We just received word today that Pope Francis will embark on yet another journey in July, this time to the southern Italian port city of Bari to host a day of reflection and ecumenical prayer for peace in the Middle East.
In a statement released by the Vatican, the Pope described Bari as the "window to the East". He chose that city to reflect on and pray about "the dramatic situation in the Middle East, which afflicts so many brothers and sisters in the faith."
Invited to join the Pope will be the heads of other Christian churches, and other communities in the Middle East but as to who though, is still a question. An official list of those invited hasn’t been released yet. Of course, we’ll keep you up-to-date as details become available.
Also from Rome, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in Chile said he hopes his upcoming meeting with the Pope this weekend will be an opportunity to bring an end to the culture of abuse and cover-up among the bishops in his country.
Chilean abuse victims, Juan Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Murillo will each meet individually with the Pope, starting tomorrow and then again as a group, on April 30. A statement released by the Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, said that the Pope thanks them for accepting his invitation. During these days of personal and brotherly encounter, the Holy Father wants to ask their forgiveness, to share in their pain and shame for what they have suffered and, above all, to listen to all suggestions that can be made to avoid the repetition of such reprehensible acts.
Mr. Cruz told media that he intends to tell the Pope "all these things directly." "He wants to hear the truth, he has an open heart and he's a good man and I'm excited in a good way to be able to speak about these things frankly, and with respect".
Here in Canada, the Franciscans have gathered in Quebec City for a conference in preparation for a major organizational change that will be announced in October. We had a chance to catch up with Fr. Pierre DeCharm yesterday in Quebec City, and he gives us the exclusive inside scoop.
And finally, following the terrifying violence that left 10 people dead and 14 others injured here in Toronto on Monday, churches in the neighbourhood are inviting the community to gather to pray for comfort and peace and to remember the victims of violence.
, at 7 pm
, a prayer service will be held at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church on 75 Churchill Ave
. All are welcome.
Also this weekend, there will be an Interfaith prayer service that will take place on Sunday evening, at 7 pm, at Mel Lastman Square. Toronto Archbishop, Cardinal Thomas Collins will be in attendance and I will bring you highlights from that event on Monday.
And that is all that we have time for today. Join us again on Monday, when I bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic Lens