“God will only forgive us, if we forgive others without any resentment”.
That was the message from the Pope today, as he celebrated his morning mass from the Casa Santa Marta chapel.
Returning to his favourite theme of forgiveness, the Holy Father warned about the danger of allowing ourselves to be enslaved by hatred and reminds us that the first requisite for being pardoned by God is to recognize ourselves as sinners.
"It is not easy to forgive because animosity", he said, "makes a nest in our hearts." But he also pointed out that, "the accusation of ourselves is the first step towards forgiveness."
And so it seems that the Pope will be back on a plane sooner rather than later. The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will travel to Switzerland this coming June. The one-day program for the visit on June 21st is still being planned, but it is expected that the Pope will meet with the Swiss president, then visit the World Council of Churches headquarters for an ecumenical prayer service. The Pope will also celebrate Mass for Catholics gathered in Geneva but details are still forthcoming.
Swiss Cardinal, Kurt Koch told media that the visit is meant to help commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the World Council of Churches and show the Catholic Church's support of the organization's ecumenical initiatives.
Established in 1948, the World Council of Churches is an international organization of Christian churches that has the goal of fostering unity in fellowship, service, and mission. The Catholic Church is not a member, but has official dialogue with the group and cooperates with them on various programs.
Washington DC’s Cardinal, Cardinal Donald Wuerl has issued a detailed, pastoral plan to implement Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia in his Archdiocese. This plan is the first of its kind ever to be implemented at the parish level.
In the 58-page pastoral plan titled, "Sharing In The Joy of Love, In Marriage & Family", the Cardinal says that 'Amoris Laetitia,' is a call to compassionate accompaniment in helping all to experience the love and mercy of Christ.
The Archdiocese of Washington has sent copies of the plan in both English and Spanish to all its 139 parishes, and the Cardinal is encouraging all his priests to read the plan and preach about it at all parish Masses.
Now if you are not from the Washington Archdiocese, but would like a copy of the plan, it is posted on the archdiocese’s website listed below.
In other news today, it looks like Blessed Paul VI will be declared a saint in October at the end of the Synod of Bishops on Youth and Discernment.
After mentioning the late pope in a speech to the International Catholic Migration Commission today, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin confirmed to reporters that the canonization will take place at the end of the Synod, which is scheduled for Oct. 3-28. Although Pope Francis announced in February that he expects to canonize Blessed Paul this year, he still, hasn’t formally signed the decree recognizing the miracle needed for the canonization, nor has an official date been set for the ceremony. Pope Paul VI was the head the Catholic Church from 1963 to 1978.
And finally, I leave you with these beautiful images, of an act of love & mercy in action.
Last Friday, and completely unannounced, the Pope made a surprise visit to mothers, their children, and the staff of “Casa di Leda”, a group home for incarcerated women with small children, the first of its kind in Europe.
Casa di Leda is a halfway home to five mothers who have committed minor crimes and are serving time in a way that allows them to be integrated back into society with the help of volunteers and community service work.
The mothers talked to the Pope about the opportunities that come with being able to raise their children in the home. Even with limited freedom, they are allowed to accompany their children to school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon, while having opportunities to learn new skills for future jobs.
The children welcomed his gift of large Easter eggs with shouts of joy. They then invited him to have a snack with them. At the end of the visit, the mothers gave the Pope a gift which is the product of the many simple activities and tasks that they carry out inside the shelter.
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.