11 Jul 2016 News Comments (1)

Cardinal Nichols discourages priests from celebrating Mass ad orientem

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has written to priests in Westminster diocese discouraging them from celebrating Mass facing east. He issued the message to clergy d…

Read more

17 Sep 2015 News Vatican No comments

Synod leader: the Church must include, not exclude

Speaking at a diocesan conference in Sessa Aurunca, Italy, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops emphasized that the Church must “include" rather than “…

Read more

02 Jun 2016 United Kingdom Comments (1)

Bradford parish to become regular centre for Extraordinary Form Mass

St Joseph's Bradford will host the traditional Mass at a time when more people can attend A new centre for the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form wi…

Read more

10 Sep 2015 News Vatican No comments

Pope Francis: bishops are primarily witnesses of the risen Christ

In an audience with bishops who have been named over the past year, Pope Francis compared the ordination of bishops to Christ’s breathing of the Holy Spirit on …

Read more

22 Mar 2016 Europe News No comments

The connection between the 31st World Youth Day, the Holy Year of Mercy and the two great apostles of mercy;…

In preparation for the World Youth Day taking place in 2016, which focuses on the theme “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy, Archbishop of Kr…

Read more

14 Dec 2015 News Vatican No comments

The Holy Father celebrates Mass for the Third Sunday of Advent called "Gaudete Sunday"

Pope Francis celebrated the Holy Mass for the Third Sunday of Advent,which is usually called Gaudete Sunday at the basilica of St. John Lateran. The day is usua…

Read more

02 Sep 2015 News Vatican No comments

Pope Francis praises courage of single mother who chose life

'Don't be ashamed, I congratulate you', he tells woman in emotional conversation Pope Francis has congratulated a single mother who chose to give birth to tw…

Read more

31 Mar 2015 Q&A No comments

Can you tell me when, why, and by whom the King James translation was published?

Full Question Can you tell me when, why, and by whom the King James translation was published? Answer King James I of England appointed a commissio…

Read more

08 Sep 2015 News Vatican No comments

Focus on catechesis to curb exodus of young people, Pope advises Portuguese bishops

In a message to the Catholic bishops of Portugal, who were making their ad limina visits to Rome, Pope Francis suggested a new approach to catechesis, noting th…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Pope Francis to women religious: where would the Church be without you?

At Vespers the Pope also warned priests and religious in New York against ‘worldly comfort’

During an evening prayer service at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, Pope Francis thanked the nation’s priests, brothers and women religious for their service and gave particular thanks to women religious, saying: “Where would the Church be without you?"

The Pope began with unscripted remarks, extending his sympathy to the Muslim community for the stampede in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, that killed more than 700 people that morning. He offered his “sentiments of closeness in face of tragedy" and his assurance of his prayers. “I unite myself with you," he added.

The Pope arrived by popemobile at St Patrick’s after travelling from Washington. He encouraged those with religious vocations and also acknowledged the pain of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Church, saying: “You suffered greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalised the Church in the most vulnerable of her members."

He said he wished to accompany them “at this time of pain and difficulty".

US Pope Francis

Although the Pope was speaking in Spanish, a translation of his remarks was posted on a large-screen TV. The congregation applauded his remarks about women religious in the United States, whom he described as women of strength and fighters and said their “spirit of courage" puts them “in the front lines in the proclamation of the Gospel".

“To you, religious women, sisters and mothers of this people, I wish to say thank you, a big thank you, and to tell you that I love you very much."

Speaking to all in the cathedral, he told them: “I know that many of you are in the front lines in meeting the challenges of adapting to an evolving pastoral landscape. Whatever difficulties and trials you face, I ask you, like St Peter, to be at peace and to respond to them as Christ did: He thanked the Father, took up his cross and looked forward."

The Pope urged those in religious life to be thankful for their many blessings and graces and encouraged them to continue their “spirit of hard work" without getting caught up in “spiritual worldliness" or simply being efficient, which he said can weaken one’s commitment to serve and also “diminishes the wonder of our first encounter with Christ".

Pope Francis delivers his speech as he leads an evening prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The Pope gently reminded the priests and religious men and women that they have “been entrusted with a great responsibility, and God’s people rightly expect accountability from us".

He also said they need to view their apostolate “by the value it has in God’s eyes", which calls for “constant conversion" and great humility remembering that their job is to plant the seeds and God will see to “the fruits of our labours."

Pope Francis even warned the priests and religious against surrounding themselves with “worldly comforts", which they might say would help them serve better. The danger with that, he said, is it slowly but surely “diminishes our spirit of sacrifice, renunciation and hard work. It also alienates people who suffer material poverty and are forced to make greater sacrifices than ourselves."

“Rest is needed, as are moments of leisure and self-enrichment, but we need to learn how to rest in a way that deepens our desire to serve with generosity. Closeness to the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, the sick, the exploited, the elderly living alone, prisoners and all God’s other poor, will teach us a different way of resting, one which is more Christian and generous," the Pope said.

At the close of the prayer service, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan welcomed the Pope to St Patrick’s Cathedral and said that once he came through the doors he “became an official New Yorker", even though “you already have a home in our hearts and souls."

He told the Pope that in the past three years the cathedral, built in 1879, has been going through major renovation, which he likened to the spiritual renewal the Pope has asked. “Your presence renews all of us," he added, urging him to stop by again.

Pope Francis leaves St. Patrick's Cathedral after attending an evening prayer service in New York, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (Anthony Behar/Pool Photo via AP)

Those in attendance, who included religious and laity from the New York archdiocese, had waited for several hours in the cathedral for the vespers, or evening prayer.

William Lacerenza of New Rochelle, New York, and his wife, Daniella Raciti-Lacerenza, said the Pope had a lot that resonates with New Yorkers.

“He’s a little controversial and I like that. You have to rock the boat sometimes," said Daniella Raciti-Lacerenza.

William Lacerenza said that as someone who comes from a family of immigrants, even a few generations removed, “it’s a humble reminder" when the Pope points out about the immigrants who helped build this country.

“It resonated with me," he said, and it’s something that a lot of New Yorkers and Americans can identify with, he said.

Even a city that has a lot of riches appreciates what the Pope is asking of the world, he said.

“He tells us that we have to look out for the poor." Even people who are wealthy are receptive to the Pope’s message, he added: “It’s not lost on them."

by Carol Zimmermann


Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories