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Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Vatican: Pope Francis challenges Colombians to build peaceful future

Pope Francis challenges Colombians to build peaceful future
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has concluded his visit to Colombia where he spent five days meeting victims of the country's civil war and urging all people to work together for peace and national reconciliation . But as the spotlight fades and organisers dismantle the Mass venues, what effect will the pope's words have on the politicians, religious leaders and Colombians from all walks of life who flocked to see and hear him speak in Cartagena, Medellin, Villavicencio and the capital, Bogotà? Our correspondent in Bogotà, Linda Bordoni , put that question to Beatrice Canal, a professional translator and mother of two grown up children, who shares her own reactions to the papal visit. Listen:  Beatrice says she was "pleasantly surprised" and deeply moved to see so many people welcoming the pope "with happiness in their eyes". The visit, she says, "has brought us together" and "touched the hearts of every Colombian" who had the chance to see him at the main events or simply line the streets as he drove by. Colombians very touched by visit She says she was happy to see that the trip was "completely unpolitical", but as an overwhelmingly Catholic nation (over 80 percent of the population) "we were very touched by the visit". In particular, Beatrice says, Colombians are "all very happy that he is the first Latin American pope and "we see him as one of our own". Desire to reach out to others Asked what impact the papal visit may have on the future of her country, Beatrice notes the pope spoke extensively "about peace and reaching out to others". She adds: "I hope he leaves behind the desire in every Colombian to again feel and share that brotherly and fraternal love he's been speaking so much about". People want to live in peace While she acknowledges that the implementation of the peace agreements remains fraught with difficulties, Beatrice insists that "every Colombian is hopeful to live in a country in peace". Learn to accept former insurgents She notes that her own children, aged 30 and 35, have never lived in a country in peace, and that she was "a little girl when the violence broke out". She says: "I know that the signing of a paper does not translate immediately into peace, now comes the most difficult part where every Colombian has to chip into the process and to open our hearts and be accepting of the former insurgents". Victims need to live without fear Also the victims, she concludes, need to "find a place in their heart to want to forgive" and to be able to live, free of the fear that has caused so much suffering for those living the countryside.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis at Audience: Reflections on Colombia
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis dedicated his General Audienc e on Wednesday to a reflection on his Aposotolic Visit to Colombia , which concluded on Sunday. He prayed, "through the prayers of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá, Patroness of Columbia," that the nation might "continue to progress in the way of peace in love, justice and truth." Below, please find the official English-language summary of Pope Francis' remarks at the General Audience for Wednesday, 13 September 2017: Dear Brothers and Sisters: My recent Pastoral Visit to Colombia, in the footsteps of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, sought to encourage the process of reconciliation in that country following a half century of conflict and division. Its motto – Let us Take the First Step – was also an appeal to the nation to discover in its deep Christian roots the spiritual resources needed to advance the work of healing and rebuilding. In Bogotá, I was warmly welcomed, especially by the young, who are the future of the country. The Beatification of two martyrs and the reconciliation service celebrated in Villavicencio were particularly moving. In Medellín, the emphasis was on Christian discipleship and mission, exemplified in the help given to youth through the Hogares group homes and in the faces of the many young men and women who are responding to Jesus' call to the priesthood and the consecrated life. In Cartagena, the example of Saints Peter Claver and Maria Bernarda Bütler reaffirmed our evangelical commitment to human promotion and the defence of human rights. Through the prayers of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá, Patroness of Columbia, may the nation continue to progress in the way of peace in love, justice and truth.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope moved meeting rescued Indian priest
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday met privately in the Vatican Indian Catholic priest who was freed on Tuesday after his abduction abducted by gunmen in Yemen last year, the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano reported.  The Holy Father met Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil at the papal residence of Santa Marta, after his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.  After being rescued, the 57-year old missionary was flown to the Omani capita, Muscat, from where he was flown to Rome, where he is recuperating in a Salesian community before heading home to India later. Visibly moved  On first meeting the Pope, Fr. Uzhunnalil went down on his knees kissing the feet of the Holy Father in profound reverence.  The Pope reciprocated lifting Father Tom to his feet and kissing his hands.  He embraced and encouraged the Indian missionary assuring him he would continue praying for him as he had been doing during his captivity.  L'Osservatore Roman said the Pope, "visibly moved, blessed him."  Born in Ramapuram, in southern India's Kerala state, Father Uzhunnalil belongs to the Bangalore Salesian province.  He ‎was abducted on March ‎‎4, 2016 when four unidentified gunmen attacked a care home in Yemen's ‎southern port city of Aden, ‎killing 16 people including 4 Missionaries of Charity sisters of Mother ‎Teresa. The 57-year old priest had been working for more than four years as a chaplain at the care home. ‎ Interior prayer Fr. Uzhunnallil thanked the Pontiff saying he "prayed for him every day, offering his suffering for his mission and for the good of the Church."   The Pope was touched by his words, the L'Osservatore Romano reported.  The Salesian priest also said he was "unable to celebrate the Eucharist, " but would recite "inside me and in my heart all the prayers of the Mass."  The Indian priest assured he would continue praying for all who had been close to him spiritually.  He particularly recalled the four Missionaries of Charity sisters of Mother Teresa and twelve people killed during the attack last year.  Fr. Uzhunnallil was particularly grateful to the government of Oman for obtaining his release.  The Holy See, in a communique, has already expressed its gratitude to all those in obtaining his release, especially Oman's ruler Sultan Qaboos and competent authorities of the sultanate.  Jesus is great and loves us Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias , Archbishop of Bombay, who is in the Vatican for the 'C9' Council of Cardinals meeting, accompanied the Salesian priest to the Pope. "After this terrible experience, the essential message that Fr. Tom gives is that Jesus is great and loves us,"  the cardinal told L'Osservatore Romano.  Fr. Uzhunnalil agreed with him saying, "Really, every day, I felt Jesus close to me .  I always knew and felt in my heart that I was not alone ."  L'Osservatore Romano said that Fr. Uzhunnalil will be in Rome in a Salesian community for some time and undergo some medical check-ups .  Cardinal Gracias said that the priest was keeping "good" health, adding that during his 18-month captivity he did not have any particular problem and was treated well.   Fr. Uzhunnalil was born and brought up in a devout Catholic family. His uncle Matthew, who died in 2015, was also a Salesian priest, and founded the mission in Yemen, where he served.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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