Crucifixion and Resurrection: the Melanesian martyrs

(Vatican Radio) April 2013 marks a decade since the martyrdom of seven members of the Melanesian brotherhood, an Anglican religious community founded in the early 20th century on the remote Solomon islands. Known for their simple monastic lifestyle, their compassion and commitment to peace, the brothers were called on to serve as mediators during the ethnic conflict that raged across the islands during the 1990s.

Rise in sectarian violence in Burma

(Vatican Radio) Soldiers have pulled more bodies from the wreckage of a riot-hit city in central Myanmar, bringing the death toll from recent violence to 40. The upsurge in sectarian unrest has cast a shadow over President Thein Sein’s administration as it struggles to make democratic changes after a half-century of military rule.

Russia fears escalation in Korea conflict

(Vatican Radio) Russia has made clear that it fears increased South Korean and American military activities around North Korea could escalate the conflict. Though South Korea and North Korea agreed to stop fighting following the Korean War, they never signed a peace treaty. On Saturday, North Korea already warned its neighbour that the war could resume.

Pope: Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter, 2013 [Full text]

(Vatican Radio) Below we publish the full text of the Holy Father’s Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter 2013.

Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, Happy Easter!

What a joy it is for me to announce this message: Christ is risen! I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons … Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious

Pope Francis has lunch with Rome priests

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis had lunch with seven Roman priests on Thursday after celebrating the Chrism Mass in the Vatican Basilica. The meal took place in the apartment of Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. Most of the priests work with the poor and under-privileged in the suburbs of Rome.

The Archbishop has held this lunch for several years, and when Pope Francis heard about it, he wanted to attend. After the lunch, Vatican Radio spoke with two of the priests who attended. “I don’t believe the Pope wanted to meet me personally, but wanted to meet the poor of Rome through me,” said Msgr. Enrico Feroci, the Director of Caritas Rome.

Welcome Jesus as a friend, Pope encourages at Easter Vigil + Full Sermon Text

By Estefania Aguirre
Vatican City, Mar 30, 2013 / 05:07 pm (EWTN News)

Pope Francis called on Christians to let the risen Jesus enter their lives and to welcome him with trust as a friend during the Church’s most holy night of the year.
“If up until now you have kept him at a distance, step forward…he will receive you with open arms,” Pope Francis said at Saint Peter’s Basilica during the Easter Vigil Mass.
“If you have been indifferent, take a risk, you won’t be disappointed,” he told thousands gathered at the Vatican on March 30.

Pope Francis: ‘I join all of you gathered before the Holy Shroud’

Independent Catholic News
From 5.15 – 6.40pm this afternoon, there will be an extraordinary exposition of the Holy Shroud in the Cathedral of Turin, Italy. The initiative is part of the Year of Faith that was proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI and will be broadcast by the Italian television channel, RAI1.

For the occasion, Pope Francis recorded a video message, the text of which we publish below.

Pope emphasises God’s mercy during torch-lit Via Crucis

The Tablet
Robert Mickens in Rome – 30 March 2013

Pope Francis has led his first Good Friday “Via Crucis” ceremony at Rome’s Colosseum, telling people that the Cross of Christ is God’s response of love, mercy and forgiveness in the face of evil.

“It also reveals a judgment,” the Pope told the tens of thousands of people gathered to pray at the ancient amphitheatre. “Namely that God, in judging us, loves us. Remember this! God judges us by loving us!” he said. He added that all one had to do to be saved was embrace God’s love. “If I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by God, but by my own self, because God never condemns; he only loves us and saves us,” he reiterated.

Vatican: Passion of Our Lord Sermon [Full text]

(Vatican Radio) In silent procession, wearing red vestments, Pope Francis made his way down the nave of St Peter’s basilica as the sunset over the dome on Friday evening. There before the High Altar, he lay prostrate in prayer. This was the opening act of the liturgy of Our Lord’s Passion, the central commemoration of Good Friday, the memorial of Christ’s suffering and death for the salvation of mankind. Emer McCarthy reports: