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Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is moved as he recalls his grandfather at a Vatican press conference, June 15, 2021. / Screenshot from Vatican News YouTube channel.

Vatican City, Jun 15, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle choked up Tuesday while sharing the story of his grandfather’s migration journey from China to the Philippines as a child.

Speaking during a Vatican press conference June 15, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said that visiting refugee camps in Greece, Lebanon, Jordan, and Bangladesh, reminded him of his migrant roots.

“In them, I saw my grandfather who was born in China, but was forced to leave his homeland as a young boy with his uncle for the Philippines in search of a better future,” Tagle said, pausing for a short time as he became visibly emotional.

The Filipino cardinal explained in a letter for Easter 2017 that his maternal grandfather was born in China, but his mother sent him to live in the Philippines because of her poverty.

Tagle also spoke about his Chinese roots in a 2017 book.

“I think some Chinese characteristics have passed onto me, even though my grandfather spent most of his life in the Philippines,” he said.

“I remember certain practices he observed, such as honoring his mother by offering her food, putting it in front of her photograph, with a few sticks of incense, or setting off fireworks to welcome the New Year, or offering a lot of food during family meals.”

At his grandfather’s request, Tagle studied the Chinese language for a time in his boyhood, though he said in the book he regretted that he did not stick with it.

The cardinal’s mother, Milagros Gokim, is Chinese Filipino and his father, Manuel Topacio Tagle, is ethnic Tagalog. They are both in their early 90s and still live in the Philippines.

They raised Tagle and his younger brother Manuel Gokim Tagle Jr. in a devoutly Catholic home. Both worked at a bank.

Tagle, who also goes by his nickname of “Chito,” spoke about his personal experience with immigration during a press conference ahead of the June 20 conclusion of “Share the Journey,” a four-year global campaign by Caritas Internationalis.

Through “Share the Journey,” national Caritas agencies organized events and initiatives with the goal of promoting a culture of encounter with migrants and refugees.

Tagle has been president of Caritas Internationalis since 2015.

Before being appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in December 2019, the 63-year-old cardinal was archbishop of Manila for nine years.

During the June 15 presser, Tagle described his emotional meetings with refugees over the last six years.

In reference to his visits to the Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps in Bangladesh in 2018 and 2019, he said: “I remember that I had mixed feelings. A part of me rejoiced that they were being given the attention they deserved as human beings. But at the same time, a part of me continued to be sad because I wondered if this was a permanent state of life for them or temporary.”

He said he could not imagine how parents in that situation respond if their children ask them what the future holds.

“The Share the Journey campaign has been a great moment of encounter, solidarity, and for us, memory, and above all an expression of love. An expression of the love of the Church for people on the move. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, followers of other religions, and those with no religion were received as human persons,” Tagle said.

“At a time when COVID-19 should lead to global solidarity, and at the same time when the States are more concerned with protecting their own citizens, with the risk of intensifying selfishness and the fear of strangers, the end of Caritas Internationalis’ global campaign is a call to continue to share the journey with migrants, especially at this most difficult moment,” he said.

“The campaign formally ends, but the mission continues.”

Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Cardinal Péter Erdő at a press conference for the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, June 14, 2021. / IEC 2021 Budapest

Budapest, Hungary, Jun 15, 2021 / 04:30 am (CNA).

Cardinal Péter Erdő unveiled Monday the official hymn of this year’s International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest.

The Primate of Hungary presented the hymn at a press conference on June 14.

Organizers described the song as a “refreshed version” of a hymn from 1938, the last time that the Hungarian capital hosted the International Eucharistic Congress.

Erdő, the archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, also introduced a new video featuring the conversion stories of three young people in Budapest.

 / IEC 2021 Budapest.
/ IEC 2021 Budapest.

The 52nd International Eucharistic Congress will take place on Sept. 5-12.

The congress was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis is scheduled to be the principal celebrant of the closing Mass in Heroes’ Square at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 12.

At the press conference, Erdő also welcomed 12 congress ambassadors, including artists, musicians, singers, and poets, who will offer their witness to the transformative power of the Eucharist.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Pope Francis greets then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the Vatican in this April 29, 2016. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jun 14, 2021 / 16:55 pm (CNA).

In a story June 14, 2021, about Joe Biden and Pope Francis, the Catholic News Agency, based on information provided by a source, erroneously reported that the U.S. President would meet with the pope on June 15. According to Vatican sources June 15, there is no meeting currently scheduled between Pope Francis and President Joe Biden.

A corrected version of the story is below:

President Joe Biden’s attendance at early morning Mass with Pope Francis was nixed from an early plan for the first meeting of both leaders, a reliable Vatican source told CNA.

President Biden is currently in Europe for several high level meetings, offering a potential opportunity to meet with Pope Francis. According to Vatican sources June 15, there is no meeting currently scheduled between the two men.

The President’s entourage had originally requested for Biden to attend Mass with the pope early in the morning, but the proposal was nixed by the Vatican after considering the impact that Biden receiving Holy Communion from the pope would have on the discussions the USCCB is planning to have during their meeting starting Wednesday, June 16.

The U.S. bishops are slated to vote on creating a committee that would draft a document about Eucharistic coherence.

President Biden is in Europe for several high-level meetings. After attending the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, he traveled to Brussels, Belgium. He wil then fly to Geneva, Switzerland, for his scheduled summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16.

Then U.S. Vice President Biden met with Pope Francis for the first time in September 2015, when the pope visited the United States to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

The following year, on April 29, 2016, Biden went to the Vatican for a summit on regenerative medicine, where he praised Pope Francis and advocated for a global push to cure cancer.

Biden opened his speech at the Vatican by recalling how, while visiting the United States the previous September, Pope Francis had comforted him after the loss of his eldest son Beau, who passed away the previous summer at the age of 46 from brain cancer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Pope Francis addresses the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at their headquarters in Rome on Nov. 20, 2014. / FAO Giulio Napolitano.

Vatican City, Jun 14, 2021 / 08:00 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said Monday that the world must do more to help small food producers.

In a message to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the pope said that the coronavirus crisis should spur efforts to create a global food system capable of withstanding future shocks.

“I appreciate and encourage the efforts of the international community to enable each country to implement the necessary mechanisms to achieve food autonomy, whether through new models of development and consumption or through forms of community organization that preserve local ecosystems and biodiversity,” the pope wrote in Spanish.

“It could be of great benefit to draw on the potential of innovation to support small producers and help them improve their capacities and resilience. In this regard, your work is of particular importance in the current time of crisis.”

The pope’s message was addressed to Michał Kurtyka, Poland’s climate minister and president of the 42nd Session of the FAO Conference, taking place in Rome on June 14-18.

The FAO, founded in 1945, has more than 194 member states and works in over 130 countries.

In addition to the papal message, the conference’s first day featured an address by the Italian President Sergio Mattarella and opening remarks by the FAO’s Chinese Director-General Qu Dongyu, who described the pandemic as “a powerful wake-up call on the fragility and shortcomings of our agrifood systems.”

In his message, the pope noted that in 2020 the number of people at risk of acute food insecurity and in need of immediate subsistence support reached its highest level in five years.

“This situation could worsen in the future. Conflicts, extreme weather events, economic crises, together with the current health crisis, are a source of famine and hunger for millions of people,” he wrote.

“Therefore, in order to address these growing vulnerabilities, it is essential to adopt policies capable of tackling the structural causes that give rise to them.”

The pope continued: “To provide a solution to these needs, it is important, above all, to ensure that food systems are resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and able to provide healthy and affordable diets for all.”

“In this perspective, the development of a circular economy, which guarantees resources for all, including future generations, and promotes the use of renewable energies, is beneficial.”

“The fundamental factor for recovering from the crisis that is striking us is an economy tailored to man, not subject only to profit, but anchored in the common good, friendly to ethics and respectful of the environment.”

The FAO’s 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause 130 million more people worldwide to suffer chronic hunger by the end of last year.

The pope said: “The reconstruction of post-pandemic economies offers us the opportunity to reverse the course followed so far and invest in a global food system capable of withstanding future crises.”

“This includes the promotion of sustainable and diversified agriculture that takes into account the valuable role of family farming and rural communities.”

“Indeed, it is paradoxical to note that it is precisely those who produce food that suffer from the lack or scarcity of food. Three-quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas and depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihoods.”

“However, due to lack of access to markets, land ownership, financial resources, infrastructure and technologies, these brothers and sisters of ours are the most vulnerable to food insecurity.”

Concluding his message, the pope said that it was not enough merely to outline programs.

“Tangible gestures are needed that have as their point of reference the common belonging to the human family and the fostering of fraternity,” he wrote, assuring the conference of the Catholic Church’s support for its work.

Monday, June 14, 2021
Pope Francis waves to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square on Sept. 9, 2015 for the general audience. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Vatican City, Jun 14, 2021 / 05:30 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said Monday that “the very concept of democracy is jeopardized” when the poor are marginalized and treated as if they are to blame for their condition.

In his World Day of the Poor message released June 14, the pope appealed for a new global approach to poverty.

“This is a challenge that governments and world institutions need to take up with a farsighted social model capable of countering the new forms of poverty that are now sweeping the world and will decisively affect coming decades,” he wrote.

“If the poor are marginalized, as if they were to blame for their condition, then the very concept of democracy is jeopardized and every social policy will prove bankrupt.”

The theme of this year’s World Day of the Poor is “The poor you will always have with you,” the words of Jesus recorded in Mark 14:7 after a woman anointed him with precious ointment.

While Judas and others were scandalized by the gesture, Jesus accepted it, the pope said, because he saw it as pointing to the anointing of his body after his crucifixion.

“Jesus was reminding them that he is the first of the poor, the poorest of the poor, because he represents all of them. It was also for the sake of the poor, the lonely, the marginalized and the victims of discrimination, that the Son of God accepted the woman’s gesture,” the pope wrote.

“With a woman’s sensitivity, she alone understood what the Lord was thinking. That nameless woman, meant perhaps to represent all those women who down the centuries would be silenced and suffer violence, thus became the first of those women who were significantly present at the supreme moments of Christ’s life: his crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection.”

The pope continued: “Women, so often discriminated against and excluded from positions of responsibility, are seen in the Gospels to play a leading role in the history of revelation.”

“Jesus’ then goes on to associate that woman with the great mission of evangelization: ‘Amen, I say to you, wherever the Gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her’ (Mark 14:9).”

The pope lamented what he said was an increasing tendency to dismiss the poor against the background of the coronavirus crisis.

“There seems to be a growing notion that the poor are not only responsible for their condition, but that they represent an intolerable burden for an economic system focused on the interests of a few privileged groups,” he commented.

“A market that ignores ethical principles, or picks and chooses from among them, creates inhumane conditions for people already in precarious situations. We are now seeing the creation of new traps of poverty and exclusion, set by unscrupulous economic and financial actors lacking in a humanitarian sense and in social responsibility.”

Looking back to 2020, the year that COVID-19 swept the world, he continued: “Last year we experienced yet another scourge that multiplied the numbers of the poor: the pandemic, which continues to affect millions of people and, even when it does not bring suffering and death, is nonetheless a portent of poverty.”

“The poor have increased disproportionately and, tragically, they will continue to do so in the coming months.”

The World Bank estimated in October that the pandemic could push as many as 115 million additional people into extreme poverty by 2021. It said that it expected global extreme poverty -- defined as living on less than $1.90 a day -- to rise in 2020 for the first time in more than 20 years.

The pope wrote: “Some countries are suffering extremely severe consequences from the pandemic, so that the most vulnerable of their people lack basic necessities. The long lines in front of soup kitchens are a tangible sign of this deterioration.”

“There is a clear need to find the most suitable means of combating the virus at the global level without promoting partisan interests.”

“It is especially urgent to offer concrete responses to those who are unemployed, whose numbers include many fathers, mothers, and young people.”

Pope Francis established the World Day of the Poor in his apostolic letter Misericordia et misera, issued in 2016 at the end of the Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy.

The idea came about, he explained, during the Jubilee for Socially Excluded People.

“At the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy, I wanted to offer the Church a World Day of the Poor, so that throughout the world Christian communities can become an ever greater sign of Christ’s charity for the least and those most in need,” the pope wrote in his first World Day of the Poor message in 2017.

The Day is celebrated each year on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, a week before the Feast of Christ the King. This year, it will fall on Nov. 14.

Coronavirus restrictions forced the Vatican to scale down its commemoration of the World Day of the Poor in 2020. It was unable to host a “field hospital” for the poor in St. Peter’s Square as it had in previous years. But it distributed 5,000 parcels to Rome’s poor and gave 350,000 masks to schools.

Pope Francis followed his custom of marking the day by celebrating a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Presenting the papal message at a Vatican press conference on June 14, Archbishop Rino Fisichella noted that the pope highlighted the example of St. Damien of Molokai.

The Belgian priest, canonized in 2009, ministered to leprosy sufferers in Hawaii.

“Pope Francis calls to mind the witness of this saint in confirmation of so many men and women, including hundreds of priests, who in this COVID-19 drama have been willing to share totally in the suffering of millions of infected people,” the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization said.

In the message, signed on June 13, the memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, the pope argued that nowadays people in prosperous countries “are less willing than in the past to confront poverty.”

“The state of relative affluence to which we have become accustomed makes it more difficult to accept sacrifices and deprivation. People are ready to do anything rather than to be deprived of the fruits of easy gain,” he argued.

“As a result, they fall into forms of resentment, spasmodic nervousness and demands that lead to fear, anxiety and, in some cases, violence. This is no way to build our future; those attitudes are themselves forms of poverty which we cannot disregard.”

“We need to be open to reading the signs of the times that ask us to find new ways of being evangelizers in the contemporary world. Immediate assistance in responding to the needs of the poor must not prevent us from showing foresight in implementing new signs of Christian love and charity as a response to the new forms of poverty experienced by humanity today.”

The pope said he hoped that this year’s commemoration of the World Day of the Poor would inspire a new movement of evangelization at the service of disadvantaged people.

“We cannot wait for the poor to knock on our door; we need urgently to reach them in their homes, in hospitals and nursing homes, on the streets and in the dark corners where they sometimes hide, in shelters and reception centers,” he wrote.

Concluding his message, the pope cited the influential 20th-century Italian priest Fr. Primo Mazzolari, who he honored in 2017.

He wrote: “Let us make our own the heartfelt plea of Fr. Primo Mazzolari: ‘I beg you not to ask me if there are poor people, who they are and how many of them there are, because I fear that those questions represent a distraction or a pretext for avoiding a clear appeal to our consciences and our hearts... I have never counted the poor, because they cannot be counted: the poor are to be embraced, not counted.’”

“The poor are present in our midst. How evangelical it would be if we could say with all truth: we too are poor, because only in this way will we truly be able to recognize them, to make them part of our lives and an instrument of our salvation.”

Monday, June 14, 2021





 

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