Every Sunday, and on the main liturgical feasts, the Pope recites the Angelus prayer with pilgrims. Before and after the prayer, he offers a brief reflection, and yesterday, he told the faithful that Advent is a time to make space for the coming of Jesus in our lives.
Reflecting on the reading of the day, in which the prophet Isaiah said: “A voice of one cries out in the desert,” Prepare the way of the Lord"! The Pope said that Advent is a good time to pray more intensely and fill the voids that we see. In particular, the sins omission. He also invited the faithful to prepare for the coming of the Lord as we would prepare for the arrival of a loved one: “with care and joy”.“In the same way", he said, " we must prepare for Jesus: waiting for him with care and expectation, so that we can be filled with his grace when he arrives”.
Since 1953, Popes have paid homage on December 8th to the statue of the Immaculate Conception, and have placed a bouquet of flowers, and pray at the base of the column commemorating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. And this year was no different.
On Friday, Pope Francis made the annual homage and standing at the foot of a Marian statue, he prayed that Mary would help Christians develop the "antibodies" needed to fight the modern diseases of indifference, hypocrisy, and fear of foreigners.
In his prayer near the Spanish Steps, he thanked Mary for watching over him and over the people of Rome, especially "the sick, the aged, the poor, and the many people who have immigrated here from lands of war and hunger."
He prayed that Mary would help people "develop antibodies against some of the viruses of our times: the indifference that says, 'It's not my problem'; and civic rudeness which ignores the common good."
Following days of intense violence and backlash after U.S. President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Vatican appealed for "wisdom and prudence" to prevail.
In a statement issued by the Vatican Press Office yesterday, the Holy See "reiterates its own conviction that only a negotiated solution between Israel and Palestine can bring a stable and lasting peace and guarantee the peaceful coexistence of two states within internationally recognized borders." Last week’s announcement to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, sparked anti-U.S. protests throughout Asia and the Middle East, including four days of violent protest in the Palestinian territories.
The Vatican has consistently called for a special status for Jerusalem, particularly its Old City, in order to protect and guarantee access to the holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Former presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made similar promises to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital during their presidential campaigns. However, once in office, they did not carry through with the move, realizing its potential negative impact on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
And finally, after almost 100 years in the making, the Trinity Dome Mosaic, also known as the “Crown Jewel” at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC is complete. I leave you now with some stunning images of the newly completed Basilica.
That is all that for today. Join us again tomorrow when I bring you news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.