Pope's message

Stories from the (hopefully) weekly catholic perspectives piece that has to do with Pope Francis' weekly message.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Get to Mass early; don’t calculate how late you can be

Pope Francis blew out a candle on a 13-foot-long pizza at a special meeting to celebrate his 81st birthday Dec. 17 at the Vatican’s Paul VI hall. A group of children receiving assistance from the Vatican’s St. Martha Dispensary, a maternal and pediatric clinic, gave the pope a birthday party Dec. 17 marked with singing, dancing and a cake adorned with gold and white fondant decorations.

VATICAN CITY — Don't be late for Mass believing the introductory rites don't matter, Pope Francis told visitors and pilgrims.

The words and gestures that open the celebration help the faithful come together as one and prepare them to listen to the Word of God and celebrate the Eucharist worthily, he said Dec. 20 at his weekly general audience.

"It is not a good habit to be looking at the clock" and calculating how much of the beginning of Mass would be OK to miss and still fulfill one's obligation, he said.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Sunday has lost its sense as day of rest, renewal in Christ

Pope Francis prayed at a prayer service held in front of a statue of Mary near the Spanish Steps in Rome Dec. 8. The brief prayer service was a celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

VATICAN CITY — Just like a plant needs sun and nourishment to survive, every Christian needs the light of Sunday and the sustenance of the Eucharist to truly live, Pope Francis said.

"How can we carry out the Gospel without drawing the energy needed to do it, one Sunday after another, from the limitless source of the Eucharist," he said Dec. 13 at his weekly general audience.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Bangladesh, Myanmar youths are a sign of hope for Asia

Pope Francis waved during his Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 3. Advent is a time to be watchful and alert to the ways one strays from God’s path, but also to signs of His presence in other people and in the beauty of the world, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY — Young people in Myanmar and Bangladesh are a source of hope for a peaceful future in their countries after years of war and suffering, Pope Francis said.

As is customary, at his general audience Dec. 6, the first after his Nov. 27-Dec. 2 trip to Asia, Pope Francis reviewed his visit.

"In the faces of those young people, full of joy, I saw the future of Asia: A future that doesn't belong to those who build weapons, but to those who sow brotherhood," the pope said.

MESSAGE FOR WORLD PEACE DAY | Build peace by welcoming migrants, refugee

Pope Francis gave a reflection at a prayer service for peace in South Sudan and Congo Nov. 23 in St. Peter’s Basilica.

VATICAN CITY — Exploiting a fear of migrants and refugees for political gain increases the possibility of violence and discrimination and does nothing to build a culture of peace, Pope Francis stated in his message for World Peace Day 2018.

"Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being," the pope stated in the message, which was released by the Vatican Nov. 24.

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."

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