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Pope leads pilgrims in prayer for victims of mosque attack

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican Media

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis called on Christians to unite in prayer for the victims of two mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 50 people dead and dozens wounded in one of the worst mass shootings in the country's history.

"I am close to our Muslim brothers and sisters and their entire community. I renew my invitation to unite with them in prayer and gestures of peace to counter hatred and violence," the pope said March 17 during his Sunday Angelus address.

Around the world, thousands have joined in praying for the victims of the March 15 attack. The gunman, Brenton Tarrant, left a 74-page manifesto posted on social media, identifying himself as a 28-year-old Australian and white nationalist who wanted to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims.

After condemning the attack, Pope Francis bowed his head as he led the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square in silent prayer for the dead and the wounded.

In his main address, the pope reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading from St. Luke in which Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John, thus granting them "a taste of the glory of the resurrection, a glimpse of heaven and earth."

Christ's transfiguration, the pope said, occurred at a pivotal moment in his mission after revealing to his followers that he must suffer and die on the cross.

Knowing that his disciples "do not accept this reality," Jesus is transfigured before them "so that they may know that this is the way by which the heavenly father will bring his son to glory, raising him from the dead," the pope said.

"No one can reach eternal life except by following Jesus, who carried his cross in his earthly life," he said. "Each of us has our own cross. The Lord shows us the end of this journey, which is the resurrection, beauty, by carrying his own cross."

The Christian understanding of suffering, he continued, is not a form of "sadomasochism" but accepts suffering as a transitional step toward heaven where one experiences "salvation, bliss, light, the unlimited love of God."

During Lent, he said, Christians should try to be like the disciples, to "remain for a few moments in recollection, every day a little bit" and to "fix our inner gaze on his face and let his light pervade us and radiate in our lives."

"Let us continue our Lenten journey with joy. Let us give space to prayer and to the word of God, which the liturgy abundantly proposes to us in these days," the pope said. "Because only by remaining with him will we see his glory."

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Pope encourages South Sudan peace process, hopes to visit

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican Media

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As the process to implement a peace accord in South Sudan continues, Pope Francis met March 16 with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and expressed the hope that, finally, he would be able to visit the country.

During the meeting in the papal library, the Vatican said, the pope and president discussed "matters regarding the implementation of the agreement recently reached by various political actors with a view to a definitive solution to the conflicts, the return of refugees and displaced persons, and the integral development of the country."

South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in mid-2011 after years of fighting. But in December 2013, tensions between political factions erupted and civil war broke out. Tens of thousands of people have died in the past year and millions have been displaced.

In the context of the discussions about implementing the September peace agreements, the Vatican said, Pope Francis "expressed the wish to ascertain the conditions for a possible visit to South Sudan, as a sign of closeness to the population and of encouragement for the peace process."

In late 2017, Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba, Episcopal Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak of South Sudan and Sudan and the Rev. Peter Gai Lual Marrow, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, visited the Vatican to explain the situation in their country to the pope.

They invited Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury to visit South Sudan together to bring a message of peace directly to the country's leaders and citizens; despite the willingness of the pope and the head of the Anglican Communion to make the visit, the lack of security has delayed the trip.

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Niger: Six Months of Silence for Kidnapped Missionary Fr. Maccalli

'The only free person among us'

The post Niger: Six Months of Silence for Kidnapped Missionary Fr. Maccalli appeared first on ZENIT - English.

France: Pope Francis Receives Cardinal Barbarin

Who Tendered His Resignation to Him

The post France: Pope Francis Receives Cardinal Barbarin appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Philippines: Pope Names New Auxiliary Bishop for Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan

Rev. Fidelis B. Layog, Currently Parish Priest of the Our Lady of Purification Parish

The post Philippines: Pope Names New Auxiliary Bishop for Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Bambino Gesu Hospital: 150 Years of History

Presentation of a Book for This Anniversary

The post Bambino Gesu Hospital: 150 Years of History appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Rome: Pope Reminds Court of Auditors of Important Role in Serving Common Good

'The Court of Auditors, in the exercise of controls over the management and activities of public administrations, is a valid tool for preventing and affecting illegality and abuse.'

The post Rome: Pope Reminds Court of Auditors of Important Role in Serving Common Good appeared first on ZENIT - English.

‘From Mary, We Learn How to Be Next to the Suffering, With a Mother’s Tenderness’

Addressing Religious Men and Women of Camillian Charismatic Family, Francis Affirms How Tenderness Is Fundamental Aspect of their Work to Help the Ill

The post ‘From Mary, We Learn How to Be Next to the Suffering, With a Mother’s Tenderness’ appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Prayer for the Martyrs of Our Time on March 21 in Rome

Presided Over by the Cardinal Vicar Angelo De Donatis

The post Prayer for the Martyrs of Our Time on March 21 in Rome appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Pope Offers Suggestions to Live this Lent Fully, During His Morning Homily

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Reminds Importance of Not Just Material, But Spiritual Almsgiving

The post Pope Offers Suggestions to Live this Lent Fully, During His Morning Homily appeared first on ZENIT - English.