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The Spirit of Kindness
There is a story going around Rome at the moment. A few days ago, at dawn, the time the Pope wakes up, he came out to the corridor (at Sanctæ Marthæ where he is still living), and he found in front of his door the sentry, a Swiss Guard standing with his halberd at attention.
He asked him: “And what are you doing here? Have you been up all night?”
"Yes," replied the guard with deference and a bit surprised. "On your feet?"
"Your Holiness, my duty since I took over from my companion."
"And aren’t you tired?"
"It’s my duty Your Holiness; I should watch for your safety." Pope Francis looked at him again with kindness, went back to his suite and after a minute he came out carrying a chair: "At least sit down and rest."
The guard rolled his eyes and answered: “Santo Padre, forgive me, but I cannot! The regulations do not allow that."
"Orders from my captain, Your Holiness."
The Pope smiled, "Oh, really? Well, I'm the Pope and I order you to sit down."
So, caught between the regulations and the Pope, the Swiss Guard (so much for the halberd) chose the chair.
The Pope returned to his apartment. After a couple of minutes, the Pope came back to the Swiss Guard, still obediently seated on the chair, carrying “panino con marmellata” (Italian bread with jam) which he had prepared.
Before the soldier could say anything, the Holy Father, exhibiting his Argentinean smile, told the Swiss Guard, “With all the hours spent standing on guard you must be a bit hungry.”
The Swiss Guard had no time to object because the Pope right away wished him a good bite: "Bon appetit, brother".
Pope Francis in such wonderful simple acts of kindness is showing us the type of "spirit-filled" living that should characterise us as Catholics.
An even more poignant visual example of the Spirit of kindness at work was the way the Holy Father greeting disabled and sick people when he took recently possession of the Lateran Church... his own church as Bishop of Rome.
The image accompanying this reflection with Francis warmly greeting two down syndrome boys is also shown (but with much more loving detail and emotion) in the following youtube clip (especially at 23 min, 58 sec)
It is a joy. Please watch it. Talk about the Gospel in action!
- Br Mark O’Connor fms
Archbishop Charles Bo SDB & Sherry Anne Weddell – Human Rights Issues in Burma; Discerning Gifts of Parish Lay Leadership
This May, we welcome two international speakers to our Archdiocese. Archbishop Charles Bo from Myanmar (Burma), who will give us an update on the human rights issues debate facing Burma; and Sherry Anne Weddell, from the Siena Institute (Rome), whose work focuses on creating lay leaders and assisting people in discerning their gifts and charisms.
Speaking engagements while in Melbourne >
Faith Matters: A Resource Guide for the Year of Faith
Faith Matters provides an overview of resources you can use personally or in your faith community to further enter into the Year of Faith. Many of the resources reviewed were recommended by Archbishop Hart in his Pastoral Letter for the Year of Faith (December 2012). Resources have been allocated into one of four sections: 1) Prayer and Pilgrimage 2) Media 3) Books and 4) Programs, with information ABOUT the Resource, how to USE the Resource, and where to find the resource.
Download Faith Matters Resource Guide >
Holy Saturday Rites, Mass of Thanksgiving & Regional Seminar
Did you know up to 300 catechumens and candidates in the Archdiocese of Melbourne attended the Rite of Election this year? There are also 17 new RCIA Coordinators in parishes, who take on a huge commitment to share the Catholic Faith. RCIA Parish Liaison, Joy Adriaanse, continues to meet with parishes around the Archdiocese to offer support and resources for their ministry. Recently the Holy Saturday Preparation Rites was held for the Elect and Candidates.
To view photos and feedback from the Rites, details on the upcoming RCIA Regional Seminar (May 18), and resources for the Mass of Thanksgiving for Neophytes…
Click here >
Upcoming Liturgical Formation Workshop – Readers of God’s Word
Don't miss the next formation session for Readers of God’s Word (28 May & 4 June, 7.30pm - 9.30pm). These two continuous sessions will be led by Veronica Biddle, Pastoral Associate & Liturgical Formator. Liturgical Ministry Formation is an important priority for the Archbishop's Office for Evangelisation. The office seeks to provide guidance, service and support for those involved in liturgical ministry and the whole community of faith.
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