Pope Francis

The Rite of Peace is one ritual of the Mass that can sometimes contrast with the dignity and decorum of the ceremony. To reinforce the dignity and importance of this act, the Vatican is contemplating changes to how the rite is performed.

The sign of peace is intended to demonstrate religious communion and mutual charity towards one another. It's about acceptance of your neighbor in the full spirit of Christ. It isn't about romantic affection, nor should it be reduced to shaking as many hands as possible because the Mass isn't an election campaign and you are not a candidate. 

The sign of peace is properly exchanged by shaking hands with those in immediate proximity to you. It should be soberly exchanged for it has deep meaning and significance. It is a recognition of solidarity. 

Presently, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is reviewing the sign of peace and contemplated moving it to the place right before the presentation of the gifts. Discussion of moving the rite started in 2005 under Benedict XVI amid concerns that people were becoming distracted by how the sign of peace was being exchanged and that the true meaning and importance of the sign was being lost. 

A decision has been made to leave the sign of peace where it has long been, but the Congregation has also said it would "offer some practical measures to better express the meaning of the sign of peace and to moderate excesses, which create confusion in the liturgical assembly just prior to Communion."

"If the faithful do not understand and do not show, in their ritual gestures, the true significance of the right of peace, they are weakened in the Christian concept of peace, and their fruitful participation in the Eucharist is negatively affected," the Congregation explained. 

The Congregation's letter concluded by saying, "That Catholics are today faced with the grave commitment to build a more just and peaceful world, implies a more profound understanding of the Christian meaning of peace and of its expression in liturgical celebration."

Hundreds of Catholics in the Asunafo South District on Sunday gathered at the St Michael’s Catholic Church, Kukuom for a mass celebrating the send-off service of Rev Fr Eric Baffour Awuah-Gyamfi the Priest of the Parish as he proceeds to Athenaeum University of Ohio, United States to pursue a Masters programme in Theology.


The send-off organized by the St Michael’s Catholic Church in Kukuom was also to honour the out-going Parish Priest and bid him farewell as he prepares to take up his education carrier in the United States.


In attendance were a number of the clergy and religious leader, politicians, traditional authorities as well as Catholic faiths clad in splendid traditional wears. They prayed, sang, clapped and danced to the glory of God for the life of the out-going Priest.


Addressing the gathering, the out-going Priest Rev Fr Baffour Awuah-Gyamfi urged the congregation to develop a “soft heart” as that would enable them contribute to the development of their families, the church and their country.


 He expressed appreciation to all those who have assisted him in diverse ways during his nine years dedicated service with the Parish and expressed special thanks to the Bishop of Goaso Diocese Bishop Peter Kwaku Atuahene for the honour done him to serve God’s people at the St Michael’s Parish. 



He also thanked his successor, the Assistant Parish Priest who is already known in the Parish Fr Daniel Owusu for his able support and encouragement and called on all members of the Parish to give him the need support.


Rev Fr Baffour Awuah-Gyamfi said when God calls on an individual to serve; it entails sacrifice, obedience, courage and selflessness, and urged the incoming Priest to work harder for the benefit of humanity.


“Propagate the gospel to win more souls for Christ,” Fr Baffour Awuah-Gyamfi told the incoming Priest.


On his part, the incoming Priest Fr Daniel Owusu pledged to serve the congregation diligently and called for support of the members to ensure the growth and development of the church.


Emmanuel Yaw Acheampong

Asunafo South Dist. Information Officer


Pope Urges Young People to Follow Jesus to Pursue Life Paths With Commitment and Dedication

 Pope Francis has urged young people to follow Jesus to overcome a prevailing “culture of the provisional” that feeds a lack of commitment and superficiality in taking responsibility.

Speaking this afternoon to an estimated 20,000 young people from the diocese of Molise and Abruzzo at the Shrine of Castelpetroso in southern Italy, the Holy Father called on the young faithful present to look out for what really matters in life and that which remains stable over time.

“Contemporary society and its prevailing cultural models - the ‘culture of the provisional’ - do not provide a climate conducive to the formation of stable life choices with solid bonds, built on the rock of love and responsibility rather than on the sand of emotion,” the Pope said.

Such a culture, he added, places everything in question and breaks “with relative ease” the possibility of pursuing life paths “with commitment and dedication.”

“This feeds superficiality in taking responsibility,” he said, “because in the depths of the soul they risk being regarded as something from which we can still be free.”

But he stressed the human heart aspires to “great things” and urged young people to “take courage” and pursue their future “together with Jesus.”

“Alone we cannot do it,” the Pope said. “Faced with the pressure of events and fashions, we will not be able to find the right path, and even if we could find it, we would not have enough strength to persevere...

“And here comes the invitation of the Lord Jesus: ‘If you want ... follow me.’ He invites us to accompany us on the journey.”

The Pope said that only with Jesus, praying and following him, can each person “find clarity of vision and the strength” to carry on. “He loves us, definitively, he has chosen us definitively, he has given himself to each of us definitively,” the Pope said. “He is our defender and brother and will be our only judge.

“How nice to be able to face the vicissitudes of life in the company of Jesus, to have with us his person and his message! He does not take away autonomy or freedom; on the contrary, he strengthens our fragility, allowing us to be truly free, free to do good, strong to continue doing so, able to forgive and to ask for forgiveness.”

Journeying through life with Jesus does not “deny difficulties and problems,” he stressed, but to see them “as temporary and surmountable.”

The Pope closed by pointing out that Mary “always helps us when we work and when we are in search of work, when we have clear ideas and when we are confused, when prayer comes spontaneously and when the heart is dry.

“Mary is the Mother of God, our Mother, and Mother of the Church. Many men and women, young and old have turned to you to say thank you and supplicate a favor,” he said. “Mary leads us to Jesus, our peace. We have recourse to you, trusting in his help, with courage and hope.”

The Shrine of Castelpetroso is dedicated to Our ​​Lady of Sorrows who was proclaimed patron saint of the area by Paul VI in 1973. John Paul II celebrated Mass at the shrine on March 19, 1995. The Virgin Mary appeared there in 1888.

Says Pastors, Like Cows, Must Feed Their 'Calves' With 'Milk' of Grace and Leadership

During his Regina Caeli address Sunday, Pope Francis spoke of the role of the priest as pastor and “shepherd,” to his community, and how a priest figuratively serves as a "cow" providing nourishment to its "calves."

Before reciting the midday prayer, the Holy Father reflected on John’s Gospel reading, which spoke of the relationship of Jesus and his disciples, one characterized by love, tenderness, and mutual respect. This relationship serves as the model for Christians's relationship between themselves and others, Francis said.

Acknowledging that today, “many people propose themselves as ‘shepherds’ of our lives,” Francis stressed that this role only belongs to Christ, “the true Shepherd,” who “gives us life in abundance.”

“Have faith in the Lord who guides us,” Francis said. “But He does not only guide us,” he added, “he accompanies us, he journeys with us.”

He called Christians to listen with a mind and heart “open to His Word,” which will enable them to do three things: nourish their faith, enlighten their consciences, and follow the teachings of the Gospel.

The Pontiff invited those present to pray for all pastors of the Church, including the 13 priests he consecrated that morning, that they can remain faithful to the Lord, as “wise and enlightened guides of the people" that God entrusted to them.

Read more: Pope to Faithful: 'Bother Your Pastors'

Keep Before Your Eyes Example of the Good Shepherd, Francis Says

 “If you do not enter your ministry through the Lord’s wounds, you will not be good pastors.” Pope Francis has reminded new priests.  

On the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis ordained 13 new priests at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Sundaymorning, stressing the importance of being merciful.

“And I say to you, truly: I feel so much sorrow when I meet people who no longer go to Confession because they were beaten and shouted at. They felt that the doors of the churches were shut in their face!” said Francis.

“Please, don’t do this," he said. "Mercy, mercy! The good shepherd enters by the door and the door of mercy is the Lord’s wounds.” 

“Have much mercy!"

During his homily, he called on the newly ordained to do three things: be aware they have been chosen among men and constituted in their favor to attend to the things of God, exercise in gladness and in sincere charity the priestly work of Christ, and be intent on "pleasing God alone” and “not yourselves.”

Read more: Pope to New Priests: Never Tire of Being Merciful

Says Ethical Values Must Become Real Economic Values

"With the help of God and of the Church, you can give effective witness in your field, as you bring not only words and speeches, but also the experience of people and businesses that endeavor to implement Christian ethical principles in the current situation of the world of work,” Pope Francis has said.

Speaking on Saturday to the participants of an international conference organized by the Centesimus Annus-Pro-Pontifice Foundation, the Pope said: "This witness is extremely important and I encourage you to carry it out with faith, also dedicating the right time to prayer, as also the layperson and the manager need to pray, and to pray most of all when the challenges are tough."

The Holy Father emphasized to the members of the foundation that this is the field in which their witness is needed, and that Vatican Council II insisted that the lay faithful were called to fulfill their mission in the fields of social, economic and political life.

The foundation had just ended a conference in Rome May 8-10 entitled “The good society and the future of jobs: can solidarity and fraternity be part of business decisions?” 

Referring to his recent catechesis on the gift of counsel, one of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Pontiff stated that business people, too, must ask God for this gift in order to be able to “act and to make decisions according to the greater good.”

“The Christian community – parishes, dioceses and associations – is the place in which the entrepreneur, and also the politician, professional and unionist – draw the lymph that nourishes their commitment and where they are able to interact with their brethren."

Read more: Pope: Economic Crisis Has Worsened 'Allergy' to Solidarity

In Q&A Session, Francis Discusses Temptations and Challenges of Seminary Life

 Pope Francis has encouraged seminarians training for the priesthood in Rome to study hard, avoid gossip, and to return to their dioceses as fathers rather than simply graduates.  

Spontaneously answering questions with an "open heart" from a large group of seminarians from all over the world attending Rome's pontifical colleges, the Pope addressed themes such as the priesthood, temptations, and challenges of consecrated life.

Before he began the meeting in the Paul VI hall on Monday, he addressed a special message of closeness to the Christians of Ukraine and the Middle East, emphasising that the Church still suffers greatly today, in many parts of the world, as a result of persecution.

The Holy Father spoke about the danger of “academicism”, or rather the risk that seminarians return to their dioceses simply as graduates rather than fathers, as priests, in response to a question from an American seminarian. He mentioned the four pillars of the formation of priests, which must be cultivated so as not to fall into the trap of “academicism”: spiritual, academic, communitarian and apostolic formation. A seminarian from China asked about community life, to which Pope Francis responded that it is impossible to prepare oneself for the priesthood alone; it must take place within a community, taking great care to overcome the capital sins that may arise in relations with one's brethren.

Read more: Pope to Seminarians: Be Fathers, Not Simply Graduates

"Now is the time for Catholics to express the truth about marriage boldly. Our jobs and our legitimate standing in the public sphere may soon depend on it."

The media storm swirls around Brendan Eich’s April 3 resignation as CEO from Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser. Eich is a talented programmer who invented the JavaScript programming language for the internet and who co-founded the Mozilla company. After fewer than two weeks as the company’s head, he was forced to resign over Silicon Valley furor regarding a $1,000 donation he made back in 2008 to California’s Proposition 8 law, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. To repeat, he was fired for holding unpopular— now socially forbidden—views.

Many news outlets are critical. A lot are supportive. Catholics should be up in arms, for at stake here is the freedom to work in a public capacity and hold orthodox views at the same time.

The Road to Resignation

Though Eich is not a Catholic, the former Chief Technology Officer has been called the usual roster of terms for supporters of marriage: bigot, hateful, homophobic. This follows after a statement by Eich vowing to protect and enshrine the benefits of those who identify as LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer] at Mozilla and to continue to make the environment supportive and inclusive.

Nevertheless, Eich did not recant or apologize for his personal views or past donation and so a myriad of voices in the technology business called for his resignation. One popular dating website, OkCupid, launched a protest urging users not to use the Firefox browser, as Mozilla’s new leader “is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples” and would “seek to deny love.” Many of Mozilla’s own employees took to Twitter and blogs to express disappointment with Eich’s views as well. Not long after, Eich resigned under pressure from the board. This is the first public ouster revolving around the marriage debate, and it sets a harrowing precedent.

Read more: The Resignation of Mozilla's CEO; Catholics Should Be Worried

For Dioceses of Kaese, Uganda, and Abeokuta, Nigeria

Pope Francis appointed Father Acquirino Francis Kibira as bishop of Kasese, Uganda. Kaesese is a city with a population of roughly 610,000, of whom approximately 292,100 are Catholic. It is served by some 40 priests and 65 religious.

Acquirino Francis Kibira was born in Kigoto-Bulyansungwe, Uganda, in 1958, and was ordained a priest in 1984. At the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, Italy, he studied sacred Scripture. He has served in various pastoral and academic roles.

Currently rector of St. Paul's National Seminary Kinyamasika, in Fort Portal, Uganda, the bishop-elect succeeds Bishop Egidio Nkaijanabwo, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

Read more: Pope Francis Appoints 2 New African Bishops

Says Becoming the Image of the Good Shepherd Requires Collaboration With Holy Spirit

Pope Francis met Monday in the Vatican with seminarians from regions around Rome, warning them that the Church has "many half priests" who fail to reach their potential because they are not "pastors in the mage of Jesus."

The seminarians are members of the Pontifical Leonine College of Anagni, a regional seminary for several of the dioceses around the city of Rome.

"We have so many, so many half way priests," the Pope told the young men. "It is a sorrow, that they do not succeed in reaching the fullness.

“They have something about them of employees, a bureaucratic dimension and this does no good to the Church. I advise you, be careful that you do not fall into this!”

He continued, “You are becoming pastors in the image of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to be like Him and in His person in the midst of his flock, to feed his sheep.”

Acknowledging the hesitation common in men contemplating the priesthood, Francis noted: “We can answer as Mary did to the angel: ‘How is this possible?’

Read more: Pope to Seminarians: We Have Too Many 'Half Priests' Who Fail to Imitate Jesus

Reflects on the Sacrament of Penance During General Audience

Continuing his catechetical series on the Sacraments, Pope Francis reflected on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which along with the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick form what he described the “Sacraments of Healing”.

“The Sacraments of Penance and Reconciliation [...] flow directly from the Paschal mystery,” he told pilgrims attending his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

"In fact, the same evening of Easter the Lord appeared to the disciples, closed in the Cenacle, and, after addressing to them the greeting ‘Peace be with you’, he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven.’”

This indication by Jesus, the Pope stressed, shows that the forgiveness of our sins is not gained through any strength of our own, rather it is a gift that springs from the heart of Christ Crucified and Risen.

Read more: Pope to Faithful: 'Do Not Be Afraid of Confession'