Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Now we begin

resurrection-of-christ-with-angels-orthodox-christian-icon-11On Good Friday we hear Jesus say:

“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Today what was before us is gone and now we begin.

When I was growing up in the 60’s, I went to a more old fashioned church, a mission parish, very tiny, and traditional. The changes from Vatican II trickled in, but I have very vivid memories of Latin masses, incense, the works. Yet it was not a strict and scolding message, which many others may have heard. Yet, I was told that Jesus died for my sins. Mostly this made me feel weird; I would want to ask what I was supposed to do about that. I did feel badly, because I had appropriated that we are all bad at some level – but I was also assured of the love of Christ, so somehow it was more balanced

Now I recoil at the punitive message that some Christians, Catholics included, that Jesus died for my sins. Yesterday I even saw a bumper sticker with font that emphasized those words, “Jesus died for YOUR sins!” Yikes. No wonder people run away.

Yet – Jesus did indeed do just that.

9b84c9b0a13cb7bf720b7445be51d63eBeing a self-focused people we love to make things about ourselves. Imagining a Dana Carvey church lady moment, in my head I hear, “Hmmmm, you are just a bad person! Tsk, tsk! Jesus died for your sins, because you ______ .” Go ahead, fill in the blank. “Oh Jesus, I’m so bad, I lied, and I manipulated certain circumstances, and I cheated, and I…. ” We can all say that. But sometimes I think we get caught up in some obscure details, for example – lying. Let me say that I have told a big lie. I go to confession, I say that I lied, and then I do my penance. That was the “old days” anyway. Today, a good confessor will probe a little, stirring up the murky waters of my conscience, asking what that lying might be about. Now we are getting somewhere. Lent offers us that opportunity every year, to really dig deep, not for the purpose of guilt and self-flagellation, but Continue reading

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Repairers of the breach by Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

Incontro con S.S. Kirill

Viaggio in Messico – Incontro con S.S. Kirill 12-02-2016 @Servizio Fotografico – L’Osservatore Romano

“As the Russian Patriarch and the Pope huddle right now inside Havana airport, I keep thinking of the old Yiddish proverb: ‘Two mountains can’t come together, but two people [mensches] can. – A barg mit a barg kumt zikh nit tsunoyf, ober a mentsh mit a mentshn yo.’ – Meaning: There is always a way for people to find common ground.” My friend Dina Tsoar, on Facebook today

Today I woke up very early and I immediately went to my phone to read more about the unprecedented meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis that took place in Havana yesterday. While this seems a blip in the news to most of the world, this is incredibly significant. I suppose if you are reading this blog, you will be inclined to agree, but I’m astounded by seeing more photos of Pope Francis in a sombrero on social media, than with Patriarch Kirill!

The full text of their joint declaration, an almost unimaginable thing, can be found at this link. Their prayers and pleas for unity, peace, justice, and more are quite moving and are worth the time it will take to read the declaration. It is astounding and a cause for joy! Remember that Jesus came so that as Jesus said: “so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

As it happens, I wrote the daily reflection in Give Us This Day today. Now these assignments can come up to a year in advance, so I it was done some time ago, and who knew that this moment would be in the news. When I wrote it, my entire focus was on Continue reading

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Pilgrimage with Pope Francis – Two days, two thoughts

Photo credit: Michelle Francl © Used with permission

Photo credit: Michelle Francl © Used with permission

Doing this blogging has been great, but it has been a bit like a marathon. By missing a day, I am now combining two days worth of material, but they are connected. Hey, we’re Catholics – everything is connected. And Pope Francis really embodies that sense of the connection of all creation.

Speaking to the Bishops, Pope Francis Continue reading

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Pilgrimage with Pope Francis – Common Good

pope-francis-congress-commongood Continue reading

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A Pilgrim Journey with Pope Francis – Praying in silence

150922163524_papa_virgen_caridad_del_cobre_624x351_afp_nocreditPope Francis made a visit to Basílica Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre (National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Charity). This is the home of the Patroness of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity.

Watching the scene unfold on television was both uncomfortable and joyful. I happened upon it by accident, simply turning to the TWC Papal Channel 199. There was Pope Francis, the camera zoomed in tightly to the back of his head as he sat in a chair before the statue of Our Lady of Charity. That was Continue reading

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A Pilgrim Journey with Pope Francis – Becoming great

Pope Francis Havana HomilyIn the Gospel from Mark on Sunday, we heard the disciples arguing amongst themselves about who was the greatest. Jesus asked them what they were talking about and when he heard, he was very clear in responding to them:

“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

Today in Havana, with the image of communist revolutionary Che Guevara looking over the same square, Pope Francis reinforced that same point during his homily.

Perhaps as we enter this week of prayers and pilgrimage with Pope Francis, we can ask God to help us find ways to serve others, to not seek greatness, and to become more humble servants of God. What ways can we explore changing our own lives in order to become “men and women for others.

That saying, “men and women for others” is Continue reading


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Laetare Sunday – Rejoice

JUBILEE-YEAR-OF-MERCYToday we celebrate Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent – a day meant for rejoicing. Not unlike King Cyrus declaring the return to Jerusalem to our beleaguered Jewish ancestors during the Babylonian exile, Pope Francis brings us news to make Laetare Sunday especially joyful this year!

From America Magazine:

“In a surprising and far-reaching decision, Pope Francis has announced an extraordinary “Jubilee of Mercy” that will extend from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016, and will involve the Catholic Church throughout the world.”

As we pass the midpoint of Lent we are encouraged to Continue reading

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