It was a very busy weekend and Monday at the Vatican and also for yours truly as I attended a press conference today (see the Vatican Radio story and my photos below), had several appointments and spent time arranging for a trip to Chicago to participate in the farewell events for the archdiocese’s beloved Cardinal Francis George (and, as you know from these pages, a good friend of mine). I leave Wednesday and will try to keep you updated, as far as time will allow.
Lots of news and interesting stories but just three highlights today….
CANONS REGULAR OF ST. JOHN CANTIUS, “A LIVING LEGACY” OF CARDINAL GEORGE
I received an email today from Fr. Joshua Caswell – a priest in Chicago who was ordained by Cardinal George for the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. We have not met but I have known Fr. Frank Phillips of St. John Cantius for many years.
Fr. Joshua included a wonderful link about what he said was the legacy that Cardinal George left behind—the “restoration of the Sacred.” The link was put together by the community, wrote Fr. Joshua, as a “tribute for our spiritual father.” He also quotes Fr. Phillips who says, “We are a living legacy of this shepherd of souls.” From the beginning of the Canons Regular, it was Cardinal George who envisioned that a small community of men founded at a run-down Chicago church would become a flourishing order dedicated to the “Restoration of the Sacred.” http://www.canons-regular.org/go/news/read/cardinal-francis-george-chicago.
A beautiful and worthy tribute – and marvelous photos! – to a man for whom the title “Eminence” was richly deserved!
POPE EXPRESSES PAIN, SADNESS AT MIGRANT BOAT TRAGEDY
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has appealed to the international community to take swift and decisive action to avoid more tragedies of migrants seeking a better life.
His heartfelt cry to the world came following news of the sinking of yet another boat carrying migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in which it is feared 700 people may be dead.
The Pope was speaking on Sunday morning after the Regina Coeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square, where he told tens of thousands of people “They are men and women like us, our brothers seeking a better life, starving, persecuted, wounded, exploited, victims of war. They were looking for a better life”.
Faced with such a tragedy – Pope Francis continued – I express my most heartfelt pain and promise to remember the victims and their families in prayer.
“I make a heartfelt appeal to the international community to react decisively and quickly to see to it that such tragedies are not repeated,” he said, before asking the crowd to pray “for these brothers and sisters”.
The latest disaster happened when a boat carrying migrants capsized off the Libyan coast overnight, in one of the worst disasters seen in the Mediterranean migrant crisis.
Just Saturday Pope Francis joined Italian authorities in pressing the European Union to do more to help the country cope with rapidly mounting numbers of desperate people rescued in the Mediterranean during journeys on smugglers’ boats to flee war, persecution or poverty.
While hundreds of migrants took their first steps on land in Sicilian ports, dozens more were rescued at sea. Sicilian towns were running out of places to shelter the arrivals, including more than 10,000 in the week ending Saturday.
Since the start of 2014, nearly 200,000 people have been rescued at sea by Italy.
Italy says it will continue rescuing migrants but demands that the European Union increase assistance to shelter and rescue them. Since most of the migrants want to reach family or other members of their community in northern Europe, Italian governments have pushed for those countries to do more, particularly by taking in the migrants while their requests for asylum or refugee status are examined.
AMERICAN SEMINARY IN ROME READIES FOR PAPAL VISIT, MASS
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See Press Office was the scene Monday morning for the presentation of a Day of Reflection on the life and legacy of Blessed Junípero Serra – soon to be St. Junípero Serra, after his canonization in Washington, DC, scheduled for September of this year. Capping the Day, which is to focus on the theme: Fra Junípero Serra: Apostle of California, and Witness to Sanctity, is to be the visit of Pope Francis to the Pontifical North American College, host of the event, for Mass in the College chapel.
“The highlight of the day, of course, for us, will be the end of the day, when [Pope Francis] comes to celebrate Mass with our community at 12 o’clock,” said the rector of the North American College, Msgr. James Checchio, in an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio ahead of the press conference on Monday. “It’s been quite a few years – thirty-five – since the Successor of Peter has been to the College, so it’s a great moment for us.” he added.
Msgr. Checchio also told Vatican Radio about the enduring importance of Bl. Junípero Serra’s spirit of service and sacrifice for the Gospel. “He obviously showed great heroic [valor] and sacrificed himself in the name of evangelization and Jesus Christ,” he explained. “Certainly that’s something of which we need to do more: we need to give all we have,” Msgr. Checchio said.
The Day of Reflection is organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Pontifical North American College. Featured speakers are to include: Card. Marc Ouellet, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; Archbishop José H. Gómez of Los Angeles; and Vincenzo Criscuolo, OFM Cap., General Relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
For the complete story and calendar of events for the May 2 Day of Reflection and papal Mass at NAC, click here: http://www.news.va/en/news/pnac-to-host-day-of-reflection-on-bl-junipero-serr