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy – and in general (full text, full video, summary video 1, summary video 2). During the address, he also invited people to pray for his upcoming meeting this Friday with Patriarch Kirill. Also, here are a few good quotes from his address:

I’ll tell you something: if this desire, if the jubilee doesn’t reach pockets, it isn’t a jubilee. Have you understood? And this is in the Bible! This Pope doesn’t invent it: it’s in the Bible. The aim – as I said – was a society based on equality and solidarity, where liberty, land and money were to be a good for all, not for some.

There was also the law concerning the “first fruits.” What is this? The first part of the harvest, the most precious part, was to be shared with the Levites and with strangers (Cf. Deuteronomy 18:4-5; 26:1-11), who didn’t have fields, so that for them also land would be the source of nutrition and life. “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me,” says the Lord (Leviticus 25:234). We are all guests of the Lord, in expectation of our heavenly homeland (Cf. Hebrews 11:13-16; 1 Peter 2:11), called to render the world, which receives us, habitable and human.

Contribute to bring about a land without poor means to build a society without discriminations, based on solidarity that leads to sharing what one has, in a distribution of resources founded on brotherhood and justice.

I love Pope Francis! He understands clearly God’s plans for the planet Earth and leads people to follow those plans. Additionally during the General Audience, Pope Francis met with Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi (summary video).

Also today, with cardinals, bishops and over 700 Jubilee missionaries, Pope Francis concelebrated an Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica and he gave a homily on returning to God with all your heart (full text, full video, summary video).

Additionally, he received in audience Prime Minister of Iraq, His Excellency Haydar al-Abadi (more details, press release, summary video).

Today Pope Francis also made some and some other appointments.

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!


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Forgiveness Is A Seed

Early this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis celebrated Mass jointly with the Friars Minor Capuchin and the Council of Cardinals and gave a homily on being a good forgiver in the confessional (full text, full video, summary video).

Later, Pope Francis continued his meetings with the Council of Cardinals, and concluded this week’s meetings with them today.

In the afternoon, Pope Francis received in audience the Jubilee missionaries of mercy (full text, full video, summary video).

And today, Pope Francis made some appointments.

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!


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The Depths Of The Father’s Mercy

Today and tomorrow, Pope Francis has resumed meeting with the Council of Cardinals.

Additionally, Pope Francis made a surprise visit today to St. Peter’s Basilica to venerate the remains of Padre Pio and Leopold Mandic (summary video).

As well, today was released an interview of Pope Francis by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

And he made one appointment and sent a tweet:

Entering through the Holy Door means discovering the depths of the Father’s mercy, who seeks each of us personally. (link)

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!


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Acceptance And Mercy To Everyone

Today overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis gave an Angelus Address on the meaning of being fishers of men (full text, full video). Also as part of the address, he expressed his support and prayers for Syria’s recovery and for his meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (summary video).

Additionally today, Pope Francis released a video message to the people of Mexico in anticipation of his arrival in a few days (full text, full video).

Also today, Pope Francis sent message of condolences to victims of an earthquake which struck Taiwan (full text).

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!


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Prayer Groups to be Power Stations of Mercy

Today Pope Francis received several audiences including:

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
members of Padre Pio prayer groups (full text, alt trnsln, full video). In speaking to the prayer groups, I really liked several quotes:

Prayer, in fact, is a true and proper mission, that brings the fire of love to the whole of humanity. Padre Pio said that prayer is a “force that moves the world.” Prayer is a force that moves the world! But do we believe this? It is so. Try it!

Prayer, therefore, as Padre Pio loved to say, is “the best weapon we have, a key that opens God’s heart.” A key that opens God’s heart: it is an easy key. God’s heart is not armoured with many means of security. With prayer, you can open it with an ordinary key, because He has a heart of love, the heart of a Father.

I encourage the prayer groups to be “power stations of mercy”: power stations that are always open and active, that with the humble power of prayer provide the light of God to the world and the energy of the love of the Church.

Also today, Pope Francis made a bunch of appointments.

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!


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