CWN - The Eastern Catholic churches “should be kept and preserved” through current crises, Pope Francis said in a June 22 address to the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO).

In his address the Holy Father observed that the Eastern Catholic churches have endured “terrible waves of persecution and suffering, both in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.” The churches of Eastern Europe have been freed from oppression under Communism, he observed, but in the Middle East—and particularly in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt—Christians still “suffer as a result of the ongoing war and the senseless violence perpetrated by fundamentalist terrorism.”

The Pope thanked ROACO for its support for the Eastern churches, saying that the survival of these Christian communities is “encouraging pilgrimage to the roots of the faith.” He remarked that in many countries, “Christians—be they Catholics, Orthodox, or Protestant—shed their blood as a seal of their witness.”

Pope Francis also made the observation that immigration has weakened the Christian presence “in the territories where they had flourished for centuries.” He offered the hope that Christians, “if forced to emigrate, be welcomed in the places where they arrive, and continue to live according to their own ecclesial tradition.”

Reflecting on the topic for discussion at the ROACO meeting—the formation of candidates for the priesthood—the Pope said that the Church recognizes “the radical nature of the choice expressed by many of them, and the heroism of their testimony of dedication alongside their often sorely tried communities.”

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Teachings of Christ

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Resurrection

Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The Holy Eucharist is the first, most important, and greatest miracle of Christ. All the other Gospel miracles are secondary. How could we not call the greatest miracle the fact that simple bread and wine were once transformed by the Lord into His very Body and His very Blood, and then have continued to be transformed for nearly two thousand years by the prayers of priests, who are but simple human beings? And what is more, this mystery has continued to effect a miraculous change in those people who communicate of the Divine Mysteries with faith and humility. 

St. Ambrose of Optina