pope francis

POPE’S MESSAGE | The Eucharist is the focal point of God’s saving act

Pope Francis led an audience with winners of the 2017 Ratzinger Prize at the Vatican Nov. 18. The prize is named for retired Pope Benedict XVI and honors those who make significant contributions to theology and culture.

VATICAN CITY — If people really understood that participating at Mass is witnessing Christ's suffering, death and resurrection, then maybe they would stop taking pictures, talking, making comments and acting as if it were some kind of show, Pope Francis said.

"This is Mass: to enter into Jesus' passion, death, resurrection and ascension. When we go to Mass, it is as if we were going to Calvary, it's the same," the pope said Nov. 22 at his weekly general audience.

‘Invest in love,’ pope says on World Day of the Poor

Pope Francis led grace before eating lunch with the poor in the Paul VI hall after celebrating Mass marking the first World Day of the Poor Nov. 19 at the Vatican. About 1,500 poor people joined the pope for the meal.

VATICAN CITY — People have a basic choice in the way they live: either striving to build up treasures on earth or giving to others in order to gain heaven, Pope Francis said.

"What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes," the pope said in the homily Nov. 19, the first World Day of the Poor.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 poor people attended the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica as special guests, the Vatican said. While almost all of them live in Europe, they included migrants and refugees from all over the world.

Pope names bishops for Diocese of Jefferson City and Diocese of Nashville

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop John R. Gaydos of Jefferson City, Mo., and named as his successor Father Shawn McKnight, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, Kan.

Father McKnight was executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations from 2010-15.

Father Shawn McKnight was born June 26, 1968. He was ordained a priest for the diocese of Wichita on May 28, 1994.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Mass is a time of silence and prayer, not idle chitchat

Pope Francis autographed a Lamborghini presented by representatives of the Italian automaker Nov. 15 at the Vatican. The car, which was also blessed by the pope, will be auctioned and the proceeds given to charity.

VATICAN CITY — Mass is the highest form of prayer and not an appropriate moment for small talk, Pope Francis said.

At church, Catholics should spend their time in silence before Mass, preparing "to meet with Jesus" instead of engaging in "chitchat," the pope said Nov. 15 at his weekly general audience.

"Silence is so important," he said. "Remember what I told you last time: We are not going to a show. Silence prepares us and accompanies us."

POPE’S MESSAGE | Stop taking smartphone pictures at Mass

A priest took pictures with a tablet as Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in 2013. The pope, at his Nov. 8 general audience, encouraged people to stop taking photos with their phones and tablets and instead encounter the Lord.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis described the Mass as a a beautiful, transformative encounter with the true loving presence of Christ, in which congregants need to focus their hearts on God, not focus their smartphones for pictures during Mass.

"When the celebrant says, 'Let us lift up our hearts,'" the pope said, "he isn't saying, 'lift up our cellphones and take a picture.' No. It's an awful thing ... It makes me so sad when I celebrate (Mass) in the square or in the basilica and I see so many cellphones in the air. And not just by the lay faithful, some priests and bishops, too."

POPE’S MESSAGE | Through example, saints shine God’s light in darkness

Pope Francis spoke to astronauts aboard the International Space Station Oct. 26. On the call, Pope Francis asked five questions about how their unique perspective from the frontier of the universe has changed or enriched them and what lessons they could share with people back on Earth. Saying society today is very individualistic, but what is needed is collaboration, the pope asked them how the ISS is an example of that collaboration.

VATICAN CITY — Like stained glass windows, the saints allow the light of God to permeate the darkness of sin in the world, Pope Francis said on the feast of All Saints.

Just as light enters a church through multi-colored windows, the lives of saints shine forth "according to their own shade," the pope said Nov. 1.

All the saints "have been transparent, they fought to remove the stains and darkness of sin so that the gentle light of God can pass through," the pope said. "This is the purpose of life, even for us."

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