Category: The Shepherd’s Voice

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Passion of Children

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Divorce, malnutrition, poverty. Children “are the first victims.” For all the talk about being pro-life and pro-family, and for all that our post-Protestant nation worships children, are we really aware of the damage done to children by sin and injustice? Just as Christ suffered as the son of the Father, and just as Christians give […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: An Easter People on Easter Monday

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The overriding sentiment which prevails at my house and in my heart each Easter Monday is the same.  It is finished.  The long 40 days of Lenten fasting, prayer and penance are completed.  The late nights of the Triduum liturgies are over.  Crumbs of the traditional Italian Easter bread and a handful of neon colored […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: Prayer and the Synod

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On Wednesday, March 25, in the Church the Annunciation, Pope Francis celebrated the Incarnation as Archangel Gabriel visited the humble Maiden of Nazareth and  announced she would conceive and give birth to the Son of God. The pope incorporated this feast day into his Wednesday address as he continued his course of catechesis on the family because, with Joseph, Jesus […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Joy of Youth

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In raising children, we rediscover the wealth in youth. On the most basic level, we re-learn the nursery rhymes, we re-memorize Dr. Seuss, and we are fascinated by door-knobs and blue skies and dandelion seeds. There is more to it than this, however. As Pope Francis notes, children are a gift because they witness to […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Role of Grandparents

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If you had to ponder the most powerful alliance in human relations, how much strength would you accord to the “dynamic duo” of a young child and their grandparent? Playing on his celebrated phrase “How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor,” Pope Francis closed his General Audience on Wednesday, […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Joy of Siblings

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The memories of my first born getting to know his baby sister are forever etched in my mind. From the second she arrived home from the hospital, he watched her in awe and stood proudly beside her. He tried to include her in his games and delighted when she began to smile and giggle at […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: How Families Love

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Catholics today grow up in the age of the broken family. Whether it was substance abuse, mental illness, or infidelity which caused family stress, many of us have to work through our own personal family issues, especially those related to our fathers or mothers. Pope Francis’ audience last week touched on the importance of the […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Domestic Church

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At his last Wednesday General Audience of this year, Pope Francis pondered the remarkable fact that Jesus chose to spend the vast majority of His time on earth leading a mundane existence in a backwoods of the vast Roman Empire: “Did this God, who came to save us, waste thirty years there, in that ill-famed […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Synod of Bishops

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Did the bishops gathered for the October Synod on the family “quarrel”? Pope Francis pondered that question during his General Audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, December 10, 2011.  “Well, I don’t know if they quarreled,” Francis said.  “But they spoke strongly,” he added, prompting the laughter of the audience. Anyone who followed those […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Root of Ecumenism

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At Wednesday’s General Audience on Dec.3, Pope Francis’s catechesis focused on “ the hope that fruits of dialogue will flow be it in our relations with our Orthodox brothers, be it in those with Muslims, be it in the path to peace among peoples”, as a result of his apostolic visit to Turkey. While most […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Journey to Heaven

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Something heard very often among people is that they will deal with their faith when they are older, when it is time to start a family or when they have more time. Church can wait, prayer can wait, and practicing virtues (especially charity!) can wait. When reading the audience of Pope Francis the Wednesday before […]

Pope Francis on the Complementarity of Men and Women
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Pope Francis on the Complementarity of Men and Women

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The Vatican-hosted international interreligious colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Women started in Rome yesterday with an address by Pope Francis. The purpose of the conference, which ends tomorrow, is to show the beauty of the complementarity of men and women, which has existed across cultures and religions. The Holy Father began his address […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: An Alphabet for Clerics

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In the realm of effective written communication, it is essential to first master the basics of grammar before attempting to compose a persuasive essay. Perhaps the first official school lesson most children learn is to recite the alphabet. From there years are spent memorizing and putting into practice the rules of good grammar. Without this […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: On the Role of the Bishop

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Pope Francis continued his teaching on the nature of Church with this week’s General Audience. There were a few quotes and themes at the heart of this week’s message. Pope Francis stated early in the audience, “Now, in the power and grace of His Spirit, Christ does not fail to give rise to ministries, in […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Visible Church

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“Though absent from our eyes, Christ our Head is bound to us by love. Since the whole Christ is Head and body, let us so listen to the voice of the Head that we may also hear the body speak.” -St Augustine Continuing his catechesis on the nature of the Church, Pope Francis took this […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: Ezekiel’s Bones and The Church

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Pope Francis continued his teaching series on the Church, explaining how the Body of Christ is a visible expression of the very life of God. Referring to a passage in Ezekiel, he warned that the mission of this vital, mystical entity is often derailed by the sins of its members. The pope reminded the faithful […]

The Pope Who Confronted the Modern World
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The Pope Who Confronted the Modern World

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A third 20th Century pope advances toward sainthood this weekend with the beatification of Giovanni Battista Montini, Pope Paul VI (1963-1978). In canonizing Popes, the general rule is that we raise men to the honor of the altars and not papacies.  Pope Montini, however, is so inextricably linked with the Second Vatican Council, over whose […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: Christian Hope

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Pope Francis’ General audience this past Wednesday was about hope. Like many other virtues, hope can be twisted into many different definitions. Pope Francis clarified, “Christian hope is not simply a desire a wish: for a Christian, hope is expectation, fervent, passionate expectation for the final definitive fulfillment of a mystery, the mystery of God’s […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: On the Unity of the Church

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Pope Francis called all Christians to unity during His General Audience Catechesis. He challenged us not to remain resigned to this division, but to take the step towards reconciliation and full communion. “Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou has given me, that they be one, even as we are one,” (John 17:11) […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: On Martyrdom

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At his weekly Wednesday General Audience this week, Pope Francis spoke about martyrdom. Francis summarized the age-long contradiction of Christian martyrdom when he said that “the martyrs are not the defeated but the winners: shining in their heroic witness is the omnipotence of God who always consoles His people, opening new ways and horizons of […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: The Church and Mercy

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Pope Francis continued his catechises on the Church as mother during this Wednesday’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Sept.10. Throughout the entire address, the pope reiterated that the concept of mercy is at the crux of both the Gospels and the teaching of the Church. He also challenged Christians to let go of […]

Mary: Model of Mother Courage for the Church
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Mary: Model of Mother Courage for the Church

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GENERAL AUDIENCE St. Peter’s Square Wednesday, 3 September 2014 Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catecheses, we have often noted that we do not become a Christian on our own, but by being born and nurtured in the faith in the midst of the People of God, that is the Church. She is a true […]

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel
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Front Row With Francis: On Christian Unity

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Unity among Christians is a gift from God. Christians must pray for it.  Pope Francis begins His weekly audience with a call to Unity among all Christians. He states: “We affirm that the Church is one and she is holy. Holy since she is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his Holy Spirit, and filled with His […]

Pope Francis: Christian Unity Not Division
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Pope Francis: Christian Unity Not Division

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GENERAL AUDIENCE St. Peter’s Square Wednesday, 27 August 2014 Dear Brothers and Sisters: We affirm in the Creed that the Church is one and that she is holy. One because she has her origin in the Triune God, mystery of unity and full communion. Holy since she is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his […]

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