POPE TO ISSUE JUBILEE BULL OF INDICTION ON APRIL 11 – PAPAL APPOINTMENTS IN THE ROMAN CURIA – BOSNIAN CRAFTSMAN CARVING CHAIR FOR POPE FRANCIS’ TRIP TO SARAJEVO

POPE TO ISSUE JUBILEE BULL OF INDICTION ON APRIL 11

(VIS) – Following the first announcement of the next extraordinary Holy Year by Pope Francis on 13 March, the Holy Father will proceed with the official indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction on Saturday, April 11 at 5.30 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The rite of publication will involve the reading of various passages of the Bull before the Holy Door of the Vatican Basilica. Pope Francis will subsequently preside at the celebration of First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday, thus underlining in a particular way the fundamental theme of the extraordinary Holy Year: God’s Mercy.

The term bull (from the Latin bulla = bubble or, more generally, a rounded object) originally indicated the metal capsule used to protect the wax seal attached with a cord to a document of particular importance, to attest to its authenticity and, as a consequence, its authority. Over time, the term began to be used first to indicate the seal, then the document itself, so that nowadays it is used for all papal documents of special importance that bear, or at least traditionally would have borne, the Pontiff’s seal.

The bull for the indiction of a jubilee, for instance in the case of an extraordinary Holy Year, aside from indicating its time, with the opening and closing dates and the main ways in which it will be implemented, constitutes the fundamental document for recognising the spirit in which it is announced, and the intentions and the outcomes hoped for by the Pontiff, who invokes it for the Church.

In the case of the last two extraordinary Holy Years, 1933 and 1983, the Bull of Indiction was published on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. For the next extraordinary Holy Year, the choice of the occasion on which the publication of the Bull will take place clearly demonstrates the Holy Father’s particular attention to the theme of Mercy.

PAPAL APPOINTMENTS IN THE ROMAN CURIA

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has named the former president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the new prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. He replaces retiring Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski who has been prefect since 1999.

The Congregation for Catholic Education is responsible for houses of formation of religious and secular institutes; universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or civil dependent on ecclesial persons; and schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities.

In addition, the Holy Father named Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Cologne, Germany as a new member of APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

APSA is the office of the Roman Curia that administers “the properties owned by the Holy See in order to provide the funds necessary for the Roman Curia to function” (Pastor Bonus, 172 as revised by the July 8, 2014 Motu proprio of Pope Francis on the transfer of what had been the Administration’s Ordinary Section to the Secretariat for the Economy).

BOSNIAN CRAFTSMAN CARVING CHAIR FOR POPE FRANCIS’ TRIP TO SARAJEVO

An AP story from Bosnia-Herzegovina reports that Salem Hajdarovac didn’t sleep for a whole week when he heard his workshop had been granted the honor of carving a special chair that Pope Francis will sit on during his visit to Bosnia. Hajdarovac and his son Edin, both devoted Muslims, started working on the chair on Monday in their little workshop in the central Bosnian town of Zavidovici.

In this photo taken on Saturday, March, 28, 2015 Bosnian Muslim craftsman Salem Hajdarovac engraves decoration onto part a wooden chair in his workshop in Bosnian town of Zavidovici, 170 kms north of Sarajevo (AP Photo/Amel Emric).

Edin Hajdarovac

They have put all other orders on hold to produce the perfect chair by June 6, when the pontiff will hold a mass in Sarajevo aimed at boosting efforts toward brotherhood in the country ravaged by war two decades ago.

Many Bosnians, including Muslims, Catholics and Christian Serb Orthodox, see Francis as a worthy successor of John Paul II, who is perceived as a champion of inter-faith cooperation and peace.

HUMILITY IS GOD’S WAY, JESUS’ WAY AND MUST BE OUR WAY – PALM SUNDAY: THE STORY OF A SAILOR, AN OBELISK AND A PAPAL PROMISE

HUMILITY IS GOD’S WAY, JESUS’ WAY AND MUST BE OUR WAY

Sunday at 9.30 am Pope Francis began the solemn liturgical celebration of Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s Square where, at the center of the square, at the obelisk, he blessed the palm and olive branches and, continuing the procession, celebrated Mass for the Passion of the Lord. Palm Sunday marks Word Youth Day on a diocesan leval  and thousands of Young people from Rome and other dioceses were present for the 30th WYD on the theme “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

POPE FRANCIS PALM SUNDAY 2

The Pope’s homily focused on humility, during which he remembered “our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians, the martyrs of our own time – and there are many.”

In his homily, following the proclamation of the Passion of the Lord according to Mark, Francis said, “At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: ‘He humbled himself’. Jesus’ humiliation. These words show us God’s way and, consequently, that which must be the way of Christians: it is humility. A way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God!

“Humility is above all God’s way: God humbles himself to walk with his people, to put up with their infidelity. This is clear when we read the the story of the Exodus. How humiliating for the Lord to hear all that grumbling, all those complaints against Moses, but ultimately against him, their Father, who brought them out of slavery and was leading them on the journey through the desert to the land of freedom.

“This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus’ own humiliation. Only in this way will this week be ‘holy’ for us too. We will feel the contempt of the leaders of his people and their attempts to trip him up. We will be there at the betrayal of Judas, one of the Twelve, who will sell him for thirty pieces of silver. “We will see the Lord arrested and carried off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged before the Sanhedrin, condemned to death, beaten and insulted. We will hear Peter, the ‘rock’ among the disciples, deny him three times. We will hear the shouts of the crowd, egged on by their leaders, who demand that Barabas be freed and Jesus crucified. “We will see him mocked by the soldiers, robed in purple and crowned with thorns. And then, as he makes his sorrowful way beneath the cross, we will hear the jeering of the people and their leaders, who scoff at his being King and Son of God. This is God’s way, the way of humility. It is the way of Jesus; there is no other. And there can be no humility without humiliation.

“Following this path to the full, the Son of God took on the ‘form of a slave’. In the end, humility also means service. It means making room for God by stripping oneself, ’emptying oneself’, as Scripture says. This – the pouring out of oneself – is the greatest humiliation of all.

“There is another way, however, opposed to the way of Christ. It is worldliness, the way of the world. The world proposes the way of vanity, pride, success, the other way. The Evil One proposed this way to Jesus too, during his forty days in the desert. But Jesus immediately rejected it. With him, and only by his grace, with his help, we too can overcome this temptation to vanity, to worldliness, not only at significant moments, but in daily life as well. In this, we are helped and comforted by the example of so many men and women who, in silence and concealment, sacrifice themselves daily to serve others: a sick relative, an elderly person living alone, a disabled person, the homeless.

“We think too of the humiliation endured by all those who, for their lives of fidelity to the Gospel, encounter discrimination and pay a personal price. We think too of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians, the martyrs of our own time – and there are many. They refuse to deny Jesus and they endure insult and injury with dignity. They follow him on his way. In truth, we can speak of a ìcloud of witnesses’ – the martyrs of our own time.

“During this week, let us set about with determination along this same path of humility, with immense love for him, our Lord and Saviour. Love will guide us and give us strength. For where he is, we too shall be.”

In brief remarks after Mass at the Angelus, the Holy Father spoke of World Youth Day, including the 2016 celebration in Krakow, Poland. He entrusted that celebration to Mary and also entrusted to “her intercession the victims of last Tuesday’s aviation tragedy, among whom there was also a group of German students.”

PALM SUNDAY: THE STORY OF A SAILOR, AN OBELISK AND A PAPAL PROMISE

It is time once again to tell you the marvelous story of how a sailor from Liguria saved an obelisk from falling and extracted a papal promise for an honor for his native city.

In 1586, Pope Sixtus V, to complete the design of St. Peter’s Square, ordered architect Domenico Fontana to place in the center of the square a giant Egyptian obelisk which had been brought to Rome in 39 A.D. by Emperor Caligula. For centuries it has been in the emperor’s circus in what today is Vatican City, and moving the obelisk from that point to the center of St. Peter’s Square would be a herculean task.

The obelisk had been in the Vatican gardens, near the Constantinian basilica (the first one) and had laid there, forgotten for many years under layers of mud and stagnant water. Giacomo della Porta was asked by Sixtus V to recover the obelisk and, struck by its majestic beauty, the Pope asked that projects to raise the obelisk in St. Peter’s Square be studied.

On September 10, the day the 85-foot high, 350-ton obelisk was transported by 900 workers, 140 horses and 44 winches, Benedetto Bresca, a ship’s captain from the Italian Riviera area of San Remo-Bordighera, was in the square.

The head engineer had told Pope Sixtus that total silence was needed to raise the obelisk, once it was in the square. Thus, the Pope announced to the huge crowd that had assembled to watch the manoeuvre that anyone who spoke during the delicate and risky operation would face the death penalty. As work was underway, the ropes used to raise the obelisk gave signs of fraying and weakening and the obelisk itself began to sway. However, Benedetto, as a sailor, knew what the problem was – and how to solve it and so, notwithstanding the pontiff’s ultimatum, he shouted “water on the cords, water on the cords.” The head engineer realized the sailor was right, the cords were watered, they became taut and strong and the obelisk was raised, without further danger to anyone.

Instead of punishing the audacious sailor, Pope Sixtus rewarded him by giving Benedetto and his descendants the privilege of providing the Vatican with the famous Ligurian palms used for Holy Week ceremonies in the Vatican. And so it has been for over four centuries, with only a few brief interruptions.

Known as parmureli, the leaves from date palm trees in San Remo and Bordighera are woven and braided into intricate sculptures, some only inches high, while others are perhaps two meters high. Many years, more than 200 of the six-foot high parmureli are sent to the Vatican from Liguria for Palm Sunday – for the Pope, cardinals, archbishops, etc.

PARMURELI  2

PARMURELI  1

Many years ago, when the parmureli arrived by sea, the ship that carried them placed one of the palm leaf sculptures on the mast that usually displayed a flag. The palm “flag” thus gave that vessel from San Remo-Bordighera precedence into the port over all other vessels.

Click here to watch my “Joan’s Rome” video about the obelisk; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WVysLk0Kk8&index=16&list=PL69B6AD83630DB515

ST. PETER’S BASILICA TO BE DARK TONIGHT FOR “EARTH HOUR” – THE WHERE, WHAT AND WHY OF EARTH HOUR

ST. PETER’S BASILICA TO BE DARK TONIGHT FOR “EARTH HOUR”

(Vatican Radio) St Peter’s Basilica will go dark for one hour Saturday evening, joining once again the international “Earth Hour” effort to raise awareness about climate change.

The annual initiative, which began in 2007, invites cities around the world to turn off the lights on their national monuments and public buildings, as well as in offices, shops and homes, to help raise awareness about the need to adopt more environmentally sound practices.

Earth Hour is being observed 28 March in major cities across the world, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30, local time in each country. This year in Rome, the Great Synagogue and the Great Mosque will join the initiative for the first time.

THE WHERE, WHAT AND WHY OF EARTH HOUR

The Los Angeles Times gives this background on Earth Hour:

Earth Hour 2015 will happen at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, when landmarks, hotels, universities, buildings and individuals shut off their lights to raise awareness of climate change. It’s an

The World Wildlife Fund organizes the annual event, which started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. The organization reports that 7,000 cities, 1,200 landmarks and 172 countries and territories will go dark this year.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and Times Square in New York City are among the landmarks that plan to participate. You can stay home and turn out the lights or go to these events and places.

Las Vegas: Casinos and hotels on the Strip will power down their exterior lighting and marquees, leaving one of the world’s most famous roadways in darkness.

Los Angeles: The blue glow of Staples Center, Pacific Park’s Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier and the colorful pylons at Los Angeles International Airport will go dark.

San Francisco: Ghirardelli Square is dousing the lights and throwing a #GoDark Earth Hour Party from 6 to 9:30 p.m. It’s a dark chocolate (get it?) tasting party too. The Golden Gate Bridge and Transamerica Pyramid building will cut the lights too.

Ritz-Carlton and Hilton hotels: Some hotels around the world will switch off non-essential lights at all properties and organize events too. The Ritz-Carlton says in a statement that its hotel in Dubai’s International Financial Center will host “Stories by Candlelight” for kids while guests at the Istanbul Ritz-Carlton will be treated to a traditional Turkish shadow play in the lobby.

Hilton hotels are participating too. The Conrad Macao, Cotai Central will turn off external lights, dim indoor lights in restaurants and lounges, and create a 280-candle display of the Earth Hour logo in the lobby.

UNESCO sites: Thirty UNESCO World Heritage Sites will go dark, including the Acropolis in Athens, Edinburgh Castle in Scotland and the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.

Info: Find an event or location near you at http://www.earthhour.org/

“VATICAN INSIDER” FEATURES CHANTAL GOETZ, VOICES OF FAITH – POPE FRANCIS ATTENDS FOURTH LENTEN SERMON – POPE SENDS CURIAL CARDINAL TO IRAQ IN HOLY WEEK – VATICAN CONFIRMS TWO PAPAL EVENTS

“VATICAN INSIDER” FEATURES CHANTAL GOETZ, VOICES OF FAITH

Join me on “Vatican Insider” this weekend for my conversation with Chantal Goetz, executive director of the Fidel Goetz Foundation and founder of the Voices of Faith, an event that took place in the Vatican on March 8, International Women’s Day. Voices of Faith brought together talented, inspiring Catholic women of faith – lay and religious –from around the world – as well as a Jesuit priest from Nigeria – to talk about their experiences in reaching out to the world’s poor and marginalized, to the un-schooled, to those living in countries where they are threatened by terror groups, to women especially who are victims of human trafficking in so many places in the world. (JFL photos)

20150308_140147 20150308_151521_3

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences:

20150308_132421

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live 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.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE FRANCIS ATTENDS FOURTH LENTEN SERMON

This morning in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Vatican, Franciscan Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, delivered his fourth Lenten sermon, continuing his reflections entitled ‘East and West Before the Mystery of Salvation’. Sermons are held in this chapel on Fridays during Lent and Advent for the Holy Father and senior members of the Roman Curia. (news.va photo)

FR. CANTALAMESSA

Click here for full text of Fr. Cantalamessa’s talk: http://www.news.va/en/news/fr-cantalamessa-gives-his-fourth-lenten-sermon-in

POPE SENDS CURIAL CARDINAL TO IRAQ IN HOLY WEEK

A statement released today by the Holy See Press Office, speaking of the Pope’s concern for the plight of Christian families in Iraq, notes that Francis is sending a curial cardinal to Iraq to express the Pope’s solidarity with these people. Cardinal Filoni, before becoming prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, had been named apostolic nuncio to Iraq and Jordan by Pope John Paul in 2001. He received episcopal ordination from John Paul shortly afterwards. He served in Iraq and Jordan until February 25, 2006.

The communique says, “Pope Francis has a constant concern for the situation of Christian families and other groups of victims who have been expelled from their homes and villages, particularly in the city of Mosul and the Nineveh plains, many of whom have taken refuge in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Pope prays for them and hopes they can return and resume their lives in the lands and places where they have lived and built good relationships for hundreds of years.

“In this coming Holy Week, these families are sharing together with Christ the unjust violence of which they have been made victims, participating in the suffering of Christ himself. In a desire to be close to these families, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is returning to Iraq as a sign of nearness, affection, and unity in prayer with them.

“The families of the Diocese of Rome, united with their bishop in the feeling of nearness and solidarity with these families, through a special collection in the parishes, are sending the traditional Easter cakes in the shape of a dove (the celebrated “colomba”) to share the joy of Easter and as a herald of good based on the faith in the Resurrection of Christ.

“The Holy Father, moreover, makes himself present in a concrete way with a tangible sign of solidarity. Not wanting to forget the suffering of the families in northern Nigeria either, he has also sent a similar sign of solidarity through the local Bishops’ Conference.”

VATICAN CONFIRMS TWO PAPAL EVENTS

The Vatican Friday confirmed two events on Pope Francis’ agenda in coming months. On April 18, he will receive Italian President Sergio Mattarella for the first time in an official visit to the Vatican. President Mattarella was elected on February 3.

The Holy See Press Office also confirmed the pastoral visits that the Holy Father will make to the Italian cities of Prato and Florence on November 10 on the occasion of the 5th National Ecclesial Congress of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) that will be held from November 9 to 13 on the theme, “A New Humanism through Jesus Christ.

PRAYER FOR PEACE MARKS 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF BIRTH OF ST. TERESA OF AVILA – LENTEN STATION CHURCHES OF ROME: WEEK 5

PRAYER FOR PEACE MARKS 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF BIRTH OF ST. TERESA OF AVILA

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday morning began a special prayer for peace as part of the 5th centenary celebrations marking the birth of St Teresa of Avila. The Pope led the hour of prayer at the Casa Santa Marta before saying Mass along with the Superior General of the Discalced Carmelite Order, Father Saverio Cannestrà.

The worldwide Teresian family is participating in this initiative including Carmelite priest Fr Eugene McCaffrey from the Avila Carmelite Centre in Dublin, Ireland, who is also written on St Teresa.

“We’re delighted with the whole initiative and a little taken by surprise… and we’re joining with the Holy Father and with the whole Church…”  he told Vatican Radio’s Lydia O’Kane.

Father McCaffrey said that St Teresa “spent her whole life not just teaching prayer but praying and drawing people into the great mystery of the relationship with God. He added that his community would be having a “Birthday Party” to celebrate this milestone in the life of this Saint and Doctor of the Church.

Below please find World Prayer for Peace, proposed to the Holy Father Pope Francis:

Dear brothers and sisters:

The Order of Discalced Carmelites, friars, nuns, and seculars, the entire Teresian family, in union with the whole Church, today celebrates the 500th anniversary of the birth of its foundress, Saint Teresa of Jesus, Doctor of the Church.

At the request of the Father General of the Order, during the span of this day a world hour of prayer for peace will take place in all convents, monasteries, and fraternities. I unite myself joyfully to this initiative and begin with these words our supplication to God, Father of all of us, so that, through the intercession of Christ Jesus, he will pour his Spirit over all the nations, so that dialogue among men will triumph over violence and the conflicts that scourge our world.

To this prayer I invite all faithful Catholics, all Christians of other denominations, and also members of other religions and men and women of good will.

“The world is all in flames […] and are we to waste time asking for things that if God were to give them we would have one soul less in heaven? No, my Sisters, this is not the time to be discussing with God matters that have little importance” (Teresa of Jesus, Way of Perfection 1,5).

The world is all in flames is the sorrowful cry of Teresa as she contemplates the conflicts, wars, and divisions in society and the Church of her time. Today we also make this our cry and present it to Jesus as a supplication: Lord, the world is all in flames!

We, like Saint Teresa, know that by our own efforts we will not attain the precious gift of peace. Therefore, with our petition let us hold tightly to the power of the redeeming Cross of Christ: “Oh my Lord and my Mercy, my only Good! What more do I seek in this life than a union so close to you, that there can be no distinction between you and me? With such a companion, what can be difficult? With you so close to me, what dare I not attempt for your sake?”

Joined to the Cross of Christ and from the hand of the Virgin, his Mother and our Mother, and from the hand of Teresa, we beseech God to increase the opportunities for dialogue and encounter among men, that we learn to ask for forgiveness so that peace may grow in the world like the fruit of the reconciliation that he has come to bring to us.

Let us pray.

LENTEN STATION CHURCHES OF ROME: WEEK 5

I have been very negligent in posting news about each day’s station church in Rome during Lent. Heartfelt apologies, as I know many of you wrote me that you enjoy this segment of my blog. Assignments and appointments have meant most of my day was writing, recording, editing or being out of the office so I am going to take the easy way out in order to feature the Lenten station churches for this fifth week in Lent: Following is the calendar of churches for this week as featured at www.pnac.org

Below that are a few links to articles about and some photos of the churches featured Monday through Friday of this week.  Thanks for understanding!

 

Date Lenten Day Church
3/22/2015 Sunday S. Pietro in Vaticano
3/23/2015 Monday S. Crisogono in Trastevere
3/24/2015 Tuesday S. Maria in via Lata
3/25/2015 Wednesday S. Marcello al Corso
3/26/2015 Thursday S. Apollinare
3/27/2015 Friday S. Stefano Rotondo
3/28/2015 Saturday S. Giovanni a Porta Latina

MONDAY – SAN CRISOGONO IN TRASTEVERE:

http://rometour.org/basilica-church-san-crisogono.html

 

TUESDAY – SANTA MARIA IN VIA LATA:

http://rometour.org/church-chiesa-di-santa-maria-lata.html

 

WEDNESDAY – SAN MARCELLO AL CORSO:

http://rometour.org/church-chiesa-di-san-marcello-al-corso.html

 

THURSDAY – SANT’APOLLINARE:

https://www.tumblr.com/search/sant’apollinare

 

FRIDAY – SAN STEFANO ROTONDO: https://www.google.it/search?q=church+of+Santo+Stefano+Rotondo&biw=1138&bih=518&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=YUoUVZXXCMHTUZ2IgOgP&ved=0CAYQ_AUoATgU&dpr=1.2

 

POPE ASKS PRAYERS FOR LIFE, FOR FAMILY, FOR SYNOD ON THE FAMILY – BROTHER OF MAN EXECUTED BY IS MEETS POPE FRANCIS – PAPAL CONDOLENCES, PRAYERS FOR FAMILIES OF PLANE CRASH VICTIMS – 150 HOMELESS TO VISIT VATICAN GARDENS AND MUSEUMS, DINE IN MUSEUMS – SECOND LOTTERY FOR PAPAL CHARITY

POPE ASKS PRAYERS FOR LIFE, FOR FAMILY, FOR SYNOD ON THE FAMILY

At a rain-soaked general audience on Wednesday, feast of the Annunciation, Pope Francis explained to the faithful that, “in our journey of catechesis on the family, today is a somewhat special stage: It will be a break for prayer.”  Having spoken of mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers and sisters in previous weekly audiences, the Pope last week spoke of children, saying he would return to this topic this week, yet noting today he is “taking a break for prayer” for a special purpose.

ANNUNCIATIO AUDIENCE

Francis began his remarks with his customary, “Dear brothers and sisters, good day!” and then added, laughingly, “good day, yes, but not a beautiful day, eh?”

He also noted that, “today the audience takes place in two different places, as we do when it rains: you here in the square, and many sick people in the Paul VI Hall, who are following the audience on the big screens. Now, as a gesture of brotherly courtesy, let us greet them with a round of applause.” The faithful applauded and Francis, with his typical humor, remarked, “It’s not easy to applaud with an umbrella in hand, eh?”

“In the Church on March 25, “ stated the Holy Father, “we solemnly celebrate the Annunciation, the beginning of the mystery of the Incarnation. The Archangel Gabriel visits the humble girl of Nazareth, and announces that she will conceive and bear the Son of God. With this announcement, the Lord illumines and strengthens the faith of Mary, as He will later do for her husband, Joseph, so that Jesus could be born in a human family. This is very beautiful: it shows us how profoundly the mystery of the Incarnation, just as God wanted, comprises not only the conception in the womb of the mother, but also being welcomed into a true family.”

He went on to say, “Today I want to contemplate with you the beauty of this bond, the beauty of this condescension of God; and we can do so by reciting together the Hail Mary, which in the first part resumes the very words that the Angel addressed to the Virgin. I invite you to pray together. (And the faithful prayed the Hail Mary in Italian with the Pope).

The Pope then pointed to a second aspect of today’s solemnity: “On March 25, the solemnity of the Annunciation, the Day of Life is celebrated in many countries. For this reason, twenty years ago, Saint John Paul II on this date signed the Encyclical ‘Evangelium vitae’. To celebrate this anniversary, many members of the Movement for Life are in the Square today. In ‘Evangelium vitae’ the family occupies a central place, insofar as it is the womb of human life. The words of my venerable Predecessor remind us that the human couple was blessed by God from the beginning to form a community of love and life, to which He entrusted the mission of procreation. Christian spouses, celebrating the Sacrament of Matrimony, open themselves to honor this blessing, with the grace of God, for all of life.

“The Church, for her part, is solemnly committed to the care of the family that results from it, as a gift of God for her own life, in good fortune and in bad: the bond between the Church and the family is sacred and inviolable. The Church, as a mother, never abandons the family, even when it is disheartened, wounded, and mortified in so many ways; it will always do everything to seek to cure and heal it, to invite it to conversion and to reconcile it with the Lord.

So then,” said Francis, “if this is the task, it appears clear how much prayer the Church needs in order to be up to fulfilling this mission at all times! A prayer full of love for the family and for life. A prayer that knows how to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to suffer with those who suffer.

Pope Francis than proposed “renewing the prayer for the Synod of the Bishops on the family. We are taking up this commitment again next October, when the ordinary Assembly of the Synod, dedicated to the family, will take place. I would like for this prayer, and the whole Synod journey, to be animated by the compassion of the Good Shepherd for His flock, especially for persons and families that, for different reasons, are “troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.”

“All of us – the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, priests, religious, lay faithful – we are all called to pray for the Synod. We need prayer, not gossip! I also invite those who feel far away, or who are not accustomed to do so, to pray. This prayer for the Synod on the Family is for the good of everyone. I know that this morning you were given a little prayer card, which you have in your hands. It might be a little wet. I invite you to hold on to it and keep it with you, so that in the coming months you can recite it often, with holy insistence, as Jesus has asked us.

Now, let us say it together:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, In you we contemplate the splendor of true love, We turn to you with confidence.

Holy Family of Nazareth,

Make our families, also, places of communion and cenacles of prayer, Authentic schools of the Gospel, and little domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth, May our families never more experience violence, isolation and division:

May anyone who was wounded or scandalized rapidly experience consolation and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth, May the upcoming Synod of Bishops re-awaken in all an awareness Of the sacred character and inviolability of the family, its beauty in the project of God.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Hear and answer our prayer. Amen.

BROTHER OF MAN EXECUTED BY IS MEETS POPE FRANCIS

Mike Haines, the brother of David Haines, who was murdered by ISIL in September 2014, spoke briefly with Pope Francis at the end of today’s general audience. Imam Shahnawaz Haque from East London accompanied Haines to the audience.

Speaking ahead of the weekly general audience, British Ambassador to the Holy See Nigel Baker said: “Mike Haines will be bringing to the Vatican his message of inter-religious understanding. Pope Francis has called for a common commitment to end fighting, hatred and violence. Mike Haines is living that commitment in an extraordinary way.”

Since his brother’s execution last September, Mike Haines has dedicated his time and effort to spreading a message of tolerance among all faiths, coming together to unite against extremism.  He shared that message with Pope Francis. In October 2014, Mike Haines signed a joint letter with Barbara Henning – the widow of Alan Henning who was also murdered by ISIL in 2014 – calling for “unity of people of all faiths in our society” and urging “churches, mosques, synagogues to open their doors and welcome people of all faiths.”  Barbara Henning also met the Pope this morning after the general audience.

Joining Haines, Henning and Ambassador Baker at the papal audience were the Muslim leaders who, since Tuesday, have been participating in an encounter organized by the Rome-based Sant Egidio Community and the Imam al-Khoei Foundation entitled, “Catholics and Shiites. The Responsibility of Believers in a Global and Plural World.” The Imam al-Khoei Foundation is an international foundation linked to the top Iraqi Shiite Islam authority, Ayatollah Ali Sistani. The contents of the Egidio meeting were presented to the Pope this morning by ten Shiite leaders from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia Saudita, Bahrain and Kuwait.

PAPAL CONDOLENCES, PRAYERS FOR FAMILIES OF PLANE CRASH VICTIMS

Pope Francis Tuesday expressed his closeness to the families of the victims of a plane crash in the French Alps in a telegram sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro. Parolin wrotes that the Holy Father “joins in the grief of the families” of the victims, including many children, and is also praying for those who died, “entrusting them to the mercy of God.”

“Having learned of the tragic plane crash in the region of Digne, which caused many casualties, including many children, His Holiness Pope Francis joins in the grief of the families, expressing his closeness to them in sorrow. He prays for peace for the deceased, entrusting them to the mercy of God that He might welcome them into His dwelling place of peace and light. He expresses his deep sympathy for all those touched by this tragedy, as well as for the rescue workers working in difficult conditions. The Holy Father asks the Lord to give strength and consolation to all, and, as a comfort, he invokes upon them the abundance of divine Blessings.”

The German A320 Airbus carrying 150 people came down in a remote, snow-covered mountainous region in the French Alps. There were no survivors. The cause of the crash is not yet known, however, the first black box flight recorder has been located. Weather at the time of the crash was calm, but it later deteriorated and there are forecasts of snow Wednesday further hampering search efforts.

The Germanwings flight was travelling non-stop from Barcelona in Spain to Duesseldorf in Germany. Germanwings spokesman Thomas Winklemann said the descent lasted for eight minutes.

Sixteen of those aboard the plane were pupils from Joseph-Koenig school in the German town of Haltern, returning from an exchange trip. A memorial Mass was held Tuesday for the victims and the local church remained opened all night for those wishing to mourn.

Wednesday, the leaders of Germany, France and Spain visited the crash site. (source: Vatican radio)

150 HOMELESS TO VISIT VATICAN GARDENS AND MUSEUMS, DINE IN MUSEUMS

The Elemosineria Apostolica, the office of papal charities where people procure papal blessings, has organized a special visit to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel for a group of 150 homeless people. Thursday, March 26, thanks to an initiative of the papal almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the artistic treasures of the Vatican Museums will be opened up to poor, who usually only see the steps of the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.

The visit is set for the early afternoon and the Museums will be closed earlier than usual to allow for the special guests. After arriving at the Petrine entrance to Vatican City (the entrance traditionally used by faithful to enter the Paul VI Hall, the guests will be divided into three groups for guided tours. Before arriving at the Museums, the groups will enjoy a privileged visit to grounds of Vatican City, passing by the Casa Santa Marta and behind the apse of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Their first stop in the Museums will be at the newly re-arranged Pavilion of the Carriages, where historical papal carriages and automobiles are on display. Afterwards, the groups will visit the Gallery of the Candelabra and the Gallery of the Maps on their way to the Sistine Chapel. The viewing of Michelangelo’s masterpiece will be a private showing, reserved solely for the guests of the papal almoner; the Chapel will be closed to the public during the visit.

In conclusion, after the guided visit and a common prayer, the group will be treated to a dinner hosted by the Office of Papal Charities.

SECOND LOTTERY FOR PAPAL CHARITY 

(VIS) – The Holy Father has expressed his gratitude for the proceeds raised by the lottery that took place in January.in support of his works of charity. The entire sum has been consigned to Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, almoner of His Holiness. In view of the widespread participation and generosity of many people, Pope Francis has made more prizes available to enable the initiative to be repeated.

The second lottery draw will take place on the June 29th solemnity of the Saints Peter and Paul, patrons of Rome, and the lucky numbers draw (each ticket costs 10 euros) is scheduled for 30 July, in the presence of a commission to guarantee correct procedures. Prizes can be claimed during the following 30 days in the Department of Events Coordination of the Governorate of Vatican City State. Also on this occasion, like the first lottery, the proceeds will go directly to the Pope.

Tickets will be available from the Vatican Pharmacy, Post Office, the Vatican supermarket, the sales outlets of the Philatelic and Numismatic Office, and the Vatican Museums bookshop.

 

POPE FRANCIS IN TURIN JUNE 21-22: WILL PAY HOMAGE TO SHROUD, MEET, PRAY AND DINE WITH COUSINS – THE EXHIBITION OF THE HOLY SHROUD OF TURIN

POPE FRANCIS IN TURIN JUNE 21-22: WILL PAY HOMAGE TO SHROUD, MEET, PRAY AND DINE WITH COUSINS

A press conference was held this morning in the Vatican to present the agenda for Pope Francis’ visit to Turin in June and to explain the program for the 67-day exhibit that will feature the celebrated Shroud of Turin.

Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Turin in northern Italy about 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 21 and, a half hour later, will meet with representatives of the world of work in the Piazzetta Reale. He will then proceed to the cathedral where he will pray before the Holy Shroud as well as before the altar of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. At 10.45 a.m. he will celebrate the Eucharist in Piazza Vittorio and will recite the Sunday Angelus prayer.

Shroud of Turin

Following Mass and the Angelus, the Pope will proceed to the archbishop’s residence to lunch with young detainees from the “Ferrante Aporti” penitentiary for minors, several immigrants and homeless people, and a Rom family.

At 2.40 p.m. the Holy Father is scheduled to visit the shrine of the Consolata, pausing for a brief period of private prayer. At 3 p.m., in the basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, he will meet with Salesians, who are marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of their founder, St. John Bosco, and the Daughters of Our Lady Help of Christians. An hour later, in the Church of Cottolengo, he will meet with the sick and disabled.

Returning to Piazza Vittorio at 6 p.m., Francis will meet with young people of the city, after which he will retire to the archbishop’s residence. The Pope will surely speak of Pier Giorgio Frassati when he meets with the youth of the city and archdiocese.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who died in 1925 at the age of 24, is as beloved now by Italian youth as he was at the time. Born into a very wealthy family, Pier Giorgio was an avid sportsman, had a great sense of humor, loved to be with his friends but, above all, loved helping those who were poor or sick or somehow disadvantaged. A Catholic social activist, he was a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic.

Frassati’s father, a self-proclaimed agnostic, founded the newspaper La Stampa and was active in national politics, serving in the Italian Senate and later as the country’s ambassador to Germany.

Young Pier Giorgio was not the apple that fell close to the tree: in fact, he was dedicated to works of social action, charity, prayer and community, and involved with Catholic youth and student groups, often keeping some his charitable works from his parents. In fact, when he died at 24, PierGiorgio’s parents naturally expected family and high ranking political friends to attend the funeral but were stunned when droves of people from all walks of life, including the poorest of the poor, flocked to the church to pay their respects.

In 1989 Pope John Paul II visited his tomb and paid homage to him, calling him a man of the Beatitudes.  Hebeatified Pier Giorgio on May 20, 1990.

The Pope’s visit to Turin continues on Monday 22 when, at 9 a.m., he will visit the Valdese Temple.

Returning to the archbishop’s residence, Francis will meet privately with some of his relatives, celebrating a Mass for them in the chapel and having lunch with them afterwards.

Before his departure from “Torino Caselle” airport, he will pay a short visit to the members of the Committee of the Shroud, the organizers and supporters of his visit.

THE EXHIBITION OF THE HOLY SHROUD OF TURIN

(VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the upcoming exhibition of the Holy Shroud of Turin (Turin, 19 April – 24 June 2015), on the occasion of the second centenary of the birth of St. John Bosco, which will be especially dedicated to the young and to those who suffer. The Pope will also make a pilgrimage to Turin from 21 to 22 June.

Speakers at the conference included Archbishop Cesare Nosaglia of Turin, papal guardian of the Shroud; Elide Tisi, Turin mayor; Roberto Gottardo, president of the diocesan commission for the Shroud; and Rev. Luca Ramello, director of the youth ministry for the diocese.

Archbishop Nosaglia explained that the Shroud represents, for the Universal Church, a point of reference of the first order for the faith life of many people and communities who recognize, in this image, the signs of the Lord’s passion, of a Jesus who “inspires our lives and challenges us to fully realize our deepest vocation. Therefore,” he added “the theme I have chosen for the next exhibition is ‘The Greatest Love’: the gift of salvation which is made visible in our response, the worship of God and service to our brothers”.

The archbishop noted that, “the Pope’s trip, like the exhibition as a whole, is also intended to give thanks for ‘the Saint of youth’, and for the service that the Salesian family carries out in Turin and throughout the world in the fields of education, mission, sport and communication. … The world of youth is particularly involved in the Salesian mission, and during the Pope’s visit there will be a sort of mini Youth Day, a series of meetings, encounters, prayer, moments of celebration that help resume contact with the young. An extraordinary sign will be the presence of the World Youth Day Cross, which will make a stop in Turin during its journey to Krakow.”

Another special mark of this exhibition will be attention to the world of those who suffer. This year those pilgrims who are sick or disabled, along with those who accompany them, will be able to benefit from new hospitality structures based on the model of the “Accueil” in Lourdes. It is also hoped that the pilgrimage to the Shroud will offer an opportunity to partake in the sacrament of Reconciliation, as a “concrete sign of forgiveness” and, as on previous occasions, “in various places priests will hear the confessions of the faithful in all the world’s major languages.”

Archbishop Nosaglia emphasized that the 2015 exhibition has been organized according to the criterion of austerity, given the period of severe economic and social crisis throughout the area, and he thanked those entities that have offered their cooperation to help limit costs as far as possible.

He also announced that during the display of the Shroud, Beato Angelico’s celebrated “Lamentation over the Dead Christ” will be exhibited in the diocesan museum, on loan for the occasion from the city of Florence.

LAMENTATION - FRA ANGELICO

“As you are aware, visiting the Shroud is completely free. Traditionally many pilgrims leave a simple offering at the end of their journey, deposited with full discretion at the exit of the Cathedral and in the places of confession. On this occasion all the offerings will be given to the Pope when he is with us in Turin on 21 June. We will ask him to use them, naturally with full freedom, for a work, or a project to assist the poorest or neediest.”

NOTE FROM JOAN: If you intend to be in Turin during the period of the exhibition of the Shroud, you must register at the following site to reserve a day and time for a visit: www.sindone.org

This is the official website and it is in several languages. “Sindone” means “shroud” in Italian.