Thursday, August 31, 2023

One More “Summer Sunset”…

One more “Summer Sunset” as August 2023 comes to an end. The weather was unusually pleasant this month (but we still need rain).



Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Maria Knows Her “A-B-C’s” —And Sings Them Too

This video with Maria is already a few weeks old, but I still want to post it. She’s even better now with her letters. Smart little girl.

The video is on a “private” setting, which means you need to use the link below to view it on YouTube. Do you know that this was the original intention of the inventors of YouTube back in the early 2000s?—to set up a platform on the internet that enabled people to share videos with their friends via an embedded link. Video files were getting too big to attach directly to email, so YouTube was meant to be a website where you could upload larger videos and then share them with your email friends. Click the link, go directly from email to the video. That was all it was meant to do.

But people using YouTube discovered that they could do more than just share videos on emails with their friends about their children or grandchildren. They could share videos that they created with the whole world.

The rest, as they say, is history.

As for me, I still like the convenience of sharing a video link on my little blog. The “Next Big Thing” is probably being invented right now; we humans, after all, are clever and full of surprises. 

But let’s focus on how clever (and how cute) my granddaughter is:

Monday, August 28, 2023

“O Beauty, Ever Ancient, Ever New”


SAINT AUGUSTINE, AUGUST 28:

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace" (Confessions, book X).

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Ukraine and the “Power of Love”


August 24th marks the 32nd anniversary of Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence from the former Soviet Union. For the second year in a row, this national day will be observed by Ukrainians in the face of the ongoing full-scale invasion of their country (and occupation of parts of it) by Russian armed forces controlled by the Moscow dictatorship of former Soviet K.G.B. agent Vladimir Putin.

As Ukraine continues to fight in self-defense and for its right to national integrity according to its internationally recognized borders, these words from last year’s Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church continue to point to the what must remain the authentic spirit of Ukraine’s struggle:

“These days, we ask ourselves: what gives us the strength to fight and resist an enemy who outnumbers us ten times in military power? If we correct the very question — ‘who’ gives us power, then the answer becomes obvious. God gives us strength, because He is the Lord of strength. Why? Because we love! The power of Ukrainians is the power of love. Our soldiers are guided by the principle of not hating others, but love for their own children, loved ones, parents, friends, land, native streets, dawns, fogs... Love is manifested in tireless work of volunteers, in generous donations of millions, in sincere silent prayer. And in this love we have already won.

“This moral high ground should be preserved. We will finally win only when we continue to love, when we do not deviate one iota from the biblical formula for this victory:
‘We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. He who does not love is in death’ (1 John 3:14). Love creates heroes, and hate creates criminals. The cruelty of war is dehumanizing, so we, as a nation defending itself and the Church uniting the people into Christ's family, must make every effort to preserve our dignity and humanity, without in any case stooping to the inhumanity and atrocities of the aggressor. Let's protect the hearts of our soldiers from evil, so that they remain warriors of light and goodness! Let's take care of our hearts! Let's turn our anger and resentment into courage, indomitability, true wisdom and the victory of God's truth. St. Paul exhorts ‘Do not let evil overcome you, but overcome evil with good’” (Romans 12:21).

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Deer in the Field

In the evening, the deer cross the open fields. Beginning with a base of a low-visibility photograph in the twilight, I used tools (applying and adapting filters and doing detailed work “by hand”) to create a digital art portrayal of one of the deer, nibbling the greenery.

Brought to you by JJStudios:



Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The “Lowly Servant” Who Became Our Queen and Our Mother

“You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the Lord, a royal diadem held by your God” (Isaiah 62:3).

On this day — the “Octave” of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary — the Western Church honors the “Queenship of Mary.” She became the Mother of the Lord of all creation, the Lord of all history, not by exalting herself but by giving herself as a “lowly servant” of the Lord and His wonderful and mysterious plan for our redemption.

"He has looked with favor on His lowly servant. / From this day all generations will call me blessed" (Luke 1:48).

The “yes” of Mary was humble and courageous, because she trusted in the God who loves the poor, the God who cherishes the value of every human person — especially those we tend to ignore, those who seem insignificant, powerless, forgotten. 

"The Lord raises the lowly; he humbles the wicked to the dust. O sing to the Lord, giving thanks; sing psalms to our God with the harp" (Psalm 147:6-7). 

Mary believed in the promise of the God who is Infinite Love, the promise that Love would triumph over sin and evil. Thus God’s love took flesh in her womb, came to dwell with us, to save us, to transform us and make us His brothers and sisters. She became His Mother, and our Mother.

Remembering Him and staying with Him under the tender maternal gaze of Mary, we will remember that we are all brothers and sisters, and that we must love one another, forgive one another, show mercy to one another.

"Mary, ever-virgin, most honored Queen of the world, you gave birth to our Savior, Christ the Lord" (Antiphon, Feast of the Queenship of Mary).

Sunday, August 20, 2023

The Difference Between “Firmness” and “Rigidity”

In his Angelus address for August 20, Pope Francis used the Gospel example of Jesus healing the daughter of the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28) as an opportunity to distinguish between the virtue of firmness and the anxiety-driven, dysfunctional attitude of rigidity. This is most illuminating, especially because it pertains to practical judgments about how we live in relation to others, how we regard the person in front of us and attend to his or her real needs, how we are challenged to love the person beyond our own preconceived projects. 

“This is what God is like: he is love, and the one who loves does not remain rigid. Yes, he or she stands firm, but not rigid, they do not remain rigid in their own positions, but allow themselves to be moved and touched. He or she knows how to change their plans. Love is creative. And we Christians who want to imitate Christ, we are invited to be open to change. How good it would do our relationships, as well as our lives of faith, if we were to be docile, to truly pay attention, to be moved in the name of compassion and the good of others….

“The docility to change. Hearts docile to change….

“We can ask ourselves a few questions… For example: Am I capable of changing opinion? Do I know how to be understanding and do I know how to be compassionate, or do I remain rigid in my position? Is there some rigidity in my heart? Which is not firmness: rigidity is awful, firmness is good.”

Firmness is good. The truth revealed by God through Jesus Christ has a firm hold on those who trust in Him. The truth doesn’t need us to build walls around it or be constrained by our narrow-minded fears and insecurities. Rather, firmness of truth flourishes and becomes more fruitful when we are docile to the Spirit of Truth, who changes us and opens our hearts to the creativity of love.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Some “Wonderful Things”….

I noted last week that there are “some significant and wonderful things happening in our family life” — by which I mean events that naturally evoke feelings of gratitude (even though, in its depths, every moment of this life is a gift and a mystery: a gift of Love and an invitation to grow in love, to grow beyond ourselves). Don’t worry, I’m going to write more, but for now I just want to let one of these “cats out of the bag.” Here is a picture of Maria. Lately, she’s started wearing shirts like this….

But what could it mean? Hints: (1) stop scrolling; (2) read what it says on the shirt; (3) think…. 

Awesome! 

Maria has a little sister, whose face she will see before the end of this year. In other words, her Mommy is having another baby girl… in/around December. Obviously, this is not “news” for family and local friends, but this is my first time posting about it… or I should say, about her.

Christmas 2023 is going to be especially beautiful (and busy) for the Janaro family!😊⭐️

Thursday, August 17, 2023

August Has Big Clouds But Little Rain

More from the “Summer Skies 2023” series (or whatever I originally called it). “Thunderclouds rolling into an August evening.” 

That one is quite “impressionistic” with its dark colors, but what can I say? These clouds have made an “impression” on me, invading the space of the waning sunlight late in the day.

The fact is that—while we’ve had thunderstorms and dramatic skies all summer—actual rainfall has been way down. “Happy Creek” is not so happy these days. You could walk across it and barely get your feet wet. Old fashioned boring but steady rain would be welcomed around here.

#ShenandoahValley #DigitalArt #JJStudios

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Virgin Mary is “Queen of Media”

The Blessed Virgin Mary. Gave us a “selfie” long before it was cool.😎 

Happy Feast of the Assumption of Mary (or “Dormition” for Byzantines☦️🙂).

#Assumption #Dormition 

#Guadalupe #SheHasABody

#SharingResurrectionOfJesus #HopeOfOurResurrection #CatechismInHashtags

Really, Mary is the O.G. of “social media influencers.” Well, it might be irreverent to refer to Mary as the “O.G.” of anything—the popular abbreviation for the phrase “Original Gangster” is commonly used to refer to people who were the real inspirations and originators of popular trends, but it doesn’t imply any negative or criminal activity. The kids these days use it as a term of respect. Or they used to…I can’t keep up with the “latest” lingo.🙄 Anyway, Mamma Mary, please forgive me—you know what a fool I am!

Mary assumed body and soul into eternal life joined her risen and glorified Son, and in them the Kingdom of God—the New Creation—has already begun in its fullness and in all its implications for human destiny. Mary lives in her glorified body as a sign of hope for all of us. She also provides her maternal love and “makes herself present” in special “visible” ways to individuals and peoples within this present history of space and time.

Such phenomena take various forms (when they are authentic, which is always subject to the judgment of the Church), but Mary has a beautiful way of establishing herself in particular places so that her children have an abundance of ways to draw close to her. Some great shrines are dedicated to the locations of Mary’s prophetic apparitions, through which she has given guidance to peoples and nations and (e.g. Lourdes and Fatima) the whole human race. 

Then there are countless Marian icons (pictures and—in the West—statues) that Catholic and Orthodox peoples have held dear through the ages. They have sought and obtained Mary’s special maternal protection at the many Marian shrines, or through copies of Mary’s images and icons revered in their own homes. Think of Our Lady of Częstochowa (Poland), Aparecida (Brazil), Knock (Ireland), La Vang (Vietnam), Ostrobramska (Lithuania, Poland, Belarus), Vailankanni (India), the Virgin of Kazan (Russia), the Virgin of Volodymyr (Ukraine), and many more.

Then, of course, there’s Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the Merciful Mother who “dwells” at the center of the Western Hemisphere and communicates her love and solicitude through an inexplicable image that radiates from a 500 year old cactus fiber cloak.

We struggle to invent and master technologies that we think might “extend” our interactions with others and express our love (though, sadly, we all-too-often use them to express everything but love). Let’s look to the intercession of Mary, who lives bodily in the light of God’s glory and finds countless ways to stay connected to us, her children. She needs no technology to communicate with us, and always gives us the love that leads us to the heart of Jesus her Son, our brother.

This is the only real social network—the unity brought about by the Holy Spirit, the unity of our sister-and-brother-hood with Jesus in the Father’s house, the union with God our Creator who loves us and wants to transform us in his likeness. This is what lasts forever. How can we serve the building up of this communion while using the human networks we work with in this life, with all their flaws and disappointments and opaqueness? Our Blessed Mother Mary will help us.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Saint Maximilian Kolbe: Love Triumphs Over Sin

"The real conflict is an inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" (Maximilian Kolbe, writing shortly before his arrest; he died in Auschwitz on August 14, 1941).

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Where is God’s Strength in My Weakness?

Presently, I am lying in my bed, writing this on my iPad. I have spent a lot of time in my bed lately, taking the weight off pain, trying to “manage my discomfort,” or else just being exhausted. I have been ill most of this Summer. In addition to the usual periodic flare-ups of arthritis and myofascial pain, I seem to be afflicted by a mental exhaustion—and a kind of paralysis in communicating that has made writing more difficult and at times renders me perplexed even in speech.

And, yes, I am forgetting things more and more. It may only be “brain fog,” but it’s more than usual.

Not much of this is surprising. My “mood” has been low, although on a deeper level I have a “joy” that has received great encouragement from the encounter of Pope Francis with young people at World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon. There are, in fact, many things for me to rejoice about right now; some significant and wonderful things are happening in our family life. I’ll share more details on these things soon.

I haven’t done much with social media, other than sharing some artwork. I haven’t been posting links to my blog lately, although I have tried to keep writing all through July and August thus far. There are a some articles and also some useful resources, so I will have to find a way to “catch up” with my Facebook contacts and also on X (the site formerly known as Twitter). Ay ya yaiy, “X”!🙄 -

Ironically, my “right brain” (the creative side) has been engaged frequently by the ever-expanding visual techniques of AI, which I am determined to make use of—insofar as I am able—as a new kind of “material” out of which genuine forms of art may be fashioned. I don’t know how much success I have had thus far in making anything that is beautiful or evocative—it seems to me that I’m still in the midst of my “ten thousand hours” of learning a craft. In any case, even this work tires me out rapidly.

We have also had to wrestle with a series of very stressful circumstances this Summer regarding my wife’s work. For now, things appear to be resolved. But the stress of this ordeal was frequently intense, and I feel like it might have “taken a few years off” what’s left of my already-battered-up, overstressed, strange and unpredictable life.

I have lots to say about my East Asian Studies and Media Studies projects, but I haven’t been able to put anything “together.” But my studies slowly move forward. My monthly column in Magnificat is sometimes torturous to write, and yet—as of now—I haven’t given up on it. I have learned so much from this work over the past 10+ years, and I have had a special opportunity to share stories of people from all over the world and all through the past 2000 years of history whose lives have been changed by their encounters with Jesus through the Church. It’s a real challenge to “condense” these stories into two page articles, but the resulting brevity is probably part of what draws people to read them. It takes some surprisingly intense effort to write short pieces that are focused—that are both rich and concise. This work has been a great blessing. But some months are very hard, and sometimes I feel like I’m being pushed way beyond my limits, and far too close to going “over the edge.” I don’t really know how to convey what I struggle with here: I love researching and writing my “Conversion Stories” column but it also just wipes me out.

Right now I’m living with a lot of weakness, and if there is strength offered or built up by anything I do, I cannot perceive it. I fear that I might be becoming languid and discouraged—but I think that the sense of purpose, the desire to press on, to live “for the glory of Christ” remains the motivation that prods and provokes me every day. Wherever I find the hindrances of my own peculiar afflictions—not to mention my ordinary human limitations and follies, distractions, rashness, fear, misjudgments—in other words, wherever I find the hindrances of my own weakness, I know that I can only offer this weakness. I can’t become discouraged because I see no purpose to it, no achievements springing forth from it. If God’s power is made perfect in weakness, it happens in mysterious ways that I believe are real even if I don’t see them (yet). Perhaps mostly it’s the Spirit’s power working to heal and transform—in His time—all my broken places, His work of making something new out of the train-wreak-of-a-human-being that I am after 60 years and 8 months of life.

I pray for a deeper gratitude to God my Father—for everything, and for a greater compassion and mercy toward my brothers and sisters, near and far. I desire to be this way, and cannot make myself this way by my own power. Jesus, save me! Come Holy Spirit! I desire and I ask God. I try to walk in the darkness and I fall down. To get up and try again, I need Him to increase my desire and my plea for mercy. I am totally poor in myself. I am a “need,” a cry for mercy that is nevertheless full of hope because He is here. Jesus. He has come to be with us and walk with us. This is what matters.

Okay, I’m really tired now.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

“These Last Strands of Man in Me…”

“Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, 
   not choose not to be.”

~Gerard Manley Hopkins (Poem 40, Stanza 1)

Not without reason is this poem (usually titled “Carrion Comfort”) regarded as one Hopkins’s greatest. It has more depths in the ensuing stanzas, but I find a resonance with this first one in this moment. These are words that speak at the extremity of desperation, where the poet discovers something more fundamental in the core of the heart: the desire for be-ing, all the more vivid through his exhausted negative expression.

Our being is a gift and a promise, and even in our darkest moments, they draw us to endurance. The One who gives us being gives us also the seemingly fragile tenacity that is in fact a supernatural strength. It empowers our freedom to embrace hope and stand firm against despair, to “not choose not to be.” .

This is the only reasonable position for a human being on the journey of life (and we recognize that many people who take their own lives do so because their reason is blocked or distorted by psychological pathology). The reasonable position of our hearts is to never give up.



Thursday, August 10, 2023

Sain Lawrence the Martyr


This is a poem I wrote 33 years ago in honor of Saint Lawrence, the young third century deacon and martyr of the Church of Rome, who was killed slowly by being “broiled” by the flames of a grill. 

Lawrence died for his faith in Christ during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian on August 10 in the year 258 A.D. He has always been especially loved by the people of Rome to this day.

Martyr

    by John Janaro

…………………………………………………………………………

A blood-red ember-glow
grows
to a fullness within my breast
as though Mars had been captured in glass,
removed from the dome of moonlit sky,
and set free below to frolic among dry sticks
at the woodland's edge.

Mars, of war.

And I am flame that rises like a fountain
from a candlewick consumed
and a raging river of fragrant wax,
and my effulgence fires the eyes of those who watch
and of those who keep their distance.


In a moment I am gone,
yielding to triumphant dawn
like the pink streaks of morning's first light,
and in the wake of my radiance
ashes
to color the hand of man.


~August 10, 1990

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Monday, August 7, 2023

Gestures and Simple Words of Mercy

In this past week of beautiful days in Portugal, Jesus touched the hearts of young people from all over the world, not through momentous speeches or grand spectacles, but through an encounter with His presence in the Church today—experienced in a special way through the charity, attentiveness, and solidarity of Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, the Servant of the Servants of God.

Francis communicated the Gospel through countless simple gestures of mercy and compassion, and in his brief and direct words witnessing to Christ’s arms open to everyone, calling everyone to the Lord’s healing and transforming embrace. “Take heart, do not be afraid.”

Sunday, August 6, 2023

The Transfiguration: Jesus Gives Us Courage


The World Youth Day festival concluded today with Pope Francis gathering with over a million people in Lisbon, at a park near the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, for the Sunday Mass on this day which is also the feast of the Transfiguration.

In his homily, the Pope encouraged them—and all of us—to shine with the light of Christ, to listen to God’s call, and to take courage in following Him, because He knows us, addresses us personally, and loves us with an intimate personal love by which He leads us on the path to salvation.

Dear young people,
I would like to look each of you in the eye
and say to you:
do not be afraid, do not be afraid.
What's more, I'll tell you a beautiful thing.
It is no longer I, it is Jesus himself who looks at you now.
He looks at you, He who knows you,
knows the heart of each of you,
knows the life of each of you,
knows the joys, knows the sorrows, 
the successes and failures,
knows your heart.
And today He says to you, here, in Lisbon, 
on this World Youth Day:
'Do not be afraid, do not be afraid, 
courage, do not be afraid!'

~Pope Francis, Homily, August 6, 2023

“When Christ appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (cf. 1 John 3:2). —Communion Antiphon for the Feast of the Transfiguration.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Pope Francis Returns to Fatima

[The Vatican media broadcast with multiple cameras of the Pope praying at Fatima’s chapel of apparitions provided a moment for this moving “blend” of images captured in a screenshot.]

During this week of encounters in Portugal with young people, Pope Francis—in speaking so radically about God’s love—has emphasized its concreteness in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary: “God loves us as we are, not how we want to be or how society wants us to be. As we are! He calls us with our faults and failings, our limitations and our hopes in life. That is how God calls us. Trust, because God is a Father and a Father who loves us. This is not very easy. And for this reason we need a great help, the Mother of the Lord. She is our Mother too. She is our Mother.

This morning, the Pope traveled north of Lisbon, to visit for the second time the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima (his first visit was in 2017). He prayed the Rosary with a group of disabled people and some 200,000 pilgrims. Francis undoubtedly bore in his heart in a special way the ongoing and increasing suffering of so many people due to the war in Ukraine, as well as the many other wars throughout the world. He didn’t read his prepared address, however, speaking only a few words informally after the Rosary. The event as a whole seemed to express its profundity in its simplicity, prayer, and silence.

Pope Francis knows well the connection between Mary’s prophetic appearances at Fatima in 1917 and the catastrophic world wars of the 20th century—the consequences of which continue to imperil the world even to this day. He consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 2022. Attentive to the message of Fatima, the Pope emphasizes that war is born from sin, and exposes the horrendous violence and destructive power of sin. Peace can only come from the heart, as the fruit of repentance in faith and love.

In his brief remarks after the Rosary, Francis stressed that “Mary made herself present here [at Fatima] in a special way, so that the disbelief of so many hearts would open up to Jesus—with her presence she points us to Jesus.” The Pope continues to place his hope for peace in the love of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the grace of the conversion of our hearts, and the love for one another that will enable dialogue, empower creativity in the ways of reconciliation, and bring justice, healing, and fraternity beyond what we can now imagine.

Shortly after the service, Vatican Media posted a prayer from Pope Francis’s written text, as a confirmation of what he carried in the silence of his heart to Mary’s heart at Fatima.



Friday, August 4, 2023

Pope Francis to Youth: “God Called You By Name”


Here are some selections from Pope Francis’s first encounter with young people from all over the world who have gathered in Lisbon, Portugal during the first week of August 2023 for World Youth Day. The translation is from the Vatican’s website:

“You are not here by accident. The Lord has called you, not only in these days, but from the very beginning of your days. He called you by name… 

“Think of this: Jesus called me by name. His words are inscribed in our hearts, and we come to realize that they are written in the hearts of every one of us, as a kind of title that tells people who we are, who you are. You have been called by name

“None of us is a Christian by chance; all of us were called by name. At the beginning of the story of our lives, before any talents we may have, before any shadows or wounds we may be carrying in our hearts, we were called. Why? Because we are loved. 

“This is something beautiful. In God’s eyes, we are precious children, and he calls us each day in order to embrace and encourage us, to make of us a unique and original masterpiece. Each of us is an “original”, whose beauty we can only begin to glimpse…

[This] “means that for God none of us is a number, but a face and a heart. I would like each of you to remember that many people know your name, yet they do not call you by name. Certainly your name is known, it appears on social networks and is processed by algorithms that associate it with likes and preferences, all of which is useful for market research, yet it does not begin to approach you in your uniqueness. How many wolves hide behind smiles of false goodness, saying that they know you, though they do not love you. They insist that they believe in you and promise that you will become someone, but then abandon you when you no longer matter…

“We must be careful not to let ourselves be deceived, for many realities that attract us and promise happiness are later shown to be what they really are: soap bubbles, superfluous things that we don’t need and that leave us empty inside. Let me tell you: Jesus is not like that. He trusts you, each of you, each of us, because each of us matters to him, each one of you matters to him. That is how Jesus is.

“That is why we, his Church, are the community of those who are called: not of people who are better than others – no, absolutely not – but of sinners, called as such. Let us think seriously for a moment about that: we are called as we are, with our problems and limitations, our overflowing joy, our desire to be better and to get ahead in this world. We are called as we are. Think of this: Jesus calls me as I am, not as I would like to be. We are the community of brothers and sisters of Jesus, sons and daughters of the same Father.

“Friends, I want to be clear with you, for you are allergic to falsity and empty words: in the Church, there is room for everyone. Everyone. In the Church, no one is left out or left over. There is room for everyone. Just the way we are. Everyone. 

“Jesus says this clearly. When he sends the apostles to invite people to the banquet which a man had prepared, he tells them: ‘Go out and bring in everyone’, young and old, healthy and infirm, righteous and sinners... The Lord does not point a finger, but opens his arms... He shows us Jesus on the cross, who opened his arms wide in order to be crucified and die for us.

“Jesus never closes the door, never, but invites you to enter: come and see. Jesus receives, Jesus welcomes. In these days, each of us transmits the love of Jesus. God loves you. God calls you. How lovely this is! God loves me. God calls me. He wants me to be close to him.”

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Pope Francis Arrives in Portugal for Youth Festival

Pope Francis addressed Portuguese government officials upon his arrival for the World Youth Day 2023 Festival. Among his many remarks, the Pope emphasized once again the need for inter-generational bonds, for the importance of the elderly, of our grandparents. Interpersonal and cultural “wealth” is more important than the multiplication of “disposable” consumer goods. In a “throwaway culture,” the the value of the elderly finds no place.

“We need to resume a dialogue between young and old…. The young must find their roots in the elders. Here, education is essential: an education that does not simply impart technical knowledge directed to economic growth, but aims to make the young part of a history, to pass on a tradition, to value our religious dimension and needs, and to favour social friendship” (Pope Francis, August 2, 2023).