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Vatican City, May 7, 2017 / 05:57 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Reflecting on the image of the Good Shepherd, Pope Francis said his is the only voice that leads us to safety and friendship with God, and cautioned against the false wisdom of those who confuse and deter us from this path.“It is not always easy to distinguish the voice of the Good Shepherd. There is always the danger of the thief, the robber and the false shepherd,” the Pope said May 7.“There is always the risk of being distracted by the clamor of many other voices,” he said, and invited faithful “to not allow ourselves to be diverted by the false wisdoms of this world, but to follow Jesus, the Risen one, as the only sure guide that gives meaning to our lives.”Francis spoke to pilgrims during his Sunday Regina Coeli address, which coincided with the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Shortly before leading pilgrims in the traditional Marian prayer, he presided over Mass in St. Peter’s B...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis ordained ten men to the sacred priesthood on Sunday morning, the Fourth Sunday of Easter and “Good Shepherd Sunday” after the Gospel reading of the day, which is also celebrated as the day of prayer for vocations.The Holy Father delivered the standard, prepared “template” homily found in the Roman Ritual for priestly ordinations, with three significant extemporaneous deviations from the text.The first, was a reminder that the priesthood is not a “career” in the usual sense, and ought not be lived as a path to advancement within the Church. “These men have been elected by the Lord Jesus not to make their own way, but to do this [priestly] service.”Pope Francis also broke with the prepared text to say, “Do not give homilies that are too intellectual or elaborate,” he said. “[Be] simple, as Our Lord spoke, who reached hearts.”Pope Francis went on to say, “A presbyter who has per...
By Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Many religious leaders viewed PresidentDonald Trump's executive order on religious freedom, which he signed in a WhiteHouse Rose Garden ceremony May 4, as a step in the right direction.In theceremony for National Day of Prayer prior to signing the executive order, Trumptold the assembled religious leaders: "We're taking big steps to protectreligious liberty" and he assured them the government "won't standfor religious discrimination."Threereligious leaders, including Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, offeredprayers during the ceremony. Just prior to the event, Cardinal Wuerl and CardinalDaniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops, met with Trump about the order.In astatement issued after the order was signed, Cardinal DiNardo said theexecutive order "begins the process of alleviating the serious burden ofthe HHS mandate," referring to the mandate issued by the federalDepartment of Health and H...
Washington D.C., May 4, 2017 / 01:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Religious freedom advocates credited President Donald Trump with taking a “first step” toward protecting religious freedom with an executive order he signed on Thursday, but stressed that there is still more work to be done.“I thought the executive order was a great step forward,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. told CNA. “[Trump] himself says this is the first step. But it’s the beginning, and we’ve waited a long time for it.”President Donald Trump signed a religious freedom executive order on Thursday in the White House Rose Garden, on the National Day of Prayer, with religious leaders – including Cardinal Wuerl – standing around him.The executive order instructs government agencies to consider issuing new regulations to address conscience-based objections to federal HHS mandate, which requires employers to offer health insurance plans that fund contracep...
Juba, South Sudan, Mar 16, 2017 / 03:34 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid war, displacement and hunger, South Sudan's day of prayer must lead to true repentance, a leading Catholic bishop has said.“Our call to prayer must be sincere and honest!” Bishop Barani Eduardo Hiiboro of Tombura-Yambio emphasized. “For this prayer to become historical and meaningful for us today we must repent and sin no more!”Bishop Hiiboro, president of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference, spoke in Yamibo on the March 10 day of prayer.The country has been embroiled in civil war since December 2013, when South Sudan's President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of attempting a coup. The war has been fought between their supporters, largely along ethnic lines, and peace agreements have been short-lived.The conflict has created 2.5 million refugees. At present an estimated 4.5 million people face severe food insecurity, a number expected to rise one million by Ju...
Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro has challenged South Sudan President, Salva Kiir to work towards stopping the war and ensure that government soldiers behave professionally.The President of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC), Bishop Barani Eduardo Hiiboro of Tombura-Yambio Diocese challenged the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit to take a “serious lead in putting in place concrete steps, which have to hold the nation as one.”Bishop Hiiboro said this in Yambio over the weekend, during the countrywide National Day of Prayer called for by President Kiir.Bishop Hiiboro challenged South Sudanese leadership represented by President Kiir as well as citizens to repent saying, “For this prayer to become historical and meaningful for us today we must repent and sin no more!”He urged President Kiir to take responsibility and bring about positive change saying, “The whole South Sudan will be watching President Salva Kiir very cl...
(Vatican Radio)  South Sudan's President Salva Kiir called for a National Day of Prayer for peace and forgiveness on 10 March and urged citizens to turn out in high numbers.Renewed political tensions and violent clashes between government forces and the opposition have resulted in tens of thousands of vulnerable people fleeing their homes and their lands. A famine was recently declared in some states, and an estimated 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Meanwhile Pope Francis has said he is studying the possibility of an ecumenical visit to war-torn South Sudan together with the leader of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Justin Welby.On the ground, Churches of different denominations including the Catholic and Anglican Churches - which count the largest followings - are urging the people to put aside differences and commit to dialogue on nation building.Father Michael Perry, Minister General of the Order of the Friars Minor has just returned fro...
Juba, South Sudan, Mar 8, 2017 / 12:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The call by South Sudan's president for a national day of prayer was met with derision by one of the country's bishops, who called it a “political prayer” and a mockery.President Salva Kiir addressed South Sudan via state-owned media last week to announce a day of prayer on March 10. The country has been embroiled in civil war since December 2013, when Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of attempting a coup. The war has been fought between their supporters, largely along ethnic lines, and peace agreements have been short-lived.“I have been praying for South Sudan every day. This morning, I prayed for South Sudan. That prayer called by Salva Kiir; I will never and never understand. Unless they carry me as a corpse but I will never attend that prayer. It is a political prayer. It is a mockery,” Bishop Santo Loku Pio Doggale, Auxiliary Bishop of Juba, told Voice of America, according t...
By Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Marking the feast of St. JosephineBakhita, a former slave, Pope Francis urged Christians to help victims of humantrafficking and migrants, especially the Rohingya people being chased fromMyanmar.For the Catholic Church, St. Bakhita's feast day, Feb. 8, is aday of prayer for victims of trafficking.Pope Francis asked government officials around the world to"decisively combat this plague" of human trafficking, payingparticular attention to trafficking in children. "Every effort must bemade to eradicate this shameful and intolerable crime."Describing St. Bakhita as a "young woman who wasenslaved in Africa, exploited, humiliated," Pope Francis said she nevergave up hope and, finally, she was able to migrate to Europe.Holding up a booklet with a photograph of the Sudanesesaint, who died in Italy in 1947, the pope continued telling her story. InEurope, he said, "she heard the call of the Lord and became a nun,"joining the Canossian Daughters of Charity...
Rome, Italy, Feb 8, 2017 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As human trafficking continues to be a supremely important issue during Pope Francis’ pontificate, with an estimated 20 million victims worldwide, St. Josephine Bakhita, enslaved during her own childhood, has emerged as a patron not only for her home country of Sudan, but for all victims of trafficking.St. Josephine was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of 7, undergoing immense suffering throughout her adolescence before discovering the faith in her early 20s. She was baptized, and after being freed entered the Canossian Sisters in Italy.Feb. 8, St. Josephine’s feast day, marks the third international day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking. This year the day focuses on the plight of children, with the theme: “We are children! Not slaves!”The first year, celebrated in more than 154 countries, was strongly supported by Pope Francis.If Pope Francis visits the African countries of Sout...
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