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Quake aftermath continues to torment ancient town of Amatrice as the death toll rises

August 25, 2016. Rescue teams continue to work tirelessly with the hope of finding new survivors, but the number of deaths will increase as there are still dozens missing. Italy's civil protection agency has announced that 190 have dead in the affected areas in the province of Rieti are overcome, while 57 were killed in the province of Ascoli. During the night, there have been up to 60 new tremors of between 3 and 4 degrees of magnitude. Rescuers worked overnight in the most affected Arquata del Tronto, Pescada< g> del Tronto, Accumoli< g> and Amatrice. The most dramatic situation exists in Amatrice, the largest municipality affected, and where 2,000 people live, but in the summer months doubles its population with vacationers and many tourists who had come to enjoy the weekend party pasta "amatriciana,” a dish that has its origins here. More than 1,000 people have been displaced by the quake.
World

Grand Ayatollah to Pope Francis: “Thank you for saying Islam is not equal to terrorism”

August 22, 2016. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi sent a letter to Pope Francis to thank him for his words on the flight back from Poland, a few weeks ago: "It is not right to say that Islam is a terrorist faith.” In his letter, the Shia religious leader has strongly condemned terrorist attacks from fundamentalist Islamic groups. He has also stated that "the vast majority of the Musilm people consider all Takfiri sects to be outside the fold of Islam.” Makarem Shirazi is one of the 64 Grand Ayatollahs in Shia Islam and, as such, one of the highest authorities in matters of Islamic dogma and law.
World

Pope conveys “solidarity and spiritual closeness” for the victims of wildfire in Portugal

August 16, 2016. The fire has killed at least five people and caused hundreds to evacuate their homes. The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin addressed a letter, on behalf of Pope Francis, to the bishop of Funchal, Antonio Carrilho. The letter was read during the celebration of Holy Mass for Our Lady of the Mount, Patroness of Funchal. In the letter, Pope Francis expressed his condolences and sorrow over the loss of life and property in the Portuguese island of Madeira, where wildfires have killed at least five people and caused hundreds to evacuate their homes. Pope Francis conveys "solidarity and spiritual closeness” for the victims and those displaced by the wildfires and prayed for the wounded and asked them to have "courage and consolation in Christian hope” for all involved.
World

Pope sends condolences to North America in wake of Hurricane Earl

August 9, 2016. Pope Francis sent his prayers and condolences to the victims in the wake of Hurricane Earl through a message sent by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The hurricane killed at least 45 people in Mexico and 13 in the Dominican Republic and caused an estimated $50 million in damage.
World

Pope sends his condolences following attack that killed 70 people at a hospital in Pakistan

August 9, 2016. The terrorist attack at Quetta Hospital killed dozens of lawyers and left 120 others injured.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis officially establishes the commission to study the diaconate of women

August 2, 2016. Six women and six men will study the diaconate of women "with regard to the first ages of the Church.”
Vatican

Federico Lombardi appointed new president of The Ratzinger Foundation

Aug. 1, 2016. Today Fr. Lombardi officially ceases to be director of the Vatican Press Office and becomes the president of The Ratzinger Foundation. Father Federico Lombardi will chair the board of the Vatican foundation established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. Until now it was run by president Monsignor Giuseppe Scotti. The Ratzinger Foundation promotes the study of theology, organizes cultural and scientific congresses and rewards the work of scholars and researchers in different fields.

Pope's Mass: Don't be a spiritual tourist. Walk! Don't just wander...

2014-03-31

In his Monday morning Mass, the Pope talked about choosing one's spiritual journey. He explained that there are three types of Christians: First, those who believe in God's promises. Secondly, those who get stuck along the way and third, those who think they're walking along a Christian path, but in essence, they don't even take a single step. 

POPE FRANCIS
"These people wander through life like existential tourists, without a goal and without taking God’s promises seriously. But those who wander around are lying to themselves, because they say 'Yes, I walk.' But no, you don't walk, you just wander...'Simply wanderers..but the Lord tells us to keep going. He tells us to take the right path and to not wander around aimlessly.”

Even though sin is part of life, the Pope reminded  all Catholics that Lent is the perfect time for conversion. It's also a time to reflect on the road one is taking in life. 

SUMMARY OF POPE'S HOMILY:
Source: (Vatican Radio)

Reflecting on the day’s readings from Isaiah and St John’s Gospel Pope Francis distinguished between three different types of Christians and how they live their spiritual lives. Before God asks anything of us, the Pope said, He always promises us a new life of joy, so the essence of our Christian life is always to journey in hope and trust towards those promises.

But there are many Christians whose hope is weak and while they believe and follow the commandments, they have come to a standstill in their spiritual lives. Pope Francis said God cannot use them as a leaven among his people because they have stopped and they’re no longer moving forward.

Secondly, he said there are those among us who have taken the wrong turning and lost our way. Of course, the Pope continued, we all sometimes take the wrong road, but the real problem arises if we don’t turn back when we realize that we’ve made a mistake.

The model of a true believer who follows the promises of faith, Pope Francis said, is the royal official from today’s Gospel reading, who asks Jesus to heal his son and does not doubt for a second when the Master tells him the child has been cured. But unlike that man, the Pope said, there are many Christians who deceive themselves and wander aimlessly without moving forward.

These people, Pope Francis said are perhaps the most dangerous group because they wander through life like existential tourists without a goal and without taking God’s promises seriously. But the Lord asks us not to stop, not to lose our way and not to wander through life. He asks us to journey on towards his promises like the official who believed what Jesus told him.

Despite our human condition as sinners who take the wrong turning, the Pope concluded, the Lord always gives us grace to turn back. Lent, he said, is a good time to consider whether we are journeying forward or whether we have come to a standstill. If we have chosen the wrong road, we should go to Confession and return to the right way. If we are a theological tourist wandering aimlessly through life, we must ask the Lord for grace to head off again on the journey towards the promises of our faith.


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