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Pope Francis begins DR Congo, South Sudan visit

Pope Francis sets off on his 40th Apostolic Journey abroad to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan for an ecumenical pilgrimage centred on peace and reconciliation, marking his 5th Apostolic Journey to Africa.

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UN refugee chief encouraged by Pope in the quest for just migration policies

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees speaks about the far-reaching refugee crises in DRC and South Sudan, two nations waiting to welcome Pope Francis, and about lessons learnt by Europe in dealing with Ukrainian refugees. He also describes the "moral booster" he received from Pope Francis whom he met in the Vatican on Monday morning.

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Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Heb 11:32-40

Brothers and sisters:
What more shall I say?
I have not time to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah,
of David and Samuel and the prophets,
who by faith conquered kingdoms, 
did what was righteous, obtained the promises;
they closed the mouths of lions, put out raging fires,
escaped the devouring sword;
out of weakness they were made powerful, became strong in battle,
and turned back foreign invaders.
Women received back their dead through resurrection.
Some were tortured and would not accept deliverance,
in order to obtain a better resurrection.
Others endured mockery, scourging, even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword’s point;
they went about in skins of sheep or goats,
needy, afflicted, tormented.
The world was not worthy of them.
They wandered about in deserts and on mountains,
in caves and in crevices in the earth.

Yet all these, though approved because of their faith,
did not receive what had been promised.
God had foreseen something better for us,
so that without us they should not be made perfect.

Responsorial Ps 31:20, 21, 22, 23, 24

R.    (25)  Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
How great is the goodness, O LORD,
    which you have in store for those who fear you,
And which, toward those who take refuge in you,
    you show in the sight of the children of men.
R.    Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
    from the plottings of men;
You screen them within your abode
    from the strife of tongues.
R.    Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Blessed be the LORD whose wondrous mercy
    he has shown me in a fortified city. 
R.    Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Once I said in my anguish,
    “I am cut off from your sight”;
Yet you heard the sound of my pleading
    when I cried out to you.
R.    Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Love the LORD, all you his faithful ones!
    The LORD keeps those who are constant,
    but more than requites those who act proudly.
R.    Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.



Alleluia Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 5:1-20

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!”
(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”)
He asked him, “What is your name?”
He  replied, “Legion is my name.  There are many of us.”
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
“Send us into the swine.  Let us enter them.”
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
“Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Abp. Welby asks for prayers ahead of Ecumenical Pilgrimage to South Sudan

Ahead of the historic joint visit to South Sudan with Pope Francis and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Archbishop of Canterbury urges people to pray for South Sudanese people enduring ongoing conflict and famine.

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Pope Francis entrusts his journey to DRC and South Sudan to Our Lady

Pope Francis visits the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, where he entrusts his upcoming journey to DRC and South Sudan to Our Lady.

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Pope names missionary bishop to head Dicastery for Bishops

Pope Francis has named Robert Francis Prevost, an Augustinian missionary who has been serving as Bishop of Chiclayo in Peru, as the new prefect for the Dicastery of Bishops. Bishop Prevost succeeds Cardinal Marc Ouellet, both as prefect and as president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

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Pope’s February prayer intention: For parishes to be open communities

Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for the month of February, in which he asks parishes to be generous and open communities close to all.

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Cardinal Grech: There is no synod without a bishop

In an interview with Vatican Radio, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Mario Grech, explains the role of the Bishops in the synodal process, and why it is important to highlight that role at this stage in the synodal process.

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Pope to Order of Malta: Go forth in your mission while remaining faithful to Christ

Pope Francis addresses the Sovereign Order of Malta at the conclusion of their General Chapter and encourages them to go forth in their mission after the election of new High Offices, whilst remaining always faithful to Christ.

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Letter from Synod leaders highlights crucial role of Bishops in synodal process

In a letter addressed to all the diocesan and eparchial bishops throughout the world, the General Secretary and the General Relator of the Synod offer considerations on the role of Bishops in the synodal process.

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