Solidarity: it’s a word easily said, but the concept itself is far harder to put into practice. In this month’s video, Pope Francis asks us to pray for more solidarity with the sick and elderly in the cities, where isolation and neglect are so easy to come by. As Christians we are called to do the opposite, not to walk on and ignore, but to stop and encounter.
This photo is doing the rounds on various Christian websites and blogs, mostly in America. It’s been online since 2014, but I’ve come across it twice in the past few days. Perhaps an indication of increasing popularity?
But what’s so special about this photo? It’s an atmospherically-lit view of the sanctuary of a Catholic church, emphasising the vertical dimension of the building. An image you can probably take in countless churches across the world (well, churches of a certain age and architectural sophistication, at least).
It’s special in only one way, and only to a select group of people. The church in the photo is the church I attend, the Cathedral Church of Saint Joseph in Groningen, seat of the bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden (well, as soon as we have one again…). The photo was uploaded on Skitterphoto, a website collecting stock photos that may be used for free (one of the reasons it has made more than a few appearances on websites and blogs).
Seeing such a familiar view pop up on different websites made me look twice and wonder what the reason behind it was. It’s not a very exciting reason, granted, but it’s a nice idea that ‘my’ church can be appreciated by people across the world. Because it is a rather nice church, to be honest.
The Catholic Church is often wrongly seen as a repressive force against women. In his video for this month, Pope Francis underlines the dignity and equality of women, asking us to take a stand against the discrimination and exploitation of women.
In this month’s video, Pope Francis asks us to pray with him for the small farmers in the world, whose work is invaluable for humankind.
Pope Francis’ prayer intention for March is for the family and especially that children may find shelter and security in theirs.
God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild animals and all the creatures that creep along the ground.’
God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that move on earth.’
In his second video about his monthly prayer intentions, Pope Francis asks us to take care of what God has freely given to us: the whole of creation. It is our responsibility, not just to use and cast aside, but to care for. We do so for ourselves, the egenrations after us, but also for creation itself: like us, it has been wanted and created by God, and as such it deserves our respect.
Every month, the Pope has special prayer intentions that he asks us to pray for with him. In this Holy Year of Mercy, these intentions also play a part in obtaining the special indulgence which also includes entering through one of the Holy Doors in the world’s cathedrals and other Jubilee churches.
Also for this Holy Year, the monthly prayer intentions come in the form of special videos, with Pope Francis narrating and appealing to us all to pray with him for, in this case, the cause of interreligious dialogue.
To be honest, sharing this video is a bit like having the Pope as a special guest on my blog.