Ignite the fire of faith in people’s hearts, pope tells religious

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Religious men and women need to be setting people's faith on fire, not stamping it out, Pope Francis said. "It makes me sad when I see religious who seem more like firefighters" than men and women who are ardently filled with the flame of faith and ready to share it with others, he told representatives of congregations founded by St. Magdalene of Canossa during an audience at the Vatican April 29.

Pope asks lay Catholics to prepare for synod’s ‘prophetic’ stage

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The most important outcome of the current Synod of Bishops on synodality is the synodal process itself and not the hot-button topics discussed, Pope Francis said. With the second synod assembly scheduled for October, the pope said the synod process is approaching its "most challenging and important" stage -- the point at which it must become "prophetic."

Spring semester: ‘School of Prayer’ now in session for Holy Year finals

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Every important journey should be preceded by adequate preparation, and the run-up to the Holy Year 2025 is no exception. Pope Francis asked Catholics to get ready for the jubilee journey with a Year of Prayer and now, a few months after the year was officially announced, a kind of prayer prep-school is in session. Every jubilee asks pilgrims to come to Rome ready, not just with lodging and logistics, but, most of all, with the right spiritual disposition, which is a heart ready to welcome the gifts of grace and forgiveness the jubilee offers.

Pope urges brothers working with youth to bring them hope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Be loving and compassionate fathers to the marginalized, Pope Francis told members of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, commonly known as the La Mennais Brothers. "Your vocation impels you to go where others do not go, to the periphery, to the people who belong to the ranks of the rejected, those wounded by life and victims," he told the group during an audience at the Vatican April 22.

Share, listen to people’s encounter with Jesus, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians must share their faith in the risen Jesus, Pope Francis said. They also should "talk about the good inspirations that have guided us in life, the good thoughts and feelings that help us so much to go forward, and also about our efforts and labors to understand and to progress in the life of faith, perhaps even to repent and retrace our steps," the pope said April 14 before leading the midday recitation of the "Regina Coeli" prayer. Greeting visitors in St. Peter's Square, the pope said it is good and important to share one's faith in Jesus.

Parish priests are lifeline to church’s mission, cardinal says

ROME (CNS) -- The success of the Synod of Bishops on synodality will much depend on also including parish priests in the process, said Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington. Of the more than 360 bishops, religious and laypeople who participated in the first assembly at the Vatican last October, the small number who were ordained priests "were scholars, missionaries (or) they were engaged in leadership in religious communities," he said.

Pray for the ‘grace’ of tears of compassion, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Weeping Madonna of Syracuse is a sign that Mary not only cries because of people's pain, but she also cries to soften the hearts of other believers so that they will help, Pope Francis said. "Through the tears of the Blessed Virgin, the Lord wants to soften our hearts, which at times have dried up in indifference and hardened in selfishness," the pope said April 6 during a meeting with members of the St. Angela Merici Foundation in Syracuse, Italy.

Pope prays people will experience, share Easter joy

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Like the women disciples who discovered Jesus had risen from the dead and ran to tell the others, Christians should be filled with such joy at Easter that they cannot help sharing it with others, Pope Francis said. "The resurrection of Jesus is not just wonderful news or the happy ending of a story, but something that changes our lives completely and forever," the pope said April 1 as he led the midday recitation of the "Regina Coeli" prayer.

Tears flow as pope washes feet of women inmates at Rome prison

ROME (CNS) -- As Pope Francis poured water over their feet, dried them with a towel and kissed their feet, 12 women inmates at Rome's Rebibbia prison wept. The pope celebrated the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper March 28 at the women's prison under a tent set up outside. The 12 women whose feet were washed by Pope Francis during the liturgy sat on stools on a raised platform so the pope, who has difficulty walking, could wash their feet while seated in his wheelchair.

Young people are the living hope of a missionary church, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Young people need to understand how much Christ loves them unconditionally and how much the church needs their voices and presence, Pope Francis said. "Dear young people, you are the living hope of a Church on the move! For this reason, I thank you for your presence and for your contribution to the life of the Body of Christ," the pope told the world's young people in a written message. The pope's message was released by the Vatican March 25 to mark the fifth anniversary of his apostolic exhortation "Christus Vivit" ("Christ is Alive"), published in 2019 and reflecting on the 2018 Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment.