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New building, new priests, saying goodbye mark 2017

For Catholics in Northwest Kansas, the biggest story of the year here came on Oct. 3, when Pope Francis announced that Bishop Edward Weisenburger would become the next bishop of Tucson, Ariz.  Nearly six years after he became bishop of the Diocese of Salina, the faithful learned he would be leaving.  On Nov. 29, he was installed as the Diocese of Tucson’s seventh bishop.

Absent a bishop, the Salina Diocese is overseen by an administrator, Father Frank Coady, who was appointed Dec. 1 by the diocesan consultors — a board of nine priests from the Salina Diocese — to serve until a new bishop is installed.

During his press converence in Tucson, Bishop Weisenburger lauded some of the diocese’s high points from 2017. The first was the opening of a new headquarters for Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas. The new building, located at 1500 S. Ninth in Salina, is more than 16,000 square feet. It more than doubles the amount of space for the organization. The new building was blessed March 25 and open for business April 3.

“We are very excited about the possibilities with our new facilities to help more people in poverty,” said Michelle Martin, executive director of Catholic Charities.  Permanent Deacon Larry Erpelding, who is the president of the Catholic Charities Board, said: “It is a new home, a home which has great promise in terms of potential for what Catholic Charities will be able to do in the future.”

The purchase of the building and the bulk of the construction was made possible by an anonymous donor.  Even though it is in a new facility, the majority of Catholic Charities’ budget continues to come from donations. 

“As we have moved away from government-supported grants, the support of donors has become even increasingly important,” Martin said. “We have been blessed by the faithful support of so many people and remain humbled and grateful.”

Another highlight of 2017 was the ordination of three men to the priesthood.  Father Leo Blasi, Father Ryan McCandless and Father Justin Palmer were ordained as priests June 3 in Sacred Heart Cathedral. The last time three were ordained to the priesthood on the same date was June 2, 1962 in the cathedral.  Father Palmer celebrated his Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Wenceslaus on June 4, exactly 55 years after his late great-uncle, Father Maurice Ptacek, offered his own Mass of Thanksgiving at the same church.

Father Don McCarthy, a priest for 58 years, was buried Dec. 4 in Cawker City

The Register

Cawker City — An overflowing crowd filled SS. Peter and Paul Church and echoed the chorus of the “Lilies of the Field” for the Great Amen during the Dec. 4 Funeral Mass for Father Don McCarthy.  Father McCarthy, who was a priest for more than 58 years, died Nov. 27.  “I gotta give him credit, the whole purpose was to get people to sing,” said Father Damian Richards during the homily. “(Lilies of the Field Amen) did what it was designed to do. That amen is proof of the hope of God. There was no way you could sing that song sadly. It’s impossible. It’s a joyful song. It reflected that joy and hope.”

More than 300 people, young and old, as well as 40 priests gathered to say goodbye to Father McCarthy.  He was a pastor, in addition to working in administration in nearly every Catholic high school in the diocese, and a few grade schools, too. In addition to parish and school duties, Father McCarthy was a high school athletics referee for 50 years.  “I asked ‘Why do you referee,’ ” Father Richards said. “He said ‘So I can be there among the people and be there among the youth.’  “I’ve met people that ‘The reason why I am Catholic is that Fr. Don was a referee while I was wrestling or while I was playing football’ … I had many who told me that.”

Father Richards reflected on the readings from the Mass.  The first reading was Isaiah 61:1-3: “God has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted.”  “A priest’s job is to proclaim the good news to the people,” Father Richards said. “Especially to let people who are lost, who have forgotten, who have never found the hope of God … to let them see God’s hope.  “Father Don preached the message of hope. He was a hopeful priest.”

The second reading was 1 Peter 5:1-4, which is often read at the ordination of priests, and encourages the listener to “tend the flock.”  “That part of being a priest, Father Don got. He understood the giving nature of the priesthood, that we are there to serve others. He understood that and worked very hard at living it out,” Father Richards said. 

He pointed out Father McCarthy was known for potluck dinners, and the congregation chuckled.  “Everybody laughs and jokes that he loves to eat and that it was the food he came for, but it wasn’t,” Father Richards said. “It was the people. That’s what he wanted to be a part of.  “The thing that Father Don knew was that a priest should be out among the people. He knew the best way to get them to church was to go out among them first.”


After the Seminary

The Register

Junction City — On the first day of school, students stream in and out of classrooms. In the hallway is the 2016-2017 Seminarian poster for the Salina Diocese. Just a few steps away, inside Room 206 is a familiar face: Alex Becker.  On Aug. 16, Becker was in St. Francis Xavier High School not as a seminarian, but as the new math teacher.  “By and large, the students have been really interested in (my experience as a seminarian) and it seems like some of them have been more willing to discuss their own interests in seminary in the future because they know it’s not an ‘If you go, you’re committed for life,’ ” Becker said. “They understand it is a process, it’s not a forever decision.”

A graduate from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Becker received a degree in statistics with the intention of working in sports statistics. Upon graduation from K-State, he headed to Conception Seminary College as a pre-theology student. As he neared the conclusion of pre-theology, he prayed about continuing on to theology school. Becker said he didn’t feel called to continue, and shared that with Co-Vocation Director Father Gale Hammerschmidt during a seminary visit.  “It worked out as a happy coincidence,” Becker said. “Father Gale had recently gotten word from their math teacher that she was taking a job elsewhere, so he was already looking for a math teacher.  “I told him I had been not feeling called to continue and he told me to continue praying about that, to make a good decision for sure. Not to rush into anything.”

Then Father Hammerschmidt mentioned the math position that was opening up at St. Francis Xavier school.  “As I prayed about it, I became more and more at peace with the idea of leaving and more and more at peace in taking the job here,” Becker said. “It would be serving the diocese as I had wanted, just in a different way.”  Because he has a college degree in math, he is enrolled in an online transition to teaching program at Fort Hays State University in Hays, which will take two years to complete.  “When I first pursued the degree (in statistics), the one thing I would not do was teach high school,” Becker said. “Any time in my life when I say ‘I’m sure this is not for me,’ it ends up being exactly where I go.”

As a teacher, he is expected to be a role model, similar to when he was a seminarian. The biggest change for him is going from a school environment where he is surrounded by peers, to instructing the students.  “Also, going from a situation where my prayer life is regimented and things are built into my schedule, I now have to take the initiative to make time for that,” Becker said. “It’s still a transition.”

Father Hammerschmidt said he is thrilled with Becker’s transition to teaching in the diocese.  “Obviously, we are disappointed when people leave the seminary, we understand it’s not a failure of the system, but that the system is actually working,” Father Hammerschmidt said. “We find it noble when someone has the courage to at least to investigate whether or not the priesthood is their call. There is no better place to discern one’s call than at the seminary.”


Statement from Bishop on Racism

Racism and bigotry are among the great evils of our age, and the resurgence of neo-Nazi and white-supremacist movements is profoundly troubling.  The follower of Jesus Christ can see something of God’s image in every human being. For this reason, people of faith must unite and speak truth to this evil in our midst.  Let us renew our firm commitment to truth, equality, and universal human dignity.

– Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger

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  • IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Paul HaringSANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) -- Where there is smoke, there is normally fire -- but not always. Journalists covering Pope Francis' visit in Santiago, Chile, added another tale Jan. 16 to their oral history of papal-trip misadventures. As a large tour bus carrying dozens of journalists passed under a bridge that was too low, the sound of breaking metal and crunching plastic filled the air. The slow-moving bus stopped. Then it went forward again, and more of the same terrible sounds were heard from the roof of the bus. Most of the journalists, photographers and TV crews working on the bus were so tired after covering six events that they didn't react immediately. Then came the smoke, which quickly began to fill the bus. "Open the door," shouted Salvatore Scolozzi, press handler with the Vatican Press Office. Within seconds, everyone had evacuated the bus. Journalists witnessed police carrying off the road large pieces of debris that previously were part of the roof of the bus. The large air conditioners on top of the bus had apparently been torn off by the impact, but nothing had fallen inside the bus. I was in the front section of the bus. When I saw the smoke, I thought there was a fire and left all my photographic gear on the bus as I evacuated. Soon after everyone got off it became clear that the bus was not on fire. The smoke was actually refrigerant spilling out under high pressure from the ripped-off air conditioners. Although there was extensive damage to roof of the bus, no one on board was injured. The mood outside the bus was lighthearted, as journalists realized that everyone was OK and that we had a great story to tell. We then walked a few blocks and were picked up by another bus. Surely it couldn't happen again. But it did. As the journalists' bus was leaving the site of the final Mass of the trip in Lima, Peru, Jan. 21, it hit an overhead sign that had been put in place just for the Mass. This time damage was light, and there was no need to evacuate. The bus moved on, and we laughed it off as just another bit of craziness on a demanding papal trip.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/Kevin Lamarque, ReutersBy Julie AsherWASHINGTON (CNS) -- In remarks broadcast to the March for Life from the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump said that his administration "will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life." He invoked the theme of this year's march, "Love Saves Lives," and praised the crowd as being very special and "such great citizens gathered in our nation's capital from many places for one beautiful cause" -- celebrating and cherishing life. "Every unborn child is a precious gift from God," he said. His remarks were interrupted several times by applause from the crowd gathered on the National Mall. He praised the pro-lifers for having "such big hearts and tireless devotion to make sure parents have the support they need to choose life." "You're living witnesses of this year's March for Life theme, 'Love Saves Lives,'" he said. His remarks were broadcast to the crowd live via satellite to a Jumbotron above the speakers' stage, a first for any U.S. president, according to March for Life. During their tenure in office, President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush all addressed the march via telephone or a radio hookup from the Oval Office, with their remarks broadcast to the crowd. Trump spoke with a crowd surrounding him in the Rose Garden, including 20 students from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. One of those standing next to the president was a Marianne Donadio, a top official with Room at the Inn, a nationally accredited Catholic ministry based in North Carolina that serves homeless, pregnant women and single mothers with children. Vice President Mike Pence, who addressed last year's March for Life in person at Trump's request, introduced the president as the "most pro-life president in American history," for among other things issuing an executive memorandum shortly after his inauguration to reinstate the "Mexico City Policy." The policy bans all foreign nongovernmental organizations receiving U.S. funds from performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. Trump also has nominated pro-life judges to fill several court vacancies and a day before the March for Life the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced formation of a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights. Its aim is to protect the conscience rights of doctors and other health care workers who do not want to perform procedures they consider morally objectionable. For the first time in a recent memory, the weather in Washington was more than tolerable for March for Life participants as they gathered on the National Mall to mark the anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. The sun was shining and the blue sky was cloudless. By the time the speeches ended and the march to the Supreme Court started, the temperature had reached 50 degrees. March officials estimated that more 100,000 were in attendance. Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, opened the rally by calling on everyone in the crowd to text the word "March" to 7305 and to show their commitment to ending abortion and join their voices in calling on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood. "Do you agree that's important?" she asked the crowd. "Yes!" they shouted. March for Life, she said, is about educating people about abortion and mobilizing to end it and to love all those women and families who are facing a troubled pregnancy and other needs. "'Love Saves Lives' is this year's theme," she added. "Love and sacrifice go hand in hand It is not easy. No one ever said it was, but it is the right choice ... the self-sacrificial option."In an interview with Catholic News Service before the march began, Mancini said that as a pro-life Catholic she believes "100 percent" in church teaching that the sanctity of all life, from conception to natural death, must be protected. But she said the annual March for Life has a singular purpose -- to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe decision legalizing abortion through nine months of pregnancy nationwide. She believes abortion is "the single most significant social justice cause of our time." As a small nonprofit with a staff of six, the March for Life organization has to "stay focused" on its mission, she said, which is to educate people about abortion and activate them to stop abortion. Mancini also told CNS she was "grateful to the leader of the free world" for deciding to address the rally from the Rose Garden.House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, was among several others who addressed the crowd from the speakers' platform. "Thank God for giving us a pro-life president in the White House," the Catholic congressman said. "Your energy is so infectious," he told the crowd, praising them for being "the vigor and enthusiasm of the pro-life movement." Seeing so many young people "is so inspiring because it tells us this a movement on the rise," he said. "Why is the pro-life movement on the rise? Because truth is on our side. Life begins at conception. Science is on our side." Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Washington, gave an emotional speech about the troubled pregnancy she faced about four years ago. She and her husband, Dan, were told their unborn child had severe defects, that the baby's kidneys would never develop and the lungs were undeveloped because of a rare condition. Abortion was their only option, they were told. Today, that baby is 4-year-old Abigail. She and her younger brother and their father stood on the stage with the congresswoman. "Dan and I prayer and we cried (at the news of their unborn child's condition) ... and in that devastation we saw hope. What if God would do a miracle? What if a doctor was willing to try something new? Like saline infusions to mimic amniotic fluid so kidneys could develop?" she recalled. With "true divine intervention and some very courageous doctors willing to take a risk we get to experience our daughter, Abigail," Herrera Beutler said. She is a very "healthy, happy 4-year-old big sister who some day is going to be 'the boss of mommy's work,'" she said. Herrera Beutler asked the crowd to imagine that 45 years of legal abortion had not existed and that 60 million babies had not been lost to abortion, and if out of those people had come those who could cure cancer and correct all manner of disabling conditions, including those that exist in utero, and eradicate poverty. "What richness we would we get to see instead of two generations missing," she added. Another Catholic member of Congress and longtime pro-life advocate, Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, described the last 45 years of legal abortion as Orwellian. "Every one of you here today" and millions of others throughout the country and world, he said, "are an integral part of the greatest human rights struggle on earth. Because we pray, because we fast, we will win. Babies will be protected."- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Denis Balibouse ReutersBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Global leaders must implement policies that support the family and offer real opportunities for the growth and development of all people, Pope Francis told people attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "If we want a more secure future, one that encourages the prosperity of all, then it is necessary to keep the compass continually oriented toward 'true North,' represented by authentic values," he wrote. "Now is the time to take courageous and bold steps for our beloved planet. This is the right moment to put into action our responsibility to contribute to the development of humanity," he told corporate and political leaders. The pope's message was read at the meeting Jan. 22 by Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The annual meeting in Davos brought together people representing business, government, academia and media to discuss the theme, "Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World." They were to address topics such as sustainable development and inclusive economies as well as challenges posed by cyberattacks and divisive "narratives." In his written message, the pope said, "we are increasingly aware that there is a growing fragmentation between states and institutions." The pope told world leaders and global executives that they must confront both new and lingering problems and challenges, such as unemployment, poverty, economic and social inequality, and new forms of slavery. "It is vital to safeguard the dignity of the human person, in particular by offering to all people real opportunities for integral human development and by implementing economic policies that favor the family," he said. "We cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering of millions of people whose dignity is wounded," he said, adding that it is a moral imperative for everyone "to create the right conditions to allow each person to live in a dignified manner." "By rejecting a 'throwaway' culture and a mentality of indifference, the entrepreneurial world has enormous potential to effect substantial change by increasing the quality of productivity, creating new jobs, respecting labor laws, fighting against public and private corruption and promoting social justice, together with the fair and equitable sharing of profits," the pope said. "There is a grave responsibility to exercise wise discernment, for the decisions made will be decisive for shaping the world of tomorrow and that of future generations," he added. - - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM PERU (CNS) -- Pope Francis apologized to victims of clergy sex abuse, saying he unknowingly wounded them by the way he defended a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse by his mentor. Speaking with journalists on his flight to Rome from Lima, Peru, Jan. 21, the pope said he only realized later that his words erroneously implied that victims' accusations are credible only with concrete proof. "To hear that the pope says to their face, 'Bring me a letter with proof,' is a slap in the face," the pope said. Pope Francis was referring to a response he gave in Iquique, Chile, Jan. 18 when local reporters asked about his support for Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, given accusations that the bishop may have been aware of abuse perpetrated by his former mentor, Father Fernando Karadima. The priest was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys. "The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak. There is not one piece of evidence against him. It is calumny. Is that clear?" the pope had told the reporters in Iquique. His response provoked further outrage, especially from Father Karadima's victims who said the pope's response made his earlier apologies for the church's failure to protect sex abuse victims seem hollow. Asked about the incident during the flight back to Rome, Pope Francis said he meant to use the word "evidence," not "proof." The way he phrased his response, he said, caused confusion and was "not the best word to use to approach a wounded heart." "Of course, I know that there are many abused people who cannot bring proof (or) they don't have it," he said. "Or at times they have it but they are ashamed and cover it up and suffer in silence. The tragedy of the abused is tremendous." However, the pope told reporters on the papal flight that he still stood firmly behind his defense of Bishop Barros, because he was "personally convinced" of the bishop's innocence after the case was investigated twice with no evidence emerging. Pope Francis said that while "covering up abuse is an abuse in itself," if he punished Bishop Barros without moral certainty, "I would be committing the crime of a bad judge." During the inflight news conference, Pope Francis answered eight questions over the course of an hour, although the conference was interrupted by turbulence, which forced the pope to sit for about five minutes. As he did in November on his return from Bangladesh, he said he only wanted to respond to questions related to the trip. Pope Francis told reporters he appreciated the statement made Jan. 20 by Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, acknowledging the pain survivors of abuse felt because of the pope's statement about Bishop Barros. "Words that convey the message 'If you cannot prove your claims then you will not be believed' abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity and relegate survivors to discredited exile," the cardinal wrote. He also said, "Pope Francis fully recognizes the egregious failures of the church and its clergy who abused children and the devastating impact those crimes have had on survivors and their loved ones." The pope said he was grateful for Cardinal O'Malley's statement because it struck the right balance between listing what he has done to show his support for sex abuse victims and the pain experienced by victims because of the pope's remarks. Pope Francis also spoke about the scandal-plagued Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a Catholic movement based in Peru. The movement's founder, Luis Fernando Figari, has been accused of the sexual and psychological abuse of members; he has been ordered by the Vatican to remain in Rome and not have any contact with the movement. "He declared himself innocent of the charges against him," Pope Francis told reporters, and he has appealed his cause to the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's supreme court. According to the information the pope has received, he said, "the verdict will be released in less than a month." Pope Francis also was asked about the status of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which he set up in 2014. The three-year terms of its members expired in December and some have questioned whether child protection really is a priority when the commission's membership was allowed to lapse. Before the terms ended, he said, the members decided to recommend who should serve a second term and offering the names of possible new members. The final list, he said, arrived on his desk a week before the trip began "and now it is going through the normal channels in the Curia. - - - Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Barbara J. FraserLIMA, Peru (CNS) -- Pope Francis took his message of hope to this sprawling, dusty capital of Peru, celebrating Mass within view of the rocky, waterless Andean slopes where most of the city's poorest residents live. The day's Scripture readings, in which Jonah was sent to Nineveh and Jesus set out toward Galilee, "reveal a God who turns his gaze toward cities, past and present," the pope said in his homily. Crowds lined the pope's route to the Las Palmas military base, where thousands of people arrived during the night and throughout the morning to participate in the Mass. Lima's heat and blazing sun did not wither the spirits of the estimated 1.3 million Mass attendees, who chanted and sang as they waited for the liturgy to begin. Mariana Costa of Lima felt fortunate. She had missed a chance to see Pope Francis in Poland, she said, "and now I have the opportunity to see him in my own country." As a young adult, she was touched by his words to youth. "Ultimately, we're the ones who have to work to make sure this faith is not lost," she said. Sister Maria Lucero of Lima was struck by three messages the pope had for the priests, religious and seminarians with whom he met in Trujillo the day before. "He said to remember what we are (and spoke of) joy and gratitude to God for everything we have and do not deserve," she said. His words kindled a desire to renew her efforts, "because the people here need it," she said. The scores of concelebrants included Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, who was in Lima to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Boston-based Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, whose priests have worked in many Latin American countries, including Peru. Cardinal O'Malley had spoken out Jan. 20 about Pope Francis' defense of a Chilean bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse. The cardinal said he understood why victims were hurt by the pope's words. The place where Pope Francis presided at the liturgy is not far from the vast neighborhood of Villa El Salvador, where Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in 1985, when it was a dusty shantytown in which community leaders, many of whom were active in parishes, were threatened by terrorist violence. The poorest neighborhoods form rings around Lima and other Latin American cities, as people migrate from other parts of the country in search of opportunities. Most build their own houses bit by bit, sometimes in hazardous areas vulnerable to disasters, like the unusual rains in early 2017 that left thousands homeless on the east side of Lima and in cities such as Trujillo, which the pope visited Jan. 20. The majority also work in the informal economy, eking out a living with day labor, selling goods in markets or working in small, family-run businesses with no health insurance, pension or vacation time. The pope spoke to them when he talked of "our cities, with their daily situations of pain and injustice," which "can leave us tempted to flee, to hide, to run away." While some people can to build their lives, others are left "living on the fringes of our cities and lacking the conditions needed for a dignified existence," he said. "It is painful to realize that among these 'urban remnants' all too often we see the faces of children and adolescents. We look at the face of the future." Seeing those things, people may be tempted to become "indifferent, anonymous and deaf to others, cold and hard of heart," he said. Jesus, who entered Galilee upon hearing of John the Baptist's arrest, and shows a different way to respond, he said. Jesus "began to sow the seed of a great hope," and the rippling effect of that joy and good news has been passed down through the apostles and saints, including St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin of Porres, whose relics he venerated in the morning, Pope Francis said. "It has come to us as a timely antidote to the globalization of indifference," he said. "In the face of that love, one cannot remain indifferent." Walking through the city with his disciples, Jesus saw people who had "given up in the face of indifference, laid low by the grave sin of corruption," Pope Francis said. "He begins to bring light to many situations that had killed the hope of his people and to awaken a new hope." Jesus taught his disciples to see things they had overlooked before and to notice new needs, he said. "The kingdom of heaven means finding in Jesus a God who gets involved with the lives of his people." His words rang especially true after six days in which he raised issues such as corruption, rapacious consumerism, environmental devastation, organized crime, violence against women and industrial activities such as mining and industrial agriculture, which strip indigenous peoples of their lands and livelihoods. As he often does, the pope challenged bishops and clergy to avoid clericalism and walk closely with the people. He called on government officials to listen to and respond to the needs of native peoples, youth, the elderly and children. Jesus "continues to walk on our streets. He knocks today, as he did yesterday, on our doors and hearts, in order to rekindle the flame of hope," the pope told the throng of Mass-goers. "Today the Lord calls each of you to walk with him in the city, in your city. He invites you to become his missionary disciple, so you can become part of that great whisper that wants to keep echoing in the different corners of our lives: Rejoice, the Lord is with you!" - - - Follow Fraser on Twitter: @Barbara_Fraser.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.