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Friday, 8 September 2017

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Pope: "vulnerability is the essence of man"
(Vatican Radio) Concluding a long day in Bogotá, which began with an official welcome ceremony and ended with the celebration of Holy Mass in the presence of over one million people, Pope Francis was given a goodnight and goodbye display of fireworks from the city that sees him depart for Villavicencio Friday on day 3 of his apostolic journey to Colombia. And before turning in for the night at the Apostolic nunciature, the Pope was greeted by a crowd of singing faithful and a group of children and teenagers with mental disabilities waiting for a word and the comforting touch of the man who never fails to uphold their rights and their human dignity. And sure enough, Pope Francis – who must have been very tired – did not hasten by, but took time to look each of them in the eyes, hugging them fiercely to his chest. "Vulnerability" a visibly moved Pope said "is the essence of the human person". "We are all vulnerable, he continued, except for the Lord himself". (from Vatican Radio)...
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Colombians seeking peace and reconciliation
(Vatican Radio) Colombians are looking not just for peace – a word which can have political connotations – but also for reconciliation as Pope Francis visits the country this week. That was the message of Father Mauricio Urbina , a priest of the Archdiocese of Bogotà, an assistant to Cardinal Rubén Salazar and pastor of a parish in the nation's capital. "Colombia has been a country that has suffered from different… fractures, we can say, along its history, so reconciliation inside the families, and even inside the same church, is very important for us, and I would hope would be the main topic," said Fr Urbina, speaking with Vatican Radio's Linda Bordoni. EVANGELIZATION Asked about the Pope's message for priests and religious, which the Holy Father will give on Saturday in the city of Medellín, Fr Urbina said he thought the Church in Colombia has been heading in the direction already pointed out by Pope Francis: Going out of the sacristies, going out of "our own places, our own houses, of our own, also, mental ideas" to evangelize the many Colombians who are waiting for the Gospel. He said he would "receive and hope for" a word in that sense." RECONCILIATION With the world's attention focused on Colombia, Fr Urbina said he hoped Colombia would be seen as a "place where we can reconcile [with] each other." Referring to the theme of the Apostolic Visit – "Let us take the first step" – he emphasized that the first step is "toward Christ." Colombians, he said, "are taking the first step, not towards violence, not towards division, but towards unity, towards making a new reality out of this country that has suffered so much for so many years." Father Urbina noted the importance of hearing the voices of the victims of decades old conflict, especially during a meeting with the Holy Father at Villavicencio on Friday. He said it is important to hear the voices of the victims themselves, but also to have their voices heard through the Pope. It is important, he said, to see how Colombians have suffered – but also to see how they are willing to be reconciled to one another. Listen to the full interview of Father Mauricio Urbina with Linda Bordoni: (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope to beatify Bishop Jaramillo in Colombia
(Vatican Radio)  One of the highlights of Pope Francis' Sept. 6-11 Apostolic visit to Colombia, is to offer the nation  emerging from decades of armed conflict, two martyrs to imitate in their task of peace, reconciliation and nation building.  At a morning Mass on Friday in Villavicencio, some 94 kms southeast of the capital Bogota, Pope Francis will declare Bishop Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve of Arauca and Father Pedro María Ramírez Ramos Blessed, which is a step away from final sainthood.  Both were killed for their faith in the last century. Critic of rights abuses A strong critic of the armed rebel group, the National Liberation Army ( ELN ), Bishop Jaramillo, a member of the Xaverian Missionaries of Yarumal, spoke out against the group's atrocities in the conflict and a drug war .  Opting to be the voice of the poor and the marginalized, he came to be known as a zealous and caring pastor, fighting against social injustice.  The ELN, that on Monday agreed to a temporary ceasefire with the Colombian government, killed Bishop Jaramillo  on Oct. 2, 1989, after kidnapping him. Zealous pastor Redemptorist priest, Fr. Antonio Marrazzo, the postulato r or promoter of the beatification and canonization of Bishop Jaramillo, spoke to Vatican Radio about his martyrdom.  He said the 73-year old bishop preached the Gospel not just by word but more by promoting the human person .  He joined the Xaverians who were reaching out to Colombia's remote and abandoned regions inhabited by peasants and the natives .  He set up institutions for their uplift and also started a hospital for them. Fr. Marazzo noted that Bishop Jaramillo lived at a time when the armed guerilla groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were born.  The ELN, active in the area of the bishop, criticized and calumniated him and his apostolate.  The group also falsely denounced the bishop for misappropriating the salaries of teachers from an institution set by the government in collaboration with the bishops' conference.  Serene in his last moments The postulator said that Bishop Jaramillo was killed for his faith because he was a stumbling block to the ELN ideology.  The bishop was on a parish visit along with two priests, when they were abducted by the rebels.  The bishop asked that the priests be allowed to go.  One of the priests came back to the spot where they were abducted and found the tortured body of Bishop Jaramillo with several bullet wounds.  Fr. Marazzo noted that Bishop Jaramillo is well known to Colombians, including young people, particularly for his integrity of life and total fidelity to Christ.  From the two priests who were abducted by the rebels, Fr. Marazzo said, they came to know that the bishop was serene in his last moments, knowing he was doing God's will.   The fact that Pope Francis is himself beatifying Bishop Jaramillo, is not just a sign of hope but also an invitation and an exhortation to the people to forge ahead in promoting the human person in his/her integrity.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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