We begin today with the touching story of the Pope and a little boy with a broken heart. Yesterday, before celebrating Mass a local parish in Rome, the Pope met with some young children in catechism class.
One little boy, so overcome with emotion, was unable to ask his question and so the Pope invited him to come up, have a good cry and whisper in his ear. “He was weeping for his father who had died a short time ago”, Pope Francis said, “and he had the courage to do so in front of us, because of the love he has for his dad.” The young boy asked the Pope if his father, who was not a believer, is in heaven. “He was a good man,” the boy told the Pope. The Pope thought for a moment and said, “It is a beautiful witness when a man’s son can call him good.” Answering the question, the Pope said only God can know who is in heaven. “But how does the heart of God look upon such a dad?” he asked. “God has the heart of a dad,” he continued, and God would not allow such a father, to remain far from Him."
During his homily at the mass, the Holy Father spoke about the joy felt by the disciples when they saw the Risen Lord.
“This happens to us too,” the Pope said, “when someone gives us good news. The disciples not only believed but were convinced”. “We are in the habit of ‘growing old’ with sin,” he continued. “Sin makes us grow old; but Jesus, risen, alive, renews us! Jesus’ Resurrection is the primary truth of our faith. Let us ask for the grace to believe that Christ is alive, and risen!”
Here in Canada, the Pope has advanced the sainthood cause of a Canadian nun who founded Ottawa's first hospital and who dedicated her life to abandoned children and to the elderly.
On Saturday, the Pope, along with Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, signed a decree recognizing that Canadian Sister Elisabeth Bruyère, founder of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa, lived the Christian virtues in a special way. This is the first step toward a possible canonization in the future.
Arriving in Ottawa in 1845, Sister Bruyère founded a school, a general hospital, an orphanage, and also a home for the elderly to assist the many immigrants arriving in Ottawa, what was then called Bytown. She died in 1876.
And for more information on Sister Bruyère and the works of the Sisters of Charity in Ottawa, you can visit their website listed below.
Sharply criticizing a failure to find nonviolent means of bringing peace to Syria, Pope Francis appealed to world leaders to work for justice and peace.
After praying the "Regina Coeli" with people gathered in St. Peter's Square April 15, the Pope said that, "I am deeply disturbed by the current world situation, in which, despite the instruments available to international community, it struggles to agree on joint action in favor of peace in Syria and other regions of the world. While I unceasingly pray for peace and invite all people of good will to keep doing the same, I appeal once again to all political leaders so that justice and peace may prevail," he said.
The Pope's appeal comes after the US, France and the United Kingdom launched missiles on Syria April 13, targeting sites intended to weaken the nation's chemical weapons capability. The missile strikes come one week after an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government, against its own people outside Damascus.
And finally, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI celebrates his 91st birthday today. He spent the day quietly in the Monastery in the Vatican, but there was a little celebration in Rome, with his 94-year-old brother Georg Ratzinger.
Pope Benedict was born on Holy Saturday, April 16th, 1927 in Bavaria, Germany. The retired Pope often reflects on his long and eventful life. He claims he is "facing the final stretch" of his life's journey. "I do not know what awaits me”, he said. “But I do know that the light of God is there, that He is risen, that His light is stronger than all darkness; that the goodness of God is stronger than every evil in this world. And this helps me to proceed with confidence. This helps us to move forward".
Since his retirement, he has lived a life of prayer inside the Vatican gardens and rarely ventured out, staying true to a promise to remain “hidden to the world.”
In February, he said in a letter to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that he was preparing to meet his maker: “As my physical strength slowly fades, I am on an interior pilgrimage towards home.”
All of us at the Salt and Light studio wish Pope Benedict the very best on this special day of his.
That is all that we have time 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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