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Pope remembers missionaries, Philippine quake victims

October 21, 2013 - "The method of Christian mission is not proselytizing," but spreading "the flame of faith that Jesus has kindled in the world," Pope Francis said on Mission Sunday, which is marked in the Catholic Church on the second last Sunday of October. Speaking to a vast crowd in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square during his weekly midday ‘Angelus’ prayer, the Pope expressed his closeness "to all the missionaries, who work so quietly and give their lives" and thanked " all those who with prayer and practical help support missionary work, which is a special concern of the bishop of Rome to spread the Gospel." He particularly mentioned lay Italian missionary, Afra Martinelli, who worked for many years in Nigeria. A few days ago she was killed in a robbery, and everyone – Christians and Muslims - mourned her, they loved her.” the Pope said. “She proclaimed the Gospel with her life, with an education centre she set up,” the Pope added, inviting a round of applause for the slain missionary.
Before the ‘Angelus’ Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel of the parable of the Unjust Judge or the Importunate Widow, stressing on the need to pray tirelessly without losing heart. He said the purpose of persistently praying to God who knows all our needs even before we ask them, is to obtain His grace and help to fight the evil in and outside us. In our fight against evil our weapon is prayer, that makes us feel His presence, His mercy, His help. Prayer is the expression of faith because when faith is put off, prayer too is pout off and we walk in darkness, we go astray in life, the Pope said. Drawing attention to the parable’s widow, Pope Francis recalled the many women who fight for their families, who pray without getting tired. “Today we remember all these women who with their attitude give us a true witness of faith, of courage and are a model of prayer,” the Pope said.
After the ‘Angelus’ and his blessing, Pope Francis expressed his “closeness to the people of the Philippines affected by a strong earthquake” inviting prayers for the nation which has recently been struck with disasters. The Holy Father also remembered the Blessed Stefano Sándor, a Hungarian Salesian lay brother, beatified on Saturday in Budapest. The exemplary Salesian of Don Bosco was killed by the Communists at the age of 39.
Among the large crowd, were many participants in the “100 meters race of Faith” initiative organized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, in the current Year of Faith. “You remind us that a believer is an athlete in spirit,” the Pope told the participants. He also remembered it was Mother’s Day in his native Argentina. “I offer my loving greetings to all the mothers of my homeland,” the Pope said. (Source: Vatican)


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