The eight most important poling companies attribute a range of votes between 54.32% and 55.77% to Widodo. His rival, supported by the Islamists: "They are trying to make it look like we lost". Fear of possible street unrest spreads among the population. The armed forces promise "zero tolerance".
Francis celebrates the Chrism Mass, which precedes the beginning of the Easter Triduum. To the priests Francis proposes faces of the "crowd" that surrounds, follows, admires Jesus. "In the soul of the people the desire to follow Jesus is awakened, arousing admiration, discernment".
Two months after the signing of the important document on "Human Fraternity", the "House of the Abrahamic family" and a fund to finance cultural activities on coexistence were founded. The search for a tolerant Islam, which avoids Wahhabism and Western liberalism. The pontiff has aroused much curiosity among Muslims. But there are still situations of violence and humiliation towards Christian workers.
During Holy Week, by praying "the Our Father, we can ask for one of these graces: to live our days for the glory of God, that is to live with love; to know how to entrust ourselves to the Father in trials and to say 'dad' to the Father and to find forgiveness and the courage to forgive in enountering the Father. Francis again recalled the fire of Notre-Dame: "the work of reconstruction: it can be a choral work, for the praise and glory of God".
Card Ravasi notes that “at a religious level the dialogue between the official Church and the so-called underground Church has begun,” so "What will happen during the Expo will be a different kind of dialogue, purely cultural. Its task is to create an atmosphere in which it is possible to speak a little more about possible exchange, not only in the religious sphere, but also in the fields of art, culture and scientific research."
Disbelief and sadness at the "terrible fire that devastated the cathedral of Notre Dame, a symbol of Christianity in France and the world".
Persecution and martyrdom are signs of today's Christians. In Holy Week, we should remember our commitment to evangelization. Even as a minority.
Francis met with members of Italy’s National Amateur League, a football (soccer) association, on the 60th anniversary of its foundation, telling them that overcoming “all the walls that unjustly divide people” is a goal that can be achieved “by promoting the involvement and appreciation of everyone on the basis of a team spirit that is the true hope of humanity.”
Over the past three months, a number of youths took part in intensive lessons on the catechesis and religious life. In Tân Việt parish, the baptised thanked priests, catechists and faithful. Thousands of faithful took part in spiritual retreats and moments of prayer organised by the Redemptorist fathers.
In Lanzhou another priest forcibly taken away. A church destroyed in Xiangtao (Hubei). Underground priests do not feel safe: they can disappear at any time. The faithful are holding a sit-in from this morning in front of the local government office.
In the moment of triumph and in that of the Passion, Jesus rejects the temptation of the Evil One. For today's Youth Day the invitation "to young people and to all" to pray the Rosary for peace, "especially for peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East".
Wayne, Autumn and Joseph have been held at their hotel for six days. The US embassy in Laos was informed and is following the case. A local Christian group is trying to help the three. The authorities of the Buddhist country consider Christianity a "foreign religion". The government does not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
According to the PIME priest, isolation is main challenge that awaits the missions in northern Thailand. PIME runs four centres in Fang, Ban Thoet Thai, Mae Suay and Ngao. Fr Ribolini will leave Ban Thoet Thai for Mae Suay after Easter. "As soldiers of the Kingdom of God, we missionaries must be ready to go where the Lord and his Church send us,” he said.
Receiving the Archicofradia de la Virgen de la Cinta of Tortosa, Francis emphasized that "Living in this way, as united brothers and sisters, supposes effort and renunciation, but I assure you that it is worth it, because it is a sign before a society that is often divided, though it may be outdated now, it has always been and remains a social sin to be divided”.
At the end of the spiritual retreat in the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis called on South Sudan’s civil and Church authorities present to pay attention to the gaze of God and the people. He urges them to “reflect on our own lives and the common mission the Lord has entrusted to us”. The civil war that followed independence has left 400,000 people dead. Currently some seven million people suffer extreme hunger, whilst four million are refugees. The retreat was held on the day Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir was removed from power. The pope donated a copy of the Bible to participants.