This is totally out of left field and unrelated to what I bring you in this daily column but here goes: Daily I receive via email a Word of the Day from For some reason I found today’s word – a synonym for gobbledegook – fun and interesting (as is gobbledegook). The word is bafflegab: 1. Noun. Slang. Means confusing or generally unintelligible jargon; gobbledegook: an insurance policy written in bafflegab impenetrable to a lay person. BAF-uhl-gab

I’m sure all of us have experienced bafflegab without knowing what to call it – reading insurance policies or the fine print on airline tickets, on utility bills and the “I agree” forms when you sign up for almost anything online. You find it in instructions for the use of electronic devices (especially when it is a translation of the original Japanese or Korean), and the acres of instructions on income tax forms, insurance claim forms, etc. You get the idea.

As long as there is no bafflegab on these pages, life is good!

And now to the serious – and fascinating! – news of the day, a Vatican press conference on the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy. I’m writing a book on the Jubilee so found today’s offerings both interesting and useful.

You will also want to read my UPDATE FROM TURIN – really interesting information.


One of the more fascinating press conferences I have attended in recent memory was this morning’s presentation of the Jubilee of Mercy, including the official calendar of events, by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, the council to which Pope Francis entrusted the preparetion of this Holy Year.


A number of things were remarkable about the press conference. In the first place, Pope Francis only announced the Jubilee less than two months ago, on March 13, and yet, here was the council president offering us the calendar of events that will take place at the Vatican and in Rome for the December 8, 2015-November 20, 2016 Holy Year of Mercy. For a Vatican event – perhaps for any other organization – that is extraordinary speed!

And the speed with which the website was completed is also surprising! Check it out today, with all the new additions: – and if your Latin is less than perfect, you can also go to   The website uses a number of social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and Flickr).

As if this was not enough, all of this – the archbishop’s presentation of the Jubilee and the contents of the website – are in 7 languages.


Given the fact that Pope Francis’ announcement on March 13 of a Jubilee of Mercy took everyone by surprise. Archbishop Fisichella was asked when he found out! He said he had a private meeting with Pope Francis last August about a number of matters and at one point, the Pope said, “I certainly would love to have a Holy Year of Mercy.”  That sounds to me like a “your wish is my command” statement!


In his presentation today, the archbishop noted that, “It is the Pope’s desire that this Jubilee be celebrated in Rome as well as in the local Churches; this will give due focus to the life of individual Churches and their needs, in such a way that the initiatives will not place an extra burden on local Churches, but will blend into their calendars and usual activities very naturally. Also, for the first time in the history of the Jubilee tradition, there will be an opportunity for individual dioceses to open a Holy Door – The Door of Mercy – either in the Cathedral or in a church of special meaning or a shrine of particular importance for pilgrimages.”

He underscored that this Jubilee “is based upon a theme. It will build upon the central content of the faith and intends to call the Church once again to its missionary priority of being a sign and witness in every aspect of its pastoral life. I also have in mind Pope Francis’s appeal to Judaism and Islam as loci in which to contextualize the theme of mercy in order to foster dialogue and a way of overcoming difficulties in the public realm.

We were shown the logo for the Jubilee.


Archbishop Fisichella said, “It shows an image quite important to the early Church: that of the Son having taken upon his shoulders the lost soul, demonstrating that it is the love of Christ that brings to completion the mystery of his incarnation culminating in redemption.” Note, he said, that Christ carries not a lamb, but a man. He also pointed out that, “the three concentric ovals, with colors progressively lighter as we move outward, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the darkness of sin and death. Conversely, the depth of the darker color suggests the impenetrability of the love of the Father who forgives all. “

In explaining the calendar of celebrations, the council president said, “some events are being organized which most likely will involve large crowds of people. We wanted the first event, which will be held from January 19-21, to be dedicated to all those involved with the organization of pilgrimages.” He then listed other events on the official Jubilee Year calendar (click here to see calendar:

Archbishop Fisichella noted that, “on November 6 , we will celebrate the Jubilee for those in prison. This will be held not only in prisons but we have been studying the possibility of giving many of those in prison the opportunity to celebrate their own Holy Year with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.”

He also spoke of “meeting the needs of the many pilgrims who will come alone to Rome apart from any organized tour or tour group,” noting, “there will be a number of churches in the historic center of Rome where they will feel welcome, where they can have moments of reflective prayer and prepare themselves thoroughly to walk through the Holy Door in an atmosphere of genuine spiritual devotion.”


FOR THE ILL: For the first time in the history of public expositions of the Shroud of Turin, tomorrow, May 6 will be dedicated not only to the ill and disabled, as the cathedral does every Wednesday, but to persons affected with very grave pathologies. The Medical Services of the Exposition Committee has instituted a procedure whereby all sick people, including those in wheelchairs or on stretchers will be able to directly access the immediate waiting area of the cathedral, thus by-passing the brief path normally reserved to the disabled. Following verification by the medical staff, the disabled will be assigned a reservation time between 4:30 and 5:30 pm. They will be accompanied by volunteers and the very ill will be assisted throughout the visit by their own doctor. An estimated 600 ill and disabled are expected tomorrow.

CONFESSIONS: For those wishing to confess before or after their visit to the shroud, the Sacrament of Penance is being offered in front of the cathedral of Turin where 6 confessionals have been placed, in addition to the four confessionals at the Church of Santo Spirito in Via Porta Palatina. One hundred ninty-four (194) priests have offered their services for the entire period of the exposition of the Shroud of Turin: 51 are from the diocese of Turin and 143 for other dioceses. The priests speak Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish, Rumanian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Arabic, Swahili, Indonesian and Malayalam. It is above all adults between the ages of 45 and 65 who have been going to confession, 70% of whom are women. Of those who confess, 85% do so after having seen the Shroud of Turin.

VISITORS: Among today’s visitors from around the world was a family from Cambodia with their 11 children.  Yesterday’s visitors included a group of 20 Catholics from Moscow, led by Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, archbishop of Moscow’s Mother of God Catholic archdiocese. Abp. Pezzi gave Turin’s archbishop and the people of the diocese a book about the metropolitan cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He explained the ties between the Shroud – which he and his group saw for the first time in their lives – and their church in Moscow. The archbishop has been the metropolitan in Moscow for eight years. His diocese is 6 times the size of Italy and has 65 parishes.

CHILDREN AND THE SHROUD:  At the official Shroud of Turin bookstore in Piazza Castello, a corner is reserved for little children where a DVD is shown throughout the day entitled “Mystery after Mystery. It is an animated cartoon produced in Turin with the sponsorship of the Shoud Exposition Committte. It is divided into various parts, each lasting two minutes, that tell the story of the Shroud.