Pope at Audience: Prayer is rudder to guide course of our lives

At the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis says Jesus shows us that we must pray early, often, and in silence, and urges everyone to pray for those who are ill with Covid-19 and the medical personnel working to treat them.

By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis began his Wednesday General Audience noting that the event must “unfortunately” be held once again in the library of the Apostolic Palace without the presence of the faithful.

He called it a reminder of the importance of respecting the directives laid out by political and health authorities.

He also invited everyone to pray for those who are ill with Covid-19 and for the medical personnel working hard to treat them.

“Let us offer the Lord this distance between us, for the good of all,” he said. “And let us think often about the ill, those who are already considered left behind. Let us think about doctors, nurses, volunteers, and the many people who are working with the sick right now, who risk their lives but do it out of love, their vocation, and love for their neighbor. Let us pray for them.”

Mysterious reality

The Pope then continued his catechesis on Jesus’ example of prayer.

“Jesus’ prayer is a mysterious reality, of which we intuit only something, but which allows us to interpret His entire mission from the right perspective.”

Jesus, added the Pope, immersed Himself often in intimacy with God the Father, “in the Love that every soul thirsts for.”

Rudder that guides His course

Pope Francis focused his reflections on a passage in the Gospel of Mark (1:32,34-38), in which Jesus heals many sick people late one evening before rising early to pray in a deserted place alone.

After the disciples find Jesus to say the whole village of Capernaum is looking for Him, Jesus declares that He must preach to the other towns as well.

“Prayer is the rudder that guides Jesus’ course.”

This, said the Pope, means that Jesus lets God guide His path, and not the desires and adulation of others.

He went on to draw four lessons from Jesus’ witness of prayer.

Dawning of the day

Jesus, said Pope Francis, teaches us above all that prayer should be “the first desire of the day.”

“A day lived without prayer risks transforming into a bothersome or tedious experience: all that happens to us could turn into a badly endured and blind fate.”

However, Jesus demonstrates the need to be obedient and to listen, since prayer is first of all “an encounter with God.”

“The problems of everyday life, then, do not become obstacles, but appeals from God Himself to listen  to and encounter those who are in front of us.”


Secondly, said the Pope, Jesus teaches us that prayer is an art that must be practiced “with insistence.”

Though anyone can pray sporadically, Jesus reminds us that prayer requires discipline, practice, and constant effort.

“Consistent prayer produces a progressive transformation, makes us strong in times of tribulation, gives us the grace to be supported by Him who loves us and always protects us.”

Solitary and silent

Thirdly, Jesus’ prayer is always solitary.

“Those who pray do not escape from the world, but prefer deserted places.”

In the silence of prayer, said Pope Francis, our innermost desires and truths emerge into the light.

But most importantly, he added, silence is where God speaks. “Every person needs a space for him- or herself, to be able to cultivate the inner life, where actions find meaning.”

To and fro in God

Finally, Pope Francis said, prayer as taught by Jesus is the place where we find that “everything comes from God and returns to Him.”

He noted that prayer helps us to rediscover “the right dimension in our relationship with God, our Father, and with all creation.”

Peace and joy, concluded the Pope, is what we will find if we follow Jesus’ example of prayer.


Pope Francis holds the General Audience in the Vatican Apostolic Library

Bangladesh Catholic hospitals treat Covid-19 patients with Pope’s ventilators

Three ventilators donated by Pope Francis are being used in Catholic hospitals in Dhaka, Dinajpur and Jessore.

The Catholic Church of Bangladesh has expressed its gratitude to Pope Francis for donating three ventilators in the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Donated through the Apostolic Nuncio, a ventilator was sent to Dhaka and the others were sent to two Catholic hospitals in Dinajpur and Jessore.

The Holy See’s Press Office had announced on June 26 that the Pope had donated 35 ventilators to 13 countries with fragile healthcare systems, as a gesture of his closeness and support in their fight against the Covid-19 virus. 

Among the beneficiaries Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.  

Pope’s gift a blessing

Father Kamal Corraya, Executive Director of the St. John Vianney Hospital in Dhaka, which received one of the ventilators, said the Pope’s gift for their intensive care unit has been a blessing. “It will be very useful for assisting coronavirus patients,” he told the Vatican’s Fides news agency. 

Their hospital’s medical team, Fr. Corraya said, keeps in touch with Covid-19 positive patients at home and advises, motivates and provides them with necessary instructions, which is of great help especially to the poorest.  The hospital provides medical care to anyone who asks.

Dr Edward Pallab Rozario, a Catholic doctor at the hospital, also expressed his gratitude to the Pope.  “The gift of the Holy See is a blessing and is really precious for the small Christian community in Bangladesh,” he told Fides. 

In agreement with the Health Department of the Government of Bangladesh, St. John Vianney Hospital collects samples of swab tests and sends them for analysis to the state Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research. Over the past few months, the Catholic hospital has been regularly carrying out hundreds of swab tests.  It is opening a new operating room soon. 

Hospital’s history

The hospital has been active since November 2019, when Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka, inaugurated it in the presence of the civil and religious authorities. It is located in one of the busiest areas of the city and near the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, which has about 15,000 faithful, including local Catholics and migrants.

On April 29, the facility was temporarily closed down and the entire staff of over 60 employees was placed in self-quarantine after 22 medical staff tested positive for Covid-19. After their recovery, the hospital resumed its activity fully.

In Bangladesh, the Catholic Church manages 12 hospitals, 78 dispensaries, 6 leper hospitals, 15 homes for the elderly and the disabled. (Source: Fides)


A ventilator being tested on a person. (AFP or licensors)

‘The Church is for life’, Francis tells Catholic physicians

Vatican City, May 28, 2018 / 10:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Ideologies which do not acknowledge and uphold the dignity of human life must be resisted and the Catholic Church’s teaching on life affirmed, Pope Francis told a group of Catholic doctors Monday.

“The Church is for life, and her concern is that nothing is against life in the reality of a concrete existence, however weak or defenseless, even if not developed or not advanced,” the pope said May 28 in the Vatican’s papal hall.

He noted the “hardships and difficulties” physicians may face when they are faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, particularly when they promote and defend human life “from its conception to its natural end.”

“The tendency to debase the sick man as a machine to be repaired, without respect for moral principles, and to exploit the weakest by discarding what does not correspond to the ideology of efficiency and profit must be resisted.”

Pope Francis spoke with members of the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Physicians ahead of a congress on the theme of “Holiness of life and the medical profession, from Humanae vitae to Laudato si’” in Zagreb, Croatia May 30-June 2.

Addressing the group, he praised the fidelity of their associations to the directives of the Magisterium and encouraged them to “continue with serenity and determination on this path.”

To be a Catholic doctor means to feel driven by “faith and from communion with the Church” to grow in Christian and professional formation and to know the laws of nature in order “to better serve life,” he said, stressing that the participation of Catholic physicians in the life and mission of the Church is “so necessary.”

Francis noted that the health and medical fields are a part of the advance of the “technocratic cultural paradigm,” which adores human power without limits and makes everything irrelevant if it does not serve a person’s own interests.

“Be more and more aware that today it is necessary and urgent that the action of the Catholic physician presents itself with an unmistakable clarity on the level of personal and associative testimony,” he urged.

He also encouraged working together with professionals of other religious convictions who also recognize the dignity of the human person, and with priests and religious who work in the healthcare field.

Continue the journey “with joy and generosity,” he said, “in collaboration with all the people and institutions that share the love of life and endeavor to serve it in its dignity and sacredness.”



Pope asks doctors to intervene into debate about abortion, end of life and genetics

Pope Francis asked for a “more human” medicine before the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. They met with the pope before traveling to Croatia. There they will have their next congress on “Sanctity Of Life and the Medical Profession from ‘Humanae Vitae’ to ‘Laudato si’.”

“Not even the fields of medicine and health, in fact, have been spared from the advancement of the technocratic cultural paradigm, from the adoration of limitless human power and from a practical relativism, where everything becomes irrelevant if it does not serve one’s own interests.”

Pope Francis asked for doctors not to forget that a patient is a human being. He told them not to get carried away by trends that only look at the expense of care, rather than healing people and defending life.

“We must go against the tendency that degrades sick person to a machine that needs to be repaired, without respect for moral principles. It is your responsibility to work in your respective countries and internationally, intervening in specialized environments and in debates concerning legislation on sensitive ethical issues, such as ending a pregnancy, the end of life and genetic medicine.”

The International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations is made up of more than 50 associations from 66 countries, mostly from Europe and Asia. Its objective is to prepare Catholic doctors to correctly deal with complex ethical cases.

It was instituted in France in 1884, in response to the message Leo XIII delivered in his encyclical Humanum Genus. In it, the pope condemned the philosophical and moral relativism proposed by Freemasonry.