DEAR LORD, HOW HAVE YOU BLESSED ME? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS…..

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, and Friday are day off for EWTN so this column may be quiet. I might post something on Facebook if an event warrants it so stayed tuned for that. In any case, check in!

I will be celebrating and giving thanks at 10:30 Mass at St. Patrick’s Church and then partake in a grand turkey lunch (with a few Italian elements thrown in!) at the North American College. U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich will read the annual Presidential Proclamation on both occasions. My friendship with the priests, seminarians, faculty and staff of the Pontifical North American College is another of my great blessings.

DEAR LORD, HOW HAVE YOU BLESSED ME? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS…..

Dear Lord, how have you blessed me? Let me count the ways…..

My wonderful family, my beautiful faith, my ocean of friends, the friends throughout your great universe whom You have brought into my life.

Does a day pass that You do not bring some unique, new person into my life? The newest member of my wonderful, large family? A friend from another country? Another wonderful seminarian or priest added to the many who have made my life and my faith so fulfilling? The list is so very long!

Does a day pass that I am not enriched and blessed by some amazing event that You placed in my path as a learning moment, a time of prayer, a period of silent Thanksgiving?

You blessed me at my baptism when You brought me into your beautiful Catholic Church and a faith to which I have always tried to be faithful.

You have blessed me by enriching that faith over the years, allowing me to work for You every day, to bring your Word and your teachings and your Truth to so many.

My words, by comparison, are very insignificant but truly heartfelt. I am filled with both thanksgiving and joy as I write these words, as my mind’s eye overflows with images of each family member, of friends here in Rome and around the globe, of the magnificent events that daily fill my life.

I sign most emails and letters with “God bless,” and then on another line “Joan” – but I read it silently as “God bless Joan.”

And You have blessed me! Heartfelt THANKS!

And Thank You FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH
For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.
(Part of a Christian hymn composed by Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)

Advertisements

DOMINICAN SISTERS TO SING AT WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING

DOMINICAN SISTERS TO SING AT WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING

As our four founding Sisters stepped out in faith 21 years ago to begin a new community of women religious, they envisioned spreading the witness of religious life across the country. Indeed, God has affirmed their act of faith by providing abundant opportunities to fulfill that vision.

In a spirit of thanksgiving, we are excited to bring “Christ to the Capitol” as our Sisters sing selections from our latest CD, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, at the White House for the 96th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on November 28!

JUST IN: POPE FRANCIS’ APOSTOLIC TRIP TO PANAMA FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY

POPE FRANCIS’ APOSTOLIC TRIP TO PANAMA FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 ROME-PANAMA 09:35 Departure by plane from Rome / Fiumicino to Panama

4.30 pm Arrival at Panama Tocumen International Airport. OFFICIAL WELCOME

16:50 Transfer to the Apostolic Nunciature

Thursday, 24 January 2019 PANAMÁ

09:45 WELCOME CEREMONY at the main entrance of the Presidency of the Republic – Palacio de las Garzas – COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC in the Presidency of the Republic – Palacio de las Garzas

10:40 MEETING with the AUTHORITIES, with the DIPLOMATIC CORPS and with the REPRESENTATIVES OF Society in the Palacio Bolivar – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Discourse of the Holy Father

11:15 MEETING WITH THE CENTRAL-AMERICAN BISHOPS in the church of S. Francisco de Asis Discourse of the Holy Father

17:30 WELCOMING CEREMONY AND OPENING OF WYD in the Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera Address of the Holy Father

Friday, January 25, 2019 PANAMÁ

10:30 PENITENTIAL LITURGY WITH THE YOUNG DEPRIVED OF FREEDOM in the Las Garzas de Pacora Child Enforcement Center – Homily of the Holy Father

11:50 am Transfer by helicopter to the Apostolic Nunciature

17:30 VIA CRUCIS WITH THE YOUTH in the Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera – Address of the Holy Father

Saturday 26 January 2019 PANAMÁ

09.15 am SANTA MESSA with the dedication of the altar of the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua with Priests, Consecrated and Lay Movements Homily of the Holy Father

12:15 Lunch with the youth at the San José Major Seminary

18:30 VIGIL WITH YOUNG PEOPLE in Camp San Juan Pablo II – Metro Park Address of the Holy Father

Sunday, January 27, 2019 PANAMÁ -ROMA

08:00 HOLY MASS for World Youth Day in Campo San Juan Pablo II – Metro Park -Omelia of the Holy Father

10:45 VISIT TO THE HANAR HOUSE OF THE Good Samaritan Address of the Holy Father Angelus of the Holy Father

16:30 MEETING WITH WYD Volunteers in the Rommel Fernandez Stadium Address of the Holy Father

18:00 DISCOUNT CEREMONY at Panama International Airport.

18:15 Departure by plane to Rome

Monday 28 January 2019 ROME 11:50 Arrival at Rome / Ciampino Airport

POPE FRANCIS BACKS VENICE EVENT FOR WORLD’S PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS – 5-EURO COIN CELEBRATES POPE PAUL VI’S CANONIZATION

In case you’re a linguist and want to practice one of the languages you know, it might just be on vaticannews.va – 34 languages!

POPE FRANCIS BACKS VENICE EVENT FOR WORLD’S PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

Pope Francis is backing the #RedVenice initiative in Venice, Italy, Tuesday evening (Nov. 20), that aims to draw attention to and raise public opinion on the martyrdom and persecution of Christians in many countries around the world.

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin has sent a message on the Pope’s behalf to Patriarch Francesco Moraglia of Venice expressing his support for Tuesday evening’s event in Venice called #RedVenice, sponsored by the Patriarchate of Venice, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN ), a Catholic charity helping persecuted Christians worldwide, and Venice municipality.

During the #RedVenice event, numerous landmarks of the famous lagoon city, including the waters of the Grand Canal, will be bathed in red light, symbolizing the colour of the blood of persecuted Christians.

“The Holy Father is sending his affectionate greetings to the young people taking part in the diocesan pilgrimage promoted by the Patriarchate of Venice and the Aid to the Church in Need foundation, to sensitize public opinion on the drama of numerous Christians persecuted for their faith,” Cardinal Parolin wrote in the message.

He said the Pope hopes the “provident initiative will arouse due attention on the part of all to the serious problem of discrimination that Christians suffer in many parts of the world”.

(For more: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-11/pope-francis-redvenice-support-persecuted-christians-asia-bibi.html)

5-EURO COIN CELEBRATES POPE PAUL VI’S CANONIZATION

The Vatican’s Philatelic and Numismatic Office (UFN) is celebrating the canonization of Pope Paul VI with, for the first time, the emission of a 5-Euro coin in silver with gold-plated relief. The coin costs 75€. Only 1,500 have been minted.

The UFN has the following offices:

UFN SALES OFFICE SANTA MARTA (inside Vatican City State so Vatican employees and retirees only can enter with ID) – OPENING HOURS: Monday – Friday: 8.00 – 12.00 – Saturday: closed

UFN SALES OFFICE (Mobile post office at left hand colonnade), Saint Peter Square
OPENING HOURS_ Monday – Saturday: 8.30 – 18.30

UFN SALES OFFICE VATICAN MUSEUMS (next to the Philatelic and Numismatic Museum) – Monday – Saturday: 10.00 – 16.00

(I have no information as to online sales of the coins. This is the webpage for the UFN: http://www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/en/servizi/ufficio-filatelico-e-numismatico.html)

POPE URGES BELIEVERS: “HEED THE CRY OF THE POOR”

Saturday I did the TV commentary for EWTN’s presentation of the annual Ratzinger Prize, offered by the Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation. We met the two recipients, theologian Marianne Schlosser and architect Mario Botta, and heard the Holy Father address the Foundation.

It was a lot of fun to do but there is always a lot of research and preparation that goes into these commentaries, as you can imagine. The commentaries are done from our better-than-well-equipped audio studio that is just off the terrace that is one floor above the EWTN offices. We’re about 300 feet from St. Peter’s Square, Ben Crockett was in studio with me to do the Facebook live streaming and another colleague, Gianluca Teseo took these photos.

POPE URGES BELIEVERS: “HEED THE CRY OF THE POOR”

Sunday was a big day at the Vatican – it was the World Day of the Poor and was celebrated in a number of ways, starting with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica presided over by Pope Francis in the presence of many poor, accompanied by members of parish groups and associations.

At Mass, Francis urged believers to “heed the cry of the poor – the cry of the poor daily becomes stronger but heard less, drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich.”

After Mass and the Angelus, the Pope shared lunch with 1,500 poor and 70 volunteers in the Paul VI Hall. He thanked those who prepared and served the lunch and prayed for the Lord’s blessing for all those present. The menu included lasagna, chicken morsels, mashed potatoes and tiramisu.

Earlier, at the angelus, Pope Francis asked for prayers for victims of the massacre that took place two days ago on a Catholic mission sheltering 20,000 refugees.
in which two priests were also killed. A number of people were burned alive. UN officials said more than 40 people were killed and dozens wounded in the attack. “Let us pray for the dead and for the wounded,” he said, “and let us pray that the violence will cease in that beloved country that is in great need of peace.”

The Holy Father then spoke of the devastating fires in California:. “My special prayer also goes to those affected by the fires that are plaguing California, and to the victims of the frost on the east coast of the United States” he said. The disaster in California has killed at least 76 people with hundreds missing. “May the Lord receive the dead in His peace, comfort their families and support those who are engaged in rescue efforts”

Here are some great photos of the papal lunch for the poor taken by my colleague Daniel (Daniel Ibáñez/CNA&EWTN) –

Note the silver butler’s cover for each individual plate –

 

POPE TO ORDER OF HOLY SEPULCHRE: “ROOT CHARITABLE WORKS IN PRAYER”

Don’t forget to tune in this weekend to VATICAN INSIDER. There are so many ways you can listen to my weekend program: IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

Below is a piece about the papal audience today to members of the Consulta of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. I am honored to be a Dame of that Order, especially because what the members around the world do in and for the Holy Land is absolutely astonishing. To learn more about us, here is a link to the official website of the Order: http://www.oessh.va/content/ordineequestresantosepolcro/en.html

The symbol of the Order, a symbol embroidered on the white capes of the knights and the black capes of the dames, is the celebrated Jerusalem Cross. There are two interpretations to the design of the Jerusalem Cross: One is that the five crosses represent the five wounds of Christ. The second is that the large Cross represents the Crucifixion and the four smaller ones represent the four corners of the earth to which Christ sent His Apostles after the Resurrection.

I have this cross on my desk. In the center is soil from the Holy Land.

POPE TO ORDER OF HOLY SEPULCHRE: “ROOT CHARITABLE WORKS IN PRAYER”

As the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre concludes its ‘Consulta’, Pope Francis encouraged the knights and dames to root their charitable works in prayer and to assist persecuted Christians.

Pope Francis addressed members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem on Friday at the end of its 4-day Consulta. (photo vaticannews)

The Consulta is the Equestrian Order’s general assembly, which takes place every 5 years. Ranking members gather in Rome “to discuss the great questions of the Order’s mission and life.”

American Cardinal Edwin O’Brien is the Grand Master of the Order, appointed by the Holy Father.

Pope Francis took the opportunity to highlight “the dramatic situation of Christians who are persecuted and killed in ever-greater numbers.”

He also called attention to a type of “white martyrdom, like, for example, that type which occurs in democratic countries when religious freedom is limited.”

He exhorted the knights and dames of the Holy Sepulchre to offer both “material aid” and “prayer, constantly invoking the Blessed Virgin, whom you venerate under the title of ‘Our Lady of Palestine’. She is the caring Mother and Help of Christians, for whom she obtains strength and comfort in pain from the Lord.”

Path to peace
Pope Francis also thanked the Equestrian Order for supporting the Church’s pastoral and cultural initiatives.

“I encourage you to continue your commitment, alongside the Latin Patriarchate, to addressing the refugee crisis that has led the Church over the past five years to provide a significant humanitarian response throughout the [Middle East].”

He congratulated the Order for opening its educational initiatives and health programs to all people, “independently of the community they belong to and the religion they profess.”

The Pope said this openness helps “pave the way for the recognition of Christian values, the promotion of inter-religious dialogue, mutual respect, and reciprocal understanding.”

Pope Francis said the Order’s work contributes to achieving peace in the Middle East.

Spiritual growth of members
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre is present in more than 30 nations and areas around the world, providing education and formation programs.

Pope Francis said the Order’s primary aim is related to “the spiritual growth of its members”. Each knight and dame, he said, should take part in religious formation programs, “so that each member may consolidate their indispensable relationship with the Lord Jesus, especially in prayer, meditation on Holy Scripture, and studying the doctrine of the Church.”

He invited the Order’s leaders “to offer an example of intense spiritual life and concrete adhesion to the Lord. …Do not forget that you are not a philanthropic organization, whose aim is to improve the material and social standing of those you assist.”

The Holy Father said members of the Holy Sepulchre Order are called focus their efforts “on the evangelical love of neighbor, so as to bear witness everywhere to the goodness and care with which God loves every person.”

At the conclusion of the audience, Pope Francis blessed an icon of “Our Lady, Help of Persecuted Christians”.

“Let us together invoke Mary’s care for the Church in the Holy Land and more generally in the Middle East, together with her special intercession for those whose lives and freedoms are in danger.” (vaticannews)

PRESS OFFICE ON PAPAL AUDIENCE WITH ISRAELI PRESIDENT RIVLIN – THE JERUSALEM POST ON PRESIDENTIAL VISIT – CATHOLIC BISHOPS IN THE HOLY LAND ON ISRAEL’S NATION STATE LAW – HOLY SEE REITERATES ISRAEL-PALESTINE TWO-STATE SOLUTION, JERUSALEM STATUS QUO

A fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and Israel was signed in Jerusalem on December 30 1993: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/archivio/documents/rc_seg-st_19931230_santa-sede-israele_en.html

Action on some of the provisions involving taxes, visas for Catholic workers and other issues are still pending on the part of Israel. Below are a few pieces that give some background on the state of relations between the Holy See and Israel.

PRESS OFFICE ON PAPAL AUDIENCE WITH ISRAELI PRESIDENT RIVLIN

“Today, 15 November, the Holy Father Francis received in audience His Excellency Mr. Reuven Rivlin, President of the State of Israel, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by H.E. Msgr. Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

“During the cordial discussions, which took place around the twenty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the positive relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel were evoked and, with regard to the state authorities and the local Catholic communities, the hope was expressed that suitable agreements may be reached in relation to some issues of common interest.

“Mention was made of the importance of building greater mutual trust in view of the resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians so as to reach an accord respecting the legitimate aspirations of both peoples, and of the Jerusalem question, in its religious and human dimension for Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as the importance of safeguarding its identity and vocation as City of Peace.

“Finally, attention turned to the political and social situation in the region, marked by different conflicts and the consequent humanitarian crises. In this context, the parties highlighted the importance of dialogue between the various religious communities in order to guarantee peaceful coexistence and stability.”

RIVLIN THANKS POPE FRANCIS FOR FIGHTING ANTISEMITISM

(THE JERUSALEM POST)

President Reuven Rivlin met with Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City on Thursday morning, and thanked the pontiff for his support in the fight against antisemitism on behalf of Israel and world Jewry.

“Your absolute condemnation of acts of antisemitism and your definition of such acts as anti-Christian are a significant step in the ongoing fight to stamp it out,” said the president.

Rivlin also discussed the controversy between the Jerusalem city government and church over municipal property taxes. “The State of Israel has full freedom of worship for all religions in all holy places,” Rivlin said.

In February, the municipality announced its intention to start collecting taxes from properties owned by churches that are not prayer houses. The municipality notified the Finance, Interior and Foreign ministries and the Prime Minister’s Office that it will start collecting NIS 650 million in tax from 887 properties. It said that until February it had refrained from such tax collections because the state did not permit it.

The move outraged churches based in Jerusalem, which in a rare protest closed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The audience was Rivlin’s second with Pope Francis. Their first meeting, also at the invitation of the Pope, took place in 2015.

The president and his wife Nechama received an official welcome to the Vatican, reviewing the Pontifical Swiss Guard in their traditional uniforms.

CATHOLIC BISHOPS IN THE HOLY LAND ON ISRAEL’S NATION STATE LAW

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land released a statement on 2 November responding to the Nation State Law of 19 July 2018 passed by the Israeli Knesset.

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews. November 5)

It is out of a “spirit of dialogue” that the Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land speak out in a statement responding to the “issue of the Nation State Law passed by the Israeli Knesset on 19 July 2018.

We are all citizens
The legislation at issue limits the promotion and protection offered by the State of Israel to “Jewish citizens of the State of Israel”. In direct response to this, the Bishops write:
“We must draw the attention of the authorities to a simple fact: our faithful, the Christians, our fellow citizens, Muslim, Druze and Baha’i, all of us who are Arabs, are no less citizens of this country than our Jewish brothers and sisters.”

Discrimination
The Bishops also draw attention to the ongoing tension arising from the definition of Israel’s democracy being both “Jewish” and “democratic”. It is the Jewish majority who determines what this means, while the Arab minority experiences the discrimination caused by the imbalance of the “Jewish” element over the “democratic”. An ongoing struggle to “protect the rights of all citizens, to guarantee as much as possible the values of equality, justice and democracy” received a milestone victory with the 1992 passage of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, the statement says.

Legal discrimination
Recent passage of the new Nation State legislation “is a blow to these values”, the statement continues. Now there is a “constitutional and legal basis for discrimination” because “Jewish citizens are to be privileged over and above other citizens”. In addition to “seriously downgrading the standing of the Arab language”, the law ignores “Palestinian Arabs, other major religious communities, Christians and Muslims as well as Druze and Baha’i”.

Demand for equality
The statement continues with a declaration that the above-mentioned groups “demand to be treated as equal citizens.” In addition, equality must incorporate civic, ethnic, and religious identities. This demand is based on the fact that “Jerusalem and the whole of this Holy Land is a heritage we share with Jews and Muslims, Druze and Baha’i, a heritage we are called upon to protect from division and internecine strife”.

Call to rescind the law
In conclusion, the Bishops “call on the authorities to rescind” the law since it is contradictory to both the humanistic and democratic basis of Israeli legislation and international law. Thus all can be assured that the “State of Israel seeks to promote and protect the welfare and the safety of all its citizens”.

Signatories
There are 25 signatories to the statement, representing the Latin, Armenian, Melkite, Chaldean and Maronite Churches, as well as the representatives of men and women religious serving in the Holy Land.

HOLY SEE REITERATES ISRAEL-PALESTINE TWO-STATE SOLUTION, JERUSALEM STATUS QUO

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York on October 18 addressed a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East and the Palestinian question.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

The Holy See has reiterated its unwavering support for a fair, durable and early solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, through the resumption of negotiations aimed at reaching a Two-State solution, with Israel and a Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security within internationally-recognized borders.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York made the call in an address on Thursday to a UN Security Council debate on the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian question.

Legitimate aspirations of both peoples

While expressing grave concern over facts on the ground, the Vatican diplomat called on both sides to demonstrate wisdom, responsibility and the political will to reach a historic peace agreement that would meet the legitimate aspirations of both peoples.
“Persevering dialogue based on good will ,” he said, “must replace inflammatory rhetoric, violence and conflict.” “Innocent civilians must never be the target of terror or overwhelming military actions,” he stressed.

Noting that states in and outside the Middle East have exacerbated the Israeli-Palestinian discord and the intra-Palestinian divisions for their own interests, Arch. Auza urged these states to rather facilitate and sustain the peace process.

“Status quo” for Jerusalem status

The status of Jerusalem has been a painful issue between Israel and the Palestinians. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state, whereas Israel has declared the whole city to be its “united and eternal” capital.

At the UN, Arch. Auza reiterated the Holy See’s support for the historic “status quo” of Jerusalem, in line with UN resolutions, rejecting any unilateral measure aimed at changing it.

He asserted the Holy See stand that the Holy City be a place of convergence and peace and that the followers of the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam be guaranteed free and unhindered access to the Holy Places.
Palestinian refugees

The Holy See official also expressed serious concern over the dire humanitarian situation of Palestine refugees. Arch. Auza urged that the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), that is providing some 5.6 million Palestine refugees with the most basic human needs, be allowed to function fully in order to prevent the situation from worsening. (from October 19)