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    From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Jul 13 10:49:02 2015
    economic political, social or personal, it could be me in their place, me longing for someone to help me. As well as desiring this help, if I am in their
    shoes, I have the right to be respected".
    Another theme was economic growth and the creation of wealth.
    "Certainly every country needs economic growth and the creation of wealth, and
    the extension of these to each citizen, without exclusion. And this is necessary. But the creation of this wealth must always be at the service of the
    common good, and not only for the benefit of a few. On this point we must be very clear. For 'the worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose'. Those charged with promoting
    economic development have the responsibility of ensuring that it always has a human face. Economic development must have a human face. ... They have in their
    hands the possibility of providing employment for many persons and in this way of giving hope to many families. ... I ask them not to yield to an economic model
    which is idolatrous, which needs to sacrifice human lives on the altar of money
    and profit. In economics, in business and in politics, what counts first and foremost, in every instance, is the human person and the environment in which he
    or she lives".
    "Paraguay is rightly known throughout the world for being the place where the Reductions began. These were among the most significant experiences of evangelisation and social organisation in history. There the Gospel was the soul
    and the life of communities which did not know hunger, unemployment, illiteracy
    or oppression. This historical experience shows us that, today too, a more humane society is possible. You have truly lived this here. It is possible! Where there is love of people and a willingness to serve them, it is possible to
    create the conditions necessary for everyone to have access to basic goods, so that no one goes without. It is possible to seek solutions in every situation, through dialogue".
    The fifth question focused on the definition and importance of a country's culture.
    "There exist enlightened cultures which are good and which must be respected",
    said Francis. "But there is another culture, which has this same value, which is
    the culture of the people, of the earliest people, and represents different ethnic groups. I would dare to call this culture, in a positive sense, a popular
    culture. People possess their own culture and create culture".
    "Before ending, I'd like to make reference to two things", he continued. "In doing this, as there are political authorities present here, I wish to say this
    fraternally. Someone told me: 'Look, Mr so-and-so was kidnapped by the Army, please do something to help! I do not know if this is true, or if it is not true, if it is right, or if it is not right, but one of the methods used by dictatorial ideologies of the last century, which I referred to earlier, was to
    separate the people, either by exile or imprisonment, or in the case of concentration camps, Nazis and Stalinists excluded them by death. For there to be a true culture of the people, a political culture, a culture of the common good, there must be quick and clear judicial proceedings. No other kind of strategy is required. Clear, concise judgements. That would help all of us. ...
    And there is a second thing I would like to say: one method which does not bestow freedom upon people, and enable them to work responsibly towards the construction of society, is the method of blackmail. Blackmail is always corruption: 'If you do this, we will do this to you, and thus destroy you'. Corruption is the parasite, the gangrene of the people. For example, no politician can work and carry out a function, if they are being blackmailed by methods of corruption. ... This happens in all populations around the world, and
    if a society wishes to maintain its dignity, it must banish such blackmail. I am
    speaking about something universal".
    The Holy Father concluded, "It is a great pleasure to see the number and variety of associations sharing in the creation of an ever more prosperous Paraguay. But if you do not dialogue, all is pointless. If there is blackmail, all is pointless. This great multitude of groups and persons are like a great symphony, each one with his or her own specificity and richness, yet all working
    together towards a harmonious end. That is what counts. And do not fear conflict, but speak about matters and look for paths that lead to solutions. Love your country, your fellow citizens, and, above all, love the poor. In this
    way, you will bear witness before the world that another model of development is
    possible. I am convinced, by virtue of your own history, that you possess the greatest strength of all: your humanity, your faith, your love. Being part of the Paraguayan people is what distinguishes you among the nations of the world".
    "I ask Our Lady of Caacupe, our Mother, to watch over you and protect you, and
    to encourage you in all your efforts. God bless you and pray for me. Thank you".


    Vespers in the Cathedral of Asuncion
    Vatican City, 12 July 2015 (VIS) - Following his meeting with the "builders of
    society", the Pope transferred by popemobile to the Cathedral of Asuncion, rebuilt at the beginning of the nineteenth century and which houses the "Cruz de
    la Parra", a fifteenth-century cross, the only one left of the 29 that Christopher Columbus planted during his four voyages to America. At the entrance
    of the Cathedral, which can hold up to a thousand people, the Pope was awaited by the mayor, Arnaldo Samaniego, who gave him the keys to the city, while an orchestra of 220 Paraguayan harps played traditional music. The Pope celebrated
    first vespers with the priests, men and women religious, seminarians and representatives of the Catholic movements of Paraguay, and then pronounced a brief discourse.
    "How good it is for all of us to pray Vespers together", he said. "How can we not dream of of a Church which reflects and echoes the harmony of voices and song in her daily life? That is what we are doing in this Cathedral, rebuilt so
    many times over the years. This Cathedral symbolises the Church and each one of
    us. At times, storms from without and within force us to tear down what had been
    built and to begin again, but always with the hope given us by God. When we look
    at this building, we can surely say that it has not disappointed the hopes of the Paraguayan people, because God never disappoints! For this we give thankful
    "Liturgical prayer, in its unhurried structure, is meant to be an expression of
    the whole Church, the spouse of Christ, as she strives to be ever more conformed
    to her Lord. Each one of us, in prayer, wants to become more like Jesus. Prayer
    expresses what we experience and what we ought to experience in our daily lives.
    At least that is true of prayer that is not self-centred or merely for show. Prayer makes us put into practice, or examine our consciences about, what we have prayed for in the Psalms. We are the hands of the God who 'lifts up the poor from the dust'. We work to turn what is dry and barren into fertile ground.
    We cry out that 'precious in the eyes of the Lord is the life of his faithful ones'. We are those who fight, speak up and defend the dignity of every human life, from birth to old age, when our years are many and our strength fails. Prayer is the reflection of our love for God, for others and for all creation. The commandment of love is the greatest way for the missionary disciple to be conformed to Jesus. Union with Jesus deepens our Christian vocation, which is concerned with what Jesus 'does' - which is something much greater than mere 'activities' - with becoming more like him in all that we do. The beauty of the
    ecclesial community is born of this union of each of her members to the person of Jesus, creating an "ensemble of vocations" in the richness of harmonic diversity.
    "The antiphons of the Gospel canticles for this weekend evoke for us the sending of the Twelve by Jesus. It is always good to grow in this awareness that
    apostolic work is carried out in communion. It is admirable to see you cooperating pastorally, with respect for the nature and ecclesial role of each of the vocations and charisms. I want to encourage all of you, priests, men and
    women religious, laity and seminarians to be committed to this ecclesial collaboration, especially with regard to diocesan pastoral plans and the continental mission, and to work together with complete availability in the service of the common good. If our divisions lead to barrenness, then there is no doubt that communion and harmony lead to fruitfulness, because they are deeply attuned to the Holy Spirit.
    "Each of us has his or her limitations, and no one is able to reproduce Jesus in all His fullness. Although all vocations are associated with certain aspects
    of the life and work of Jesus, some vocations are more general and essential. Just now we praised the Lord for 'he did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited'. This is the case with every Christian vocation: a person called by God does not show off; he or she does not seek recognition or applause; he or she does claim to be better than others, standing apart as if on
    a pedestal.
    "Christ's supremacy is clearly described in the liturgy of the Letter to the Hebrews. As we just read from the final part of that Letter, we are to become perfect like 'the great Shepherd of the sheep'. This means that all consecrated
    persons are to be conformed to Jesus, who in His earthly life, 'with prayers and
    supplications, with loud cries and tears', achieved perfection when, through suffering, he learned the meaning of obedience. This too is part of our calling.
    "Let us conclude our celebration of Vespers. The bell tower of this Cathedral was rebuilt a number of times. The sound of its bells anticipates and accompanies our liturgical prayer on so many occasions. Rebuilt for God whenever
    we pray, steadfast like a bell tower, joyful in ringing out the wonders of God,
    let us share the Magnificat and, through our consecrated life, allow the Lord to
    accomplish great things in Paraguay".


    The Pope at the Banado Norte: faith without solidarity is faith without Christ
    Vatican City, 13 July 2015 (VIS) - The final day of Pope Francis' trip to Paraguay began with his visit to Banado Norte, a poor and marshy area of the city of Asuncion, where various Church and public aid projects are currently underway. More than two thousand people awaited the Holy Father in the sports field, to whom he expressed his joy as soon as he arrived: "I have looked forward to being with you today. I could not come to Paraguay without spending some time with you, here on your land", he said.
    "We are meeting in this Parish named after the Holy Family, and I confess that
    as I arrived, everything reminded me of the Holy Family. To see your faces, your
    children, your elderly, and to hear about your experiences and everything you went through to be here, to have a dignified life and a roof over your heads, to
    endure the bad weather and the flooding of these last few weeks... All this

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