July Missionary Intention
“That the love of Christ and the example of St. Daniel Comboni may make us ever more capable of working for peace, unity and reconciliation among all peoples.” Let us pray.
Pope Francis Missionary Intention
"That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries." Let us pray.
In Gaudium Fidei, Pope Francis wrote, "In all the baptized, from first to last, the sanctifying power of the Spirit is at work, impelling us to evangelization." Thus, "all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples" and "whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization."
Very often, in the past, the work of spreading the Gospel was seen as something that priests, sisters, and brothers did. Now it is understood that everyone is called to witness to the faith so that society will be transformed. Pope Francis pointed out that the laity, in particular, must work for "a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political, and economic sectors." This task is urgent and involves a focus on those who are most victimized by sinful structures in society i.e. the poor. As Pope Francis wrote, "God's heart has a special place for the poor, so much so that he himself 'became poor' (2 Cor. 8: 9)." "If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them." Moved with pity, we reach out in prayer to lay missionaries working in the poorest countries. May their proclamation of the Gospel bear fruit.
Matthew 9: 35-38 At the sight of the crowds, Jesus' heart was moved with pity.
Pope Francis General Intention
"That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth." Let us pray.
Pope Francis is a great sports fan. "Engaging in sports", he says, " rouses us to go beyond ourselves and our own self interests in a healthy way; it trains the spirit in sacrifice." Sporting events, ideally, "display beauty, generosity, and camaraderie." He said that "the language of sports is universal; it extends across borders, language, race, religion, and ideology. It possesses the capacity to unite people."
But Pope Francis is concerned that sports lose something when they become "big business." Big business sports seek "victory at any cost" and "runs the risk of reducing athletes to mere merchandise for the increasing of profit." When winning becomes everything and players are seen as objects, "harmony is broken."
The Pope has a message for athletes too. Addressing players from the national football teams of Italy and Argentina, Pope Francis challenged them: "You are very popular: people follow you very closely on the field and off it. This is a social responsibility!" He went on to say: "You are a role model for better or for worse. Be aware of this and be an example of loyalty, respect, and altruism. You are also builders of concord and social peace of which all are in such great need. You are a reference point for many young people and a living model of real values."
1 Corinthians 9: 24-26 Run so as to win.
Eritrean refugees cross the Mediterranean
Eritrean Bishops Take a Courageous Stand for their People as Thousands Continue to Flee. In June, Eritrea's 4 Catholic bishops published a 38-page Pastoral Letter addressed to its people and entitled "Where is Your Brother?" that criticizes life in their homeland - a rare move in one of the world's most tightly controlled states. Feeling the repression, citizens have been fleeing Eritrea for quite some time. Both men and women decide to leave Eritrea to avoid the forced, indefinite military conscription that human rights groups liken to a form of slavery. In the process, the elderly Eritrean population is being left behind to fend for itself. Perilous escapes often result in tragedies like the Lampedusa disaster in October 2013 where
500 people drowned. Others cross the Sinai desert to reach Israel only to be kidnapped by traffickers who torture or even kill them. The Bishops pose the simple question: Why would our people look for a land of milk and honey if they already have it? A new report by a U.N. investigator says 4,000 are fleeing Eritrea every month. Note: One of the 4 Bishops is Comboni Missionary, Bishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam of Asmara. Although the pastoral letter was written in Tigrinya, it is now available in English from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayer of the Month
Lord God, in sports and in life we seek a goal. This search-the search for the goal-is strenuous, it demands a struggle, a commitment. And it is important not to run alone! In order to arrive we must run together. We move forward together until we reach the goal. Then we celebrate! Help me live with the discipline necessary to attain my goal-eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.
--from Pope Francis' address to Italian and Argentinian rugby teams