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)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mother Teresa Practiced Forgiveness in Personal Tragedy. Christopher Hitchens Attacked Her for It.

First appeared in The Stream on September 3, 2016

On Sunday, the Catholic Church will recognize the late Mother Teresa as a saint. So it might be shocking to learn that the late Christopher Hitchens claimed that she endorsed the atheistic regime of Albania’s communist dictator Enver Hoxha, who ruled the county from 1944 until his death in 1985. He points to her laying a bouquet of flowers on his Hoxha’s grave when she first came to her homeland in 1989, her meetings with his widow Nexhmije Hoxha and with the dictator’s designated successor Ramiz Alia, who ruled Albania from 1985 to 1991. Was Hitchens right? Did Mother Theresa endorse one of the cruelest tyrants and enemies of Christianity in the twentieth century?

... continue reading in The Stream

The Footsteps of Saints: Mother Teresa and John Paul II

First appeared in The Catholic Thing on September 3, 2016

There was a special friendship between Mother Teresa and St. John Paul II, a friendship that will be confirmed eternally by her canonization in Rome tomorrow. Remember St. John Paul II kissing the top of the head of the little woman and she holding his hand in hers? For the Polish pope, as George Weigel puts it, Mother Teresa was a “person-message” for the twentieth century.

Mother Teresa and St. John Paul II, the man and the woman of the century, who together made and changed history. They were pilgrims of peace, individuals who were deeply in love with God and neighbor, supporters of the poor and the marginalized, promoters of human freedom and human dignity. Additionally, what St. John Paul II witnessed in Mother Teresa was what he called the mystery of woman and the great works of God in and through the woman.

...continue reading in The Catholic Thing
...or read it in French in France Catholique