Today, Pope Francis celebrated the 25th anniversary of his Episcopal Ordination as the auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992. And to celebrate the milestone, he presided over a mass in the Pauline Chapel at the Apostolic Palace, con celebrated with cardinals who were present in Rome. During the homily, the pope called the cardinals not to be the gerontocracy of the Church but rather to be grandfathers. "We are grandfathers whose grandchildren look at them, Grandfathers who must give them a sense of life with our experience. We are grandfathers called to dream, and to give our dream to the youth. They need it because, they will draw from our dreams, the strength to carry their task forward." And after the Mass, the pope thanked everyone for their prayers on this anniversary, asking forgiveness for his sins and perseverance in faith, hope and charity.
Yesterday we spoke about the Vatican’s recent announcement about a Papal trip to Colombia in September. Now, the Catholic community of India, who was hoping to see the pope visit their country this year, is disappointed as the head of India's Catholic Bishops Conference said last week, that he believes that Pope Francis may not be able to visit India at the end of the year as originally planned.
Bombay Cardinal Oswald Gracias said that while he is optimistic the pope will visit India at some point in the future, discussions with the Indian government about a 2017 Papal visit, has been difficult and has taken much longer than expected. Talking to the National Catholic Reporter, Cardinal Gracias said "I am beginning to lose hope about 2017. We are in June and even if they suddenly said, 'Come,' a pastoral visit, it will take several months for the dioceses to prepare. Recalling the trip of Pope John Paul II made in 1999, the cardinal said that the Indian bishops planned for almost a year before he came.
The Pope first announced his intention to visit India last October stating that he would visit the country along with Bangladesh in 2017. Now, should this visit to India be postponed, it will be the second 2017 papal visit to be delayed, following the Vatican's announcement back in May that the pope will not be able to visit South Sudan this October as previously planned.
And speaking of South Sudan, the heads of the South Sudan Council of Churches have openly criticized the country's political leaders for placing political and personal interests above the needs of ordinary people, which they said, has led to economic decline, famine and ongoing violence.
The council, including Catholic Archbishop Paulino Loro of Juba, charged that the country's problems are man-made, the result of corruption, and a lack of governance and rule of law. "Greed, hatred and the struggle for power have left the people of South Sudan, as the losers", the council said in a statement last week. The church leaders said that they are speaking solely as religious leaders and because of this, they can't give detailed political recommendations. However, as pastors and shepherds, our first priority, is the suffering of our people. Nevertheless, we dare to speak to our political leaders as Jesus instructed us- "like sheep among wolves, as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." the statement said.
South Sudan became independent from The Sudan after decades of war in 2011. It is estimated that 3.8 million people have been displaced and at least 28 million are in need of food and aid.
A trip to South Sudan by the Pope this year was indefinitely postponed in mid-June over security concerns. But because of this, the pope sent nearly $500,000 to two church-run hospitals in the country last week.
And finally, if you happen to be in Toronto on July 9th, you may want to check out this interesting event that's happening at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Toronto. There will be an exposition of sacred relics with over 150 relics on display, some believed to be as old as 2000 years. Among the treasures will be relics of St. Paul, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Maria Goretti, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, and many more. There will also be a piece of a veil which is believed to have belonged to Our Lady and one of the largest remaining pieces of the True Cross in the world.
This is definitely an event you won't want to miss. It starts at 2:00 PM at St. Paul the Apostle Church located on 3224 Dundas Street West Toronto. For more information on these relics, you can visit their website at treasuresofthechurch.com
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