Today on Perspectives, the pope’s weekly General Audience, Raul Castro to visit the Vatican and international Catholic-Anglican dialogue is coming to Toronto.
During his Angelus Address on Sunday, Pope Francis announced that he would be making a one day trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina this coming June. It appears the Holy Father has an appetite for difficult cases, as the former Yugoslav republic is no walk in the park.
Most will recall the Bosnian War that broke out following the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. The collapse of that country resulted in the establishment of six independent nations, the most complicated of which was Bosnia and Herzegovina. The governance and structure of that particular country is founded in the 1995 Dayton Agreement. Signed to end the bloody, brutal war that tore that part of the Balkans apart, its legacy lives until today. It detailed a delicate and complicated power sharing arrangement between the three ethnic groups living in the country: Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks.
Despite the peace, there are still deep underlying tensions that exist between the groups, who are not only divided ethnically, but along religious lines as well. Serb Orthodox, Croat Catholics and Bosniak Muslims have lived side-by-side for centuries, however it is a difficult history. There is perhaps no nation in Europe where the indigenous population is so heavily divided along cultural and religious lines as Bosnia.
It appears the challenges that permeate this region have caught the attention of the pope, as his first European trip outside of Italy was to another Balkan nation in Albania. That nation faces its own set of challenges, however what they unmistakably have in common with Bosnia, is finding themselves among the very poorest nations on the continent.
Francis’ desire for closeness with the poor will by no means be the only reason for his trip. Relative to the most impoverished nations in the world, Bosnia is reasonably well to do. What is key in Bosnia is mending the divisions that exist between its three predominant ethnic groups. We should expect the pope to stress the importance of not letting religion be a dividing factor in society. Two of the three concerned groups are Christian, and all three are linked by a common and closely connected Slavic culture and language.
This will be Francis’ first venture into the Slavic world, a world whose politics are deeply complicated and often have their foundations in centuries of history. With perhaps the exception of the very active conflict in Eastern Ukraine, the Balkans is the region of Europe most in need of healing. The Pontiff’s recent diplomatic efforts in Cuba, his trip to Sri Lanka and last year’s visit to the Holy Land show his willingness to unite. It would come as no surprise if the pope includes St. Jude, the patron of hopeless causes amongst the saints he prays to for intercession.
Bosnia has lay silent for many years, but by no means has the powder keg of Europe been disarmed. The potential impact of the Holy Father’s visit given his desire for reconciliation could be game changing for the region. However only time will tell whether or not the peaceful revolution of the Roman Pontiff will find it’s way into the streets of Bosnia and the hearts of the people who live there.
Here’s what’s been going on in the church in Canada this week:
National events have been obscured by the Synod of Bishops in Rome. Archbishop Paul Andre Durocher of Gatineau is there representing the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. He has been posting to his blog “Sing and Walk” on a daily basis. Check it out for an insider’s explanation of the Synod.
In Edmonton, parishes are finding new and creative ways to reach out to kids.
In Ottawa, where the supreme court is debating over Canada’s “assisted suicide” or euthanasia laws, one expert says the opposition to euthanasia needs to be framed in non-religious terms if it is to win in court.
Today on Perspectives, the bishops of Canada visit the Shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre and we talk to Archbishop Murray Chatlain.
Today on Perspectives, the Episcopal Ordination of His Excellency Bishop Christian Riesbeck.
Today on Perspectives: Pope Francis holds his weekly General Audience in the rain, the Holy See makes interventions at the United Nations, and Salt + Light presents “A New Leaf” streaming on demand.
Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ daily homily, implementing the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Pastoral Plan and Pope Francis attends Italy’s March for Life.
Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ weekly general audience from St. Peter’s Square, a new Nuncio is announced and we look at events coming up this weekend.
Today on Perspectives the Holy Father sends his prayers back home, combatting euthanasia in Quebec and a look at the Episcopal Ordination of Canada’s newest bishop.
On the evening of Wednesday March 6 at 5:00pm Rome time (11:00am ET/8:00am PT), the Prayer for the Church on the Occasion of the General Congregations of the College of Cardinals will take place at the Altar of the Cathedra in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The order of the service is as follows:
- The prayer will begin with the recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary in Italian and Latin.
- Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be followed by a brief Adoration.
- The recitation of Vespers, the Evening prayer of the Church (there will be no presider for the Vespers).
- Benediction will be offered by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica.
- The regularly scheduled mass at the Altar of the Cathedra will be moved to another altar in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The prayer service is expected to last for approximately one hour.
We will air the full prayer service live starting at 11:00am ET/8:00am PT as well as stream it live on our website at saltandlighttv.org/live.