Thursday, January 18, 2018

#PopeFrancis explains to Youth- you need "... a connection to Jesus" and to "...charge the power cells of their heart." FULL TEXT + Video

Pope Francis addresses Chile's youth: Full Text
Please find below the full text of Pope Francis' address to the young people of Chile, gathered at the National Shrine of Maipu in Santiago.
National Shrine of Maipú, Santiago
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Ariel, I too am happy to be with you.  Thank you for your words of welcome in the name of all present.  I am the one who is grateful for being able to share this time with you.  For me, it is very important for us to meet and walk with one another for a while.  Let’s help each other to keep looking ahead!
          I am happy that this meeting is taking place here in Maipú.  In this land where the history of Chile began with a fraternal embrace, in this Shrine that rises at the crossroads of north and south, that joins the snow and the sea, and is a home to both heaven and earth.  A home for Chile, a home for you, dear young people, where Our Lady of Carmel waits for you and welcomes you with an open heart.  Just as she accompanied the birth of this nation and has accompanied so many Chileans over the span of these two hundred years, so too she wants to keep accompanying the dreams that God places in your hearts: dreams of freedom, dreams of joy, dreams of a better future: the desire, as you said, Ariel, “to be protagonists of change”.  To be protagonists.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel accompanies you so that you can be protagonists for the Chile of which your hearts dream.  I know that the hearts of young Chileans dream, and that they dream big dreams, for these lands have given rise to experiences that spread and multiplied across the different countries of our continent.  Who inspired those dreams?  It was young people like yourselves, who were inspired to experience the adventure of faith.  For faith excites in young people feelings of adventure, an adventure that beckons them to traverse unbelievable landscapes, rough and tough terrain… but, then again, you like adventures and challenges!  After all, you get bored when there are no challenges to excite you.  We see this clearly, for example, whenever there is a natural disaster.  You have an amazing ability to mobilize, which is a sure sign of the generosity of your hearts.
          In my ministry as a bishop, I have come to see how many good ideas there are in young people, in their minds and hearts.  Young people are restless; they are seekers and idealists.  The problem we adults have is that often, like know-it-alls, we say: “They think that way because they are young; they still have to grow up”.  As if growing up means accepting injustice, believing that nothing can be done, that this is the way things have always been.
          Realizing how important young people and their experiences are, this year I wanted to call the Synod, and before it, the meeting of young people, so that you can feel – and really be – protagonists in the heart of the Church.  To help keep the Church’s face young, not by applying cosmetics but by letting her be challenged deep down by her sons and daughters, to help her daily to be more faithful to the Gospel.  How much the Church in Chile needs you to “shake the ground beneath our feet” and help us draw closer to Jesus!  Your questions, your wanting to know, your desire to be generous, are all necessary for us to draw closer to Jesus.  All of us are all invited, ever anew, to draw near to Jesus. 
Let me share a story with you.  Chatting one day with a young man, I asked him what sort of things made him unhappy.  He said to me: “When my cellphone battery runs down or I lose my internet connection”.  I asked him: “Why?”  He answered: “Father, it’s simple; I miss out on everything that is going on, I am shut off from the world, stuck.  In those moments, I jump up and run to find a charger or a Wi-Fi network and a password to reconnect”.
This made me think that the same thing can happen with our faith.  After a while on the journey or after an initial spurt, there are moments when, without even realizing it, our “bandwidth” begins to fade and we lose our connection, our power; then we become unhappy and we lose our faith, we feel depressed and listless, and we start to view everything in a bad light.  When we lack the “connection” that charges our dreams, our hearts begin falter.  When our batteries are dead, we feel the way the song describes it – “The background noise and the loneliness of the city cut us off from everything.  The world turns backwards, tries to overwhelm me and drown all my thoughts and ideas”.[1]
Without a connection, a connection to Jesus, we end up drowning our thoughts and ideas, our dreams and our faith, and so we get frustrated and annoyed.  As protagonists, which we are and we want to be – we can get to the point of feeling that it makes no difference whether or not we do anything.  We start feeling that we are “shut off from the world”, as that young person told me.  It worries me that, once they have lost their “connection”, many people think they have nothing to offer; they feel lost.  Never think that you have nothing to offer or that nobody cares about you.  Never!  That thought, as Alberto Hurtado used to like to say, “is the voice of the devil”, who wants to make you feel you are worthless… and to keep things the way they are.  All of us are necessary and important; all of us have something to offer.
The young people in the Gospel we heard today wanted that “connection” to help them keep the flame alive in their hearts.  They wanted to know how to charge the power cells of their heart.  Andrew and the other disciple – whose name is not given, so we can imagine that each of us is that “other” disciple – were looking for the password to connect with the one who is “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).  It was John the Baptist who showed them the way.  I believe that you too have a great saint who you can be your guide, a saint who made his life into a song: “I am happy, Lord, I am happy”.  Alberto Hurtado had a golden rule, a rule for setting his heart ablaze with the fire that keeps joy alive.  For Jesus is that fire; everyone who draws near to it is set ablaze.
Hurtado’s password was quite simple – if your phones are turned on, I would like you to key this in.  He asks: “What would Christ do in my place?”  At school, at university, when outdoors, when at home, among friends, at work, when taunted: “What would Christ do in my place?”  When you go dancing, when you are playing or watching sports: “What would Christ do in my place?”  He is the password, the power source that charges our hearts, ignites our faith and makes our eyes sparkle.  That is what it means to be a protagonist of history.  Our eyes sparkle, for we have discovered that Jesus is the source of life and joy.  Protagonists of history, for we wish to pass on that sparkle to hearts that have grown so cold and gloomy that they have forgotten what it means to hope, to all those hearts that are “deadened” and wait for someone to come and challenge them with something worthwhile.  Being protagonists means doing what Jesus did.  Wherever you are, with whomever you are with, and whenever you get together: “What would Jesus do?”  The only way not to forget a password is by using it over and over.  Day after day.  The time will come when you know it by heart, and the day will come when, without realizing it, your heart will beat like Jesus’ heart.
It is not enough to hear a sermon or learn an answer from the catechism; we want to live the way Jesus lived.  To do that, the young people in the Gospel asked: “Lord, where do you live?” (Jn 1:38).  How do you live?  We want to live like Jesus, with that “yes” that thrills our hearts.
To put oneself on the line, to run risks.  Dear friends, be courageous, go out straightaway to meet your friends, people you don’t know, or those having troubles.  Go out with the only promise we have: that wherever you are – in the desert, on the journey, amid excitement, you will always be “connected”; there will always be a “power source”.  We will never be alone.  We will always enjoy the company of Jesus, his Mother and a community.  Certainly, a community is not perfect, but that does not mean that it does not have much to love and to give to others.
Dear friends, dear young people: “Be young Samaritans, who never walk past someone lying on the roadside.  Be young Simons of Cyrene who help Christ carry his cross and help alleviate the sufferings of your brothers and sisters.  Be like Zacchaeus, who turns his heart from materialism to solidarity.  Be like young Mary Magdalene, passionately seeking love, who finds in Jesus alone the answers she needs.  Have the heart of Peter, so that you can abandon your nets beside the lake.  Have the love of John, so that you can rest all your concerns in him.  Have the openness of Mary, so that you can sing for joy and do God’s will.[2]
Dear friends, I would have liked to stay longer.  Thank you for this meeting and for your joyfulness.  I ask you one favour: please remember to pray for me.

[1] LA LEY, Aquí.
[2] CARD. RAÚL SILVA HENRÍQUEZ, Mensaje a los jóvenes (7 October 1979).

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. January 18, 2018 - #Eucharist

Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 314

Reading 11 SM 18:6-9; 19:1-7

When David and Saul approached
(on David's return after slaying the Philistine),
women came out from each of the cities of Israel to meet King Saul,
singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and sistrums.
The women played and sang:

"Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his ten thousands."

Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought:
"They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me.
All that remains for him is the kingship."
And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.

Saul discussed his intention of killing David
with his son Jonathan and with all his servants.
But Saul's son Jonathan, who was very fond of David, told him:
"My father Saul is trying to kill you.
Therefore, please be on your guard tomorrow morning;
get out of sight and remain in hiding.
I, however, will go out and stand beside my father
in the countryside where you are, and will speak to him about you.
If I learn anything, I will let you know."

Jonathan then spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him:
"Let not your majesty sin against his servant David,
for he has committed no offense against you,
but has helped you very much by his deeds.
When he took his life in his hands and slew the Philistine,
and the LORD brought about a great victory
for all Israel through him,
you were glad to see it.
Why, then, should you become guilty of shedding innocent blood
by killing David without cause?"
Saul heeded Jonathan's plea and swore,
"As the LORD lives, he shall not be killed."
So Jonathan summoned David and repeated the whole conversation to him.
Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and David served him as before.

Responsorial PsalmPS 56:2-3, 9-10A, 10B-11, 12-13

R. (5b) In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Have mercy on me, O God, for men trample upon me;
all the day they press their attack against me.
My adversaries trample upon me all the day;
yes, many fight against me.
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
My wanderings you have counted;
my tears are stored in your flask;
are they not recorded in your book?
Then do my enemies turn back,
when I call upon you.
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Now I know that God is with me.
In God, in whose promise I glory,
in God I trust without fear;
what can flesh do against me?
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
I am bound, O God, by vows to you;
your thank offerings I will fulfill.
For you have rescued me from death,
my feet, too, from stumbling;
that I may walk before God in the light of the living.
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.

AlleluiaSEE 2 TM 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 3:7-12

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, "You are the Son of God."
He warned them sternly not to make him known.

Saint January 18 : St. Volusian : #Bishop of #Tours


Feast Day:January 18
Volusian was bishop of Tours, in France, the see made famous by St. Martin two centuries earlier. He lived at a time before clerical celibacy had been enforced in the West and was married to a woman famous for her violent temper, which was a great trial to the bishop. He also lived in a time when the barbarian invasions had begun and the fear of the Goths was everywhere.
In writing to a friend of his, a certain Bishop Ruricius, of nearby Limoges, St. Volusian expressed his fear of the Goths who were beginning to terrorize his diocese. Ruricius humorously replied that someone who lived with terror inside his house, meaning his wife, should have no fear of terrors from the outside.
Volusian was of senatorial rank, very wealthy, a relative of the bishop who preceded him, St. Perpetuus, and he lived in the days when Clovis was king of the Franks, the avowed enemy of the Goths.
As the Goths began to overrun Volusian's diocese, they suspected him of sympathies with Clovis and of wanting to subject them to the Franks, so Volusian was driven from his see and sent into exile.
He held the office of bishop in a very difficult time, when the whole of Western Europe was in turmoil, in the wake of the barbarian invasions from the East. Cities were sacked, government disrupted, and bishops were the only agents of stability as civil government collapsed. Gregory of  Tours, who succeeded Volusian as bishop of Tours a century later, describes the turmoil of the times, and it is from his writings that we get our knowledge of Volusian.
We have no further information about Volusian's wife or his family, and we are not sure whether he died in southern France or in Spain. It is simply known that he was driven from his see, went into exile, and died after ruling as bishop for seven years.
Thought for the Day: Most of us live in very stable times, and it is difficult to imagine what it would be like if our country were invaded and national and state government ceased to exist. Our dependence on Divine Providence would be more obvious then, and our faith would have to give us strength in very different ways. The saints kept faith in the most difficult of times and leaned on God in every crisis.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': "A tree is identified by its fruit. A tree from a select variety produces good fruit; poor varieties, don't.... A good man's speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it."—Matthew 12:33, 35

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Saint January 18 : Saint Margaret of Hungary : #Nun and #Mystic

 January 18 is the memorial of Saint Margaret of Hungary, a thirteenth century woman who is remembered as a nun, virgin, princess, and mystic.

Saint Margaret was born in A.D. 1242, the last daughter (ninth of 10 children) of the King of Hungary, Bela IV, and Maria Lascaris, the daughter of the emperor of Constantinople. Saint Margaret is the niece ofSaint Elizabeth of Hungaryand the younger sister of Saint Kinga and Blessed Yolanda.

Before Margaret's birth, her parents had promised Our Lord to dedicate their child to Him if Hungary was victorious over the invading Tartars. After their prayers were answered, now nearly four, they placed Margaret with the Dominican monastery of Veszprim. At the age of 12 Saint Margaret moved to a new monastery built by her father at Buda, and made profession of her final vows before Humbert of Romans.

Saint Margaret lived a life totally dedicated to Christ crucified and by her example of living inspired her sisters to follow her in her asceticism, works of mercy, pursuit of peace, and striving to be of humble service. Saint Margaret opposed all attempts by her father to arrange a political marriage between herself and King Ottokar II of Bohemia. Saint Margaret had a special love for the Eucharist and the Passion of Christ and showed a special devotion to the Holy Spirit and Our Lady.

Saint Margaret died on 18 January 1270. However, she was venerated as a saint during her lifetime. After her death the canonization investigation was begun immediately, including the testimony of 77 persons who said they had received miracles as a result of Saint Margaret's intercession. However, it was not until 19 November 1943 that Saint Margaret was canonized by Venerable Pope Pius XII, on the feast day of her cousin, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
(Edited from


O God of truth,
through the Holy Spirit
you blessed our sister Margaret with true humility.
Teach us that same integrity
so that we may constantly turn from our selfishness
to your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Quote to SHARE by St. Anthony the Great : "The devil is afraid of us when we pray and make sacrifices...He runs away when we make the Sign of the Cross. "

"The devil is afraid of us when we pray and make sacrifices. He is also afraid when we are humble and good. He is especially afraid when we love Jesus very much. He runs away when we make the Sign of the Cross."
 + St. Anthony the Great 

#PopeFrancis "That is why we pray: Lord, make us artisans of unity" Homily - FULL TEXT + Mass Video

Pope Francis' Homily for Mass at Temuco: Full text
Full text of Pope Francis' homily during the Mass celebrated at Maquehue Airport in Temuco APOSTOLIC VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Homily at the Mass for the Progress of Peoples
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
“Mari, Mari” [Good morning!]
“Küme tünngün ta niemün” [“Peace be with you!” (Lk 24:36)]
I thank God for allowing me to visit this beautiful part of our continent, the Araucanía.  It is a land blessed by the Creator with immense and fertile green fields, with forests full of impressive araucarias – the fifth “praise” offered by Gabriela Mistral to this Chilean land[1] – and with its majestic snow-capped volcanoes, its lakes and rivers full of life.  This landscape lifts us up to God, and it is easy to see his hand in every creature.  Many generations of men and women have loved this land with fervent gratitude.  Here I would like to pause and greet in a special way the members of the Mapuche people, as well as the other indigenous peoples who dwell in these southern lands: the Rapanui (from Easter Island), the Aymara, the Quechua and the Atacameños, and many others.
Seen through the eyes of tourists, this land will thrill us as we pass through it, but if we put our ear to the ground, we will hear it sing: “Arauco has a sorrow that cannot be silenced, the injustices of centuries that everyone sees taking place”.[2]
In the context of thanksgiving for this land and its people, but also of sorrow and pain, we celebrate this Eucharist.  We do so in this Maqueue aerodrome, which was the site of grave violations of human rights.  We offer this Mass for all those who suffered and died, and for those who daily bear the burden of those many injustices.  The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross bears all the sin and pain of our peoples, in order to redeem it.
In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus prays to the Father “that they may all be one” (Jn17:21).  At a crucial moment in his own life, he stops to plea for unity.  In his heart, he knows that one of the greatest threats for his disciples and for all mankind will be division and confrontation, the oppression of some by others.  How many tears would be spilled!  Today we want to cling to this prayer of Jesus, to enter with him into this garden of sorrows with those sorrows of our own, and to ask the Father, with Jesus, that we too may be one.  May confrontation and division never gain the upper hand among us.
This unity implored by Jesus is a gift that must be persistently sought, for the good of our land and its children.  We need to be on our watch against temptations that may arise to “poison the roots” of this gift that God wants to give us, and with which he invites us to play a genuine role in history.

1. False synonyms

One of the main temptations we need to resist is that of confusing unity with uniformity.  Jesus does not ask his Father that all may be equal, identical, for unity is not meant to neutralize or silence differences.  Unity is not an idol or the result of forced integration; it is not a harmony bought at the price of leaving some people on the fringes.  The richness of a land is born precisely from the desire of each of its parts to share its wisdom with others.  Unity can never be a stifling uniformity imposed by the powerful, or a segregation that does not value the goodness of others.  The unity sought and offered by Jesus acknowledges what each people and each culture are called to contribute to this land of blessings.  Unity is a reconciled diversity, for it will not allow personal or community wrongs to be perpetrated in its name.  We need the riches that each people has to offer, and we must abandon the notion that there are higher or lower cultures.  A beautiful “chamal” requires weavers who know the art of blending the different materials and colours, who spend time with each element and each stage of the work.  That process can be imitated industrially, but everyone will recognize a machine-made garment.  The art of unity requires true artisans who know how to harmonize differences in the “design” of towns, roads, squares and landscapes.  It is not “desk art”, or paperwork; it is a craft demanding attention and understanding.  That is the source of its beauty, but also of its resistance to the passage of time and to whatever storms may come its way.
The unity that our people need requires that we listen to one another, but even more importantly, that we esteem one another.  “This is not just about being better informed about others, but rather about reaping what the Spirit has sown in them”.[3]  This sets us on the path of solidarity as a means of weaving unity, a means of building history.  The solidarity that makes us say: We need one another, and our differences so that this land can remain beautiful!  It is the only weapon we have against the “deforestation” of hope.  That is why we pray: Lord, make us artisans of unity.

2. The weapons of unity.

If unity is to be built on esteem and solidarity, then we cannot accept any means of attaining it.  There are two kinds of violence that, rather than encouraging the growth of unity and reconciliation, actually threaten them.  First, we have to be on our guard against coming up with “elegant” agreements that will never be put into practice.  Nice words, detailed plans – necessary as these are – but, when unimplemented, end up “erasing with the elbow, what was written by the hand”.  This is one kind of violence, because it frustrates hope.
In the second place, we have to insist that a culture of mutual esteem may not be based on acts of violence and destruction that end up taking human lives.  You cannot assert yourself by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division.  Violence begets violence, destruction increases fragmentation and separation.  Violence eventually makes a most just cause into a lie.  That is why we say “no to destructive violence” in either of its two forms.
Those two approaches are like the lava of a volcano that wipes out and burns everything in its path, leaving in its wake only barrenness and desolation.  Let us instead seek the path of active non-violence, “as a style of politics for peace”.[4]  Let us seek, and never tire of seeking, dialogue for the sake of unity.  That is why we cry out: Lord, make us artisans of your unity.
All of us, to a certain extent, are people of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7).  All of us are called to “the good life” (Küme Mongen), as the ancestral wisdom of the Mapuche people reminds us.  How far we have to go, and how much we still have to learn!  Küme Mongen, a deep yearning that not only rises up from our hearts, but resounds like a loud cry, like a song, in all creation.  Therefore, brothers and sisters, for the children of this earth, for the children of their children, let us say with Jesus to the Father: may we too be one; make us artisans of unity.

[1] GABRIELA MISTRAL, Elogios de la tierra de Chile.
[2] VIOLETA PARRA, Arauco tiena una pena.
[3]  Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 246.
[4] Message for the 2017 World Day of Peace. 

RIP Father William Baer, at Age of 60 - Beloved Theologian and Pastor

Father William Baer, 60, pastor of Transfiguration in Oakdale, died early Jan. 14.

The parish made the announcement on its Facebook page that afternoon, and people began posting condolences thereafter.
“I can’t describe how much Father Baer meant to my family,” posted Chad Parent. “He has done so much for us, and we will be eternally grateful.”
In her post, Jane Johnston referred to Father Baer as a “walking Bible.”
“Other than our guide in Jerusalem who is a ‘walking Bible,’ the only other person I’ve known is Father Baer, who was also a walking Bible,” she wrote. “I often thought while listening to him how one person can hold so much knowledge. We were his parishioners, and we all were so blessed to have had him as our shepherd. What a[n] honor to have known such a person. May we never forget his wit and his never-ending desire to teach us the way to Jesus.”
Father Baer was ordained a priest May 25, 1996, at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul and has served as Transfiguration’s pastor since 2010. He was the former rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul.
Funeral arrangements are pending, and more details are forthcoming.
Text SOURCE The Catholic Spirit

#BreakingNews Young Coptic Christian Killed by Extremists for his Christian Faith

North Sinai, a young Copt killed: he had a cross tattooed on his wrist

ASIANEWS REPORT: The killers promise to "kill more Copts". Bassem Herz Attalhah was killed under the eyes of his brother, who saved himself because his tattoo was hidden by his sleeve. Already in 2010 al Qaeda had promised to clean Sinai from Christians.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Killed because he had a cross tattooed on his wrist. This was the fate of Bassem Herz Attalhah, 27, the latest victim of Islamic extremists belonging to the "Islamic State" in Sinai. This trail of blood seems destined to continue with the terrorists' promise to "kill more Copts".
On January 13, Bassem was returning home from work in al-Arish, the capital of Northern Sinai governorate. With him were his brother Osama, 38, and his friend Mohamed. The group was stopped by three young people between 23 and 25 years old, armed but with their face uncovered.
"They approached and asked Bassem to show his right wrist, and when they saw the cross tattoo they asked him, 'Are you a Christian?'", says Osama to World Watch Monitor. The cross tattooed on the wrist is a centuries-old tradition of Christians in the region, especially for the Coptic community.
The extremists controlled the wrists of the other two. Not knowing that Osama was Bassem's brother and not seeing the tattoo on his sleeve, they believed him Muslim. "Bassem told them I have children," says Osama.
"They fired two shots on the ground near my leg and they asked me to leave ... and then they shot Bassem in the head. I could not believe what had happened to my brother. He fell to the ground in front of me and I could not do anything ".
Osama concludes his story by remembering that his legs gave in because of the shock as he sought help. Upon hearing the news, the mother of the two was taken to the hospital after fainting.
Bassem's phone ended up in the hands of the Islamic militia, who responded to a phone call from Milad Wasfi, a friend who could not believe the news of his death. Before hanging up, Bassem’s  killers "said they belonged to the State of Sinai and promised that they would kill more Copts".
The Christians of Egypt have been the target of the Islamic terrorists of Sinai for years. Already in 2010, Al Qaeda had threatened the Egyptian Church, accused of holding two Muslim women against their will. Last March, the violence forced hundreds of Coptic families to abandon their homes and lands to al-Arish. Throughout Egypt, attacks on Christians have increased since the 2011 revolution. The last attack took place December 29, when eight faithful were killed in a shootout at the entrance of the church of Mar Mina, about 30 km south from the Egyptian capital.

#PopeFrancis "... the visibility and the sacramentality of the Church belong to all the people of God ." FULL TEXT to Bishops in Chile + Video

Pope Francis meets with Chilean Bishops
On the first full day of his apostolic journey to Chile, Pope Francis met with the Bishops of the nation in the Sacresty of Santiago Cathedral. 
This is the full text of his address: APOSTOLIC VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO CHILE 
Greeting of the Holy Father
Meeting with Bishops
Santiago Cathedral Sacristy
Tuesday, 16 January 2018
Dear Brothers:
         I thank you for the greeting that the President of the Conference has offered to me in the name of all present.
         Before all else, I would like to greet Bishop Bernardino Piñero Carvallo, who this year celebrates his sixtieth anniversary of episcopal ordination – he is the oldest bishop in the world, not only in age but also in years of episcopate – who was present for four sessions of the Second Vatican Council.  A marvellous living memory.
         Soon a year will have passed since your ad limina visit.  Now it is my turn to come and visit you.  I am pleased that our meeting follows that with our consecrated men and women, for one of our principal tasks is precisely to be close to consecrated life and to our priests.  If the shepherd wanders off, the sheep too will stray and fall prey to any wolf that comes along.  The fatherhood of the bishop with his presbyterate!  A fatherhood that neither paternalism nor authoritarianism, but a gift to be sought.  Stay close to your priests, like Saint Joseph, with a fatherhood that helps them to grow and to develop the charisms that the Holy Spirit has wished to pour out upon your respective presbyterates.
         I know that ours is a brief meeting, but I would like to reiterate some of the points I made during our meeting in Rome.  I can sum them up in the following phrase: the consciousness of being a people.
         One of the problems facing our societies today is the sense of being orphaned, the feeling of not belonging to anyone.  This “postmodern” feeling can seep into us and into our clergy.  We begin to think that we belong to no one; we forget that we are part of God’s holy and faithful people and that the Church is not, nor will it ever be, an élite of consecrated men and women, priests and bishops.  Without this consciousness of being a people, we will not be able to sustain our life, our vocation and our ministry.  To forget this – as I said to the Commission for Latin America – “carries many risks and distortions in our own experience, as individuals and in community, of the ministry that the Church has entrusted to us”.[1]  The lack of consciousness of belonging to God’s people as servants, and not masters, can lead us to one of the temptations that is most damaging to the missionary outreach that we are called to promote: clericalism, which ends up as a caricature of the vocation we have received.
         A failure to realize that the mission belongs to the entire Church, and not to the individual priest or bishop, limits the horizon, and even worse, stifles all the initiatives that the Spirit may be awakening in our midst.  Let us be clear about this.  The laypersons are not our peons, or our employees.  They don’t have to parrot back whatever we say.  “Clericalism, far from giving impetus to various contributions and proposals, gradually extinguishes the prophetic flame to which the entire Church is called to bear witness.  Clericalism forgets that the visibility and the sacramentality of the Church belong to all the people of God (cf. Lumen Gentium, 9-14), not only to the few chosen and enlightened”.[2]
         Let us be on guard, please, against this temptation, especially in seminaries and throughout the process of formation.  Seminaries must stress that future priests be capable of serving God’s holy and faithful people, acknowledging the diversity of cultures and renouncing the temptation to any form of clericalism.  The priest is a minister of Jesus Christ: Jesus is the protagonist who makes himself present in the entire people of God.   Tomorrow’s priests must be trained with a view to the future, since their ministry will be carried out in a secularized world.  This in turn demands that we pastors discern how best to prepare them for carrying out their mission in these concrete circumstances and not in our “ideal worlds or situations”.   Their mission is carried out in fraternal unity with the whole People of God.  Side by side, supporting and encouraging the laity in a climate of discernment and synodality, two of the essential features of the priest of tomorrow.  Let us say no to clericalism and to ideal worlds that are only part of our thinking, but touch the life of no one.
         And in this regard, to beg, to implore from the Holy Spirit the gift of dreaming and working for a missionary and prophetic option capable of transforming everything, so that our customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and ecclesial structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of Chile rather than for ecclesiastical self-preservation.  Let us not be afraid to strip ourselves of everything that separates us from the missionary mandate.[3]
         Dear brothers, let us commend ourselves to loving protection of Mary, Mother of Chile.  Let us pray together for our presbyterates and for our consecrated men and women.  Let us pray for God’s holy and faithful people.

[1] Letter to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (21 March 2016).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 27.