BY Ian Dunn | January 5 2018 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Pope: Dump life’s useless baggage in 2018

Holy Father’s New Year address also focuses on refugees

POPE Francis has urged Catholics to dump life’s ‘useless baggage’ in 2018 and embrace a devotion to Mary.

Speaking during New Year’s Day Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father said devotion to Mary was a vital part of the life of a Christian and suggested Catholics set aside a moment of silence daily to be with God.

He said doing so would help ‘keep our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting.’

Pope Francis recommended leaving behind ‘all sorts of useless baggage’ to ‘rediscover what really matters’—and start over from there.

He also said ‘devotion to Mary’ would renew our Faith.

“It is not spiritual etiquette—it is a requirement of the Christian life. The gift of the mother—the gift of every mother and every woman—is most precious for the Church, for She too is mother and woman. If our Faith is not to be reduced merely to an idea or a doctrine, all of us need a mother’s heart, one which knows how to keep the tender love of God and to feel the heartbeat of all around us.”



Pope Francis began the New Year praying the world would demonstrate a marked increase in solidarity and welcome for migrants and refugees.

“Let’s not extinguish the hope in their hearts; let’s not suffocate their hopes for peace,” the Pope said on January 1 before reciting the Angelus with a crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square.

For the New Year’s celebration of World Peace Day and the feast of Mary, Mother of God, Pope Francis had chosen to focus on migrants and refugees and their yearning for peace.

“For this peace, which is the right of all, many of them are willing to risk their lives in a journey that, in most cases, is long and dangerous and to face trials and suffering,” the Pope told an estimated 40,000 people gathered around the Christmas tree and Nativity scene.

Pope Francis said it is important that everyone, including individuals, governments, schools, churches and church agencies, make a commitment to ‘ensuring refugees, migrants— everyone’ is given a ‘future of peace.’

Entrusting the needs of migrants and refugees to the maternal concern of Mary, the Pope led the crowd in reciting a traditional Marian prayer: “Under thy protection we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our needs, but from all dangers deliver us always, Virgin, glorious and blessed.”

Pope Francis had begun the day celebrating Mass in St Peter’s Basilica for the Marian feast, which he said was a celebration of ‘a magnificent truth about God and about ourselves: from the moment that our Lord became incarnate in Mary, and for all time, he took on our humanity.’

“To call Mary the mother of God reminds us,” He said, “that God is close to humanity, even as a child is close to the mother who bears him in her womb. All life, from life in the mother’s womb to that of the elderly… is to be welcomed, loved and helped.”


Common good

Celebrating evening prayer on December 31, Pope Francis gave a special acknowledgement to people—especially parents and teachers—who are ‘artisans of the common good,’ working to help their families, neighbours and communities each day without fanfare.

But, he said, people also must acknowledge that God gave humanity the year 2017 ‘whole and sound,’ yet ‘we human beings have in many ways wasted and wounded it with works of death, with lies and injustices.’

“Wars are the flagrant sign of this backsliding and absurd pride,” he said. “But so are all the small and great offences against life, truth and solidarity, which cause multiple forms of human, social and environmental degradation.”

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