What a terrific idea from Slow Food!! I am going to make and/or eat more spaghetti all’amatriciana whenever possible and see to it that all the restaurants I know also know of this campaign.

To increase your enjoyment, I offer a recipe and some mouth-watering photos!


(ANSA) – Turin, August 25 – The founder of the Slow Food movement on Thursday launched an earthquake relief campaign for the mountain village of Amatrice, which was flattened by an earthquake yesterday. The village in the Apennine mountains in the Lazio region in central Italy is also the birthplace of the world-famous “amatriciana” pasta sauce based on cured pork cheek, pecorino cheese, and tomato.


The “A Future for Amatrice” campaign – launched by Slow Food in agreement with Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi – calls on restaurants around the world to put pasta all’amatriciana on their menu for a year, with two euros from every dish served to go to the quake relief fund.


“We want to contribute and to avoid the risk of the initial generous impetus and attention wearing off after a couple of weeks,” said Slow Food founder and chief, Claudio Petrini. “Amatriciana pasta is a humble dish, symbolic of a farming culture that is based on solidarity.” Fund-raising for Amatrice must be “lasting and constant,” Petrini added.

The donations – with one euro coming from the restaurateur and one euro from the client for every amatriciana dish served – will go directly to the City of Amatrice, whose International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is IT 28 M 08327 73470 000000006000. Petrini will present the campaign in Copenhagen at a symposium with over 400 chefs from around the world.


  • 400 grams (1 lb) of spaghetti or bucatini (a hollow pasta like a straw – I find it often unwinds on my fork after I’ve done a terrific job of winding the pasta and I find I am wearing the tomato sauce. By the way, amatriciana without the tomatoes is called gricia or white amatriciana. Word of warning: Please folks, NEVER cut the pasta with a knife and never, ever in Italy!


  • 4 – 5 nice ripe tomatoes that you have blanched in boiling water.
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin Italian olive oil
  • 4 oz of guanciale (aka pork cheek )(or pancetta), cut into small strips
  • ½ glass of dry white wine
  • 3 oz of grated aged pecorino cheese
  • half cup water
  • pinch of hot pepper flakes (optional)
  • small onion, chopped into small pieces ( optional )
  • salt – black pepper


In a large heavy saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion (if you wish) and the guanciale (pancetta) and cook, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Stir in pepper flakes and cook 10 seconds. Add tomatoes and water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until sauce is thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine and, when sauce is almost done, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, 8 to 10 minutes or the time that is suggested on the package for the type of pasta you use. (do NOT use table salt when making pasta – use the large marine or sea salt). Drain the pasta. Pour pasta and sauce into a lightly heated fry pan, toss for a minute and serve in individual dishes. Offer a bowl of grated Parmesan (or pecorino) cheese on the side.


AMATRICNA Getty images


Just a quick note today about my guest on my weekend radio program, “Vatican Insider.” Join me for Part II of my conversation with Fr. Bill Petrie, pastor of St. Damien parish on the Hawaiian island of Molokai’i. We recently met in Honolulu to talk about his 25 years of work with Mother Teresa! 25 years! As you heard last week and will again this weekend, Fr. Bill has tons of insight and remarkable stories about this holy woman who will be declared a saint next weekend!!



Some statistics about the central Italy August 24 earthquake from various Italian news sources:

  • –         5400 aid workers/volunteers/rescuers in place
  • –         267: death toll as of this morning (Aug. 26)
  • –         387 wounded being treated in hospitals in Lazio, Umbria and Marche regions
  • –         238 people have been pulled alive from the rubble, of whom 215 by firemen and 23 by Italy’s Alpine Rescue
  • –         293 monuments comprising Italy’s cultural heritage have been destroyed

ANSA: Displaced survivors of the August 24 earthquake have occupied 2,100 of the 3,500 beds made available by the Civil Protection Department, officials said Friday. However that number is on the rise because area residents are still fleeing their homes as tremors continue in the area, Civil Protection Emergency chief Titti Postiglione told a press conference.

Sergio Pirozzi, Amatrice’s mayor, told ANSA that “Amatrice must be completely razed to the ground,” adding that there is not a single structure in the historic center than can be saved or restored. He said, “apart from the Roman church of St. Francis, all the rest is gone,” and repeated what he said Thursday: “We want to rebuild on the same spot, hopefully perhaps even with the same shape and aesthetics.”

Il palazzetto dello sport adibito a centro di accoglienza per i terremotati e di immagazzinamento viveri di prima necessità, 25 Agosto 2016. ANSA/FLAVIO LO SCALZO


(AP): Italian Premier Matteo Renzi has authorized a preliminary 50 million euros ($56.5 million) in emergency funding and ordered the cancellation of taxes for residents of quake-hit central Italy.

(ANSA): A religious service for those who died in the quake in Amatrice will be brought forward from Wednesday to Tuesday to enable Italian Premier Matteo Renzi to attend, Rieti Bishop Domenico Pompili said Friday. He said the service would be without coffins because it is not possible “to say when we will have all the bodies at our disposal since some have already been taken away by their families.” The Lazio town of Amatrice was the worst hit by Wednesday’s 6.2-magnitude tremor that killed at least 267 people, 207 of them in Amatrice.

(ANSA): London – Three British nationals and a Canadian reportedly died in the August 24 earthquake in central Italy. Sky News cited an official from the mountain village of Amatrice, which was flattened by the 6.2-magnitude quake that struck before dawn last Wednesday, as saying two adults and a teenage boy perished in the nearby hamlet of Sommati. The Daily Telegraph newspaper named the victims as 14-year-old Marcos Burnett, and Maria and William Henniker-Gotley, aged 51 and 55, family friends of the teenager’s parents. The Telegraph reported the UK Foreign Office confirmed the deaths and said in a statement: “(The victims’) families have paid tribute to the tireless work of the Italian rescue workers and hospital staff and expressed their gratitude for the love and support they have received from the Italian people”. Also on Friday, Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion said one Canadian citizen perished in the quake. The identity of the person was released.

Domenica Primerano, president of the Italian Association of Ecclesiastical Museums (AMEI), has welcomed an invitation from Dario Franceschini, minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, to donate the revenue from museum entrance fees on Sunday, August 28 to the victims of the earthquake, or to chose another day if the museums is closed on Sundays. She also asked museums that were not members of AMEI to consider doing the same.


Pharmacists who are members of SIFO – the Italian Society of Hospital Pharmacists – are helping the areas affected by the August 24 quake by offering all medicines and medical devices that are needed to help the large number of survivors currently undergoing medical care in area hospitals. These pharmacists work in the hospitals of those regions affected by the quake. SIFO president Marcello Pani said, “Our colleagues are working to guarantee extra pharmaceutical assistance and to give all the support necessary for the rescue operations.”


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is accompanying the victims of Wednesday’s devastating earthquake with both prayer and concrete signs of solidarity.

Having already sent Vatican firefighters to the area, Pope Francis on Thursday sent a group of Vatican gendarmes to assist in rescue and relief operations, in coordination with Italy’s Civilian Protection agency.


Also on Thursday, the Holy Father celebrated Holy Mass at the Casa Santa Marta for all those who are suffering on account of the earthquake. The Pope was joined at the Sacred Liturgy by a group of Poor Clares from the monastery of Santa Maria di Vallegloria, in Spello, Umbria, who themselves had been affected by an earthquake in 1997. The Poor Clares subsequently had to reside for 14 years in temporary housing. Speaking at the Mass, Pope Francis invited the nuns to “sow hope,” to share Christ with others both through prayer and with their lives. Jesus “is true wealth, even when we have nothing.”

Meanwhile, the Vatican firefighters sent to Amatrice were active in rescue efforts, helping to pull a young girl from the rubble. Unfortunately, other members of the girl’s family lost their lives in the quake. The firefighters’ also provided spiritual assistance to the victims, distributing rosaries and holy images blessed by Pope Francis.

Vatican doctors and nurses are also ready to depart for the earthquake zone as needed.

In the wake of the deadly quake on Wednesday that has killed more than 250 people, aftershocks continued to hamper relief efforts. Large aftershocks in the early hours of Friday brought down already cracked buildings, rattled residents and closed already clogged roads.

Firefighters and rescue crews using sniffer dogs worked in teams around the hard-hit areas in central Italy, pulling chunks of cement, rock and metal from mounds of rubble where homes once stood. Rescuers refused to say when their work would shift from saving lives to recovering bodies, noting that one person was pulled alive from the rubble 72 hours after the 2009 quake in the nearby town of L’Aquila.


(AP) –  New York City’s World Trade Center is honoring the victims of the earthquake in Italy. Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday directed the building’s 408-foot (124-meter) spire be lit in the colors of the country’s flag – green, white and red. Wednesday’s earthquake killed at least 250 people in Amatrice and other towns in central Italy.

In a statement, Cuomo extended his condolences to the victims and said New York stands ready to lend support.


From an email from Fr. Benedict, subprior of the Benedictine Monks of Norcia. He is one of two who stayed in town.


Day 2 in Norcia has brought new challenges and a better sense of the damage, both physical and spiritual. The community departed Wednesday afternoon, 12 hours after the earthquake hit, for a temporary stay (Deo Volente, just 3 or 4 days) at St. Anselmo. While we hope they aren’t away for long and that it is safe enough for them to return soon, they are in fact in solidarity with most of the town of Norcia. Many townspeople have decided to sleep in their cars, in tents outside the city or with relatives elsewhere. The physical damage does not resemble in anyway the tragic images coming out of Amatrice, just 30 miles away. Here in Norcia, nearly all the buildings appear from the outside to be intact and stable. But the reality is many have suffered structural damage that makes them uninhabitable. In addition, secondary shocks have been coming every 15-20 minutes. Some today have been as high as 4.2

We monks who remained, staying in tents, have returned to the days of our youth, and are camping out in the garden area of the our monastery outside the walls. The tents were positioned far from any buildings so the we were not in danger, but tremors throughout the night made sleeping difficult — as did the occasional sound of wild boar in the woods! Restorations to our property outside the city walls (Fuori Le Mura) had only recently started. That restoration work on the Church was made with the latest anti-earthquake materials and, thanks be to God, it has mostly withstood the tremors.

Today, we monks made rounds in town and visited locals at their businesses and found many sad faces. Norcia thrives on tourism and citizens often earn enough in August to keep them going all year round. Not this year. The main hotel in town, that of the Bianconi family, went from 500 guests the night of the quake, to 20 the day after. Norcia is like a ghost town, except for journalists, aid workers and architects who wander around the town each trying in their own way to bring relief of some sort.

We have no specifics to share yet regarding damages we’ve faced, though we know they are extensive. Because of the frequent aftershocks, inspections were suspended earlier in the day. The bells are not ringing for prayer as we don’t know yet if the tower is safe, and the monks are praying for Norcia from Rome, where St. Benedict himself was once sent to study. We checked on the Poor Claire Nuns and Benedictine Nuns today and found the former without any damage to their convent, but the latter, the daughters of St. Scholastica, are sleeping in the laundry room while they assess damages.

We’ve begun drawing up plans for a campaign to help not just the monks but the other religious and lay faithful in town and we’ll pass those along in due course. For now, we continue to rely on your prayers and support.

Pax, Father Benedict



Here are a number of quake-related stories that might interest you, especially since so many of you have asked how you can help the numerous survivors who lost their homes and everything they own and are now living in tent camps


No email message today from the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, but they have updated their website to enable donations: https://en.nursia.org/earthquake/

As you know, the monks decided to transfer from Norcia – many parts of which are not considered safe – to Rome where they will spend some time with the Benedictines of Sant’ Anselm.

If the name Sant’Anselmo sounds familiar, this is the church from which the Holy Father and others process to nearby Santa Sabina basilica on Ash Wednesday to receive ashes.


Caritas and Church volunteers have been providing food to rescue workers and people affected by Wednesday’s earthquake in central Italy, The quake struck on August 24 in the Rieti region causing severe damage and loss of life in the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.


Andrea Piscopo of Caritas Marche said, “relief efforts in Arquata and Pescara del Tronto continued throughout the night. We had spent the whole day with the rescue workers and the survivors. Thanks to local church, youth and Caritas, it has been possible to provide food to them. It is hard to say what the concrete needs will be until the situation stabilizes.” Caritas Italy has allocated €100,000 for the initial intervention. Caritas offices have offered local accommodations for people forced from their homes and, where possible, is providing counseling and basic necessities.

Father Francesco Soddu, director of Caritas Italy will lead a team on Friday, August 26 to meet with the local Caritas staff and authorities to discuss the most immediate actions required and those needed for the medium and long-term. He said, “Caritas has been active since the first hours after the earthquake. We have made available €100,000 for the most pressing needs.”

Caritas Italy is asking supporters to contribute to its national appeal so that it can help communities rebuild. This appeal will be bolstered by a nationwide parish collection in Italy on September 18. Caritas national organizations from Germany and Croatia to Nepal have been offering their support.

As in the case of the earthquake that hit L’Aquila in 2009, Caritas will focus on putting towns and villages back together – ranging from social services, infrastructure and job creation.

Donations can be made through the Caritas Italy website:http://www.caritasitaliana.it/home_page_archivio/come_contribuire/00000041_Dona_ora.html


(ANSA) – Rome, August 25 – Carabinieri police have deployed 430 officers in earthquake-stricken central Italy, including 30 “monuments men” from Italy’s new cultural defense Blue Helmets who are assessing the extent of the damage to local monuments, officials said Thursday.

“The Blue Helmets have gone into action for the first time,” said Brigadier General Marco Minicucci, who added that the unit’s baptism of fire was supposed to be in the Syrian city of Palmyra, which has been destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists. In addition, the carabinieri force has deployed a special forensic unit for the identification of victims who have not been claimed by relatives. That unit also went into action in Thailand after a deadly 2004 tsunami.

The total of 430 officers “went in support of their colleagues stationed at Amatrice, Accumoli, and Arquata, who immediately turned out to aid the population as soon as the first earthquake hit at 03:36 (on Wednesday),” the general told a press conference.

The mountain villages of Amatrice, Accumoli, and Arquata were the hardest hit by the quake, which has flattened them and killed hundreds.

Some images of Amatrice, before and after:

La combo mostra alcune strade di Amatrice tratte da Google Street View (sulla sinistra) e le stesse strade dopo il forte terremoto di oggi, 24 agosto 2016. ANSA/GOOGLE STREET VIEW-MASSIMO PERCOSSI +++EDITORIAL USE ONLY - NO SALES+++



(ANSA) – Pescara del Tronto, August 25 – A firefighter who pulled an eight-year-old girl out of the rubble alive in Pescara del Tronto on Wednesday evening said Thursday he hoped she would “forget everything.” “I hope Giorgia remembers little of this place, rather I hope she forgets everything,” Angelo Moroni told ANSA. “The joy was huge,” he said of the successful rescue effort that saw firefighters dig with their bare hands for hours.

Giorgia was extracted from the debris of her home 15 hours after the 6.2-magnitude earthquake in central Italy that left at least 241 people dead. Her 10-year-old sister was found dead beside her. The girls’ parents were both pulled out alive.

As soon as she was freed, Giorgia “asked to drink, she reacted well,” Moroni said. “At times like that you don’t think, you go on for hours without feeling thirst or tiredness. We were sure she was safe only when we put her on a stretcher and doctors carried her away. Then we exploded with joy for this great result.”

Pescara del Tronto in the central Marche region is a village that was one of the places worst affected by the earthquake.


Police in earthquake-hit Amatrice are stepping up their efforts to control attempted looting on Thursday, after detaining a man with a rolling suitcase who was allegedly stealing from homes there, ANSA sources said. Sources said the man was nearly lynched by a crowd before police arrived, in a climate of increasingly high tension following similar episodes of suspected looting on Wednesday in which some suspects were detained and others were arrested.

An Afghan refugee was also detained and later released Wednesday after attempting to remove rubble from a home where two Afghan women had been buried, in an area that rescue workers hadn’t yet reached.


In addition to the earthquake that devastated parts of central Italy early this morning, there are reports coming in from Burma of a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck that nation’s central region. Pray for those people and all rescuers as well.

I have been following the situation in Italy and present the following reports from the Vatican, the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, Caritas and the U.S. Embassy in Italy. I have been posting news and updates on my Facebook page since I got up this morning, hours after I was awakened by my bed shaking at 3:35 am. Words fail me to describe the total devastation but I am sure you have been viewing images on television.

Heartfelt thanks for all your wonderful messages of concern for me and of prayers and condolences for everyone affected by this gigantic tragedy.

Those of you who have asked how to help: there is information on how to do this from Caritas (see story below).


(Vatican Radio) In the wake of the powerful earthquake that struck central Italy on Wednesday, Pope Francis at the General Audience postponed his prepared catechesis, and led the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square in the recitation of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary.

The Holy Father expressed his “heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness” to all those affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. He said he was deeply saddened upon learning several children were among the dead, and of hearing of the total destruction of the town of Amatrice.


Here are his remarks:

“I had prepared the catechesis for today, as for all Wednesdays during this year of mercy, focusing on the closeness of Jesus. However on hearing of the news of the earthquake that has struck central Italy, and which has devastated entire areas and left many wounded, I cannot fail to express my heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness to all those present in the zones afflicted.

“I also express my condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and my spiritual support to those who are anxious and afraid. Hearing the mayor of Amatrice say that the town no longer exists, and learning that there are children among the dead, I am deeply saddened.

“For this reason, I want to assure all the people of Accumuli, Amatrice, the Diocese of Rieti, Ascoli Piceno, and all the people of Lazio, Umbria, and Le Marche, of the prayers and close solidarity of the entire Church, who in these moments extends her merciful love, as well as the concern of all of us here in the Piazza.

“Thanking all the volunteer and rescue personnel who are assisting these people, I ask you to join me in praying to the Lord Jesus, Who is always moved by compassion before the reality of human suffering, that He may console the broken hearted, and through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, bring them peace. With Jesus let our hearts be moved with compassion.

“So we will postpone, then, this week’s catechesis until next Wednesday, and I invite you to pray with me a part of the holy Rosary, the sorrowful mysteries.”


Dear Friends,

Many of you have by now heard of the earthquake that struck us during the night. The quake was a powerful one with a magnitude of 6.2. We’ve taken the past few hours to assess the situation.

First: We are OK. We are alive, and there are no serious injuries to report. Sadly, there are many injuries to report among the people of the region, especially those in small mountain villages. Please pray for them. We monks will do what we can to contribute here on the ground, but we’ll need your spiritual support in a special way during this period.

Second: We, as many others in Norcia and surrounding areas, suffered a lot of damage to our buildings and especially to our basilica. It will take some time to assess the extent of the damage, but it is very sad to see the many beautiful restorations we’ve made to St. Benedict’s birthplace reduced, in a moment, to disrepair.

Click here for a virtual tour of the basilica (pre-earthquake) https://en.nursia.org/visit/#acc_360_tour

Third: What can you do? Please, pray for us, for those who have lost their lives, who have lost someone they love, who have lost their homes and livelihoods. We will need your help, as always but now in a special way, to start the project of rebuilding. Please consider making a gift to help us get started.

The Monks of Norcia


A strong earthquake struck central Italy early on 24 August, causing severe destruction to buildings and the loss of life. The magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck around the Rieti region. The worst hit towns were Amatrice and Accumoli, with the epicentre in Norcia.

“The situation is terrible,” said Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole of Ascoli Piceno, who arrived a few minutes after the first quake in the town of Pescara del Tronto. “As dawn broke, I could see the area had been destroyed. We are already working with Caritas to get the right aid to the people.”

The Italian Catholic Church has immediately made available €1 million in response to the earthquake and is launching a nationwide parish appeal to support Caritas Italy relief efforts.

“We are gathered in prayer with those caught in this tragic event,” said the Italian bishops in a statement, inviting all to help alleviate the difficult conditions people in the affected areas will face in the coming days, weeks and months.

Caritas volunteers in Rieti have already started to deliver food and basic necessities and Caritas is organising further support, while the Italian Civil Protection are looking for survivors under the rubble.

n 2015, Caritas Rieti helped train migrants and refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Congo, Syria, Senegal, Somalia, Rwanda, Mali and Ghana to work with the Italian Civil Protection in emergency response.

“Caritas and parish volunteers, priests and bishops are concretely helping with the delivery of aid,” said Caritas Italy’s Paolo Beccegato. “We’re in constant communication with them to organise relief efforts on the ground.”

Donations can be sent to: Caritas Italiana, Via Aurelia 796 – 00165 Roma, using the current account n. 347013 or by bank transfer to Banca Popolare Etica, Via Parigi 17, Roma. Iban: IT 29 U 05018 03200 000000011113. Please specify  “Colletta terremoto centro Italia”.

Other ways include:

Online: www.caritas.it

– Banca Prossima, piazza della Libertà 13, Roma – Iban: IT 06 A 03359 01600 100000012474

– Banco Posta, viale Europa 175, Roma – Iban: IT91 P076 0103 2000 0000 0347 013

– UniCredit, via Taranto 49, Roma – Iban: IT 88 U 02008 05206 000011063119.

Earthquakes are a constant threat to communities living in the Apennine mountains in Italy. An earthquake in Abruzzo left almost 300 people dead and tens of thousands homeless when it struck on 6 April 2009. In the aftermath of that quake, the diocesan Caritas pitched in immediately to provide the people of Aquila with food, clothes and other essentials. Following the initial emergency, Caritas Italy turned its focus to rebuilding communities by providing them with homes and also spaces where they could meet and learn.


U. S. Embassy Rome, Italy – Italy EarthquakeAugust 24, 2016

(From an email I received) The U.S. Mission to Italy is assisting Americans in central Italy where a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck communities today at approximately 03:36AM.  Reports by Italian media and the Civil Protection Agency note that many roads are blocked in these regions at this time, especially in more remote areas.  The U.S. Embassy has restricted all but essential official travel to these regions and recommends that U.S. citizens defer travel in these areas as well.   Americans affected by the earthquakes who require assistance, or persons with information or questions about Americans in the affected areas, may call the U.S. Embassy’s earthquake response center at 06-4674 2944, or contact the center by email at USCitizensRome@state.gov.

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My second news item today is one I am delighted to offer – a story today about a longtime friend, Abp. Michael Banach whom I first met a number of years ago when both of us were working for the Roman Curia – I for the Vatican Information Service and Michael for the Secretariat of State.

The third story is from Vatican Radio and concerns a matter of great interest to Americans in particular as they consider the hot button but also humane issue of migrants, especially in an election year.

And the final story is simply to bring a smile to your face! We really need these good news stories more often!

TODAY’S PAPAL TWEET: New forms of slavery such as human and organ trafficking, forced labor, and prostitution are true crimes against humanity.

Today is the International Day for Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.


Pope Francis sent two ‘thank you’ notes to the Church in Poland, addressing one letter to Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, and another to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, the host diocese for the recent World Youth Day celebrations:

To “Venerable brother,” Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, archbishop of Poznan,

Having returned from the Apostolic Journey to Poland, I want to renew the expression of my lively gratitude to you, Bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful, for your warm welcome and for the zeal with which my visit was prepared. I am deeply moved by your strong faith and the unwavering hope that you have kept in spite of difficulties and tragedies, and by your fervent love, which animates your human and Christian pilgrimage.

The memory of the moving Eucharistic celebration at the Shrine of Czestochowa, for the 1050th anniversary of Poland’s Baptism, and the moment of prayer in the concentration camp at Auschwitz is especially dear to me. I find great joy in remembering the encounter with the young people who came from different nations.

I assure you of my prayers so that the Church in Poland may continue advancing on its path with perseverance and courage, showing the Lord’s merciful love to all. Please, also pray for me. I heartily bless you all.

With fraternal greetings, Francis

To His Eminence, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow

Having returned from my Pastoral Visit to Krakow, during which I had the occasion to express my grateful remembrance of my Venerable Predecessor Saint John Paul II, to live moments of deep communion with your Diocesan Community, and to experience the enthusiasm of faith of the immense crowd of young people from different continents, I wish to express to you, to the priests, the consecrated persons and the entire Diocesan Community my sincere gratitude for the warm welcome in your home, and for the great kindness you showed to me and my collaborators. The memory of the moving liturgical celebrations, characterized by profound participation and animated by lively Faith, are still very present in my heart.

I thank you, the staff of the archdiocesan office, all your collaborators, and those who have worked to ensure the smooth running of these unforgettable days of faith and prayer. I am grateful also for the deep affection for the Successor of Peter, expressed by various ecclesiastical and civil circles, as well as by individual believers: all of this is a sign of love for the Church, in the wake of the perpetual and reverential affection for Pope John Paul II.

While encouraging the Archdiocese of Krakow to perseveringly advance on its path, constantly bearing witness to God’s mercy, I pray, through the intercession of Mary, the Lord for an abundance of gifts and graces for you and all who are entrusted to your pastoral care, especially for the young, that they may grow in an increasingly solid commitment to the Gospel. With these sentiments, I also ask you to pray for me, and I again give to all my Apostolic Blessing.

Fraternally, Francis


(CNA/EWTN News) – On Monday Pope Francis appointed U.S. Archbishop Michael W. Banach as Apostolic Nuncio to Guinea-Bissau, marking the latest in a string of American nuncio appointments so far this year. The announcement that Archbishop Banach, previously nuncio to several other countries, will now be overseeing the Holy See’s relations with Guinea Bissau came in an Aug. 22 communique from the Vatican.

Designated Titular Archbishop of Memphis in 2013, Archbishop Banach was named nuncio to Senegal and apostolic delegate to Mauritania March 19, and as nuncio to Cape Verde July 9. He will continue to hold these positions in addition to his new appointment as nuncio to Guinea Bissau, all of which sit along the Northwest coast of Africa.


Born in Worcester, Mass. and ordained a priest for the diocese in July 1988, Archbishop Banach, 53, was originally made a Vatican ambassador in 2013 when he was named apostolic nuncio to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. His transfer to the four West African nations this year comes amid a string of other appointments by Pope Francis of U.S. Vatican diplomats to the African continent.

In February, the Pope appointed Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells, the highest ranking American in the Vatican Secretariat of State, as both archbishop and his new ambassador to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia. In July he was also appointed nuncio to Swaziland. Aside from the move of Wells and Banach, in March Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Paul Russell, at the time the head of the Vatican nunciature in Taiwan, as nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan – an important post given recent tensions between Turkey and the Holy See over Pope Francis’ use of the term “genocide” during a 2015 Mass commemorating the Armenian martyrs, as well as his recent visit to the country.

While there aren’t too many Vatican ambassadors from the U.S., most of them seem to be making their way to the world’s peripheries.


(Vatican Radio)  A report by UNICEF says thousands of children from Central America are trying to reach the United States, with Mexico being used as their final transit zone.

Mexican border residents march in protest on a road towards a detention center for migrants at the border between the U.S and Mexico – Reuters:


The UNICEF report says that in the first six months of this year almost 26,000 unaccompanied children were detained at or around the U.S. Border.

Mexican authorities confirm they apprehended more than 16,000 of these migrant children and youngsters. Thirty thousand families of undocumented migrants were also discovered in this region.

Most come from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, which are ravaged by extreme poverty and criminal gangs which recruit by force, and indoctrinate children as young as eight.

Those children who refuse to obey are often murdered. These three countries have some of the worst homicide rates in the world.

Non-governmental organizations estimate that as many as 20,000 Central American would be migrants annually vanish in Mexico on their way to their so called ‘El Dorado’.

They’re often abducted by drug cartels and criminal gangs. And then there’s the option of their families paying a ransom, them joining the cartel, or death. From USA Today


(USA Today) Youngsville, La. — The day before Carson Boutte’s 9th birthday Saturday, his mom asked what he wanted as a present. He said he wanted lunch — but not for himself.” He said, ‘Really, I know all the poor people whose houses flooded, … what I would really like to do is bring them lunch,’ said his mom, Lanie Boutte. “I suggested sandwiches and chips, and he added cookies. Later that night, the thought of making maybe 500 lunches herself was overwhelming, .“so my husband suggested pizza,” she said. “I said I would spend $100 since that’s what I was going to spend on Carson’s present. I decided to post it on Facebook in case any of my family wanted to chip in, too.”

And the rest is history – click here: http://usat.ly/2bguqtt


I received this item today in my email from an organization I follow closely and with great interest, THE BECKET FUND FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY:

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will file a lawsuit today in federal district court in Wichita Falls, Texas, on behalf of Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, defending them from the new government regulation. The States of Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wisconsin also joined the Becket Fund’s legal challenge. More information can be found at www.transgendermandate.org.


Government orders doctors to perform procedures it admits may harm children

Washington, D.C. – Doctors, hospitals and five states will file a lawsuit today against a new federal regulation that would force doctors to ignore science and their medical judgment and perform gender transition procedures on children. The government does not even require Medicare and Medicaid to cover these same gender transition procedures because the Health & Human Services’ (HHS) medical experts found the risks were often too high and benefits too unclear. But any doctor citing the same evidence and their judgment in an individual case would be in violation of the new mandate and face potential lawsuits or job loss.

“No doctor should be forced to perform a procedure that he or she believes will harm a child,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Decisions on a child’s medical treatment should be between families and their doctors, not dictated by politicians and government bureaucrats.”

A new  website provides leading research on this issue, including guidance the government itself relies on demonstrating that up to 94 percent of children with gender dysphoria (77 to 94 percent in one set of studies and 73 to 88 percent in another) will grow out of their dysphoria naturally and will not need surgery or lifelong hormone regimens. Studies also show that there are numerous negative effects when children undergo hormone regimens, such as increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.

The government itself does not require coverage of gender transition procedures in Medicare or Medicaid — even in adults — because it has acknowledged that such procedures can be harmful. This rule would be the first time a law forces doctors to break their Hippocratic Oath and is also unique in placing mental health professionals as the final decision-makers on what medical care doctors must provide for their patients.

The new regulation applies to 900,000 doctors — virtually every doctor in the U.S., many of whom have chosen the medical profession because they are inspired by their faith to serve those in need and to heal others. They have taken an oath to put the needs of each patient first and do no harm. But this regulation violates doctors’ ability to exercise both their best medical judgment and their religiously-inspired desire to care for society’s most vulnerable. It will also cost healthcare providers and taxpayers nearly $1 billion.

“This regulation is blatantly hypocritical: The government exempts coverage of gender transition procedures from Medicare or Medicaid because it admits that they may be harmful; but it then tries to force private doctors to perform the same procedures on young children,” said Windham.

NOTE A: I received the Becket Fund email just moments after reading the article in this link: http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/ryan-t-anderson/nearly-everything-media-tell-you-about-sexual-orientation-and-gender

The article is entitled, “Nearly Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong”

It starts: A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

Co-authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality, the 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, painstakingly documenting what scientific research shows and does not show about sexuality and gender.

The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”

NOTE B: cnsnews.com is not to be confused with Catholic News Service, the news arm of the USCCB, but rather is a politically conservative American news and commentary website founded by L. Brent Bozell III and owned by Media Research Center, Bozell’s Reston, Virginia-based organization (formerly known as Cybercast News Service).