Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Cardinal from the Albanian Communist Persecution

First appeared in The Catholic Thing on October 15, 2016

At the end of the Angelus and Mass for the Marian Jubilee, Pope Francis made a surprise announcement: a new consistory on November 19, the eve of the Solemnity of Christ the King and the closing of the Jubilee of Mercy. He simultaneously named seventeen new cardinals. The focus on mercy and “periphery” is evident in those choices.

...continue reading in The Catholic Thing

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Pope in the Middle: What Benedict Thinks About John Paul II and Francis

First appeared in The Stream on October 11, 2016

In his new book The Last Testament, we see Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as a deeply humble, reserved, contemplative and theologically brilliant man, small and fragile in stature compared to both his dynamic and brilliantly energetic predecessor and successor. What does he think about the two, St. John Paul II and Pope Francis?

...continue reading in The Stream

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Three Things to Know about Francis’ Visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan

First appeared in Salt and Light Media on September 28, 2016

“Pax vobis - peace to you,” taken from chapter twenty of John's Gospel, is the motto of Pope Francis’s apostolic visit (Sept. 30-Oct. 2) to Georgia and “You are all brothers” chapter 23 of Matthew’s Gospel is the motto for his visit in Azerbaijan. This trip represents the second phase of Francis’s trip to Caucasus, which began on June 24, 2016 with a visit to Armenia. Pope Francis will be the second pope to visit Georgia and Azerbaijan after John Paul II, who visited Georgia in 1999 and Azerbaijan in 2002. The visits are part of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy; and of the promotion of peace and bridge building in the Caucasian region.

But before he goes, here are three things to keep in mind: Francis’s theology of the periphery; the extension of Assisi inter-religious, ecumenical dialogue in Caucasus; and peace building.

...continue reading Salt and Light Media 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Padre Pio and Mother Teresa: Jubilee Patrons

First appeared in The Catholic Thing on September 23, 2016

In February 2016, as part of the Jubilee of Mercy celebrations and by special request of Pope Francis, the remains of St. Padre Pio were moved from San Giovanni Rotondo in Puglia, Southern Italy, to Rome for a weeklong exposition. It was the first time in 100 years that Padre Pio’s body left the convent, which he entered in 1916. He died exactly forty-eight years ago today, September 23, 1968.

According to Pio biographer Fr. Luciano Lotti, Cardinal Bergoglio (the future Pope Francis) has long had a great devotion to Padre Pio. For the Great Jubilee Year of the Third Millennium in 2000, Bergoglio asked, and some relics of Pio’s arrived in Buenos Aires.

Papa Bergoglio canonized Mother Teresa a few weeks ago, just two months before the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Francis’s choice of St. Pio and St. Teresa of Kolkata as jubilee’s patron saints is significant. St. Pio is an example for the missionaries of mercy and Mother Teresa is an example of mercy in action.

... continue reading in The Catholic Thing

The Spiritual Bond between two Francises: Pope Francis and Padre Pio

First published in Salt and Light Media on September 21, 2016

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston announced on September 2 that the heart of St. Pio will be in the Boston area from September 21 through his feast day, September 23. Boston will be the only stop the relic will make during this trip. This is the first time any major relic of Padre Pio will be traveling internationally outside Italy.

But there is another first: In February 2016, as part of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy celebrations and upon special request by Pope Francis, the remains of St. Padre Pio were moved from San Giovanni Rotondo in Puglia, Southern Italy, to Rome for a week-long exposition. For the first time in one hundred years Padre Pio left the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo. Padre Pio is one of the patron saints for Francis’s Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy together with St. Mother Teresa, who was canonized on September 4. 

What bonds the two Francises (Padre Pio’s name before ordination was Francesco Forgone)?

... continue reading in Salt and Light Media 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mother Teresa and Seton Hall

Seton Hall's coverage of Mother Teresa canonization

Embracing poverty and simple faith, Mother Teresa is lovingly referred to as the "Saint of the Gutters." A Noble Peace Prize recipient and the model for interfaith understanding, on Sunday, September 4, she will be canonized at the Vatican.

Two members of the University community, alumna Maureen Creagh-Kaiser '95/M.A.'98/Ph.D.'03 and Religion Professor Ines Angeli Murzaku, shared their insights and experiences of the beloved saint.

... continue reading in the Seton Hall University website

Today, the Catholic Church will celebrate the canonization of Mother Teresa.

First appeared in The Record (online) on September 4, 2016

IN 1979, when Mother Teresa gave her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, she began with a word of gratitude and a special prayer: "Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace, where there is hatred let me sow love, where there is injury let me sow pardon, where there is despair let me give hope …" St. Francis of Assisi, one of the most celebrated 13-century Christian saints probably never wrote this prayer, but he acted and lived his whole life abiding by the principles of this prayer. It was an intentional choice on the part of Mother Teresa to recite this prayer, as it unites humankind, transcending religions, nations, divisions, political views and particularities.

The essence of this prayer was Mother Teresa's life's mission and vision, as she considered herself "a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world."

Why did Mother Teresa look up to St. Francis as a role model? What unites the two saints?

... continue reading in The Record (online)