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Pope at Mass in South Sudan: Jesus knows and loves you

With the reassurance that Jesus knows and loves each of us personally, Pope Francis calls on the faithful of South Sudan to be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" during his Mass for vast crowds in Juba.

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The Lord's Day Reflection: 'Salt of the earth, light of the world’

As the Church marks the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Fr Edmund Power, OSB, offers his thoughts on the day’s liturgical readings under the theme: “Salt of the earth, light of the world”.

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Highlights of Pope Francis' second day in South Sudan

Video highlights of the second day of Pope Francis' Apostolic Journey to South Sudan, during which he encourages Catholic clergy and religious in their mission, expresses his closeness to internally displaced people (IDPs), and holds an ecumenical prayer service.

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South Sudan: Children in IDP camps appeal to leaders to create a better future.

Pope Francis, Archbishop Justin Welby and the Rt. Rev. Dr Iain Greenshields met on Saturday afternoon with Internally Displaced People who live in protected camps that are spread in different parts of South Sudan.

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Pope at Ecumenical Prayer in South Sudan: Those who unleash war betray God

Pope Francis addressed the faithful gathered for an ecumenical prayer service in South Sudan, and urges all those present to pray, to work and to journey.

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Pope addresses Zayed prize-winners and encourages interreligious dialogue

Pope Francis addresses the winners of the Zayed Prize for Human Fraternity, and tells them that fraternity can be reached, and peace obtained, but that it is a long journey.

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Praying with South Sudan's Christians, leaders urge new steps toward unity

JUBA, South Sudan (CNS) -- After scolding South Sudan's political leaders and consoling some of its poorest victims, Pope Francis, Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and the Rev. Iain Greenshields, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, rallied their faithful to prayer and action.

In a country where 60% of the population is Christian and where Christian leaders working together provided spiritual and practical support to the long drive for independence, the church leaders urged all Christians to work together to seek justice, to model unity and to press their divided political leaders to make peace.

"This ecumenical tradition of South Sudan is a precious treasure, an act of praise for the name of Jesus and an act of love for the church his bride, an example to all for the advancement of Christian unity," Pope Francis said.

Some 50,000 South Sudanese gathered with the three leaders Feb. 4 for an evening ecumenical prayer service on the grounds of the John Garang Mausoleum, the burial place of the man who led the country to the 2005 peace agreement that set the stage for the country's independence from Sudan in 2011.

Rev. Greenshields told the crowd that the leaders' ecumenical pilgrimage was meant "to encourage the continued unity of the churches for the common good of the people of South Sudan, for justice and fullness of life for each and every citizen of this country."

In his remarks, Pope Francis focused on the obligation of Christians "to pray, to work and to journey" together, breaking down all walls of suspicion and hostility between different political, ethnic or denominational groups while also valuing the unique identity of each.

God's peace, he said, is "not only a truce amid conflicts, but a fraternal fellowship that comes from uniting and not absorbing; from pardoning and not overpowering; from reconciling and not imposing."

Jesus' command to all who follow him is "that you love one another," and "it contradicts every 'tribal' understanding of religion," the pope said. "'That they may all be one.' That is Jesus' heartfelt prayer to the Father for all of us who believe."

Archbishop Welby gave the homily at the prayer gathering as the sun set, providing some relief from the day's high heat.

"The only way the world will know Jesus came from the Father is when his are one for God is one," the archbishop said. "Our being one is how the world will know that Jesus is Lord, that God reigns over all powers and authorities, that the glory of the Father is believed, and more people come to know his love."

When one is a Christian one is part of the same family, he said. "My dear brothers, Pope Francis, Moderator Iain and I are here as part of your family, your fellowship, to be with you and share with you in your suffering. We have traveled on this pilgrimage of peace in a way that has not been done before ever."

"We cannot, we will not, be separated," the archbishop told the crowd. "Nothing on earth can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. Nothing can separate us from one another who share in that love. The blood of Christ unites us, regardless of our differences. It is sufficient alone for our salvation. We need no other sacrifices. My sister and brother are never, never, never my enemies."

Those who claim the name Christian must act like Christians, he said, and should look to the earliest Christian communities as a model of sharing, of seeking reconciliation when there were disagreements and of reaching out to help others.

"When we recognize that everything is God's, we are no longer fearful of losing it, because we know that God is a God of abundance, not lack, of greatness, not scarcity," Archbishop Welby said. "We no longer cling to things when we know in our souls that everything belongs to God."

The archbishop had special words of encouragement for the young people of South Sudan, a nation where some 70% of the population is under the age of 30. "If we value you, we will listen to your hopes for peace and opportunity and allow those hopes to shape our nations and churches."

"You will not be deceived into war. You will not be forced to kill," the archbishop said. "You will disagree with others, but still love them."

But he also had a message for young men: "You will value and honor women, never raping, never violent, never cruel, never using them as those there simply to satisfy desire."

"When we are one, we value and honor women," Archbishop Welby said.

Pope to displaced South Sudanese: be seeds of hope and rebirth

Pope Francis meets South Sudanese internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Juba with Archbishop Justin Welby and Rev. Iain Greenshields, and reiterates his heartfelt appeal to end all conflict in South Sudan so as to bring a better future for its people.

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Shepherds interceding in the midst of their people, not managers

Pope Francis meets with the bishops and clergy of South Sudan in St Theresa's Cathedral in Juba. An opportunity to talk about the role of the universal Church and of intercession as an icon of synodality

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St. Joan of Valois: Saint of the Day for Saturday, February 04, 2023

Joan of Valois, 1464 - 1505, was the second daughter of Louis X1, King of France, and Charlotte of Savoy, She was born on April 23, 1464. At the ge of two months she was betrothed to Louis, Duke of Orleans, and the marriage took place in 1476. There is no doubt that it was invalid, for Louis of Orleans married her in fear of his life if he did not comply with the king's orders to do so. Joan was by no means a prepossessing figure: she was hunch-backed, lame and ...