Tag Archives: Easter 2013

At Easter Pope of Hearts calls Christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace

At Easter Pope of Hearts calls Christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — With Jesus’ resurrection “love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious,” Pope Francis said in his first Easter message “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world).

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace www.popeofhearts.com

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace http://www.popeofhearts.com

“Let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish,” the pope said after celebrating Easter morning Mass March 31.

Pope Francis offered special prayers for peace in Syria and the rest of the Middle East, for an end to violence in Africa — especially in Mali, Nigeria, Congo and the Central African Republic — and in Asia, particularly on the Korean peninsula.

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace www.Pope-of-Hearts.com

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace http://www.Pope-of-Hearts.com

He prayed for “peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this 21st century.”

Pope Francis said he would like to bring the good news of Christ’s resurrection to each person on earth, “to every house and every family, especially where suffering is greatest: in hospitals, in prisons.”

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace www.PopeofHearts.net

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace http://www.PopeofHearts.net

Easter, he said, “means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself; it means that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom.”

Easter dawned with blue skies and sunshine in Rome, but as the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, dark clouds began gathering overhead. Still, some 250,000 people gathered for the Mass, and thousands more arrived for the pope’s “urbi et orbi” blessing.

The steps leading to St. Peter’s Basilica and to the altar were decorated with thousands of flowers, trees and bushes. The Dutch flower growers’ association provided 20,000 tulips, 10,000 daffodils and 3,000 white roses in addition to small birch, maple and mulberry trees.

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace www.PopeofHearts.org

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace http://www.PopeofHearts.org

Like his predecessors, Pope Francis did not give a homily during the morning Mass, but spoke during his “urbi et orbi” address about the significance of the Resurrection for individuals and for the world.

But unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis did not read quick Easter greetings in dozens of languages, although the brief phrases had been prepared for him.

Rather, in his message, he told people, “Jesus is risen, there is hope for you; you are no longer in the power of sin, evil.”

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace www.Jorge-Bergoglio.com

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace http://www.Jorge-Bergoglio.com

Easter, the pope said, “is the exodus, the passage of human beings from slavery to sin and evil to the freedom of love and goodness.”

However, he said, that passage must be renewed in every age and in every human heart.

“How many deserts, even today, do humans beings need to cross — above all, the desert within, when we have no love for God or neighbor, when we fail to realize that we are guardians of all that the Creator has given us and continues to give us,” Pope Francis said.

“God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones,” he said.

Pope Francis urged people to join him in praying to be transformed by the power of God’s love and mercy and to help “change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace.”

The morning Mass began less than 12 hours after Pope Francis had finished presiding over the nighttime Easter Vigil, lighting the Easter candle and processing into a St. Peter’s Basilica lit mainly by the flashes of the cameras that people had been asked not to use.

During the Mass, he welcomed into the Catholic Church four men between the ages of 17 and 30. The men from Albania, Italy, Russia and the United States were baptized, confirmed and received their first Communion at the Mass. The 17-year-old from the United States was identified as Anthony Dinh Tran.

In his homily for the vigil, Pope Francis spoke about how the women had gone to Jesus’ tomb with sorrow and love to anoint his body.

But, he said, “something completely new and unexpected happens.”

They find the tomb empty, and they are confused and afraid, the pope said.

“Doesn’t the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we don’t understand, we don’t know what to do,” he said. “Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us.”

Like the women at the tomb, he said, often “we are afraid of God’s surprises,” yet, “he always surprises us.”

“Dear brothers and sisters,” he said, “let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives. Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up.”

The risen Jesus is risen for all time, he said, meaning that his is forever victorious “over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human.”

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace www.Jorge-Mario-Bergoglio.com

at easter 2013 pope of hearts calls christians to be channels of mercy, justice, peace http://www.Jorge-Mario-Bergoglio.com

Pope Francis said he knows there are many times in life when it is difficult to believe in the power of God to bring forth new life. It’s easier, he said, to be like the women in the Gospel and “look for the living among the dead.”

The women in the Gospel are told to remember their life with Jesus and the things he had said and done. Only then do they conquer their fear and share the news of the Resurrection with the other disciples.

“To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have traveled; this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future,” he said. “May we learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives.”

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Source: The text of Pope Francis’ message “urbi et orbi” may be found at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/messages/urbi/documents/papa-francesco_20130331_urbi-et-orbi-pasqua_en.html.

First Easter 2013 with Pope Franciscus I our Pope of Hearts www.PopeofHearts.com

First Easter 2013 with Pope Franciscus I our Pope of Hearts http://www.PopeofHearts.com

Pope Franciscus the  Pope of Hearts marked his first Good Friday as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, asking the faithful to follow Jesus’ lead.

“Christians must respond to evil with good, taking the cross upon themselves as Jesus did,” Francis said at a nighttime ceremony marking the Stations of the Cross, also known as Way of the Cross or Via Crucis, at Rome’s Colosseum.

Pope Franciscus the  Pope of Hearts said the cross represents God’s response to evil in the world and that the answer to evil “is the cross of Christ — a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness.”

Good Friday, one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar, recalls the day Jesus died on the cross.

Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Franciscus the  Pope of Hearts , was elected pontiff just over two weeks ago, succeeding Benedict XVI. A former Argentine cardinal, he became the first non-European pope of the modern era, the first from Latin America, the first Jesuit and the first to assume the name Francis.

Since taking on the role, he has focused on a message of helping the poor and needy and demonstrated a simple, humble personal style. Francis already has repeatedly veered from tradition — from the white papal robes he wore on the Vatican balcony the night of his election, to his choosing to ask for the crowd to pray for him first before he offered a blessing of his own.

His selection came shortly before Holy Week, one of the most significant periods of the Roman Catholic year. These celebrations will culminate on Easter Sunday with the pope’s first “Urbi et Orbi” blessing, directed to the city of Rome and to the world.

Celebrant references Kafka story

These remarks at one of the Italian capital’s most famous landmarks came hours after the new pontiff, dressed in red vestments, began a service at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica by walking down its nave and laying on his stomach in prayer, according to Vatican Radio.

He then joined legions of Roman Catholics worldwide who reflected Friday on the gospel account of the Lord’s Passion, recalling the day Jesus died on the cross before rising three days later, according to Christian doctrine.

Per tradition, the Vatican sermon was given by the preacher to the papal household, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa.

“We have the opportunity to make, on this day, the most important decision of our lives, one that opens wide before us the doors of eternity,” Cantalamessa said. “To believe!”

Opinion: Pope Francis’ gestures strike fire in our hearts os he is the Pope of Hearts

During the address, he referenced author Franz Kafka’s “An Imperial Message,” a story in which a king on his deathbed whispers a message to a subject, makes the subject repeat it, and then sends him on his way. The messenger tries to leave but encounters insurmountable obstacles as he attempts to head away.

Cantalamessa said the story is a “powerful religious symbol and takes on a new meaning, almost prophetic, when heard on Good Friday.”

“We must do everything possible so that the Church may never look like that complicated and cluttered castle described by Kafka, and the message may come out of it as free and joyous as when the messenger began his run,” he said. “We know what the impediments are that can restrain the messenger: dividing walls, starting with those that separate the various Christian churches from one another, the excess of bureaucracy, the residue of past ceremonials, laws and disputes, now only debris.”

The Stations of the Cross

Dressed all in white, the pope arrived shortly after 9 p.m. (4 p.m. ET) at the Colosseum to mark the Stations of the Cross.

As a large crowd  many of them holding lit candles looked on, Francis sat solemnly as a cross was walked around the historic Roman amphitheater to recall 14 moments from Jesus’ final day.

Participants included clergymen and other Christians from Brazil to Africa to China to the Middle East. At one point, the cross was carried by a woman in a wheelchair, from a group representing the physically and mentally disabled.

Francis spoke to close the ceremony, explaining the meaning of the cross and how Christians could apply that in their lives.

“Let us walk together in our Way of the Cross, and let us do so carrying in our hearts these words of love and forgiveness,” he said.

Similar services and ceremonies were held in churches and other locales worldwide, including the annual Stations of the Cross walk through the winding streets of Jerusalem’s old city.

Pope Francis’ humble superiority

They came a day after Franciscus the Pope of Hearts broke with tradition by going to a youth detention center in Rome, rather than the city’s chief cathedral, where he washed the feet of a dozen young detainees. Among the group at the Casal del Marmo were two women and two Muslims.

The pontiff poured water over the young offenders’ feet, wiped them with a white towel and kissed them.

In his homily, given to about 50 young offenders, he said that everyone should help one another. “As a priest and as a bishop, I should be at your service. It is a duty that comes from my heart,” he said.

The act of foot-washing at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday is part of the Christian tradition that mirrors Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet.

The girls whose feet Franciscus the Pope of Hearts washed in another move away from custom were an Italian and an Eastern European, according to the Vatican.

The Vatican Press Office responded Friday to “questions and concerns” related to the pope’s washing the young offenders’ feet, especially those of two females, calling it a “simple and spontaneous gesture of love, affection, forgiveness and mercy.”

“When Jesus washed the feet of those who were with him on the first Holy Thursday, he desired to teach all a lesson about the meaning of service, using a gesture that included all members of the community,” the office said in a statement. “… To have excluded the young women from the ritual washing of feet … would have detracted our attention from the essence of the Holy Thursday gospel, and the very beautiful and simple gesture of a father who desired to embrace those who were on the fringes of society.”

Source: CNN  CNN’s Livia Borghese and Joe Sterling contributed to this report.