Homebody, soccer fan, tango-lover, some papal pastimes revealed

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Here are a few of Pope Francis' favorite things, which he revealed in a series of interviews granted while he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.
The interviews are in the book, "Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio" by Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti, which was originally published in 2010 under the title "El Jesuita" ("The Jesuit"). It is not yet available in English.

Favorite sports: When he was young, the future pope played basketball, but he loved going to the stadium to watch soccer with his whole family to see their favorite team, San Lorenzo. He lamented that the fan scene is not what it used to be. At the worst, "people would yell at the referee that he was a bum, a scoundrel, a sellout ... nothing in comparison to the epithets they use today," he said.


Pope: Confession is place to experience mercy, grace

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In his first seven homilies, Pope Francis repeatedly talked about mercy and grace, recounting anecdotes about asking God for forgiveness and ensuring people that God always is ready to welcome them back.

When he had lunch on Holy Thursday with seven priests from the Diocese of Rome, he made their part in the mercy-and-grace cycle explicit: "He said, 'Open the doors of the church, and then the people will come in. ... If you keep the light on in the confessional and are available, then you will see what kind of line there is for confession.'"


Master of metaphor: Pope Francis can weave a vivid tale

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Metaphors are used extensively in the Bible and they pop up just as often in Pope Francis' talks and teachings.

Some of his most vivid allegories as pope included his urging the world's priests to be "shepherds living with the smell of sheep" by bringing Christ to people far from the faith; and his telling cardinals that all Catholic elders need to share with the young their insight and wisdom, which are like "fine wine that gets better with age."

Metaphors did not come to Pope Francis with the papacy. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he used similar figures of speech to get simple, yet powerful, ideas across to his listeners.

The following are some metaphors that appear in the book, "Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio." The book, by Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti, is a series of interviews originally published in 2010 under the title "El Jesuita" ("The Jesuit"). The book is currently unavailable in English.


Youth Office opens registration for Catholic summer camp

Through Our Lady of Guadalupe Camp, the Archdiocesan Youth and Young Adult Office offers young people "a community of faith and fun in a safe environment" for weeklong sessions each summer, according to the camp website.

"We promote the personal and spiritual growth in each young person by developing their prayer life, social skills, independence and respect for others," the website states.

Registration is open for the seven sessions on offer this summer. For more information, please click here.


Archbishop Coakley: The state is not the ultimate arbiter of marriage

The future of marriage, the family and society hang in a precarious balance as the Supreme Court considers challenges to state and federal laws that define marriage as between one man and one woman, writes Archbishop Paul Coakley in his latest "Put Out into the Deep" column.

"The phrase 'marriage equality' already begs the question," Archbishop Coakley writes. "It presumes that there is more than one kind of marriage. Same-sex unions and marriage are not the same. They cannot be equal. Attempts to redefine marriage so as to make other relationships equivalent to it devalue the uniqueness of marriage and weakens it. Any weakening of this basic social institution, by whatever means, has already exacted too high a cost for children, for families and for society."


Prayer warriors pursue unique mission at Holy Innocents Chapel

By Sooner Catholic Staff

WARR ACRES — While watching an Eternal Word Television Network program about a priest from New Mexico who opened an adoration chapel across the street from an abortion clinic, Father M. Price Oswalt of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City was inspired to create a similarly sacred space in Warr Acres.

Holy Innocents Chapel, a perpetual adoration site that sits about 20 feet from the only abortion clinic in Oklahoma County, is just the third of its kind in the United States - and the first in Oklahoma.


"The Bible" miniseries recreates salvation history

Television review


By Sooner Catholic Staff

No matter how far the people stray, faith in God ultimately saves Israel in the new TV miniseries, "The Bible."

Produced by Mark Burnett ("Survivor," "The Voice," "The Apprentice") and his wife Roma Downey ("Touched by an Angel"), "The Bible" recounts the story of salvation history. The first two episodes aired March 3 on the History Channel.

A handful of characters provide a sense of all the patriarchs, prophets and heroes who followed God. Because of time constraints, the show leaves out some plot points. For instance, it completely skips the story of Jacob and his twelve sons. The narrator's constant refrain is, "One hundred years later…"


Oklahoma Catholics promote Divine Mercy message

By Sooner Catholic Staff

When 19-year-old Helen Kowalska entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland in 1925, she took the name Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament - and quickly earned a reputation for herself as a kind and humble nun.

After 15 quiet years in the convent, the faithful Sister Faustina died of tuberculosis on October 5, 1938, at the age of 33. After her death, her diary became public - and it immediately became evident that Sister Faustina was no ordinary soul.

Even as she lived a quiet exterior life, she had recorded in her diary the evidence of an intense interior life of union with God. The Lord Himself spoke to her, she wrote, and gave her revelations about His mercy.


With palms, parishes observe Passion Sunday

By Sooner Catholic Staff

Today, parishes across the archdiocese celebrate Passion - or Palm -- Sunday, the commemoration of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem before his Passion, death and Resurrection.

The sixth and last Sunday of Lent, Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the most sacred span of days in the Catholic liturgical calendar.

The day traditionally features several memorable ceremonies, including the blessing or benediction of palms. Throughout history and in many nations, palm branches have represented joy and victory over enemies. In Christianity, they represent Christ's victory over sin and death.


My experience at "An Encounter with God's Call"

By Cristobal Deloera
Exclusively for SoonerCatholic.com

"Who influenced you to begin study for the priesthood?"

In my decision to study for the priesthood, there were many persons who influenced me in my vocation.  First of all, my mother was a great influence who always encouraged and supported me in my vocational discernment.  Since I can remember, my mother always took us to Church on Sundays and days of obligation.  However, the person who encouraged me to think about a vocation to the priesthood more seriously was Sister Margarita Vasquez.  I remember one day after a Holy Hour she told me, “Cris, come with me to my office; I need to give you something.”  So I followed her and when we got to her office, she pulled out her keys to open the door.  As she was putting the key in the door knob, she stopped and looked right into my eyes and said, “Cris, have you ever thought about going to seminary?”  When she said this, I told her that I had, but that I was not very interested in that style of life.  I said that to her because I was very nervous and I had been avoiding that question for a long time.  Then she gave me this advice: “Pray to Jesus and Mary and they will show you the way.”  I did as she told me and, throughout my personal discernment, I asked God for another sign.  All this was taking place at the beginning of December of my senior year in high school.  And three weeks later, on a Sunday after Mass, my associate pastor, Father Joseph Michael Irwin, asked me the same question and also asked if I wanted to go to "An Encounter with God's Call" at Conception Seminary College in Missouri to see if I might like it. I told him that I would like to go visit but that I didn’t have the money to pay for the tuition. He told me not to worry about the money, that God would provide.