Easter 'Urbi et Orbi' Message of Pope Francis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, a Happy and Holy Easter!
The Church throughout the world echoes the angel's message to the women: "Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised… Come, see the place where he lay" ( Mt 28:5-6).
This is the culmination of the Gospel, it is the Good News par excellence: Jesus, who was crucified, is risen! This event is the basis of our faith and our hope. If Christ were not raised, Christianity would lose its very meaning; the whole mission of the Church would lose its impulse, for this is the point from which it first set out and continues to set out ever anew. The message which Christians bring to the world is this: Jesus, Love incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, but God the Father raised him and made him the Lord of life and death. In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death.
That is why we tell everyone: "Come and see!" In every human situation, marked by frailty, sin and death, the Good News is no mere matter of words, but a testimony to unconditional and faithful love: it is about leaving ourselves behind and encountering others, being close to those crushed by life's troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and the outcast... "Come and see!": Love is more powerful, love gives life, love makes hope blossom in the wilderness.
With this joyful certainty in our hearts, today we turn to you, risen Lord!
Help us to seek you and to find you, to realize that we have a Father and are not orphans; that we can love and adore you.
Help us to overcome the scourge of hunger, aggravated by conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible.
Enable us to protect the vulnerable, especially children, women and the elderly, who are at times exploited and abandoned.
Enable us to care for our brothers and sisters struck by the Ebola epidemic in Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and to care for those suffering from so many other diseases which are also spread through neglect and dire poverty.
Comfort all those who cannot celebrate this Easter with their loved ones because they have been unjustly torn from their affections, like the many persons, priests and laity, who in various parts of the world have been kidnapped.
Comfort those who have left their own lands to migrate to places offering hope for a better future and the possibility of living their lives in dignity and, not infrequently, of freely professing their faith.
We ask you, Lord Jesus, to put an end to all war and every conflict, whether great or small, ancient or recent.
We pray in a particular way for Syria, beloved Syria, that all those suffering the effects of the conflict can receive needed humanitarian aid and that neither side will again use deadly force, especially against the defenseless civil population, but instead boldly negotiate the peace long awaited and long overdue!
Jesus, Lord of glory, we ask you to comfort the victims of fratricidal acts of violence in Iraq and to sustain the hopes raised by the resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
We beg for an end to the conflicts in the Central African Republic and a halt to the brutal terrorist attacks in parts of Nigeria and the acts of violence in South Sudan.
We ask that hearts be turned to reconciliation and fraternal concord in Venezuela.
By your resurrection, which this year we celebrate together with the Churches that follow the Julian calendar, we ask you to enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine so that all those involved, with the support of the international community, will make every effort to prevent violence and, in a spirit of unity and dialogue, chart a path for the country's future. On this day, may they be able to proclaim, as brothers and sisters, that Christ is risen, Khrystos voskres!
Lord, we pray to you for all the peoples of the earth: you who have conquered death, grant us your life, grant us your peace!
Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Easter!
St. Pio (1887-1968)
In 2002 many people gathered as Pope John Paul II canonized the Capuchin friar known to the entire world as "Padre Pio."
Born Francesco Forgione, at age 15 he joined the Capuchins taking name Pio. Ordained in 1910, Pio came to the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, and on September 20, 1918, received the stigmata.
For nearly 50 years, Padre Pio was a minister of God's mercy. After morning Mass he would hear confessions for almost 10 hours a day. Many penitents said that he knew details of their lives that they had never mentioned. St. Pio saw Jesus in all the sick and suffering and God's healing power often came through him. He continued his ministry of mercy until his death on September 23, 1968.
St. Leopold, (1866-1942)
A native of Croatia, St. Leopold joined the Capuchin Franciscans and after his ordination spent most of his life in Padua. St. Leopold was a teacher, but he was best known for his work in the confessional. Despite poor health, he would often spend 13-15 hours a day hearing confessions. He was known for his kindness and patience with penitents. Several bishops sought out his spiritual advice.
Leopold had a profound sense of sin and an even firmer sense of God's grace and mercy. He would say, "I must cooperate with the divine goodness of our Lord who has deigned to choose me so that by my ministry, the divine promise of mercy might be fulfilled." St. Leopold died on July 30, 1942, and was canonized in 1982.
Pope celebrates Capuchins
the Denver Broncos of religious life
The crypt, or ossuary, beneath the "bone church" - the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome - contains the remains of 4,000 Capuchin friars buried between 1500 and 1870. (Wikimedia Commons)
By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor February 9, 2016
My formation in the faith was thanks to Capuchin Franciscan priests and brothers out on the high plains of western Kansas in the 1970s and 80s, and as a result, I believe I can speak from personal experience when I say this: The Capuchins are, in many ways, the Denver Broncos of religious life in the Catholic Church.
Not for them is the flash and sizzle of a Cam Newton and his trendy Carolina Panthers, with "dabbing" celebrations and the public swagger of celebrity. They don't light up scoreboards or reinvent offensive strategies.
They simply play the game right, rooted in solid fundamentals and a determined defense, and pile up wins - even when the world is picking against them.
On Tuesday, Pope Francis delivered a long-overdue recognition of the Capuchins by celebrating a special Mass for members of the order in St. Peter's Basilica, part of a series of events celebrating the Capuchins' most famous son: Padre Pio, now "St. Pio of Pietrelcina," the 20th-century stigmatic and confessor seen by devotees as an icon of compassion.
The Padre Pio festival comes in tandem with commemoration of another Capuchin saint, Leopold Mandi? of Croatia, a late 19th and early 20th century priest who suffered severe physical disabilities but, like Padre Pio, still managed to spend long hours in the confessional every day.
Pope Francis paid tribute to that legacy on Tuesday, telling the Capuchins, "There are great confessors among you ... you Capuchins have this special gift of the Lord: forgiveness. I ask you, never tire of forgiving."
The Annuario Pontificio, the Vatican's statistical yearbook, lists about 800 men's orders in the Church, all of which have a story to tell. Precisely because Capuchins don't call attention to themselves, however, several interesting elements of their tale are often lost.
Welcome to the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi and the namesake of our city, San Francisco. The National Shrine is the property of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and it consists of our historic Church built in 1849 and our beautiful Chapel (La Porziuncola Nuova, or Little Portion) built in 2008.
The National Shrine is not only located in the heart of San Francisco where Italian North Beach and Chinatown meet, it is "The Heart of San Francisco" in a singular way where Heaven and Earth meet like no other place in our city.
One of the reasons this Shrine is unique is its very urban location in the second most densely populated city in the country. But in the midst of an often rowdy, noisy, bawdy, and chaotic neighborhood (a bronze marker in the sidewalk reminds us that this was once "The Barbary Coast"), the Shrine's Church and the Porziuncola offer an oasis of peace, quiet, serenity, and refreshment to the thirsty spirit.
Saint Francis was very aware that all of God's creation is holy and that it reflects his beauty, truth, and goodness. But Francis appreciated churches, especially, because he knew that in these sacred spaces people could find and recognize the presence of God's spirit more easily than "in the world." That is why the Little Poor Man of Assisi dedicated a good portion of his life to rebuilding old abandoned churches, like San Damiano (where he had heard the voice of Jesus Christ) and Saint Mary of the Angels Porziuncola (or Little Portion).
We hope during your online visit to The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi you will experience something of the reverence, tranquility, and blessings people find when they enter our actual doors. Thus, we invite you to take the virtual tours, light a candle, ask for our prayers, and to return to this site as often as you like, while allowing "The Heart of San Francisco" to become a place where your own heart can find a haven of rest. Yes, leave your heart in San Francisco!
We also invite you to take the opportunity to participate in the mission of The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi by sharing with us your financial support, either by making a donation or by shopping at our online store. But even if you're unable to give anything at this time, please know that you are always welcome to visit us and to support our work with your prayers. We sincerely appreciate and thank you for your generosity of spirit.
The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, as with The Archdiocese of San Francisco, has a mission that is rooted in the Gospels and the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Central to that teaching is the inherent dignity and sacredness of each human being.
We educate and advocate on this dignity in relation to the unborn child, the prisoner on death row, the homeless and hungry person on our streets, the elderly, the ill and disabled faced with the threat of assisted suicide, the stranger in our midst, and the poor and marginalized in our society and throughout the world. We are neither right nor left, Republican nor Democrat, but we formulate our agenda by the standard of human dignity that is reflected in our faith tradition.
- It is the purpose of the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi to provide more abundant means of salvation, through the rich liturgical and devotional life of the Roman Catholic Church for the Christian faithful, including those who come as pilgrims from around the world to the City of San Francisco and the greater San Francisco Bay Area, who seek to encounter the living God through religious worship and special devotion to St. Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan saints.
- It is the further purpose of the National Shrine to welcome, share and extend this same spiritual experience and devotion to St. Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan saints to pilgrims and visitors of all faiths, religions, denominations, and nationalities.
- The Capuchin Franciscan Friars (OFM Cap.) and Staff of the National Shrine, therefore, provide a pastoral (i.e., welcoming and prayerful) environment with the hope that in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, spiritual nourishment healing and reconciliation will be found by all who visit the Shrine.