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ZENIT News in Text Format

Today’s news dispatch: Nov. 28, 2015

Pope to Religious: You Can’t Depend on Legacy of Martyrs, Future Is in Your Hands

Says With Memory, Fidelity and Prayer, Uganda Will Continue to Be Pearl of Africa

Pope Francis concluded the day in Uganda by giving an off-the-cuff address to the nation’s priests and religious, in which he said that they couldn’t piggy-back on the glories of the past, but had to themselves construct the glory of the future.

The Pope is in the middle of his three-nation, six-day visit to Africa, with his departure for Central African Republic scheduled for tomorrow and his return to Rome set for Monday.

The Holy Father spoke this evening to Uganda’s priests and religious, referencing especially the legacy of the Ugandan martyrs, killed in the late 19th century, and still the object of fervent veneration. During the Feast of the Ugandan Martyrs, half a million people descend on Namugongo.

The Pope centered his reflection on three words or concepts — memory, fidelity and prayer. He has on several other occasions urged the faithful to keep alive the memory of God’s action in their lives, and again emphasized this point today.

“The Church in Uganda can never become accustomed to the distant memory of its martyrs,” he said. “Martyr means witness. The Church in Uganda, to be faithful to this memory, must continue to be a witness. It can’t live ‘piggy-backing.’ The glories of the past were the beginning but you have to make the glory of the future. And this is the task that the Church gives to you. Be witnesses, as the martyrs who gave their lives for the Gospel were witnesses.”

Faithful

The Pope said his second “word” for the priests and religious is fidelity.

“Fidelity to memory. Fidelity to one’s vocation. Fidelity to apostolic zeal. Fidelity means to follow the way of holiness. Fidelity means to do what the witnesses of the past did: to be missionaries.”

“Uganda was watered with the blood of martyrs, of witnesses,” the Holy Father said. “Today it is necessary to continue watering it and for this, new challenges, new testimonies, new missions.”

The Bishop of Rome said that if the Ugandan faithful didn’t follow i this spirit, they would “lose the great richness that you have.”

“And the ‘pearl of Africa’ will end up being on display in a museum. Because the devil attacks like that — little by little.”

Prayer

Finally, the Pontiff emphasized the importance of prayer, and in this regard, the need to be transparent.

Religious can’t live a double life, he said, encouraging them to take their sin to confession.

“Don’t keep hidden what God doesn’t want. Don’t keep a lack of fidelity hidden away. Don’t shut memory up in a closet,” he said.

Missionary priests

The Pope also had a particular invitation for priests. Noting that some Ugandan dioceses might have numerous clergy, while others don’t have enough, he recommended that those who are in dioceses with many priests offer themselves to their bishops to be sent to mission dioceses.

It’s not easy, he acknowledged, but with this spirit, “Uganda will continue to be missionary.”

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/full-text-pope-s-off-the-cuff-address-to-priests-religious-of-uganda

 

Pope Tells Young Ugandans Best ‘Weapon’ They Could Ever Possess Is Prayer

Reminds Youth of 3 Tools Which Can Transform Negative Experiences Into Good

Can negative situations be turned around and transformed into something good? Pope Francis says yes, as long as you turn to Jesus and His Mother.
 
During his meeting with Uganda’s young people gathered at Kololo Air Strip in the African nation’s capital of Kampala this afternoon, the Pope listened to the testimonies of a young man and woman and, putting aside his prepared script, reflected how both had had bad experiences, but assured that bad experiences can serve for something in life.
 
Winnie Nansumba, who lost both her parents by age 7, told Pope Francis about living with HIV and her work to fight AIDS, discrimination and depression. In her testimony, she told her peers, “Take charge of your life and know your (HIV) status. HIV is real.” She reminded them that your body is a temple, saying to beware of STDs, and don’t live in sin. Also, a young man, Emmanuel Odokonyero, shared his tragic story of being in captivity for three months as hostage of the Lord’s Resistance Army when they stormed into the Sacred Heart Minor Seminary, abducting 41 children, including him. He recounted how he managed to escape and spoke on his sorrow for those who died and the impact of his ordeal.

Despite what may seem to be insurmountable challenges, the Pope reminded the young people in response to the testimonies, Jesus makes it clear that that he can work great miracles, transforming walls into horizons, which open to the future. Before a negative experience, he said, acknowledging how many of those in the audience had suffered negative experiences, there is hope.

Not magic, but Jesus

When bitterness and sadness are turned into hope, Francis stressed, “This is not magic, it is a work of Jesus. Because Jesus is Lord! Jesus can do anything! Jesus suffered the most negative experience of history and was insulted, was cast out, and was assassinated. But Jesus with the power of God is risen; He can make each of us have the same outcome with every negative experience because Jesus is Lord.”

Through this “death” of experiencing difficult situations, the Pope noted, there is a life, a life for everyone. “If I transform the negative into the positive, I’m a winner. But this can be done only by the grace of Jesus,” he said.

“Are you sure about this? I cannot hear you!,” he said in dialouge with the crowd of young people. “Are you willing to make in life all the negative things into positive things? Are you willing to turn hate into love? To transform war into peace? You should be aware that you are a people of martyrs. In your veins flows the blood of the martyrs and for that, you have faith and life.”

“They say that the microphone does not work well. Sometimes we also do not function well and when we do not function well, to whom do we go for help? Don’t I feel … stronger … in Jesus! Jesus can change your life. Jesus can break down all the walls in front of you. Jesus can make it so, that your life is service to others.”

“Some of you may ask: ‘So there is a magic wand?’ If you want Jesus to change your life you have to ask Him for help. You must pray. You got it, right? Pray! I ask you: Do you pray? Are you sure? Pray to Jesus because He is the Savior. Never stop praying. Prayer is the most powerful weapon that a young man has. Jesus loves us. I ask you, Jesus loves some, yes, and some no? Jesus loves everyone, doesn’t He? Does Jesus wants to help everyone?”

Open hearts

If you believe this is true, the Pope urged, “open the door of your heart to Jesus and let Him enter into your lives to combat the struggles.” 

“Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to wish the best for yourself? Are you willing to ask Jesus to help you in the fight?” he asied.

He also pointed out a third element, that we all belong to the Church, and the Church has a mother: Mary. “When a child falls, he gets hurt and starts crying, he goes looking for his mother. When we have a problem, the best thing we can do is go where our Mother is and pray to Mary, our Mother. Do you agree? You pray to the Virgin, to our Mother? And I ask you: Do you pray to Jesus and the Virgin Mary, our Mother? (Yesss …)”

So these are the three things, he said, namely to overcome the difficulties, transforming the negative into a positive, and prayer. “Prayer to Jesus who can do anything, Jesus who enters into our hearts and changes our lives. Jesus came to save and to give His life for me,” and also prayer to our Mother Mary.

The Pope concluded, thanking them for listening to him and for their interest in changing the negatives in their lives into positives, with Jesus’ and Mary’s help. He invited them to pray together because our Mother protects us. We agree? All together?

The Holy Father is making an Apostolic Visit to Africa, Nov. 25-30. He arrived in Uganda’s capital of Kampala yesterday, after having been in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi. Tomorrow, he leaves for Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui, where he will visit a refugee camp and open the Holy Door for the Jubilee Year.

***

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/full-text-pope-s-off-the-cuff-address-to-ugandan-youth

 

 

Legacy of Ugandan Martyrs Isn’t to Remain ‘Enshrined as Precious Jewel in Museum,’ Suggests Pope

During Mass With 2M Ugandans, Pontiff Reminds Faithful Earthly Pleasures Don’t Bring Lasting Joy or Peace and Shares What Does

The witness of the martyrs shows to all that worldly pleasures and earthly power do not bring lasting joy or peace, but rather, fidelity to God, honesty and integrity of life, and genuine concern for the good of others, do, in a way that the world cannot.

During his homily during his first Mass in Uganda, the Pope made this point to the some 2 million faithful gathered at the Sanctuary of the Ugandan Martyrs at Namugongo after having visited Namugongo’s Catholic and Anglican shrines first thing this morning. The Namugongo Anglican Shrine stands on the site of the martyrdom of 25 Ugandan Catholics and Anglicans, whose relics are preserved in a chapel adjacent to the sacred building, not far from the Catholic Shrine. 

Pope Francis visited the shrines to recall those Christians murdered for their faith between 1885 and 1887, when King Mwuala II had 23 Anglicans and 22 Catholics executed in the historical kingdom of Buganda, which is now part of Uganda. 

The Pontiff began his homily acknowledging that today, we recall with gratitude the sacrifice of the Uganda martyrs, “whose witness of love for Christ and his Church” has truly gone “to the end of the earth,’” and remember also the Anglican martyrs “whose deaths for Christ testify to the ecumenism of blood.” All these witnesses, he observed, nurtured the gift of the Holy Spirit in their lives and freely gave testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ, even at the cost of their lives.

Francis reminded the Africans that all of us received the gift of the Spirit, not only to make us sons and daughters of God, but also for us to bear witness to Jesus and make Him loved and known everywhere known. Every day, he encouraged, we are called to deepen the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life, to “fan into flame” the gift of his divine love so that we may be a source of wisdom and strength to others.

Pope Francis stressed that the gift of the Holy Spirit is a gift which is meant to be shared and that unites us to one another as believers and living members of Christ’s mystical Body. “We do not receive the gift of the Spirit for ourselves alone, but to build up one another in faith, hope and love,” just as Saints Joseph Mkasa and Charles Lwanga did, he said.

“If, like the martyrs, we daily fan into flame the gift of the Spirit who dwells in our hearts, then we will surely become the missionary disciples which Christ calls us to be. To our families and friends certainly, but also to those whom we do not know, especially those who might be unfriendly, even hostile, to us.” This openness to others, the Pope explained, begins first in the family, in our homes, and also finds expression too in our care for the elderly and the poor, the widowed and the orphaned.

Pope Francis stressed that this does not diminish our concern for this world, as if we only look to the life to come, but rather gives purpose to our lives in this world, and helps us to reach out to those in need, to cooperate with others for the common good, and to build a more just society which does three things: promotes human dignity, defends God’s gift of life and protects the wonders of nature, his creation and our common home.

This is the legacy which you have received from the Uganda martyrs, he told the Ugandan faithful, “lives marked by the power of the Holy Spirit, lives which witness even now to the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“This legacy is not served by an occasional remembrance, or by being enshrined in a museum as a precious jewel. Rather, we honor them, and all the saints, when we carry on their witness to Christ, in our homes and neighborhoods, in our workplaces and civil society, whether we never leave our homes or we go to the farthest corner of the world,” he said.

The Pope concluded, praying that the Uganda martyrs, together with Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us, and may the Holy Spirit kindle within us the fire of his divine love, and saying ‘God bless you’ in Swahili.

The Holy Father is making an Apostolic Visit to Africa, Nov. 25-30. He arrived in Uganda’s capital of Kampala yesterday, after having been in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi. Tomorrow, he leaves for Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui, where he will visit a refugee camp and open the Holy Door of the Jubilee.

***

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full Text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/full-text-pope-s-homily-at-sanctuary-of-the-ugandan-martyrs-at-namugongo

 

 

Pope Francis Visits Shrines of Ugandan Catholic, Anglican Martyrs

Holy Father Visited Where Martyrs Were Sentenced, Tortured, Killed; Prayed in Silence

Pope Francis has made a special visit to recall those Christians murdered for their faith between 1885 and 1887, when King Mwuala II had 23 Anglicans and 22 Catholics executed in the historical kingdom of Buganda, which is now part of Uganda. 

The Holy Father is making an Apostolic Visit to Africa, Nov. 25-30. He arrived in Uganda’s capital of Kampala yesterday, after having been in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi. Tomorrow, he leaves for Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui, where he will visit a refugee camp and open the Holy Door of the Jubilee Year.

At 8:30 a.m. this morning, during his first full day in Uganda, the Pontiff visited the Anglican and Catholic Shrines of Namugongo. The Namugongo Anglican Shrine stands on the site of the martyrdom of 25 Ugandan Catholics and Anglicans, whose relics are preserved in a chapel adjacent to the sacred building, not far from the Catholic Shrine.

Welcomed by the Anglican archbishop, the Pope unveiled a plaque commemorating the sacrifice of the martyrs and went to where they were sentenced, tortured and killed. After a few moments of silent prayer, the Holy Father said goodbye.

Immediately after, the Holy Father moved by car to the Catholic Shrine of the Martyrs of Uganda in Namugongo. Welcomed by the rector, the Pope entered the basilica and prayed before the altar containing the relics of St. Charles Lwanga (1865-1886), the best known of the Ugandan martyrs, who was killed during the anti-Christian persecution in the country.

Revered as a saint by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, Charles Lwanga was a Ugandan convert to the Catholic Church. Born in the Kingdom of Buganda, the southern part of current-day Uganda, Charles served as a page and later major-domo in the court of King Mwanga II.  In an attempt to resist foreign colonization, the king had insisted that Christian converts abandon their new faith, and, between the years of 1885 and 1887, executed many Anglicans and Catholics. Many of these martyrs were officials in the royal court or those close to him, including now St. Charles Lwanga.

After visiting the shrines, the Holy Father celebrated Mass to honor the martyrs, at which some 2 million faithful were expected to be present.

 

 

Pope Meets President of South Sudan in Uganda’s State House

Fr. Lombardi Says Meeting’s Purpose Was ‘in Service of Peace, Reconciliation in the Land’

Pope Francis arrived in Uganda yesterday, the second leg of his three-nation Apostolic Visit to Africa, and last night, held a private 15-minute meeting with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in Uganda’s statehouse, reported Vatican Radio. 

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, said that the meeting was private and that its purpose, and “the Pope’s intention for it,” was “obviously in service of the peace and reconciliation in the land.”

In 2011, South Sudan declared its independence from Sudan, and since late 2013, it has suffered from civil war. The conflict started after President Kiir had a falling-out with his vice president, Riek Machar.

 

 

FULL TEXT: Pope’s Off-the-Cuff Address to Priests, Religious of Uganda

“The glories of the past were the beginning but you have to make the glory of the future”

 

Here is a ZENIT transcription and translation of the address Pope Francis gave this evening off-the-cuff to priests and religious in Uganda.

* * *

There are three things I want to tell you. First of all, in the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses reminds his people: “Don’t forget.” And he repeats it in this book various times. To not forget. To not forget everything that God did for his people.

The first thing that I want to say to you is that you ask for the grace of memory, [of remembering.] As I said to the young people: In the blood of Ugandan Catholics is mixed the blood of martyrs. Do not forget the memory of this seed. So that in this way you continue to grow.

The main enemy of memory is forgetting. But this isn’t the most dangerous enemy. The most dangerous enemy of memory is becoming accustomed to inheriting the goods of those who’ve gone before. The Church in Uganda can never become accustomed to the distant memory of its martyrs. Martyr means witness. The Church in Uganda, to be faithful to this memory, must continue to be a witness. It can’t live “piggy-backing.” The glories of the past were the beginning but you have to make the glory of the future. And this is the task that the Church gives to you. Be witnesses, as the martyrs who gave their lives for the Gospel were witnesses. 

To be witnesses — the second word that I want to say to you — fidelity is necessary. Fidelity to memory. Fidelity to one’s vocation. Fidelity to apostolic zeal. Fidelity means to follow the way of holiness. Fidelity means to do what the witnesses of the past did: to be missionaries.

Perhaps here in Uganda there are dioceses that have many priests and dioceses that have few. Fidelity means offering oneself to the bishop to go to another diocese that needs missionaries. And this isn’t easy. Fidelity means persevering in the vocation. And here, I want to give thanks in a special way for the example of fidelity that the sisters from the House of Mercy gave me. Fidelity to the poor, to the ill, to the neediest. Because Christ is there. 

Uganda was watered with the blood of martyrs, of witnesses. Today it is necessary to continue watering it and for this, new challenges, new testimonies, new missions.

If not, you’re going to lose the great richness that you have. And the “pearl of Africa” will end up being on display in a museum. Because the devil attacks like that — little by little. And I’m speaking not only for the priests, but also to the religious.

For the priests, I did want to speak particularly about this issue of being missionaries: That the dioceses with a lot of priests offer themselves to those with fewer clergy.

Thus, Uganda will continue to be missionary.

Memory which means fidelity and fidelity that is only possible with prayer. If a man or woman religious, a priest, abandons prayer or prays only a little, because he says he has a lot of work, he has already begun to lose memory. And he has already begun to lose fidelity. 

Prayer, which also means humiliation. The humiliation of going regularly to your confessor and to say your own sins. You can’t limp with both feet. Men religious, women religious and priests cannot live a double life. If you are a sinner, ask for forgiveness. But don’t keep hidden what God doesn’t want. Don’t keep a lack of fidelity hidden away. Don’t shut memory up in a closet. Memory. New challenges, fidelity to memory. And prayer. Prayer always begins with recognizing oneself as a sinner. 

With these three columns, the pearl of Africa will continue to be a pearl and not just the word missionary.

May the martyrs who gave strength to this Church help us to go forward in memory, in fidelity and in prayer.

And please, I ask you to not forget to pray for me.

Now, I invite you to pray all together an Ave Maria to the Virgin.

[Transcription and translation by ZENIT]

 

 

FULL TEXT: Pope’s Off-the-Cuff Address to Ugandan Youth

“Jesus suffered the most negative experience in history. He was insulted, he was rejected, he was killed. And Jesus, by the power of God, rose again. He can do the same thing in each one of us with each negative experience. Because Jesus is Lord”

 

Here is a ZENIT transcription and translation of the address Pope Francis gave today off-the-cuff, in his native Spanish, to a meeting of youth in Uganda.

* * *

I listened with much sorrow in my heart to the testimonies of Winnie and Emmanuel. But as I was listening, I asked myself a question: Can a negative experience serve for something in life? Yes.

Both Winnie and Emmanuel have suffered negative experiences. Winnie thought she had no future. That the life before her was against a wall. But Jesus showed her little by little that he can make a great miracle in life. That he can transform a wall into a horizon. A horizon that opens to the future. In the face of a negative experience — as many of us who are here have had negative experiences — there is always the possibility of opening a horizon. Of opening it with the door of Jesus. Today, Winnie has transformed her depression, her bitterness into hope.

And this isn’t magic. This is the work of Jesus. Because Jesus is Lord. Jesus can do everything. And Jesus suffered the most negative experience in history. He was insulted, he was rejected, he was killed. And Jesus, by the power of God, rose again. He can do the same thing in each one of us with each negative experience. Because Jesus is Lord.

I can imagine — and all of us together, let us imagine — the suffering of Emmanuel. When he saw that his companions were tortured. When he saw that his companions were assassinated. Emmanuel was courageous. He took heart. He knew that if they found him, the day he escaped, they would kill him. He took a risk. He trusted in Jesus. And he escaped. And today we have him here, after 14 years, with a degree in administration sciences.

All is possible. Our life is like a seed; to live, we must die. And sometimes, it is to die physically, like Emmanuel’s companions. To die as Charles Lwanga and the martyrs of Uganda died. But through this death, there is life. A life for everyone. If I transform the negative into positive, I am triumphant. But this can only be done with the grace of Jesus.

Are you certain of this? I didn’t hear! Are you certain? Are you ready to transform all the negative things of life into positive things? Are you ready to transform hate into love? Are you ready to transform, to want to transform, war into peace?

You must be aware that you are a people of martyrs. Through your veins flows the blood of martyrs. And because of this, you have the faith and the life that you have now. And this life is so beautiful that it is called the pearl of Africa.

It seems that the microphone doesn’t work well. Sometimes we ourselves don’t work well. Yes or no?

And when we don’t work well, to whom do we have to ask help? I don’t hear you. Louder! 

We have to ask Jesus. Jesus can change your life. Jesus can break down all of the walls that you have before you. Jesus can make of your life a service for others. 

Some of you might ask me: For this, is there a magic wand? If you want Jesus to change your life, ask him. And this is called prayer. 

Did you understand? To pray. I ask you: Do you pray? Are you sure? Pray to Jesus because he is the savior. Never stop praying. Prayer is the strongest weapon that a youth has. 

Jesus loves us. I ask you: Does Jesus love some people and not others? Does Jesus love everyone? Does Jesus want to help everyone? Then open the doors of your heart and allow him to come in. 

Allow Jesus to enter into my life. And when Jesus comes into your life, he helps you to fight. To fight agains all of the problems that Winnie spoke of. Fight against depression, fight against AIDS, to ask help to rise above these situations. But always to fight. Fight with my desire, and fight with my prayer. Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to want the best for yourselves? Are you ready to pray, to ask Jesus to help you in the fight?

And a third thing that I want to tell you: All of us are in the Church, we belong to the Church, right? And the Church has a Mother. What’s her name? I can’t hear! Pray to our Mother. When a child falls, gets hurt, he starts to cry and goes to look for his mom. When we have a problem, the best thing we can do is go where our Mother is. And pray to Mary, our mother. Do you agree? Do you pray to the Virgin, our Mother?

Here I ask, do you pray to Jesus and to the Virgin, our Mother?

So three things: rise above difficulties, transform the negative into positive, and third, prayer. Prayer to Jesus who can do everything. That Jesus enters into our hearts. And changes our lives. Jesus, who came to save me and gave his life for me. Pray to Jesus because he is the only Lord. And since in the Church, we are not orphans, and we have a mother, to pray to our Mother. And what is the name of our Mother? Louder!

I thank you very much for having listened to me. I thank you a lot because you want to change the negative into positive. That you want to fight against evil with Jesus at your side, and above all I thank you because you have the desire to never abandon prayer. And now I invite you to pray together to our Mother, that she protects us. Agreed? Everyone together.

[Ave Maria] [Blessing]

A last request: Pray for me. Pray for me. I need it. Don’t forget. Good-bye.

 

 [Transcription and translation by ZENIT]

 

FULL TEXT: Pope’s Address at Nalukolongo House of Charity

 

“For in those whom we serve, Christ daily reveals himself and prepares the welcome which we hope one day to receive in his eternal kingdom”

 

Here is a Vatican translation of the address Pope Francis gave today in Uganda at the Nalukolongo House of Charity. The Holy Father mostly followed his prepared text. Some of his off-the-cuff comments are included in brackets.

* * *

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your warm welcome. I wanted very much to visit this House of Charity, which Cardinal Nsubuga founded here in Nalukolongo. This is a place which has always been associated with the Church’s outreach to the poor, the handicapped, the sick. Here, in early times, slave children were ransomed and women received religious instruction. I greet the Good Samaritan Sisters who carry on this fine tradition, and I thank them for their years of quiet and joyful service in this apostolate.

I also greet the representatives of the many other apostolic groups who serve the needs of our brothers and sisters in Uganda. [I think in particular of the immense and productive efforts which have been made to assist people suffering with AIDS.] Above all, I greet the residents of this home and others like it, and all who benefit from these works of Christian charity. For this is a home. Here you can find love and care; here you can feel the presence of Jesus, our brother, who loves each of us with God’s own love.

Today, from this Home, I appeal to all parishes and communities in Uganda – and the rest of Africa – not to forget the poor. [Not to forget the poor!] The Gospel commands us to go out to the peripheries of society, and to find Christ in the suffering and those in need. The Lord tells us, in no uncertain terms, that is what he will judge us on! How sad it is when our societies allow the elderly to be rejected or neglected! How wrong it is when the young are exploited by the modern-day slavery of human trafficking! If we look closely at the world around us, it seems that, in many places, selfishness and indifference are spreading. How many of our brothers and sisters are victims of today’s throwaway culture, which breeds contempt above all towards the unborn, the young and the elderly!

As Christians, we cannot simply stand by. [And what do we mean by simply stand by? It means doing nothing.] Something must change! Our families need to become ever more evident signs of God’s patient and merciful love, not only for our children and elders, but for all those in need. Our parishes must not close their doors, or their ears, to the cry of the poor. This is the royal road of Christian discipleship. [The royal road.] In this way we bear witness to the Lord who came not to be served, but to serve. In this way we show that people count more than things, that who we are is more important than what we possess. For in those whom we serve, Christ daily reveals himself and prepares the welcome which we hope one day to receive in his eternal kingdom.

Dear friends, by simple gestures, by simple prayerful actions which honour Christ in the least of his brothers and sisters, we can bring the power of his love into our world, and truly change it. I thank you once more for your generosity and love. I will remember you in my prayers and I ask you, please, to pray for me. I commend all of you to the loving protection of Mary, our Mother, and I give you my blessing.

Omukama Abakuume! (God protect you!)

 

 

FULL TEXT: Pope’s Homily at Sanctuary of the Ugandan Martyrs at Namugongo

 

“May the Uganda martyrs, together with Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us, and may the Holy Spirit kindle within us the fire of his divine love!”

 

Below is the Vatican-provided translation of Pope Francis’ homily for the Holy Mass at the Sanctuary of the Ugandan Martyrs at Namugongo:

***

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

From the age of the Apostles to our own day, a great cloud of witnesses has been raised up to proclaim Jesus and show forth the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, we recall with gratitude the sacrifice of the Uganda martyrs, whose witness of love for Christ and his Church has truly gone “to the end of the earth”. We remember also the Anglican martyrs whose deaths for Christ testify to the ecumenism of blood. All these witnesses nurtured the gift of the Holy Spirit in their lives and freely gave testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ, even at the cost of their lives, many at such a young age.

We too have received the gift of the Spirit, to make us sons and daughters of God, but also so that we may bear witness to Jesus and make him everywhere known and loved. We received the Spirit when we were reborn in Baptism, and we were strengthened by his gifts at our Confirmation. Every day we are called to deepen the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life, to “fan into flame” the gift of his divine love so that we may be a source of wisdom and strength to others.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is a gift which is meant to be shared. It unites us to one another as believers and living members of Christ’s mystical Body. We do not receive the gift of the Spirit for ourselves alone, but to build up one another in faith, hope and love. I think of Saints Joseph Mkasa and Charles Lwanga, who after being catechized by others, wanted to pass on the gift they had received. They did this in dangerous times. Not only were their lives threatened but so too were the lives of the younger boys under their care. Because they had tended to their faith and deepened their love of God, they were fearless in bringing Christ to others, even at the cost of their lives. Their faith became witness; today, venerated as martyrs, their example continues to inspire people throughout the world. They continue to proclaim Jesus Christ and the power of his Cross.

If, like the martyrs, we daily fan into flame the gift of the Spirit who dwells in our hearts, then we will surely become the missionary disciples which Christ calls us to be. To our families and friends certainly, but also to those whom we do not know, especially those who might be unfriendly, even hostile, to us. This openness to others begins first in the family, in our homes where charity and forgiveness are learned, and the mercy and love of God made known in our parents’ love. It finds expression too in our care for the elderly and the poor, the widowed and the orphaned.

The witness of the martyrs shows to all who have heard their story, then and now, that the worldly pleasures and earthly power do not bring lasting joy or peace. Rather, fidelity to God, honesty and integrity of life, and genuine concern for the good of others bring us that peace which the world cannot give. This does not diminish our concern for this world, as if we only look to the life to come. Instead, it gives purpose to our lives in this world, and helps us to reach out to those in need, to cooperate with others for the common good, and to build a more just society which promotes human dignity, defends God’s gift of life and protects the wonders of nature, his creation and our common home.

Dear brothers and sisters, this is the legacy which you have received from the Uganda martyrs – lives marked by the power of the Holy Spirit, lives which witness even now to the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This legacy is not served by an occasional remembrance, or by being enshrined in a museum as a precious jewel. Rather, we honour them, and all the saints, when we carry on their witness to Christ, in our homes and neighbourhoods, in our workplaces and civil society, whether we never leave our homes or we go to the farthest corner of the world.

May the Uganda martyrs, together with Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us, and may the Holy Spirit kindle within us the fire of his divine love!

Omukama Abawe Omukisa! (God bless you!)

[Original text: Italian] [Vatican-provided text]

 

Archbishop Eamon Martin Launches Online Advent Calendar

 

“I welcome the inclusion of materials for the Year of Mercy in this year’s Advent Calendar and I invite everyone during the Advent season to visit and to reflect on the information provided on our online calendar, especially the themes of mercy and peace”

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, primate of All Ireland, has launched a specially commissioned 2015 Advent calendar on the homepage of the Irish Catholic bishops’ website www.catholicbishops.ie to coincide with the beginning of Advent which starts this Sunday.

Archbishop Eamon said, “I am delighted to launch this year’s online calendar which each day will reveal Advent information and prayer resources by clicking on a virtual numerical door. For many years we have provided online resources to assist with our Advent preparations, and this year we once again offer the faithful our novel online calendar for this purpose.

“The season of Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for the Lord’s coming at Christmas.  Advent also prepares us for the second coming of Christ at the end of time.  As Christians, we must always be prepared for the coming of the Lord ‘You must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do no not expect’ [Mt 24:37-44].   Preparation does not happen at once but over time and so each day of Advent amounts to a period of time which allows us to journey and reflect on the joy of the Gospel.

Archbishop Eamon continued, “This year, the beginning of our Catholic new year will coincide with our preparations for a Jubilee Year of Mercy which Pope Francis has invited us to celebrate from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016. As Pope Francis said during his presentation of the Year of Mercy, ‘God forgives all, and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking forgiveness’. I welcome the inclusion of materials for the Year of Mercy in this year’s Advent Calendar and I invite everyone during the Advent season to visit and to reflect on the information provided on our online calendar, especially the themes of mercy and peace”.

A popular feature from last year’s Advent Calendar was the audio thought for the day and this feature which will feature again on this year’s calendar will be voiced by a different contributor each of the days of Advent and will reflect themes of the Advent season. Contributors this year will include Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin; Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin; Father Michael Drumm, Chair of the Catholic Schools Partnership, as well as seasonal reflections by staff from the councils, agencies and offices of the Bishops’ Conference for example ACCORD and Trócaire and by individual students from Catholic primary and secondary schools. These audio recordings will be available on the pages of the Advent Calendar on catholicbishops.ie as well as on http://audioboom.com/IrishCatholicBishops.

The 2015 Advent Calendar will also include:

  • The words of Pope Francis taken from his 2015 Encyclical Letter Laudato Si (Praise be to you), his 2014 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), his daily homilies from Casa Santa Marta and his Twitter feed;
  • Mass readings and Saint of the day;
  • Advent videos: blessing of the crib in the home, blessing of the advent wreath in the home, prayer when lighting the lights on the Christmas tree, family table prayer;
  • Advent music;
  • Information on saints during the Advent such as Saint Nicholas on 6 December;
  • Video and text reflections from Pope Francis and Irish bishops 
  • Family prayers (mother and child, children, grandparents, parents and godparents);
  • Prayers for the season: for families in need, for those suffering neglect and violence, for Irish emigrants, for those in prison, for those who are sick, for refugees and migrants; for Christians suffering in the Middle East and Iraq and for those in difficulty here in Ireland;
  • Faithbytes: Short snippets from the Bible, the Catechism (including the Adult Catechism published by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference) and Share the Good News. 
  • Resources for Advent and Christmas from Veritas;
  • Advent events in dioceses and parishes;
  • Information on Trócaire’s Global Gifts for 2015;
  • Food Bank Appeals from around the country such as Crosscare in Dublin and information on the work of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul;
  • Advent and Christmas messages from Irish bishops in preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord.

Archbishop Eamon concluded, “As Advent is the season of preparation for the coming of our Lord, I encourage the faithful, notwithstanding our hectic schedule over the coming weeks, to make time to pray – alone and with loved ones – and by so doing to draw nearer to Christ.”

 

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