Preceded by young people and clergy waving tall palm branches, Pope Francis began his Holy Week liturgies by encouraging people to ask themselves which personality in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection they resemble most.
Leading a penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis surprised his liturgical adviser by going to confession during the service.
Pope Francis told a group of young people to be honest with themselves and others and figure out what they hold dear: money and pride or the desire to do good.
He also told them he has made plenty of mistakes in life, being guilty of being too bossy and stubborn.
“They say mankind is the only animal that falls in the same well twice,” he said.
Through the sacrament of matrimony, married couples are called to be living icons of God’s love in the world, Pope Francis said; and when they fight — and all couples do — they don’t have “to call the United Nations,” but find simple words and gestures to say they are sorry.
On the feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of the universal church and Jesus’ earthly father, Pope Francis urged all dads in the world to stick by their children’s side, teaching them, guiding them and loving them.
Understanding God’s commandments and church doctrine is useless if those truths aren’t put into practice, Pope Francis said.
If you haven’t been to confession recently, don’t wait, Pope Francis told people at his weekly general audience. One may walk into the confessional with a heavy heart, but forgiveness brings freedom and lightness.
The “poor in spirit,” the pure and the merciful, whom Jesus described as “blessed,” are the same people the world considers to be “losers,” Pope Francis told Catholic young people.
It’s so important to go to Mass every Sunday because that’s where people receive Christ who saves, forgives and unites everyone to his father, church and each other, Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis called on all Catholics to welcome, serve and respect life, whether still unborn or approaching its natural end.
While Christian unity will be a gift from God, it won’t drop miraculously from the sky but will be given to the followers of Christ step by step as they walk together and work together, Pope Francis said.
Addressing the Vatican court primarily responsible for hearing requests for marriage annulments, Pope Francis said judges on church tribunals should show “imperturbable and impartial balance” as well as the “delicacy and humanity proper to a pastor of souls.”