POPE FRANCIS TWEETED TODAY: Christian hope is a gift that God gives us if we come out of ourselves and open our hearts to him.

As previously announced, I leave tomorrow for the US where I will mainly spent time in both New York City (May 2-9) and Washington D.C. (May 9-16). Two of the special events being planned – which you will read more about on this page and on my FB page – are book signings at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Gift Stores in New York and at the Basicila Shrine of The Immaaculate Conception in D.C.

Here is the poster that Patrick Danczewski at the St. Patrick’s gift store has produced! So if you are in the area, come and see me! Tell your friends – post the info on FB or your blog– and also stay tuned for other events I may announce in coming days. This column may be long or short or even sporadic while I am in the States but stay with me!

Click on  the link for the poster:


Remember to tune in to my weekend show, “Vatican Insider,” in my absence as I’ve prepared some specials related to pilgrimages and Holy Years and how to be well-formed and well-informed pilgrims!


The story of the Good Samaritan and its lesson of “love thy neighbor” were at the heart of Pope Francis’ catechesis during the general audience today in St. Peter’s Square. Here is the English summary of the papal catechesis this morning:

AG April 27

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now turn to the parable of the Good Samaritan.  Jesus had taught the great commandment of love for God and neighbour.  In reply to the question: “Who is my neighbor?”, he recounts the story of the priest and the levite who pass by a man in need at the side of the road.  Their religiosity is ultimately inauthentic, for it does not find expression in service to others.

Love, the Lord tells us, is never abstract or distant; it “sees” and it responds.  The compassion shown by the Samaritan is an image of the infinite mercy of God, who always sees our needs and draws near to us in love.  The command to love God and neighbour, then, is supremely practical; it entails caring for others even to the point of personal sacrifice.

By the end of the parable, we see that the “neighbor” is not so much the man in need, but rather the one who responded to that need with compassion.  Jesus tells all of us to be neighbours in this sense: “Go and do likewise”.  He himself is the model of the Good Samaritan; by imitating his love and compassion, we show ourselves truly to be his followers.