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Made for Love Ep 17: NFP part one

Natural Family Planning, Part One! Chastity doesn’t mean abstinence, but rather integrating one’s sexual impulses into love. That’s obviously important in marriage. Anticipating Natural Family Planning awareness week (July 22-28), we talk about NFP with Amy and Duston Stout, Mark and Leslie Wolf, and Rachel and Dax. Tons of information on NFP is available at […]

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Call to Prayer: July 20, 2018

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Archbishop Aquila article: Punishing the Poor and Needy

Check out this article from Archbishop Aquila in Denver about religious freedom.

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Call to Prayer: July 13, 2018

The post Call to Prayer: July 13, 2018 appeared first on Marriage Unique for a Reason.

Made for Love Ep 16: Humanae Vitae 50 Years Later: Part 2

On today’s Made for Love, we continue to look at Humanae Vitae fifty years later. What is the Church’s teaching on the “transmission of life”? This episode features Chris and Becky Wilson, Sister Helena Burns, fsp, Chris Reynolds from the Couple to Couple League, Dr. John Grabowski of CUA, and Dr. Theresa Notare of the […]

The post Made for Love Ep 16: Humanae Vitae 50 Years Later: Part 2 appeared first on Marriage Unique for a Reason.

Angelus, 8 July 2018



Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 8 July 2018



Dear Brothers and Sisters Good Morning!

Today’s Gospel passage (cf. Mk 6:1-6) narrates the story of when Jesus returns to Nazareth and begins to teach in the synagogue on a Saturday. Ever since he had left it and begun preaching in the nearby hamlets and villages, he had never again set foot in his country. He has returned. Therefore, the whole town must have been there to listen to this son of theirs, whose fame as a wise master and powerful healer had by now spread throughout Galilee and beyond. But what could have stood out as a success, turned into a resounding rejection, to such an extent that Jesus could not perform any mighty work but only a few healings (cf. v. 5). The dynamics of that day are reconstructed in detail by Mark, the Evangelist: At first the people of Nazareth listen [to him] and are astonished; then perplexed, they ask themselves “Where did this man get all this?”, this wisdom? and in the end they take offence, recognizing him as the carpenter, Mary’s son whom they had seen grow up (cf v. 2-3). Thus Jesus sums it up with the expression which has become proverbial: “A prophet is not without honours, except in his own country” (v. 4).

We may ask ourselves: why do Jesus’ fellow townsmen go from astonishment to disbelief? They make a comparison between Jesus’ humble origins and his current abilities: he is a carpenter; he did not study and yet he preaches better than the scribes and he performs miracles. And instead of opening up to the reality, they take offence. According to the people of Nazareth, God is too great to humble himself to speak through such a simple man! It is the scandal of the Incarnation: the unsettling event of a God made flesh who thinks with the mind of a man, works and acts with the hands of a man, loves with a human heart, a God who struggles, eats and sleeps like one of us. The Son of God overturns every human framework: it is not the disciples who washed the feet of the Lord, but it is the Lord who washed the feet of the disciples (cf. Jn 13:1-20). This is a reason for scandal and incredulity, not only in that period, but in all ages, even today.

The radical change Jesus brought about commits his disciples of both yesterday and today to a personal and community [self] examination. Indeed, even in our day it can happen that we harbour some prejudices that prevent us from seeing reality. But, today, the Lord asks us to adopt an attitude of humble listening and docile expectation because God’s grace often manifests itself in surprising ways that do not match our expectations. Together, let us think about Mother Teresa of Calcutta, for example. A tiny sister — no one took her very seriously — who went around the streets to gather up the dying so that they could have a dignified death. With prayer and her work, this tiny sister performed wonders! A small woman revolutionized charity work in the Church. She sets an example for our times. God does not conform to human prejudices. We must make an effort to open our heart and mind to welcome the divine reality which comes to encounter us. It is a case of having faith: lack of faith is an obstacle to God’s grace. Many people who have been baptized live as though Christ did not exist. They repeat the gestures and the signs of faith but these do not correspond to a true bond with Jesus’ person and his Gospel. Each Christian — all of us, each of us — is called to deepen this fundamental belonging, and try to bear witness to it with a consistent conduct in life, always motivated by charity.

Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, let us ask the Lord to melt the hardness of hearts and the narrowness of minds so that we can be open to his grace, to his truth and to his mission of goodness and mercy which is addressed to all, with no exception.

After the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday in Bari, with the Patriarchs of the Churches of the Middle East and their Representatives, we experienced a special day of prayer and reflection for peace in that region. I give thanks to God for this meeting which was an eloquent sign of Christian unity and in which the People of God participated with enthusiasm. I thank my Brother Church Leaders and those who represented them: I was truly edified by their attitude and by their testimony. I thank the Archbishop of Bari, humble brother and servant, the assistants and all the faithful who accompanied us and supported us with prayer and their joyful presence.

Today is “Sea Sunday” which is dedicated to seafarers and fishermen. I pray for them and their families, as well as for the chaplains and the volunteers of the Apostleship of the Sea. I offer a special thought to those who experience humiliating working conditions at sea and to those who work to free the seas from pollution.

I cordially greet you all, people of Rome and pilgrims! I greet the faithful from Poland with a special thought for those taking part in Radio Maria’s great annual family pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Częstochowa. I greet the altar servers from the Philippines and their families; the young people from Padua, the group of students and teachers from Brescia and the scouts from Pont-Saint-Martin, Val d’Aosta. And I see Brazilian flags.... I greet the Brazilians and take courage! There will be another time! I wish you all a Happy Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and Arrivederci.

Pastoral Visit to Bari: Address at the Conclusion of the Dialogue (7 July 2018)



Esplanade of the Basilica of Saint Nicholas
Saturday, 7 July 2018



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am most grateful for this graced moment of sharing. As brothers and sisters, we have helped one another to appreciate anew our presence as Christians in the Middle East. This presence will be all the more prophetic to the extent that it bears witness to Jesus, the Prince of Peace (cf. Is 9:5). Jesus does not draw a sword; instead, he asks his disciples to put it back in its sheath (cf. Jn 18:11). Our way of being Church is also tempted by worldly attitudes, by a concern for power and profit, for quick and convenient solutions. Then too, there is the reality of our sinfulness, the disconnect between faith and life that obscures our witness. We sense our need for renewed conversion to the Gospel, the guarantee of authentic freedom, and our need to do so urgently, as the Middle East endures a night of agony. As in the agony of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, it will not be flight (cf. Mt 26:56) or the sword (cf. Mt 26:52) that will lead to the radiant dawn of Easter. Instead, it will be our gift of self, in imitation of the Lord.

The Good News of Jesus, crucified and risen out of love, came from the Middle East and has won over human hearts down the centuries because it is bound not to the powers of this world, but to the unarmed power of the cross. The Gospel invites us to daily conversion to God’s plans; it invites us to find our safety and consolation in him alone, and to make him known to everyone despite all obstacles. The faith of the lowly, so deeply rooted in the Middle East, is the wellspring from which we can draw water to drink and to be purified. This is always the case whenever we return to our origins and go as pilgrims to Jerusalem, the Holy Land or the shrines of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the other holy places in the region.

Encouraged by one another, we have engaged in fraternal dialogue. It has been a sign of our need to pursue encounter and unity without being afraid of our differences. So it is with peace: it too must be cultivated in the parched soil of conflict and discord, because today, in spite of everything, there is no real alternative to peacemaking. Truces maintained by walls and displays of power will not lead to peace, but only the concrete desire to listen and to engage in dialogue. We commit ourselves to walking, praying and working together, in the hope that the art of encounter will prevail over strategies of conflict. In the hope that the display of threatening signs of power will yield to the power of signs: men and women of good will of different beliefs, unafraid of dialogue, open to the ideas of others and concerned for their good. Only in this way, by ensuring that no one lacks bread and work, dignity and hope, will the cries of war turn into songs of peace.

If this is to happen, it is essential that those in power choose finally and decisively to work for true peace and not for their own interests. Let there be an end to the few profiting from the sufferings of many! No more occupying territories and thus tearing people apart! No more letting half-truths continue to frustrate people’s aspirations! Let there be an end to using the Middle East for gains that have nothing to do with the Middle East!

War is the scourge that tragically assails this beloved region. The poor are its principal victims. Let us think only of war-torn Syria, especially the Daraa region, where bitter conflicts have started again, displacing a large number of people who are now subjected to terrible suffering. War is the daughter of power and poverty. It is defeated by renouncing the thirst for supremacy and by eradicating poverty. So many conflicts have been stoked too by forms of fundamentalism and fanaticism that, under the guise of religion, have profaned God’s name – which is peace – and persecuted age-old neighbours. Violence is always fueled by weapons. You cannot speak of peace while you are secretly racing to stockpile new arms. This is a most serious responsibility weighing on the conscience of nations, especially the most powerful. Let us not forget the last century. Let us not forget the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Let us not turn the Middle East, where the Word of peace sprang up, into dark stretches of silence. Let us have enough of stubborn opposition! Enough of the thirst for profit that surreptitiously exploits oil and gas fields without regard for our common home, with no scruples about the fact that energy market now dictates the law of coexistence among peoples!

To blaze paths of peace, let us turn our gaze instead to those who beg to live with others as brothers and sisters. May every community be protected, not simply the majority. Let the way to the right of common citizenship be opened in the Middle East, as the path to a renewed future. Christians too are, and ought to be, full citizens enjoying equal rights.

With deep anguish, but with constant hope, we turn our gaze to Jerusalem, a city for all peoples, a unique and sacred city for Christians, Jews and Muslims the world over. A city whose identity and vocation must be safeguarded apart from various disputes and tensions, and whose status quo demands to be respected, as decided by the international community and repeatedly requested by the Christian communities of the Holy Land. Only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians, firmly willed and promoted by the international community, will be able to lead to a stable and lasting peace, and guarantee the coexistence of two states for two peoples.

Hope has the face of children. In the Middle East, for years, an appalling number of young people mourn violent deaths in their families and see their native land threatened, often with their only prospect being that of flight. This is the death of hope. All too many children have spent most of their lives looking at rubble instead of schools, hearing the deafening explosion of bombs rather than the happy din of playgrounds. May humanity listen – this is my plea – to the cry of children, whose mouths proclaim the glory of God (cf. Ps 8:3). Only by wiping away their tears will the world recover its dignity.

With this concern for the children – let us not forget the children! – we will shortly let our desire for peace take wing by releasing some doves. May the longing for peace rise higher than any dark cloud. May our hearts remain united and turned to heaven, as in the days of the Flood (cf. Gen 8:11), in expectation of a fresh twig of hope. And may the Middle East no longer be an ark of war lying between continents, but an ark of peace that welcomes peoples of different backgrounds and beliefs. Beloved Middle East, may you see dispelled the darkness of war, power, violence, fanaticism, unfair gains, exploitation, poverty, inequality and lack of respect for rights. “May peace be upon you” (Ps 122:8) – all together: “May peace be upon you” – may justice dwell within your borders, and may God’s blessing come to rest upon you. Amen!


Pastoral Visit to Bari: Introductory words at the prayer meeting (7 July 2018)



“Rotonda” on the Bari seafront
Saturday, 7 July 2018



Dear Brothers,

We have come as pilgrims to Bari, this window open to the Near East, carrying in our hearts our Churches, our peoples and all those living in situations of great suffering. We are saying to them, “We are close to you”. I thank you from my heart, dear brothers, for coming here so generously and willingly. I am also profoundly grateful to all our hosts in this city of acceptance and encounter.

The Holy Mother of God sustains us as we journey together. Here in Bari she is venerated as Hodegetria: the one who shows us the way. Here lie the relics of Saint Nicholas, the Oriental Bishop whose veneration crosses seas and bridges boundaries between Churches. May Nicholas, the wonder-worker, intercede to heal the wounds that so many people bear within them. Here, as we contemplate the horizon and the sea, we feel drawn to live this day with minds and hearts turned towards the Middle East, the crossroads of civilizations and the cradle of the great monotheistic religions.

From the Middle East the Lord, the “sun from on high” (Lk 1:78), came forth to visit us. From there, the light of faith spread throughout the world. There ever-fresh streams of spirituality and monasticism have their source. There ancient and unique rites are preserved, together with an inestimable patrimony of sacred art and theology. There the heritage of our great Fathers in the faith lives on. This tradition is a treasure to be preserved to the utmost of our ability, for in the Middle East our very souls are rooted.

Yet this region so full of light, especially in recent years, has been covered by dark clouds of war, violence and destruction, instances of occupation and varieties of fundamentalism, forced migration and neglect. All this has taken place amid the complicit silence of many. The Middle East has become a land of people who leave their own lands behind. There is also the danger that the presence of our brothers and sisters in the faith will disappear, disfiguring the very face of the region. For a Middle East without Christians would not be the Middle East.

This day begins with our prayer that God’s light may disperse the darkness of the world. We have already lit, before Saint Nicholas, the “one-flame lamp”, a symbol of the one Church. Today, as one, we want to kindle a flame of hope. May the lamps we will place be so many signs of a light that continues to shine forth in the dark. Christians are the light of the world (cf. Mt 5:14) not only when everything is bright around them, but also when, in dark moments of history, they refuse to be resigned to the encircling gloom but instead feed the wick of hope with the oil of prayer and love. For when we lift up our hands to heaven in prayer, and we stretch out our hands to our brothers and sisters without seeking our own advantage, then the fire of the Spirit, the Spirit of unity and of peace, is kindled and leaps into flame.

Let us pray as one, begging the Lord of heaven for that peace which the powerful of our world have not yet been able to find. From the waters of the Nile to the Jordan Valley and beyond, through the Orontes to the Tigris and the Euphrates, may the plea of the Psalm resound: “Peace be upon you!” (122:8). For all our suffering brothers and sisters, and for our friends of every people and creed, let us say again and again: Peace be upon you! With the Psalmist, let us offer this prayer in a special way for Jerusalem, the holy city beloved of God and wounded by men, for which the Lord continues to weep: Peace be upon you!

Let there be peace!This is the cry of all those who are Abel today, a cry that rises up to God’s throne. For their sake, we have no right, in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, to say, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). Indifference kills, and we desire to lift up our voices in opposition to this murderous indifference. We want to give a voice to those who have none, to those who can only wipe away their tears. For the Middle East today is weeping, suffering and silent as others trample upon those lands in search of power or riches. On behalf of the little ones, the simple ones, the wounded, and all those at whose side God stands, let us beg, “Let there be peace!” May the “God of all consolation” (2 Cor 1:3), who heals the broken-hearted and binds up every wound (cf. Ps 147:3), hear our prayer today.

Visit of the Holy Father Francis to Bari (7 July 2018)




7 JULY 2018


Live video transmission
(Vatican Media)

 Live CTV



Saturday, 7 July 2018

7.00 Departure by helicopter from the Vatican heliport
8.15 Arrival in Piazzale Cristoforo Colombo in Bari

The Holy Father is received by:
- H.E. Msgr. Francesco Cacucci, archbishop of Bari-Bitonto;
- Hon. Michele Emiliano, president of the Puglia Region;
- Marilisa Magno, prefect of Bari;
- Hon. Antonio Decaro, mayor of Bari

Transfer by car to the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Nicholas;
in the meantime, the Patriarchs transfer to the Basilica from their residences

8.30 In front of the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Nicholas, the Holy Father receives the Patriarchs and greets them individually; in the Basilica, the Patriarchs wait in front of the presbytery.

The last to enter the Basilica, the Holy Father greets the members of the Dominican Community
8.45 The Holy Father and the Patriarchs descend into the crypt of the Basilica for the veneration of the relics of Saint Nicholas – lighting of the single-flamed lamp
9.15 The Holy Father and the Patriarchs leave the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, and travel by coach to the “Rotonda” on the Bari seafront promenade
9.30 Bari seafront promenade: Prayer meeting
10.30 At the end of the joint prayer meeting, the Holy Father and the Patriarchs return to the Basilica of Saint Nicholas by coach
11.00 Basilica of Saint Nicholas: Dialogue (behind closed doors)
Address at the conclusion of the Dialogue
13.30 Transfer by coach to the Archbishopric for lunch
15.30 In the Archbishopric, the Holy Father takes leave of the Patriarchs
16.00 Before entering the helicopter, the Holy Father takes leave of the Authorities who received him in the morning
17.15 Arrival at the Vatican heliport


Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 7 June 2018

Holy Mass for Migrants (6 July 2018)



Altar of the Cathedra, in Saint Peter’s Basilica
Friday, 6 July 2018



“You who trample upon the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land… Behold the days are coming… when I will send a famine on the land… a thirst for hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:4.11).

Today this warning of the prophet Amos is remarkably timely. How many of the poor are trampled on in our day! How many of the poor are being brought to ruin! All are the victims of that culture of waste that has been denounced time and time again. Among them, I cannot fail to include the migrants and refugees who continue to knock at the door of nations that enjoy greater prosperity.

Five years ago, during my visit to Lampedusa, recalling the victims lost at sea, I repeated that timeless appeal to human responsibility: “‘Where is your brother? His blood cries out to me’, says the Lord. This is not a question directed to others; it is a question directed to me, to you, to each of us (Homily, 8 July 2013). Sadly, the response to this appeal, even if at times generous, has not been enough, and we continue to grieve thousands of deaths.

Today’s Gospel acclamation contains Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). The Lord promises refreshment and freedom to all the oppressed of our world, but he needs us to fulfil his promise. He needs our eyes to see the needs of our brothers and sisters. He needs our hands to offer them help. He needs our voice to protest the injustices committed thanks to the silence, often complicit, of so many. I should really speak of many silences: the silence of common sense; the silence that thinks, “it’s always been done this way”; the silence of “us” as opposed to “you”. Above all, the Lord needs our hearts to show his merciful love towards the least, the outcast, the abandoned, the marginalized.

In the Gospel we heard, Matthew tells us of the most important day in his life, the day Jesus called him. The Evangelist clearly records the Lord’s rebuke to the Pharisees, so easily given to insidious murmuring: “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice’” (9:13). It is a finger pointed at the sterile hypocrisy of those who do not want to “dirty the hands”, like the priest or the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is a temptation powerfully present in our own day. It takes the form of closing our hearts to those who have the right, just as we do, to security and dignified living conditions. It builds walls, real or virtual, rather than bridges.

Before the challenges of contemporary movements of migration, the only reasonable response is one of solidarity and mercy. A response less concerned with calculations, than with the need for an equitable distribution of responsibilities, an honest and sincere assessment of the alternatives and a prudent management. A just policy is one at the service of the person, of every person involved; a policy that provides for solutions that can ensure security, respect for the rights and dignity of all; a policy concerned for the good of one’s own country, while taking into account that of others in an ever more interconnected world. It is to this world that the young look.

The Psalmist has shown us the right attitude to adopt in conscience before God: “I have chosen the way of faithfulness, I set your ordinances before me” (Ps 119,30). A commitment to faithfulness and right judgement that all of us hope to pursue together with government leaders in our world and all people of good will. For this reason, we are following closely the efforts of the international community to respond to the challenges posed by today’s movements of migration by wisely combining solidarity and subsidiarity, and by identifying both resources and responsibilities.

I would like to close with a few words in Spanish, directed particularly to the faithful who have come from Spain.

I wanted to celebrate the fifth anniversary of my visit to Lampedusa with you, who represent rescuers and those rescued on the Mediterranean Sea. I thank the rescuers for embodying in our day the parable of the Good Samaritan, who stopped to save the life of the poor man beaten by bandits. He didn’t ask where he was from, his reasons for travelling or his documents… he simply decided to care for him and save his life. To those rescued I reiterate my solidarity and encouragement, since I am well aware of the tragic circumstances that you are fleeing. I ask you to keep being witnesses of hope in a world increasingly concerned about the present, with little vision for the future and averse to sharing. With respect for the culture and laws of the country that receives you, may you work out together the path of integration.

I ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and to stir our hearts to overcome all fear and anxiety, and to make us docile instruments of the Father’s merciful love, ready to offer our lives for our brothers and sisters, as the Lord Jesus did for each of us.