Tag Archives: year of faith

Catholic News Service Vatican Letter

Year of two pope leaves indelible mark on Year of Faith.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The goal of the Year of Faith, which concludes Nov. 24, has been to educate Catholics about basic church teachings, strengthen their faith and inspire them to share it with others. If it has succeeded, as organizers say it has, the credit ultimately lies less with its special projects and events than with the historic papal transition that occurred in its course.

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Full Text of Pope’s homily to seminarians and novices

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has delivered the homily at Mass on Sunday morning with seminarians and novices gathered in St Peter’s Basilica to mark the end of a four-day conference on vocation, discernment and formation here in Rome. Below, please find the English translation of the Holy Father’s remarks.
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Homily at Mass with Seminarians, Novices and those discerning their Vocations
Saint Peter’s Basilica, 7 July 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting you, and today our joy is even greater, because we have gathered for the Eucharist on the Lord’s Day. You are seminarians, novices, young people on a vocational journey, from every part of the world. You represent the Church’s youth! If the Church is the Bride of Christ, you in a certain sense represent the moment of betrothal, the Spring of vocation, the season of discovery, assessment, formation. And it is a very beautiful season, in which foundations are laid for the future. Thank you for coming!

Today the word of God speaks to us of mission. Where does mission originate? The answer is simple: it originates from a call, the Lord’s call, and when he calls people, he does so with a view to sending them out. But how is the one sent out meant to live? What are the reference points of Christian mission? The readings we have heard suggest three: the joy of consolation, the Cross and prayer.

The first element: the joy of consolation. The prophet Isaiah is addressing a people that has been through a dark period of exile, a very difficult trial. But now the time of consolation has come for Jerusalem; sadness and fear must give way to joy: “Rejoice .. be glad … rejoice with her in joy,” says the prophet (66:10). It is a great invitation to joy. Why? For what reason? Because the Lord is going to pour out over the Holy City and its inhabitants a “torrent” of consolation, of maternal tenderness: “You shall be carried upon her hip and dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you” (vv. 12-13). Every Christian, especially you and I, is called to be a bearer of this message of hope that gives serenity and joy: God’s consolation, his tenderness towards all. But if we first experience the joy of being consoled by him, of being loved by him, then we can bring that joy to others. This is important if our mission is to be fruitful: to feel God’s consolation and to pass it on to others! Isaiah’s invitation must resound in our hearts: “Comfort, comfort my people” (40:1) and it must lead to mission. People today certainly need words, but most of all they need us to bear witness to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord, which warms the heart, rekindles hope, and attracts people towards the good. What a joy it is to bring God’s consolation to others!

The second reference point of mission is the Cross of Christ. Saint Paul, writing to the Galatians, says: “Far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (6:14). And he speaks of the “marks of Jesus”, that is, the wounds of the crucified Lord, as a countersign, as the distinctive mark of his life as an Apostle of the Gospel. In his ministry Paul experienced suffering, weakness and defeat, but also joy and consolation. This is the Paschal mystery of Jesus: the mystery of death and resurrection. And it was precisely by letting himself be conformed to the death of Jesus that Saint Paul became a sharer in his resurrection, in his victory. In the hour of darkness and trial, the dawn of light and salvation is already present and operative. The Paschal mystery is the beating heart of the Church’s mission! And if we remain within this mystery, we are sheltered both from a worldly and triumphalistic view of mission and from the discouragement that can result from trials and failures. The fruitfulness of the Gospel proclamation is measured neither by success nor by failure according to the criteria of human evaluation, but by becoming conformed to the logic of the Cross of Jesus, which is the logic of stepping outside oneself and spending oneself, the logic of love. It is the Cross – the Cross that is always present with Christ – which guarantees the fruitfulness of our mission. And it is from the Cross, the supreme act of mercy and love, that we are reborn as a “new creation” (Gal 6:15).

Finally the third element: prayer. In the Gospel we heard: “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, to send out labourers into his harvest” (Lk 10:2). The labourers for the harvest are not chosen through advertising campaigns or appeals for service and generosity, but they are “chosen” and “sent” by God. For this, prayer is important. The Church, as Benedict XVI has often reiterated, is not ours, but God’s; the field to be cultivated is his. The mission, then, is primarily about grace. And if the Apostle is born of prayer, he finds in prayer the light and strength for his action. Our mission ceases to bear fruit, indeed, it is extinguished the moment the link with its source, with the Lord, is interrupted.

Dear seminarians, dear novices, dear young people discerning your vocations: “evangelization is done on one’s knees”, as one of you said to me the other day. Always be men and women of prayer! Without a constant relationship with God, the mission becomes a job. The risk of activism, of relying too much on structures, is an ever-present danger. If we look towards Jesus, we see that prior to any important decision or event he recollected himself in intense and prolonged prayer. Let us cultivate the contemplative dimension, even amid the whirlwind of more urgent and pressing duties. And the more the mission calls you to go out to the margins of existence, let your heart be the more closely united to Christ’s heart, full of mercy and love. Herein lies the secret of the fruitfulness of a disciple of the Lord! Jesus sends his followers out with no “purse, no bag, no sandals” (Lk 10:4). The spread of the Gospel is not guaranteed either by the number of persons, or by the prestige of the institution, or by the quantity of available resources. What counts is to be permeated by the love of Christ, to let oneself be led by the Holy Spirit and to graft one’s own life onto the tree of life, which is the Lord’s Cross.

Dear friends, with great confidence I entrust you to the intercession of Mary Most Holy. She is the Mother who helps us to take life decisions freely and without fear. May she help you to bear witness to the joy of God’s consolation, to conform yourselves to the logic of love of the Cross, to grow in ever deeper union with the Lord. Then your lives will be rich and fruitful! Amen.

Pope Francis to Seminarians and Novices: no sadness in holiness

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday evening told future nuns and priests and consecrated laypeople to keep “freshness” and “joy” in their lives, as he said: “There is no sadness in holiness”.

Speaking to participants in a four-day international event for Seminarians, Novices and those on a vocational journey, Francis gave an off-the-cuff lecture to seminarians and novices from across the globe, gathered in the Paul VI Hall.

In his remarks, the Pope urged those present not to be tempted by a culture that exalts provisional values, and he told them to avoid trappings like the latest smartphones and expensive cars so they can devote more resources to help the poor.

“It is not you that I reproach” said the Pope, and he specified that it is today’s culture of the provisional of which we are all victims that does not help us: “because in this day and age it is very difficult to make a definitive choice”. He pointed out that when he was young it was easier because the culture of the time favoured definitive choices, be it in conjugal life, in consecrated life or in priestly life. But today – he said “it is not easy to make a definitive choice. We are victims of this culture of the provisional”.

And then Pope Francis took seminarians and novices to task for being “too serious, too sad”. “Something’s not right here,” Francis told them pointing out that `’There is no sadness in holiness,” and adding that such clergy lack `’the joy of the Lord.”

“To become a priest or a religious is not primarily our choice; it is our answer to a calling, a calling of love”.

`’If you find a seminarian, priest, nun, with a long, sad face, if it seems as if in their life someone threw a wet blanket over them,” then one should conclude `’it’s a psychiatric problem, they can leave – `buenos dias’”.

And he highlighted the fact that he wasn’t talking about superficial joy – `’the thrill of a moment doesn’t really make us happy,” warning against the temptation to seek `’the joy of the world in the latest smartphone, the fastest car.”

“It hurts my heart when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model of car” he said. And Francis continued saying “cars are necessary. But take a more humble one. Think of how many children die of hunger’ and dedicate the savings to them”.

Urging all those with vocations to be authentic and true, the Pope also reminded them never to be afraid to recognise their own sins. And speaking of their formation, Francis said there are four fundamental pillars: spiritual formation; intellectual formation; apostolic life – during which one must go forth and announce the Gospel; and community living. “On these four pillars” – Pope Francis said “you must build your vocations”.

During his remarks, Pope Francis also praised the late Mother Teresa, who cared for the most impoverished sick of Calcutta, India, and held her up as a courageous example. “I would like a more missionary church,”’ the pope told the young people “’Not so much a tranquil church, but a beautiful church that goes forward.”
The Day for Seminarians and Novices concludes on Sunday, with Mass presided by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.

From Vatican Radio

Pope’s homily at Gospel of Life Mass

This morning in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for a crowd estimated in excess of 200,000 people. The occasion was the “Gospel of Life” Mass, part of the celebrations of the Year of Faith. Read the pope’s full homily in this report from Vatican Radio.

The Concho Padre