Imagine your surprise if your doorbell rang only to find Pope Francis at your door? So you can imagine the surprised faces of the families living in the public housing complex outside of Rome when the Pope decided to spend last Friday visiting residents in that area.
Continuing the "Mercy Friday" visits he began during the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis chose a public housing complex in Ostia, last Friday, to spend an afternoon going door to door to bless homes. The pastor of the local Stella Maris parish, put up signs earlier in the week announcing a priest would be visiting the neighborhood to bless houses, signs which are common in Italy before and after Easter.
The Pope joking apologized to residents for disturbing them, however he reassured them that he had respected the hour of silence for a nap after lunch in accordance with the sign posted at the entrance to the building. With great simplicity, the Pope interacted with the families, blessed a dozen apartments" and left rosaries for the residents.
The Pope is continuing his “Mercy Friday”, an activity which he begun during the 2015-2016 Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. And although the Year of Mercy ended in last November, the pope started making Mercy Friday visits again back in March when he visited a home and educational center for the blind and visually impaired.
Now here in Canada, local media is reporting that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to ask Pope Francis to issue a formal apology for the role of the Catholic Church in the Residential School Abuse scandal during his one-on-one meeting with the Pope when he visits the Vatican at the end of the month.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission documented abuse cases at residential school where more than 150,000 First Nations children passed through between 1840 to 1996, most of which operated by churches and all funded by the Canadian government.
Included among 94 recommendations in the report, is a demand for a papal apology to survivors and their families, all of which Trudeau, promised to act upon and including a promise to speak to the Pope about an apology.
Speaking at a technical briefing for reporters ahead of the trip, a Canadian government official said that the Vatican is well aware of the TRC request and they know that's something that we will be raising, but in terms of advancing that conversation I think it's going to have to happen in the room," the official said.
Of course we’ll bring you more on this story as details become available.
Now here’s an interesting headline. According to a recent study by the PEW Research Center, Babies born to Muslims will begin to outnumber Christian births by 2035.
This study suggests that more babies are born to Christian mothers, than to members of any other religion in recent years, because of Christianity’s continued status as the world’s largest religious group. But in less than 20 years, the number of babies born to Muslims is expected to modestly exceed births of Christians.
The Pew Research Center forecasts that Muslims are projected to be the world’s fastest-growing, major religious group in the decades ahead, and signs of this rapid growth already are visible. In the period between 2010 and 2015, births to Muslims made up an estimated 31% of all babies born around the world
In 2015, Christians were the largest religious group in the world in making up nearly a third of Earth’s 7.3 billion people. Muslims were second, with 1.8 billion people.
Between 2015 and 2060, the world’s population is expected to increase by 32%, to 9.6 billion. Over that same period, the number of Muslims – the major religious group with the youngest population and the highest fertility – is projected to increase by 70%. The number of Christians on the other hand is projected to rise by 34%, far more slowly than Muslims.
And you can read the entire report on the Pew Research website listed below.
And finally tonight, its official. The Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation will formally inaugurate the new Salt and Light TV broadcast center and studio this Thursday evening with a private gala celebration.
Canadian television host and journalist Valerie Pringle will emcee the event. Many church leaders from across Canada and the US will also be attendance including Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins, Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec, and Washington DC’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl.
Personalities from national media outlets including CNN, CBS, CBC will be in attendance.
The guest speaker for the evening will be Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, former Director of the Holy See Press Office. Fr. Lombardi will deliver an address on “How to Communicate for Unity, Goodness and Beauty” and share his personal reflections on having served as the head of Vatican communications departments under three Popes.
The event is a private gala but you can be sure that I’ll have some images and videos for you in the days that follow.
And that is all that we have time for today. Join us again tomorrow when we bring you more of the latest news and stories through the Perspectives of a catholic lens.