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Vatican: Risen Christ, hope that does not disappoint – Pope

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…As decree Year of St. Joseph delights pope emeritus

Pope Francis delivered his traditional Easter message “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world), underscoring how today (Easter Sunday) we celebrate the event that gives us the hope that does not disappoint: “Jesus who was crucified has risen”.

Throughout the world, the Church proclaims the joyous news that “Jesus, who was crucified, has risen as He said. Alleluia!” Pope Francis said at the start of his Easter message broadcast live around the world.
He delivered his Urbi et Orbi message inside St. Peter’s Basilica, just like last year, due to coronavirus safety measures.

The Easter reality of the Resurrection offers concrete, tangible hope and consolation, the Pope noted, but its message does not offer us “a mirage or reveal a magic formula” we might wish as an escape to the world’s difficult realities.

Among them, the spread of the pandemic, social and economic crisis hitting the poor especially, but also, he noted the “scandalous” fact that “armed conflicts have not ended and military arsenals are being strengthened.”

The Easter message of hope tells us concisely that “the crucified Jesus, none other, has risen from the dead”, Pope Francis said, adding that God the Father raised Jesus, who accomplished His saving will by taking upon Himself our weakness, infirmities, the weight of our sins, even our death. Because of this, the Pope said, “God the Father exalted Him and now Jesus Christ lives forever; He is the Lord.”

In another development, Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, has praised Pope Francis devotion to St. Joseph, thanking him for launching a special year dedicated to his namesake, St Joseph.

Speaking during an interview with the German newspaper Die Tagespost, Benedict XVI said, “I am naturally particularly pleased that Pope Francis is so aware of the importance of Saint Joseph.”

“Therefore, I read with particular gratitude and sincere approval the apostolic exhortation Patris Corde,” meaning “Father of the Heart,” which was the title of Pope Francis’s apostolic letter for the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as patron of the universal Church.

In the interview Benedict, born as Joseph Ratzinger, recalled celebrating the March 19 feast of his saintly namesake, saying on that day “there was always a primrose as a sign of spring, which St. Joseph carries with him,” often displayed with St. Joseph in artistic depictions, “and our mother always prepared a cake with icing.”

While there is no direct account of anything Joseph actually said in the New Testament, his actions speak volumes, Benedict said. The pope emeritus recalled how, after making private plans for a quiet divorce when he found out Mary was pregnant, Joseph changed his mind after receiving a message from an angel in a dream.

“There is equivalence between the mission of the angel who appears in the dream and the action of Saint Joseph, which clearly characterizes him as a person,” Benedict said.
For him, “St. Joseph’s silence is also his word. He expresses the ‘yes’ to what he has assumed with the bond with Mary, [and] therefore also with Jesus.”

Saint Joseph has been a figure close to popes throughout history. Benedict XVI himself is the fourth pope in recent memory to hold the baptismal name of Christ’s adoptive father.

Others include: Saint Pope Pius X, whose birth name was Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto; Saint Pope John XXIII, whose name was Giuseppe Roncalli; and Saint Pope John Paul II, who was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla.

Although he does not share St. Joseph’s name, Pope Francis formally began his papal ministry in 2013 on the saint’s March 19 feast, giving him and his ministry a close connection to St. Joseph.

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Vatican: Church agency to give $9.5m to Nigeria, other Africa’s persecuted Christians

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Vatican: Church agency to give $9.5m to Nigeria, other Africa's persecuted Christians

…As Pope ordains 9 priests on Good Shepherd Sunday

A pontifical charity has announced more than $9.5 million in aid for persecuted Christians in Nigeria and other African countries facing increased extremist violence.

“Christians have been targeted by Islamic extremists in many countries in Africa. In no other region have so many priests, religious and church workers been murdered in the last three years,” Mario Oliver of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) said in the announcement.

The aid will fund trauma rehabilitation for victims of kidnapping and violence, help rebuild churches destroyed by terrorism, promote interreligious dialogue initiatives and provide logistical support and spiritual retreats for priests and religious sisters who minister under dangerous conditions.

Christian communities in Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, and the Central African Republic are listed alongside Nigeria among the recipients of the “Heal the wounds of religious extremism in Africa” campaign.

Thomas Heine-Geldern, ACN’s international executive president, said he hoped that the aid would “assuage the suffering of the people and enable them to experience a little Easter hope.”

“Africa was on a harrowing Via Dolorosa in 2020 and became the ‘continent of martyrs.’ Violence against Christians, their expulsion and murder have increased dramatically,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has marked the Good Shepherd Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica, with the Rite of Priestly Ordination administered on nine deacons.

In his homily, the Holy Father urged the new priests to focus their gaze always on Christ as they serve His people.

He said their ministry is an expression of Christ’s own office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd.

“Priests,” said the Pope, “are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God.”

He added that their task is to “preach the Gospel, to shepherd God’s people, and to celebrate the sacred Liturgy, especially the Lord’s sacrifice.”

The Pope then stressed that in becoming priests “you will be like Him: a shepherd”. This, he said “is not a career”, but “a service”.

He asked the priests to adopt four forms of closeness in their service: “closeness to God, closeness to the Bishop, closeness to each other and closeness to the people of God”.

All these, he said, must be performed with “a style of compassion and tenderness”.

Pope Francis then warned against the perils of vanity and “the pride of money”. The devil comes through your pockets, he said: “be poor, as poor are God’s holy faithful people”.

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Philippines: Diocese launches app to link Covid-19 patients

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Philippines: Diocese launches app to link Covid-19 patients

Novaliches Catholic Diocese in Manila, Philippines has launched an application, E-Pray, for spiritual accompaniment during COVID-19 isolation.

E-Pray is a free web application where patients can type in their contact details so that priests can get in touch with them, reported ucanews.com. Diocesan official said the app was developed by its social communications ministry in response to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Philippine capital.

“With this E-Pray app, COVID patients can communicate with our diocese for spiritual advice and counseling. We can also reach out to them by allowing them to send their prayer intentions to us,” the diocese said in an announcement on social media.

“The pandemic has prevented churchgoers from accessing their priests and has deprived them of their spiritual life. During times when we feel like we are about to surrender, the presence of a priest is very important for guidance,” said Fr. Luciano Felloni, the diocese’s social communications director.

He said the internet must be maximized for the church’s mission to be more alive and active during the pandemic.

“The problem (for sick Catholics) is that there is no direct contact, because priests are not allowed to enter hospitals and quarantine facilities,” the priest added.

Although priests cannot hear confession with the app, they can use it to pray for and with the sick, he said.

“The platform will be manned by a number of volunteers who will put a sick person through to an available priest. We have enough priests and volunteers to make this work,” the diocese said, adding that more than 30 priests, including one from New York have volunteered for the project.

“Let’s not allow any single patient to go without prayer, to go without being blessed by a priest. Let’s help in our little and very simple way. Let us help with the grace of prayer,” the report added.

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United Kingdom: Police regret aftermath of Good Friday shutdown

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United Kingdom: Police regret aftermath of Good Friday shutdown

Catholic officials and members of London’s Metropolitan Police Service pledged to “move forward in friendship” after a controversial forced ending of the Good Friday service at Christ the King Polish Catholic Church in the capital.

Police officers entered the church during the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion on April 2, threatening to fine the congregation if they didn’t immediately leave. Officers said COVID-19 regulations, which mandate social distancing and mask-wearing, weren’t being observed during the service.

But parish officials insist all regulations governing religious services were followed.

On April 11, Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark and Superintendent Roger Arditti and Detective Superintendent Andy Wadey of the Metropolitan Police Service visited Christ the King.

Wilson said he was “deeply saddened” by the Good Friday events and said Church officials and the police “all share the same desire to move forward in friendship, working together for the common good.”
“We are committed to enabling freedom of worship for everyone, in safe and secure environments,” the archbishop said.

Monsignor Władysław Wyszowadzki, the pastor of the Christ the King Mission, said the interruption of the Good Friday liturgy was “very painful for our parish community,” but said the community was willing to extend their hands to the police “in order to further build a deep and lasting relationship between us, based on mutual respect and regard for the rights of worshippers to freely practice their faith.”

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