Workers must develop sense of belonging, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Workers need spaces in which they can come together, form a sense of community and advocate for the marginalized, Pope Francis said.m"In the context of a fragmented society and an individualistic culture, we have a great need for spaces in which people can experience a creative and dynamic sense of belonging," the pope told 6,000 representatives of Italian Christian workers' associations June 1. Such spaces, he added, help people move "from 'I' to 'we'" and to "develop projects for the common good together, and find ways and means to achieve them."

A Christian community listens to kids, accompanies the elderly, pope says

ROME (CNS) -- Pope Francis led his "School of Prayer" outside on a concrete driveway leading to a series of parking garages under a 30-family condominium on the outskirts of Rome. "The church begins to take shape in the community, seeking together, listening to the word of God, speaking well of each other," he told about 60 residents of the apartment building: children, teenagers, adults and older people. A group of women from Senegal, an Orthodox man and the district president were also present, Vatican News reported. "What matters is respect for others, and with that respect you go forward and build up the church," making sure to include and accompany children and the elderly, he said during the visit June 6, a portion of which was released in video.

Under olive tree planted as sign of peace, pope begs God to help Holy...

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sitting in the Vatican Gardens with the dome of St. Peter's Basilica as a backdrop, Pope Francis told cardinals and diplomats, including the ambassadors of Israel and Palestine, "Every day I pray that this war will finally end." With a representative of Rome's Jewish community and a representative of the city's Muslim community in attendance June 7, the pope repeated his call for a cease-fire, his appeal to Hamas to release all the hostages it kidnapped Oct. 7 and his plea that Israel protect civilians in Gaza and allow humanitarian aid to reach them.

Angels or aliens? Some researchers say Vatican archives hold UFO secrets

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A group of scientists and researchers are seeking access to the Vatican Apostolic Archives to uncover information about UFOs and the paranormal, believing there may be traces amid the 50 miles of shelves holding everything from handwritten papal notes to presidential missives. The decades-long effort gained momentum in 2023 following former U.S. intelligence official David Grusch's congressional testimony alleging the Vatican's involvement in an international cover-up of alien secrets. Grusch claimed Pope Pius XII "backchanneled" information to the United States about a crashed UFO recovered by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

Modern martyrs are seeds of Christian witness in the church, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Condemning the killing of Christians in Congo, Pope Francis said the sacrifices of modern martyrs are seeds that grow into examples of Christian witness for the church. After praying the Angelus in St. Peter's Square June 16, the pope referenced the "painful news" of violence in eastern Congo where over 120 people were reported to have been killed by suspected Islamist rebels in recent weeks. Local officials have said the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group affiliated to the Islamic State, were responsible for the attacks.

Pope donates ambulance, opens rehabilitation center in Ukraine

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis blessed an ambulance filled with medicine and first-aid equipment that will travel some 1,800 miles from the Vatican to support those wounded in Ukraine. Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, papal almoner, will make his eighth trip into Ukraine to donate the ambulance and medical supplies to a hospital in the country's Ternopil region, the Dicastery for the Charity Services announced June 24. The dicastery's statement was accompanied by a picture of Pope Francis blessing the ambulance.

Praying with the Book of Psalms will bring comfort, happiness, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- There is a prayer for every state of mind and spiritual need in the Book of Psalms, Pope Francis said. "There are many psalms that help us forge ahead. Get into the habit of praying the psalms. I assure you that you will be happy in the end," the pope said during his June 19 general audience. The pope also reminded people that June 20 marks World Refugee Day, established by the United Nations to focus on solidarity with refugees. "We are all called to welcome, promote, accompany and integrate those who knock on our doors," he said.

Pope: Heaven is for ‘everyone, everyone, everyone’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Heaven is not a secure vault protected from outsiders but a "hidden treasure" that is reached by cultivating virtues, Pope Francis said. Before praying the Angelus in St. Peter's Square on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul June 29, the pope reflected on Jesus giving St. Peter, the first pope, the keys to the kingdom of heaven. "The mission that Jesus entrusts to Peter is not that of barring the doors to the house, permitting entry only to a few select guests, but of helping everyone to find the way to enter, in faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus," Pope Francis said after celebrating Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

Pope: Anointing of the sick offers strength to those seriously ill, elderly

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The sacrament of the anointing of the sick is not just for those who are nearing the end of their life, Pope Francis said. "Let us remember that the anointing of the sick is one of the 'sacraments of healing,' of 'restoration,' that heals the spirit," the pope said in a video message released July 2 by the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network.

Do not be afraid to seek God where life is degraded, discarded, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God is present in the "dark corners" of local communities and in people's lives, Pope Francis said. "His presence reveals itself precisely in the faces marked by suffering and where degradation seems to triumph," the pope said in his homily at Mass in the northern Italian city of Trieste July 7. "God's infinity is concealed in human misery, the Lord stirs and becomes present, he becomes a friendly presence precisely in the wounded flesh of the least, the forgotten and the discarded," he said.