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For Immediate Release From Vatican News!

(A Ten-Minute Read)

Pope Prays For Dialogue Over Conflict In The Middle East

Pope Francis issues a heartfelt plea for peace in Palestine, Israel, and Ukraine, urging dialogue over conflict and remembering the suffering of those affected.
By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis once again turned his prayers to peace in the world. Following the Regina Coeli in Saint Peter's Square on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Pope Francis once again expressed his hope that dialogue, negotiation, and diplomacy might prevail in the Middle East. He urged against succumbing to "the logic of assertion."

"I continue to watch with concern and sorrow the situation in the Middle East. I reiterate the plea not to yield to the claims of war but rather to prioritize dialogue and diplomacy, which can achieve much. Every day, I pray for peace in Palestine and Israel, hoping these two peoples can soon end their suffering."


Pope Francis then recalled, as usual, the ongoing war in Ukraine. He invited the world not to foget the conflict-ridden land "which suffers so much."

Francis then turned his thoughts to Father Matteo Pettinari, of the Order of Missionaries of the Consolata, who has served in Ivory Coast for 13 years and tragically passed away in a car accident on 18 April.

Pope Francis recalled that he is remembered as "the tireless missionary who left a profound legacy of generous service."

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


Pope Encourages Deepening Of Faith And Communion For Building Christian Unity

In his greetings shared with participants at the Fourth World Gathering of the Global Christian Forum taking place in Accra, Ghana, Pope Francis encourages everyone to deepen their faith and revitalize fraternal love, reflecting the unity to which Christians are called as they discuss the challenges facing the global Christian community. By Thaddeus Jones

Pope Francis has sent his greetings to participants meeting for the Fourth World Gathering of the Global Christian Forum from 15 to 20 April in Accra, Ghana. The global gathering brings together Christians from around the world of various traditions for a special time of prayer, worship, dialogue, and mission.

The theme, “That the World May Know,” will explore how to bear witness to Christ in today’s world to better proclaim the love and truth of Jesus Christ to the nations, with the aim "together, let’s make a difference for God’s glory."

Beautiful Mosaic Of Faith

Expressing his "heartfelt greetings" to all those gathered, the Pope praised the global diversity present reflecting "a beautiful mosaic of contemporary christianity" and sharing a common identity as followers of Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Flavio Pace, secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, read out the Pope's words followed by his own address as a participant at the meeting.

Called To Unity And Love

Touching on the theme, “that the world may know” (John 17:23b), the Pope said christians are called "to embody the unity and love of the Triune God in their personal and ecclesial lives so that they bear witness to a world scarred by division and rivalry."

Ecumenism Tied To Mission

Unity is key "for embracing the vision of the Kingdom of God," the Pope emphasised, and this requires "an intrinsic bond between ecumenism and Christian mission." The Pope noted significant contribution the Global Christian Forum has made in its 25-year history by providing spaces where members of different historical expressions of the Christian faith can "grow in mutual respect and fraternity by encountering one another in Christ."

In conclusion, he prayed that the meeting will help everyone to deepen their faith, revitalize fraternal love as they pray together, discuss and exchange experiences on the challenges facing the global christian community.

“To all of you, I invoke the blessings of Almighty God, and pray that the gathering will advance the visible unity among all Christians.”

Global Christian Forum in Accra

After Archbishop Pace read the Pope's message, he later offered his own contribution in addressing the participants. Echoing the Pope's words, he praised the "rich tapestry of Christianity, including Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Independent churches, and ecumenical organizations" represented at the meeting.

The Global Christian Forum's focus on sharing a "living faith" and promoting relations among Christian leaders has become a "valuable ecumenical tool", Archbishop Pace said, in addition to finding solutions to doctrinal divergences, exchanging faith experiences, deepening mutual understanding, and strengthening fraternity.

Archbishop Pace also underscored how Christian witness together reveals "the reconciling power of the Gospel" and this unity can show "the power of Christian faith that transcends human differences, forming a living community of brothers and sisters rooted in brotherly love, mutual respect, and shared purpose."

In conclusion, he recalled how the Catholic Church has been engaged in an unprecedented synodal process, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission” that included several fraternal delegates representing various Christian traditions taking part in the first session last October with an even larger number invited to the concluding session this coming October. While thanking them for their Synod participation, he remarked how the Syond "sent a clear and credible signal of the desire to journey together in the spirit of unity of faith and exchange of gifts", affirming "what unites Christians is greater and deeper than what divides them."

This meeting here in Ghana is also "animated by the spirit of synodality," he added, and that "by praying and working together, we can pool our resources, talents, and insights to address common challenges and advance the Gospel collectively."

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


Faced With Irresponsibility, People Are Called To Responsibility

Our Editorial Director offers his thoughts on Pope Francis' encounter with the Network of Schools for Peace, saying that a cry for peace is swelling amid the many situations of war and conflict. By Andrea Tornielli

The world continues to hold its breath following what has happened in the last six months and unfortunately is happening today in the Middle East.

Ever-more dramatic events are unfolding, including the cruel aggression within Israel perpetrated by Hamas with the killing of 1,200 people, mostly peaceful civilians; the saturation bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip that has caused almost 34,000 deaths, mostly civilians, many of them children; the raid that gutted the palace of an Iranian diplomatic mission in Damascus; Iran's response with drone and missile attacks on Israeli military targets; and, on Friday, Israel's response attacking military targets in Iran.

All this poses the ever-greater risk that escalation will degenerate into choices with no point of return, which would drag the whole world into a conflict with incalculable consequences.

With Pope Francis, the only world leader from whose words emerges the awareness of the tragic crossroads we are facing, we say no to war and violence, and yes to peace and negotiation.

More than twenty years ago, after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, Pope St. John Paul II published his 2002 World Day of Peace message, significantly titled, "No Peace Without Justice, No Justice Without Forgiveness."

His words were true and prophetic. The logic of reaction and revenge, of the response that must always follow, triggers a spiral from which it is difficult to emerge, and whose catastrophic consequences will be paid by ordinary people.

Ours is a world in which there are irresponsible people, who, instead of investing in the fight against hunger, improving healthcare services, renewable energies, and creating an economy less subservient to the lords of finance and more attentive to the common good, only think of investing huge sums in rearmament and in the most sophisticated tools to produce death and destruction. In the face of this, our appeal can only be directed to the responsibility of people.

While believers raise prayers to God to inspire the choices of those who govern, millions of people join their voices to raise a cry for peace.

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city...


Vatican Offers Free Cancer Screening For Homeless Women In Rome

Under the Colonnade of St. Peter's Square, the Vatican Dicastery for the Service of Charity runs a clinic offering dozens of homeless women free screening for breast cancer, as part of an initiative with the Komen Italy association. By Benedetta Capelli

Self-care is a thought that often does not cross the minds of people living on the streets.

It is even worse for women facing financial difficulties who are unable to access healthcare services, sometimes even to wash.

Since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has recognized this need, and responded through the Papal Almoner by creating facilities such as showers under the Colonnade of St. Peter’s, accommodations like the “Gift of Mercy” on Via dei Penitenzieri, and the “Mother of Mercy” clinic under the Colonnade.

An Important Synergy For Women

On Thursday, April 18, the Caravan of Prevention was set up in the Vatican Square as the result of a collaboration between the Dicastery for the Service of Charity and Komen Italy.

The association is dedicated to the prevention and fight against breast cancer in synergy with the Agostino Gemelli University Policlinic Foundation IRCCS and Gemelli Isola.

The caravan will be present in the Vatican every two months to assist women in need.

A pink ribbon, the symbol of prevention and research on the most widespread cancer among women, has been placed outside the “Mother of Mercy” clinic.

About forty women lacking healthcare assistance, helped by the clinic and the Santa Marta Dispensary, were able to undergo diagnostic screenings for breast cancer, such as mammography and breast ultrasound.

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city...


A Conversation With The Prefect Of The Dicastery For The Clergy

In view of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (21 April) we asked Cardinal Lazarus You Heung-sik, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy, some questions.
"Called to be Happy An interview with Cardinal Lazarus You Heung-sik" By Andrea Monda, Director of L'Osservatore Romano

What Is Vocation?

Before thinking of any religious or spiritual dimension, I would say this: vocation is essentially the call to be happy, to take one’s own life into one’s hands, to live it to the fullest and not waste it. This is God’s first desire for every man and woman, for each one of us: that our life not die out, that it not be lost, that it shine as much as possible. For this reason, He made Himself close in His Son Jesus, and he wants to draw us into the embrace of His love; thus, thanks to Baptism, we become an active part of this love story and, when we feel that we are loved and accompanied, our existence becomes a journey towards happiness, towards life without end. A journey which is then embodied and completed in a life choice, in a specific mission and in the many situations of each day.

But how can one recognize a vocation, and what is its relationship to desires?
In this regard, the Church’s rich tradition and the wisdom of Christian spirituality have much to teach us. In order to be happy — and happiness is the first vocation which joins all human beings — it is necessary that we not make mistakes in our life choices, at least the fundamental ones. And the first signposts to follow are precisely our desires, the things which we feel in our heart to be good for us and, through us, for the world around us. However, each day we experience self-deception, because our desires do not always correspond to the truth of what we are; they may be the fruits of a partial vision, they may arise from wounds or frustrations, they may be dictated by a selfish search for one’s own well-being, or sometimes, what we call desires are, in reality, illusions. Hence, the need for discernment, which is essentially the spiritual art of understanding, with God’s grace, what we must choose in our life. Discernment is possible only if we listen to ourselves and listen to God’s presence within us, overcoming the very present temptation to make our feelings coincide with absolute truth. For this reason, Pope Francis, at the beginning of his Wednesday catecheses dedicated to discernment, invited us to face the struggle of searching within ourselves and, at the same time, not to forget God’s presence in our life. We can thus recognize a vocation when we place our deep desires in dialogue with the work that God’s grace does inside of us; thanks to this dialogue, the night of doubts and questions gradually lightens and the Lord allows us to understand which path to take.

This dialogue between the human and spiritual dimensions is increasingly at the centre of priestly formation. Where are we in this regard?

This dialogue is necessary and perhaps we have at times neglected it. We should not run the risk of thinking that the spiritual aspect can develop apart from the human one, which would attribute a sort of “magical power” to God’s grace. God became flesh and therefore, the vocation to which he calls us is always incarnated in our human nature. The world, society and the Church need profoundly human priests, whose

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city...


Pope Calls Historians To Be Experts In And Servants Of Humanity

Pope Francis receives members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences on the 70th anniversary of the Committee’s foundation. By Christopher Wells

Historians have “a specific contribution” to make in the dialogue between the Church and the modern world, Pope Francis said on Saturday, quoting his predecessor St Paul VI.

Addressing members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences during their plenary meeting, the Holy Father highlighted their “international dimension and multicultural dynamic” as well as their “commitment to the search for historical truth on global scale.”

He said the “enriching” approach of the Committee can contribute to the “cultural diplomacy” necessary in the face of ongoing global conflict, and called upon members to “open horizons of dialogue where you can bring the light of the hope of the Gospel.”

Pope Francis Greets Members Of The Pontifical Commission For Historical Sciences

Building A Civilization Of Encounter

Pope Francis highlighted the “proximity” that exists between historians and the Church, a closeness based on the common search for the truth and service to the truth. Quoting Paul VI once again, Pope Francis said, “The Church walks in history, with women and men of every age, and does not belong to any culture, but desires to vivify the heart of every culture with the meek and courageous witness of the Gospel, to build together the civilization of encounter.”

This attitude is opposed to the “incivility of confrontation” that is nourished by self-referentiality and ideology. The Pope warned against a Church focused on itself, recalling Church’s mission to be “a truly humble and excellent intermediary between the Divine Saviour and humanity.”

Recalling that this year the Committee celebrates the 70th anniversary of its foundation, Pope Francis called on members “to conform your work to these words,” and expressed his hope that their studies in history might make them, like the Church, “experts in humanity and servants of humanity.”

Read the full article HERE!:https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2024-04/pope-calls-historians-to-be-experts-in-and-servants-of-humanity.html?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR3ocu76dVkiHPC2pvInJJS3wUiR3vwPj6ZeMR5PyFEG2RA4mYLU7kMtxi4_aem_Ab2IJFowbHvhIhCcje9fWQUQnIEKz2-EAnQjiQ1Y1mMy5IOt-AHjNxJNvdHdcDC9vfFw1Rfxt2i0KqrOLAt2UKvm


UNICEF Calls Nigeria To Take Decisive Action To Protect Children

UNICEF Nigeria urges ‘decisive action’ to protect children in Nigeria and ensure they are able to receive a quality education.
By Christopher Wells

In the past ten years, 180 children have been killed as a result of school attacks, while more than 1680 have been kidnapped.

A new report by UNICEF Nigeria also finds that some 60 school staff have been kidnapped and 14 killed, and more than 70 school attacks have occurred.

The report was issued on the tenth anniversary of the abduction of 276 mostly Christian female students in Chibok, Borno State, by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. It comes in the wake of yet another abduction of school children in Kaduna state last month. While attacks and abductions are sometimes related to ideological or social conflicts, many are perpetrated by criminal gangs with purely economic motives, hoping to exchange hostages for hefty ransoms.

Education at risk due to threats to children’s safety
The Minimum Standards for Safe Schools in Nigeria: Monitoring report July-December 2023 “summarises the results of an assessment conducted to evaluate” the implementation of the government's Minimum Standards in some ten states in northern Nigeria. According to the report’s forward, “Nigeria’s achievements in advancing education, including increasing primary school attendance and gender parity, remain threatened by tangible risks to children’s safety.”

The report highlights protracted conflicts in the north-west, leading to continued attacks on schools and the killing and abduction of children and teachers; as well as tensions related to extreme weather events and natural disasters, which are aggravated by ongoing climate change.

As a result, UNICEF Nigeria notes that in 2020, around 11,500 schools were closed due to attacks, while in 2021 more than one million children were afraid of going back to school.

Urgent Need For Government To Prioritize Safety

While Nigeria has taken “commendable steps to institutionalize a commitment to school safety,” the UNICEF report laments failures to implement that commitment throughout the states evaluated.

“I therefore call on the government to urgently prioritize further interventions and funding to scale up school safety efforts in every school across the country,” writes Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative Nigeria, while reiterating her organization’s commitment “to continuing to support the Federal Ministry of Education, state and local education authorities, communities and schools to realize safe, inclusive, quality education for every child.”


Pope Asks Children To Be “Artisans Of Peace”

Pope Francis asks Italian children to pray for their peers in Ukraine and Gaza, and encourages them to be “artisans of peace” as he meets with students and teachers of the Italian National Network of the Schools of Peace to the Vatican. By Christopher Wells

More than 6000 Italian girls and boys connected with the Italian National Network of Schools of Peace visited the Vatican on Friday morning for a special encounter with Pope Francis.

During a lively speech in which he repeatedly called for responses from the children, Pope Francis made a special appeal to remember children who afflicted by war and conflict, especially the children of Ukraine “who have forgotten how to smile”, and for the children of Gaza, “gunned-down” and suffering from hunger.

The Network of Schools of Peace was conceived after years of work at promoting the permanent education for peace and human rights in the curricula of all schools at every level. The Network is committed to educating young people about peace, justice, citizenship, human rights, and responsibility.

A Journey 'Full Of Ideas'

Pope Francis began his address to his youthful audience by thanking them for their journey “full of ideas” that aim to promote “a new vision of the world.” He thanked them “for being full of enthusiasm” and for their passionate and generous commitment to working for a better future.

Looking ahead to next fall’s Summit of the Future, hosted by the UN In New York, the Pope said the children’s contribution is necessary to ensure that the resolutions made on paper become “concrete and realized through paths and actions for change.”

Referring to the Italian initiative “Transforming the Future: For peace, with care,” the Pope challenged the boys and girls to be “protagonists, and not spectators of the future.” This, he said, requires networking, connections, and for people to be able to work together in synergy and harmony.

A Collective Dream

The Pope warned that today’s challenges are truly global, affect everyone, and require “the courage and creativity of a collective dream that animates an ongoing commitment to face together the environmental, economic, political and social crises that our planet is going through.”

He said, “it is a dream that requires us to be awake, not asleep,” and insisted that such dreams are realized through prayer, “that is, together with God, and not by our own strength.”

Pope Francis went on to highlight the two key words at the heart of their commitment: “peace” and “care.” These two ideas are interconnected, he said, explaining that true peace is not just the absence of violence but a “climate of goodwill, trust, and love that can mature in a society founded on relationships of care.”

Artisans Of Peace, Attitude Of Caring

Addressing the young people with deep affection, the Holy Father invited them to do their own part to foster peace in our world.

"In this time still marked by war, I ask you to be artisans of peace," he said. "In a society still prisoner of a throwaway culture, I ask you to be protagonists of inclusion; in a world torn by global crises, I ask you to be builders of the future, so that our common home may become a place of fraternity.”

Finally, Pope Francis appealed to the children to oppose an attitude of indifference with an attitude of caring, inviting them to “always care about the fate of our planet and your fellow human beings” and “about the future that opens before us, so

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


From Tourist To Pilgrim

In the latest episode of our podcast series "From Tourist to Pilgrim," Alessandro Vella from the Christian Antiquities Department of the Vatican Museums guides us in rediscovering the Constantinian (or Lateran) Baptistery.

Built using ancient materials not later than the era of Sixtus III (432-440), its octagonal design became a model for many baptisteries throughout the West since the octagon recalls the eighth day, symbolizing the Risen Christ.

Listen here: https://loom.ly/iw1Qimc


Vatican Viewpoint Podcast

79. Synod Spirituality With Fr. Radcliffe: ‘Hoping Against Hope’

In the first episode of a nine-part series, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP, guides our reflections on the spirituality of the Synod on synodality.

Listen here: https://youtu.be/lzy9JqkoBGk


Holy See Urges Solidarity And Action For Ethiopia's Humanitarian Crisis

The Holy See emphasises the need for solidarity and urgent action in response to Ethiopia's humanitarian crisis, stressing the dire conditions of over 4.4 million internally displaced people and over one million refugees, along with severe drought, malnutrition, and economic difficulties. By Francesca Merlo

Expressing solidarity with Ethiopia, Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva, highlighted the plight of over 4.4 million internally displaced people and over one million refugees.

At the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Situation in Ethiopia, taking place in Geneva on 16 April, Arcbishop Balestrero spoke on behalf of the Holy See when he said that the meeting was an expression of solidarity with “a Country enduring a profound humanitarian crisis”.

The Archbishop emphasised the urgency and scale of the mission, which he said “compels us to act with solidarity and support”.

A Catastrophe

He explained that Ethiopia is grappling with the consequences of conflict, disease outbreaks, and the fifth consecutive failed rainy season, resulting in the most severe drought conditions in decades. “These catastrophic events”, he explained, “have led to increased malnutrition rates, affecting in particular one million children and numerous women”.

Exacerbating the situation in the country are the severe economic difficulties, such as inflation and disrupted trade. In light of these difficulties, the Archbishop noted that “the Ethiopian authorities and various international partners have responded with remarkable resolve and commitment”. However, he continued, there is still a significant funding shortfall.

Pope Francis' Support

Pope Francis has emphasised the severity of the humanitarian crisis and the pressing need for solidarity with the affected populations. Reflecting his deep concern, Archbishop Balestrero noted that “the Holy See supports the appeals of the Ethiopian Episcopal Conference for immediate action and humanitarian aid and highly appreciates the convening of this High-level Pledging Event”.

The Church in Ethiopia

The Catholic Church in Ethiopia, although a minority, plays a pivotal role in providing and distributing aid to populations affected by food insecurity and victims of other emergencies. Archbishop Balestrero recalled that in 2023, the activities of the local Catholic Churches benefitted nearly 6 million people in nine of the country’s twelve regions, regardless of their religious affiliation. The projects focused mainly on humanitarian aid and food security. “These figures do not include the significant amount of financial support provided by other international Catholic agencies”.

Read the full article HERE!:https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2024-04/ettore-balestrero-ethiopia-discourse-aid-crisis-united-nations.html?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR3moOxQ0_k_79EP6Izzh3vxo2XHqRPXyHAFoLeUPrz5e32wHv6V8e_qfyg_aem_Ab2Yax5PQOhmAzyE8IG4Qbg9T0wkRZ9QOmRLzy0Sm6xOYc0Fm9hgBcJCXCdrcMIFXS0QTCz5KRbqbCu54bQ8H3lq

VISIT: https://www.facebook.com/vaticannews

Posted By: agnes levine
Sunday, April 21st 2024 at 7:09PM
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