Vatican Roundup

Pope reaches 100th General Audience

Pope Francis reached a personal milestone on August 26 when he preached his 100th Wednesday general audience.

The Pontiff used the occasion to revisit a topic which has been at the heart of many of his most recent addresses, the family, and specifically this time, prayer within the family.

“We all know how important prayer is, yet it seems so difficult to find time for it,” he told the assembled pilgrims, acknowledging that many faithful complain that they simply cannot find the time to pray during the hectic schedule of modern life. “The regret is sincere,” he said, “because the human heart seeks prayer, even if one is not aware of it.

“Through prayer, even in the busiest times, we give time back to God, we find the peace that comes from appreciating the important things, and we encounter the joy of God’s unexpected gifts. Through daily prayer may our homes become, like the house of Martha and Mary, places where Jesus always finds a warm welcome.” 

Praising parents who manage to successfully balance work and family life, the Pontiff said he was inspired by such people, and joked that they deserve the highest accolade in mathematics for squeezing 48 hours into 24.

“I don’t know how they do it, but they do. There are moms and dads who could win the Nobel for this!”

Meanwhile, Pope Francis set another record with his 100th audience. The Prefecture of the Papal Household announced after the Pontiff’s August 26 appearance that numbers for his regular Wednesday audiences have now reached 3.1 million. According to figures compiled, 1,548,500 attended the Pope’s 30 general audiences in 2013, and over 1.1 million attended 43 audiences in 2014. This year, over 400,000 have attended 27 general audiences.  

US Ambassador expresses hopes for papal trip

America’s Ambassador to the Holy See has predicted that the issues of migration, the family, the environment and inequality will be core messages delivered by Pope Francis when he visits the United States later this month.

In an interview with the Associated Press, focusing on the papal trip of September 22-27 to Washington, New York and Philadelphia, Ambassador Kenneth Hackett acknowledged that the Pontiff is travelling to a nation currently led by an administration which is at odds with some areas of Church teaching, such as same-sex marriage and abortion, but expressed his belief that the Pontiff will not flinch from speaking strongly, and perhaps even in a way that touches opponents.

“In my two years here I’ve come to realise that Pope Francis will say and do what he wants,” Ambassador Hackett said. “And that, people find refreshing even if they disagree with him.”

Likewise, the ambassador added, the Pontiff was most unlikely to be wounded by ‘differences of opinion’ on issues he and his Church hold dear.

“I think he is mature in his ability to accept disagreement,” he said. “In fact, it almost seems at times that he encourages it.”

In addition to his attendance at the World Meeting for Families in Philadelphia on September 26-27, Pope Francis will address the United Nations in New York and, in an historic first for a Pope, will address the United States Congress in Washington on September 24.

The full schedule for the Pope’s US trip can be found at: