'Pope Francis'

Chicago Cardinal gives money to Franciscan church on behalf of the Vatican

Posted on 26. Aug, 2017 by .

0

Parishioners from the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen welcomed a Cardinal from the Archdiocese of Chicago on Tuesday.

Cardinal Blase Cupich visited the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday to deliver a special donation of $100,000 to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church on behalf of the Vatican.

The fund was given to help with the construction of the new Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen. The new facility will be dedicated to provide assistance for immigrants and refugees coming to the area.

“First floor will be an area to provide service,” said Catholic Charities executive director Sister Norma Pimentel. “We also want an area for education components where people, groups and students can come and get educated on the whole reality of the immigrants and refugees. What we want is to make a center that is hurricane resistant.”

Catholic Charities plans to have the center completed by late 2019. In the meantime, they will continue to service immigrants in their temporary center.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church will continue to accept donations, both monetary and material.

Cupich also presented La Posada Providence Shelter in San Benito, and Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Hidalgo County with a total of $75,000.

More/Leave a Comment

World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Posted on 26. Aug, 2017 by .

0

In his message for the next World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis outlined a four-step vision for responding to the ongoing global migration crisis, which he said is a “sign of the times” that can’t be solved by simply expelling incoming foreigners, but rather by upholding human dignity.

Pointing to the “lamentable situation” of the many migrants and refugees who flee war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty in their homelands, the Pope said the scenario “is undoubtedly a sign of the times” which he has tried to draw attention to since his election as the Successor of Peter in 2013.

He has consistently spoken out about the issue from the Pope_Francis_greets_pilgrims_in_St_Peters_Square_after_the_Wednesday_general_audience_June_1_2016_Credit_Daniel_Ibez_CNAbeginning with his July 8, 2013, visit to Lampedusa, up to the formation of the new dicastery for Integral Human Development in January 2017.

“Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age,” Francis said in his message, released Aug. 21.

The Church in particular is asked to show solidarity with those who leave their countries in search of a better life, he said, stressing that this solidarity “must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return.”

Part of this involves a four-step response to the crisis which Pope Francis said can be summed up with four verbs: “to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.”

“Collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants and refugees are not suitable solutions, particularly where people are returned to countries which cannot guarantee respect for human dignity and fundamental rights,” he said.

Rather, welcoming foreigners above all means “offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally.”

In order for this to happen, the Pope said there must be a commitment to “increase and simplify” the process for granting humanitarian visas and reuniting families that have been separated.

He urged a wider global adoption of both private and community sponsorship and humanitarian corridor programs for vulnerable refugees, as well as the issuing of “special temporary visas” for those fleeing conflicts in neighboring countries.

Making the human person the focal point of the issue “obliges us to always prioritize personal safety over national security,” he said, and stressed the importance of ensuring that migrants and asylum seekers be guaranteed both personal safety and access to basic services upon their arrival.

He also spoke out against the detainment of illegal immigrants in detention centers, saying that “for the sake of the fundamental dignity of every human person, we must strive to find alternative solutions to detention for those who enter a country without authorization.”

Dating back to 1914, when it was established under Pope St. Pius X, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees is celebrated annually on Jan. 14. This year, the theme follows the Pope’s action-plan: “Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees.”

His message comes amid heated tensions on the immigration issue in the U.S. in particular, as President Donald Trump has outlined new legislation with sweeping cuts to the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country, as well as the implementation of a merit-based visa system.

The issue was one of the most contentious during Trump’s campaign, and he even sparred with Pope Francis when he threatened to built a wall between the U.S.-Mexico border. So far during his time in office, Trump has promoted the idea of the wall, and has implemented a travel ban on six majority-Muslim countries, from which millions are fleeing due to war and violent conflict.

As it stands, current U.S. law forbids migrants from receiving food stamps, Medicaid and Social Security until they have been in the U.S. for at least five years.

However, in his message Pope Francis in his second point stressed that protecting immigrants means defending “the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, independent of their legal status.”

“Such protection begins in the country of origin, and consists in offering reliable and verified information before departure, and in providing safety from illegal recruitment practice,” he said.

This entails ensuring migrants have proper council and assistance, the right to access documents of identification at any time, the ability of opening a personal bank account and enough money to live on.

“When duly recognized and valued, the potential and skills of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are a true resource for the communities that welcome them,” Francis said. “This is why I hope that, in countries of arrival, migrants may be offered freedom of movement, work opportunities, and access to means of communication, out of respect for their dignity.”

For those who decide to return to their homelands, reintegration programs ought to be available, the Pope said, and urged for protection of underage migrants, particularly those who travel alone.

“They must be spared any form of detention related to migratory status, and must be guaranteed regular access to primary and secondary education,” he said, adding that when they come of age, these migrants must be “guaranteed the right to remain” in their host country and continue their studies.

Foster programs for unaccompanied minors ought to be set up, and nationality granted and “duly certified” for all children at birth, he said, adding that the “statelessness” some migrants fall into can be avoided with national legislation that respects “the fundamental principals of international law.”

When it comes to “promoting” the interests of migrants and refugees, Pope Francis said this refers to “a determined effort to ensure that all migrants and refugees – as well as the communities which welcome them – are empowered to achieve their potential as human beings, in all the dimensions which constitute the humanity intended by the Creator.”

This means ensuring freedom of religion, and promoting the personal and professional abilities of migrants, which must be “appropriately recognized and valued.”

Since work is essential to dignity, Francis voiced encouragement for “a determined effort to promote the social and professional inclusion of migrants and refugees,” guaranteeing for all – including those seeking asylum – the opportunity for employment, language classes and “active citizenship,” with enough information provided in their mother tongue to ensure that they are successful.

However, when it comes to minors, the Pope cautioned that their involvement with labor must be properly regulated in order to eliminate and prevent opportunities for exploitation. He also spoke out on the need to help disabled migrants, saying they “must be granted greater assistance and support.”

Francis also called for an increase in international humanitarian assistance for developing countries receiving high numbers of migrants and refugees, and voiced hope that local communities that are vulnerable and financially strapped “will be included among aid beneficiaries.”

His final point, integration, is something the Pope has often brought up in relation to the migrant issue, taking advantage of speaking engagements with large governmental bodies such as the the Council of Europe or foreign diplomats.

In his message, Francis said integration is not “an assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity,” but rather, he said contact with others “leads to discovering their ‘secret,’ to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects and thus contribute to knowing each one better.”

“This is a lengthy process that aims to shape societies and cultures, making them more and more a reflection of the multi-faceted gifts of God to human beings,” he said.

This process, he said, can be accelerated by granting citizenship that is free of financial or linguistic requirements, and by offering special legislation to migrants able to claim long-term residence upon arrival.

Pope Francis also drew attention to the plight of migrants who abandon their own countries only to flee their country of arrival due to a humanitarian crisis. These people, he said, “must be ensured adequate assistance for repatriation and effective reintegration programs in their home countries.”

The Pope closed his message insisting that “the contribution of political communities and civil societies is indispensable, each according to their own responsibilities” in order for a positive outcome to the current migration crisis.

To this end, he pointed to the U.N. Summit held in New York Sept. 16, 2016, in which world leaders gathered to discuss their own action-plan to support migrants and refugees with shared responsibility on a global level.

To execute this responsibility, the participating States committed to drafting and approving two Global Compacts, one for migrants and one for refugees, before the end of 2018.

In light of these ongoing processes, the Pope said the coming months “offer a unique opportunity to advocate and support” his own four point action plan, and invited leaders to “use every occasion to share this message with all political and social actors involved (or who seek to be involved) in the process which will lead to the approval of the two Global Compacts.”

More/Leave a Comment

Pope Francis and Active Nonviolence

Posted on 30. Jul, 2017 by .

0

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the participants in the G20 meeting taking place in Germany July 7-8. The Message is addressed to the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and details what the Holy Father recognizes as four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.

Please find the full text of Pope Francis’ Message, in its official English translation, below…

*********************************

To Her Excellency
Mrs Angela Merkel
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Following our recent meeting in the Vatican, and in response to your thoughtful request, I would like to offer some considerations that, together with all the Pastors of the Catholic Church, I consider important in view of the forthcoming meeting of the G20, which will gather Heads of State and of Government of the Group of major world economies and the highest authorities of the European Union.  In doing so, I follow a tradition begun by Pope Benedict XVI in April 2009 on the occasion of the London G20.  My Predecessor likewise wrote to Your Excellency in 2006, when Germany held the presidency of the European Union and the G8.

In the first place, I wish to express to you, and to the leaders assembled in Hamburg, my appreciation for the efforts being made to ensure the governability and stability of the world economy, especially with regard to financial markets, trade, fiscal problems and, more generally, a more inclusive and sustainable global economic growth (cf. G20 Leaders Communiqué, Hangzhou Summit, 5 September 2016).  As is evident from the Summit’s programme, such efforts are inseparable from the need to address ongoing conflicts and the worldwide problem of migrations.

In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the programmatic document of my Pontificate addressed to the Catholic faithful, I proposed four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.  These lines of action are evidently part of the age-old wisdom of all humanity; I believe that they can also serve as an aid to reflection for the Hamburg meeting and for the assessment of its outcome.

Time is greater than space.  The gravity, complexity and interconnection of world problems is such that there can be no immediate and completely satisfying solutions. Sadly, the migration crisis, which is inseparable from the issue of poverty and exacerbated by armed conflicts, is proof of this.  It is possible, though, to set in motion processes that can offer solutions that are progressive and not traumatic, and which can lead in relatively short order to free circulation and to a settlement of persons that would be to the advantage of all.  Nonetheless, this tension between space and time, between limit and fullness, requires an exactly contrary movement in the minds of government leaders and the powerful.  An effective solution, necessarily spread over time, will be possible only if the final objective of the process is clearly present in its planning.  In the minds and hearts of government leaders, and at every phase of the enactment of political measures, there is a need to give absolute priority to the poor, refugees, the suffering, evacuees and the excluded, without distinction of nation, race, religion or culture, and to reject armed conflicts.

At this point, I cannot fail to address to the Heads of State and of Government of the G20, and to the entire world community, a heartfelt appeal for the tragic situation in South Sudan, the Lake Chad basin, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, where thirty million people are lacking the food and water needed to survive.  A commitment to meet these situations with urgency and to provide immediately support to those peoples will be a sign of the seriousness and sincerity of the mid-term commitment to reforming the world economy and a guarantee of its sound development.

Unity prevails over conflict.  The history of humanity, in our own day too, presents us with a vast panorama of current and potential conflicts.  War, however, is never a solution.   As the hundredth anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Letter to the Leaders of the Warring Peoples draws near, I feel bound to ask that the world put an end to all these “useless slaughters”.  The goal of the G20 and of other similar annual meetings is to resolve economic differences peacefully and to agree on common financial and trade rules to allow for the integral development of all, in order to implement the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (cf. Communiqué of the G20 Hangzhou Summit).  Yet that will not be possible unless all parties commit themselves to substantially reducing levels of conflict, halting the present arms race and renouncing direct or indirect involvement in conflicts, as well as agreeing to discuss sincerely and transparently all their differences.  There is a tragic contradiction and inconsistency in the apparent unity expressed in common forums on economic or social issues, and the acceptance, active or passive, of armed conflicts.

Realities are more important than ideas.  The fateful ideologies of the first half of the twentieth century have been replaced by new ideologies of absolute market autonomy and financial speculation (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 56).  In their tragic wake, these bring exclusion, waste and even death.  The significant political and economic achievements of the past century, on the other hand, were always marked by a sound and prudent pragmatism, guided by the primacy of the human being and the attempt to integrate and coordinate diverse and at times opposed realities, on the basis of respect for each and every citizen.  I pray to God that the Hamburg Summit may be illumined by the example of those European and world leaders who consistently gave pride of place to dialogue and the quest of common solutions: Schuman, De Gasperi, Adenauer, Monnet and so many others.

The whole is greater than the part.  Problems need to be resolved concretely and with due attention to their specificity, but such solutions, to be lasting, cannot neglect a broader vision.  They must likewise consider eventual repercussions on all countries and their citizens, while respecting the views and opinions of the latter.  Here I would repeat the warning that Benedict XVI addressed to the G20 London Summit in 2009.  While it is reasonable that G20 Summits should be limited to the small number of countries that represent 90% of the production of wealth and services worldwide, this very situation must prompt the participants to a profound reflection.  Those states and individuals whose voice is weakest on the world political scene are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of economic crises for which they bear little or no responsibility.  This great majority, which in economic terms counts for only 10% of the whole, is the portion of humanity that has the greatest potential to contribute to the progress of everyone.  Consequently, there is need to make constant reference to the United Nations, its programmes and associated agencies, and regional organizations, to respect and honour international treaties, and to continue promoting a multilateral approach, so that solutions can be truly universal and lasting, for the benefit of all (cf. Benedict XVI, Letter to the Honourable Gordon Brown, 30 March 2009).

I offer these considerations as a contribution to the work of the G20, with trust in the spirit of responsible solidarity that guides all those taking part.  I ask God’s blessings upon the Hamburg meeting and on every effort of the international community to shape a new era of development that is innovative, interconnected, sustainable, environmentally respectful and inclusive of all peoples and all individuals (cf. Communiqué of the G20 Hangzhou Summit).

I take this occasion to assure Your Excellency of my high consideration and esteem.

From the Vatican, 29 June 2017

More/Leave a Comment

The Laudato Si Challenge

Posted on 01. Jul, 2017 by .

0

Launching startups that sustainably solve the global climate change crisis by 2030

Roman Skyline

The Laudato Si’ Startup Challenge, inspired by Pope Francis is a global initiative, an urgent call-to-action, that encourages early to mid-stage startups to grow their breakthrough solutions to the world’s boldest challenges. Teams of young people, of all faiths, all backgrounds, on every continent, are being asked to scale their profitable, innovative and sustainable products and services which address a grand challenge. The challenge category for 2017 is: climate change and involuntary migration. Startup teams from over 100 countries are now being recruited through a direct call-to-action, through global startup ecosystems, university partners and a worldwide executive network. After submitting first-round entries, the field will be narrowed to 50. Following a rigorous, 60-day screening and interview process, a panel of experts will choose the most promising 12 startups (semi-finalists) to advance into an 8-week business accelerator in Rome to expand and scale their solution.

Each semi-finalist will be offered an equity investment and mentorship as they work to become one of the finalists. All of the startups that reach the semi-finals stage of The Challenge will receive ongoing support to further define their products and services, with the goal of emerging as fully-investable enterprises. In December, The Laudato Si’ Challenge will culminate with a demo day and grand ceremony inside Vatican City. The global event will celebrate each of the six startups as they present their game-changing products and services to the world, as well as memorialize the 21st Century standard of doing business: profitable, social, mission aligned and bankable.

MISSION

The Laudato Si Startup Challenge will unite humanity in common purpose and productive conversation, much like His Holiness Pope Francis’s “Revolution of Tenderness.” It will be a beacon of new business, inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs to build for-profit, for-purpose companies that address humanity’s biggest challenges in ways that are beneficial to all.

Learn more about the Laudato Si Challenge here

More/Leave a Comment

Laudato Si Posters

Posted on 17. Jun, 2017 by .

0

In response to the June 2017 update regarding the Laudato Si 2nd anniversary, Leo Sprietsma OFM provided us with a few posters of the ‘original Laudato Si” that he has recently designed.

unnamed-1unnamed-2

 

More/Leave a Comment