“Wake up the world!” Quotable quotes from Pope Francis’ meeting with religious

Pope smiles as he arrives to lead general audience in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

Pope Francis at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — Today’s article in the Italian Jesuit journal, La Civilta’ Cattolica, offers more fresh insight from Pope Francis into how men and women can live out religious and consecrate life more fully. As a member of the world’s largest order of religious men and as someone who served as head of the Jesuit province in Argentina, the pope’s insight is particularly valuable.

The article gives an in-depth account of the three-hour, closed-door informal meeting the pope had with 120 superiors general of men’s religious orders Nov. 29.

While you can access the full 17-page article in English, Spanish or Italian at the journal’s website, here is a sampling of some of our favorite excerpts (CNS translations of the original Italian).

  • Today’s religious men and women need to be prophetic, “capable of waking up the world,” of showing they are a special breed who “have something to say” to the world today.
  • “The church must be attractive. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, acting, living! (Show) it’s possible to live differently in this world.”

    Nun chats with a woman in Spain

    A nun chatting with a woman on a street corner in Seville, Spain, Aug. 2013. (CNS photo/Marcelo del Pozo, Reuters)

  • They need to live and behave in a truly different way, recognizing one’s weakness and sins, but acting with “generosity, detachment, sacrifice, forgetting oneself in order to take care of others.”
  • “It’s necessary to spend time in real contact with the poor. For me this is really important: it’s necessary to know from experience what’s real, to dedicate time going to the periphery to truly know the situation and the life of the people.”
  • Without firsthand experience with people’s lives, “then one runs the risk of being abstract ideologues or fundamentalists, and this is not healthy.”

    PRIEST ENGAGES YOUNG PEOPLE DURING EVENT AT ILLINOIS SHRINE IN JULY

    Fr. Nestor Torres of the Chicago Archdiocese working with young men and women at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Des Plaines, Ill., this 2012 file photo. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

  • “Those who work with young people cannot limit themselves to saying things that are too ordered and structured like a treaty because these things fly over their heads. A new language is needed, a new way of saying things. Today God calls us to leave the nest that’s holding us and to be emissaries.”
  • A charism needs to be “lived according to the place, times and people. The charism is not a bottle of distilled water. It needs to be lived with energy, rereading it culturally, too.”

    GIRL SEEN DURING DEDICATION OF VIETNAMESE CHAPEL IN WASHINGTON

    The dedication of Our Lady of La Vang Chapel at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Oct. 21, 2006. (CNS photo/Matthew Barrick, courtesy of the National Shrine)

  • “Inculturating a charism, therefore, is fundamental, and this does not mean relativizing it. We must not make a charism rigid and uniform. When we make our cultures uniform, then we kill the charism.”
  • “The specter to combat is the image of religious life as a refuge and comfort away from a world on the ‘outside’ that is difficult and complex.”
  •  Thinking formation is completed after seminary studies “is hypocrisy, fruit of clericalism.”

    Seminarian laughs during chorus rehearsal at Hispanic seminary in Mexico City

    Seminarians during a chorus rehearsal at the Hispanic Seminary of Our Lady of Guadalupe Nov. 22, 2013 in Mexico City. (CNS photo/David Maung)

  • Preparing new members for religious life is “a craft, not a police operation. We must include the formation of hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the people of God. This really gives me goose bumps.”
  • People working in formation need to think about the people of God these men and women will be in contact with. “I’m reminded of those religious who have a heart as sour as vinegar: they are not made for the people. We must not create administrators and managers, but fathers, brothers and sisters, travel companions.”

Everything you need to ring out 2013, usher in 2014 with Pope Francis

Pope kneels in prayer as he celebrates Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at Vatican

Pope Francis kneeling in prayer when he celebrated Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — As 2013 comes to a close, people can follow today’s traditional evening prayer service with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The celebration of Vespers, which begins at 5 p.m. Rome time (11 a.m. EST),  will end with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the singing of the “Te Deum” hymn of thanksgiving to God.

The liturgical booklet is here and the video feed (starting at 4:30 p.m. Rome time) here.

After the prayer service, the pope is scheduled to visit the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square.

Ring in the new year Jan. 1 by following the papal Mass celebrating the feast honoring Mary, Mother of God.

The liturgical booklet is here and the video feed (starting at 9:30 a.m. Rome time/3:30 a.m. EST) is here.

Pope Francis holds dove before his weekly audience at the Vatican

Pope Francis holding a dove before his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square May 15. (CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters)

Don’t forget that the church also celebrates the World Day of Peace Jan. 1. Pope Francis’ first peace day message, about the spirit of fraternity being the foundation of peace, is here.

An engagement the engaged won’t want to miss

St. Valentine pictured in stained glass window at basilica in Terni, Italy

St. Valentine pictured at basilica in Terni, Italy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).

VATICAN CITY — Attention engaged couples: if you have already completed or are still attending marriage preparation courses, would you like to spend St. Valentine’s Day at an audience with Pope Francis?

The Pontifical Council for the Family is sponsoring the event (“The Joy of a ‘Yes’ that’s Forever”) in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall Feb. 14.

Couples need to apply by Jan. 30, 2014 by contacting their diocesan marriage and family office or by emailing the pontifical council directly at events@family.va

family st valentine's day

The Pontifical Council for the Family is sponsoring an encounter with Pope Francis for engaged couples. The event will be held at the Vatican on St. Valentine’s Day.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the family council, has a special tie to the St. Valentine tradition. As a former bishop of Terni, he is a successor to the third-century martyred bishop of Terni, St. Valentine. The archbishop, in fact, would celebrate a “promise Mass” with engaged couples in the town’s Basilica of St. Valentine on the Sunday before the feast day.

Now the feast day will get special attention at the Vatican.

Pope Francis will undoubtedly have some good advice for couples, especially given what he has said so far:

Those who celebrate the sacrament [of marriage] say, “I promise to be true to you, in joy and in sadness, in sickness and in health; I will love you and honour you all the days of my life.”  At that moment, the couple does not know what will happen, nor what joys and pains await them. They are setting out, like Abraham, on a journey together. And that is what marriage is!

Setting out and walking together, hand in hand, putting yourselves in the Lord’s powerful hands.  Hand in hand, always and for the rest of your lives. And do not pay attention to this makeshift culture, which can shatter our lives…

Pope greets family as they present offertory gifts during Mass for families in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

Pope Francis greets a family during a Mass for families in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

…In order to have a healthy family, three words need to be used. And I want to repeat these three words: please, thank you, sorry. Three essential words!

We say please so as not to be forceful in family life: “May I please do this? Would you be happy if I did this?” We do this with a language that seeks agreement.

We say thank you, thank you for love! But be honest with me, how many times do you say thank you to your wife, and you to your husband? How many days go by without uttering this word, thanks!

And the last word: sorry. We all make mistakes and on occasion someone gets offended in the marriage, in the family, and sometimes – I say – plates are smashed, harsh words are spoken but please listen to my advice: don’t ever let the sun set without reconciling. Peace is made each day in the family: “Please forgive me”, and then you start over. Please, thank you, sorry! … Let us say these words in our families! To forgive one another each day!

– Pope Francis meeting with families Oct. 26, 2013

 

 

Chanting a Christmas countdown

Lit candle seen on Advent wreath during Mass in Crypt Church at national shrine in Washington

An Advent wreath at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The wreath, which holds four candles, is a main symbol of the Advent season, with a new candle lit each Sunday before Christmas. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis gave a plug for the “O Antiphons” in his homily today, urging people to recite these beautiful expressions of longing for the coming of the Messiah.

He said these prayers get people in the right spirit of humility, to empty their hearts of “sterile” pride, so they can be filled with God’s grace.

The  “O Antiphons” are seven prayers that are recited on the days immediately before Christmas, beginning Dec. 17. They introduce the Magnificat, or canticle of Mary, at evening prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours.

The prayers — scriptural texts just a few lines long, begin with “O” and include the desire for Christ to come.  He is addressed by a different traditional title for the Messiah on each of the seven days to connect the coming of Christ with the prophetic writings of the Old Testament.

This video offers a running playlist of the seven antiphons in Gregorian chant for each day:

December 17

O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!

December 18 

O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!

December 19

O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!

December 20

 O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!

December 21

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.

December 22

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

December 23

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!

 

 

Good Morning Vatican: a televised tour for armchair travelers

VATICAN CITY — Would you like to see inside St. Peter’s Basilica, the apostolic palace and follow the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square? And how about going behind-the-scenes to see the Swiss Guard and hear the Sistine Chapel Choir?

swiss guards GMA

Photo posted on the Pontifical Swiss Guard Facebook page: A Swiss Guard with Good Morning America host Josh Elliott who will be reporting live from the Vatican Dec. 18.

Then you may want to tune in this morning to the “Good Morning America” show on ABC.

Unfortunately, folks outside the U.S. and its territories won’t be able to follow online, but the show’s hosts are live tweeting their adventures @GMA.

They’ll take questions people have with the hashtag #GMAatTheVatican and people’s thoughts for #GratefulThisChristmas; they’ll share some of the contributions on air. The hosts are also posting on Facebook.

And remember you can always follow the Wednesday audience live (9:40 a.m. to about 11:30 a.m. Rome time/ 3:40 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. EST) right here.

Taking it to the street: the pope’s birthday party guest list

VATICAN CITY — We know from the pope’s sister that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio would skip family dinners and picnics to spend special days, like Sundays and holidays, with the poor.

Pope Francis celebrates birthday with men who live on streets near Vatican

Pope Francis talks with three men Dec. 17 who live on the streets near the Vatican. The pope had breakfast with the men as part of a low-key celebration of his 77th birthday. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Now as Pope Francis, he started his own special day — his 77th birthday — having breakfast with some of Rome’s homeless.

Since he is no longer really free to go as he pleases to those in need, he had to send his almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, out to find them.

According to the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the archbishop went out early this morning, and didn’t have to go far to find people living on the street.

The first group he found were three men in their forties, who were sleeping under the large portico in front of the Vatican press hall on the main boulevard in front of St. Peter’s Square.

“Would you like to come to Pope Francis’ birthday party?” the Polish archbishop asked the men, who were from Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

When they realized the invitation was for real, they immediately packed their belongings into the archbishop’s car, including their faithful dog, who rode in the middle, the paper said.

The four (counting the dog) got to greet the pope right after his morning Mass and, together with the archbishop, gave the pope a bouquet of sunflowers because the flowers always turn to the sun just as the church always turns toward its sun, Christ, the archbishop explained.

The pope invited the men to have breakfast with him in the residence dining room where they talked and had a few laughs.

Apparently one of the men joked with the pope that it was “worthwhile being a vagrant because you get to meet the pope.”

Today the pope gave a clue in a letter he sent today commemorating the 800th anniversary of the death of St. John of Matha (whose feast day is today) as to why he always wants to be close to the poor.

The pope told the religious order the saint founded that “I like to think that you, in your prayers, put the Bishop of Rome together with the poor.” Being among the poor, he said, “reminds me that I cannot forget about them just like Jesus never forgot them.”

An intern’s farewell to CNS & Rome

By Caroline Hroncich

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During my first week in Rome, I attended Pope Francis’ Prayer for Peace in Syria (CNS Photo/ Caroline Hroncich)

VATICAN CITY — When I got off the bus before heading into the office on Thursday, I walked down Via della Conciliazione and ended up in St. Peter’s Square. I stopped for a while in front of the Christmas tree, and looked around the square. Over the past four months I’ve been in St. Peter’s Square on many occasions, but there’s something about doing it for one last time that really makes you think.

It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in my professor’s office at Villanova University discussing the possibility of interning with the Catholic News Service Rome bureau for the semester. I’d never so much as been outside of the United States before, and was unsure what to expect when I set foot in Rome for the first time. But four months later, I can safely say I’ve learned so much about journalism, the Vatican and myself.

jlo2

My “paparazzi” photo of Jennifer Lopez leaving a store near the Vatican (CNS Photo/Caroline Hroncich)

I felt truly welcomed by the CNS staff and honestly felt like this was a place where I could be creative and explore my own ideas. I’ve met so many wonderful people and explored so many new things I could go on for hours about how great each opportunity has been. I took paparazzi shots of Jennifer Lopez, I sat in the ‘VIP’ section at the papal audience, I helped out with the office move, just to mention a few of my many adventures.

When I arrived at Villanova two and a half years ago, I had no idea what I wanted to be. With so much pressure to decide, the infamous “undeclared” loomed on my transcript until about the last possible second. Once I decided on communications I faced a bigger challenge: What exactly did I want to do with my life? I’d tried my hand in a few areas, but none seemed to fit.

Writing has always been something that I’ve enjoyed, and interning at CNS really helped me realize that. With the help of the entire CNS staff, I conducted my first interview, wrote my first news story, and my first blog post.

Capture

A photo I took of Pope Francis arriving at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square Nov. 20 (CNS Photo/Caroline Hroncich)

This semester has made me realize that regardless of what I end up doing in the future, if I don’t get to write, I won’t truly be happy. I’m thrilled that I’ve been one of the lucky few to have had this experience.

When I board my flight back to the United States on December 21, I will be filled with many mixed emotions. When I think about the things I will miss about Rome (most of which will involve food), CNS trumps it all. In the future, if I return to Rome, I know one of the first places I will visit is the CNS office on Via della Conciliazione.

Editor’s note: Caroline Hroncich is a student at Villanova University and she interned at Catholic News Service’s Rome bureau for the semester.

- – -

Be sure to check out some of the other stories Caroline wrote during her time here:

English photographer strives to capture spirituality of the homeless

A Jesuit promotes human dignity, from Central America to the Holy See

Vatican official says not to expect papal encyclical on poverty

From New Jersey to the Vatican, opening a dialogue with the Gospel

A trip down under: Exploring the Vatican necropolis

Vatican getting ready to unveil completed restoration of Bernini colonnade

VATICAN CITY — In just a few months, walking under Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s colonnade to head to the Vatican post office will no longer feel like going through a dark, cramped New York City subway station.

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Restoration on the colonnade at the Vatican is set to wrap up at the beginning of 2014. (CNS photo/Carol Glatz)

For the past five years, large sections of the 17th-century colonnade surrounding St. Peter’s Square have been obscured by metal scaffolding and painted chipboard.

IMG_1206

Workers have reached the last section of Bernini’s colonnade in a five-year restoration project as seen in this Dec. 10, 2013 picture. (CNS photo/Carol Glatz)

But come January (or February… In Italy, they don’t like to nail it down too precisely), the colonnade will finally be unveiled in all its scrubbed down and spruced up glory. The project, which began in 2009, was supposed to take four years. One year behind schedule is almost a world record for Rome.

Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums told us today that the work was ready to wrap up. It cost a total of 5 million euro (almost $7 million) and required hundreds and hundreds of work-hours, he said.

WORK CONTINUES TO CLEAN COLONNADE AT VATICAN

The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is in the background as men work on scaffolding on the colonnade at the Vatican in 2012. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Workers sandblasted layers of dirt and grime, much of it pollution from the surrounding traffic, and carried out extensive restoration and detailed touch-ups.

WORKERS PREPARE TO FILL PITTED AREAS OF COLONNADE AT VATICAN

Workers preparing to fill pitted areas on the colonnade at the Vatican in 2012. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The finished columns and 140 statues of saints along the top look gorgeous. Here’s a shot showing “before and after” the cleaning that CNS senior photographer Paul Haring took in 2011 and several other pictures showing the work-in-progress.

DIFFERENCE SEEN BETWEEN RESTORED AND UNTOUCHED AREAS OF COLONNADE

The difference between the restored on the right and the untouched areas on the left of the colonnade in St. Peter’s Square in 2011.(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

MAN WATCHES POPE CELEBRATE EASTER MASS AT THE VATICAN

The decades of dirt and grime built up on the colonnade can be seen from this picture from Easter Mass at the Vatican in 2010. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).

RESTORATION CONTINUES ON COLONNADE AT THE VATICAN

Looking much better as a worker sets up scaffolding on the colonnade at the Vatican in 2011. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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Cleaned and restored columns of the colonnade surrounding St. Peter’s Square in 2013 with the Christmas tree in the background. (CNS photo/Carol Glatz)

Analog popes taking tentative taps in a digital age

POPE READS BOOK AT CASTEL GANDOLFO

Retired Pope Benedict XVI working at a desk at the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, July 23, 2010. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

VATICAN CITY — Though he prefers to use pencil and paper, the pope emeritus is fascinated by high-tech tools.

Retired Pope Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, told reporters yesterday that the pope shows great interest in the archbishop’s iPad.

“When I show him something on the iPad, and I’m making the information slide by on the screen with my fingers, these new technologies pique his interest from time to time,” he said.

The 57-year-old archbishop said the retired pope “doesn’t think these things are ruled out for an elderly person” like himself.

In fact, some may remember, Pope Benedict became the first pope in history to own an iPod when Vatican Radio staff gave him a 2-gigabyte white nano in 2006.

When the head of the radio’s technical and computer services department identified himself and handed the pope the boxed iPod, the pope was said to have replied, “Computer technology is the future.”

It’s doubtful he’s ever used the iPod, even though it was loaded with works by his favorite composers, like Mozart.

He never used the laptop he got as a gift just a few days after he broke his right wrist in 2009, preferring to use a voice recorder instead to put down his thoughts and ideas.

POPE SENDS FIRST TWITTER MESSAGE DURING GENERAL AUDIENCE AT VATICAN

Pope Benedict posting his first tweet on his Twitter account @Pontifex Dec. 12, 2012. (CNS photo/L ‘Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

But he tapped away with no problems when presented with a tablet launching the very first @Pontifex Twitter accounts and tweets almost exactly one year ago today, and when he inaugurated the Vatican’s online news portal, news.va in 2011.

POPE BENEDICT LIGHTS UP ELECTRONIC CHRISTMAS TREE IN ITALIAN TOWN USING TABLET AT VATICAN

Pope Benedict lights up one of the world’s largest electronic Christmas trees in Gubbio, Italy, using an electronic tablet at the Vatican Dec. 7, 2011. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

He also lit the world’s largest electronic Christmas “tree” from a Sony S Tablet two years ago from his papal apartment.

Though he isn’t immersed in the digital world, Pope Benedict repeatedly endorsed it as the new frontier for evangelization.

Pope Francis, too, is no digital native. As most people know, he prefers phonecalls and letters to IM and email.

Pope Francis launches smartphone app Missio featuring Catholic news, papal homilies, missionary efforts

Pope Francis launching the Missio app with national directors of pontifical mission societies May 17 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Catholic Press Photo)

Though he launched the Pontifical Mission Societies’ Missio App in May, he, like his predecessor, needed close coaching to figure out what to press on the iPad’s smooth button-less screen.

When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he once said that he would try to start using the Internet when he retired.  Obviously a plan that now may be delayed.

Vatican collecting your video greetings for the pope

VATICAN CITY — Since email is so last decade, how would you like to send the pope video Christmas greetings and prayers? popevideo msg

Now you can with Vine and Instagram sharing platforms through the Vatican’s Pope2You website.

Record and post your video using Vine or Instagram and insert the link onto this form, adding any additional notes and prayers in the dialogue box.

If you want, you can also send the links directly from your device via email to pope2you@me.com adding any written words you want in the email.

The only downside is the videos they collect won’t be presented to Pope Francis until sometime after Christmas.

But there is always the old-fashioned way of sending an actual card or note by air/surface mail to:

Pope Francis

Domus Sanctae Marthae

00120 Vatican City State

and don’t forget:

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Mater Ecclesiae monastery

00120 Vatican City State

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