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Friday, 8 December 2017

The Vatican: Pope: pastoral visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh a sign of hope for Asia

Pope: pastoral visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh a sign of hope for Asia
(Vatican Radio) Pope Franci s on Wednesday reflected on his just-ended apostolic journey to Myanmar and Bangladesh highlighting the value of interreligious dialogue undertaken in the first leg of the journey, and expressing solidarity with Bangladesh's efforts to provide relief to the Rohingya refugees flooding into the nation during the second leg of his visit. The Pope was addressing pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall for the weekly General Audience .  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Journey to Myanmar and Bangladesh gift from God Interrupting briefly his series of catechetical reflections on the Sacraments, Pope Francis told those present that he wished to speak of the apostolic journey that took him to Myanmar and Bangladesh in the past days describing it as a great gift from God. Noting that for the first time ever the successor of Peter was able to set foot on Myanmar soil, he spoke of witnessing a nation that is gradually moving towards a new experience of freedom and peace. Importance of interreligious dialogue in Buddhist Myanmar  He recalled some of the highlights of the visit including a meeting with young people and an open air Mass in Yangon, and he remarked on his encounter with interreligious leaders in that predominantly Buddhist country where he was able to express the importance of dialogue and cooperation in the building of a society in which everyone, with the exclusion of none, is accepted and respected.   Christian Muslim dialogue in Bangladesh  And then he spoke of his time in Bangladesh in the footsteps of Popes Paul VI and Saint John Paul II. In this nation of Muslim majority, he said, it represented yet "another step forward in favour of respect and dialogue between Christians and Muslims".   Solidarity with Rohingya refugees He also spoke of his opportunity, whilst he was in Bangladesh, to  express solidarity with the country's efforts to provide relief and assistance amid the crisis of the Rohingya refugees. Pope Francis mentioned the joy expressed during his final Mass celebrated with young people in Dhaka which, he said, was attended also by young followers of Islam and other religions.   Sign of hope for Asia "In this way, the Pope concluded, my Pastoral Visit ended in a sign of hope for Bangladaesh, for all of Asia, and for the whole world".   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope encourages Taiwan's Christian leaders to pursue unity
(Vatican Radio) Pope Franci s has urged members of the National Council of Churches of Taiwan to continue in their work to educate young generations "in the art of dialogue, so that they can become protagonists of a much-needed culture of harmony and reconciliation". The Pope was addressing a Delegation of the Council whom he received in audience in the Vatican. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : The Council The ecumenical Council, founded in 1991, aims to achieve full Christian unity by strengthening the relationship of churches, promoting cooperation, charitable works and education as well as proclaiming the Christian message, and participating in the common mission of the church to the world. Recent visit to Asia To the Delegation gathered in the Vatican's Consistory Hall Pope Francis spoke of his recent visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh where, he said, he experienced both the vitality and enterprise of the people, but also the suffering face of a humanity all too often deprived of material prosperity and social well-being. He highlighted the good works of the Council and expressed his deep belief that as Christians we are called to work together to promote the dignity of each human being. Commitment to promote Christian unity He thanked those present for their commitment to promote greater unity between believers in the Lord and said that the strengthening of relations between the Christian confessions, and the shared proclamation of Jesus, also through works of charity and educational projects aimed at the young, will prove beneficial to society as a whole.   Educating the young generations "Building a better future for all, Francis said, requires, in a particular way, educating the younger generations in the art of dialogue, so that they can become protagonists of a much-needed culture of harmony and reconciliation.  This will encourage them to pursue, with God's help, the path that leads from conflict to communion, a path that has shown itself so fruitful in the ecumenical journey". The Pope concluded his discourse encouraging all to continue to journey together in the primacy of charity towards full Christian unity. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis meets new president of Lutheran World Federation
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Thursday with the new president of the Lutheran World Federation , Nigerian Archbishop Musa Panti Filibus, focusing on common prayer as the key to Christian unity . Recalling his own visit to the Swedish cities of Lund and Malmo last year for the shared commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation , the pope said praying together purifies, strengthens and lights our way forward. Prayer, he insisted, is the fuel for our ecumenical journey. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report: Through prayer, the pope continued, we are able to see the painful divisions of past ceneturies in a new light, abandoning our prejudices, purifying our memories and looking to the future with confidence. Through prayer, he said, we are called to recognize the gifts of our different traditions and receive them as our shared Christian heritage. Reformation anniversary 'a turning point' In his words to Pope Francis, Archbishop Musa also gave thanks for the past 50 years of progress 'from conflict to communion', acknowledging in a special way the importance of praying together to commemorate the Reformation anniversary. " Your presence and participation in the Joint Commemoration of the Reformation in Lund was a precious gift for us. It marked the significant turning point at which Catholics and Lutherans are today ". Concrete steps to unity Before praying the Our Father together, Pope Francis urged the Lutheran delegation, including the seven regional vice-presidents, to continue on the road to full unity, never giving in to the temptations to become tired, lazy or fearful. Good ideas are not enough, he said, but instead we must take concrete steps and hold out hour hands, working together to support the poorest and most needy as we witness together to the presence of God in our world. (from Vatican Radio)...
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