An estimated 16,000 people have sought refuge in the cathedral compound of Wat, South Sudan, to escape the violence that is spreading through Africa’s youngest nation.
Although the cathedral cannot supply adequate food, lodging, or sanitary facilities for the displaced families, thousands flocked after being driven from their homes. “It wasn’t safe anywhere,” said Father Germano Bernardo.
Hungry, scared South Sudanese stay in cathedral compound for protection
An estimated 50,000 people gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei on May 8 for an outdoor Mass and the recitation of the Supplication to the Blessed Virgin, composed by Blessed Bartolo Longo in 1883.
Pope Francis had referred to the devotion the previous day, during his May 7 Regina Coeli address, stating that “tomorrow we will address our Supplication to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompei.”
During the outdoor Mass at the shrine, Cardinal Francesco Montenegro spoke of the importance of charity to the poor and the immigrant and lamented the wasting of food. The local bishop also discussed the charitable initiatives that take place around the shrine.
Father Antonio Arribas Hortigüela, MSC (1908-36) and six companions, martyred in Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, were beatified at the cathedral in Girona on May 6.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the Mass of beatification of the seven Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The seven were associated with a seminary and were martyred on September 29, 1936. The names of the six companions are Abundio Martín Rodríguez, José Vergara Echevarría, José-Oriol Isern Massó, Gumersino Gómez Rodríguez, Jesús Moreno Ruíz, and José del Amo y del Amo.
“These faithful and heroic disciples of Jesus were killed out of hatred for the faith at a time of religious persecution,” Pope Francis said on May 7 following his Regina Coeli address. “May their martyrdom, accepted out of love for God and fidelity to their vocation, awaken in the Church the desire to witness with fortitude to the Gospel of charity.”