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posted Jan 10, 2018, 11:55 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 10, 2018, 11:55 PM ]

Leave your comfort zone to find Jesus

CNA

Pope Francis marked the Feast of the Epiphany by encouraging the faithful to imitate the actions of the Magi, who weren’t attached to worldly comforts, but were willing to go out and take risks in order to find Jesus.

“Setting out, the second thing the Magi do, is essential if we are to find Jesus,” the Pope said Jan. 6 - the Feast of the Epiphany.

“His star demands a decision to take up the journey and to advance tirelessly on our way,” he said. “It demands that we free ourselves from useless burdens and unnecessary extras that only prove a hindrance, and accept unforeseen obstacles along the map of life.”

Jesus, the Pope said, allows Himself to be found by those who are looking for Him; however, in order to find Him ourselves, “we need to get up and go, not sit around but take risks, not stand still, but set out.”

“Jesus makes demands: He tells those who seek Him to leave behind the armchair of worldly comforts and the reassuring warmth of hearth and home.”

Pope Francis noted that “setting out” isn’t always easy, as can be seen by various characters in the Gospel, including Herod, who organised meetings and sent people to gather information about the royal birth that had been prophesied, but himself “does not budge; he stays locked up in his palace.”

Even the priests and scribes, who had the ancient texts and knew the prophesy, were able to tell Herod exactly where to go, yet made no move themselves. 

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Indigenous peoples of the Amazon await Pope Francis

VATICAN NEWS

Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the Peruvian city of Puerto Maldonado will undoubtedly give visibility and voice to the indigenous people of the Amazon.

In an interview published by the Pan-Amazonian Church Network – Repam – Fr Manuel Jesus Romero of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Maldonado said the Amazon’s indigenous people have an urgent need to make their rights known, as they are increasingly pushed from their ancestral lands.

Indigenous people of the Amazon increasingly at risk

“Their territory is increasingly being invaded, their space is becoming smaller and smaller; the livelihoods with which they have survived for so many centuries are being destroyed: fishing, hunting, trees and rivers are more and more in danger. Therefore, their lives are in danger,” he said.

Pope Francis’ arrival in the city of Puerto Maldonado, a symbol of Peru’s Amazon indigenous communities, is scheduled to take place on January 19. Here the Pope will receive representatives of different Amazon communities who will be able to voice their concerns and listen to the Pope’s message of hope and encouragement.

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Digital organ at St Peter's

VATICAN NEWS

“New demands require new solutions,” according to Msgr Massimo Palombella, Director of the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir. The new digital organ made its debut on the evening of December 24, 2017 as Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Mass in St Peter’s Basilica. The state-of-the-art digital organ was donated by the Allen Organ Company, a market leader in the United States for the last 70 years.

Despite the presence of this new, digital organ for large celebrations, the traditional – and beautiful – pipe organ remains irreplaceable for events held at the Altar of the Chair. “It is truly perfect for that space in all its breadth, through the real sound of the pipes, without requiring amplification,” Msgr. Palombella said.

Up to now, the musical production of the pipe organ had been picked up by microphones and rebroadcast digitally throughout the Basilica and St Peter’s Square. This method, however, caused inevitable frequency distortion, and quite a few problems related to background noise. The problem of filling St Peter’s Basilica with organ music came about only after the Second Vatican Council.

“Before Vatican II,” Msgr. Palombella explains, “papal celebrations were held in the Sistine Chapel, and the problem with broadcasting internationally or using microphones didn’t yet exist. Above all, there wasn’t even a pipe organ. Celebrations in St Peter’s Basilica took place, and still do, at the Altar of the Chair, and the pipe organ is perfect for this acoustic space.

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