There was even more joy than usual at Pope Francis’ weekly general audience on Wednesday in Rome. “It was celebratory as ever! With the Holy Father’s birthday just a few days away, everyone was in an extra special mood of celebration today. And as the Holy Father entered into the Paul VI Audience Hall for the audience today, he was handed cards—even cakes—in anticipation of his birthday on the 17th,” says Ashley Noronha, Relevant Radio Rome Correspondent.
Pope Francis has been “contemplating the Eucharist” during his recent Wednesday audiences, and this week spoke specifically about why we go to Mass. “We go to mass to encounter Christ. Why? Because Christ is living, and it’s there that we receive grace from Him. We also receive joy. And he said we need these things, because they give us the strength to continue on as Catholics and to put His commandments into love and to practice them every day.”
“Reality is, many cultures, many secular societies have lost the true meaning of Sunday. And they don’t even see Sunday as a day of rest at the very least. [Pope Francis] reminded us that we have to understand Sunday as not only this opportunity to spend time with the Lord in the Holy Mass, but it’s an opportunity to show our dignity as children of God, as he said, not as slaves,” says Noronha.