More than a thousand people took part in Rites of Election at cathedrals and churches across England and Wales last weekend, declaring their hope to become Catholics at Easter. The Rite of Election usually takes place at the beginning of Lent, and is one of the final stages in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) through which converts prepare for Confirmation or reception into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil.
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The message of the parable is clear: from those who have heard the message of the Gospel, God expects delicious and plentiful fruits. He does not want exterior religious practices, not content with appearances (in the spring, the fig tree bears fruit even before the leaves), but seeks works of love.
Catholic bishops and Christian activists in India have criticized authorities in two former Portuguese territories, now under Indian federal rule, for cancelling the traditional Good Friday holiday.
In a telegram, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said on behalf of Pope Francis: "His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and loss of life caused by the senseless acts of violence at two Mosques in Christchurch, and he assures all New Zealanders, and in particular the Muslim community, of his heartfelt solidarity in the wake of these attacks.
The episode of the “transfiguration” is placed by Luke, eight days after that, Jesus dramatically announced his passion, death, and resurrection, eight days after that, he proclaimed the conditions for one who wishes to follow him: “renounce yourself and take up your cross every day” (Lk 9:22-27).
Pope Francis' annual Lenten meeting with the priests on 7 March began with a penitential prayer service and individual confessions at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome.
Paul assures: “God is faithful and will not let you be tempted beyond your strength. He will give you, together with temptation, the strength to escape and to resist” (1 Cor 10:13). The author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds of another consoling truth: Jesus experienced our own temptations, so “he is not indifferent to our weaknesses. Having been tested through suffering, he is able to help those who are tested” (Heb 4:15; 2:18).
In today’s passage the recipients of the Lord’s dramatic warning are not, however, neither the Pharisees nor the Jews, but the disciples themselves. Even for them, there is a danger of acting like blind guides. In the Church of the first centuries, the baptized were called the enlightened ones because the light of Christ had opened their eyes.
Retired Capuchin Archbishop Anicetus Bongsu Sinaga of Medan, who is based in the capital of Indonesia's North Sumatra province, recently published his biography, in which he details his spiritual journey from Malim, a local Indonesian pre-Islamic religion, to Catholicism.
Church leaders expect a newly established diocese in northern central Vietnam, which is prone to natural disasters, to bring good prospects, justice and peace to local people.