In case you bought a lottery ticket at the Vatican Post Office for today’s drawing, the Events Office of the Governorate of Vatican City State, the sponsor of the lottery for papal charities, confirmed in an email that the winning numbers of the 12 main prizes and the 30 “consolation” prizes of the lottery will be announced on the website either later tonight or tomorrow morning (www.vaticanstate.va and/or http://www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/it/stato-e-governo/struttura-del-governatorato/novita/lotteria-beneficienza-2015.html)


Thursday morning in the Santa Marta chapel Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the victims of the attack on the Paris offices of the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebso, where 12 people were the victims of the terrorist attack. The Pope said, “the attack makes us think of great cruelty, human cruelty; of such terrorism, both isolated terrorism and state terrorism. The cruelty of which man is capable! Let us pray, in this Mass, for the victims of this cruelty. So many of them! And let us also pray for those who perform these cruel acts, so that the Lord might transform their hearts.”

Wednesday, the day of the attack, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin sent a telegram on behalf of Pope Francis to Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris:

“Upon learning of the terrible attack in Paris on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, which has claimed numerous victims, His Holiness Pope Francis joins in prayer with the suffering of the bereaved families and the sadness of all the French people. He entrusts the victims to God, full of mercy, and prays that He will welcome them in His light. He expresses his deepest sympathy for the injured and their families, and asks that the Lord console and comfort them in their ordeal. The Holy Father reiterates his condemnation of the violence that generates such suffering, and praying that God grant the gift of peace, he invokes a divine blessing for the afflicted families and the French people.”

Later that day, a statement from Fr. Federico Lombardi, head of the Holy See Press Office said the Pope deplored the attack on the offices and staff, and that it “profoundly disturb[s] all peace-loving persons far beyond the confines of Paris,” and that such violence is never justifiable. The statement calls on all people everywhere to oppose the spreading of hatred and every form of violence.

Fr. Lombardi’s statement said, “Whatever may be the motivation, homicidal violence is abominable. It is never justifiable. The life and dignity of all are to be guaranteed and protected with decision. Every incitement to hatred should be refuted. Respect must be cultivated.” It expressed Pope Francis’ spiritual closeness, solidarity and support for all those who work for peace, justice and right, and for those who seek “to [bring] deep healing to the springs and causes of hate, in this painful and dramatic moment in France, and in every part of the world marked by tensions and violence.”


Father Federico Lombardi, Holy See Press Office director, briefed journalists on Wednesday on Pope Francis’ second trip to Asia. The Pontiff will travel from Jabuary 12 to 19, visiting Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Christopher Wells reported for Vatican Radio:

Father Lombardi pointed out that this will be Pope Francis’ second trip to Asia, following his journey last summer to Korea. The decision to return again to the continent, Lombardi said, highlights the Holy Father’s attention to this “great continent.” He also noted that, as Benedict XVI was not able to make a trip to Asia, it was important to “recover a sense of the papal presence” in the continent that numbers a great part of the human population.

Pope Francis’ seventh Apostolic journey has a fairly precise schedule, with two full days in Sri Lanka, and three full days in the Philippines, with a travel day in between.

Father Lombardi also spoke about previous visits of Popes to the two countries. Blessed Pope Paul VI during a long trip to the region, visited both the Philippines and Sri Lanka in 1970. In a similarly extensive trip in 1995, Pope Saint John Paul II visited both countries; he had previously visited the Philippines in a trip to southeast Asia in 1981. These trips, Lombardi said, have been of “great importance” for relations between the Popes and the continent of Asia.

In preparation for the Pope’s upcoming voyage, Fr Lombardi said it is helpful to look at the logos for the visits to each country. The logo for the trip to Sri Lanka includes a characteristically “oriental” cross, with the figure of Blessed Joseph Vas, who will be canonized by Pope Francis in Colombo. The design is completed with the miter of Pope Francis in the background.

For the trip to the Philippines, the logo is a little more simple, featuring a white cross in a yellow circle at its center, surrounded by red and blue arms representing mercy and compassion. The colors used in the image are the colors of the Philippine flag. Father Lombardi noted that one of the purposes of the Pope’s journey to the Philippines is to offer comfort to the many victims of natural disasters, especially the victims of last year’s devastating typhoon.


It did not make the columns of the Vatican’s website NEWS.VA (as I write these words on Thursday at 7 pm) but it can be confirmed that Pope Francis today met briefly with actress and U.N. special envoy Angelina Jolie after the screening of her film, “Unbroken” at the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy for Science in Vatican City. Argentinian Archbishop Marcello Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of this academy and the Academy for Social Sciences, introduced Jolie to the Pope. (Photo by L’Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis - A. Jolie - OR

Several Vatican officials and a number of ambassadors accredited to the Holy See were invited to the screening.  “Unbroken,” produced and directed by Jolie, is based on the 2010 book by author Laura Hillenbrand entitled, “Unbroken; A World War II Story of Survivla, Resilience and Redemption.” It recounts the life of American athlete and Olympian Louis Zamperini who survived in a raft for 47 days after his bomber was downed in WWII, and was then sent to a series of prisoner of war camps. He survived that ordeal and died July 2, 2014 at the age of 97.

Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said this film demonstrated “positive human and spiritual values, in particular forgiveness.” He said, the meeting “lasted just a few minutes, even though it was naturally very significant for those present.” Jolie screened the film together with Zamperini’s son Luke. She also brought her two eldest daughters with her for the trip to Rome.