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Francis

Pope cites three lessons from Mary: Be joyful, help others, never give up

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When a mother has a birthday, children send their greetings and love, so make sure to do the same thing on the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Pope Francis said.

The liturgical feast day Monday "would be her birthday. And what do you do when your mom has a birthday? You send her greetings and best wishes," the pope said, after praying the Angelus with people gathered Sunday in St. Peter's Square.

The pope asked people to say "a Hail Mary from the heart" and to not forget to tell her "Happy Birthday!"

Pope says war is senseless slaughter, can always be avoided

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War is just "senseless slaughter" and should never be seen as inevitable or a done deal, Pope Francis said.

"War drags people into a spiral of violence which then proves difficult to control; it tears down what generations have labored to build up, and it sets the scene for even greater injustices and conflicts," he said in a written message to a world summit of religious leaders.

"War is never a necessity, nor is it inevitable. Another way can always be found: the way of dialogue, encounter and the sincere search for truth," he wrote.

Reconciliation as a means to rebuild society

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One of the hardest things about being a Christian is the realization that we're continually called to change and to be converted. Yes, God loves us as we are, but God also calls us to be something more. That makes this weekend's readings a bit harder to digest. On first glance, it seems as though God is more interested in us changing others than in our willingness to be changed ourselves. In Ezekiel, we hear that we have a duty to correct the "wicked" ones among us.

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