Browsing News Entries

Pope tells football players team spirit is important in life

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday told members of the Spanish Villarreal football club that the team spirit which is so vital in playing a good match is fundamental in life and society as well.

The Pope was receiving some of the Villarreal club players, managers and coaching staff who are in Rome to take on the “AS Roma” team in their second leg of the “Europa League” championship.  

To those present he said that football, like others sports, is a mirror of life and society: “when you are on the field you need each other. Each player puts his professional skill and talent to the benefit of a common goal, which is to play well and to win.”

The Pope pointed out that much training is needed to achieve that affinity and said that it is important to invest time and effort in creating a team spirit.

“This is possible if you act in the spirit of fellowship, leaving aside individualism or personal aspirations. If you play for the good of the group, then it is easier to win” he said.

Pope Francis also spoke of the power of sports to educate and transmit positive values.

He said many people, especially young people, watch and admire football players who have the responsibility to provide a good model and highlight the values of football, which are “companionship, personal effort, the beauty of the game, team play”.

The Pope also said one of the traits of a good athlete is gratitude: “you must remember the many people who have helped you and without whom you would not be here”. 

These include, he said, those with whom you played as children, your first teammates, coaches, assistants, and also your fans that encourage you in every game with their presence.

He said these memories are important and help one not to feel superior but to always  be aware that one is only part of a great team that goes back a long time. 

“Feeling this way helps us grow as people, because our ‘game’ is not only ours, but also that of others, who are somehow part of our lives” he said.

Pope Francis is known to be a football fan himself and he concluded his audience encouraging the athletes to keep playing and to keep giving the best of themselves so that others can enjoy those beautiful moments.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope greets family members of Dhaka massacre victims

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis held an audience on Wednesday for the Italian family members of those who died in the Dhaka massacre in Bangladesh on 1 July 2016.

The terror attack in Dhaka took place on the Holey Artisan Bakery in the diplomatic district of the capital and claimed the lives of 29 people, nine of whom were Italian.

Bishop Valentino di Cerbo of Alife-Caiazzo in Italy accompanied the group of around 30 people who met Pope Francis ahead of his Wednesday General Audience.

Those present included family members of Marco Tondat, Christian Rossi, Maria Riboli, Vincenzo D’Allestro, Claudio Cappelli, and Simona Monti, who were killed in the terror attack.

Maria Gaudio, the wife of Vincenzo D’Allestro, afterwards said: “Pope Francis thanked us for our witness of love and he said we were an example also for him.”

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis marks Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis remembered the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter during his final blessing at his weekly General Audience on Wednesday.

“Today we celebrate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, the day of the special communion of believers with the Successor of St Peter and the Holy See,” the Pope said.

“Dear young people, I encourage you to intensify your prayers for of my Petrine ministry; dear sick people, I thank you for the witness of life given in suffering for the building up of ecclesial community; and you, dear newlyweds, build your family on the same love that binds the Lord Jesus to His Church,” he continued.

On this feast day, the statue of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica is dressed in Papal vestments, and venerated by the faithful.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Audience: ‘Hope helps to see beyond negativity of present’

(Vatican Radio)  Self-centeredness and sin corrupt the beauty of Creation, but God does not abandon humanity and turns Creation’s groans into hope for new life. That was at the heart of Pope Francis’ catechesis on Christian hope at his Wednesday General Audience.

Listen to Devin Watkins' report:

Drawing inspiration from Chapter 8 of the Letter to the Romans, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian hope. He said that St. Paul reminds us that Creation is God’s gift to humanity but that sin corrupts it.

“St. Paul reminds us that Creation is a marvelous gift, which God has placed in our hands, so that we can enter into relationship with Him and recognize the imprint of His love, in whose realization we are all called to collaborate, every single day.”

But when we are self-centered and commit sin, the Pope said we break our communion with God, and the original beauty of human nature and creation is marred.

“With the tragic experience of sin, having broken communion with God, we damaged our original communion with all that surrounds us and we ended up corrupting Creation, turning it into a slave, submitted to our feebleness. Unfortunately, we see the dramatic consequences of this every day. When communion with God is broken, humanity loses its original beauty and ends up disfiguring everything around it; and where before all pointed to the Creator Father and His infinite love, now it carries the sad and desolate sign of pride and human voracity.”

Thus, rather than show God’s infinite love, creation bears the wounds of human pride.

Pope Francis said the Lord “does not abandon us but offers us a new horizon of freedom and salvation”.

He said St. Paul reminds us of this truth, by inviting us to hear the groaning of all Creation.

“In fact, if we listen attentively everything around us groans: Creation itself groans; we human beings groan; the Holy Spirit groans in our hearts.”

He said these groans “are not sterile or inconsolable, but – as the Apostle points out – they speak of the pangs of birth; they are the groans of one who suffers, but knows that a new life is coming to light.”

Despite the many signs of our sins and failings, the Pope said, “we know that we are saved by the Lord, and even now contemplate and experience within ourselves and all around us signs of the Resurrection, of Easter, of a new creation.”

He said the Christian does not live outside of this world, but in it. “The Christian has learned to read all things with eyes informed by Easter, with the eyes of the Risen Christ.”

And when we are discouraged or tempted to despair, Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and “keeps alive our groans and the hopes of our hearts. The Spirit sees for us beyond the negative appearances of the present and reveals to us even here new heavens and a new earth, which the Lord is preparing for humanity.”

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope sends telegramme for death of Irish Cardinal Connell

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegramme of condolences for the death of the former Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Desmond Connell, who died on Monday at the age of 90 following a long illness.

In the message, addressed to the current Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, the Pope recalls Cardinal Connell’s many contributions to the Church in Ireland, especially in the area of philosophical studies.

Cardinal Connell was born on 24 March 1926 in Phibsboro, Ireland. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Dublin on 19 May 1951 and held a doctorate in philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain.

In 1953 he started teaching in the Department of Metaphysics at University College Dublin where he was appointed professor of general metaphysics in 1972 and elected dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology in 1983.

He wrote on philosophical and theological subjects and for his published work was awarded the degree D.Litt. by the National University of Ireland in 1981.

He also served as chaplain to the Poor Clares in Donnybrook, the Carmelites in Drumcondra and the Carmelites in Blackrock.

He was appointed Archbishop of Dublin on 21 January 1988, a position he held until April 2004.  

Cardinal Connell was created a Cardinal by Pope St. John Paul II in the Consistory of 21 February 2001 with the Titular church of St. Sylvester in Capite.

Please see below the full text of the telegramme:

To the Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin

Archbishop of Dublin

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal Desmond Connell, and I extend my heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese.  Recalling with gratitude Cardinal Connell’s years of generous priestly and episcopal ministry to the Archdiocese of Dublin, and his many contributions to the Church in Ireland, especially in the area of philosophical studies, I join you in commending his soul to the merciful love of Almighty God.  In the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing upon all who mourn the late Cardinal, as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord Jesus.

FRANCISCUS PP.

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis appeals for ‘suffering South Sudan’

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has appealed for the hard-hit people of South Sudan, “where a fratricidal conflict is compounded by a severe food crisis which has hit the Horn of Africa region and condemns to death by starvation millions of people, including many children”.

He called on all involved to “commit not to stop at making statements, but also to provide concrete food aid and to allow it to reach suffering populations”.

The Holy Father also prayed that the Lord sustain “these our brothers and all those working to help them”.

South Sudan’s government officially declared a famine in some parts of the country on Monday.

The United Nations has warned that areas hardest hit by war and a collapsing economy have left about 100,000 people facing starvation, while one million others are at risk of famine.

Please find below a Vatican Radio English translation of the Pope’s appeal:

Of particular concern is the painful news coming from suffering South Sudan, where a fratricidal conflict is compounded by a severe food crisis, which has hit the Horn of Africa region and condemns to death by starvation millions of people, including many children. At this time, it is more necessary than ever that all commit not to stop at making statements, but also to provide concrete food aid and to allow it to reach suffering populations. May the Lord sustain these our brothers and all those working to help them.

(from Vatican Radio)