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If you have never been to a Catholic church, or if you are new to our area of Kansas City, welcome!

If you and your family have been away from the Catholic Church for some time, welcome back! If you are an active member of our family at St. John Francis Regis, welcome! In short, we are glad you are here.

Come and join us for Holy Mass and be transformed by God’s grace. Participate, go out “into the deep”— get involved. We are truly blessed to have such a Christ-centered, faith-filled community. We invite you to join us and experience this great gift of God. Learn ways you can get involved at St. John Francis Regis by browsing our site, our bulletin, or our Facebook page. Take advantage of the various links and videos and contemplate anew the splendor of our faith alive in our age.

I invite you to consider becoming a registered member of our parish so you can grow in abundant love of God and neighbor. We look forward to seeing you, and may God richly bless you!

In Christ,
Fr. McCaffery

Upcoming Events

Financial Peace University Class

January 23, 2018 - 7:00pm
Mary's Room- subject to change
What if you were following a plan for your money that you KNEW worked? With Dave Ramsey’s class Financial Peace University, you CAN take control of... Read more

Knights of Columbus Officers Meeting

KofC
January 24, 2018 - 7:00pm

Financial Peace University Class

January 30, 2018 - 7:00pm
Mary's Room- subject to change
What if you were following a plan for your money that you KNEW worked? With Dave Ramsey’s class Financial Peace University, you CAN take control of... Read more
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Lent

Preparing for Lent

Saint of the day

January 17, 2018 - 11:00pm
Saint Charles was born John Charles Marchioni in Sezze, Italy on October 19, 1613.  His family was extremely pious. They lived in a rural area and as a child Saint Charles worked as a shepherd.  Due to his lack of education, it is said he learned only the basics and could barely read and write. He joined the Franciscans as a lay brother in Naziano, where he served as a cook, porter, and gardener.Saint Charles was known for his holiness, simplicity, and charity.  He was generous to travellers and sought out spiritual advice.  In 1656 he worked tirelessly with victims of the plague.  He also wrote several mystical works including his autobiography entitled "The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God".  Tradition states he was called to the bedside of the dying Pope Clement IX for a blessing.Saint Charles died on January 6, 1670 in Rome of natural causes, and he is buried in Rome in the Church of Saint Francis.  He was Canonized by Pope John XXIII on April 12, 1959.
January 16, 2018 - 11:00pm
On his Jan. 17 feast day, both Eastern and Western Catholics celebrate the life and legacy of St. Anthony of Egypt, the founder of Christian monasticism whose radical approach to discipleship permanently impacted the Church. In Egypt's Coptic Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which have a special devotion to the native saint, his feast day is celebrated on Jan. 30. Anthony was born around 251, to wealthy parents who owned land in the present-day Faiyum region near Cairo. During this time, the Catholic Church was rapidly spreading its influence throughout the vast expanses of the Roman empire, while the empire remained officially pagan and did not legally recognize the new religion. In the course of his remarkable and extraordinarily long life, Anthony would live to see the Emperor Constantine's establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire. Anthony himself, however, would establish something more lasting – by becoming the spiritual father of the monastic communities that have existed throughout the subsequent history of the Church. Around the year 270, two great burdens came upon Anthony simultaneously: the deaths of both his parents, and his inheritance of their possessions and property. These simultaneous occurrences prompted Anthony to reevaluate his entire life in light of the principles of the Gospel– which proposed both the redemptive possibilities of his personal loss, and the spiritual danger of his financial gains. Attending church one day, he heard –as if for the first time– Jesus' exhortation to another rich young man in the Biblical narrative: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.â€� Anthony told his disciples in later years, that it was as though Christ has spoken those words to him directly. He duly followed the advice of selling everything he owned and donating the proceeds, setting aside a portion to provide for his sister. Although organized monasticism did not yet exist, it was not unknown for Christians to abstain from marriage, divest themselves of possessions to some extent, and live a life focused on prayer and fasting. Anthony's sister would eventually join a group of consecrated virgins. Anthony himself, however, sought a more comprehensive vision of Christian asceticism. He found it among the hermits of the Egyptian desert, individuals who chose to withdraw physically and culturally from the surrounding society in order to devote themselves more fully to God. But these individuals' radical way of life had not yet become an organized movement. After studying with one of these hermits, Anthony made his own sustained attempt to live alone in a secluded desert location, depending on the charity of a few patrons who would provide him with enough food to survive. This first period as a hermit lasted between 13 and 15 years. Like many saints both before and after him, Anthony became engaged in a type of spiritual combat, against unseen forces seeking to remove him from the way of perfection he had chosen. These conflicts took their toll on Anthony in many respects. When he was around 33 years old, a group of his patrons found him in serious condition, and took him back to a local church to recover. This setback did not dissuade Anthony from his goal of seeking God intensely, and he soon redoubled his efforts by moving to a mountain on the east bank of the Nile river. There, he lived in an abandoned fort, once again subsisting on the charity of those who implored his prayers on their behalf. He attracted not only these benefactors, but a group of inquirers seeking to follow after his example. In the first years of the fourth century, when he was about 54, Anthony emerged from his solitude to provide guidance to the growing community of hermits that had become established in his vicinity. Although Anthony had not sought to form such a community, his decision to become its spiritual father – or “Abbotâ€�– marked the beginning of monasticism as it is known today. Anthony himself would live out this monastic calling for another four decades, providing spiritual and practical advice to disciples who would ensure the movement's continued existence. According to Anthony's biographer, St. Athanasius, the Emperor Constantine himself eventually wrote to the Abbot, seeking advice on the administration of an empire that was now officially Christian. “Do not be astonished if an emperor writes to us, for he is a man,â€� Anthony told the other monks. “But rather: wonder that God wrote the Law for men, and has spoken to us through his own Son.â€� Anthony wrote back to Constantine, advising him “not to think much of the present, but rather to remember the judgment that is coming, and to know that Christ alone was the true and Eternal King.â€� St. Anthony may have been up to 105 years old when he died, sometime between 350 and 356. In keeping with his instructions, two of his disciples buried his body secretly in an unmarked grave.
January 15, 2018 - 11:00pm
Nothing of Marcellus' life before his papacy has survived the centuries. He became Pope at the end of the persecutions of Diocletian in aound 308-309. The persecutions had disrupted the Church so much that there had been a gap of over a year with no Pope. Once he was elected, he faced several challenges, including reconsituting the clergy, which had been decimated and whose remnant had practiced their vocation only covertly and with the expectation of martyrdom. He worked hard to recover and welcome back all who had denied the faith in order to keep from being murdered.When a group of the apostacized, known as the Lapsi, refused to do penance, Marcellus refused to allow their return to the Church. The Lapsi had a bit of political pull, and some members caused such civil disruption that emperor Maxentius exiled the Pope in order to settle the matter. Legend says that Marcellus was forced to work as a stable slave as punishment, but this appears to be fiction, however we do know that he died of the terrible conditions he suffered in exile, and is considered a martyr because of that.He was initially buried in the cemetery of Saint Priscilla in Rome, but his relics were later transferred to beneath the altar of San Marcello al Corso Church in Rome where they remain today.
January 14, 2018 - 11:00pm
On Jan. 15, the Catholic Church remembers Saint Paul of Thebes, whose life of solitude and penance gave inspiration to the monastic movement during its early years.   Surviving in the Egyptian desert on a small amount of daily food, St. Paul the Hermit lived in close communion with God. Before the end of his life at age 113, he met with St. Anthony the Great, who led an early community of monks elsewhere in the Egyptian desert.   Born in approximately 230, the future hermit Paul received a solid religious and secular education, but lost his parents at age 15. During the year 250, the Roman Emperor Decius carried out a notorious persecution of the Church, executing clergy and forcing laypersons to prove their loyalty by worshiping idols. The state used torture, as well as the threat of death, to coerce believers into making pagan sacrifices.   Paul went into hiding during the Decian persecution, but became aware of a family member's plan to betray him to the authorities. The young man retreated to a remote desert location, where he discovered a large abandoned cave that had once been used as a facility for making counterfeit coins. He found that he could survive on water from a spring, and the fruit of a tree that grew nearby. Forced into the wilderness by circumstance, Paul found he loved the life of prayer and simplicity that it made possible. Thus, he never returned to the outside world, even though he lived well into the era of the Church's legalization and acceptance by the Roman Empire. Later on, his way of life inspired Catholics who sought a deeper relationship with God through spiritual discipline and isolation from the outside world.   One of these faithful was Anthony of Egypt, born in the vicinity of Cairo around 251, who also lived to an old age after deciding during his youth to live in the desert out of devotion to God. Paul of Thebes is known to posterity because Anthony, around the year 342, was told in a dream about the older hermit's existence, and went to find him. A similar knowledge about Anthony had been mysteriously given to the earlier hermit. Thus, when he appeared at Paul's cave, they greeted each other by name, though they had never met. Out of contact with the Roman Empire for almost a century, Paul asked about its condition, and whether paganism was still practiced. He told Anthony how, for the last 60 years, a bird had brought him a ration of bread each day – a mode of subsistence also granted to the Old Testament prophet Elijah.   After 113 years, most of them spent in solitary devotion, Paul understood that he was nearing the end of his earthly life. He asked Anthony to return to his own hermitage, and bring back a cloak that had been given to the younger monk by the bishop St. Athanasius. That heroically orthodox bishop had not yet been born when Paul first fled to the desert, and Anthony had never mentioned him or the cloak in question. Amazed, Anthony paid reverence to Paul and set out to fulfill his request.   During the return trip, Anthony was shown a vision of St. Paul of Thebes' soul, glorified and ascending toward Heaven. On returning to the first hermit's cave, he venerated the body of its inhabitant, wrapped him in Athanasius' cloak, and carried him outdoors. Saint Jerome, in his “Life of St. Paul the First Hermit,â€� attests that two lions arrived, demonstrated their reverence, and dug a grave for the saint.   Having given him Athanasius' cloak, St. Anthony took back to his hermitage the garment which St. Paul of Thebes had woven for himself from palm leaves. Anthony passed on the account of his journey and the saint's life to his own growing group of monastic disciples, and it was written down by St. Jerome around the year 375 – approximately 33 years after the death of the first hermit. Venerated on the same day by Roman Catholics, Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians, St. Paul of Thebes is also the namesake of a Catholic monastic order – the Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit – founded in Hungary during the 13th century and still in operation.
January 10, 2018 - 7:21am
Gregory of Nyssa was born into a deeply religious family. His mother, Emmelia, was the daughter of a martyr, and two of his brothers, Basil of Cæsarea and Peter of Sebaste, became bishops like himself. His eldest sister, Macrina, became a model of piety and is also honored as a saint. It would seem that the young Gregory married at some point: there exists a letter addressed to him by Gregory of Nazianzus condoling him on the loss of a woman named Theosebeia, who must have been his wife.According to Gregory of Nazianzus, it was his brother Basil who performed the episcopal consecration of Gregory around 371.On arriving in his see, Gregory had to face great difficulties. Demosthenes, Governor of Pontus, ordered the Bishop of Nyssa to be seized and brought before him.  A Synod of Nyssa (376) deposed him, and he was reduced to wander from town to town, until the death of Emperor Valens in 378. The new emperor, Gratian, published an edict of tolerance, and Gregory was able to return to his see, where he was received with joy.  In 379 he assisted at the Council of Antioch, which had been summoned because of the Meletian schism.  He also asserted the faith of Nicea, and tried to put an end to Aryanism and Pneumatism in the East.It is very probable that Gregory was present at another council, the Council of Constantinople in 383. Between 385 and 386 he disappears from history, but not without leaving a significant number of  theological writings.
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Daily Readings

January 18, 2018 - 1:00am
6 As they were coming home, when David returned from slaying the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with timbrels, with songs of joy, and with instruments of music.
7 And the women sang to one another as they made merry, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands."
8 And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him; he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; and what more can he have but the kingdom?"
9 And Saul eyed David from that day on.
1 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David.
2 And Jonathan told David, "Saul my father seeks to kill you; therefore take heed to yourself in the morning, stay in a secret place and hide yourself;
3 and I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you; and if I learn anything I will tell you."
4 And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, "Let not the king sin against his servant David; because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have been of good service to you;
5 for he took his life in his hand and he slew the Philistine, and the LORD wrought a great victory for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced; why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?"
6 And Saul hearkened to the voice of Jonathan; Saul swore, "As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death."
7 And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan showed him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.
January 18, 2018 - 1:00am
1 Be gracious to me, O God, for men trample upon me; all day long foemen oppress me;
2 my enemies trample upon me all day long, for many fight against me proudly.
8 Thou hast kept count of my tossings; put thou my tears in thy bottle! Are they not in thy book?
9 Then my enemies will be turned back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust without a fear. What can man do to me?
12 My vows to thee I must perform, O God; I will render thank offerings to thee.
January 18, 2018 - 1:00am
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea
8 and Jerusalem and Idume'a and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him.
9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him;
10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him.
11 And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God."
12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
January 17, 2018 - 1:00am
32 And David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine."
33 And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth."
37 And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"
40 Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in his shepherd's bag or wallet; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.
41 And the Philistine came on and drew near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him.
42 And when the Philistine looked, and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, ruddy and comely in appearance.
43 And the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 The Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field."
45 Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,
47 and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD'S and he will give you into our hand."
48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.
49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine, and killed him; there was no sword in the hand of David.
51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath, and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.
January 17, 2018 - 1:00am
1 Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
2 my rock and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues the peoples under him.
9 I will sing a new song to thee, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to thee,
10 who givest victory to kings, who rescuest David thy servant.
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Catholic News

January 19, 2018 - 1:11pm

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2018 / 12:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- President Donald Trump praised the pro-life movement’s support for pregnant women and touted his administration’s pro-life policy achievements in his remarks to the March for Life Friday.
 
“You come from many backgrounds, many places, but you all come for one beautiful cause: to build a society where life is celebrated, protected and cherished,” he told the March for Life Jan. 19 via videocast. “The March for Life is a movement born out of love.”
 
“You love every child, born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God,” he told the marchers on the National Mall while speaking before an audience in the White House Rose Garden. “Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full God-given potential. Because of you.”
 
Hundreds of thousands of people were in Washington, D.C. to attend this year’s March for Life, which is in its 45th year. The theme of this year’s march is “Love Saves Lives.” The march is held annually on or near the anniversary of the Jan. 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which mandated permissive abortion laws nationwide.

The president said he was “honored and really proud” to address the march. While previous presidents addressed the march while in office by phone or remote loudspeaker, organizers said he is the first president to do so via telecast.
 
Trump said the Roe decision resulted in “some of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere in the world,” making the U.S. comparable to countries like China and North Korea in permitting late-term abortions.
 
“It is wrong, it has to change,” he said. “Americans are more and more pro-life.”
 
Trump promised that his administration would always defend the right to life.

He touted his re-implementation of the Mexico City Policy, which bars federal funds for groups that perform or promote abortion overseas, and cited his administration’s reversal of an Obama-era policy that restricted state’s efforts to direct federal dollars away from “facilities that violate the law.” He voiced strong support for a House bill to ban late-term abortions in which supporters say the unborn child can feel pain. Trump called on the Senate to “pass this important law.”
 
He also cited his executive order protecting religious liberty and an effort to protect conscience rights and religious freedom of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.
 
The president also introduced Marianne Donaido, a woman whose parents supported her when she became pregnant at the age of 17. He praised her work with Room at the Inn, a Greensboro, N.C.-based maternity program that helps house and support pregnant homeless women. The charity is affiliated with Catholic Charities USA.
 
In a separate Jan. 19 statement, Trump declared that Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Roe decision, will be National Sanctity of Human Life Day, “to affirm the truth that all life is sacred, that every person has inherent dignity and worth, and that no class of people should ever be discarded as ‘non-human’.”
 
Vice President Mike Pence, who addressed last year’s March for Life in person, introduced Trump in the Rose Garden. He said the Roe Supreme Court decision “turned its back on the right to life” but began the pro-life movement that continues today, a movement defined by “compassion and love.”
 
“Life is winning in America, because love save lives,” he told the march. “Your compassion, your persistence your activism and your prayers are saving lives… this pro-life generation should never doubt that we are with you.”
 
“This president stands with you,” he said, contending that Trump was “the most pro-life president in American history.”
 
Trump once declared himself “pro-choice in every respect,” but increasingly advocated anti-abortion views ahead of and during his 2016 election campaign, Politico reports.
 
Other political leaders at the March for Life rally were House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other Members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.).
 
In previous years Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush addressed the March for Life remotely.

January 19, 2018 - 12:56pm

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2018 / 11:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Father Martino Choi told some 18,000 teens and adults about his mother's decision in favor of life at a Youth Rally and Mass for Life held in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

“I know a woman who went in for her ultrasound, and was told by the doctors that the child’s organs were not developing properly. The child would probably not make it a year after birth, and they recommended abortion,” Fr. Choi said during his homily at the Capital One Arena Jan. 19.

“This woman is my mother, and I am that child,” he stated.

Choi is a parish priest at St. Patrick's parish in Rockville, Md., about 20 miles northwest of the District of Columbia. He said the doctors had told his mother that abortion would shield him and her from unnecessary suffering. He continued: “The devil knows who to disguise evil with a lie that somehow death is better than life … but death is never better than life.”

The young priest also shared stories from his parish where he has counseled parents who lost a child between days and months after the child's birth.

“Not a single one of those families comes to me and says, ‘You know what, Father, we wish we hadn’t had this child. We wish we hadn’t had to suffer through this.’ None of them say that. They all say, ‘Thank God that we got to love this child, even if it was just for a couple of days.'”

“One family, whose kid never left the hospital, said that in his three months of life their son taught them the depths of love and courage that we could not understand before his birth…”

These stories resonated with the teens at the Mass for Life, who came from dioceses both across the U.S. and internationally.

“I thought that it was really amazing,” Kelly Lambers, a high school student from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, told CNA. “His mother didn’t give him up even though she knew he didn’t have that long to live, but now look at him; he’s a priest!”

Lambers traveled nine hours by bus with her classmates from Mother of Mercy High School to attend the rally and the March for Life. She said she is particularly proud of her friends’ signs that read, “Pro-Life is Pro-Women.”

Tajil Baptiste, a young man from the U.S. Virgin Islands, also shared why he and his friends traveled to D.C. for the March for Life: “It is a a religious event for us, traveling so far from a little island, but the message that we will be bringing back to our community and our Church is ‘Let’s be pro-life, let’s change the world.’”

There were nearly 200 priests, 20 bishops, and three cardinals concelebrating the youth Mass, according to the Archdiocese of Washington. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was the principal celebrant.

“We are gathered here to proclaim the value, the worth, and the dignity of all human life,” Cardinal Wuerl told the crowd before the Mass.

The Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre, shared a message from Pope Francis with the youth and extended an invitation to tag the Holy Father as they stand up for life on Twitter and Instagram using #iStand4Life.

After the Mass for Life, the youth groups walked from the Capital One Arena to the National Mall for the March for Life.

January 19, 2018 - 12:35pm

Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Jan 19, 2018 / 11:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking to kids at a home for orphaned and abandoned children on Friday, Pope Francis said they have much to offer the world by being themselves and sharing their experiences.

“The world needs you, young men and women… and it needs you as you are. Do not be content to be the last car on the train of society, letting yourselves be pulled along and eventually disconnected. We need you to be the engine, always pressing forward,” the Pope said Jan. 19.

“Share what you learn with the world, because the world needs you to be yourselves, who you really are, and not an imitation of someone else. We need you to be authentic, young men and women who are proud to belong to the Amazonian peoples and who can offer humanity an alternative for a true life.”

Francis spoke at the “Hogar Principito” (“Little Prince Home”) in Puerto Maldonado on the second day of his Jan. 18-21 visit to Peru. The children's home was founded in 1996 to help deal with with the high rate of neglect and child exploitation that occur in the city.

It currently houses around 40 children and adolescents, who have come from orphanages, at-risk families, or illegal mining camps. Some have been abandoned or been victims of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse.

Pope Francis met with the children and their caretakers on the basketball court of the home.

Before his speech he was greeted by the director of the home, Fr. Xavier Arbex, and listened to the testimony of Dirsey Irarica Piña, a woman who was raised in the home. He also watched performances by the children of songs and a choreographed dance.

Irarica described having been orphaned at the age of 11, and being welcomed into the Hogar Principito a couple of years later, saying the home “was ready immediately to give me the fullness of support and love … I thank my teachers and the 'little father' for filling this void in me. Thank you for this unconditional love which makes us feel at home.”

She now lives in Tacna, where she works and studies psychology.

In his address after listening to Irarica, the Pope referenced the recent celebration of Christmas, where our hearts were touched by the coming of the Child Jesus.

“He is our treasure. You children are his reflection, and you too are a treasure for all of us, the most precious treasure that we have, and one that we are called to guard,” Francis said.

He asked forgiveness for the times that adults have neglected to care for them and protect them as they deserve, saying how their lives demand a greater commitment and effort on the part of everyone – that we do not remain indifferent to children who suffer and are in need.

“Without a doubt, you are the greatest treasure that is ours to care for,” he underlined.

Speaking to Irarica, who gave a testimony before his speech, he said she was brave to share that sometimes she feels very hurt, and misses her father and mother.

“You told me; ‘I hope my message may be a light of hope,’” the Pope referenced. “But let me tell you something. Your life, your words, and the lives of all of you, are a light of hope.”

He said a wonderful witness “is offered by all of you young people who have travelled this road, who found love in this home and now are able to shape your own future! You demonstrate to all of us the enormous potential of each person. For these boys and girls, you are the best example to follow, a sign of hope that they will be able to do the same. We all need good role models: children need to look to the future and have positive role models.”

“Everything that you young people can do, like coming here to be with them, to play and spend time together, is important,” Pope Francis said. “Be for them, as the Little Prince says: the little stars that light up the night,” referring to the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry character for whom the children's home is named.

The Pope went on to note how the children who came from indigenous communities may have been witness to the destruction of their home, saying: “today those woodlands have been laid waste by the intoxication of a misguided notion of progress.”

“Young people, do not be resigned to what is happening! Do not renounce the legacy you have received from your elders, or your lives and dreams.”

He also encouraged them to study and to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them.

“Listen to your elders; value their traditions; do not curb your curiosity. Get in touch with your roots, but at the same time open your eyes to new things; bring the old and the new together in your own way,” he encouraged.

Society often needs correction and you, young people, can help greatly with this “by teaching us a way of life based on protection and care, not on the destruction of everything that stands in the way of our greed,” he said.

January 19, 2018 - 11:34am

Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Jan 19, 2018 / 10:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis visited one of Peru's most biodiverse regions Friday, telling its inhabitants that while remote, their land is not forgotten and must be cared for.

He also stressed the importance of fighting such scourges as corruption and human trafficking.

“'We are not a no man’s land.' It is something that needs to be emphasized. You are not a no man’s land. This land has names. It has faces. It has you,” the Pope said Jan. 19 to the people of Puerto Maldonado, the capital of the Madre de Dios Region in the Amazon basin.

He was responding to comment made by a local couple, Margarita Martínez Núñez Valer and her husband Arturo, who while sharing their testimony said their land is one “that is mostly forgotten, wounded and marginalized...but we are not a no man’s land.”

Pope Francis noted that Mary also came from Nazareth, a remote and isolated village that many also considered “a no man’s land.”

Mary, he said, is not only an example but a mother, and when we have a mother, “we don’t have that terrible feeling of belonging to no one, that takes hold when our sense of belonging to a family, to a people, to a land, to our God, begins to fade.”

The Madre de Dios Region, then, “is not a land of orphans, but a land that has a Mother! And if it has a mother, it has sons and daughters, a family, a community.” While the problems might not disappear, when there is a mother, a family and a community “we certainly find the strength to confront them differently.”

He visited Puerto Maldonado on the first full day of his Jan. 18-21 visit to Peru, after spending three days in Chile. The Amazonian region is of special interest to the Pope, considering his 2015 encyclical on care for our common home, Laudato si', and his decision to hold a Pan-Amazonian synod in 2019 to discuss the challenges the area faces.

Before meeting with the inhabitants of Puerto Maldonado, he met with members of the Amazonian community, and distributed copies of Laudato si' which had been translated into the local languages.

Held in the city's Jorge Basadre Institute, the encounter with the people of Puerto Maldonado began with a greeting from Bishop David Martinez de Aguirre Guinea, Vicar Apostolic of Puerto Maldonado, and the testimony of a catechist.

Francis said it is painful for him to see how some people seek to exploit the territory and therefore make Madre de Dios “a nameless land, without children, a barren land.”

Referring to what he has often dubbed the “throwaway culture,” he said this is a mentality which isn't satisfied with simple exclusion, but continues to advance “by silencing, ignoring and throwing out everything that does not serve its interests; as if the alienating consumerism of some is completely unaware of the desperate suffering of others.”

“It is an anonymous culture, without bonds, without faces,” and which only wants to consume, he said, adding that both land and people are treated according to the same logic: “forests, rivers and streams are exploited mercilessly, then left barren and unusable,” while people are “used until someone gets tired of them, then abandoned.”

He then spoke out against the temptation of corruption and the practice of human trafficking, saying forcefully that the term slavery should be used instead: “We have become accustomed to using the term 'human trafficking', but in truth we should speak of slavery: slavery for work, sexual slavery, slavery for profit.”

“It is painful to see how in this land … so many women are devalued, denigrated and exposed to endless violence. Violence against women cannot be treated as 'normal', maintaining a culture of machismo blind to the leading role that women play in our communities. It is not right for us to look the other way and let the dignity of so many women, especially young women, be trampled upon.”

He noted that many people, desperate to escape poverty, come to the area to work in the gold mines, but he cautioned that gold can quickly turn into “a false god that demands human sacrifices.”

“False gods, the idols of avarice, money and power, corrupt everything. They corrupt people and institutions, and they ruin the forest,” he said, adding that Christ called these “demons that require much prayer to expel.”

The Pope then urged the community to continue forming movements and organizations aimed at overcoming the plagues of corruption and trafficking. “I likewise encourage you to gather, as people of faith and vibrant ecclesial communities, around the person of Jesus,” he said.

“Through heartfelt prayer and hope-filled encounter with Christ, we will be able to attain the conversion that leads us to true life. Jesus promised us true life, authentic life, eternal life. Not a make-believe life, like the one offered by all those dazzling false promises; they promise life but lead us to death.”

Salvation, he said, “is not something generic or abstract. Our Father looks at real people, with real faces and histories. Every Christian community must be a reflection of this gaze, this presence that creates bonds and generates family and community. It is a way of making visible the kingdom of heaven, in communities where everyone feels a part of the whole, where they feel called by name and encouraged to be a builder of life for others.”

Pope Francis closes his speech telling the people they live in one of “the most exuberant explosions of life on our planet,” and urged them love the land and to “realize that it belongs to you. Breathe it in, listen to it, marvel at it.”

“Fall in love with this land called 'Madre de Dios,' commit yourself to it and care for it,” he said, and “do not use this land as a mere disposable object, but as a genuine treasure to be enjoyed, cultivated and entrusted to your children.”

January 19, 2018 - 10:58am

Santiago, Chile, Jan 19, 2018 / 09:58 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At the end of his three-day visit to Chile, Pope Francis came to the defense of a controversial bishop, saying accusations that he helped cover up abuse are unproven and amount to “calumny.”

Responding to a Chilean journalist who asked about the issue, Pope Francis said “the day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak. There is not one shred of proof against him. It’s all calumny. Is that clear?”

The 2015 appointment of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid to lead the Diocese Osorno, continues to draw harsh criticism from activists and abuse victims who accuse the bishop of covering up the crimes of his longtime friend, Father Fernando Karadima.

Karadima, who once led a lay movement from his parish in El Bosque, was convicted of sexually abusing minors in a 2011 Vatican trial, and at the age of 84, he was sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude.

Barros has repeatedly insisted that he knew nothing of the abuse, at one point telling the Associated Press that “I never knew anything about, nor ever imagined the serious abuses which that priest committed against the victims.”

“I have never approved of nor participated in such serious dishonest acts and I have never been convicted by any tribunal of such things.”
 
In January 2015 Francis named Barros to head the Diocese of Osorno in southern Chile, setting off a wave of objections and calls for his resignation from several priests. Dozens of protesters, including non-Catholics, attempted to disrupt his March 21, 2015 installation Mass at the Osorno cathedral.

Days later, Archbishop Fernando Chomali Garib of Concepcion said that Pope Francis had told him that there was “no objective reason at all” that the bishop should not be installed. The pontiff had been kept up-to-date on the situation.

On March 31, 2015, the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops also released a statement, saying that the office had “carefully examined the prelate’s candidature and did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment.”
 
The then-apostolic nuncio to Chile, Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, said that all information about Barros was passed on to Pope Francis. Most of the people in the church, he said, were not protesters, but “people who love their bishop.”

On May 6, 2015, five months after Barros was appointed to lead the Diocese of Osorno, Deacon Jaime Coiro, general secretary of the Chilean episcopal conference, told Pope Francis that the Church in Osorno “is praying and suffering for you.”

“Osorno suffers, yes,” Pope Francis said, “for silliness.” According to a video of the conversation released by Chile’s Ahora Noticias, the Pope had told Coiro that “the only accusation against that bishop was discredited by the judicial court.”

“Think with your head, and do not be carried away by the noses of the leftists, who are the ones who put this thing together,” the Pope added.

In his first speech after landing in Chile Jan. 15 Pope Francis acknowledged the pain and distress the scandal has caused to the local Church and to the wider Chilean society, telling the country's civil authorities he feels “pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church.”

Asking for pardon, he said “I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again.”

However, in response to the Pope's comment Jan. 18, Juan Carlos Cruz – one of Barros' most outspoken accusers and one of Karadima's victims – tweeted: “As if I could have taken a selfie or a photo while Karadima abused me and others and Juan Barros stood by watching it all...These people are truly crazy, and the pontiff talks about atonement to the victims. Nothing has changed, and his plea for forgiveness is empty.”

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