As soon as I solve a few issues with dowloading my photos from the Academy of the Holy Names reunion on Tuesday, I will post that story. In the meantime, here is a link with photos to Janet Lado’s Facebook page (I have posted this on my FB page) about our amazing gathering!
ALERT: At 6 pm today in the EWTN D.C. studios, I will be taping with Raymond Arroyo for “The World Over.” I am not sure if this will air tonight or is being taped for a later date – tune in and you’ll find out!
A PAPAL TWEET – May 12: Dear Religious: wake up the world! Be witnesses to a different way of thinking, acting and living!
POPE FRANCIS CALLS FOR COMMISSION TO STUDY REINSTATING FEMALE DEACONS
Dialogue with the International Union of Superiors General, or UISG
Pope Francis led an in-depth discussion on Thursday about the role of women in the Church, saying he wants to set up a commission to study the possibility of reinstating female deacons. His conversation was part of a question and answer session with some 900 heads of female religious orders and congregations who form part of the International Union of Superiors General, or UISG.
Pope Francis spoke off the cuff during his closed door encounter with the sisters, who are currently holding their General Assembly in Rome this week, marking the 50th anniversary of the foundation of their organisation. During the hour and a half long conversation about the mission and ministry of women in religious life, the Pope responded to several delicate questions, including one about the history of female deacons. He said understanding about their role in the early Church remained unclear and agreed it would be useful to set up a commission to study the question.
Women deacons in the early Church
Up to the 5th century, the Diaconate flourished in the western Church, but in the following centuries it experienced a slow decline, surviving only as an intermediate stage for candidates preparing for priestly ordination. Following the Second Vatican Council, the Church restored the role of permanent deacon, which is open to single and married men. Many experts believe that women should also be able to serve in this role, since there is ample evidence of female deacons in the first centuries, including one named Phoebe who is cited by St Paul in his letter to the Romans.
More women in leadership positions
Pope Francis reiterated that he wants to see an increase in the number of women in decision-making positions in the Church, saying women’s perspectives are very important for both the elaboration and the carrying out of such decisions. The integration of women into the life of the Church has been “very weak”, he said, adding that “we must go forward”.
Asked about the possibility of women preaching the homilies during Mass, the Pope said it’s important to distinguish between other types of liturgies, where the sermon can be preached by consecrated or lay women, and the Mass, where the homily is connected to the role of the priest serving “in persona Christi”.
Changes to Canon Law
Questioned about the prospect of changes to Canon Law which would facilitate the reform process being undertaken by many women’s congregations, the Pope said such changes could be possible, providing they were the result of a process of discernment by the competent authorities.
Service not servitude
Finally Pope Francis spoke about the vital work of the sisters who care for the poor and marginalized. He said this is a vocation of service to the Church and must never be confused with servitude, which is sometimes still asked of them. They should not fear being labelled as ‘activists’, in their service to the needy, he said, but they should also find time for rest and for listening to older or sick members of their communities who are a precious source of wisdom and memory. (Vatican Radio)
“UNPLUGNPLAY” TENNIS TABLE FOR POPE FRANCIS
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday received a special white Table Tennis table with personalized paddles in an effort to promote UnPlugNPlay Day, which encourages family and friends to put away their computers, mobile phones, and other devices in order to have fun, and connect with those they love.
The table tennis equipment was given to the Holy Father by Franco Sciannimanico, the President of the Italian Table Tennis Federation, and Robert Blackwell Jr., managing director of the American company Killerspin, which manufactures Table Tennis equipment.
The two men said during the encounter, which took place shortly before the General Audience, Pope Francis recalled the role of table tennis in the 1970’s détente between China and the United States.
This year, UnPlugNPlay Day will take place on August 29.
VATICAN BANK’S ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2015
Click here for the annual report of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), aka the Vatican Bank, for 2015. It is lengthy and thorough and makes interesting reading:
Information is also available on the IOR website www.ior.va