Charity registration No. SC002876  
Sunday September 15th. 2013
In today's Gospel story of the prodigal son, God tells us of his infinite mercy and that nobody is beyond God’s love This mercy can still be found in the confessional — but sadly they remain empty.
Since Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain, and now the charismatic humility and influence of Pope Francis, clergy have noticed in parishes throughout the country that people are slowly beginning to return to the sacrament of confession which they have not frequented for a long time. They see the Church as more approachable and the sacraments as an opportunity to make a new beginning in their lives. People need to discuss the situations in which they find themselves, and in the confessional they can seek help, and guidance and the soothing grace of the Holy Spirit which will give them the assurance of God's love for them and his presence in their midst. Of all the novelties that Pope Francis has brought to the Vatican, few have endeared him to the public — and unsettled his aides — as much as his penchant for picking up the phone and calling someone out of the blue. This an interesting story from this week's Catholic Herald about the compassion of Pope Francis, which he assures us we will find in the confessional—and is worth reading. POPE FRANCIS phoned a woman last week who had written an anguished letter to him to tell her he would baptise her unborn child after she refused to have an abortion.  Shop worker Anna Romano, 35, was on holiday when her mobile started to ring with a mystery number on the screen and she was stunned to find herself speaking to the Pope. Anna, from Arezzo near Florence, had written to Francis  earlier this summer to describe her turmoil at having discovered she was pregnant by a man who,  unknown to her, was already married with a child and who demanded she have an abortion. In her letter she described to the Pope her dilemma and said: "I have never been lucky with men, I married when I was young and then things didn't work out and I got divorced. I then had a few brief relationships until I met a man who I thought was the man of my dreams "In June I discovered I was pregnant through him and when I told him instead of being happy he told me he was already married, already had a child and to have an abortion. "I told him that I would not have an abortion and told him to get out of my life," she said. Anna added how she was "in a desperate and anguished state" and that she was writing to Pope Francis because she had "no one else to turn to, after being left humiliated and betrayed". Speaking from her home she added: "I addressed the letter simply to Pope Francis, the Vatican, and put it in the post.           I didn't even send it recorded delivery. I didn't really expect to get a reply." When Francis phoned, she said, "as soon as he started speaking I recognised the voice as his". "He said he had read my letter and he wanted to speak to me personally about it and reassure me that someone was worried about me. We were only on the phone for a few minutes but my heart was filled with joy as we spoke I was rubbing my tummy at the same time. "I would never have imagined that the Pope would pick up a telephone and call me and speak to me as if I was a dear friend. He reassured me and said a child was a gift from God and that I would never be left alone. He said as Christians we should never be afraid. " "He told me I had been very brave and strong for my unborn child. I told him that I wanted to baptise the baby when it was born, but I was afraid as I was divorced and a single mother, but he said he would be my spiritual father and he would baptise my baby.   I'm not sure if he will; I feel as if l am dreaming, but if he did baptise my baby it would be something else; that telephone call has changed my life. "I hope my letter will be an example for other women who feel they may be distant from the Church simply because they have chosen the wrong man, they are divorced or they are with men who are not worthy of being fathers. I don't know the sex of the baby but if the Pope does baptise it and it's a boy I have no doubt of his name - Francis." A Vatican spokesman said he "knew nothing" about the call. "The Pope doesn't tell us when he makes these calls," he said. "He just does them and then we find out about them later."
Anna Romano had written to the Pope because she had no one else to turn to.
Pope Francis hearing the confession of youths at the World Youth Rally in Rio.