May 19, 2014 - Pope Francis on Sunday urged pilgrims and visitors in Rome’s St.
Peter’s Square to pray for those affected by severe flooding across the Balkans as
floodwaters triggered more than 3,000 landslides, laying waste to entire towns and
villages forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes in the worst flooding
in more than a 100 years. “As I entrust to the Lord the victims of this disaster,
I express my personal closeness to those in tribulation,” the Pope told some 50,000
faithful after the weekly midday ‘Regina Coeli’ prayer. “Let us pray together the
Our Lady for these brothers and sisters, who are in many difficulties,” the Pope
said and recited a ‘Hail Mary’ with them.
The Holy Father also recalled Saturday’s
beatification of Romanian bishop Anton Durcovici, who was martyred for the faith
under the Communist regime in 1951. “Together with the faithful of (the city of)
Iasi and the whole of Romania, we thank God for this example!” he exclaimed.
the ‘Regina Coeli’, the Pope briefly reflected on the apostles’ method of solving
problems in the Church, without exacerbating the situation by backbiting, envy and
jealousy. He was commenting on Sunday’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles about
the first tensions and disagreements emerging in the early Church, struggling to care
for the growing community. The presence of ethnic differences between Hebrews and
Greeks in the early Christian community led to “complaints, rumors of favoritism and
unequal treatment.” This happens also in our parishes, the Pope noted. The apostles
took the situation in hand, convoked a broad meeting, including the disciples, and
solved the problem by seeking advice, discussing, and praying. This is how problems
in the Church are resolved, convinced that gossip, envy, jealousy can never lead us
to concord, harmony or peace,” Pope Francis said. There are always problems
in life, and they are never solved by pretending that they do not exist. With “frank
discussion” they arrive at a “division of labor.” They decide the apostles will devote
themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, while seven men, deacons, will
provide service at the tables for the poor. The men who were chosen as deacons were
not necessarily “experts,” but were “honest men of good reputation, full of the Spirit
and of wisdom; and constituted in their service through the laying on of hands by
the apostles.” The Pope urged all to allow the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us to
harmony, to unity and respect for different gifts and talents. Therefore, “No backbiting,
no envy, no jealousy! You get it?” the Pope insisted.