Pope prepares to wash feet of inmates at Rebibbia prison

(Vatican Radio) On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis travels across Rome to meet with detainees at the Rebibbia Prison and celebrate the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper with them. During the liturgy, which recalls Jesus’ last supper with his disciples on the day before his Crucifixion, the Pope will wash the feet of 12 inmates selected from Rebibbia’s male and female detention centres.

It’s not the first time that Pope Francis has performed this gesture of service outside the traditional setting of a church or basilica: on Holy Thursday 2013, shortly after his election, he went to Rome's Casal del Marmo juvenile detention centre, where he washed the feet of young male and female offenders Last year, he presided over the Mass and foot-washing ritual at a rehabilitation facility for the elderly and people with disabilities on the outskirts of the city.

To find out more about the inmates who’ll be greeting the Pope and attending Mass in Rebibbia’ chapel, Philippa Hitchen spoke with a longtime volunteer at the prison, Maria Ponce de Leon…

Listen: 

Maria says she began volunteering in 1998 as part of the Italian Caritas ‘volunteers in prison’ association. There are over 100 volunteers who visit inmates in the three male and one female institutes that make up the Rebibbia complex….

A listening ministry

The volunteers offer different kinds of support, from providing clothing, to contacting lawyers or helping the elderly to get their pensions, but the most important part is just listening to the prisoners’ stories….

Maria has visited sick inmates in the infirmary, as well as transsexuals and those in the high security section of the prison, while her current focus is on foreign detainees, especially from North African countries. They are serving sentences for all sorts of crimes, from drug trafficking to simply having an expired residence permit. In prison, she says, you find the poorest people, including the homeless, those with mental disabilities and those who have no one else to care for them…

Preparations for the papal visit

Maria says right now “the whole prison is fizzling with excitement and enthusiasm” as inmates prepare for Pope Francis to visit them. About 150 male prisoners and a similar number of female detainees will be inside the chapel with the Pope, while another 400 will be outside with volunteers and prison staff watching the Mass on several maxi screens….

Those taking part in the liturgy have been selected from amongst the regular attendants of Sunday Mass in prison and Maria says they are people of different faiths or none. The chapel, she notes, is called the 'Our Father' chapel, as it is open to everybody. Anyone from outside who visits the prison brings life to those inside, she concludes, and that is the most important thing for them.

 

 

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope: The Easter Triduum is the apex of our Christian life

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged the faithful to see the signs of the Risen Lord and open their hearts to a "present that is full of the future".

Speaking on Wednesday during the weekly General Audience, the Pope reflected at length on the celebration of the Sacred Triduum which begins on Holy Thursday, and during which we commemorate Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.

The Easter Triduum – the Pope said – is the apex of our liturgical year and it is also the apex of our lives as Christians.

We begin the Triduum – he continued - by celebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, as we recall Christ’s offering of his body and blood to the Father, which he gave to the Apostles as food for their nourishment, with the command that they perpetually celebrate these mysteries in his memory. 

He said we also recall the Lord washing the Apostles’ feet, through which he showed that the “purpose of his life and passion was to serve God and neighbour, a service which we are called to imitate by loving one another as he loved us”.

This purpose – Pope Francis explained – is expressed also during our Baptism, when the Lord’s grace cleansed us from sin and we “put on the new self” in the image of Christ (Col 3, 10). And it happens each time we partake in the Eucharist and enter into Communion with Christ to obey his commandment to love Him as he loved us. If we take Communion without being sincerely ready to wash each other’s feet – Francis said – we do not acknowledge the Lord’s Body: “Jesus’ service is to give of himself, totally”.

On Good Friday – the Pope continued - we will meditate on the mystery of Christ’s death and we will adore the Cross. 

During the last instants of his life, “before handing over the spirit” – he said – Jesus said “it is finished” (John 19, 30), meaning – the Pope explained – that Salvation has taken place; “that with his sacrifice Jesus has transformed the greatest injustice into the greatest love.”   

By his sacrifice – Francis said - sin has been overcome through love, an immense love which we are called to live and transmit.

Throughout the centuries – he continued – many men and women have borne witness to this perfect, uncontaminated love, with their very existence.

“I like to remember a heroic witness of our days, Don Antonio Santoro, a priest of the Diocese of Rome and a missionary in Turkey” the Pope said.

Just a couple of days before being assassinated  in Trebizond he wrote: ‘I am here to live amongst the people and to allow Jesus to be here lending him my flesh (…) One becomes capable of salvation only when offering one’s flesh. The evils of the world must be carried and shared, one must allow them to be absorbed into one’s flesh, as Jesus did’.

Pope Francis said that Don Santoro is a man of our time, and he said there are many other true martyrs today “who offer their lives with Jesus to confess their faith”.

How beautiful it will be – the Pope said – if at the end of our lives, with all of our errors and our sins as well as our works of charity and our love for our neighbour, we will be able to say: ‘it is finished’. And not with the perfection with which Jesus said it, but knowing that we did what we could.

Let us ask the Lord for the grace – the Pope said – to be able to say: “Father, I did what I could. It is finished”.   

On Holy Saturday – he continued - we will contemplate Jesus’ lying in the tomb, and with Mary, the Church will keep alive the flame of faith, hoping against every hope in Christ’s resurrection.

Then, at the Easter Vigil, when the Alleluia resounds again, we will celebrate the Risen Christ, the centre and fulfilment of the universe and history. 

And pointing out that “at times the darkness of the night seems to penetrate into our souls; and that at times we think ‘there is nothing left to do’ and our heart seems to have lost the strength to love…”, Pope Francis said that it is in that very darkness that “Christ lights up the fire of God’s love: a flash of light breaks the darkness and announces a new beginning”.

It is in that darkness – he said – that Christ wins and lights the flame of love.

And urging the faithful to open their hearts to a “present which is full of future”, the Pope said “our life does not end before a tomb stone, our life continues with the hope of Christ who arose from the tomb”.

In these days - Pope Francis continued - may we not only observe the Lord’s Passion, but truly enter into its mystery, making our own the sentiments of Christ.  In this way, our Easter will indeed be blessed.

 

 

(from Vatican Radio)

Tax agreement between the Holy See and the Italian Republic

Vatican City, 1 April 2015 (VIS) – This morning, in the Secretariat of State, an agreement on fiscal matters was signed by the Holy See and the Italian Republic. It was signed on behalf of the Holy See by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, and for the Italian Republic by Pier Carlo Padoan, minister of Economics and Finance, with full powers.

The reforms introduced in 2010 and the creation by the Holy See of institutions with specific experience in economics and finance now enable full administrative cooperation, also with regard to fiscal matters. Within the framework of the special importance of bilateral relations, Italy is the first country with which the Holy See has signed an agreement governing the exchange of information.

In accordance with the current process of establishing transparency in the field of financial relations at a global level, the Convention transposes the most up to date international standard in terms of the exchange of information (article 26 of the OSCE Model) to regulate cooperation between the competent authorities of the two contracting Parties. The exchange of information relates to the fiscal year starting 1 January 2009.

The Convention, from the date on which it enters into force, will enable full compliance, with simplified procedures, with the tax obligations relating to financial assets held by institutions engaging in financial activities in the Holy See by various physical and legal persons resident in Italy. The same persons will be able to have access to a procedure for the regularisation of these activities, with the same effects as established by Law 186/2014.

The Convention will also implement the provisions of the Lateran Treaty regarding tax exemption for property belonging to the Holy See, indicated in the same Treaty.

Finally, the Convention incorporates the Exchange of notes between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Secretariat of State in July 2007, which provides for the notification of tax acts to the Holy See authorities via diplomatic channels.

General Audience: our Easter will indeed be blessed

POPE FRANCIS GENERAL AUDIENCE - Saint Peter's Square Wednesday, 1st April 2015

Speaker:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Tomorrow we will begin our celebration of the Sacred Triduum, as we commemorate Jesus' passion, death and resurrection. We begin the Triduum by celebrating the Mass of the Lord's Supper, as we recall Christ's offering of his body and blood to the Father, which he gave to the Apostles as food for their nourishment, with the command that they perpetually celebrate these mysteries in his memory. We recall also the Lord washing the Apostles' feet, through which he showed that the purpose of his life and passion is to serve God and neighbour, a service which we are called to imitate by loving one another as he loved us. On Good Friday, we will meditate on the mystery of Christ's death and we will adore the Cross. By his sacrifice, sin has been overcome through love, an immense love which we are called to live and transmit. On Holy Saturday, we will contemplate Jesus' lying in the tomb, and with Mary, the Church will keep alive the flame of faith, hoping against every hope in Christ's resurrection. Then, at the Easter Vigil, when the Alleluia resounds again, we will celebrate the Risen Christ, the centre and fulfilment of the universe and history. In these days, may we not only observe the Lord's Passion, but truly enter into its mystery, making our own the sentiments of Christ. In this way, our Easter will indeed be blessed.

Holy Father:

Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti a questa Udienza, specialmente quelli provenienti da Inghilterra, Danimarca, Indonesia, Giappone, Hong Kong e Stati Uniti. Il Signore Risorto vi confermi nella fede e vi faccia testimoni del suo amore e della sua risurrezione. Dio vi benedica!

Speaker:

I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's Audience, including those from England, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong and the United States. May the Risen Lord confirm you in faith and make you witnesses of his love and resurrection. May God bless you!

Cor Unum in Iraq: reaching out to refugees and aid workers

(Vatican Radio) Back in the Vatican after a mission to visit Syrian refugees in Iraq, Bishop Segundo Tejado Munoz brings the witness of hope and despair of millions on the run from war and persecution.  

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni

Bishop Tejado Munoz, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, told Vatican Radio of his journey together with a delegation from Cor Unum and with the Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, to the heart of refugee camps in the Kurdistan province of Duhok, where huge numbers of Syrian refugees have fled for their lives.

Amongst the 250,000 registered refugees in the area are many Iraqi Christians from Mosul and villages in Ninive province whose exodus has been caused by the offensive of so-called Islamic State jihadist militants.

Bishop Tehado Munoz explains that the aim of his mission was to meet with the displaced families, and above all – in his role as Undersecretary of Cor Unum whose mission it is to care for the needy – to bring concrete solidarity and help to the aid agencies and humanitarian workers who are responding to the needs of the refugees…

They are the ones doing the work – says Tehado Munoz - but they are often forgotten. As Church – he says – we bring our contribution but they are our hands and our arms… so often they work in extremely difficult situations

Bishop Tehado Munoz says that the Church manages to reach out to these people thanks to the presence of the local Church and the local Caritas; in this case – he explains – Caritas Iraq that coordinates the entire operation,

He speaks of his journey from Erbil towards the village of Duhok, of his visits to some of the refugee camps and of his meetings with aid workers and operators, including the UN representative to the area who expressed deep preoccupation for diminishing funds and the consequent risk of having to cut some vital humanitarian programmes. 

Tehado Munoz describes a scenario which is complicated from an organizational point of view and very very serious from a humanitarian one.

Bringing with him the gifts of two icons of Our Lady  blessed by Pope Francis, Bishop Tehado Munoz says “we were bringing the Easter message of Christ’s resurrection and the certainty that even in such a difficult and dramatic situation, there is the light of the Risen Christ” and the hope it brings.

The figures – he says – speak of over two and a half million Syrian refugees: but it is persons we are talking about: we touched them with hand, he said, we touched the suffering of these people, these families…

   

(from Vatican Radio)

Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy: 11 April in St. Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City, 31 March 2015 (VIS) – Following the first announcement of the next extraordinary Holy Year by Pope Francis on 13 March, the Holy Father will proceed with the official indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction on Saturday 11 April, at 5.30 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica. 

The rite of publication will involve the reading of various passages of the Bull before the Holy Door of the Vatican Basilica. Pope Francis will subsequently preside at the celebration of First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday, thus underlining in a particular way the fundamental theme of the extraordinary Holy Year: God’s Mercy. 

The term bull (from the Latin bulla = bubble or, more generally, a rounded object) originally indicated the metal capsule used to protect the wax seal attached with a cord to a document of particular importance, to attest to its authenticity and, as a consequence, its authority. Over time, the term began to be used first to indicate the seal, then the document itself, so that nowadays it is used for all papal documents of special importance that bear, or at least traditionally would have borne, the Pontiff’s seal. 

The bull for the indiction of a jubilee, for instance in the case of an extraordinary Holy Year, aside from indicating its time, with the opening and closing dates and the main ways in which it will be implemented, constitutes the fundamental document for recognising the spirit in which it is announced, and the intentions and the outcomes hoped for by the Pontiff, who invokes it for the Church. 

In the case of the last two extraordinary Holy Years, 1933 and 1983, the Bull of Indiction was published on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. For the next extraordinary Holy Year, the choice of the occasion on which the publication of the Bull will take place clearly demonstrates the Holy Father’s particular attention to the theme of Mercy.

Pope makes Curial nominations for Education, APSA

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has named the former President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the new Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

The Congregation for Catholic Education is responsible for houses of formation of religious and secular institutes; universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or civil dependent on ecclesial persons; and schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities.

In addition, the Holy Father named Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Cologne, Germany as a new Member of APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

APSA is the office of the Roman Curia that administers “the properties owned by the Holy See in order to provide the funds necessary for the Roman Curia to function”  (Pastor Bonus, 172 as revised by the 8 July 2014 motu proprio of Pope Francis on the transfer of what had been the Administration's Ordinary Section to the Secretariat for the Economy).

(from Vatican Radio)

Christians and Jains: Together to promote care for the elderly

(Vatican Radio)  The Pontifical Council for for Interreligious Dialogue has sent a message to the Jain community on Mahavir Jayanti, the holiday in which they mark the birth of Vardhaman Mahavir.

Jainism is an India-based religion with around 5 million adherents worldwide, that is known for its emphasis on non-violence and asceticism.

This year’s message looks at how Christians and Jains can work together to promote the care of the elderly.

“The growing neglect of the elderly by the young and tendency to abdicate filial responsibility towards the parents and grandparents, therefore invites us all, believers and others, to re-awaken in us, both at a personal and collective level, a sense of gratitude, affection and responsibility towards our parents, grandparents and other elderly people,” writes Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the President of the Council.  

“Making them feel that they are a living part of our families, communities and society and that we are ever indebted to them is a sure way of challenging the ‘throw away’ culture,” he continues.

Cardinal Tauran concludes the message by saying:  “May we Christians and Jains, as persons grounded in our own respective religious traditions and conscious of our shared responsibility towards the society, joining hands with others, promote a culture where the elderly are loved, respected and cared for.”

 

The full text of the Message is below

 

Mahavir Jayanti 2015 Message

Christians and Jains: Together to promote care for the elderly

 

Dear Jain Friends,

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue most happily extends its greetings to you on the Birth Anniversary of Tirthankar (Path-Finder) Vardhaman Mahavir celebrated worldwide on 2 April this year. May the celebrations marking the feast reinforce and rejuvenate friendship and fellowship among individuals and families, as well as, strengthen your commitment to promote the care of all beings, especially the elderly in the families and communities, for enhanced peace, harmony and happiness in the world.

Carrying forward our cherished tradition, this year we reflect on how we, both Christians and Jains, can together promote the care of the elderly. In many societies across the world people tend to reject the elderly. Also worrisome and deplorable is the fact that many elderly people, especially the sick and lonely, are abandoned by their families and relatives because they feel they are a bother, burden and waste, or these are treated as the neo-outcaste of the contemporary world served with a modicum of contact and care. This trend is growing and causing concern for our society. Pope Francis rightly points out that every society “where the elderly are discarded carries within it the virus of death”(To Participants in the Plenary of the Pontifical Academy for Life, 5 March 2015) and a people “who don’t protect their elderly…is a people without a future, a people without hope”(Address to the Sant’Egidio Community, 15 June 2014). The task of guaranteeing the care due to the elderly, therefore, becomes a noble priority for all, as well as, an ethical imperative binding on all governments and political communities.

The elderly are the primary pillars of our multi-generational families. They live with us as our treasure and blessing because they transmit to us not only their rich life and faith experiences but also the history of our families and communities. These ‘treasures’ are to be fondly protected and gratefully cared for so that they continue to inspire and guide people with their wisdom of a lifetime. There is no denying the fact that there are still a large number of families around the world that, true to their traditions, values and convictions, give exemplary care to their aged;  Children in these families and even relatives and friends often make great sacrifices and go an extra mile to serve the elderly. This is praiseworthy because they are doing what is right and just in respect of their parents, grandparents and relatives who are old and in need of care, attention and assistance. While looking after the elderly is a sacred and moral duty binding on individuals and society, the professional and medical assistances offered by competent and charitable healthcare workers are best seen as steps the society takes towards ensuring care for the elderly.

All religions expound the moral obligations the children have towards their parents and elders, especially caring for them, with respect and love, till the end of their earthly life. The Holy Bible says, “Honour your father and mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). But it also says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Jainism lays so much emphasis on respect for life; in regard to humans this respect means upholding the dignity of every human person and all that it entails.

The growing neglect of the elderly by the young and tendency to abdicate filial responsibility towards the parents and grandparents, therefore invites us all, believers and others, to re-awaken in us, both at a personal and collective level, a sense of gratitude, affection and responsibility towards our parents, grandparents and other elderly people. Making them feel that they are a living part of our families, communities and society and that we are ever indebted to them is a sure way of challenging the ‘throw away’ culture. This is possible only “with the superabundant joy of a new embrace between the young and the elderly” (Pope Francis, General Audience, 11 March 2015). May we Christians and Jains, as persons grounded in our own respective religious traditions and conscious of our shared responsibility towards the society, joining hands with others, promote a culture where the elderly are loved, respected and cared for.

Wish you all A Happy Mahavir Jayanti!

                        Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran

                                      President

                                                                               Father Miguel Ángel  Ayuso  Guixot, MCCJ

                                                                                                           Secretary

(from Vatican Radio)

Holy See: International Community must intervene to protect children

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has urged the International Community to “intervene” when  national  governments are unable or unwilling to protect their populations.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, was speaking at an open debate on “Children in Armed Conflict” at the United Nations Security Council.

“In the case of non-State  actors  forcibly  recruiting  and  using  child  soldiers  around  the  world  or  committing  brutal violence  against religious and ethnic minorities, when a State is  unwilling or unable to confront such atrocities, it is the responsibility of this body to  provide,  when all other tools and means are exhausted, military means necessary to  protect citizens from such inhumane aggressors,” he said.

Archbishop Auza cautioned that solutions to children in armed conflict cannot be limited to the use of  force alone.

“Rather the first step requires a renewed commitment to addressing the  humanitarian, social, political and economic situations  that  drive conflicts in which  child soldiers are used,” he said.

“In this regard, faith-based communities can play a vital role in  serving the communities impacted, reintegrating former child soldiers and providing  a means for  dialogue,” he continued.

The Archbishop said a solution to the plight of child soldiers also requires sensitivity to finding ways  to  reintegrate  these  children  back  into  their  own  communities. 

“While  we  witness  barbaric acts beyond anyone’s imaginations also committed by child soldiers, we must  remember  that  these  children  are  exploited  and  manipulated  into  what  they  have  become,” he said. “Thus, while their reintegration into society requires  that we recognize that  they  have  committed  atrocities,  we  must   at  the  same  time  build  pathways  for  counseling and reconciliation with a view to accomplishing fully that reintegration.”

 

The full text of Archbishop Auza’s intervention is below

 

Intervention of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza,

Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN

United Nations Security Council

Open Debate on “Children in Armed Conflict”

New York, 25 March 2015

 

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate you for your Presidency during this month and for scheduling this Open Debate on children in armed conflict.  Today’s debate comes at a time when the international consensus of the evils  of using children as soldiers in armed  conflicts is not only morally condemned but  also being more vigorously challenged on the ground by various actors around the  globe. The increasing use by terrorist groups and other non-state actors of children in  armed conflicts  demonstrates the urgent need for a new international consensus to  confront this crime and to renew the will of the  International Community to address  this scourge.

The year 2014 marked the worst year in the modern era of children being used  as soldiers in armed conflicts. In Syria  and Iraq alone, we have seen more than 10,000  children forced and coerced into becoming child soldiers. While the world searches  for solutions, we must all take the first step and uniformly affirm that the recruitment  and use of children in armed conflicts  is not only a grave violation of international  humanitarian and human rights law but is an abominable evil to be condemned. This  affirmation must not be done by governments alone, but by all social, political and  religious leaders.

Mr. President,

The  rising  influence  of  non-State  actors  in  regions  across  the  globe  has  presented this Council and the global community with a growing challenge which  requires new tools and new efforts to confront.  It is  for  this  reason  that the founders  of the United Nations gave to this Council the “responsibility for the maintenance of  international peace and security.” This primordial mission does not and must not  allow the  International  Community  to turn its back  on  conflicts in the name of national  political  interests  or  geopolitical  disagreements  with  other  countries.  This  responsibility  is entrusted  to this Council  by all the Members of the United Nations,  so that the foundational notion of governance is preserved  and the responsibility to protect is upheld.

This  responsibility  not  only  requires  national  governments  to  protect  their  citizens,  but  also  urges  the  International  Community  to  intervene  when  national  governments are unable or unwilling to protect their populations. In the case of non-State  actors  forcibly  recruiting  and  using  child  soldiers  around  the  world  or  committing  brutal violence  against religious and ethnic minorities, when a State is  unwilling or unable to confront such atrocities, it is the responsibility of this body to  provide,  when all other tools and means are exhausted, military means necessary to  protect citizens from such inhumane aggressors.

However, solutions to children in armed conflict cannot be limited to the use of  force alone. Rather the first step requires a renewed commitment to addressing the  humanitarian, social, political and economic situations  that  drive conflicts in which  child soldiers are used. In this regard, faith-based communities can play a vital role in  serving the communities impacted, reintegrating former child soldiers and providing  a means for  dialogue.  Faith-based communities also have a responsibility to ensure  that  those organizations which seek to justify the use of child soldiers in the pursuit of ideological goals driven by distorted understandings of faith and reason are rightly  condemned and denounced.

While the International  Community  plays an important role in  supporting  States  in their primary responsibility to protect their citizens, it must also be sure to interact  with the local community so that solutions to child soldiers and conflicts can  also emerge  organically  and  local  ownership  be  fostered.  Building  peace  requires  the  willingness to dialogue even when conflict has sown hate and distrust.  A solution to the plight of child soldiers also requires sensitivity to finding ways  to  reintegrate  these  children  back  into  their  own  communities.  While  we  witness  barbaric acts beyond anyone’s imaginations also committed by child soldiers, we must  remember  that  these  children  are  exploited  and  manipulated  into  what  they  have  become.  Thus, while their reintegration into society requires  that we recognize that  they  have  committed  atrocities,  we  must   at  the  same  time  build  pathways  for  counseling and reconciliation with a view to accomplishing fully that reintegration.

Mr. President,

The  International  Community  already  has  many  of  the  tools  necessary  to  confront  the  use  of  child  soldiers.  However,  it  lacks  the  political  will  and  moral  courage to take the steps  needed  to address the challenge. As children are abducted  from their schools to be enslaved, as children are  forced to become suicide bombers  and as children are drugged and tortured into becoming child soldiers, what will it  take before we no longer avert our eyes?

Thank you, Mr. President.

(from Vatican Radio)

Cardinal Filoni visits Iraqi refugees in Jordan: "I admired the generosity of so many"

Amman – Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, was sent by the Holy Father to Iraq to express, the closeness, affection and the union of the Pope's prayer with the many "Christian families and other groups of victims who were expelled from their homes and their villages, particularly in the city of Mosul and the Nineveh plain, many of whom had taken refuge in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan". Already in August 2014, Cardinal Filoni, was sent by Pope Francis to the Asian country to express spiritual closeness to the suffering peoples and bring the solidarity of the Church.
Cardinal Filoni, according to information sent to Agenzia Fides, stopped-over in Jordan, Amman yesterday, where he was able to visit two parishes that welcome Iraqi refugees and met the head of Caritas Jordan. "I also saw the preparation for the reception of about twenty families - informs the Cardinal -. I admired the generosity of so many. It is nice to see that these families are able to regain their dignity and an atmosphere of friendship. In the parish of Mary Mother of the Church there is an afternoon school for the children of refugees. About 300 children. There is also an English course for adults and a small club for adult men". Last night Cardinal Filoni left for Baghdad.