‘How Could I Not Denounce the Injustices You Suffer?’ Pope Says During Visit to Kengami Slum
Francis Tells Poor That Respecting the ‘Sacred 3 L’s’ of Land, Lodging and Labor Is Not Philanthropy, But Moral Duty
“The social and environmental debt owed to the poor of cities can be paid by respecting their sacred right of the ‘three L’s’: Land, Lodging, Labour,” the Pope said today, stressing, “This is not philanthropy; it is a moral duty upon all of us.”
The Pope made this strong statement this morning when speaking to the poor of the Kengami Slum in Nairobi. The residents of the slum — one of the six slum neighborhoods in Nairobi — welcomed him with cheers and enthusiasm.
There are approximately 2.5 million slum dwellers in Nairobi, representing 60% of the city’s population but occupying just 6% of the land. Nairobi, in fact, has the biggest and most populated slum in the world, called Kibera. However, Pope Francis visited today Kangemi, becuase it is rather less dangerous than some of the other slums of the city.
In referencing the “three L’s,” Pope Francis was using a phrase from his first address to the so-called popular movements, groups of people from around the world who are working together to fight poverty and injustice. In his native Spanish, he refers to their rights to the three T’s: tierra, techo and trabajo, which translates handily as three L’s: land, lodging and labor.
To the slum dwellers of Nairobi today, he said, “I am here because I want you to know that your joys and hopes, your troubles and your sorrows, are not indifferent to me. I realize the difficulties which you experience daily! How can I not denounce the injustices which you suffer?”
The culture of poor neighbourhoods, the Pope reflected, is steeped in wisdom and “has very positive traits, such as solidarity, sacrifice, patience, and strength, those values which are grounded in the fact that each human being is more important than the god of money.” He thanked them for reminding us that another type of culture is possible.
“I want in first place to uphold these values which you practice, values which are not quoted in the stock exchange, are not subject to speculation, and have no market price,” he said, adding, “I congratulate you, I accompany you and I want you to know that the Lord never forgets you.”
The Holy Father reminded them that the path of Jesus began on the peripheries, and goes from the poor and with the poor toward others.
“To see these signs of good living that increase daily in your midst in no way entails a disregard for the dreadful injustice of urban exclusion,” he continued, saying, “These are wounds inflicted by minorities who cling to power and wealth, who selfishly squander while a growing majority is forced to flee to abandoned, filthy and run-down peripheries.”
The Argentine Pontiff noted that this becomes even worse when we see the unjust distribution of land which leads often to entire families having to pay excessive and unfair rents for utterly unfit housing.
“I am also aware of the serious problem posed by faceless ‘private developers’ who hoard areas of land and even attempt to appropriate the playgrounds of your children’s schools.” Another very serious problem, he said, is the lack of access to infrastructures and basic services, referring to electricity, roads, educational and medical facilities, and especially access to drinking water.
“Access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights,” he said. “To deny a family water, under any bureaucratic pretext whatsoever, is a great injustice, especially when one profits from this need.”
The Pontiff also lamented that this situation of indifference and hostility experienced by poor neighbourhoods is aggravated when violence spreads and criminal organizations, serving economic or political interests, use children and young people as “canon fodder” for their ruthless business affairs. He also thanked those women “who fight heroically” to protect their sons and daughters from these dangers.
The Pope urged authorities to embark upon the path of social inclusion, education, sport, community action, and the protection of families, “for this is the only guarantee of a peace that is just, authentic and enduring.”
“These realities which I have just mentioned are not a random combination of unrelated problems. They are a consequence of new forms of colonialism which would make African countries ‘parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel,'” he said, citing the document Ecclesia in Africa.
Francis has called this phenomenon “ideological colonization,” by which he refers to Western countries seeking to impose ideas contrary to the values of other countries, such as their respect for life or sexuality.
“Indeed, countries are frequently pressured to adopt policies typical of the culture of waste,” he said, “like those aimed at lowering the birth rate, which seek ‘to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized.'”
In this regard, Francis proposed “a renewed attention to the idea of a respectful urban integration, as opposed to elimination, paternalism, indifference or mere containment.” He stressed that we need integrated cities which belong to everyone. “We need to go beyond the mere proclamation of rights which are not respected in practice, to implementing concrete and systematic initiatives capable of improving the overall living situation, and planning new urban developments of good quality for housing future generations.”
“Let us together pray, work and commit ourselves to ensuring that every family has dignified housing, access to drinking water, a toilet, reliable sources of energy for lighting, cooking and improving their homes; that every neighbourhood has streets, squares, schools, hospitals, areas for sport, recreation and art; that basic services are provided to each of you; that your appeals and your pleas for greater opportunity can be heard; that all can enjoy the peace and security which they rightfully deserve on the basis of their infinite human dignity.”
The Pope then urged all Christians and pastors to “renew their missionary zeal, to take initiative in the face of so many situations of injustice, to be involved in their neighbours’ problems, to accompany them in their struggles, to protect the fruits of their communitarian labour and to celebrate together each victory, large or small.”
He acknowledged how much they are already doing, but underscored that this is not “just another task,” but rather “the most important task of all,” for the Gospel is addressed in a special way to the poor.
“Mungu awabariki! God bless you!” Pope Francis said in Swahili, before concluding, asking them to pray for him.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Pope Tells Catechists: Yours Is a Holy Work
Encourages Them to Follow Example of Their Martyr-Patron in Giving Testimony of Holiness
Pope Francis this evening told catechists and teachers in Uganda that they are engaged in a “holy work,” crucial for bringing the Good News to every village of the country.
The Holy Father was welcomed to Munyonyo, site of the martyrdom of some of the Uganda Martyrs, with dancing and drums.
The national coordinator for catechists in Uganda told the Pope in his welcome speech that there are close to 15,000 catechists working in Uganda, coordinated by a committee of the Ugandan bishops’ conference.
“I wish before all else, to thank you for the sacrifices which you and your families make, and for the zeal and devotion with which you carry out your important task,” the Pontiff told them, speaking in Italian.
“You teach what Jesus taught, you instruct adults and help parents to raise their children in the faith, and you bring the joy and hope of eternal life to all.”
“Thank you especially for teaching our children and young people how to pray,” he said, departing from his prepared text to emphasize that it’s “so important to teach children how to pray!”
The Bishop of Rome acknowledged the many challenges faced by the catechists and the teachers, but exhorted them to be witnesses of holiness.
“Even when the task seems too much, the resources too few, the obstacles too great, it should never be forgotten that yours is a holy work,” he said, again emphasizing: “And I really want to underline this. Yours is a holy work.”
The Pope assured that the Holy Spirit is present in their efforts, adding: “The message you bring will take root all the more firmly in people’s hearts if you are not only a teacher but also a witness. And again I underline this, much more than a teacher, you should be a witness. Your example should speak to everyone of the beauty of prayer, the power of mercy and forgiveness, the joy of sharing in the Eucharist with all our brothers and sisters.”
Highlighting the testimony of the martyrs, some of whom were killed just yards from where the Pope was speaking, he said they “testified to the truth which sets men free; they were willing to shed their blood to be faithful to what they knew was good and beautiful and true.”
“We stand here today in Munyonyo at the place where King Mwanga determined to wipe out the followers of Christ,” the Pontiff reflected. “He failed in this, just as King Herod failed to kill Jesus. The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it.”
The Pope concluded with his customary request for prayer, adding: “I ask all of you catechists to pray for me and to ask little children to pray for me.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Pope in Uganda: Africa Is Continent of Hope
Says Martyrs Are Reminder That All Must Seek Justice, Common Good
Pope Francis began his trip to Uganda this evening by encouraging leaders of the country to protect and help one another as members of one human family, regardless of different beliefs and convictions.
The Holy Father arrived in Uganda around 5 pm local time, just after concluding the Kenya leg of his three-country Africa visit. On Sunday, he flies to Central African Republic, before returning to Rome on Monday.
After a festive welcome at the airport in Entebbe, the Pontiff addressed members of government and the diplomatic corps at the State House.
Speaking in English, he said that his visit to Uganda is above all to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the canonization of the Uganda martyrs, but added that he hopes “my presence here will also be seen as a sign of friendship, esteem and encouragement for all the people of this great nation.”
Uganda is about 40% Catholic and 40% Protestant (mostly Anglican), with a significant (12%) Muslim minority.
Pope Francis referred to the Uganda martyrs as “true national heroes.” They were both Catholic and Anglican and were executed between November 1885 and January 1887.
“They remind us of the importance that faith, moral rectitude and commitment to the common good have played, and continue to play, in the cultural, economic and political life of this country,” Francis said. “They also remind us that, despite our different beliefs and convictions, all of us are called to seek the truth, to work for justice and reconciliation, and to respect, protect and help one another as members of our one human family.”
The Holy Father said his visit is also meant to draw attention to Africa as a whole, the continent looked to by the world as, he said, “the continent of hope.”
In addition to its natural resources, the Pontiff reflected, Uganda has been “blessed in its people: its strong families, its young and its elderly.”
The elderly, he emphasized, are “the living memory of every people. Their wisdom and experience should always be valued as a compass which can enable society to find the right direction in confronting the challenges of the present with integrity, wisdom and vision.”
The Pope also praised Uganda for its welcome of refugees, noting that the world’s response to the unprecedented movement of people in various regions is a “test of our humanity, our respect for human dignity, and above all our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need.”
“Although my visit is brief,” the Pope said, “I hope to encourage the many quiet efforts being made to care for the poor, the sick and those in any kind of trouble. It is in these small signs that we see the true soul of a people. In so many ways, our world is growing closer; yet at the same time we see with concern the globalization of a ‘throwaway culture’ which blinds us to spiritual values, hardens our hearts before the needs of the poor, and robs our young of hope.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
FEATURE: Kenyan Bishop Expresses Hope That Pope’s Visit Helps Convert ‘Horror Perpetrators’
In Interview With Zenit, Bishop Anyolo of Homa Bay Speaks About Resilience of Kenyan People
This morning, Pope Francis left Kenya, the first leg of his three-country African tour. The next stops on his agenda are Uganda’s capital of Kampala and Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui.
The last stop for the Pontiff in Kenya was a private meeting with bishops, which followed his visit to the Kengami Slum and a meeting with young people.
In the lead-up to the papal visit, ZENIT had the chance to interview a bishop who was one of the lead organizers for the visit, Bishop Philip Anyolo of Homa Bay. The bishop spoke on what he hopes to be the most important fruits of the Pope’s visit.
“As Shepherds, we need a message of solidarity to Kenyans, we need prayers for the conversion of the horror perpetrators, we need a value based society,” he said.
“The Holy Father is coming to bring to us the message of hope,” Bishop Anyolo expressed, reiterating, “This is our desire.”
Bishop Anyolo’s expectations for the trip, he noted, were encouragement, inspiration and hope for the Church in Kenya.
When asked about the importance of the Pope’s trip, he said, “He is coming at a time when Kenya is experiencing a lot of challenges: religious, social, political and even economical. His person and principle of simplicity will be a powerful message to all.”
“His call for reconciliation is key in the Kenyan situation,” he said.
When asked about security concerns, he noted, “Kenyan people have been described as resilient, however the memories of the painful moments will take time.”
“There is still a lot of fear and helplessness among Kenyans. We need reassurance and hope that we shall solve the security situation soon.”
INTERVIEW: On Devotion to Uganda’s Martyrs, and on Recovering From War
75-year-old Missionary Notes Need for Message of Reconciliation Among Girls Abused by Guerrillas
Pope Francis landed today in Uganda, the second country of his six-day visit to Africa. It is not the first time that this country receives a Pontiff’s visit. Paul VI visited it in 1969 and Saint John Paul II in 1993. And now the Argentine Pontiff goes to this country also as a “messenger of peace, “ as he announced days before his trip.
Antonia Sanchez Morocho, a Comboni missionary in the country, described to ZENIT the excitement over the Holy Father’s arrival, and she analyzed the social and political challenges of the nation, as well as those of the Church.
She also explained the significance of the Uganda martyrs and how the country recovered and continues to recover from the violence of the war of 1981-1986.
ZENIT: How is this time before the Holy Father’s arrival being lived? What hopes do the Ugandan people have with Pope Francis’ visit?
Sanchez: We are living it with much excitement, especially in the Catholic community. I think the hope is to be confirmed in the maturity of their faith and their right of full membership in the Catholic Church.
ZENIT: What are the Church’s great challenges in the country?
Sanchez: In my judgment, the greatest challenge is the formation of the local clergy. There are fantastic priests, totally dedicated to their ministry and to the service of the people, while in other cases there are lacks.
ZENIT: And from the social and political point of view?
Sanchez: This could be to reinforce the education of young people in some traditional values, such as solidarity, the common good, hospitality, etc. Globalization is “imposing” individualism and the idolatry of money, among other things.
ZENIT: What work do you do in your mission in Uganda?
Sanchez: Tomorrow, God willing, I will be 75, which means that I am “re-retired,” but as missionaries, and I believe women Religious in general, never retire while something can be done, as I have been for some months in our central House here in Uganda helping in the administration. Occasionally I continue to give Spiritual Exercises and one or another workshop in our Spirituality Center in Namugongo, which I coordinated up to a few months ago.
ZENIT: One of the keys of this papal visit will be the 50th anniversary of the Canonization of the 22 Ugandan martyrs. In what way does the example of these martyrs continue to be present in the Ugandan people?
Sanchez: Devotion to the martyrs is impressive, not only in Uganda but also in other countries of Africa. There are constant pilgrimages throughout the year. For the martyrs’ feast on June 3, the gathering of pilgrims is massive. For weeks before there are people sleeping on straw mats around the Shrine; whether it is raining or cold, they are there. If asked why they come so early to suffer cold and sleep on the ground, the answer is: “the martyrs suffered more for their faith.”
ZENIT: The Holy Father said he is travelling to Africa as messenger of peace, an important message full of hope for these countries. In what way is the Gospel of Peace and Forgiveness transmitted to these people, where the consequences of violence are so tangible?
Sanchez: I think there is only one way to transmit the Gospel of Peace and Forgiveness, which is that of Jesus, which Francis proclaims to the four winds. “Forgive your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
An example: In my years of missionary activity on the front line, I gave classes of religious education in a Women’s Institute in Gulu, in north Uganda. Some time after the war ended, I visited this school again. The present Directress (a former pupil of mine) explained how the pupils coexisted, the majority of whom had been raped by the guerrillas and experienced all sorts of abuses and even torture. She told me it was very difficult. The girls became very aggressive and fought frequently among themselves. And so they created “The Reconciliation Room,” the hall of reconciliation. The girls always find someone there to listen to them and to guide them in the process of forgiving one another. They remain in the Room until they are able to be reconciled. Sometimes hours go by, but they succeed, the Directress told me.
[Translation by ZENIT]
Advent: Waiting and Visit
Lectio Divina: 1st Sunday of Advent, Year C
Jer 33.14-16; Ps 25; 1 Thes 3.12 to 4.2; Lk 21, 25-28.34-36
Is 45.1-8; Ps 125; Rom 9, 1-5; Lk 7.18-28
Third Sunday of Advent
1) Wait for a visit
The season of Advent has been chosen by the Church to prepare us to celebrate the incarnation of the Word of God. It is a waiting time that does not last long – four weeks in the Roman rite and six in the Ambrosian Rite – ending with the joy of Christmas, a day that celebrates the birth of Jesus among the songs of the angels: “Glory in heaven and peace to those whom God loves ” and the joy of the just (see Antiphon to the Magnificat – Second Vespers of Christmas Day).
Advent is the time that prepares the birth of Jesus. It is the time for Mary waiting for the birth. It is for us the time to educate our heart to a waiting that is real, daily, in constant tension toward the presence of the One who became man for us and saved our lives. But we don’t wait only for the birth of Jesus, we wait for his final return.
This is why the first Sunday of Advent projects us towards the second coming of Christ, when he comes in glory. This is the most important advent, the one to which we must all prepare.
This is why, in the Gospel of the First Sunday of Advent, Jesus tells us not to lose heart and not to burden it with fears and disappointments. “Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down” (Lk 21: 34) then “Be vigilant at all times and pray, that you may have strength to escape all that is about to happen and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21, 36).
In fact, it is simplistic to speak only of the Advent as a period of waiting for Christmas, because this liturgical season is also proposed to prepare us to appear before Christ and to meet the Lord that becomes our neighbor. The Christian walk is all aimed to welcome the newness of God that become our neighbor full of love and mercy. God is the Child who tends his arms full of tenderness, the Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep to bring it safe into the pen, the Father who runs to meet his lost son returning, the Samaritan who bends over the injured man, Jesus who died for us on the cross, dramatic cradle chosen to return to the heavenly Life.
For this reason we need to know how to live “waiting for him”, not only in the sense of waiting for God’s coming, but in the sense of tending toward God that bends towards us by sending His Son to visit us.
In fact the expression “advent” includes that of “visitatio (= visitation)” which means “visit”. In this case it is a visit from God”. He enters into our life and wants to come to us” (see Benedict XVI). The coming-visit of the Lord implies vigilance. We must be vigil as Christ says today “Be careful …” (see Lk 21, 34 and 36). Many times he has repeated it in parables, because the Lord comes like a thief in the night or as a Lord returning to see what happened to his assets entrusted to the servants.
2) Waiting for an encounter.
It is true that Advent means first of all waiting, but it is not a waiting vague, general and purely sentimental. It is the waiting for the personal encounter of light. An encounter that is especially clear in the day of the remembrance of His coming, but that can brighten every day and every moment of our lives. Advent is, therefore, the time when we must renew the decision to throw open the window of our heart and our mind to the Savior to enlighten us and illuminate all that we are.
How do we need to prepare for this meeting beside the fact that we keep vigilant our being stretched to Christ?
First of all, by trying to enrich our knowledge (which does not mean only knowledge but taste) of Christ, with honesty and humility. In fact, how can we recognize him when he comes, love him if we do not know him and know him if we do not “taste him”?
Second, by praying asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and support us in our search for the face of the Lord.
This time, therefore, educates the heart and the mind of everyone to a waiting that is real, daily and in constant tension to the presence of the One who became man for us and saved our lives: “The solemnities of the Church certainly recall events of the past, but are also present and alive realization because what happened once in history must be a continuously event in the life of the believer. Then the Lord came for all, but he must come again and again for each one of us “(Benedict XVI).
The three Gospels of St. Mark, St. Matthew and St. Luke speak of this coming just before the story of the Passion of Christ. It is his last preaching. The style is apocalyptic (as I have a briefly explained last Sunday): wars, devastation, natural disasters, destruction of the world. Let these dramatic descriptions not scare us. It is a style particularly used in the East to remind us that in front of Christ everything takes on a new meaning and even the world, which seems stable and eternal, will have an end when the Lord comes to give a new order to all things. So also in the Gospel of St. Luke, that we are going to read in the Year C, the Messiah uses apocalyptic words taking the opportunity from the praise that some were doing of the Temple of Jerusalem, but stating that this temple would be destroyed (Lk 21, 5 – 7) . There would have been warning signs, such as wars of one people against another, persecution of Christ’s disciples (Luke 21, 8-19) and the siege and the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 21,20 – 24). After the suffering caused by men, Jesus in today’s passage speaks of cosmic events and of his coming in glory. The holy fear that can come from listening to these words helps us to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ not only in a sentimental way, but aware that this is a decisive meeting for our existence.
In this the Virgin Mary can be of example. She is a role model in this waiting because Mary is “a simple country girl, who carries in his heart all hope of God” (Pope Francis). With her “yes”, with her “fiat”, the hope of Israel and the whole world became flesh. The season of Advent, which we begin today, gives us the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because is founded on the Word of God … It is a hope that does not disappoint simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful! “(Pope Francis.).
Virginity is the means chosen by God to give a new start to the world. As in the first creation, even now God creates “out of nothing“, that is from the void of human possibilities, without any help and any support. This “nothing”, this emptiness, this lack of explanation and of natural causes is precisely the virginity of Mary.
In this Advent let’s contemplate Mary’s virginity for a meditation on the perfect chastity for the Kingdom of Heaven.
St. Cyprian wrote to the first Christian virgins “You have begun to be what we all one day will be” (Virgins, 22, PL 4, 475). Such a prophecy, far from being against the married, is instead primarily for them, for their benefit. It reminds them that marriage is holy, beautiful, created by God and redeemed by Christ and the image of the marriage between Christ and the Church, but that’s not all. Christ is everything.
With their “yes” without reserve to God, with their life humble, simple, poor, obedient, and faithful like the one of Mary also in trials and hardships, they make Christ visible. With the gift of their life they hasten the coming of Christ and His Kingdom. With consecration the consecrated women become for all people sign of the love of God and of the eternal blessings that He gives us.
THEOPHYL. Our Lord declared above the fearful and sensible signs of the evils which should overtake sinners, against which the only remedy is watching and prayer, as it is said, And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time, &c.
BASIL; Every animal has within itself certain instincts which it has received from God, for the preservation of its own being. Wherefore Christ has also given us this warning, that what comes to them by nature, may be ours by the aid of reason and prudence: that we may flee from sin as the brute creatures shun deadly food, but that we seek after righteousness, as they wholesome herbs. Therefore said He, Take heed to yourselves, that is, that you may distinguish the noxious from the wholesome. But since there are two ways of taking heed to ourselves, the one with the bodily eyes, the other by the faculties of the soul, and the bodily eye does not reach to virtue; it remains that we speak of the operations of the soul. Take heed, that is, Look around you on all sides, keeping an ever watchful eye to the guardianship of your soul. He says not, Take heed to your own or to the things around, but to yourselves. For you are mind and spirit, your body is only of sense. Around you are riches, arts, and all the appendages of life, you must not mind these, but your soul, of which you must take especial care. The same admonition tends both to the healing of the sick, and the perfecting of those that are well, namely, such as are the guardians of the present, the providers of the future, not judging the actions of others, but strictly searching their own, not suffering the mind to be the slave of their passions but subduing the irrational part of the soul to the rational. But the reason why we should take heed He adds as follows, Lest at any time your hearts be overcharged, &c.
TIT. BOST. As if He says, Beware lest the eyes of your mind wax heavy. For the cares of this life, and surfeiting, and drunkenness, scare away prudence, shatter and make shipwreck of faith.
CLEM. ALEX. Drunkenness is an excessive use of wine; crapula is the uneasiness, and nausea attendant on drunkenness, a Greek word so called from the motion of the head. And a little below. As then we must partake of food lest we suffer hunger, so also of drink lest we thirst, but with still greater care to avoid falling into excess. For the indulgence of wine is deceitful, and the soul when free from wine will be the wisest and best, but steeped in the fumes of wine is lost as in a cloud.
BASIL; But carefulness, or the care of this life, although it seems to have nothing unlawful in it, nevertheless if it conduce not to religion, must be avoided. And the reason why He said this He shows by what comes next, And so that day come upon you unawares.
THEOPHYL. For that day will not come when men are expecting it, but unlooked for and by stealth, taking as a snare those who are unwary. For as a snare shall it come upon all them that sit upon the face of the earth. But this we may diligently keep far from us. For that day will take those that sit on the face of the earth, as the unthinking and slothful. But as many as are prompt and active in the way of good, not sitting and loitering on the ground, but rising from it, saying to themselves, Rise up, be gone, for here there is no rest for you. To such that day is not as a perilous snare, but a day of rejoicing.
EUSEB. He taught them therefore to take heed to the things we have just before mentioned, lest they fall into the indolence resulting therefrom. Hence it follows, Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all those things that shall come to pass.
THEOPHYL. Namely, hunger, pestilence, and such like, which for a time only threaten the elect and others, and those things also which are hereafter the lot of the guilty for ever. For these we can in no wise escape, save by watching and prayer.
<p dir=”ltr”>AUG. This is supposed to be that flight which Matthew mentions; which must not be in the winter or on the sabbath day. To the winter belong the cares of this life, which are mournful as the winter, but to the sabbath surfeiting and drunkenness, which drowns and buries the heart in carnal luxury and delight, since on that day the Jews are immersed in worldly pleasure, while they are lost to a spiritual sabbath.
THEOPHYL. And because a Christian needs not only to flee evil, but to strive to obtain glory, He adds, And to stand before the Son of man. For this is the glory of angels, to stand before the Son of man, our God, and always to behold His face.
BEDE; Now supposing a physician should bid us beware of the juice of a certain herb, lest a sudden death overtake us, we should most earnestly attend to his command; but when our Savior warns us to shun drunkenness and surfeiting, and the cares of this world, men have no fear of being wounded and destroyed by them; for the faith which they put in the caution of the physician, they disdain to give to the words of God.
Coadjutor Named for Ba Ria, Vietnam
Fr. Emmanuel Nguyen Hong Son Studied Theology in France
Pope Francis has named Fr. Emmanuel Nguyen Hong Son as coadjutor of the diocese of Ba Ria, Vietnam.
He will succeed Bishop Thomas Nguyên Văn Trâm, who is 73.
Emmanuel Nguyen Hong Son was born in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1980. He holds a licentiate in dogmatic theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris, France, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Ba Ria, including rector of the minor seminary, head of continuing formation of diocesan clergy, member of the episcopal commission for the doctrine of the faith. He is currently vicar general of the same diocese.
The Diocese of Ba Ria has some 250,000 Catholics in a population of 1.4 million. They are served by about 170 priests and 800 religious.
Prelate Named for Whitehorse, Yukon
Peru Native to Serve Northern Canadian Diocese
Pope Francis has named Fr. Hector Vila as bishop of Whitehorse, Yukon, the largest city in northern Canada.
Hector Vila was born in Lima, Peru, in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1995. He studied at the University of Toronto, Canada, and the Redemptoris Mater seminary in Rome, and has served in pastoral roles in the Roman parishes of St. Ireneo and St. Patrizio and in the parish of St. Norbert in Toronto, and is currently rector of the Redemptoris Mater seminary in Toronto.
Bishop-elect Vila succeeds Bishop Gary Gordon who was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria on June 14, 2014. Bishop Gordon had served as Apostolic Administrator of Whitehorse until he was installed as Bishop of Victoria on August 28, 2014. Since then, the Reverend Kieran Kilcommons, M.H.A., has been Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Whitehorse.
According to the CCCB 2015 Directory, the Diocese of Whitehorse has 22 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 8,150, served by seven diocesan priests, three priests who are members of religious communities, two Sisters who are also members of religious communities, and seven lay pastoral assistants.
FULL TEXT: Pope’s Off-the-Cuff Address to Kenyan Youth
“If you haven’t received understanding, be understanding with others, if you haven’t received love, love others; if you have felt the pain of loneliness, approach those that are alone”
Here is a ZENIT translation of the transcription of Pope Francis’ address to youth today in Kenya. He did not follow his prepared text and instead spoke in his native Spanish, with his words simultaneously translated to English.
* * *
Thank you so much for this Rosary that you said for me. I thank you for your enthusiastic presence. Thank you, Emmanuel and Linette, for your testimonies. There is a question at the base of all the questions that the two young people have asked me: Why do divisions, fights, war, death, fanaticism, destruction happen among young people? Why is there this desire for self-destruction?
In the first page of the Bible, in all those wonderful things that God made, a brother kills another brother, and the spirit of evil leads us to destruction. And the spirit of evil leads us to disunion, to tribalism, to corruption, to dependence on drugs. It leads us to destruction because of fanaticism. Emmanuel asked: What can be done so that ideological fanaticism does not rob us of a brother, a friend?
There is a word that might seem annoying, but I don’t want to avoid it, because you said it before me. You used it when you brought me the Rosaries that you prayed for me. The Bishop also used it when he introduced you and said that you prepared yourselves for this visit with prayer. The first thing I’ll answer is that a man loses the best of his being human when he forgets to pray, because he feels omnipotent, because he doesn’t feel the need to ask for help in face of so many tragedies.
Life is full of difficulties, but there are two ways of looking at difficulties: either a person looks at them as something that blocks him, destroys him, stops him, or he looks at them as an opportunity. It is for you to choose. For me, is a difficulty a way of destruction or it is an opportunity to surmount my whole situation, that of my family, of my communities, of my country? Boys and girls, we don’t live in Heaven, we live on earth.
And the earth is full of difficulties. The earth is full not only of difficulties but of invitations to deviate to evil. However, there is something that all of you young people have that lasts a time: the capacity to choose. What way do I want to choose? Which of these two things do I want to choose? To allow myself to be defeated by the difficulty or to consider the difficulty an opportunity, with which I can win?
Some of the difficulties you named are real challenges; therefore, first a question: do you want to surmount these challenges or allow yourselves to be defeated by the challenges? Are you like sportsmen who, when they come to play here in the Stadium, want to win or are you like those who have already sold the victory to others or have put the victory in their pocket? It is for you to choose.
A challenge, of which Linette spoke, is that of tribalism. Tribalism destroys a nation. Tribalism means to hide our hands behind us and to have a stone in each hand to throw it against the other. Tribalism is overcome only by listening with the heart and with the hand – with the ears. What is your culture? Why are you like this? Why does your tribe have this habit, this custom? Does your tribe feel superior or inferior? — with the heart. Once I have heard the answer with the ears then I open my heart and stretch out my hand to continue the dialogue. If you don’t dialogue and don’t listen to one another, then there will always be tribalism as a woodworm that corrupts the society.
A Day of Prayer and Reconciliation has been declared. I would now like to invite all of you young people — Linette and Emmanuel come here –, that we all hold hands and stand up as a sign against tribalism. We are all a nation. Our heart should be like this. Tribalism is not only to raise one’s hand today. This is the desire, but it is a decision. But tribalism is a work of every day. To defeat tribalism is an endeavor of every day. An endeavor of the ear, an endeavor of the heart, of opening one’s heart to the other, and it is an endeavor of the hand: to shake hands with one another. And now shake hands among yourselves!
Another question, which Linette posed, regards corruption. I wonder: can corruption be justified? Because of the simple fact that all are sinning, that all act on the basis of corruption. How can we be Christians and combat the evil of corruption? I remember that in my homeland a youth of about 20 or 22 years old wanted to dedicate himself to politics. He studied, was enthusiastic, went from one side to another, and he found work in a Ministry. One day he had to decide what thing he should buy. And then he asked for three estimates. He examined them and chose the most economic, the most appropriate. Then he went to the boss’ office so that he would sign it. “Why did you choose this?” “Because the most appropriate one must be chosen for the country’s finances.” “No! You must choose those that give you the most to put in your pocket!” The youth answered his boss: “I came to engage in politics to help the homeland, to make it greater.” His boss answered him: “I engage in politics to steal.” This is just one example.
And this happens not only in politics, in all institutions — including in the Vatican — there are cases of corruption
And there was also a question on how to use the media to spread Christ’s message of hope and to promote correct initiatives so that a difference is seen. The first means of communication is a word, a gesture, a smile. The first gesture of communication is closeness; it is to seek friendship. If you speak well among yourselves, if you smile, if you approach one another as brothers, if you are close to each other, even if you belong to different tribes, close also to those that are in need, the abandoned, the elderly that no one visits, if you are close to them, these gestures of communication are more infectious than any television network.
Well, all these questions … I hope I’ve said something that can help. But ask Jesus, pray to the Lord to give you the strength to destroy tribalism, to all be brothers, that He give you, encourage you, not to let yourselves be corrupted. That He give you the delight of being able to communicate among yourselves as brothers, with a smile, with a good word, with a gesture of help and closeness.
Manuel also asked incisive questions. The first thing he said worries me: What can we do to impede the recruitment of persons who are dear to us? What can we do to make them come back? To answer this we must know why a youth full of illusions allows himself to be recruited, or goes to seek to be recruited, distances himself from his family, from his friends, from his tribe, from his homeland. He distances himself from life because he learns to kill. And this is a question that you must address to all the Authorities. If a youth, a boy or a girl, has no work, cannot study, what can he/she do? He can turn to delinquency or fall into a form of dependence, or commit suicide. The statistics on suicide are not published in Europe. Or he can enroll in some activity that demonstrates a goal in life but is, perhaps, seduced or deceived. The first thing we must do to avoid a youth being recruited, or that he go to be recruited, is education and work. If a youth doesn’t have work, what future is there for him? From there comes the idea to let himself be recruited. If a youth doesn’t have the possibility of receiving an education, even an emergency education, small tasks, what can he do? And the danger is there. It is a social danger that goes beyond us, beyond countries, because it depends on an international system that’s unjust, which doesn’t have the person at the center of the economy but the god of money. What can I do to help him or to make him come back?
In the first place, pray, but intensely. God is stronger than any recruitment. And then speak to
I will share a confidence with you. It’s 12 o’clock. Are you hungry?
I always keep two things in my pocket: a Rosary, to pray and something that seems strange … what is it? It is the story of God’s failure. It’s a small Via Crucis. Just as Jesus suffered from the moment he was condemned to death to the moment he was buried. With these two things, I do my best. Thanks to these two things I don’t lose hope.
One last question of “theologian” Manuel. What words do you have for young people who have not experienced love in their own families? Is it possible to come out of this experience? There are abandoned children everywhere, either because they were abandoned at birth or because life, the family, the parents have abandoned them and they don’t feel the affection of the family.
This is why the family is so important; defend the family, defend it always. Not only are there abandoned children everywhere but also abandoned elderly who are alone, with no one visiting them; no one who loves them. How can one come out of this negative experience of estrangement and lack of love? There is only one remedy to come out of these experiences: to do what oneself has not received. If you haven’t received understanding, be understanding with others, if you haven’t received love, love others; if you have felt the pain of loneliness, approach those that are alone; flesh is healed with flesh and God became flesh to heal us. Therefore, we must do the same with others.
I think that before the referee whistles the end it’s time to finish. My heartfelt thanks to you for coming, and for allowing me to speak in my native tongue. I thank you for having prayed so many Rosaries for me. And please, I ask you to pray for me, because I also am in need of it, and much so. I count on your prayers and before going, I ask you all to stand up and to pray together to our Father in Heaven who has only one defect: He cannot stop being Father.
[Our Father …]
[This is a ZENIT translation of the transcription of the original Spanish]
Pope Gives Youth Choice: Do You Want to Overcome Challenges or Be Overcome by Them?
Throwing Aside Script, Pope Francis Asks Kenya’s Young People If They’ll Allow Difficulties to Destroy or Use Them as Opportunities
Pope Francis has asked Kenya’s young people how they will respond to the challenges they face, including those of tribalism, corruption, and desperation, and challenged them to get out of vicious cycles.
Speaking to tens of thousands gathered in Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium this morning, the Pope listened to the questions of a young man and woman and, putting aside his prepared script, said that he asks himself something on the basis of all the questions they asked:”Why do divisions, wars and deaths occur? Fanatism, and divisions among young people? Why is there that desire to destroy?”
He recalled that in the first page of the Bible, after all those wonderful things that the Lord had done, a brother kills another brother, and observed that the spirit of evil takes us to destruction, lack of unity, tribalism, corruption and drugs. “It takes us to a destruction out of fanatism,” he said.
The Pope underscored that a man or a woman loses the worst of their humanity when they forget how to pray,” because they feel powerful, because they don’t feel the need to ask the Lord for help in the face of so many tragedies.”
Francis stressed that there are different ways of looking at life’s many difficulties, noting you can see them as something that destroys or stops you, or as a real opportunity to overcome the difficulty.
“To all of you,” he said, “the choice is open,” calling on them to reflect, “‘For me, is this a path of destruction or is it an opportunity to overcome this difficulty, for me, for a member of my family and for this country?'”
“Young people, we don’t live in heaven, we live on earth and earth is full of difficulties and not only of opportunities but sometimes invitations that will lead you astray towards evil. But there is something that all of you have which is big, the capacity to choose. Which path do you want to choose? Which of these two do I want? To choose the path of difficulty and division or the path of opportunity, opportunity to overcome myself and overcome difficulties.”
“Do you want to overcome challenges or be overcome by them?” he said, stressing, “You have to choose.”
We are a nation
The Pope acknowledged the difficulties of tribalism, and noted that it destroys, when it involves violence and power, rather than an ear, heart, and hand. “If you don’t dialogue with each other, if you don’t listen to each other, then you’re going to have the division like dust, like a worm that grows in society.”
The Pontiff mentioned that yesterday was pronounced as a day of prayer and reconciliation. Francis then invited all gathered to hold each other’s hands, including those who had just spoken, to stand up as a sign against tribalism. In English, he said, ‘We’re all a nation.”
“We are all a nation! That’s how our hearts must be. Tribalism isn’t just raising our hearts today, it’s an expression of our desire, of our hearts and this tribalism is a work that we must carry out every day against this tendency, to overcome this tendency of tribalism, it is a daily endeavor. It’s a work of the ear, you have to listen to others, it’s a work of opening your heart to others and it’s a work of your hands, you offer your hands to others,” he continued.
Sweet as sugar
The Holy Father warned that corruption can seem “sweet as sugar,” adding that even in the Vatican there has been corruption.
“Corruption is not a path to life, but to death!” he said, noting it robs faithful of joy and peace.
Acknowledging the difficulties youth face, the Jesuit Pope encouraged, “When desperation hits you, look at the Cross.” He reminded them that this is hope because the story does not end there, but the Resurrection follows. The Pope also reminded the young people to pray and to pray very hard, for it will help them.
Recognizing many are abandoned, including those who do not experience love of their parents, he noted there is just one solution: Do or give what you haven’t received. He explained that if you did not feel loved or understood, then love and be understanding, and if you felt alone, approach and be close to those who are lonely.
Responding to a question about ways of communication, especially through technology, the Pope stressed that gestures of closeness and friendship are what is needed, and that this intimacy and sharing will become contagious and bare many fruits.
As the Pope neared the end of his talk, he commented that it was almost noon and asked, “Are you hungry?” to gauge if he could share one thing more, which the crowds enthusiastically welcomed. The Pontiff went on to tell them the two things he always carries with him: a rosary and Via Crucis.
After Pope Francis shared with them God’s only “defect”–that He can’t stop being Father–he concluded asking all present to stand and join in praying an Our Father.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full translation of transcription: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/full-text-pope-s-off-the-cuff-address-to-kenyan-youth