The Pope released his 2018 Lenten message today, inspired by the words that Jesus spoke near the end of His life on the Mount of Olives regarding the end of time: “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many, will grow cold.”
In his Lenten message, the Pope is calling all to, “Come back to the Lord, with all your heart during Lent”. He reminds us that Catholics should use the Lenten season to look for signs of being under the spell of false prophets, and for signs of living with cold, selfish and hateful hearts.
Urging people to make charitable giving a genuine part of their everyday life, he asks that people look at every request for help as a request from God himself. "Consider almsgiving as being part of God's generous and providential plan, in helping his children in need", the Pope wrote in his statement.
Our Holy Father also invited all non-Catholics, who are disturbed by the increasing injustice, and indifference in the world, to "join us in raising our plea to God, in fasting, and in offering whatever you can for our brothers and sisters in need."
The entire Lenten message can be found on our website.
And speaking of Lent, here’s an interesting story coming from the Philippines that might make a few people here in Canada, a bit jealous. Manila Archbishop, Cardinal Luis Tagle, has granted a special dispensation from the obligation of abstinence for Filipino-Chinese and other Chinese Catholics in the Archdiocese of Manila on February 16, the Friday after Ash Wednesday; a day that happens to fall on the start of Chinese New Year.
In a letter addressed to all Filipino-Chinese and Chinese Catholics, the cardinal wrote, “In view of the celebration of the Chinese New Year, its cultural & spiritual importance, and the traditional practices associated with it, we, therefore, grant dispensation from the Lenten discipline of abstinence to our Chinese-Filipino and Chinese Catholics in the Archdiocese of Manila and their guests on February 16, 2018,”
Based on the Canon law of the Church, a dispensation is an exemption from the immediate obligation. The Cardinal, however, stressed that those who will avail of the dispensation must still perform other forms of penance and acts of charity especially to the poor and those who suffer, in keeping with the spirit of the Lenten season”.
In three days from now, the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, officially begins. And for the first time, The International Olympic Committee has formally invited a delegation from the Holy See to attend the inauguration on February 9th. Despite the fact that the Vatican doesn’t have a team participating in this year's winter games, South Korean bishop, Bishop Peter-Lee Ki-Heon, is hoping that this event will be a stepping stone to peace and, an opportunity for coexistence in a new era where future generations can freely come and go between the two Koreas.
The Vatican delegation will be led by the under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca, who, as a sign of friendship, will present the President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, and Korean athletes with t-shirts of “Vatican Athletics”.
Athletes from both North and South Korea will take part in these games and will march together at the opening ceremony, in a gesture that highlights “the hope of a better world”
Finally tonight, it looks like former Pontiff, Blessed Paul VI may be canonized later this year.
The Congregation of Saints has unanimously approved the recognition of a miracle attributed to the former Pope meaning, that it’s highly possible that he’ll be canonized as a saint later this year.
The miracle concerns the healing of an unborn child who was suffering from a potentially fatal disease. Shortly after Pope Paul VI’s beatification in 2014, the child’s mother traveled to the former Pontiff’s hometown of Brescia, to pray for healing.
The child was eventually born in good health.
Pope Paul VI was born as Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897. He was ordained in 1920 and rose to become Archbishop of Milan in 1954 before being elected Pope in 1963. He died in 1978. The cause now goes to Pope Francis for final approval and a date for the canonization.
That is all that 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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