June 17, 2013
World Youth Day 23rd-28th July By Michelle Hough, communications officer for Caritas Internationalis Read in Spanish. Pope Francis now has more people following him on twitter in Spanish than he has in English (well over a cool 2.5 million followers in each language). Seeing as up to three-quarters of twitter users are said to be between 15 and 25 years old, that’s a good sign for the upcoming World Youth Day in Brazil. Around two million young pilgrims are expected to flock to Rio de Janeiro where they’ll join Pope Francis on Copacabana beach and in other places to take part in various events such as catecheses, masses and a vigil. I’ll be with them, applying sun cream and anti-aging creams at frequent intervals and working with my colleagues from Caritas Brazil to provide the 164 organisations in our global confederation with blogs, press releases and photos.
April 30, 2013
Greetings of hope to all Caritas friends from all over the world! We are living a time of hope and good news. One of them is that World Youth Day will take place in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 23rd to 28th July. We from Caritas Brazil want to meet and get to know other Caritas youth from around the world and from our own region. With that in mind, we will hold an International Meeting for the youth of Caritas on 14-15 July in the in the State of Minas Gerais. After that, the Missionary Week (prior to World Youth Day) will take place in several dioceses from 16th to 23rd July. The youth are invited to take part in both events to then travel to Rio de Janeiro on World Youth Day.
Caritas Rome provides accommodation through its shelters to poor and vulnerable individuals needing a place to sleep. Some people staying at the shelters have written the below letter to Pope Francis following Lenten reflections. The letter was presented to the Holy Father by the director of Caritas Rome, Msgr Enrico Feroci. Your Holiness, We are guests at Caritas shelters in Rome. Even though you have been Bishop of Rome for very little time, we feel a sense of respect and solidarity which makes us feel very close to you and gives us the impression that we’ve always known you. The choice of your name and what you say in your speeches which we have reflected on during Lent show us daily the essence of the Christian faith: that God is love. Our difficult situation allows us to know firsthand how important a gesture of solidarity can be and the comfort a hug or [...]
By Michelle Hough ‘Lady Poverty’ was St Francis’s bride and Pope Francis has put the need for commitment to the poor up front and centre from the very beginning of his pontificate. After two days of voting, white smoke puffed out of the tiny chimney above St Peter’s Square on 13th March 2013. The man who came out on the massive balcony in front of St Peter’s basilica as the new Pope was unknown to many outside of his native Argentina. The new Pope Francis is a man who visited slums and rode on buses. He is a man who refused the fur-trimmed cloak, red leather shoes and gold cross worn by previous Popes. He is a man of startling simplicity. The Pope spoke to the crowd that night in his role as Bishop of Rome and protector of the poor: “And now let us begin this journey, bishop and people, this journey [...]
March 19, 2013
By Michelle Hough, communications officer with Caritas Internationalis It’s been a week of lots of coffee, very little rest and some very bad, unhealthy food mostly eaten standing up. But it’s also been a week that I’ll tell my grandchildren about: the week Pope Francis was elected and conventional wisdom about what a Pope is supposed to be like was turned on its head. This morning was Pope Francis’s inaugural mass in St Peter’s Square. It would have been nice to have moseyed on over there at 9am and got a seat at the front ready for the 9.30am mass, but that would have been about as likely as meeting the Pope himself (maybe not so unlikely considering the way things are going with him). So I got there at 6.30am, got a good place half way between the obelisk and St Peter’s and prepared myself for a five hour […]
By Michelle Hough, communications officer for Caritas Internationalis I’ve seen Pope Francis three times in six days, starting with the night he was elected. Every time I’ve had to wear the highest heels I own just to see over the heads of the massive crowds. I could also have done with a pair of binoculars. On Sunday, I arrived at St. Peter’s around 11.15am for the midday Angelus. The square was already packed and a massive crowd of hundreds, if not thousands were waiting to get in. I decided to use my press pass to go up to the roof area between St Peter’s and the colonnade (Braccio Carlo Magno) as it didn’t even look as though I’d be able to get into the square. On the roof there were dozens of TV and photo journalists with many more camped under temporary gazebos on buildings near-by. A new Pope is […]
What’s in a name? Since the Holy Father chose to be the first Pope Francis in history, many people have been speculating about the significance of this. Francisco Gearóid Ó Conaire OFM is a co-executive secretary of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Union of Superiors General (USG/UISG) and he is based in Rome. He reflects upon St Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis – and throws in a bit of St Francis Xavier for good measure. Interview by Michelle Hough. “St Francis saw the whole of creation as one big family under God. If we and the whole of creation are all from the same Father, we’re related to each other. If you’re connected to and are related to each other, you have a responsibility to each other,” said Francisco. On creating him Patron of Ecology in 1979, Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote: ‘The […]
“MISERANDO ATQUE ELIGENDO” - Su Santidad Francisco Todas las Caritas de América Latina y el Caribe, nos unimos al regocijo que experimenta el Pueblo Santo de Dios después de haber hecho oración al Padre, para que a través del Espíritu de su Hijo Jesucristo, llamara y eligiera a Francisco para vivir la comunión con El y predicar el Reino de Dios (cf. Mc., 3,13-19; Mt., 10,1-42). Que el Señor lo conforte, lo proteja y lo llene de fortaleza, para que al igual que Pedro pueda llevar adelante la tarea de hacer discípulos del Resucitado a todos los pueblos, los santifique y los sirva en el nombre del Señor todos los días (cf. Mt., 28,16-20;Mc., 16,15; Lc., 24,45-48; Jn., 20,21-23) y así dilate a la Iglesia y la apaciente. (Cfr. LG 19) Desde ya, las Cáritas de América Latina y el Caribe, nos sentimos animadas, fortalecidas y esperanzadas por su sencillez, humildad y espíritu de oración. Su testimonio [...]
By Michelle Hough, communications officer for Caritas Internationalis If I think of St Francis, I think of sandals… and a cord belt around a rough brown tunic, a bald pate and of course, a man surrounded by birds and squirrels. My thoughts about him had never gone further than the usual clichés that I learnt about when I was five. That was until last night…
By Michelle Hough, communications officer for Caritas Internationalis It was a good day for umbrella sales people but a bad day for a Pope. As in no Pope was elected during the morning of the second day of the conclave. No one expected a Pope to be elected so early but me and about 10,000 others huddled in St Peter’s Square in the rain waiting for the smoke to come out of the chimney. So, about this chimney… it’s tiny. If you’re expecting something Santa could get down, think again. Even a pigeon would have trouble squeezing down there to make a home. Such a tiny thing the focus of so much attention…
The President of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegulcigalpa, talks to Catholic News Service about the challenges facing the Church as Cardinals prepare to choose a new Pope. He also tells CNS's Cindy Wooden about how the cardinals prepare for a Conclave. Read article.
February 27, 2013
By Michelle Hough, communications officer for Caritas Internationalis It’s a strange thought, the Pope surrounded by packing boxes. It’s an even stranger thought the Pope not being Pope any more. As I waited for Pope Benedict to appear for his final General Audience this morning I glanced at his apartment windows overlooking St Peter’s Square. I thought about the magnitude of his decision to stand down and wondered if he felt nervous. It’s easy to forget that the Pope’s a person with doubts and struggles, but in his final speech to the world as Pontiff, Pope Benedict reminded us that he is as human as the rest of us. "There were moments of joy and light but also moments that were not easy ... there were moments, as there were throughout the history of the Church, when the seas were rough and the wind blew against us and it seemed that the Lord [...]
“Believing in charity calls forth charity” “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us” (1 Jn 4:16)