Several events happened in Rome these past few days but first, let’s look at the new prayer intention video that the Pope released last week. For this month of June, the Pope is asking the world to join him in praying for peace and the elimination of the arms trade.
This past Pentecost Sunday, the Pope, along with tens of thousands of Catholic charismatics, Pentecostal and evangelical leaders from around the world, celebrated Pentecost Mass at St. Peter's Square, which also concluded a 5-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Catholic charismatic renewal.
During his homily at the Mass, the Pope said that Christians can block the unity in diversity desired by the Holy Spirit by focusing on their differences rather than on what they share.
"When this happens," he said, "we choose the part over the whole, belonging to thisor that group before belonging to the church" and taking pride in being "Christians of the 'right' or the 'left' before being on the side of Jesus." When the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost, the first gift the Spirit brought was forgiveness for their sins and the grace to forgive others. "Walk together. Work together. Love each other," Pope Francis told them.
Also in Rome last week, Pope Francis spent a lot of time reaching out to children, answering some soul-searching questions and comforting them through the tragedy that some of them had experienced.
Why does God let children suffer? How can we change the world? And how can we overcome the fear of growing up? These were just some of the questions that children asked the Pope on Friday during a meeting with members of an organisation for middle school students called The Knights.
And on the following day, the Pope again welcomed to the Vatican, a number of children from the communities that were devastated by earthquakes that struck central Italy last year. The children came to Rome on a special “Children’s Train” specifically to meet with the Holy Father at the Paul 6th Hall.
“They tell me I have to speak,” the Pope told the kids, “but I like to listen!”. He called several of the children to his side so he could ask them questions and listen to their stories. The Pope asked them about the effects of the earthquake, and how the children were coping. After speaking individually with more than a dozen boys and girls, the Pope offered a word of encouragement. “What you’ve gone through is truly ugly,” he said, “because it’s a disaster, and disasters wound the soul.” But, he told them, “the Lord helps us to start again!”
After leading the children in the Hail Mary, the Pope told the children: ‘One of the things that Jesus likes best, and one of the words He likes, is the word “thank you.” And he thanked them for their visit.
And finally now, every three years, the Church brings together the largest international gathering of families in the world. In 2018, this gathering will take place in Ireland. The organizers of the World Meeting of Families just released the official theme song. I leave you tonight with a preview of this hauntingly beautiful song called: A Joy For All The Earth.
I'm Noel Ocol. Thanks for joining us and we’ll see you again tomorrow.
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