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Rome & the World: the Pope’s friends from home • LA kids join consecration • & more …

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Le pape François salue le rabbin et auteur argentin Abraham Skorka à l'occasion d'une entrevue au Vatican le 30 juin 2015 © AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO ©HO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO / AFP

This handout picture released by the Vatican press office, Osservatore Romano, shows Pope Francis (R) giving a hug to Argentine biophysicist, rabbi and book author Abraham Skorka during a meeting of the International Council of Christian and Jews, in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican, on June 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS- / AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO / HO

I.Media - published on 03/29/22

Every day, Aleteia offers a selection of articles written by the international press about the Church and the major issues that concern Catholics around the world. The opinions and views expressed in these articles are not those of the editors.

Tuesday 29 March 2022
1 – Pope Francis in Ukraine?
2 – Pope can’t go to Ukraine, but Cardinal Koch could, says Swiss Benedictine
3 – The immigrant neighborhood and interfaith friendships that made Pope Francis
4 – A nun, daughter of deaf parents, applauds CODA’s victory as best picture at the Oscars
5 – Time zone difference benefits LA students joining pope’s consecration

Pope Francis in Ukraine?

In an interview with the Italian media Famiglia Cristiana, the apostolic nuncio in Ukraine confides how he is coping with the dark moments that the country he arrived in only last September is facing. “I would never have imagined that it would come to a conflict of this magnitude,” says Visvaldas Kulbokas, a 47-year-old Lithuanian. The papal diplomat who has stayed in Kiev describes the absurdity of the war and calls for prayers for peace. “Prayer is a fundamental spiritual weapon,” he said. Asked about a possible visit of the Pope to Ukraine, he said he had passed on the invitation of the Mayor of Kiev to the Secretariat of State. “It would be beautiful and very significant to have the Pope among us, but I have thought long and hard with the bishops and, unfortunately, it is not at all easy to organize a visit in this situation.” Under the present conditions, such a trip seems impossible for him. 

Famiglia Cristiana, Italian

Pope can’t go to Ukraine, but Cardinal Koch could, says Swiss Benedictine

There are many voices calling for Pope Francis to visit war-torn Ukraine. For Father Martin Werlen, the former abbot of the Benedictine monastery in Einsiedeln, such a trip would be counterproductive in that it could provoke Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, making the situation worse. In contrast, a trip by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, would be feasible, according to the provost of St. Gerold in Vorarlberg, Austria. If the Vatican’s “minister of ecumenism” were to unite his voice with the country’s religious leaders, “this voice would not be ignored in Moscow,” the Swiss monk assures. He also believes that if Kirill condemned the war, Putin would soon be disarmed. “But Kirill let himself be bought by Putin,” says Father Werlen., German

The immigrant neighborhood and interfaith friendships that made Pope Francis

“It’s very difficult to say, ‘I’m a friend of the pope,'” explains Omar Abboud, one of Argentina’s most prominent Muslim leaders. He is part, along with a select few others, of a very intimate circle of friends of Pope Francis. The former cardinal of Buenos Aires made these friends when he was still archbishop of the Argentine capital. Very few people still call him Jorge, but they are there, and he needs their friendship. “He knows my heart and I know his (…). We do not have secrets,” explains Rabbi Abraham Skorka. Rabbi Skorka and Abboud were the two men that Pope Francis had chosen to accompany him on his visit to Jerusalem’s holy sites in 2014, during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They believe that Pope Francis developed his taste for dialogue and encounter in his youth in the working-class neighborhood of Flores. According to Abboud, this “is the reason advancing interreligious dialogue came so naturally to him.”

America, English 

A nun, daughter of deaf parents, applauds CODA’s victory as best picture at the Oscars

The film CODA, which stands for Children of Deaf Adults, won Best Picture at the 2022 edition of the Oscars. Sister Veronica Donatello, a CODA herself and head of the Italian Episcopal Conference’s service for pastoral care of people with disabilities, was overjoyed by the victory. “When I saw it with my hearing brother, we looked at each other and said, this is it! No one had ever told our stories in such a clear, true, ironic way,” the Sister told Vatican News. The film “manages to build bridges and unhinge prejudices” by going beyond the stereotypes of disabled people which are usually shown in cinema, she explains. Sister Donatello was also particularly moved to “see all the Hollywood actors not clapping, but waving their hands in the air – the sign of deaf applause.”

Vatican News, Italian  

Time zone difference benefits LA students joining pope’s consecration

Pope Francis consecrated Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Friday, March 25. The timing of the celebration – at 5 p.m. in Italy in St. Peter’s Square – was perfect for California Catholic school students. In fact, the time difference meant that the consecration could be attended by the students at the local schools’ weekly 9 a.m. Mass. At All Souls World Language School in Alhambra, some 400 students gathered in the school parking lot Friday morning to participate “remotely” in the consecration. Knowing that the school offers two different learning programs – in Spanish and Mandarin – prayers were recited in English and in both languages taught. “It was a humbling and unifying experience for us to participate in simultaneous prayer with Catholics from around the world,” said John E. Genova, principal of St. Charles Borromeo School in North Hollywood. It was an especially beneficial experience because, as Father Sal Pilato says, children’s prayers are “much more powerful than those of adults.”

Angelus News, English

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