Tuesday, December 31, 2013


With the popularity of online social networking services such as Twitter, Vatican decided to use twitter to communicate further with the people around the world especially with the Catholics. So they created a twitter account - https://twitter.com/pontifex - for the Supreme Pontiff. The first pope who used the account was Pope Benedict XVI. But now he is replaced by Pope Francis.

Pope Francis started tweeting on March 17, 2013. As of December 31, the pope has over three million four hundred thousand followers worldwide, and these numbers are growing each minute.

Here are some of the tweets of Pope Francis that I find enlightening, inspiring and interesting with their corresponding dates:

Click the dates and you will be linked to the actual tweets of Pope Francis.

True power is service. The Pope must serve all people, especially the poor, the weak, the vulnerable. 

Support your priests with your love and prayers, that they may always be shepherds after Christ's heart.

Accept the risen Jesus into your life. Even if you have been far away, take a small step towards him: he awaits you with open arms.

How beautiful is the gaze with which Jesus regards us - how full of tenderness! Let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God.

Let us not forget: if we are to proclaim the gospel of Jesus, our lives must bear witness to what we preach.

Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!

How marvelous it would be if, at the end of the day, each of us could say: today I have performed an act of charity towards others!

Dear young friends, learn from St. Joseph. He went through difficult times, but he always trusted, and he knew how to overcome adversity.

It would be a good idea, during May, for families to say the Rosary together. Prayer strengthens family life.

It is God who gives life. Let us respect and love human life, especially vulnerable life in a mother's womb.

We cannot be part-time Christians! We should seek to live our faith at every moment of every day.

On the feast of Mary Help of Christians, I join the Catholics in China who trust in the protection of Our Lady of Sheshan and I pray for them.

Miracles happen. But prayer is needed! Prayer that is courageous, struggling and persevering, not prayer that is mere formality.

We all have in our hearts some areas of unbelief. Let us say to the Lord: I believe! Help my unbelief.

Sometimes we know what we have to do, but we lack the courage to do it. Let us learn from Mary how to make decisions, trusting in the Lord.

With the "culture of waste", human life is no longer considered the primary value to be respected and protected.

Let the Church always be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved and forgiven.

Are you angry with someone? Pray for that person. That is what Christian love is. 

Christians are always full of hope; they should never get discouraged.

If we wish to follow Christ closely, we cannot choose an easy, quiet life. It will be a demanding life, but full of joy.

Never forget, young friends: The Virgin Mary is our Mother and with her help we can remain faithful to Christ.

May sports always be a means of exchange of growth, never of violence and hate.

Don't be afraid to ask God for forgiveness. He never tires of forgiving us. God is pure mercy.

With utmost firmness, I condemn the use of chemical weapons.

We ought never to lose hope. God overwhelms us with his grace. If we keep asking.

Jesus is the sun and Mary is the dawn announcing his rising. 

September 15, 2013
Seeking happiness in material things is a sure way of being unhappy.

God's forgiveness is stronger than any sin.

When we encounter the cross, we turn to Mary: Give us the strength, Mary our Mother, to accept and embrace the Cross!

Dear young people, do not be afraid of making decisive choices in life. Have faith; the Lord will not abandon you!

October 17, 2013
Our prayer cannot be reduced to an hour on Sundays. It is important to have a daily relationship with the Lord.

October 29, 2013
If money and material things become the center of our lives, they seize us and make us slaves.

November 9, 2013
I ask all of you to join me in prayer for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda especially those in the beloved islands of the Philippines.

To be saints is not a privilege for a few, but a vocation for everyone. 

November 29, 2013
It is hard to forgive others. Lord, grand us your mercy, so that we can always forgive.

December 14, 2013
This is Christian hope: that the future is in God's hands.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


My personal copy

Last December 11, 2013, Time magazine named Pope Francis as the 2013 Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year). This is not the first time that a Supreme Pontiff was accorded with such honor. In 1962, Pope John XXIII was Time's Man of the Year, while Pope John Paul II was Time's Man of the Year in 1994. Interestingly, Pope Francis is scheduled to canonize his two predecessors next year. 

Why Time chose Pope Francis?

According to Time, Pope Francis has quickly captured the world's attention in just nine months in office.

     "And in a very short time, a vast, global, ecumenical audience has shown a hunger to follow him. For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world's largest church to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is TIME's 2013 Person of the Year." 
- Nancy Gibbs, Time

Aside from being Time's Person of the Year, he is also the most well regarded religious figure in America. According to CNN Polling Director Keating Holland, the Pope's approval rating is high in America; three in four Americans view him favorably.

Last November 12, Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor reported that Pope Francis is the most talked-about person on the planet according to the 14th annual survey from the Global Language Monitor.

And the most unexpected of all, even atheists admire him for his unpretentious humility, simplicity and closeness to people from all walks of life, especially the poorest of the poor and the needy.

Personally, for me, Pope Francis has sincerely showed God's mercy and kindness to the world most particularly to those who are in most need of mercy and kindness. Instead of being a leader, he is more of a loving father not just to Catholics but to everyone regardless of who they are, and that's what makes him Person of the Year

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


- Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on December 17, 1936 in Flores, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

- His father, Mario Jose Bergoglio who worked as an accountant in the railways was an Italian immigrant from Portacomaro, in the Asti Province of Italy. He left Italy to escape the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini. His mother, Regina Maria Sivori, who was also of Italian origin, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

- Pope Francis is the eldest of five children. Of his siblings, only his sister Maria Elena is still living.

- He had his elementary studies at a Salesian school in Ramos Mejia. He attended the technical secondary school at the Escueta Nacional de Educacion Tecnica. He graduated with honors in Chemistry.

- He felt that he was called to the priesthood on the feast of St. Matthew on September 21, 1953 at the age of sixteen. He studied at the Inmaculada Concepcion Seminary in Villa Devoto, Buenos Aires.

- Bergoglio entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus on March 11, 1958, and after two years, he made his first religious profession. He completed his studies in Humanities in the country of Chile. He graduated with a degree of Philosophy from Colegio de San Jose in 1963.

- He taught Literature and Philosophy at the Immaculate Conception College and Colegio de Salvatore in 1964-1965 and 1966, respectively. From 1967 to 1970 he studied Theology and obtained a degree from Colegio de San Jose.

- On December 13, 1969, four days before his thirty-third birthday, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Ramon Jose Castellano.

- In 1970 to 1971, he went to Spain to complete his training and formation at the University of Alcala de Henares. He finally made his perpetual vows with the Jesuits on April 22, 1973.

- In Argentina, Bergoglio was a Master of Novices and a theology professor at Villa Barilari, San Miguel. He was also the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits from 1973 to 1979, and a rector to his alma mater Colegio Maximo of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology in 1980 to 1986.

- In 1980, he studied English for three months at the Jesuit Centre in Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy in Dublin, Ireland. And in March 1986, he completed his doctorate in Theology in Freiburg, Germany. 

- On May 20, 1992, he was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires. Seven days later on May 27, 1992, he received his episcopal ordination. He became Archbishop, Primate of Argentina on February 28, 1998. He was also appointed as Ordinary for the Eastern Catholics (autonomous self-governing particular churches) in Argentina who don't have a prelate of their own rite on November 6, 1998.

- Pope John Paul II appointed him as Cardinal on February 21, 2001. Later in October of that same year, he was made General Relator to the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Episcopal Ministry. From 2005 to 2011, he served as president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference.

- As required by Canon Law, Bergoglio who turned 75 on December 17, 2011, submitted his resignation as Archbishop of Buenos Aires to Pope Benedict XI.

- On March 13, 2013, Bergoglio was chosen as the 266th Pope after Pope Benedict XVI resigned from the Papacy on February 28, 2013.

- www.vatican.va

Sunday, December 8, 2013


The Catholic Church was at first viewed as a sect of the Jewish religion since most of her members were Jews. They were called "Nazareans." Then Helenist (Greeks) begun to enter the church.

With the preaching of Stephen, the ire of the Jewish people turned on the nascent religion forcing the first Christians to flee from Jerusalem to Samaria and Antioch. It was at this time that Saul, later on to be St. Paul, became the fiercest persecutor of Christ's disciples. But struck down on the road to Damascus. Saul became the foremost proponent of the Gospel.

A vision confirmed to Peter that the gospel was not only for the Jews but for all. Then he sees Cornelius, who was not a Jew, receive the Holy Spirit.

It was in Antioch, where many of the Helenists had taken refuge that the disciples were called "Christians." From Antioch, the evangelization of the Roman Empire began.

Understandably, the Jewish Christians were slow in abandoning their Jewish practices, like circumcision and dietary prohibitions. They even imposed these practices on the Gentile Christians. To settle this once and for all, the apostles met in Jerusalem and decreed that Jewish practices should not be imposed on Gentile Christians, though Jewish Christians may continue some of these  Old Testament practices since it did not go against the new commands of the New Testament, like abstaining from eating blood of animals.

Origen states that this is the way the Gospel spread: Mark is said to have gone to Egypt where He founded the church of Alexandria. Tomas preached to the Parthians, Matthew to Ethiopia, Bartholomew went to upper India. Andrew to Scythia and John to Asia. Peter preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bythinia, Cappadocia and Asia.

Eusebius of Caesarea "Ecclesiastical History"

The above article is from Winnowing Fan which is owned and copyrighted by S of G Foundation. The publishing of this article in full is permitted without written authorization.

Monday, December 2, 2013


Pope Francis' Angelus message last Sunday, December 1, 2013 was a message of strong hope. He told the pilgrims at St. Peter's Square, that the day will come when nations will live in peace. He also told the pilgrims, "Let's put a bet on hope, on hope for peace, and peace will be possible."

He also reminded the people that advent is a season that renews the horizon of hope. He cited the Blessed Virgin Mary as the model of spiritual attitude of hope. He explained, "Although she was just a simple girl, she carried in her heart the hope of God."

I love this message of hope from the Pope. His message of hope is so timely. This is the kind of message that we need nowadays. Today, different countries around the world are beset by wars, political chaos, calamities and disasters. We are always tempted to lose hope. But let us not forget that even the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of God, was not spared nor exempted from trials and sufferings during her life on earth. In spite of all the trials that she encountered, she remained hopeful and her faith in God was unbreakable even after the death of her son on the cross. 

The pope encouraged the faithful to turn to Mary for guidance, he said, "Let us be guided by her, she who is a mother, she is a mama, and knows how to lead us. Let us be guided by her in this time of waiting and active vigilance."