The pope is setting aside a special day for those in their ‘Golden Years’

VATICAN CITY — Celebrate Grandparents’ Day with Pope Francis at the Vatican!

The Vatican is inviting the world’s older generation to a special day and Mass with the pope in St. Peter’s Square.

All you have to do is “apply” to request attendance by writing to events@family.va or by sending a fax to +39.06.698.87272.poster elderly

 

“The Blessing of Long Life” event will be held Sunday Sept. 28 — the world day of prayer for the synod of bishops on the family — and a few weeks after National Grandparents’ Day in the U.S. (a number of countries celebrate Grandparents’ Day sometime in September or October).

The Pontifical Council for the Family, which is organizing the event, has chosen verse 18 from Psalm 71 as the theme for the day:

“Now that I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, God,
That I may proclaim your might
to all generations yet to come…”

 

Pope Francis very forcefully reminds people of the untapped riches our elders have to offer with their life experiences, faith and wisdom. He has said communities that do not care for and respect the elderly don’t have a future because they’ll be rootless without their memories.

Pope accepts kiss from elderly woman during general audience in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

Pope Francis greets an elderly woman in a wheelchair during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square March 5, 2014. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The pope once said that, when he is feeling blue, he loves to read chapter 26 of Deuteronomy, which talks about God’s plan of letting new generations reap the fruits of their elders.

“To look at the elderly is to recognize that that man made his life’s path toward me…to realize that I am just one more link, that I have to honor those who have preceded me and that I have to allow myself to be honored by those who are going to follow.

…The wisdom of the elderly has helped me a lot and that’s why, time and again, I tend to venerate them.”

– then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in the book, “On Heaven and Earth”

 

If you’re app-y and you know it… show the pope!

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has launched its upgraded Pope App this week, offering “all things pope” for your iPad or Android device.

President of Pontifical Council for Social Communications shows Pope Francis news on tablet during meeting at the Vatican

Pope Francis checks out the updated “Pope App,” developed by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

 

popeapp1President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Celli, and project coordinator, Thaddeus Jones, showed Pope Francis on Monday the updated version, which features news, images, live-streaming video and more.

It aggregates a large amount of content produced by the Vatican’s many media outlets, like Vatican Radio and Vatican television, and offers alerts so a user will know when a live event is about to begin.

The free app is available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian.

sound cloud

Another platform the PCCS has ventured onto recently is SoundCloud.com, where it’s posting audio content in different languages from Vatican Radio.

The SoundCloud account lets people share, repost, favorite and save the audio interviews and news reports onto their own playlist for listening on any device when they want.

 

Here are a few samples:

 

 

 

 

 

The World Cup becomes The Pope Cup

VATICAN CITY — The curiously apt World Cup final match between Argentina and Germany (plus a slowish news day) means Twitter is aflitter with funny memes and hashtags for #PopeCupSunday.

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To add to the fun, we spent the morning on Photoshop airbrushing our vision of how #PopeVsPope will play out at the Vatican.

WorldCupSunday

Check out below some other funnies we found online. What have been your favorites?  Feel free to post links in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE ADDITION:

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And our favorite:

“Clearly it will end 3-2 #Argentina…”

 

 

 

Cardinal to young Catholics: Cherish, nurture gift of faith

By Sarah Hinds

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington. (CNS/Bob Roller)

WASHINGTON — It’s not every day that a 21-year-old summer intern has the opportunity to interview one of the most prominent members of the Catholic hierarchy in America, but recently I was blessed to conduct a one-on-one interview with Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington.

“You have received a wonderful gift — the gift of faith,” the cardinal told me during the interview in his Washington office. “It’s a precious gift, but it needs to be nurtured.”

As a recent convert to Catholicism and senior in college, I wanted to know what the cardinal had to say to young Catholics. In the 20 minutes I spent with him, he offered a wealth of spiritual insight and advice about how we are to nurture this gift of faith that we Catholics have been given — advice that is certainly not, however, restricted to 20-somethings.

Increasingly, young people face a culture that is extremely hostile to faith, purity and virtue, especially on college campuses. I asked Cardinal Wuerl what advice he would give to young people who desire to stay close to God in college and to strive for purity and virtue in the midst of secular culture.

“This is one of the reasons why the church keeps saying to us, ‘Stay close to the sacraments. Get to Mass. Get to confession.’ Because for 2,000 years the church has been proclaiming Jesus Christ and his Gospel and we know it’s not easy to live the way Jesus asks us in a secular world, and this is a very secular environment,” he said.

“My first word to anybody today trying to stay close to Christ is to get to Mass and stay close to him in prayer.”

Cardinal Wuerl, the chancellor of The Catholic University of America, said college is a great time for young people to really renew and explore their faith, and to become confident in its truth: “Be confident in that truth, and do everything you can not only to stand in that truth but to share it.”

Finding a Catholic community on campus is also helpful, he said, recounting his interactions with Catholic groups on college campuses in the Washington Archdiocese. “I remember once talking to young people at a college and we were talking about the virtuous life, and they said once you get to know a couple of other people on campus that share the same vision, life becomes so much better,” he said.

Ordained in 1966, Cardinal Wuerl said that his call to the priesthood was deeply rooted in his upbringing in Pittsburgh.

“I grew up in a neighborhood that was very Catholic. We attended Catholic elementary school; we had a great parish. The priests of the parish were always very supportive of all the young people but I often thought as I was growing up, wouldn’t it be nice to try to do what they were doing? That really planted the seed,” he said.

“It was really rooted in the experience of the parish, of the parish priests, and of course at home because my mother and father were good, loving, practicing Catholics who shared their faith with us.”

To young people discerning a call to the priesthood or religious life, Cardinal Wuerl said, “You have to try it. I can’t say whether you have a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life, I can’t tell you whether or not God’s calling you and you can’t say right now with certitude, ‘This is what God wants me to do.’ But you can try it. That’s the only way you’ll ever know if God is asking you to be a priest or religious.”

“The best that could happen to you is you could find that it’s the right thing for you. The worst thing that could happen is you’ll decide this isn’t for you. But you’ll never know either if you don’t try it.”

Cardinal Wuerl emphasized the importance of prayer, especially when one is discerning a vocation: “When you’re discerning, remember to talk to Jesus. You need to find some time every day, quietly, it doesn’t have to be huge expanses of time, but you want to find some bit of time every day to talk to the Lord and just say, ‘Lord be with me, let me know what it is you’re saying to me.’ That’s very important.”

In 2012, Cardinal Wuerl helped direct the 2012 Vatican Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. I asked him how we can evangelize to those who have fallen away from the Catholic Church.

“The most important thing we can do is live our faith,” he said. “Pope Francis talks about how everyone who has been baptized is a missionary disciple. What is a missionary disciple? It’s a person who shares the faith. Probably the most impactful way we can do that is when people see the way we live. If we can live in joy, if we can live in God’s love, we can live a virtuous life, and when people see that, it’s already an invitation to them.”

“And secondly, actively invite people to experience the joy (of your faith),” he continued. “An evangelist is a person who loves the faith, is confident in its truth, and who is prepared to share it.”

To young Catholic men and women in college and recent graduates, Cardinal Wuerl had this to say: “You received a wonderful gift — the gift of faith. You have to realize that faith is the door that opens to a relationship with God. The Church brings us what she has always brought us, an encounter with Jesus Christ, and an opportunity to live that in faith.”

“Faith is a precious gift,” he said. “Cherish it. Nurture it. And in that faith you will find a very happy, fulfilled life.”

From martyrs to moviestars: getting a Vatican stamp of ‘approval’

joan of arcVATICAN CITY — Most of the stamps the Vatican issues each year celebrate saints, popes or the birth or death of some late great European painter or composer.

Now and then there is a commemorative stamp marking a United Nations or Europe-wide year dedicated to themes such as water, books, forests and even the postal van! postal van

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rarely has the Vatican stamp and coin office issued what it did this year: celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of Charlie Chaplin, “whose work impacted more than fifty years of the history of film,” the office said.

Chaplin 2014 minifoglio (2)

Some of the only other recent stamps celebrating “modern” and more secular artists have included:

  • a 2004 aerogram marking the anniversary of the birth of the 20th century Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali’
  • stamps in 2003 celebrating the 19th century post-Impressionist painters Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin
  • and a series in 2010 marking the birth of Anton Chekhov and death of Leo Tolstoy — two 19th century Russian writers

tolstoy chekov

aids

Sometimes the Vatican uses its collectors’ appeal for promoting important causes and raising funds for different initiatives, like when all proceeds from the sale of a 2004 stamp dedicated to children with AIDS were donated in the pope’s name to projects helping AIDS orphans.

 

Court grants college temporary relief from HHS mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court late Thursday afternoon issued an unsigned opinion granting Christian-run Wheaton College in Illinois temporary relief from complying with the Department of Health and Human Services’ federal contraceptive mandate that is part of the Affordable Care Act. The order in Wheaton College v. Burwell came three days after the court issued its Hobby Lobby decision.

(CNS file photo)

(CNS file photo)

The court said the college, located west of Chicago, does not have to fill out the self-certification form — known as EBSA Form 700 — directing a third party, usually the manager of an employer’s health plan, to provide the contested coverage. The college can send a letter to the government, the court said.

If the applicant informs the HHS secretary “in writing that it is a nonprofit organization that holds itself out as religious and has religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services, the respondents are enjoined from enforcement against the applicant the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition of appellate review.”

The EBSA form is an accommodation the Obama administration put in place for religious employers who are not exempt from the HHS mandate. But Wheaton College and many other religious employers, including Catholic institutions, that have sued over the mandate argue that even filling out the form to direct a third party to take care of the coverage makes them complicit in providing coverage they find objectionable.

“The circuit courts have divided on whether to enjoin the requirement that religious nonprofit organizations use EBSA Form 700,” the Supreme Court said in its Thursday order. “Nothing in this interim order affects the ability of the applicant’s employees and students to ontain, without cost, the full range of FDA approved contraceptives.” The order also said it “should not be construed as an expression of the court’s views on the merits” of the case.

The order is similar to an injunction granted earlier this year to the Little Sisters of the Poor. On Jan. 24 the high court issued a three-sentence order affirming — for the time being — an injunction blocking enforcement of the mandate against the religious order, which runs housing for the elderly poor. The Jan. 24 order affirmed Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s Dec. 31 order.

But with regard to the order in Wheaton College v. Burwell, Sotomayor — joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan — issued a sharply worded dissent. She said this injunction “risks depriving hundreds of Wheaton’s employees and students of their legal entitlement to contraceptive coverage. … I do not doubt Wheaton genuinely believes that signing the self-certification form is contrary to its religious beliefs. But thinking one’s religious beliefs are substantially burdened — no matter how sincere or genuine that belief may be — does not make it so.”

Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College, called the court’s order “a wise decision.”

“On the eve of Independence Day, we are grateful to God that the Supreme Court has made a wise decision in protecting our religious liberty — at least until we have an opportunity to make our full case in court,” he said in a statement. “We continue to believe that a college community that affirms the sanctity of human life from conception to the grave should not be coerced by the government into facilitating the provision of abortion-inducing drugs.”

In other court action on challenges to the mandate, the Catholic Benefits Association was granted a temporary restraining order against enforcement for 156 Catholic employers and more than 1,090 parishes that joined the association after June 4.

The association was formed last October with 450 Catholic employer members and 2,000 parish members. Among the members are eight archdioceses, 15 dioceses, religious orders, local Catholic Charities affiliates, colleges, nursing homes, cemeteries, retreat centers and medical facilities. It filed a class-action lawsuit in March against the mandate on religious freedom grounds, and on June 4 a federal district court in Oklahoma issued an injunction in favor of the group.

After June 4 more employers and parishes joined the association, so a second lawsuit was filed July 1 seeking a temporary restraining order for them. After an emergency hearing, it was granted by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

 

 

Official prayer, logo for World Youth Day 2016

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican and the Archdiocese of Krakow — host of WYD 2016 — unveiled today the official logo and prayer for the international youth gathering that’s set for July 26-31, two years from now.

logo-400

Both the prayer and the logo focus on Divine Mercy and the theme chosen by Pope Francis from the Gospel of St. Matthew: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”

Here’s a handy breakdown of the logo, describing what it means:

wyd symbols mean

Graphic distributed on the Facebook page of the official World Youth Day website: http://www.krakow2016.com/en/

The Archdiocese of Krakow is the former see of St. John Paul II and is home to the Divine Mercy sanctuary. St. John Paul had a great devotion to the Divine Mercy, the recognition of God’s mercy as demonstrated in his sending his son to die for the sins of humanity.

Here’s the official prayer (in English and Spanish), which begins with a line from the homily St. John Paul II delivered at the dedication of the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow in 2002.

 

Prayer for World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow

“‘God, merciful father,
in your son, Jesus Christ, you have revealed your love
and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the comforter,
we entrust to you today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman.’

We entrust to you in a special way
young people of every language, people and nation:
guide and protect them as they walk the complex paths of the world today
and give them the grace to reap abundant fruits
from their experience of the Krakow World Youth Day.

Heavenly Father,
grant that we may bear witness to your mercy.
Teach us how to convey the faith to those in doubt,
hope to those who are discouraged,
love to those who feel indifferent,
forgiveness to those who have done wrong
and joy to those who are unhappy.
Allow the spark of merciful love that you have en-kindled within us
become a fire that can transform hearts and renew the face of the earth.

Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for us.

St. John Paul II, pray for us.”

 

Oracion para la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud de Cracovia 2016

“’Dios, Padre misericordioso,
Que has revelado tu amor en tu hijo, Jesucristo
y lo has derramado sobre nosotros en el Espíritu Santo, consolador,
te encomendamos hoy el destino del mundo y de todo hombre.’
Te encomendamos en modo particular
los jóvenes de toda lengua, pueblo y nación.
Guíales y protégeles en los complejos caminos de hoy
y dales la gracia de poder cosechar abundantes frutos
de la experiencia de la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud de Cracovia.

Padre celestial,
haznos testigos de tu misericordia.
Enséñanos a llevar la fe a los que dudan,
la esperanza a los desanimados,
el amor a los indiferentes,
el perdón a quien ha obrado el mal
y la alegría a los infelices.
Haz que la chispa del amor misericordioso
que has encendido dentro de nosotros
se convierta en un fuego que transforma los corazones
y renueva la faz de la tierra.

María, Madre de Misericordia, ruega por nosotros.
San Juan Pablo II, ruega por nosotros.”

 

 

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