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Pope grieves Pakistan bombings, says world hides Christian persecution

By Elise Harris

Rome, Italy, Mar 15, 2015 / 06:49 am (CNA/EWTN News) - In his Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis lamented today’s terrorist attacks against two Christian churches – one of them Catholic – in Pakistan, and prayed that such violence will stop.

“With suffering, with much suffering, I have learned of today's terrorist attacks against two churches in the city of Lahore, Pakistan, which have caused numerous deaths and injuries,” the Pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square March 15.

Francis noted how both of the churches targeted, only a few meters apart, “are Christian churches, the Christians who are persecuted,” and grieved how “our brothers shed their blood solely because they are Christians.”

In addition to praying for the victims and their families, Francis implored God “for the gift of peace and harmony for that country, and that this persecution against Christians – which the world tries to hide – will end, and that there will be peace.”

Francis’ words came after what police believe to be two suicide bombers interrupted Sunday services at St. Joseph Catholic Church and Anglican Christ Church in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.

Aljezeera news agency reports that at least 14 people were killed and 70 injured in the attacks, which are believed to have been timed during Sunday services to cause maximum damage.

Jamatul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, is said to have claimed responsibility for the attacks. Witnesses say there was a scuffle at the entrance gate of one of the churches between a security guard and another man, who blew himself up when he couldn’t get through to enter the church.

Reports state that after hearing of the attacks, Christians in other areas of Pakistan took to the streets in protest, and killed two men they believed were behind the attacks.

Before leading pilgrims in the traditional Marian prayer, Francis directed their attention to the day’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus tells Nicodemus that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.”

These words of Jesus are reminiscent of his death on the cross, and when we listen to them “we feel within ourselves that God loves us, truly loves us and loves us so much!” the Pope said.

A simple expression that sums up the whole of the Gospel, faith and theology, he said, is that “God loves us freely and without limits.”

Although God didn’t need man, he created him in order to have someone on whom he could bestow his goodness, Francis said, noting that the love of God is expressed in the first act of creation, and culminates in the Cross of Christ.

The crucifixion and death of Jesus “is the supreme proof of God's love for us: Jesus loved us ‘unto the end,’ that is, not only until the final moment of his earthly life, but until the extreme limit of love,” he said.

“If the Father proved his boundless love in creation by giving us life, he gave us the proof of proofs in the Passion of his Son: he came to suffer and die for us.”

Pope Francis then pointed to the Holy Spirit as and additional pouring-out of God’s love. As a gift to man, the Spirit is a living memory of Christ, and works both inside the Church and out in order to foster authentic human values.

He turned to the Sacrament of the Eucharist, saying that it is “the holiest and most effective sign of this love,” and noted how each in each Mass the Church relives Jesus’ death on Calvary, which he said is “the summit of the love story between God and his people.”

Francis then turned to Mary, Mother of Mercy, as the woman capable of assuring man that he is loved by God, and led those present in the Angelus prayer.

Past Issues

Feb. 10, 2019

Jan. 27, 2019

Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

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