31 Dec 2014

The Close of the Year 2 - Pope Francis Homily at vespers

CNS - The end of one calendar year and the beginning of another is the perfect occasion to reflect on how well people have used the time and gifts God has given them -- especially how well people have helped the poor, Pope Francis said.

While God is eternal, time is important even to him, Pope Francis said during a prayer service New Year's Eve in St. Peter's Basilica. "He wanted to reveal himself and save us in history," becoming human to demonstrate "his concrete love."

As a strong winter wind blew outside, Pope Francis ended 2014 celebrating evening prayer with eucharistic adoration and Benediction, and the solemn singing of the "Te Deum," a hymn of praise for God's blessings.

At the end of a year, like at the end of life, he said, the church teaches its members to make an examination of conscience, "remembering all that happened, thanking the Lord for all the good we received and were able to do and, at the same time, remembering where we were lacking and our sins. Give thanks and ask forgiveness."

You can read reports about the homily here, here and here.

Text of the homily:

Patron Saints 2015

On Sacred Space 102fm for the last couple of years we have taken a Blog Patron Saint who in 2014 was the Franciscan St Bonaventure. We also each took a personal patron saint:

  • Anne - Pope St Paul V
  • John - St Michael the Archangel
  • Lorraine - St Cecilia
  • Shane - St Andre Bessette

We will reveal who the new Blog Patron Saint will be for 2015 on this weeks programme on Sunday but if you would like to pick a patron saint for 2015 check out the Saint Name Generator from Jennifer Fulwiler over at Conversion Diary

January 1st 2015 - World Day of Peace - Pope Francis Message: No longer slaves but brothers & sisters

1 JANUARY 2015

1. At the beginning of this New Year, which we welcome as God’s gracious gift to all humanity, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to every man and woman, to all the world’s peoples and nations, to heads of state and government, and to religious leaders. In doing so, I pray for an end to wars, conflicts and the great suffering caused by human agency, by epidemics past and present, and by the devastation wrought by natural disasters. I pray especially that, on the basis of our common calling to cooperate with God and all people of good will for the advancement of harmony and peace in the world, we may resist the temptation to act in a manner unworthy of our humanity.

In my Message for Peace last year, I spoke of “the desire for a full life… which includes a longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced”.[1] Since we are by nature relational beings, meant to find fulfilment through interpersonal relationships inspired by justice and love, it is fundamental for our human development that our dignity, freedom and autonomy be acknowledged and respected. Tragically, the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man gravely damages the life of communion and our calling to forge interpersonal relations marked by respect, justice and love. This abominable phenomenon, which leads to contempt for the fundamental rights of others and to the suppression of their freedom and dignity, takes many forms. I would like briefly to consider these, so that, in the light of God’s word, we can consider all men and women “no longer slaves, but brothers and sisters”.

Listening to God’s plan for humanity
2. The theme I have chosen for this year’s message is drawn from Saint Paul’s letter to Philemon, in which the Apostle asks his co-worker to welcome Onesimus, formerly Philemon’s slave, now a Christian and, therefore, according to Paul, worthy of being considered a brother. The Apostle of the Gentiles writes: “Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother” (vv. 15-16). Onesimus became Philemon’s brother when he became a Christian. Conversion to Christ, the beginning of a life lived Christian discipleship, thus constitutes a new birth (cf. 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Pet 1:3) which generates fraternity as the fundamental bond of family life and the basis of life in society.
In the Book of Genesis (cf. 1:27-28), we read that God made man male and female, and blessed them so that they could increase and multiply. He made Adam and Eve parents who, in response to God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, brought about the first fraternity, that of Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel were brothers because they came forth from the same womb. Consequently they had the same origin, nature and dignity as their parents, who were created in the image and likeness of God.

But fraternity also embraces variety and differences between brothers and sisters, even though they are linked by birth and are of the same nature and dignity. As brothers and sisters, therefore, all people are in relation with others, from whom they differ, but with whom they share the same origin, nature and dignity. In this way, fraternity constitutes the network of relations essential for the building of the human family created by God.

Tragically, between the first creation recounted in the Book of Genesis and the new birth in Christ whereby believers become brothers and sisters of the “first-born among many brethren” (Rom 8:29), there is the negative reality of sin, which often disrupts human fraternity and constantly disfigures the beauty and nobility of our being brothers and sisters in the one human family. It was not only that Cain could not stand Abel; he killed him out of envy and, in so doing, committed the first fratricide. “Cain’s murder of Abel bears tragic witness to his radical rejection of their vocation to be brothers. Their story (cf. Gen 4:1-16) brings out the difficult task to which all men and women are called, to live as one, each taking care of the other”.[2]

This was also the case with Noah and his children (cf. Gen 9:18-27). Ham’s disrespect for his father Noah drove Noah to curse his insolent son and to bless the others, those who honoured him. This created an inequality between brothers born of the same womb.

In the account of the origins of the human family, the sin of estrangement from God, from the father figure and from the brother, becomes an expression of the refusal of communion. It gives rise to a culture of enslavement (cf. Gen 9:25-27), with all its consequences extending from generation to generation: rejection of others, their mistreatment, violations of their dignity and fundamental rights, and institutionalized inequality. Hence, the need for constant conversion to the Covenant, fulfilled by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, in the confidence that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more… through Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:20-21). Christ, the beloved Son (cf. Mt 3:17), came to reveal the Father’s love for humanity. Whoever hears the Gospel and responds to the call to conversion becomes Jesus’ “brother, sister and mother” (Mt 12:50), and thus an adopted son of his Father (cf. Eph1:5).

One does not become a Christian, a child of the Father and a brother or sister in Christ, as the result of an authoritative divine decree, without the exercise of personal freedom: in a word, without being freely converted to Christ. Becoming a child of God is necessarily linked to conversion: “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). All those who responded in faith and with their lives to Peter’s preaching entered into the fraternity of the first Christian community (cf. 1 Pet 2:17; Acts 1:15-16, 6:3, 15:23): Jews and Greeks, slaves and free (cf. 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:28). Differing origins and social status did not diminish anyone’s dignity or exclude anyone from belonging to the People of God. The Christian community is thus a place of communion lived in the love shared among brothers and sisters (cf. Rom 12:10; 1 Thess 4:9; Heb 13:1; 1 Pet 1:22; 2 Pet 1:7).

All of this shows how the Good News of Jesus Christ, in whom God makes “all things new” (Rev 21:5),[3] is also capable of redeeming human relationships, including those between slaves and masters, by shedding light on what both have in common: adoptive sonship and the bond of brotherhood in Christ. Jesus himself said to his disciples: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (Jn 15:15).

The many faces of slavery yesterday and today
3. From time immemorial, different societies have known the phenomenon of man’s subjugation by man. There have been periods of human history in which the institution of slavery was generally accepted and regulated by law. This legislation dictated who was born free and who was born into slavery, as well as the conditions whereby a freeborn person could lose his or her freedom or regain it. In other words, the law itself admitted that some people were able or required to be considered the property of other people, at their free disposition. A slave could be bought and sold, given away or acquired, as if he or she were a commercial product.

The Close of the Year

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'
So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.....

As the evening draws in on the last day of the year we celebrate vespers for the Solemnity of the Mother of God on January 1st. Tradition also has the singing of the Te Deum.  The Te Deum (also known as Ambrosian Hymn or A Song of the Church) is an early Christian hymn of praise. The title is taken from its opening Latin words, Te Deum laudamus, rendered literally as "Thee, O God, we praise". In English speaking countries it is probably more familiar to Catholics as "Holy God we praise Thy Name".

A more traditional version in latin

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of
power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church
acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy
of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death,
and opened the kingdom of heaven
to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come, and
be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.
Save your people, Lord, and bless
your inheritance.
Govern and uphold them now and always.
Day by day we bless you.
We praise your name for ever.
Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
for we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope:
and we shall never hope in vain

[For the liturgical nerds out there, you can find a short history of the Te Deum HERE.]

Phil as always has some fabulous reflections over at her blog.

As 2015 approaches

"Consult not your fears
but your hopes and your dreams.
Think not about your frustrations,
but about your unfulfilled potential.
Concern yourself
not with what you
tried and failed in,
but with what it is still possible
for you to do."

Set your heart on becoming all that you were created to be.

"May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.”
Number 6: 24-27

From all the Sacred Space 102fm team, we wish you and yours every blessing and best wish for 2014. May it be a year which brings you health, happiness and holiness! Thanking the Lord for your friendship and support.

John, Ann, Lorraine, Shane and all the SS102fm team

The Longford Phoenix: A Would You Believe Special - RTE

On Christmas Morning, 2009, the people of Longford woke up to the devastating news that their beloved St Mel's Cathedral was engulfed by flames. A fault in the heating system took hold during the small hours. Mercifully, no-one was injured, but, during one of the harshest winters in memory and in the midst of a deep recession, the disaster was a real kick in the teeth for Longford. The local Bishop, Colm O'Reilly, was heartbroken. He wept openly on the RTÉ News. But he also determined that this 170 year old landmark would be rebuilt.
In The Longford Phoenix, RTÉ's Midlands Correspondent, Ciarán Mullooly, and Would You Believe? filmmaker, Birthe Tonseth, chart the long and arduous process of transforming the cathedral from a roofless ruin back to its former glory. [You can watch the programme for 21 days on the RTE Player HERE]
Over the last five years, master craftsmen and women from all over Ireland have come together with people from the local community to work on one of the largest restoration projects in Europe. Ancient skills - lime-plastering, masonry, carpentry and glazing - have had to be re-learned and precious building materials sourced from far and wide, in order to replicate the cathedral's ruined features. Twenty-eight enormous limestone pillars have been replaced; the distinctive lime-plaster barrel-vaulted ceiling has been totally recreated and the priceless Harry Clarke stained glass windows restored. The new St Mel's also has a new 7.5 ton Carrara marble altar and some very modern stained glass windows. But will the people of Longford like these new features? Many of them had a deep affection for the old cathedral and may not welcome change.
The original was built with the pennies of the poor during the famine era. Its first stones were laid soon after Catholic Emancipation, in the 1840s, but the church was not completed and consecrated until 1893, because of the impact of the famine and emigration.
The current five-year €30 million restoration has been funded largely by insurance, so fund-raising was not the biggest issue. There were, however, those who questioned the wisdom of re-building a vast cathedral during a recession, at a time when church-going is in decline in Ireland and that amount of money could arguably be better spent. So, what will be the new cathedral's place in the community and in the hearts of the people of Longford? Bishop Colm and his successor, Bishop Francis Duffy, are determined that the new St Mel's will be more than a reconstruction of the previous one: in form and function, it should represent the renewal and future of the Church in Ireland. But is that how the people themselves will see it?
In 2014, they queued in their droves for an early glimpse inside, on the first occasion when they were allowed in to view the work in progress. But will those same people keep coming, once the cathedral re-opens for good this Christmas?
The Longford Phoenix is full of characters and stories. Many local people, for instance, see the survival, unscathed, of a Holy Family painting, St Caillin's book shrine and the Blessed Sacrament in a tabernacle as nothing short of miraculous, given that, just metres away, limestone columns crumbled in the 1000+ degree heat. Miraculous or not, those items have become symbols of hope.
For the last five year's Ciarán Mullooly and Birthe Tonseth have painstakingly captured the key moments in the phoenix-like re-birth of St Mel's from the ashes of the old cathedral. Their hour-long special documentary, to be broadcast on 30 December, chronicles the entire process, from the scenes of grief and devastation, at Christmas 2009, to the triumphant inaugural Midnight Mass, simulcast on RTÉ Television and Radio, this Christmas Eve at 11pm. always assuming the reconstruction work is completed on time. The Cathedral will then also broadcast a second Mass on Christmas morning to a European-wide audience, via eight different broadcasters.
As the destruction and restoration of St Mel's has demonstrated, a cathedral is much more than a building. The people of Longford are the human stones of the Church and when St Mel's reopens for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve - five years to the day after the fire - it will be filled with local parishioners, overjoyed to have their beloved church back.
The phoenix will be re-born.

Music Passport: From the Cloister - RTE

Kathryn Thomas meets members of religious orders, to see how much music means to them in their daily lives. Kathryn Thomas meets members of religious orders, to see how much music means to them in their daily lives.

RTÉ Radio 1, Tuesday 30 December, 2pm - you can listen to the podcast HERE.

29 Dec 2014

Christmastide 2014 - December 29th Fifth Day of the Octave of Christmas; Optional memorial of St Thomas Becket (bishop, martyr)

From Catholic Culture:
Today is the fifth day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the optional memorial of St. Thomas Becket, bishop and martyr. He was born in London and after studying in Paris, he first became chancellor to the king and then in 1162 was chosen Archbishop of Canterbury. He went from being "a patron of play-actors and a follower of hounds" to being a "shepherd of souls." He absorbed himself in the duties of his new office, defending the rights of the Church against Henry II. This prompted the king to exile him to France for six years. After returning to his homeland he endured many trials and was murdered by agents of the king.

iBenedictines - Becket and Conscience
All Along the Watchtower - Becket
The Murder of Thomas Beckett 1170
Murder in the cathedral
Word on Fire - St Thomas Beckets path to winning the crown
The death of Thomas Becket from the film "Becket" starring Richard Burton as Becket and Peter O'Toole as Henry II. The dialogue while written for the film does cause you to pause and think.

The full film is available on Youtube HERE.

28 Dec 2014

December 28th 2014 - Feast of the Holy Family

On this weeks programme we have an interview with Philip Milligan about the shrine at Paray-le-Monial. Geraldine joins us to reflect on this weeks gospel which is that of the Feast of the Holy Family.We have some other liturgical odds and ends as well.

You can listen to the podcast of the full programme HERE.

The Sanctuaries of Paray le Monial 

Wall painting, Vincent de Paul, left, before Sacred Heart of Jesus appearing to Margaret Mary Alacoque; original in convent chapel, Paray le Monial

On this weeks programme, John is out and about as a roving correspondent for SS102fm and brings you a programme he recorded during the summer in France at the shrine of Paray le Monial. For many people this Burgandian shrine of course is closely associated with the devotion to the Sacred Heart which is a favourite devotion among many in West Limerick. John is joined by Philip Milligan to discuss the history and devotion at the shrine.

You can listen to the interview with Philip excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

The Message of Paray le Monial
The History of Paray le Monial

The future belongs to Mercy from Sessions de Paray-le-Monial on Vimeo.

Gospel - Luke 2:22-40

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family which always occurs on the Sunday during the Octave of Christmas. This year it displaces the Feast of the Holy Innocents.The Holy Family is seen as the model of the human family, of religious community of the Church itself. The celebration of the Incarnation has brought us to see God's closeness and in the Holy Family we see the ordinariness of the life of Jesus.

Our reflection on this weeks gospel can be listened to HERE, excerpted from the main programme.

"Think about it. The creator of the universe spent most of his human life as a craftsman, working with dad in the family business and ultimately taking it over. Mary, the holiest of all creatures, spent most of her time changing diapers, cooking, and cleaning. The secret to holiness is not to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love and gratitude...." Continue reading this reflection here.

"Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel . . . How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truth. . . May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplify its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings, in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children – and for this there is no substitute." from an address given by Blessed Paul VI in Nazareth, January 5 1964

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

English Dominicans - Holy Waiting

Sunday Reflections
Word on Fire

You can read more about the feast day HERE.

“May the Holy Family, who had to overcome many painful trials, watch over all the families in the world, especially those who are experiencing difficult situations.  May the Holy Family also help men and women of culture and political leaders so that they may defend the institution of the family, based on marriage, and so that they may sustain the family as it confronts the grave challenges of the modern age! . . .  may Christian families find the light and strength to be united and to grow as the ‘domestic church’ especially in their diligent participation in the celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday."
Saint John Paul II,  – Prayer from Angelus Message for the Feast of the Holy Family 2004

Reflections and prayers for the feast of the Holy Family available on the website of the Irish Bishops Conference HERE.

Liturgical odds and ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 1 

Saints of the Week

December 29th - St Thomas a Becket (martyr)
December 30th - Blessed Giovanni Maria Boccardo
December 31st - St Sylvester (Pope)
January 1st - Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God (also World Day of Peace)
January 2nd - Ss Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen (Bishops & Doctors of the Church) - First Friday
January 3rd - St Munchin (Bishop) - Patron of the Diocese of Limerick

27 Dec 2014

Christmastide 2014 - Miriam O'Callaghan visits the Dominican Nuns in Drogheda

Miriam O'Callaghan visits a silent and enclosed order of nuns at the Monastery of St Catherine of Siena in Drogheda, for a programme of music, conversation, and reflection. A rare insight into a contemplative order of nuns.

You can listen to the programme on the RTE Radio One Player HERE.

Christmastide 2014 - The Wexford Carol

Though the commerce-exhausted secular holiday is past for another year, Christmas is far from over. Rather, in the breviary its prayers are continued, renewed each morning and again at Vespers: “In the beginning, before time began, the Word was God; today he is born, the Savior of the world.” 
The mystery, the wonder, the gladness; it has not ended. Each day in the Octave of Christmas the words are cast again upon the air, resonating like ripples out into the world and reclaiming time from its insistent march away, always away, from what is before us. 
In the Liturgy of the Hours, we are invited to stay, and to wonder and to marvel, and to not slip back into the rush, the illusion, the purposeful march away. In our silent wondering we find our knowing, and in our knowing, we find real joy.

The Anchoress -  For Post-Christmas: Unwrap a Bit of Silence

Christmastide 2014 - St John the Evangelist (Dec 27th)

From Catholicculture.org:

Today is the third day in the octave of Christmas and the Church celebrates the Feast of St. John, apostle and evangelist. Born in Bethsaida, he was called while mending his nets to follow Jesus. He became the beloved disciple of Jesus. He wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles and the Apocalypse. His passages on the pre-existence of the Word, who by His Incarnation became the light of the world and the life of our souls, are among the finest of the New Testament. He is the evangelist of the divinity of Christ and His fraternal love. With James, his brother, and Simon Peter, he was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration. At the Last Supper, he leans on the Master's breast. At the foot of the cross, Jesus entrusts His Mother to his care. John's pure life kept him very close to Jesus and Mary in years to come. John was exiled to the island of Patmos under Emperor Domitian.

In his extreme old age he continued to visit the churches of Asia. St. Jerome relates that when age and weakness grew upon him so that he was no longer able to preach to the people, he would be carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples, with great difficulty; and every time said to his flock only these words: "My dear children, love one another."St. John died in peace at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan (as seems to be gathered from Eusebius' history of the Saint); that is, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from the crucifixion of Christ, St. John then being about ninety-four years old, according to St. Epiphanus.

Tradition holds that St John was the only one of the apostles not to suffer martyrdom.

Read more about St John here and here.

iBenedictines have a reflection on St John and the Third Day of Christmas HERE.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9he true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own,
and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” ’) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.  
John 1:1-18

Over at Word on Fire  for today's Feast of St. John the Evangelist, Father Barron explores the magnificent prologue to his Gospel, which he describes as "John the Evangelist’s great Christmas sermon." Packed within these few opening verses is a sublime theology of the Incarnation explaining how and why God became man.

26 Dec 2014

Taize European Meeting 2014 - Prague

Paris, Warsaw, Brussels, Rome, Budapest, Geneva, Barcelona, Rotterdam, Berlin … Each year, between Christmas and New Year, Taizé leads a “European meeting” in one of the major cities of Europe. Many thousands of young people take part, from all over Europe and beyond.

The story of the long friendship between Christians of various denominations in Prague and the Taizé Community is told in this 32 minute video. Families, young people, priests and pastors, Brother Alois, the Prior of Taizé, all of the witnesses who tell their story have taken risks for the Gospel and the struggle for freedom:

Two short films (11 & 17 min) about preparation of the meeting in Prague:

You can follow the European meeting on the Taize website HERE and also on the Prague Meeting Facebook page HERE.

CNS - Pope Francis through the eyes of the young

No 1: The Papal Selfie

Young Catholics discuss the significance of Pope Francis appearing in selfies.

No 2: A tweetable pontiff

Young Catholics discuss the importance of the pope's Twitter account.

No 3: Pope living simply

Young Catholics discuss the impact of the pope's choices to live modestly.

No 4: Pope's Unique Style

Young Catholics discuss Pope Francis' unique style.

No 5: Pope & Doctrine

Young Catholics discuss Pope Francis and debates over church doctrine.

Rome Reports - Pope's Masses at Casa Santa Marta: 10 best quotes of the year

January 13, 2014
"These "greasy” priests cause so much harm to the Church!  Those who put their energies into artificial things, into vanity, or in a specific  attitude and 'cute' type of language.”

A lot of pilgrims dream about attending a Mass celebrated by the Pope himself...But Pope Francis warned them that the important thing is the Mass itself, not the person presiding over it.

February 10, 2014
"It’s a tourist stop, right? No! We are all here to take part in God's mystery.”

One of the Pope's main themes is the Holy Spirit. Back in February, he explained why Christians should always be open to it.

February 20, 2014
"The Holy Spirit is a great worker, not a 'trade unionist.' He is a great worker, and He works in us, always. He does this work of explaining the mystery of Jesus, and of giving us this sense of Christ.”

Along with the Holy Spirit, the Pope usually asks Christian to rejoice...And not to look as they were attending a lifelong funeral.

April 24, 2014
"And with a little sense of humor we can say that there are Christian bats who prefer the shadows to the light of the presence of the Lord."

By May, the Islamic State had already caught the world's attention. Pope confessed he wept when he heard about Christians being crucified in Syria.

May 2, 2014
"In some countries, if you carry the Gospel, you can go to jail. You can't carry a cross, because you'll have to pay a fine. But still, the heart rejoices.”

The family was also one the main topic's of the year. The Pope repeatedly asked Christian marriages to be open to life.

June 3, 2014
"It might be better – more comfortable – to have a dog and two cats. All the love is focused on the cats and the dog. Am I right or wrong here? Have you seen it? At the end of this marriage, comes old age and loneliness.” 

But without any doubt, the Pope's strongest words were addressed to all those who give in to corruption.

June 17, 2014
"As Christians, our duty is to pray for them and ask the Lord to give them the grace of penance, so that they don't die with a corrupt heart, because otherwise the dogs of hell will take their blood.”

In July, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass, where a group of victims of sex abuses present. In the name of the Church, he begged their forgiveness.

July 7, 2014
"Before God and his people I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness."

The Pope's daily Masses are very well known for his examples...Pope Francis likes to take everyday's life situations to light up difficult ideas.

October 9, 2014
"There is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, they are persons, they are not some vague idea in the clouds. This God spray does not exist! The three persons exist!”

The Pope usually explains that God inspires both unity and diversity in the Church. He also warned about the dangers that threat that harmony.

November 3, 2014
"We see that there are two worms that eat the fabric of the Church, weakening Her. Rivalry and vainglory go against this harmony, this agreement."

The Pope's daily Masses help understand why Pope Francis sees himself as an average parish priest who must stay close to people.