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BREAKING: Pope Francis appeals to Putin for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine

Pope Francis dedicated nearly all of his Angelus address on Oct. 1 to the war in Ukraine. / Vatican News

Rome Newsroom, Oct 2, 2022 / 06:32 am (CNA).

Pope Francis made a direct appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin for an immediate ceasefire on Sunday, imploring him to end the “spiral of violence and death” in Ukraine.

Speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace on Oct. 2, the pope dedicated nearly all of his Angelus address to the war in Ukraine.

“I deeply deplore the grave situation that has arisen in recent days … It increases the risk of nuclear escalation, giving rise to fears of uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences worldwide,” Pope Francis said.

“My appeal is addressed first and foremost to the president of the Russian Federation, imploring him to stop this spiral of violence and death, also for the sake of his people,” he said.

The pope also appealed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be “open to serious proposals for peace” and to the international community to “do everything possible to bring an end to the war without allowing themselves to be drawn into dangerous escalations.”

He said: “After seven months of hostilities, let us use all diplomatic means, even those that may not have been used so far, to bring an end to this terrible tragedy. War in itself is a mistake and a horror.”

The pope’s five-minute speech on the war in Ukraine from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square was a departure from his typical Sunday routine. The pope usually gives a reflection on the Church’s Sunday Gospel reading before praying the Angelus, a traditional Marian prayer, and speaking about his prayer intentions.

Pope Francis underlined that he chose to devote his entire reflection to Ukraine because the course of the war has “has become so serious, devastating, and threatening that it has caused great concern.”

“I am saddened by the rivers of blood and tears spilled in these months,” he said.

“I am grieved by the thousands of victims, especially children, and the destruction that has left many people and families homeless and threatens vast territories with cold and hunger. Such actions can never be justified, never!”

The pope has frequently mentioned Ukraine in his prayers at the end of his public audiences since the war began in February. Recently in a conversation with Jesuit priests during his trip to Kazakhstan, the pope said that he had attempted to help a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia.

“In the name of God and in the name of the sense of humanity that dwells in every heart, I renew my call for an immediate ceasefire,” Pope Francis said in his appeal.

“Let there be a halt to arms, and let us seek the conditions for negotiations that will lead to solutions that are not imposed by force, but consensual, just and stable. And they will be so if they are based on respect for the sacrosanct value of human life, as well as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country, and the rights of minorities and legitimate concerns.”

At the end of his Angelus address dedicated to Ukraine, the pope said that he has also been praying for the people of Florida and Cuba hit by Hurricane Ian

“May the Lord receive the victims, give consolation and hope to those who suffer, and sustain the solidarity efforts,” he said.

Francis added that he was praying for the victims of a stampede at the end of a soccer match in Indonesia, where at least 174 people died, according to the Associated Press.

Pope Francis also offered a reminder to the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square that a new light display on the life of St. Peter will be projected on the Vatican basilica each night for the first two weeks of October. Andrea Bocelli is slated to sing at the show’s inauguration on the night of Oct. 2.

More than ‘the nuts and bolts’: World’s newest bishops talk synodality in Rome

St. Peter's Basilica / Simone Savoldi / Unsplash (CC0)

Rome Newsroom, Oct 2, 2022 / 03:00 am (CNA).

The world’s newest bishops gathered in Rome last month to learn more about what it means to be a Catholic bishop.

While the week’s presentations spanned a range of topics, three U.S. bishops who attended told CNA that synodality emerged as a key theme.

The Vatican’s annual formation course, sometimes known by the nickname “baby bishop school,” was canceled for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic — making the 2022 edition the largest yet, with approximately 330 participating bishops across two sessions.

“People kind of picture baby bishop school as nuts and bolts, like ‘how to be a bishop.’ It’s not that at all,” Bishop Erik Pohlmeier of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, told CNA at the end of the course.

“It’s kind of whatever the Church is talking about at that time, bringing that to the bishops that are coming on board,” he said. “The synodal process has been ... a hallmark of conversation for the last couple of years, so now as we’re new bishops ... the reflections revolved around that.”

The seminar’s first session was primarily attended by bishops consecrated in 2019 and 2020, while the second session was mostly those who joined the ranks in 2021 and the first part of 2022.

Thirty-nine U.S. bishops and auxiliary bishops attended, divided between the two weeks.

Pohlmeier was the freshest U.S. bishop to join. He was ordained a bishop on July 22 — just two days after his 51st birthday and seven weeks before arriving in Rome for the Sept. 12–19 course. 

Speaking to CNA in Rome on Sept. 19, Pohlmeier said that as a new bishop, there are many things you do not know, but that’s where one’s fellow bishops come in.

“Every bishop knows other bishops,” he explained, like the bishop of the diocese where they served as a priest. “And they’re always, I mean to a person, helpful.”

Bishop Gregory Gordon, the first-ever auxiliary bishop of Las Vegas, Nevada, told CNA on Sept. 19 that the U.S. bishops’ conference also organizes meetings between bishops of the same ordination year, or “class,” as a way to build fraternity and create a network of support.

Bishop Gregory Gordon greets Pope Francis at the end of the course Sept. 19, 2022. Vatican Media
Bishop Gregory Gordon greets Pope Francis at the end of the course Sept. 19, 2022. Vatican Media

While the formal theme of this year’s seminar was how to announce the Gospel in changing times, Pohlmeier, Gordon, and Bishop Louis Tylka of Peoria, Illinois, said the unofficial topic of the week was synodality.

What they talked about

“We’re in the midst of the synod,” Tylka, who attended the seminar Sept. 1–8, told CNA by phone from his diocese. So the course, he added, focused on questions such as: “What does it mean to be a synodal Church? What is the ministry of the bishop in relation to that?”

Care for the planet and one’s neighbor, themes important to Pope Francis’ pontificate, were also a major part of the seminar, Tylka said.

The week’s presentations also covered child protection and the sexual abuse crisis.

“That’s one of those things that I think we will take home, saying we will be very, very careful not to neglect,” Gordon said. 

Some talks, Pohlmeier noted, were directly about synodality and what it means. At the same time, those of a more practical nature, such as canon law for bishops, “would always include some comment on the synodal approach.”

“You’re going to get different articulations of what that means depending on who you talk to, but in general, my understanding is that it is more of a listening posture,” the St. Augustine bishop said.

A bishop takes a photo of Pope Francis during their encounter on Sept. 19, 2022. Vatican Media
A bishop takes a photo of Pope Francis during their encounter on Sept. 19, 2022. Vatican Media

Bishop Gordon said Pope Francis himself modeled this listening attitude in their meeting with him on the final day of formation.

In the nearly two-hour meeting, he said most of the time was spent with the pope answering the bishops’ questions. “So you finished the course, [the pope] said. You’ve heard a lot already... Now I want to hear from you.”

This was Gordon’s big takeaway from the week: “It has to go back to the Holy Father’s words to us as he was answering our own questions, you know, asking us to exercise that episcopal closeness.”

The week also included time for communal prayer, Mass, adoration, and confession. 

Bishop Tylka of Peoria said his personal opinion is that “a big part of synodality is the willingness and openness to create space for people to share their stories, to share their own encounters with Christ, to share their own experiences of how life is going.”

“So I think the role of the bishop clearly is to model that openness and that willingness to engage in dialogue,” he said.

What (not) to wear

But there is also a lighter side to being a new bishop, as Pohlmeier evidenced with an amusing scene from the end of the week.

“Here we are, brand new and so ... we got instructions on what we’re supposed to wear to meet the pope,” Pohlmeier said.

He explained that bishops in the Latin Church have two main styles of a full-length garment called a cassock. The new bishops were told to meet the pope. They should wear a black cassock with red trim, a purple fascia, and a purple zucchetto. (There is also a purple cassock with red trim for special liturgical events.)

Pohlmeier said it was funny to watch the bishops get ready for Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and, afterward, the meeting with Pope Francis. Many of them were helping each other figure out where each piece of the complicated attire went — including the tall headpiece, called a mitre, which bishops wear to denote their office.

“Guys are literally opening up bags that haven’t been opened with miters from right there, from Euroclero,” Pohlmeier said, pointing over his shoulder in the direction of a clerical supply store next to St. Peter’s Square.

“You could see everybody that bought one this morning because they all matched,” he chuckled. “There were several people that were literally opening it up and pulling it out of the package and trying to get it on straight, and get things attached right, and not sure what clips go where and what’s right.”

“Those kinds of things are funny,” Pohlmeier said, “but nobody just tells you, ‘OK, buy this stuff, here’s what you need.’”

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The Guardian Angels

The Guardian Angels

Feast date: Oct 02

"For he hath given his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” - Psalm 90:11

The truth that each and every human soul has a Guardian Angel who protects us from both spiritual and physical evil has been shown throughout the Old Testament, and is made very clear in the New.

It is written that the Lord Jesus was strengthened by an angel in the Garden of Gethsemane, and that an angel delivered St. Peter from prison in the Acts of the Apostles.

But Jesus makes the existence and function of guardian angels explicit when he says,  "See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10).

In saying this Jesus points out that all people, even little children, have a guardian angel, and that the angels are always in Heaven, always looking at the face of God throughout their mission on earth, which is to guide and protect us throughout our pilgrimage to the house of our Father. As St. Paul says, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?"  (Hebrews 1:14).

However, they guide us to Heaven only if we desire it. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that angels cannot act directly upon our will or intellect, although they can do so on our senses and imaginations – thus encouraging us to make the right decisions. In Heaven our guardian angels, though no longer needing to guide us to salvation, will continually enlighten us.

Prayer to the guardian angels is encouraged, and the habit of remembering their presence and support leads to frienship with them. The prayer to the guardian angels has been present in the Church since at least the beginning of the 12th century:

Angel of God,
my Guardian dear,
to whom His love
commits me here,
ever this day
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
Amen.

“Let us affectionately love His angels as counselors and defenders appointed by the Father and placed over us. They are faithful; they are prudent; they are powerful; Let us only follow them, let us remain close to them, and in the protection of the God of heaven let us abide.” St. Bernard of Clairvaux

8 quotes from saints on guardian angels

null / Petra Homeier/Shutterstock

Denver Newsroom, Oct 2, 2022 / 00:00 am (CNA).

On Oct. 2, the Catholic Church celebrates the memorial of the guardian angels.

Guardian angels are instruments of providence who protect their charges from suffering serious harm, and care for their salvation.

It is a theologically certain teaching that every one one of the faithful has his or her own guardian angel from baptism, and it is the general teaching of theologians that every human person has his or her own guardian angel from birth.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their [angels’] watchful care and intercession. ‘Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.’ Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God” (CCC, 336).

Several of our greatest saints have also shared their thoughts on guardian angels. Here’s what they had to say:

St. John Vianney: “Our guardian angels are our most faithful friends, because they are with us day and night, always and everywhere. We ought often to invoke them.”

St. John Bosco: “When tempted, invoke your angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped. Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him; he trembles and flees at the sight of your guardian angel.”

St. Jerome: “How great is the dignity of souls, that each person has from birth received an angel to protect it.”

St. Basil the Great: “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd, leading him to life.”

St. Bernard of Clairvaux: “We should show our affection for the angels, for one day they will be our co-heirs just as here below they are our guardians and trustees appointed and set over us by the father.”

St. Francis de Sales: “Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit. Without being seen, they are present with you.”

St. Josemaría Escrivá: “If you remembered the presence of your angel and the angels of your neighbors, you would avoid many of the foolish things which slip into your conversations.”

St. John Cassian: “Cherubim means knowledge in abundance. They provide an everlasting protection for that which appeases God, namely, the calm of your heart, and they will cast a shadow of protection against all the attacks of malign spirits.”

Pope prays for victims of Hurricane Ian and of soccer tragedy in Indonesia

Pope Francis expresses closeness prayers for victims of Hurricane Ian in Cuba and Florida and for the scores who died or were injured in clashes following a soccer match in Indonesia.

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Pope appeals to Putin to stop war and Zelensky to be open to serious peace offers

Pope Francis expresses concern over the nuclear threat and military escalation in the war in Ukraine, dedicating his entire Angelus address to the situation and issuing a powerful appeal for an immediate ceasefire. He deplores the annexations, calls for respect for the territorial integrity of every country and the rights of minorities. He is saddened by the thousands of victims, especially children.

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