September 18, 2015 - Pope Francis sends video message to Cuba on eve of his departure; Pope addresses Vatican Observatory symposium*

Pope sends video message to Cuba:
“I will be among you as a missionary of mercy”
Pope Francis has sent a videomessage to the people of Cuba on the eve of his Apostolic visit to the country. In the message to the people of Cuba which was broadcast on Thursday evening, Pope Francis said he was visiting their country to share their faith and their hope. He expressed the joy he felt when thinking about their fidelity to the Lord, and the strength it gave him thinking about the courage with which they face the difficulties of everyday and the love with which they help and support each other along the path of life.
Here is the full text of his message (English translation)
“There are only a few days remaining before my trip to Cuba. For this reason, I wish to send a fraternal greeting before we meet in person. I will visit you to share faith and hope, so that we can strengthen each other in following Jesus. It is very good for me and of great help to me to think of your faithfulness to the Lord, of the spirit in which you face everyday difficulties, of the love with which you help and support each other on the path of life. Thank you for this very valuable witness.
For my part, I wish to convey a very simple message, but one that I think is important and necessary. Jesus loves you very much. Jesus loves you truly. And He always carries you in His heart; He knows better than anyone what each person needs, what he yearns for, his deepest desire; He knows our heart. He never abandons anyone; when we do not behave as He would hope, He is always ready to welcome us, to console us, to give us new hope, a new chance, a new life. He is always there.
I know that you are preparing for this visit with a prayer. I thank you infinitely. We need to pray, we need prayer, this contact with Jesus and Mary. And it gives me great joy to know that, following the advice of my brother bishops of Cuba, you are repeating several times a day the prayer we learned as children. Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like yours. It is beautiful to have a heart like Jesus', so as to know how to love like Him, to forgive, to give hope and to accompany.
I wish to be among you as a missionary of God's mercy and tenderness, but allow me to encourage you too to be missionaries of God's infinite love. May no-one lack the witness of our faith and our love. May all the world know that God always forgives, that God always stays by our side, that God loves us.
I will go to the Shrine of Our Lady of Cobre as a pilgrim, as a child who looks forward to arriving at his mother's house. To her I entrust this trip and also all Cubans. And please, I ask you to pray for me. May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin care for you. Thank you”.
Pope Francis addresses Vatican Observatory symposium
Pope Francis on Friday (18th September) addressed participants at a symposium organized by the Vatican Observatory, saying their scientific research on the universe can help promote interreligious dialogue which is more urgent than ever nowadays. He also encouraged an ever deeper dialogue between science and religion.
The pope began his address to the participants of the symposium by recalling the history of the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo which was formally inaugurated by Pope Pius XI back in 1935 with the words “Deum Creatorem venite adoremus” carved into the wall. The Observatory’s management was entrusted to the Society of Jesus. 
Quoting from his encyclical Laudato Si, the Pope said: “Rather than a (scientific) problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with joyness and praise.”  “The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us.”
Pope Francis noted that the participants at the symposium were discussing themes related to the dialogue between science and religion and recalled the words of Saint John Paul who in a letter to a previous director of the Vatican Observatory stressed the need for an ever deepening dialogue between the two. He said such a dialogue, whilst protecting the integrity both of religion and science, should, at the same time, promote progress for both.
The pope said when it comes to interreligious dialogue, which nowadays is more and more urgent, scientific research on the universe can offer a unique perspective, shared by believers and non-believers, which helps us to reach a better religious understanding of creation.  It’s for this reason, he said, that the Astrophysics (Summer) Schools that the Observatory has organized during the past 30 years are a precious opportunity for young astronomers from across the world to dialogue and collaborate in the search of truth.  
The Pope noted that the symposium was also discussing the importance of communicating the message that the Church and its pastors are embracing, encouraging and promoting authentic science. He concluded his address by telling the participants that it was very important for them to share the gift of their scientific knowledge of the universe with other people, freely giving what they received for free.  I encourage you, he said, to continue along this journey of exploring our universe.  
New Director of the Vatican Observatory
Pope Francis on Friday named Brother Guy Joseph Consolmagno, S.J. as the new director of the Vatican Observatory.  Jesuit Brother Consolmagno is the current President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, as well as curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Castel Gandolfo, one of the largest in the world.
His research explores the connections between meteorites and asteroids, and the origin and evolution of small bodies in the solar system.
Click here to see Br. Consolmagno’s profile.
World Meeting of Family videos
Salt and Light Television produced 40 videos on Family Situations and stories of Saints and Blesseds who are role models for families. Links to the videos are found on this special webpage.