Monday, May 27, 2013

Trinity Sunday - The Pope As Bishop of Rome Left the Pope in the Vatican and Preached to the Children + Heard Confessions: WOW

Today the Pope paid his first visit to a Roman diocese, in the city’s Prima Porta suburb. In his homily Francis spoke about Mary's haste to help us and about the ability to see reality more clearly from a distance and from within a different context. He also explained the Trinity to children

The Pope held a lively question and answer session with children of the parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah, in the Prima Porta suburb of Rome, who came to see Francis on his first visit to a Roman parish this morning. The Pope started off commenting on the part of the Gospel that describes Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. He then went on to explain the meaning of the Trinity in the Christian faith, asking the children questions and waiting for their responses.

Francis’ pre-mass address to the faithful and the parish priest of this church on the far northern suburb of Rome was a blend of humour and sober reflection. He referred to the congregation as the city’s guards.

 “Dear first guard and dear second guard, I like what you say about guards; one gets a far clearer perspective of reality from the peripheries than they do from the centre. We need to be guards, just like you said. I give thanks to you for the work you do as a guard and I give thanks for the hospitality given to me on Trinity Sunday. Present here today are the priests you know so well, the Pope’s two secretaries, and the Bishop of Rome. The Pope stayed behind in the Vatican. These last two work well together. One of them, Fr. Alfred is celebrating the 29th anniversay of his priestly ordination. Let us pray for him and hope he will serve for at least another 29 years,” Francis said.

“Mary is always in a hurry because she wants to help us not because she wants to brag about the fact she is the mother of God. She goes to help Elizabeth: “She is our Mother, who always comes in haste when we need help. It would be nice to add to the litanies of Our Lady one that says “Lady who sets out in haste, pray for us!”” “This makes us safe, the safety of always having our mother near, at our side. Our Lady also helps us to understand God well.” The Pope then asked the children present about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in order to explain the Trinity (today is the feast of the Holy Trinity) to them.

“I ask you, children: “Who knows who God is?” Raise your hand, tell me. Okay! Creator of the earth. And how many Gods are there? 1? But they told me that there are 3: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! How do we explain this? Is there 1 or is there 3? 1? 1? And how do we explain that one is the Father, the other the Son and the other Holy Spirit? Louder, louder! Good answer. They are 3 in 1, 3 persons in 1. And what does the Father do? The Father is the origin, the Father, who created everything, created us. What does the Son do? What does Jesus do? Who knows how to say what Jesus does? He loves us? And what else? What did Jesus do on the earth? He saved us! And Jesus came to give his life for us. Is this true? And how does he walk? What does he do when he walks with us in life? This is hard. The one who answers it wins! What does Jesus do when he walks with us? Louder! The first one: he helps us. He guides us! Very good! He walks with us, he helps us, he guides us and he teaches us how to go forward. And Jesus also gives us the strength to walk. Is that right? He supports us! Good! In difficulties, right? And even in school work! He supports us, he helps us, he guides us, he supports us. Okay! Jesus is always with us. Good. But listen, Jesus gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? You know how he gives us strength! Louder, I can’t hear you! In Communion he gives us strength, the way he helps us is by giving us strength. He comes to us. But when you say “He gives us Communion,” a piece of bread gives you so much strength? It’s not bread? It’s bread? This is bread but what is on the altar, is it bread or not? It looks like bread! It’s not really bread. What is it? It is the body of Jesus. Jesus comes into our heart. Well, let’s all think about this,” the Pope said.  “Let us ask Our Lady, Our Lady who is our Mother, always quick to help us, that she help us always to understand well how God is: how the Father is, how the Son is and how the Holy Spirit is,” the Pope said, concluding his homily.

Before celebrating mass in the parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah, Francis also listened to the confessions of eight faithful. During last Saturday’s vigil with religious movements, he said: “When I go to listen to confession, I mean when I used to – I can’t any more because I can’t leave this place…” Today he was able once again to listen confessions in a parish outside the Vatican.

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