We begin in Rome today where the Pope celebrated Palm Sunday Mass yesterday in St. Peter’s square.
Tens of thousands of people carrying palms and olive branches joined the pope during a solemn procession in St. Peter's Square for the beginning of Holy Week. The Pope blessed the palm branches, in the center of the square, near the obelisk. At the end of the procession to the Basilica, he celebrated Holy Mass of the Passion of the Lord.
"Jesus does not ask that people only contemplate his image", Pope Francis said, during the mass, but that they also recognize and love him concretely in all people who suffer like he did. Jesus is "present in our many brothers and sisters who today endure sufferings like his own. They suffer from wars and terrorism, from interests that are armed and ready to strike.
Let us ask for the grace to follow Jesus faithfully, not in words but in deeds. Let us also ask for the patience to carry our own cross, not to refuse it or set it aside, but rather, in looking to him, to take it up and to carry it daily," he said.
The pope also prayed for all people affected by war, which he called, a "disgrace of humanity."
The Christian community in Egypt was the target of Islamic-State yesterday, after 2 separate terror attacks in which many dozens of people were killed and many more injured. A blast outside St Mark’s cathedral in Alexandria, killed 11 people and though Coptic Pope Tawadros II was inside, he was unhurt. An earlier explosion at St George’s church north of Cairo killed more than two dozen people, injuring 60 others.
Upon the news of the attacks, Pope Francis condemned the terror attacks in a statement to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus with him.“We pray for the victims claimed this Sunday morning. To my dear brother, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II,” Pope Francis continued. “To the Coptic Church and to all the dear Egyptian nation I express my deep condolences. I pray for the dead and the injured, and I am close in spirit to the family members and to the entire community.”
Pope Francis went on to pray, “May the Lord convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who make and traffic weapons”. Pope Francis is still scheduled to visit Cairo at the end of this month.
To the Middle East now where two Catholic leaders in Syria criticized the US missile strikes against their nation, questioning why the US retaliation occurred before an investigation into the origins of chemical attacks that happened last week.
In an interview with CNS, the Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph Yonan said, "It is a shame that the United States didn't wait until an honest UN investigation was thoroughly made." Bishop Georges Khazen, who serves Latin-rite Catholics in Aleppo, told media, that he was baffled by "the speed with which it was decided and carried out, without any adequate investigation into the tragic massacre in Idlib province and that the US actions opens new disturbing scenarios for all."
The U.S. launched 59 missiles from the USS Ross and USS Porter in the Mediterranean on April 7 targeting Shayrat Air Base.
Now here in Toronto, The Women of the Word Movement, a recognized lay movement under the Archdiocese of Toronto, is hosting their 8th annual “Road to Joy” event at the Royalton Hospitality
in Woodbridge on April 23rd.
Emilie Callan, had a chance to talk Mary Filangi, the founder of the organization and here’s what she had to say about this great upcoming event.
They are expecting over 600 women to attend the event this year so if you are interested in attending, you’d better sign up soon. You can find details on their website at wowblessingstoronto.com
And that is all that we have time for today. Join us again on tomorrow when we bring you more of the latest news and stories through the Perspectives of a catholic lens. From all of us here at Salt and Light, thank you for joining us and we see you again tomorrow.