I had a truly wonderful experience of the Catholic Church – the word ‘catholic’ meaning universal – during my recent vacation in Hawaii and I’d like to share that special event with you today.

One of my many close friends in Honolulu is Sr. Davilyn ah Chick, OSF, a Franciscan of the same Order as St. Mother Marianne Cope. In fact, Sr. Davilyn had a role in the 2012 canonization of Mother Marianne and in the return in 2014 of her remains to Honolulu’s Our Lady of Peace cathedral from the Franciscan motherhouse in Syracuse, New York.

During every visit I make to Hawaii, Sister Davilyn has always filled my mind and heart with many stories of the island, of Saints Damien and Marianne and of the small Catholic school where she is now principal – Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ewa Beach on the island of Oahu.

I can’t tell you how many times she has met my flights from the mainland when I come for my annual visit. On several occasions I did not know in advance that she was coming and I was surprised to find her at luggage claim, wearing a big smile and bearing a beautiful floral lei!

On my visit last year, Sister mentioned an upcoming anniversary and wondered if I could arrange for a papal blessing. I assured her that was possible and she gave me some dates for the school and parish. I went to the office of papal charities and ordered a beautiful, hand-made blessing dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the school that is the focus of this story.

I was so excited to see Sister Davilyn and my special friend and host in Honolulu, Jan McKinney, at the airport that I completely forgot to give her the blessing the day I arrived. However, two days before my departure Jan called Sister to ask if she would be at the school that day as I had a gift for her. Jan said we’d arrive about 11:30.

When we got to OLPH, we discovered that Sister Davilyn, in the half hour that had elapsed between Jan’s phone call and our arrival, had arranged an all-school assembly! If anyone could do that in 30 minutes, it would be Davilyn.

Sister accompanied us outside to a small stage area where she introduced Jan and me, asking me to say a few words about living in Rome, covering the Vatican and meeting Popes. I gave a nutshell presentation, after which Sister announced that I had brought a papal blessing from Rome for the church and school, holding up the blessing for all to see.

I explained how papal blessings are made, how the office of papal charities works and spoke briefly about a man I’ve known for years, the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, whose signature is on every papal blessing.

I told the students how Cardinal Krajewski knows the names of over 300 homeless people
and has a great dedication to them. On countless occasions he and several Swiss Guards
(who wear regular street clothes, not their fancy uniforms) leave the Vatican with items for
the homeless such as food, backpacks, sleeping bags and so on. Once, the cardinal got 400
umbrellas left behind at the Vatican Museums and brought them to the homeless during a
very rainy winter.

It was wonderful to see the delight on the faces of students and staff but for me, the best part was yet to come. I still marvel that Sister Davilyn organized everything in 30 minutes!

The sixth grade class joined us onstage and gave us a wonderful gift as they led the school in reciting the Prayer of St. Francis, delivering the school mission and singing the school song. I was sure people in Honolulu heard the choir of voices from Ewa Beach!

Following that presentation (and I could not help but see how Sister Davilyn was beaming with pride), teachers and several students from each class came onstage and gifted Jan and me with lovely leis – dozens of leis as you will see from the photos! It was fun to receive a hug from each student and bend over so they could place the leis on my shoulders, returning the hug.

The final act of this wonderful and unexpected school assembly was the group photo. Sister Davilyn, holding the blessing, and Jan and I were in the center, and the longer the staff took photos, the louder the students cheered. At one point I joked, telling the students that I had just received a phone call saying they heard the cheering in Rome.

I will never forget this very special morning and I fully intend to share a group photo and a lei with Cardinal Krajewski. If he lets me take a photo, I will post that as well.

In the meantime enjoy these photos taken by OLPH staff:

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Two papal stories that surely will affect everyone reading this column. Chances are you watch TV for news (local, regional and international) and that you have been on a train some time in your life – perhaps frequently, perhaps as a daily commuter.


Pope Francis addresses journalists and technical staff from Italian RAI Television’s local news channel to mark 40 years of its activity. Regional information, he tells them, communicates “the voice of the people”.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis overturned a frequent cliché in the world of journalism when he told local Italian television journalists, producers and technical staff during an audience in the Vatican that, “local news is no less important than national news”.

The importance of local news
Local news and information, said the Pope, is actually more genuine and authentic because it communicates “the voice of the people”, in all aspects of peoples’ social, cultural and spiritual life. Local information gives space to local realities and cultures, he said, to news that would not be broadcast otherwise. More than ever, said the Pope, we need news to be communicated completely and thoughtfully, “so as to encourage reflection”.

Different kinds of globalization
Pope Francis explained the difference between what he called “harmful globalization and good globalization”. The latter “unites us, and can help us to be members of one another”, he said. Harmful globalization, on the other hand, ”makes everyone the same, rather than valuing diversities, cultures, histories and traditions”.

The sphere and the polyhedron
Here the Pope returned to the image of the sphere and the polyhedron: “in the sphere everything is equal, uniform, each point is equidistant from the centre, there are no differences”, he explained. In the polyhedron “there is coherence but there is also diversity, a variety of positions”.

The importance of regional information
The polyhedron, said the Pope, best reflects the nature and variety of regional news. “Regional information comes from the territory with a very precise mission, which is expressed in two directions”, continued Pope Francis. “The first is to immerse itself in the everyday, in local reality, made up of people, events, projects, problems and hopes”.

The second, he said, is to transmit that reality to a wider audience. It also means giving “voice to poverty, challenges, and local emergencies”, as well as to “testimonies of faith”.

Telling the stories
Pope Francis concluded by encouraging television journalists and staff to continue telling the stories, and making known “those authentic realities that are still found in many corners of Italy: realities that do not give in to indifference, that do not remain silent in the face of injustice, that do not follow fashions. There is a “submerged ocean of goodness”, said the Pope, “that deserves to be known”.


Pope Francis on 14 September received in audience in the Vatican, some 400 managers and employees of the Italian State Railways.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Pope Francis on Monday encouraged the Italian State Railways to be even more attractive and sustainable in a show of greater solidarity. He made the exhortation to some 400 managers and employees of the Italian holding group led by their CEO and Managing Director, Gianfranco Battisti. According to the Pope, trains are a fundamental means of transport and connection, and also provide an incentive for economic and social development of the nation.

The Pope explained that the railways need to be appealing in order to attract investment, improve quality, encourage trade and generate new businesses. The railways need to be beautiful and attractive, so people feel welcomed, at ease and want to come back to use their services.

Rail transport, the Pope noted, is also becoming increasingly sustainable because it is economical for the business world and for individual citizens, and it also respects the territory it passes through and the communities it involves.

Regarding environmental sustainability, the Pope appreciated the railways’ efforts in ensuring its impact is very minimal and that carbon dioxide emissions, which are very harmful to the ecosystem and its equilibrium, are reduced to a minimum. He commended the State Railways for making precise structural choices in this regard, making the train a vehicle with very low carbon footprint as compared to the car or the airplane.

Speaking about the near future, the Pope wished that the railways grow more in solidarity, favouring families and those in need because of old age, physical limitations or low income. The railways should also be more supportive in making their services and their quality available to various parts of Italy and on different types of trains.

The railway network, he said, is responsible for connecting and keeping alive the different areas of Italy, even the most remote, and like veins and capillaries should bring life to the members farthest from the heart, ensuring no centre is excluded, marginalized and impoverished.

The Pope also thought of those who travel in trains regarded as “secondary”, saying they should not be made to face the struggle against overcrowding or the difficult environmental conditions of carriages every day.

Equality and non-discrimination
The Holy Father commended the commitment of the Italian State Railways to the principles of equality and non-discrimination, ensuring its services don’t discriminate between the fortunate and those who cannot afford a more dignified and comfortable journey.

The Pope also recalled several responsibilities of the Italian State Railways managers, such as overseeing the employees, safety at the workplace, handling tender contracts, environmental sustainability and contributing to the economic and social development of the nation.



Two Notre Dame Fighting Irish football tickets from 1929!! They were in what we call a “box of things” in our family (Mom’s box of things, Joan’s box of things, etc). These were large boxes that contained baby albums, scrapbooks, photos, letter, birth announcements, World War II Ration Books (I have Ration Book Four for my Mom) and much more – like these tickets!

1929 was a 9-0 Season for the Irish!

Tickets were only $3! I wonder how many were sold after the crash on Wall Street!

Irish vs. Wisconsin, October 19, 1929    (19-0)

Irish vs. USC, November 16, 1929    (13-12 – score was written on back of ticket in by my maternal grandmother. My Dad went to Notre Dame, class of 34, and Mom graduated St Mary’s of Notre Dame, ‘35)

Notice Gate, Section, Row and Seat numbers ( USC is seat 30)

Check this out:




From Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni:

Today, the Holy Father met the President of Lamborghini and the heads of the OMAZE Foundation, who oversaw the auction for charity purposes, of the “Huracan Lamborghini” car made available by the car manufacturer and signed by Pope Francis on November 15, 2017. The winner of the car, a citizen of the Czech Republic, was also present.

During the meeting, the Holy Father was given a symbolic check of the operation of around 900,000.

The final part of the proceeds, about € 200,000, will be used for the reconstruction of the seminary and a nursery school in Haiti, which were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake.

The Holy Father cited the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 25 and emphasized how the generosity of this gesture of charity, which directly reaches the poorest, corresponds to the words of the evangelical passage.

Previously, the following amounts were given to:
– the Pope John XXIII Community (women victims of trafficking and prostitution) on the 10th anniversary of the death of Don Oreste Benzi and on the 50th anniversary (in 2018) of the Community Foundation (Euro 300,000.00);
– the “Help to the Church in Need” Foundation for the reconstruction of the Plain of Nineveh (Euro 200,000.00);
– two Associations indicated by the car manufacturer: Amici Centrafrica Onlus and GICAM (Euro 160,000.00).



This week I have prepared what I hope is a fascinating and informative special for what is normally the interview segment of Vatican Insider. I think you all know my love, my passion actually, for the magnificent land that is our 50th state, Hawaii. I have developed a true Hawaiian “ohana,” a family, on my ten trips to this paradise and we all have one thing in common – our love for Hawaii’s two saints, Fr. Damien and Mother Marianne Cope, and our hopes for a possible third saint.

I note that, since 2008 and my first visit to Hawaii, I have spent years researching the lives and works of Saints Damien and Marianne, including covering their canonizations in Rome, respectively 2009 and 2012. And Hawaii may well have a third saint – Brother Joseph Dutton. He was not a religious brother but rather received that name from Fr. Damien himself who told Joseph one day as they worked together on Kalaupapa, “You are like a brother to everyone here.” (images: Hawaii Catholic Herald)

On June 23, 2015, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu approved the statutes of the Joseph Dutton Guild, identified in church terms as a “Private Association of the Faithful with Juridic Personality,” with the mission of spreading knowledge of and devotion to Ira “Brother Joseph” Dutton, as well as addressing the financial and logistical needs for his cause for sainthood.

With my interest in and enthusiasm for the story of Joseph Dutton, I was asked to be a member of that guild. I attend one of the four annual meetings in person, and the other three gatherings via conference call. I was in Honolulu for the Guild’s August 28 meeting.

Here is the Dutton Prayer (Inspired by the Teaching of Pope Francis): God our Father, by the grace of conversion you raised your servant, Joseph Dutton, from the darkness of war, betrayal, addiction, and despair to the liberating joy of charity in the service of the abandoned and isolated chronically ill. Therefore we humbly ask you to allow him to intercede today for all who suffer on the periphery of human existence. May he pray especially for us in our urgent need for __________________________. In doing so may he be listed among your saints in heaven, if it is for your glory and the building up of your kingdom on earth. Amen
With ecclesiastical approval by Bishop Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu

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The Holy See Press Office today announced Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Thailand and Japan from 19 to 26 November. He will be the second Pope to visit these two Asian countries, after Pope John Paul II.

By Isabella Piro (vaticannews)

The Pope’s next Apostolic Journey will see him visiting two Asian countries: the Kingdom of Thailand, from 20 to 23 November, and then Japan from 23 to 26 November, where he will visit Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima. A detailed program of the visit will be announced later.

The motto of the first stage of the Apostolic Journey is “Disciples of Christ, Missionary Disciples”, and is a reference to an important anniversary. 2019 marks the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam, erected in 1669. (Logos from Vatican media)

This event is represented in the logo prepared for the visit. Beneath a smiling Pope Francis is a boat that symbolizes evangelization. Its three sails recall the Trinity. The stylized representation of Our Lady’s hand supports the vessel. Finally, a golden cross invites the whole Thai Catholic Church to be a witness to the Good News.

The Asian Continent
In January this year, Pope Francis sent a message to the meeting of Presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions of the Bishops’ Conferences of Asia, and a delegation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in Bangkok. He wrote: “You are gathered in Asia, a vast and multiform continent, marked by religious, linguistic and cultural diversity, in order to reaffirm our common responsibility for the unity and integrity of the Catholic faith, as well as to explore new means and methods of witnessing to the Gospel in the midst of the challenges of our contemporary world.”

The theme of the Apostolic Journey to Japan focuses on the protection of life and Creation, and is quoted from a phase in “A prayer for our earth” at the end of the Pope’s Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ on caring for our common home.

In that document, the Pope encourages us to respect both the dignity of each person, but also the environment. This is particularly poignant in a country like Japan where the nuclear threat, as we read in the description of the motto, “remains a persistent problem.”

Three flames of three different colors characterize the logo: a red flame recalling the martyrs, the foundation of the Church in Japan, a blue flame representing the Blessed Virgin Mary who embraces all humanity as her children, and a green flame symbolizing both the nature of Japan, and the mission to proclaim the Gospel of hope. A red circle, like a sun, embraces all life, and symbolizes love.



The Vatican today published the Aug. 30 letter from Pope Francis to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I that accompanied the gift of relics of St. Peter given to the patriarchate delegation on the June 29 feast of Sts Peter and Paul, Apostles. The Vatican also released a video in Italian that basically summarizes the content of that letter: https://youtu.be/9xMqFnGSjrc


To His Holiness Bartholomew Archbishop of Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarch

Your Holiness, dear Brother,

With deep affection and spiritual closeness, I send you my cordial good wishes of grace and peace in the love of the Risen Lord. In these past weeks, I have often thought of writing to you to explain more fully the gift of some fragments of the relics of the Apostle Peter that I presented to Your Holiness through the distinguished delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate led by Archbishop Job of Telmessos which took part in the patronal feast of the Church of Rome.

Your Holiness knows well that the uninterrupted tradition of the Roman Church has always testified that the Apostle Peter, after his martyrdom in the Circus of Nero, was buried in the adjoining necropolis of the Vatican Hill. His tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage for the faithful from every part of the Christian world. Later, the Emperor Constantine erected the Vatican Basilica dedicated to Saint Peter over the site of the tomb of the Apostle.

In June 1939, immediately following his election, my predecessor Pope Pius XII decided to undertake excavations beneath the Vatican Basilica. The works led first to the discovery of the exact burial place of the Apostle and later, in 1952, to the discovery, under the high altar of the Basilica, of a funerary niche attached to a red wall dated to the year 150 and covered with precious graffiti, including one of fundamental importance which reads, in Greek, Πετρος ευι. This contained bones that can quite reasonably be considered those of the Apostle Peter. From those relics, now enshrined in the necropolis under Saint Peter’s Basilica, Pope Saint Paul VI had nine fragments removed for the private chapel of the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace.

The nine fragments were placed in a bronze case bearing the inscription, Ex ossibus quae in Archibasilicae Vaticanae hypogeo inventa Beati Petri apostoli esse putantur: “Bones found in the earth beneath the Vatican Basilica considered to be those of Blessed Peter the Apostle”. It was this same case, containing nine fragments of the bones of the Apostle, that I desired to present to Your Holiness and to the beloved Church of Constantinople over which you preside with such devotion.

As I reflected on our mutual determination to advance together towards full communion, and thanked God for the progress already made since our venerable predecessors met in Jerusalem over fifty years ago, I thought of the gift that Patriarch Athenagoras gave to Pope Paul VI: an icon depicting the brothers Peter and Andrew embracing, united in faith and in love of their common Lord. This icon that, at the behest of Pope Paul VI is displayed today in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has become for us a prophetic sign of the restoration of that visible communion between our Churches to which we aspire and for which we fervently pray and work. Hence, in the peace born of prayer, I sensed that it would be highly significant were some fragments of the relics of the Apostle Peter to be placed beside the relics of the Apostle Andrew, who is venerated as the heavenly patron of the Church of Constantinople.

I sensed that this thought came to me from the Holy Spirit, who in so many ways prompts Christians to regain that full communion for which our Lord Jesus Christ prayed on the eve of his glorious Passion (cf. Jn 17:21).

This gesture is intended to be a confirmation of the journey that our Churches have made in drawing closer to one another: a journey at times demanding and difficult, yet one accompanied by evident signs of God’s grace. Pursuing this journey calls above all for spiritual conversion and renewed fidelity to the Lord who requires on our part greater commitment and new, courageous steps. Difficulties and disagreements, now and in the future, must not distract us from our duty and responsibility as Christians, and particularly as Pastors of the Church, before God and history.

The joining of the relics of the two brother Apostles can also serve as a constant reminder and encouragement that, on this continuing journey, our divergences will no longer stand in the way of our common witness and our evangelizing mission in the service of a human family that today is tempted to build a purely secular future, a future without God.

Your Holiness, beloved Brother, I have found great comfort in sharing these thoughts with you. In the hope of soon encountering you once more, I ask you to pray for me and to bless me, and I exchange with Your Holiness a fraternal embrace of peace.

From the Vatican, 30 August 2019


(I took the images included with the papal letter from the video)


How are your Latin language skills? Do you need to improve them? Well, here you go….https://www.vaticannews.va/en/podcast/vatican-radio-news-in-latin.html

Every year at this time, the men from around the world who have been ordained new bishops over the previous year come to Rome for about a week in order to visit congregations, pontifical councils and other dicasteries of the Roman Curia, getting to know people and structures they will need in their years as bishops. They participate in a course organized by the Congregations for Bishops and for the Eastern Churches.

These fall gatherings, which always include a meeting with the Holy Father, have been nicknamed “the baby bishops conferences.” Pope Francis met the new bishops this morning as you can see from the Vaticannews summary of his remarks.


By Vatican News

Pope Francis told the Bishops: “Our mission is to be for the Church and for the world the ‘sacraments’ of God’s closeness.” Our world seeks this divine closeness, he said. “The Church herself is lost when she loses the life-giving tenderness of the Good Shepherd.”

Closeness to God
“Closeness to God is the source of the Bishop’s ministry,, said the Pope, and “we exist to make this closeness palpable.” But we cannot communicate God’s closeness without experiencing it, Pope Francis continued. “Without the closeness to the Sower,” we cannot accompany the growth of the seed “with patient confidence”.

Closeness to God’s people
“Closeness to the people entrusted to us,” the Pope continued, “is our essential condition.” “Jesus loves to approach His brothers and sisters” through His Bishops, through their comforting hands; through their words, proclaiming the Gospel, and not themselves; through their hearts, “when they are charged with the joys and sorrows of our brothers and sisters.”

“We have to proclaim with our lives a measure of life different from that of the world,” said Pope Francis: “the measure of a love without measure.”

Closeness of the Good Samaritan
“The closeness of the Bishop is not rhetoric,” continued Pope Francis. It is not about “self-referential proclamations, but of real availability.” Closeness uses concrete verbs, he said, like those of the Good Samaritan: “not looking the other way, not leaving people waiting and not to sweeping problems under the carpet.”

The Pope encouraged the new Bishops to “to stay in touch with people, to devote more time to them than to the desk.” The Good Samaritan bandages wounds, and gets his hands dirty. “To be close to the people of God is to identify with them,” said Pope Francis, to share their joys and their pains.

Closeness to the poor
“The thermometer of closeness is the attention to the least, to the poor,” continued the Pope. Living a simple life is “to witness that Jesus is enough for us and that the treasure we want to surround ourselves with is made up of those who, in their poverty, remind us of Him.”

The Pope insisted he was not speaking about poor people in terms of abstract “data and social categories, but concrete people, whose dignity is entrusted to us as their fathers.” Fatherhood, he said, means being able to see, to caress, to weep.

Closeness of listening
The Pope invited the new Bishops to be “Apostles of listening,” men who know how to listen to things that may not always be pleasant to hear. He told them not to surround themselves with “yes men.”

He encouraged them to make regular pastoral visits: to meet their people and their pastors; to visit following the example of Our Lady, who shows us how “to bring the comfort of the Lord.”

Closeness to priests
Finally, the Pope urged the new bishops to be especially close to their priests who need to be “loved, accompanied and encouraged. …The priest is the closest neighbor of the bishop,” said Francis. “Embrace them, and thank them in my name.”