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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday (July 11th) urged representatives of civil society in Paraguay not to be closed in on themselves and generic levitra online pharmacy but work together with others using dialogue to build a more inclusive society. He warned those listening to not just take their “own slice of the cake” but discuss, think, and discover together a better solution for everybody.   

Please find below the English translation of the Pope’s prepared remarks for his address to the representatives of civil society in Paraguay:

Dear Friends,

                I am pleased to be with you, the representatives of civil society, and to share our hopes and dreams for a better future.  I thank Bishop Adalberto Martínez Flores, Secretary of the Paraguay Bishops’ Conference, for his words of welcome in your name.

                Seeing all of you together, each coming from his or her own sector or organization within Paraguayan society, each bringing his or her own joys, concerns, struggles and hopes, makes me grateful to God.  A people unengaged and listless, passively accepting things as they are, is a dead people.  In you, however, I see great vitality and promise.  God always blesses this.  God is always on the side of those who help to uplift and improve the lives of his children.  To be sure, problems and situations of injustice exist.  But seeing you and http://extended-aftercare.com/canadian-pharmacies-for-viagra listening to you helps to renew my hope in the Lord who continues to work in the midst of his people.  You represent many different backgrounds, situations and aspirations; all together, you make up Paraguayan culture.  All of you have a part to play in the pursuit of the common good.  “In the present condition of global society, where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable” (Laudato Si’, 158), to see you before me is a real gift.

                I also want to thank those of you who prepared the questions.  These have enabled me to see above all your commitment to keep working together for the good of the nation.

1.            In the first question, I was pleased to hear a young person express concern that society be a place of fraternity, justice, peace and dignity for everyone.  Youth is a time of high ideals.  It is important that you, the young, realize that genuine happiness comes from working to make a more fraternal world!  It comes from realizing that happiness and pleasure are not synonymous.  Happiness is demanding, it requires commitment and effort.  You are too important to be satisfied with living life under a kind of anasthesia!  Paraguay has a large population of young people and buy chinese herbal levitra this is a great source of enrichment for the nation.  So I think that the first thing to do is to make sure that all that energy, that light, does not grow dim in your hearts, and to resist the growing mentality which considers it useless and absurd to aspire to things that demand effort.  Be committed to something, be committed to someone.  Don’t be afraid to take a risk.  Don’t be afraid to give the best of yourselves!

                But don’t do this alone.  Try to talk about these things among yourselves, profit from the lives, the stories and the wisdom of your elders, of your grandparents.  “Waste” lots of time listening to all the good things they have to teach you.  They are the guardians of that spiritual legacy of faith and values which define a people and illumine its path.  Find comfort, too, in the power of prayer, in Jesus.  Keep praying to to him daily.  He will not disappoint you.  Jesus, in the memory of your people, is the secret to keeping a joyful heart in your quest for fraternity, justice, peace and dignity for everyone.

                I liked the poem of Carlos Miguel Giménez which Bishop Martínez quoted.  I think it sums up very nicely what I have been trying to say, “[I dream of] a paradise free of war between brothers and sisters, rich in men and women healthy in heart and soul… and a God who blesses its dawn”.  Yes, God is the guarantee of the dignity of man.

2.            The second question spoke about dialogue as a means to advance the project of a fully inclusive nation.  Dialogue, we know, is not easy.  There are many difficulties to be overcome, and sometimes it seems as if our efforts only make things even harder.  Dialogue must be built on something.  It presupposes and getting cialis demands a culture of encounter.  An encounter which acknowledges that diversity is not only good, it is necessary.  So we cannot start off by thinking that the other person is wrong.  The common good is sought by starting from our differences, constantly leaving room for new alternatives.  In other words, look for something new.  Don’t just take “your own slice of the cake”, but discuss, think, and discover together a better solution for e...

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Saturday (July 11th) at the Marian Shrine of Caacupé near Asuncion on the first full day of his pastoral visit to Paraguay, the third and final leg of his journey to Latin America. Caacupe is the most important pilgrimage site in Paraguay. Tens of thousands of people, including many from the Pope’s native Argentina, attended the mass held in the square outside the Basilica.

In his homily, the Pope told those present that Mary’s life testifies that God never abandons us even in moments when it might seem he is not there. He also once again had special words of praise for the women of Paraguay whom he said were able to lift up a country defeated, devastated and laid low by war.

Please find below an English translation of the Pope’s prepared remarks for the homily at the Mass:


                Being here with you makes me feel at home, at the feet of our Mother, the Virgin of Miracles of Caacupé.  In every shrine we, her children, encounter our Mother and are reminded that we are brothers and sisters.  Shrines are places of festival, of encounter, of family.  We come to present our needs.  We come to give thanks, to ask forgiveness and to begin again.  How many baptisms, priestly and religious vocations, engagements and marriages, have been born at the feet of our Mother!  How many tearful farewells!  We come bringing our lives, because here we are at home and it is wonderful to know there is someone waiting for us. 

                As so often in the past, we now come because we want to renew our desire to live the joy of the Gospel.

                How can we forget that this shrine is a vital part of the Paraguayan people, of yourselves?  You feel it, it shapes your prayers, and you sing: “Here, in your Eden of Caacupé, are your people, Virgin most pure, who offer you their love and their faith”.  Today we gather as the People of God, at the feet of our Mother, to offer her our love and our faith. 

                In the Gospel, we have just heard the greeting of the angel to Mary: Rejoice, full of grace.  The Lord is with you.  Rejoice, Mary, rejoice.  Upon hearing this greeting, Mary was confused and asked herself what it could mean.  She did not fully understand what was happening.  But she knew that the angel came from God and so she said yes.  Mary is the Mother of Yes.  Yes to God’s dream, yes to God’s care, yes to God’s will.

                It was a yes that, as we know, was not easy to live.  A yes that bestowed no privileges or distinctions.  Simeon told her in his prophecy: “a sword will pierce your heart” (Lk 2:35), and indeed it did.  That is why we love her so much.  We find in her a true Mother, one who helps us to keep faith and hope alive in the midst of complicated situations.  Pondering Simeon’s prophecy, we would do well to reflect briefly on three difficult moments in Mary’s life.

1.            The birth of Jesus.  There was no room for them.  They had no house, no dwelling to receive her Son.  There was no place where she could give birth.  They had no family close by; they were alone.  The only place available was a stall of animals.  Surely she remembered the words of the angel: “Rejoice, Mary, the Lord is with you”.  She might well have asked herself: “Where is he now?”.

2.            The flight to Egypt.  They had to leave, to go into exile.  Not only was there no room for them, no family nearby, but their lives were also in danger.  They had to depart and go to a foreign land.  They were migrants, on account of the envy and greed of the King.  There too she might well have asked: “What happened to all those things promised by the angel?

3.            Jesus’ death on the cross.  There can be no more difficult experience for a mother than to witness the death of her child.  It is heartrending.  We see Mary there, at the foot of the cross, like every mother, strong, faithful, staying with her child even to his death, death on the cross.   Then she encourages and supports the disciples.

                We look at her life, and we feel understood, we feel heard.  We can sit down to pray with her and use a common language in the face of the countless situations we encounter each day.  We can identify with many situations in her own life.  We can tell her what is happening in our lives, because she understands.

                Mary is the woman of faith; she is the Mother of the Church; she believed.  Her life testifies that God does not deceive us, or abandon his people, even in moments or situations when it might seem that he is not there.  Mary was the first of her Son’s disciples and in moments of difficulty she kept alive the hope of the apostles.  A woman attentive to the needs of others, she could say –...

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis visited the metropolitan cathedral of Quito, Ecuador, on Monday, the second day of his Apostolic Voyage to Latin America. The visit to the cathedral followed a courtesy call on the President of the Republic of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, and included some remarks to the faithful, a small number of whom were gathered inside the church proper, and a great throng of whom were gathered outside in the cathedral square.

Click below to hear our report

The cathedral itself is a remarkable structure: originally constructed of adobe and thatch, it was rebuilt beginning in the middle of the 16th century in order to fill its new role as the central place of worship and seat of the bishop of the new diocese. Using stone carried from Mount Pichincha, in the shadow of which stands the city of Quito, the cathedral was built over three years, starting in 1562, and was finally consecrated in 1572. Earthquakes have several times caused major damage, after which major repair and renovation projects have followed, with the present visible structure being primarily work completed in the latter half of the 18th century.

Emerging from the cathedral after a moment of prayerful recollection before a statue of Our Lady holding the infant Jesus, and another of silent adoration before Our Eucharistic Lord in the Tabernacle, Pope Francis greeted the crowd in the square and offered his blessing. “I'm going to give the blessing,” he said, “I'll give the blessing to each of you, for your families, for all loved ones and for this great nation and noble Ecuadorean people, that there be no difference, no exclusion, no people discarded, that all might be brothers and sisters, a blessing that goes to everyone and that there be none left out of this great Ecuadorian nation. To each of you, your families, goes the blessing, but first let us pray together a Hail Mary.”

And the people prayed the great prayer of Marian devotion, and Pope Francis blessed them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and then he asked the people to pray for him, and he bade them good evening, and took his leave.

(from Vatican Radio)

(Vatican Radio) In his first homily during his Apostolic Voyage to South America, Pope Francis focused on Mary as a model for families as he spoke about the Gospel account of the wedding at Cana. More than one million people joined the Holy Father for Holy Mass in the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador.

Listen to Christopher Wells' report: 

Christ’s miracle at Cana – turning water into wine – was made possible, the Pope said, precisely because the Blessed Virgin Mary “was attentive, left her concerns in God’s hands, and acted sensibly and courageously.”

Pope Francis said Mary was concerned for the needs of the newlyweds, attentive to others, and not closed in on herself. There are many circumstances today, he continued, when we can see that the “wine” – a sign of “happiness, love, and plenty” – has run out: “How many of our adolescents and young people sense that these are no longer found in their homes?” the Pope asked. “How many women, sad and lonely, wonder when love left, when it slipped away from their lives? How many elderly people feel left out of family celebrations, cast aside and longing each day for a little love?”

Mary responds to the lack of wine by approaching Jesus with confidence, by praying. Pope Francis said, “She teaches us to put our families in God’s hands, to pray, to kindle the hope which shows us that our concerns are also God’s concerns.” Prayer, he continued, “always lifts us out of our worries and concerns.”

Finally, the Holy Father said, Mary acts. Her words to the wedding attendants – “Do whatever He tells you” – are also “an invitation to us to open our hearts to Jesus, who came to serve and not to be served.” Pope Francis said we learn this especially within the family, where we learn to be servants of one another, and where no one is rejected. The family “constitutes the best social capital” and “cannot be replaced by other institutions.” Pope Francis strongly urged people to defend the family, saying it must be “helped and strengthened.”

The family, he said, is also “a small Church, a ‘domestic Church’ which, along with life, also mediates God’s tenderness and mercy.” Although our families are sometimes not what we expect them to be, are not the ‘ideal’ we picture for ourselves, nonetheless, every day within the family “miracles are performed” with the little we have. “In our own families and in the greater family to which we all belong, nothing is thrown away, nothing is useless.” Pope Francis asked for prayers for the Synod on the Family, “so that Christ can take even what might seem to us impure, scandalous, or threatening, and turn it… into a miracle.”

The Holy Father concluded his homily by pointing to the fact that, at the wedding of Cana, the best was yet to come: “for families, the richest, the deepest, and most beautiful things are yet to come.” God, he said, “always seek out the peripheries, those who have run out of wine, those who drink only of discouragement.  Jesus feels their weakness, in order to pour out the best wines for those who, for whatever reason, feel that all their jars have been broken.”

(from Vatican Radio)

(Vatican Radio) As Pope Francis’ apostolic journey to Latin America begins to unfold, the week-long programme that takes the Pope from Ecuador to Bolivia to Paraguay will offer countless occasions for information, reflection, inspiration.

Meanwhile we look ahead, speaking to people on the ground and to others who have been to the places the Pope is scheduled to visit.

Like Monsignor Peter Fleetwood, a priest from the Liverpool Archdiocese who has travelled extensively in Latin America and who says the Pope’s respect and regard for the poor and the marginalized and his desire to be with “real people” is an enormously important aspect of his message and his pontificate as well as being a central theme of this journey …


Remembering his own journey to Paraguay in the 1990s, Monsignor Fleetwood recounts a series of experiences in a nation that he describes as having a “popular, or democratic culture”.

“They’re not very impressed by people waving money around: they just like ordinariness, being down to earth – I think that’s a lot of what Pope Francis likes to bring with him as a Latin American to wherever he goes” he says.

Commenting on the fact that the Pope has chosen to travel to Latin America starting with the “peripheries” (as the three nations he is visiting are amongst the poorest), Monsignor Fleetwood points out that “where he goes, people who have previously felt ‘nobody in his position has ever spoken to me before’, suddenly think: ‘I matter to that man, my family matters, my country matters’”.

Although these people may feel they are not very significant in the global picture, Mons. Fleetwood says,  the Pope makes them feel they do matter because they are children of God.

He is saying to the people who await him: “You are never forgotten, you are always remembered, you may not see your name in lights when it comes to the rich countries of the world, but as far as the Pope’s concerned: you are there and you are in my prayers.” 

“It means a lot if you are living far from the so-called center of things if the man in charge turns left on the way into town and goes to a little shanty town and says he wants to meet the real people – good for him!” Mons. Fleetwood says.    

(from Vatican Radio)
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