In Mexico, Pope says social change will come with revival of faith

SILAO, Mexico - Visiting Latin America for the second time in his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI offered a message of hope for social progress rooted in a revival of Catholic faith.

The overriding message of the Pope's public statements during his three days in Mexico, March 23-26, was that this troubled country, and the region in general, cannot solve their problems -- which include poverty, inequality, corruption and violence -- by following the prescriptions of secular ideologies.

    Trust in God to help change society, Pope says in Mexico's heartland

    SILAO, Mexico - Celebrating Mass in the Catholic heartland of Mexico, Pope Benedict XVI told a nation and a continent suffering from poverty, corruption and violence, to trust in God and the intercession of Mary to help them bring about a "more just and fraternal society."

    "When addressing the deeper dimension of personal and community life, human strategies will not suffice to save us," the Pope said in his homily during the outdoor Mass at Guanajuato Bicentennial Park March 25, the second full day of his second papal visit to Latin America. "We must have recourse to the one who alone can give life in its fullness, because he is the essence of life and its author."

      A ‘Victim Soul,’ Sr. Carmelina suffered for others

      Over the past two decades thousands of people have attended Eucharistic celebrations to pray to Sr. Carmelina Tarantino. Many of those devotees attended a Mass on Mar. 21 at St. Pascal Baylon parish in Thornhill, Ont. to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of the remarkable Toronto religious sister.

      March 21 was also the third anniversary of the date Cardinal Thomas Collins officially launched Sr. Carmelina’s cause for sainthood by opening the Archdiocesan Tribunal for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. 

        Giving sombreros to popes a tradition for family of Mexican milliners

        SAN FRANCISCO DEL RINCON, Mexico - The milliners of Sombreros Salazar in this deeply Catholic town 140 miles northeast of Guadalajara have the habit of making oversized, charro hats for the pope.

        The family matriarch, Maria de la Luz Yepez Torres, already has made the oversized hats for Pope Paul VI and Blessed John Paul II.

          Jesus showed us God’s perfect love

          Passion Sunday (Year B) April 1 (Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 14:1-15:47)

          Simple words can encourage and give hope to those who are on the verge of despair and defeat. Careless, foolish or cruel words usually destroy, deflate and snuff out life.

          The Suffering Servant figure in Isaiah was a person of the first approach. We have no idea who he was and it really doesn’t matter. Of prime importance is the way in which this individual was guided by God — his inner spiritual senses were attuned to the whisperings of the Spirit.

            Sublimation and the sublime

            Celebration is a paradoxical thing, created by a dynamic interplay between anticipation and fulfilment, longing and inconsummation, the ordinary and the special, work and play. Life and love must be celebrated within a certain fast-feast rhythm. Seasons of play most profitably follow seasons of work, seasons of consummation are heightened by seasons of longing, and seasons of intimacy grow out of seasons of solitude. Presence depends upon absence, intimacy upon solitude, play upon work. Even God rested only after working for six days!

              Pope asks married couple to compose Via Crucis meditations

              VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has asked an Italian married couple, founders of the Focolare Movement's New Families initiative, to write the meditations for his Way of the Cross service at Rome's Colosseum April 6.

              The Vatican announced March 15 that the pope had asked Danilo and Annamaria Zanzucchi to write the meditations, which are read over loudspeakers as a cross is carried through and around the Colosseum on Good Friday.

                Pope rings bell symbolizing call to turn out for eucharistic congress

                VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI blessed and rang the official International Eucharistic Congress bell, which has been on tour across Ireland for nearly a year, in preparation for the world meeting in June.

                An Irish delegation, led by the 2012 congress president Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, presented the Pope with the small brass bell before the start of his weekly general audience March 14. Before the Pope was driven into St. Peter's Square, he met with the delegation and rang the bell.

                  There is no new life without death

                  Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year B) March 25 (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51; Hebrews 5:7-9; John 12:20-33)

                  Human history is the story of broken promises. People break promises to one another; nations break covenants and treaties; and people let God down in very big ways. The result is shattered relationships and societies, and the most devastating of all, a sense of alienation and separation from God.

                    Consecrated by circumstance and need

                    We can lose our freedom for different reasons and, sometimes, for the best of reasons.

                    Imagine this scenario: You are on your way to a restaurant to meet a friend for dinner, a perfectly legitimate agenda, but en route you witness a car accident. Some of the people in the accident are seriously hurt and you are the first to arrive at the scene. At that moment your own agenda, dinner with a friend, is put on hold. You’ve lost your freedom and are, by circumstance and need, conscripted to remain there and help. You phone for an ambulance, you call for the police and you wait with the injured until help arrives.

                      Catholics, Anglicans need to renew commitment to unity, Pope says

                      ROME - Remembering the common roots of the Christianity they share, Roman Catholics and Anglicans should renew their commitments to praying and working for Christian unity, Pope Benedict XVI said.

                      The Pope and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, held an evening prayer service March 10 at Rome's Church of St. Gregory on the Caelian Hill, the church from which Pope Gregory the Great sent St. Augustine of Canterbury and his fellow monks to evangelize England in 597.