Mondays I usually bring you a substantial account of weekend news in the Vatican but today, because of serendipitous events, I have been out of the office on appointments and interviews, more than I have been in the office, with time to write, etc. Therefore, I’ll focus only on Saturday’s papal Mass with the bestowal of the pallium, a summary of upcoming events and the holiday schedule for Pope Francis.

I often spent part of each Sunday, when I am in town, working on Vatican events and news, preparing interviews, uploading photos, studying documents etc. Yesterday, however, I spent the entire day celebrating my birthday, a marvelous day that ended with a truly unforgettable dinner with very good friends at “La Vittoria,” whose owner and my dear friends, Claudio and his wife Palmerina, gave me a stunning bouquet of flowers. My friends took photos of the evening but have not yet sent those to me, so I can’t share those memories with you just yet.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints usually announces the names of future Blesseds and Saints three times a year, indicating at their meeting with the Holy Father the dates of some of the future beatification and canonization ceremonies. One of those three occasions is usually in July, and often the first week of July, so we might be on the lookout for an announcement about Blessed John Paul if the miracle that theologians have approved is approved by the cardinals of the Congregation and by Pope Francis. If not in the coming week, I have heard that Francis might wait until Rio to make the announcement. And wouldn’t that make a lot of sense as it was John Paul II who created World Youth Day!!


Saturday, Pope Francis bestowed the pallium on 34 new metropolitan archbishops, including four from the United States: Archbishops Salvatore Cordileone (San Francisco), Alexander Sample (Portland), Joseph Tobin (Indianapolis), Michael Jackels (Dubuque), and U.S.-born Archbishop Gintaras Grusas of Vilnius, Lithuania.

The Holy Father offered “three thoughts on the Petrine ministry, guided by the word ‘confirm,” noting that the Bishop of Rome been called to confirm in faith, to confirm in love, and to confirm in unity.

On the last point, Francis said: “I would like to reflect for a moment on the rite which we have carried out. The pallium is a symbol of communion with the Successor of Peter, ‘the lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion’. And your presence today, dear brothers, is the sign that the Church’s communion does not mean uniformity. The Second Vatican Council, in speaking of the hierarchical structure of the Church, states that the Lord ‘established the apostles as college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from their number’. To confirm in unity: the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the primate. Let us go forward on the path of synodality, and grow in harmony with the service of the primacy.” He also underscored the fact that the Council said, “this college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the people of God.”

In the Church, concluded the Pope, “variety, which is itself a great treasure, is always grounded in the harmony of unity, like a great mosaic in which every small piece joins with others as part of God’s one great plan. This should inspire us to work always to overcome every conflict that wounds the body of the Church. United in our differences: there is no other Catholic way to be united. This is the Catholic spirit, the Christian spirit: to be united in our differences. This is the way of Jesus! The pallium, while being a sign of communion with the Bishop of Rome and with the universal church, with the Synod of Bishops, also commits each of you to being a servant of communion.”

Various embassies and seminaries gave receptions for archbishops from their countries on Saturday. The Pontifical North American College offered a reception for the four U.S. bishops, though Abp. Jackels did have a separate one with the pilgrims who accompanied him to Rome, so we never met.

Abp. Sample and I have met on a number of occasions in both the U.S. and Rome, the first being in 2009 in NYC for Cardinal Dolan’s installation as archbishop.

I have known Archbishops Cordileone and Tobin from their days in Rome at the Roman Curia.

EWTN interviews Abp. Cordileone for “Vaticano.”

The San Francisco archbishop with members of his family from San Diego where he was born.

Reminiscing about the days in the Curia and talking about the Supreme Court’s recent decisiosn on marriage.

Abp. Tobin greets a young visitor from Indianapolis.

And he explains the pallium to a friend.

I’ll have to take a photo of Abp. Tobin and I at another event as the person who took my camera to get a photo of the two of us forgot to snap!


The Vatican announced Monday that Pope Francis will make a private trip to the island of Lampedusa on Monday, July 8. He has been deeply moved by the recent shipwreck of a vessel carrying migrants from Africa, an accident that is just the latest in a series of similar tragedies. The Pope wishes to pray for those who have lost their lives at sea, and will visit with victims and refugees on the island, encouraging the residents of the island and making a plea to the authorities to care for these brothers and sisters in extreme need. Because of the nature of this visit and the particular circumstances, the visit will take place with discretion, even with regard to the bishops and civil authorities of the region.

Lampedusa, in the southernmost part of Italy, is the largest of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean. The city of Lampedusa is part of the Sicilian province of Agrigento (Sicily), which also includes the smaller islands of Linosa and Lampione. Lampedusa is a key gateway to Europe that lies 80 km north of Tunisia and receives large numbers of asylum-seekers and other migrants from North Africa and beyond. The sinking of a boat carrying migrants towards the southern Italian island of Lampedusa underscores why European Union governments need to do more to rescue and assist destitute people who arrive on its shores.

The Vatican also announced Monday that Pope Francis’ first encyclical -“Lumen fidei” (The Light of Faith) – will be published on Friday, July 5th. There will be a presentation at 11:00 am at the Holy See Press Office with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

In yet another piece of papal news offered today, the Vatican updated Pope Francis summer schedule: The Prefecture of the Papal Household had announced on June 6 that, during the summer period, all private and special papal audiences will be suspended, including the Wednesday general audiences of July 3,10, 17, and 31. Today the Vatican announced that there will also be no Wednesday audiences in August. They will resume on Wednesday September 4.

On Sundays during the month of August, Pope Francis will recite the Angelus prayer in the Vatican. On the August 15 Feast of the Assumption, however, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in the Parish of Castelgandolfo and later recite the Angelus prayer with the faithful at the papal summer residence in the Roman hill town.

From Monday, July 22, to Monday July 29, the Holy Father will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the 28th World Youth Day.

The pontiff’s normal residence for the summer period will continue to be the Santa Marta residence. Furthermore, the morning Masses in the Santa Marta chapel will be suspended. Starting July 7. Therefore there will be no morning homilies available through the various Vatican communications offices.


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