22 International News

posted Nov 14, 2018, 7:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 7:51 AM ]

Christmas 2018 stamps

Those who are in prison are often abandoned, but they have always been close to the heart of Pope Francis who has often spoken about their situation. And this year, an inmate has received the opportunity to literally make his mark on Christmas.

The theme of prison inmates is important for the Philatelic Office of Vatican City, especially in recent years, through its participation in philatelic initiatives taking place at the Opera prison in Milan, Italy. A participant in that initiative, inmate Marcello D'Agata, designed this year's series of Vatican commemorative postage stamps for Christmas.


Pope warns Catholic journalists against pessimism

Catholic journalists should be guided not by despair and negativity, but by a commitment to sharing the beauty of the human person, Pope Francis told a group of media students recently.

How easy it is "to be carried away by common opinion, by defeatism and by a pessimism that paralyses and blinds!" the Pope said Nov. 9. Christian journalists, on the other hand, are distinguished by "your positive attitude towards the person and your professional ethics," he continued. "You do not just do a job, but fulfil an assignment and a commitment."

"We ask for parresia," the Pope said, referencing a Greek rhetorical term which means to speak boldly and candidly, adding: "We ask for the frankness that comes from the Holy Spirit, and that helps us to trust in the truth of Christ that makes us free."


Pope prays for peace with Assyrian patriarch

Pope Francis spoke about the "great suffering" that many Christians are enduring in the Middle East, and prayed for peace in the region, especially in Iraq and Syria.

The Pope was meeting with Mar Gewargis III, the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. He said many Middle Eastern Christians are following in the footsteps of Christ, as they are forced to leave their homeland to escape violence.

Pope Francis noted that the Christians fleeing persecution belong to different communities. "They are forging fraternal relationships among one another," he said, "and thus becoming, for us, witnesses of unity."

He joyfully recalled Gewargis' presence at the Day of Reflection and Prayer for Peace in the Middle East, held on July 7 in the Italian city of Bari.