From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Jul 13 10:49:02 2015
VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
YEAR XXII - # 131
- Visit to the "Ninos de Acosta Nu" paediatric hospital
- Caacupe: when everything seemed to be falling apart, Paraguayan women, like Our Lady, hoped against hope
- Francis responds to the "builders of society" in Paraguay
- Vespers in the Cathedral of Asuncion
- The Pope at the Banado Norte: faith without solidarity is faith without Christ
- Mass in Nu Guazu: learning Christian hospitality
- Angelus: with Mary's help, may the Church become a home for all
- The Pope greets the young before leaving Paraguay
- Telegram for the death of Cardinal Biffi
- Strong condemnation of the attack on the Italian consulate in Cairo
- Other Pontifical Acts
Visit to the "Ninos de Acosta Nu" paediatric hospital
Vatican City, 12 July 2015 (VIS) - The Pope's first visit in Paraguay after his
meeting with the president, Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, was to the patients of the Ninos de Acosta Nu paediatric hospital.
The Pope arrived at 8.30 a.m. (local time) and spent around an hour with the inpatients, including those who were in the emergency room and the oncology ward. Instead of pronouncing the discourse he had prepared, the full text of which is reproduced below, he handed out a copy "as read" and spoke informally to the patients.
"Dear children, I want to ask you a question; maybe you can help me. They tell
me that you are all very intelligent, and so I want to ask you: Did Jesus ever get annoyed? ... Do you remember when?
If this seems like a difficult question, let me help you. It was when they wouldn't let the children come to Him. That is the only time in the entire Gospel of Mark when we hear that He was 'annoyed'. We would say that He was really 'ticked off'.
Do you get annoyed every now and then? Jesus felt that way when they wouldn't let the children come to Him. He was really mad. He loved children. Not that He
didn't like adults, but He was really happy to be with children. He enjoyed their company, He enjoyed being friends with them. But not only. He didn't just
want to have them around, he wanted something else: he wanted them to be an example. He told his disciples that 'unless you become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven'.
The children kept coming to Jesus, and the adults kept trying to keep them away, but Jesus called them, embraced them and brought them forward, so that people us could learn to be like them. Today, he wants to tell us the same thing. He looks at us and he says: 'Learn from the children'.
We need to learn from you. We need to learn from your trust, your joy, and your
tenderness. We need to learn from your ability to fight, from your strength, from your remarkable endurance. Some of you are fighters. And when we look at young 'warriors' like you, we feel very proud. Isn't that right, moms? Isn't that right, dads and grandparents? Looking at you gives us strength, it gives us
the courage to trust, to keep moving forward.
Dear mothers, fathers, grandparents: I know that it is not easy to be here. There are moments of great suffering and uncertainty. There are times of heart-rending anguish but also moments of immense happiness. These two feelings
often collide deep within us. However, there is no better relief than your tender compassion, your closeness to one another. It makes me happy to know that
as families you help, encourage and support each other, so that you can keep going in these difficult moments.
You count on the support of the doctors, nurses and the entire staff of this home. I thank them for their vocation of service, for helping not only to care for, but also to be there, for these young brothers and sisters of ours who suffer.
Let us never forget that Jesus is close to his children. He is very near, in our hearts. Never hesitate to pray to Him, to talk to Him, to share with him your questions and your pain. He is always with us, He is ever near and he will
not let us fall.
There is another thing we can be sure of, and I would say it once again. Wherever there is a son or daughter, there is always a mother. Wherever Jesus is, there is Mary, the Virgin of Caacupe. Let us ask her to wrap us in her mantle, to protect and intercede for you and for your families.
And also, please don't forget to pray for me. I am certain that your prayers are heard in heaven".
Caacupe: when everything seemed to be falling apart, Paraguayan women, like Our
Lady, hoped against hope
Vatican City, 12 July 2015 (VIS) - After greeting the patients at the paediatric hospital "Ninos de Acosta Nu", the Pope transferred by car to the Shrine of Caacupe which in Guarani means "behind the mount", and from which Lake
Ypacaray is visible. Caacupe is considered the spiritual capital of Paraguay and
is famous for the feast celebrated on 8 December in honour of the Our Lady of Miracles. According to legend, the image was sculpted in the sixteenth century by a converted Atyra Indio who, feeling from rival Mhayaes indigenous people, hid inside a large tree trunk and prayed to the Virgin to be saved. He later carved the image of Our Lady in a piece of the trunk as an ex voto. The Indio, named Jose, built a small chapel, the nucleus of the future Shrine, which was completed in 1770, considered to be the official date of the founding of the city of Caacupe.
The Pope travelled the last few kilometres leading to the Shrine by popemobile,
greeted by the tens of thousands of faithful who awaited him to participate in the Holy Mass, with prayers in Spanish and Guarani. In his homily the Pope emphasised that the Shrine of Caacupe treasured the memory of a people who know
that Mary is their mother, and stays by her children's side. He reiterated his admiration for Paraguayan women and mothers, who " at great cost and sacrifice were able to lift up a country defeated, devastated and laid low by an abominable war".
"Being here with you makes me feel at home, at the feet of our Mother, the Virgin of Miracles of Caacupe", Francis affirmed. "In every shrine we, her children, encounter our Mother and are reminded that we are brothers and sisters. Shrines are places of festival, of encounter, of family. We come to present our needs. We come to give thanks, to ask forgiveness and to begin again. How many baptisms, priestly and religious vocations, engagements and marriages, have been born at the feet of our Mother! How many tearful farewells!
We come bringing our lives, because here we are at home and it is wonderful to know there is someone waiting for us.
"As so often in the past, we now come because we want to renew our desire to live the joy of the Gospel", he continued. "How can we forget that this shrine is a vital part of the Paraguayan people, of yourselves? You feel it, it shapes
your prayers, and you sing: 'Here, in your Eden of Caacupe, are your people, Virgin most pure, who offer you their love and their faith'. Today we gather as
the People of God, at the feet of our Mother, to offer her our love and our faith".
Francis cited the Angel's greeting to Mary: "'Rejoice, full of grace. The Lord
is with you'. Rejoice, Mary, rejoice. Upon hearing this greeting, Mary was confused and asked herself what it could mean. She did not fully understand what
was happening. But she knew that the angel came from God and so she said yes. Mary is the Mother of Yes. Yes to God's dream, yes to God's care, yes to God's will. It was a yes that, as we know, was not easy to live. A yes that bestowed no privileges or distinctions. Simeon told her in his prophecy: 'a sword will pierce your heart', and indeed it did. That is why we love her so much. We find
in her a true Mother, one who helps us to keep faith and hope alive in the midst
of complicated situations".
The Pope then considered Simeon's prophecy, reflecting briefly on three difficult moments in Mary's life: the birth of Jesus, the flight to Egypt and her Son's death on the Cross.
With regard to the first, he commented, "there was no room for them. They had no house, no dwelling to receive her Son. There was no place where she could give birth. They had no family close by; they were alone. The only place available was a stall of animals. Surely she remembered the words of the angel:
'Rejoice, Mary, the Lord is with you'. She might well have asked herself: 'Where
is he now?'".
During the flight to Egypt, "they had to leave, to go into exile. Not only was
there no room for them, no family nearby, but their lives were also in danger. They had to depart to a foreign land. They were persecuted migrants, on account
of the envy and greed of the King. There too she might well have asked: 'What happened to all those things promised by the angel?'.
Finally, Jesus' death on the cross: "there can be no more difficult experience
for a mother than to witness the death of her child. It is heart-rending. We see
Mary there, at the foot of the cross, like every mother, strong, faithful, staying with her child even to his death, death on the cross. There too she might well have asked: 'What happened to all those things promised to me by the
angel?'. Then we see her encouraging and supporting the disciples.
"We contemplate her life, and we feel understood, we feel heard. We can sit down to pray with her and use a common language in the face of the countless situations we encounter each day. We can identify with many situations in her own life. We can tell her what is happening in our lives, because she understands.
"Mary is the woman of faith; she is the Mother of the Church; she believed. Her
life testifies that God does not deceive us, that God does not abandon his people, even in moments or situations when it might seem that he is not there. Mary was the first of her Son's disciples and in moments of difficulty she kept
alive the hope of the apostles. With probably more than one key, they were locked in the upper room, due to fear. A woman attentive to the needs of others,
she could say - when it seemed like the feast and joy were at an end - 'see, they have no wine'. She was the woman who went to stay with her cousin 'about three months', so that Elizabeth would not be alone as she prepared to give birth. That is out mother, so good and so kind, she who accompanies us in our lives.
"We know all this from the Gospel, but we also know that in this land she is the Mother who has stood beside us in so many difficult situations. This shrine
preserves and treasures the memory of a people who know that Mary is their Mother, and that she has always been at the side of her children. Mary has always been in our hospitals, our schools and our homes. She has always sat at the table in every home. She has always been part of the history of this country, making it a nation. Hers has been a discreet and silent presence, making itself felt through a statue, a holy card or a medal. Under the sign of the rosary, we know that we are never alone, that she always accompanies us.
"Why? Because Mary simply wanted to be in the midst of her people, with her children, with her family. She followed Jesus always, from within the crowd. As
a good Mother, she did not want to abandon her children, rather, she would always show up wherever one of her children was in need. For the simple reason