Newly beatified martyrs can inspire fidelity to God, says Pope
The Catholic Church’s newest blesseds are six “meek disciples of Christ”, who showed heroic courage defending the Eucharist from profanation when French troops sacked their Italian monastery in 1799 and scattered the Blessed Sacrament on the floor while searching for any valuables they could carry away, Pope Francis said.
“May their example spur us to a greater commitment to fidelity to God, one capable also of transforming society and making it more just and fraternal,” the Pope said April 18, the day after the Cistercian monks of Casamari Abbey were beatified.
Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, who was named prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes in October, presided over the Mass and beatification at the abbey, about 60 miles southeast of Rome.
The French troops shot Fr Siméon Cardon, who was the prior, and five other Cistericans who scrambled to recover consecrated hosts after the invaders broke open the tabernacle and scattered them on the floor.
“These martyrs were not comic book heroes, but normal people,” Cardinal Semeraro said in his homily. “They were fearful men just like all of us.”
Ukrainian Catholics grateful for Pope’s support amid tension
The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church thanked Pope Francis for publicly voicing concern about the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine and the increased presence of Russian troops on the border.
In an interview with Vatican News April 20, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, said he wanted to express “profound gratitude for the Holy Father for his prayer and for his support to the suffering people of Ukraine”.
“We are truly grateful to the Holy Father above all for his empathy and his prayer for Ukraine, for our people who are in such sorrow because once again, we are living in a moment of great fear,” he said.
After praying the Regina Coeli prayer April 18, the Pope expressed his “deep concern” about violations of the cease-fire and about increased military activity in the region.
“Please, I firmly hope that the increase of tensions may be avoided and, on the contrary, gestures may be made that are capable of promoting mutual trust and fostering reconciliation and peace, so necessary and so desired,” the Pope said.
Christians, Muslims must spread hope, says Vatican
Christians and Muslims share a conviction that God calls them to be “witnesses, restorers and builders of hope” both in this life and for the life to come, said the leaders of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
In a message wishing Muslims a peaceful and fruitful month as they fast during Ramadan and a joyful celebration of Id al-Fitr when Ramadan is over, the officials focused on the religious value of hope and its importance today amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The message was signed March 29, before Ramadan began, by Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso, council president, and Msgr Indunil Janakaratne Kankanamalage, council secretary.
The Vatican released the message April 16, three days after the Ramadan fast began. For believers, they said, “hope arises from our belief that all our problems and trials have a meaning, a value and a purpose, however difficult or impossible it may be for us to understand the reason for them or to find a way out of them.” In addition, they wrote, “hope also carries with it belief in the goodness present in the heart of every person”.