Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako of Khartoum who was ordained priest one year before 263 Comboni Missionaries were expelled from Sudan in 1964
March Missionary Intention
“That through the intercession of St. Joseph and St. Daniel Comboni we may grow strong in faith, hope and self-giving in order to build up a fairer and more caring world.” Let us pray.
Pope Francis Missionary Intention
"That many young people may accept the Lord's invitation to consecrate their lives to the task of proclaiming the Gospel." Let us pray.
Pope Francis last year on Good Shepherd Sunday said, "Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer; and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit." He reminded his hearers that Jesus himself told us to ask the Father to "send labourers to his harvest" (Matthew 9: 37-38). Like Jesus, the Pope is asking us to pray for vocations to religious life.
God is still calling many to serve as priests and consecrated persons, but often the call is drowned out by other voices seeking to lure people away from giving their lives to God's service. Today this crisis of vocations is especially noticeable in developed nations such as the USA and the countries of western Europe.
Speaking to seminarians and those discerning a vocation, Pope Francis said, "Evangelization is done on one's knees." Let us do our part this month, get on our knees, and join Pope Francis in praying for many young people to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Pope Francis General Intention
"That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women." Let us pray.
At the end of the Second Vatican Council, the bishops published a message for women in recognition of their essential and unique role in nurturing human life and civilization.
"Our technology runs the risk of becoming inhuman. Reconcile men with life and above all, we beseech you, watch carefully over the future of our race. Hold back the hand of man who, in a moment of folly, might attempt to destroy human civilization."
Pope Francis also spoke of the valuable contributions women make to society. He asks us to pray with him this month that all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women so that their unique role may be fulfilled.
In Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis writes: "The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition, and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess." As a result", he said, "…. in the cultural crisis of our time, woman finds herself on the front line in the battle for safeguarding what is human."
Let us pray with the Pope that people everywhere may respect the rights and dignity of women and that women may be strong in the battles against the cultures of death.
It is 50 years since 263 Comboni Missionaries (Priests, Brothers and Sisters) were expelled from the Sudan in 1964. Some 58 missions were abandoned at a stroke with one Sudanese Bishop and 28 priests left behind, of whom, Comboni Father Barnaba Deng, was martyred in 1965. This, however, was the moment in which the Church in Sudan began to come of age. Mgr. Zubeir was made bishop in 1975, the number of Christians in both northern and southern Sudan increased significantly, and the Comboni personnel made suddenly available as a result of this expulsion opened new missions elsewhere in Africa (Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Togo, Chad, Central Africa, Uganda).
Prayer of the Month
Mary, you are the woman of the unconditional "yes"! And you said "yes" throughout your life! You learned to recognize Jesus' voice from the time you carried him in your womb. Mary, our Mother, help us to know Jesus' voice better and to follow it, so as to walk on the path of life! Amen.
Adapted from Pope Francis' Regina Caeli Message, April 21, 2013