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Pope Francis meets with Canadian Prime Minister

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday met with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, in a private audience in the Vatican.

A communique from the Holy See Press Office said their discussions were "cordial".

"[T]he good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Canada were evoked, along with the contribution of the Catholic Church to the social life of the country. The parties then focused on the themes of integration and reconciliation, as well as religious freedom and current ethical issues."

The statement also said, "in the light of the results of the recent G7 summit, attention turned to various matters of an international nature, with special attention to the Middle East and areas of conflict."

Mr. Trudeau met afterwards with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope: 'learn the language of the Holy Spirit'

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged Christians to engage with the Holy Spirit, and to open their hearts to the Spirit before taking important decisions.

Speaking during the homily at morning Mass on Monday at the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope explained it is the Holy Spirit, which moves our hearts, inspires us and triggers emotions,.

Looking ahead to Pentecost Sunday, the Pope said the Church is asking for prayers that the Holy Spirit may come into our hearts, into our parishes and into our communities.

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:

Drawing inspiration from the first reading of the day which, he said, could be called “the Pentecost of Ephesus” he explained that although the community in Ephesus had received the faith, it didn’t even know that the Holy Spirit existed. 

“They were good people, people of faith” the Pope said, but they were not aware of this gift of the Father: “When Paul laid his hands on them the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began to speak in tongues”.

The Holy Spirit moves the heart

The Holy Spirit, the Pope said, moves hearts as we can read in the Gospels that tell of many people who are moved to approach Jesus, like Nicodemus, like the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, like the Samaritan, like the sinner. Thus the Pope invited the faithful to ask themselves: ‘what place does the Holy Spirit have in my life?’.

"Am I able to hear it? Am I able to ask for inspiration before taking a decision or doing something? Or is my heart quiet, lacking in emotion and turmoil?” he said.

And he commented on the fact that “should an ECG be performed on some hearts, the result would be a flat line – totally lacking in emotion”.

He said that even in the Gospels there are “still” hearts: “we think of the doctors of the law, they believed in God, they knew all the commandments, but their hearts were closed, they were “still”, they were not disturbed”.
 
Let yourself be engaged by the Holy Spirit

The Pope exhorted the faithful to let themselves be “disturbed,” that is to ask the Holy Spirit to help them discern and not to have an “ideological faith”:

"Let yourself be disturbed by the Holy Spirit: 'Eh, I felt this…  But Father, isn’t that being sentimental?' - 'No, it may be, but no. If you're on the right track, you're not being sentimental.’' You must be able to feel the urge to go and to visit that sick person or change your life…'” he said.

The Pope said the Holy Spirit is the master of discernment. A person who does not have this kind of turmoil in his or her heart does not discern what is happening; he or she “is a person who has a cold faith, an ideological faith”.

Ask yourself about your relationship with the Holy Spirit

Pope Francis said the “drama” of the doctors of the law who were angry with Jesus derived from the fact that their hearts were closed to the Holy Spirit.

“Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you on the path of life and of everyday life. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace to distinguish good from less good, because it is easy to distinguish good from evil” he said.

The Pope concluded urging the faithful to look into their hearts and open them to the Holy Spirit. 

In the Revelation, the Pope said, the Apostle John begins by inviting the "Seven Churches" - the seven dioceses of that time - to listen to the Holy Spirit:

“Let us too ask for the grace of being able to hear what the Spirit says to our Church, to our community, to our parish, to our family, and for the grace to learn the language with which to understand” he said.

(from Vatican Radio)

Mgr. Rugambwa opens the Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies

Rome - "Let us reflect together on the ‘mission heart of the Christian faith’ in the light of the Apostolic Missionary Exhortation of Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium. Let us have the courage of conversion, discernment, and authentic reform of each of us and of the institutions we serve, that is to say the Pontifical Mission Societies". This is how His Exc. Mgr. Protase Rugambwa, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies , opened the works of the General Assembly of the PMS this morning, which will take place in Rome until Saturday, June 3 .
In greeting and thanking all those who "work on behalf and in favor of the Pontifical Mission Societies", Archbishop Rugambwa emphasized: "In full communion with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, let us not stop animating each other so that without fear and with great joy, may the announcement of the risen Christ make the Church a community of reconciled, open to welcome everyone, always ready to bring and communicate to everyone the efficacy of salvation. No one is excluded, all at the heart of evangelization, so that Churches rediscover at the center of their Christian faith the only mission assigned to them by the Lord Jesus Christ. "
Tracing a budget of the activities carried out in the past year, the President of the PMS cited the conclusion of the integration work in the Statutes of the texts concerning the Administrative Office and the Finance Committee; the establishment of a humanitarian disaster Committee; the Continental meeting of the National Directors of the PMS, which represent "an important tool for exchanging, verifying and growing of communion and unity at the service of mission and animation".
Mgr. Rugambwa then announced the Holy Father's approval of the proposal to "convene an Extraordinary Missionary Month, in October 2019 to commemorate the centenary of the enactment of the encyclical Maximum illud and to promote the missionary commitment of the Church in line with Evangelii Gaudium". The General Assembly will dedicate some of the work to the topic by elaborating proposals for Missionary October 2019. The President also thanked the Commission that is working on the introduction of a common brand, "to help us better assert the unique identity of PMS internationally in respect of differences and local needs".
In the second part of his speech, Mgr. Rugambwa focused on presenting some challenges, recalling his previous five-year intervention: "We have not yet exhausted our reflection and our discussion of the PMS as Societies which belong to the Pope and Bishops, the relationship between the Universal Mission of the Church and the PMS, their collocation and cooperation with other mission forces, civil law on charitable organizations, prospects and work plans".
The Archbishop thus called for a frank and open confrontation, "on the future of institutions that cannot simply be dragged by the obsolete repetition of what has always been done", to have "boldness and creativity in discerning and rethinking our structures, styles and methods" to "rediscover the mission as the heart of the Christian faith".
"At the center and at the outskirts of our work of animation, collection and distribution - he stressed - we must grow in greater harmony and cooperation thanks to an ever-changing conversion that overcomes inadequate and annoying forms of anti-evangelical attention-seeking behaviour".
Mgr. Rugambwa thus concluded his speech: "These provocations require to be better reflected, thought, analyzed, and prayed. It is not about doing everything and immediately. This is not a violent distortion. It is rather a change of mentality and modes of the apostolic work of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The more we focus on our interest, our passion, the true needs of the mission, the more our conversion takes place, to end protagonism and begin the ecclesial, fraternal and evangelical service that saves".

Pope says murdered Copts are martyrs and prays for conversion of terrorists

(Vatican Radio) On the second day running, Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity with Egypt's Coptic Christians following an attack on a bus carrying Coptic pilgrims to a remote desert monastery.

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:

Leading thousands of pilgrims in the Regina Caeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, the Pope said he wished to express, yet again, his closeness to his dear brother, Pope Tawadros II and to the whole Egyptian nation that two days ago suffered “another act of ferocious violence.”

“The victims, amongst which were also children, were killed after having refused to renounce their Christian faith” he said.

The Pope prayed that the Lord “may welcome these courageous witnesses, these martyrs, in his peace and convert the hearts of the terrorists”.

The Islamic so-called State group claimed responsibility for Friday's attack, which killed 29 people.

On Saturday during a visit to Genoa, Francis prayed for the victims and lamented that there were more martyrs today than in early Christian times.

 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis prays for victims of Manchester attack

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday asked for prayers for the victims of the Manchester concert attack and decried how “so many young lives were cruelly broken”.

Speaking to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis also said he is “close to the relatives and all those who are weeping for the dead.”

British investigators are still looking for other suspects in the May 22 bombing at an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 people. Police have 11 suspects in custody but are looking for other members of the network of attacker Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent

 

(from Vatican Radio)

The power of Christians lies in prayer and preaching – Pope in Genoa

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis wrapped up an intense 1-day apostolic visit to the Italian port city of Genoa with the celebration of Mass.

To the faithful present for the open-air ceremony in Genoa’s Kennedy Square, the Pope said Christians must never tire of working for the common good, they must never fear going out into the world with Christ’s message of peace and hope…

Listen to the report by Robin Gomes:

“Christian prayer is not a way of being a little bit at peace with oneself or finding some interior harmony; we pray in order to bring all to God, to entrust the world to Him,” Pope Francis said on Saturday.  He was delivering a homily at an evening Mass in the Italian port city of Genoa.  The Mass at the Kennedy Square seafront was the final event of his day-long visit to the city, during which he met the clergy and religious, youth, prisoners, children and staff of a pediatric hospital and lunched with the poor and the marginalized.   

Prayer – God's power and strength

Commenting on the scripture readings of Sunday, the Pope explained that in Christ’s Ascensio n “the power of Jesus, the strength of God” is revealed that has “linked earth with heaven for us”.  And this power continues even today and will last forever in Christ’s unceasing prayers and intercession for us before the Father, every moment….especially at every Mass.  And  “Jesus has gifted this capacity to intercede also to us, to his Church, that has the power and also the duty to intercede and pray for all.”

The power of prayer lies in anchoring ourselves on God with our burdens, persons and situations in order not to be submerged by what he described as this “evil of living”.  Prayer allows God to enter our time.   “Prayer is intercession. It’s not tranquility, it’s charity,” the Pope stressed. 

The Pope said our power lies not in triumphing or shouting loud according to the logic of the world but in exercising the ‘gentle power of prayer’, with which one can even stop wars and obtain peace. 

Proclamation - reachig out, not closed in

Another power of Jesus revealed in the Ascension is that of proclamation.   When Jesus sent his disciples to proclaim Him with the power of the Holy Spirit, He trusted us with all our shortcomings.  And in this, a great imperfection that we need to overcome immediately is that of closing ourselves.  It’s because the Gospel cannot be shut in and sealed, because God's love is dynamic and wants to reach others.  Hence to proclaim Him, one needs to go out, come out of oneself.

With the Lord is it is forbidden to relax in acquired comforts.  A Christian is always on the move with the Lord towards other.  He is a pilgrim, a missionary, a hopeful marathon man, gentle but intent on walking, the Pope said.  The Lord desires that the proclamation goes ahead with his strength, not with that of the world, with the limpid and meek strength of joyful witnessing.  This, the Pope said, is urgent. 

(from Vatican Radio)

Blessed Rickard Thirkeld

Richard Thirkeld was ordained a priest in France in 1579, and returned to homeland of York, England, soon after to serve as a home missioner. There he was arrested on the eve of the Annunciation in 1538 for the crime of being a priest.He was imprisoned for two months before being brought to court on May 27, 1538 for hearing confessions and bringing lapsed Catholics back to the Church. He was sentenced to death the following day, May 29, was executed in York. He used his short time in jail to minister to the other prisoners, especially those sentenced to death.He was executed secretly because authorities feared that his public execution would have caused a public demonstration.He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1886.