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For Immediate Release From Vatican News!

(A Five-Minute Read)

Pope at Easter Vigil: ‘With Jesus no tomb will suppress the joy of life’

At the Vigil Mass in the Holy Night of Easter in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis invites us to “look up” to Jesus, the God of life, and reminds us that by welcoming Him no failure will doom us to despair. By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis presided over the traditional Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter in Saint Peter's Basilica on Saturday evening. The celebration started at the entrance of the Basilica with the evocative rite of the blessing of fire followed by the candlelight procession while Lumen Christi was sung and the Basilica lights came on in all their brilliance. The celebration included the baptism and confirmation of eight catechumens from Italy (4), South Korea (2), Japan (1) and Albania (1).

“Who Will Roll Away The Stone From The Tomb?”

In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel account of the women visiting the empty tomb of Jesus, drawing attention to two crucial moments of that event. At first the grieved women are troubled by a question: “Who will roll away the stone from the tomb?”.

“That stone, an overwhelming obstacle,” said the Pope, “symbolized what the women felt in their hearts. It represented the end of their hopes, now dashed by the obscure and sorrowful mystery that put an end to their dreams.”

The Tombstones We Encounter In Our Lives

Sometimes in life, the Pope observed, we too experience this feeling of being overwhelmed by sorrow and despair: “We encounter these tombstones in the emptiness left by the death of our loved ones, in the failures and fears that hold us back from accomplishing the good we mean to do”, but also “in all the forms of self-absorption that stifle our impulses to generosity and sincere love, in the rubber walls of selfishness and indifference that hold us back in the effort to build more just and humane cities and societies, in all our aspirations for peace that are shattered by cruel hatred and the brutality of war.”

The Victory Of Life Over Death

Yet, Pope Francis remarked, the same women who bore this darkness in their hearts tell us something quite extraordinary: when they looked up, they saw that that heavy stone had already been rolled back, revealing God’s power: “the victory of life over death, the triumph of light over darkness, the rebirth of hope amid the ruins of failure.”


Pope Francis at Easter Urbi et Orbi: Christ Is Risen! All Begins Anew!

Following the Easter Sunday Mass, Pope Francis delivers his Easter message and blessing "To the City and the World," praying especially for the Holy Land, Ukraine, Myanmar, Syria, Lebanon, and Africa, as well as for victims of human trafficking, unborn children, and all experiencing hard times. By Deborah Castellano Lubov


Pope: May The Lord Give Leaders The CapacityTto Pause And MediateFfor Peace

Pope Francis reiterates his appeal for negotiated solutions to the ongoing wars in Ukraine, Palestine and Israel. By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis on Sunday invoked political leaders to pause and make efforts to mediate, to negotiate a path to peace.

Speaking during the Regina Coeli address, the Holy Father invited the faithful not to fail in continuing to pray for peace: “A just, lasting peace, especially for the tormented Ukraine and for Palestine and Israel.”

And reiterating his tireless appeal to those in power to do everything possible to stop ongoing conflicts, he prayed to the Risen Lord to enlighten and sustain those engaged in efforts to negotiate a political solution.

“May the spirit of the Risen Lord enlighten and sustain all those who work to decrease the tension, and encourage gestures that make negotiations possible,” he said.

“May the spirit of the Risen Lord enlighten and sustain all those who work to decrease the tension, and encourage gestures that make negotiations possible.”

And directing his appeal to political leaders he said: “May the Lord give the leaders the ability to pause a little to mediate, to negotiate.”

“May the Lord give the leaders the ability to pause a little to mediate, to negotiate.”

Repeated Appeals

On every possible occasion, the Holy Father has tirelessly appealed for peace and restraint, and for prayers for millions of innocent people caught up in conflicts worldwide.

In particular, he has invited people to pray almost daily and urged leaders to negotiate since Russia‘s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas that was triggered by the killing – by Hamas – of over 1,300 people and the abduction of 250 others on 7 October 2023, sparking six months of relentless Israeli bombings on Gaza that have killed over 33,000 Palestinians.

Learn more HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/20...


Concerns remain of Gaza aid routes, new crossings needed says UN
The United Nations and aid agencies have expressed doubt that Israel’s promises to open more aid routes into Gaza will be enough to ease the plight of starving Palestinians. By Nathan Morley

The United Nations and aid agencies have expressed doubt that Israel’s promises to open more aid routes into Gaza will be enough to ease the plight of starving Palestinians.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said ‘scattered measures’ were not enough, whilst the children’s agency, UNICEF, said pledges of new crossings into Gaza needed to become reality.

In Berlin, the government warned Israel that they had ‘no more excuses’ to delay the entry of humanitarian supplies.

Earlier this week reports from Jerusalem suggested the Erez crossing would be temporarily reopened for the first time since Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel last year.

At the same time, a statement from Prime Minister Netanyahu's office said Ashdod would also receive shipments of aid to Gaza, and Jordanian aid would be delivered in increased volumes through the land-crossing at Kerem Shalom.

Britain has echoed the calls of the charity World Central Kitchen for an independent review of an Israeli drone strike on a convoy of the organization's vehicles.

The attack on Monday killed seven aid workers, including three UK nationals. The British Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, said London would ‘carefully review’ the initial report by the Israeli military.

The World Central Kitchen said an independent investigation was the only way to determine the truth of what happened, ensure transparency and accountability for those responsible, and prevent future attacks on humanitarian aid workers.

Earlier, Israel acknowledged the attack on the air workers was a result of a ‘series of failures.’

Listen to the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/world/news/2...


Ukraine's President Meets Christian Leaders

Volodomyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, meets with Bishops of the country’s Latin-Rite Catholic churches and with representatives of Ukrainian Protestant communities. By Christopher Wells

Ukraine’s Latin-Rite Catholic Bishops, along with representative’s of the nation’s Protestant communities, met Tuesday with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy at a meeting organized by the Ukrainian Bible Society.

Opening the meeting, President Zelenskyy offered Easter greetings to the religious leaders and expressed his hope for victory over the Russian forces occupying parts of Ukraine. That victory, he said, “will definitely be achieved thanks to our warriors, our people, and your sincere prayers.”

The president also thanked them for their pastoral care of the people, and in particular expressed gratitude for the service of military chaplains.

Concerns About Mobilizing Clergy

For their part, the Catholic bishops explained the challenges faced by chaplains in their ministry, and highlighed concerns about the possibility of mobilizing clergy to serve as soldiers. “We emphasised that if parish priests or those responsible for the humanitarian sector, including Caritas and all its units, are mobilised, there will be big problems,” said Bishop Vitaliy Kryvytskyy, the head of the Commission of Church-State Relations for the country’s Latin-Rite Bishops.

The bishops also raised issues concerning ecclesial properties owned by the state and leased to the Church for religious purposes; a recent law requires the Churches to pay market rates on those properties.

Importance Of Religious Freedom

The representatives of the Protestant communities emphasized the importance of religious freedom in Ukraine, especially in relations with co-religionists outside of Ukraine. They also raised the possibility of organizing “prayer breakfasts” with political leaders, an idea supported by President Zelenskyy.

Finally, the Ukrainian president urged the religious leaders to use their international contacts and connections to further spread truthful information about Ukraine and the crimes of the Russians. “After all, the Church has a great influence on society, on state leaders,” he said. “And so this is a very important signal for us regarding the support of our partners.”


Pope: Interreligious Dialogue Fosters Peace And Respect For Diversity

Pope Francis encourages people of all religions to promote diversity, peace, and care of creation, as he meets with participants in the first Colloquium between the Holy See and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. By Devin Watkins

The Vatican Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions held their First Colloquium in Rome this week, capped with a papal audience on Thursday.

In his address to participants, Pope Francis thanked the Republic of Kazakhstan for promoting interreligious dialogue, calling the Colloquium a “first important fruit” of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Dicastery and the Nazarbayev Centre.

He also recalled his Apostolic Journey to Kazakhstan on September 13-15, 2022, during which he took part in the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, held in Astana.

Promoting Peace And Social Harmony

Turning to the work of the Colloquium, the Pope highlighted three aspects of their work: “respect for diversity, commitment to our ‘common home,’ and the promotion of peace.”

He spoke first about the importance of respecting diversity, calling it an “indispensable element in democracy” that helps people live in harmony.

Kazakh society, he said, embraces a “healthy secularity” that does not confuse religion and politics but recognizes the role religion plays in serving society’s common good.

“Peace and social harmony,” he added, “are fostered in your model by fair and equitable treatment of different ethnic, religious and cultural components with regard to employment, access to public services and participation in the political and social life of the Nation, so that no one feels discriminated against or favoured because of his or her specific identity.”

Speak of Peace, Not War

Pope Francis went on to emphasize the need to preserve creation, calling it an “indispensable consequence of love for the Creator,” for our neighbors, and future generations.

He praised the Congress for offering an important contribution to stemming the environmental crisis.

Interreligious dialogue, noted the Pope, also helps to promote peace, especially in a time when “bellicose rhetoric has sadly come back into fashion.”

Hateful words lead to people dying in war, he said. “We need instead to speak of peace, to dream of peace, to give creativity and substance to hopes for peace, for these are the real hopes of individuals and of peoples,” he said. “Every effort should be made to do so, in dialogue with everyone.”

Fraternity Filled With Plans For Better Future

In conclusion, Pope Francis encouraged the work of the Colloquium, expressing his hopes that it might offer an example of how to see people of other religions as a “valued partner for reciprocal growth.”

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/20...


Holy See: International Cooperation Needed To Tackle Crimes Against Humanity

At the 78th UN General Assembly, the Holy See supports new measures to address crimes against humanity, asking that they be extended to prevent individuals from being extradited to countries where they risk torture or the death penalty. By Joseph Tulloch

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, spoke yesterday at the 78th session of the organisation's General Assembly in New York.

The Italian Archbishop emphasised the Church’s support for “a universal, multilateral, legally binding instrument” on the prevention of crimes against humanity. This would, he said, be a means of “upholding the dignity of every human person, promoting international cooperation and ending impunity for perpetrators.”

At the same time, Archbishop Caccia noted, given that it would be vital for any such Convention to be universally adopted, it is crucial that, when defining crimes, it “follow scrupulously the existing customary norms, without seeking to innovate.”

Safeguarding Prisoners

In a separate speech to the same General Assembly, the Archbishop also reflected on the importance of safeguarding prisoners.

In a speech read aloud by Msgr. Robert Murphy, Vice-Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, he welcomed Draft Article 5, which proposes that no person be returned to a jurisdiction where they would be in danger of suffering a crime against humanity.

This article, the Arcibishop said, should be extended to ensure that "no person is extradited to a jurisdiction where he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture or to the death penalty.”

Archbishop Caccia also welcomed Article 11, which discusses fair treatment of perpetrators and respect for international human rights obligations.

This article too, however, he said, should also be extended to promote “both the reintegration of the offenders and their reconciliation with society.”

“In particular,” the Archbishop said, “offenders must have access to religious ministers who may assist them in making amends for their crimes.”

The Death Penalty

In a third speech, also read by Msgr. Murphy, Archbishop Caccia stressed that, if the Convention on human rights is to be adopted, it must contain safeguards to avoid conflict with “the duty of States to uphold the right to life, to prevent torture and to respect other fundamental human rights.”

He thus expressed the Church's support for the wording of Draft Article 13(7), which allows States that have abolished the death penalty not to extradite alleged offenders if they may be subject to the death penalty.

“Similarly,” he emphasised, “those States which maintain the death penalty in their legislation but do not apply it in practice should be able to refuse extradition on the same basis.”


Pope's April Prayer Intention: 'For The Role of Women'

Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for the month of April 2024, and invites everyone to pray for the role of women. By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis' Monthly Prayer Intention This April Is For The Role of Women."

The Pope invited the Church to pray for this intention in this month's The Pope Video, which is entrusted to the entire Catholic Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

In The Pope Video for April, the Holy Father insists on the steps today’s society needs to take, and asks Christians to join him in prayer “that the dignity and worth of women be recognized in every culture, and for an end to the discrimination they face in various parts of the world.”
Pope Francis’ denunciation
The Pope in his video illustrates the huge gap that exists between declared principles and actual practice.

“In theory, we all agree that men and women have the same dignity as persons. But this does not play out in practice," he noted.

The Pope provides concrete examples, citing “discriminatory laws” currently in force: mandatory dress codes, impediments to ongoing education, denial of assistance for job opportunities. And he recalls that “in many countries, genital mutilation is still practiced.”

Thus, he said, “governments need to commit to eliminate” this discrimination and “work toward guaranteeing women’s human rights.”

He asks us all to respect women, who unfortunately continue to be treated “like something to get rid of,” and who are often victims of violence and abuse in many parts of the world, even in countries claiming to be more advanced. “And if we don’t [respect women],” the Pope adds, “our society will not progress.”

Contradictions Still Exist

According to a press release by the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network, contradictions are not lacking in today’s world.

Whereas in some countries, women have access to education and employment, and occupy leadership roles in businesses and organizations, many still do not enjoy the same opportunities as men.

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/20...

Posted By: agnes levine
Sunday, April 7th 2024 at 3:36PM
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