We begin today in Rome where, during the Pope’s weekly Regina Coeli address on Sunday, he reflected on the words of Jesus: “Abide in My love.”
Addressing the thousands that gathered at St. Peters’s square, the Holy Father said that the commandments of Jesus are summed up in the command: to love one another as Jesus has loved us. “The other”, he said is “the one you encounter along the way,”... those who challenge us. “We must be open”, he said, “to every one of our brothers and sisters, whoever they might be and, in whatever situation they might find themselves.”
"This love", the Pope said, "must be a part of our everyday lives even when they are approaching the end of their lives. This is why life must always be defended and loved, from conception to its natural end.”
Now, also from Rome, the Pope sent a video message to a conference on modern-day slavery, where he called for a concerted effort on all parts of society to address the root causes of human trafficking.
The event, hosted by the Orthodox Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, brings together scholars, policymakers, peacekeepers, and theologians to address and propose solutions to the problem of modern-day slavery.
In his message, he presented a startling image to the participants. “According to some recent statistics, there would be more than 40 million people who suffer slavery. "Just to give us an idea”, he said, “if they lived in a single city, it would be the largest city on our planet, and would have four times the population of the entire urban area of Buenos Aires.”
The Pope insisted that the key to solving the problem of slavery lies in addressing the root causes and improving the situations of countries where slavery is common-place and for the “Veil of indifference,’ to be broken.
This coming Thursday, here in Canada, tens of thousands of people will descend upon Ottawa for the annual National March for Life Rally.
The theme for this year's rally is “ALL IN” to defend human life at all its stages, to speak the truth in the face of adversity, ALL IN without exceptions, without excuses, without compromises. The logo depicts a smiling unborn child in a heart shaped womb, cradled by our loving hands. At that stage of life, there is only love. The hands symbolize the pro-life movement whose goal is to keep that child safe and surrounded by love from the time of conception until natural death.
If you’d like to attend or would like details on the day's event, you can visit their website at marchforlife.ca
. We will have a Salt + Light crew on the ground to cover the event and I’ll have some highlights for you then.
And finally tonight, we go to the Philippines where thousands of Filipino Catholics walked in the heat of the sun for about four hours, to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Philippines.
People gathered as early as 2 a.m. May 4 to relive the arrival of the image from Mexico in 1618 with the third mission of the Augustinian Recollects. Several streets in Manila were closed to give way to the “transfer” of the image from the Bay of Manila to the Minor Basilica of San Sebastian in Manila's Quiapo district. The procession passed through the district to "meet" the image of the Black Nazarene at the basilica.
The meeting of the images was iconic because aside from reliving the moment when Jesus meets Mary as he carried the cross to his crucifixion, it serves to reconnect two statues that had the same origin.
While the Our Lady of Mount Carmel image was a gift from Mexican Carmelite nuns to traveling Augustinian missionaries in 1618, the Black Nazarene was created by a Mexican sculptor and believed to have been brought to the Philippines at about the same time.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila expressed hope that the celebration will "strengthen the devotion to Our Lady, drawing strength from her and from each other's presence that day."
And 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.