Speaking to the parents of the 27 babies whom he baptised on the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord, Pope Francis said that faith is always transmitted in the home and that parents must transmit the faith to their children through their example and words. He mentioned the teaching of the Sign of the Cross as an example.

He said that the gift of faith that the children received in baptism “must be developed; it must grow”.

Pope Francis advised parents: “Never fight in front of your children,” he said. “It’s normal that parents should argue; the opposite would be strange. Do it, but without letting them hear or see. …You have no idea the anguish it causes a child to see his or her parents fight.”

Need to rekindle hope – Cantalamessa

During his retreat to US bishops, capuchin Fr Raniero Cantalamessa said: “The Church is born of hope. If we intend to give new momentum to faith to empower it to conquer the world again in our age, we will need to rekindle hope. Nothing is possible without hope.

“…The Gospel never condemns earthly goods and riches in themselves,” he said. “What Christ condemns is attachment to money and goods, trusting in them as if ‘one’s life depended on them’.

“…In various parts of the Christian world the parable of the Lost Sheep is being lived out in reverse: 99 sheep have gone away and only one has remained in the sheepfold. The danger is that we spend all of our time nourishing the one remaining sheep and, due to the scarcity of clergy, don’t have time to go out in search of the sheep who are lost.”       

A war of shame and pain

Bishop Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio, South Sudan, described the civil war in his country as a war of shame and pain.

The president of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, who was speaking to Vatican Radio, said that any normal-thinking South Sudanese “cannot (think) of sponsoring war anymore at whatever cost, knowing the shame and pain we have gone through”.

After saying that the Church prays for peace he added that “we are conscious that God energises people’s imaginations and gives them the will to make South Sudan a better place here and now. It is because of this that I speak of the generosity of each and every one of us to give the best of ourselves for the salvation of South Sudan.”

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)

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