We begin in Rome today where the Pope celebrated Mass for the first-ever, World Day of the Poor with over 6000 homeless and needy people at St. Peter’s Basilica, after which, with typical Argentinian hospitality, he invited them to lunch.
During the homily, the Pope said that people have a basic choice in the way they live. Either we strive to build up treasures on earth or, give to others in order to gain heaven. "What we invest in love remains", the Pope said, "the rest vanishes,"
The Pope warned that omission is a great sin where the poor are concerned. Indifference is when we say, “That doesn’t concern me; it’s not my business; it’s society’s problem”. It is for this reason, the Pope said that in their weakness, a “saving power” is present. And, if in the eyes of the world, they have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our “passport to paradise.”
Before joining his many guests for lunch, Pope Francis recited the Angelus prayer with the thousands of people gathered at St. Peter's Square.
During this weekly address, the Pope told the crowd that he hoped that "the poor would be at the center of our communities, not only at times like this but always, because they are, at the heart of the Gospel. "In them", the Pope said, we encounter Jesus who speaks and calls us through their suffering."
Offering special prayers for people living in poverty because of war and conflict, Pope Francis asked the international community to make special efforts to bring peace to those areas, especially the Middle East.
After praying the Angelus, the Pope made his way to the 6th Audience hall, where he joined over 1,500 poor people for lunch, while the other special guests were served at the Pontifical North American College and other seminaries and Catholic-run soup kitchens nearby. It was quite the spectacle and many of the homeless couldn’t believe that they were invited. The Pope sat at the center table and gave the blessing and also prayed for the other 2500 homeless who were having lunch at the other locations in Rome.
Going forward, The World Day of the Poor will be marked every year on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. This week, a number of special events are planned throughout Rome to highlight this yearly initiative and, to help the poor throughout the city. One of the initiatives is a mobile clinic that was set up in front of St Peter’s Square offering free specialized medical services for the poor.
Last week, the Pope surprised the doctors and volunteers with an unplanned visit, when he pulled up in his blue Ford Focus to personally greet and thank them for all their work and efforts. Here’s how it all went down. Have a look.
Finally tonight, we goto the US where a congregation of over 66,000 people filled Ford Field, in Detroit on Saturday for a massive beatification ceremony of Capuchin Franciscan Fr. Solanus Casey.
Dozens of bishops, priests, and deacons processed into the stadium for the start of the liturgy. In the congregation were 240 Capuchin friars and at least 300 members of the Casey family from across America and their ancestral country of Ireland.
Among the hundreds, if not thousands of healings attributed to Blessed Solanus during and after his lifetime, Pope Francis recognized the authenticity of a miracle necessary for the friar to be elevated to blessed involving the unexplainable healing of a woman with an incurable genetic skin disease, She was only recently identified publicly and was at the Mass. As it began, she walked up to the altar with a reliquary holding a relic of Blessed Solanus.
A team from Salt + Light TV led by our very own Fr. Thomas Rosica was on the ground in Detroit broadcasting the event LIVE, with commentary. If you missed it, you can rewatch the entire event on our website listed here.
That is all for today. Join us again tomorrow when I bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.
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