VATICAN INSIDER: THE ACTON INSTITUTE AND MICHAEL NOVAK – POPE FRANCIS MAKES HISTORIC CHANGE IN CORPUS CHRISTI FEAST

VATICAN INSIDER: THE ACTON INSTITUTE AND MICHAEL NOVAK

Join me this weekend on Vatican Insider for Part II of my conversation with Kishore Jayabalan, director of the Acton Institute’s Rome Office. We talk briefly about the mission and work of the Institute but this week’s focus is principally on one of our favorite people and friends, the late, great Michael Novak, and his impact on the world, on Acton and on our personal lives. Part I aired last weekend.

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POPE FRANCIS MAKES HISTORIC CHANGE IN CORPUS CHRISTI FEAST

It is subtle and has come without an official explanation – so far.

Pope Francis has moved the traditional celebration in Rome of the feast of Corpus Christi, known as Corpus Domini here, from Thursday to the following Sunday this year. The traditional Mass and procession from St. John Lateran to St. Mary Major along Via Merulana will now take place on Sunday, June 18.

An article in the online Italian language journal, FarodiRoma (Rome’s Lighthouse), cited by Aleteia, calls the news “an unprecedented move” by Pope Francis.

The editors explain in their article on Corpus Christi that one of the reasons seems to be Pope Francesco’s desire to attract more people to this annual Mass and procession.

I follow the papal calendar month by month by going to the Prefecture of the Papal Household (where people get tickets for papal events: http://www.vatican.va/various/prefettura/en/biglietti_en.html) and, for liturgical ceremonies, to Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff (http://w2.vatican.va/content/liturgy/en.html

I wanted to verify the new date for this feast but could not find a calendar beyond April. I was advised to go to the prefecture site, to the upper right corner where, in very small letters, a hard to see white on gray, appears the word ‘Audiences’. It’s actually a misnomer because when you click on it you see audiences, the Angelus, liturgies, etc. – it probably should be named Agenda 2017.

There it is: JUNE 2017 – Sunday 18, Corpus Domini Mass and Procession at 19:00 in St John Lateran Square (no tickets required)

It does not mention Via Merulana or St. Mary Major but I suppose that’s a given – at least to Romans who know this tradition well.

Let’s see if and when the change is explained. Will Pope Francis issue a bull to change that of Pope Urban IV? Urban wished to honor the Eucharist and, in August 1264, wrote the Bull Transitus, ordering Corpus Christi to be celebrated annually on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Urban died on October 2, 1264.

Urban IV with Saints Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas –

Following is a piece I wrote a few years back and publish every year on the feast of Corpus Christi:

One of the most evocative liturgical celebrations of the year in Rome is the feast of Corpus Christi. Dating back to 1246, this solemnity is marked by an evening papal Mass on the esplanade at St. John Lateran Basilica and a Eucharistic procession along Via Merulana to St. Mary Major Basilica where the Pope imparts his blessing. This feast is celebrated in many beautiful, similar ways in dioceses throughout the world.

Via Merulana, originally called Via Gregoriana, was laid out by Pope Gregory XIII during the Holy Year 1575. Among Pope Gregory’s achievements: He reformed the calendar, founded the papal observatory, as well as several colleges and seminaries, including the Gregorian university, and built the quirinale palace, for years the summer residence of Popes and now home to the president of Italy.

The procession between the two basilicas began in the 1400’s. Its current itinerary began in 1575 when Gregory XIII built Via Merulana, and this route was followed for more than 300 years until the procession fell into disuse. John Paul II revived this custom in 1979. The feast of Corpus Christi is due in part to the visions of a 13th century Augustinian nun, Julianna of Lièges, known for her devotion to the Eucharist.

In one vision, Our Lord appeared to Julianna, reminding her that there was no solemnity honoring the Blessed Sacrament, and she began to promote such a feast.

Pope Urban IV, who also wished to honor the Eucharist, wrote a Bull in 1264 ordering Corpus Christi to be celebrated annually on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday

(JFL: The “lighthouse” in the journal’s name (which also publishes pieces in Spanish) refers to the lighthouse on the Janiculum hill that rose where the battles took place for the defense of the Roman Republic of 1849, and dominates Italy’s capital with its 20-meter height. The monument’s construction was financed by the Italian community in Argentina to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Italy’s unification in 1911, just over a century before the arrival of an Argentinian to the papacy, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis.)

PETER’S PENCE IS NOW ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM

PETER’S PENCE IS NOW ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM

(Vatican Radio) People around the world can now connect directly with the Peter’s Pence Office on Twitter (@Obolus_EN) and Instagram. This Office collects donations offered by the faithful as signs of their sharing in the Pope’s concerns for the many different needs of the Universal Church.

Following the successful launch of a website in November 2016, the charitable Office’s goal of communicating directly, accurately and transparently with Catholics around the world and with all people who want to help the most needy has led to the launch of new accounts in English, Italian and Spanish.

Pope Francis’ messages, which can already be found on the Peter’s Pence website, are being posted on Twitter and Instagram on a daily basis, along with photos, reflections and more information about the charitable works of the Holy See. The Office has committed to sustaining projects of all sizes around the world, including the creation of a paediatric hospital in Bangui in the Central African Republic and supporting the first Catholic university in Jordan.

Follow Peter’s Pence on Instagram account. Click here to visit the Twitter accounts in Italian and in Spanish. Interact with the Office by using the hashtag: #movingMercy.

Following is the full communique:

The aim is to go out to those who want to help the most needy and to make them aware of the charitable works being carried out through the solidarity of the faithful across the world, including men and women religious, lay faithful, societies, institutions and foundations, together with the offices closely assisting the Holy Father in the exercise of his mission.

After the launch last November of the new website www.obolodisanpietro.va, the  longstanding charitable Office will now be on social networks. The Twitter and Instagram accounts of Peter’s Pence have been active since 1 March last, with the goal of communicating directly, accurately and transparently with Catholics throughout the world and with all people who want to help those most in need. Peter’s Pence can be found on Twitter in Italian, English and Spanish, whereas there is one Instagram account.

The Messages of Pope Francis found on the Peter’s Pence website are being published daily on Twitter and Instagram, together with photos, reflections and further information on the charitable works of the Holy See carried out through this historic initiative of Christian charity.  As was tweeted in one of the inaugural tweets: “Mercy is about moving together, it is about meeting the needs of the needy”. It is in this spirit that Peter’s Pence has committed itself to sustain small and large projects throughout the world, such as the creation of a pediatric hospital in Bangui in the Central African Republic, the collection taken up to alleviate the suffering of the Ukrainian people, and support for the first Catholic University on Jordanian soil.

An initiative of the Holy See and the result of close collaboration between the Secretariat of State, the Secretariat for Communication and the Governorate of Vatican City, the three Twitter accounts – “Obolo di San Pietro: @obolus_it”; “Obolo de San Pedro: @obolus_es”; “Peter’s Pence: @obolus_en” – and the Instagram account “Obolus: obolus_va” can now be followed by Catholics throughout the world who are inspired by a common path of mercy: #movingMercy. 

POPE FRANCIS’ LETTER FOR DUBLIN WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES

Pope Francis has written a letter to the organizers of next year’s World Meeting of Families, who presented the event at the Vatican press office on Thursday morning. The Meeting is scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland from August 21st to 26th 2018 on the theme The Gospel of the Family: joy to the world.”

In the letter addressed to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head of the new Vatican office for Laity, Family and Life, the Pope says he hopes the Meeting will be a way for families to deepen their reflection on the document ‘Amoris Laetitia’ which he wrote at the conclusion of the two recent synods on the family.

At the press conference, the cardinal stressed the importance of preparations that will take place in parishes and dioceses ahead of the event. This catechesis must involve lay people as well as clergy, he said, reaching out especially to individuals and families who have grown away from the Church: As Pope Francis said we need to be a Church that goes out to the peripheries of society to those people who don’t listen to us at the present moment, to those families who have lost their way or who do not go to church any more.

Also present at the press conference was the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin who highlighted the complex combination of faith and secularization that characterizes his country today. He said the meeting will be a challenge for the archdiocese but also an opportunity to underline the importance of family life for Irish society as a whole.

Archbishop Martin said the meeting must learn to accompany families and address the real day-to-day difficulties which he hears about from those in his own archdiocese: “They’d be talking about work, leisure, homelessness, how to make ends meet, how government subsidies are being cut back, how they’d have sleepless nights worrying about their teenage children – these are the challenges they have to be supported in so that they can carry out this essential role in society and that people really give them the support and confidence to do that“.

Both leaders hope the meeting will not be a one-off event, but rather a chance for the whole Church to deepen its reflection on the Pope’s words in ‘Amoris Laetitia‘, seeing the family as a vital resource for sharing the message of God’s love with the world.

Neither of them would confirm the Pope’s presence at the Meeting next year, but they did share their hopes that he’ll be attending the event – a hope also expressed in the promotional video for the World Meeting of Families.

Following is Pope Francis’ Letter to Cardinal Farrell:

To the Venerable Brother Cardinal KEVIN FARRELL
Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life,

At the end of the Eighth World Meeting of Families, held in Philadelphia in September 2015, I announced that the subsequent meeting with Catholic families of the world would take place in Dublin. I now wish to initiate preparations, and am pleased to confirm that it will be held from 21 to 26 August 2018, on the theme “The Gospel of the Family: joy for the world”. Indeed, it is my wish for families to have a way of deepening their reflection and their sharing of the content of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

One might ask: does the Gospel continue to be a joy for the world? And also: does the family continue to be good news for today’s world? I am sure the answer is yes! And this “yes” is firmly based on God’s plan. The love of God is His “yes” to all creation and at the heart of this latter is man. It is God’s “yes” to the union between man and woman, in openness and service to life in all its phases; it is God’s “yes” and His commitment to a humanity that is often wounded, mistreated and dominated by a lack of love. The family, therefore, is the “yes” of God as Love. Only starting from love can the family manifest, spread and regenerate God’s love in the world. Without love, we cannot live as children of God, as couples, parents and brothers.

I wish to underline how important it is for families to ask themselves often if they live based on love, for love and in love. In practice, this means giving oneself, forgiving, not losing patience, anticipating the other, respecting. How much better family life would be if every day we lived according to the words, “please”, “thank you” and “I’m sorry”. Every day we have the experience of fragility and weakness, and therefore we all, families and pastors, are in need of renewed humility that forms the desire to form ourselves, to educate and be educated, to help and be helped, to accompany, discern and integrate all men of good will. I dream of an outbound Church, not a self-referential one, a Church that does not pass by far from man’s wounds, a merciful Church that proclaims the heart of the revelation of God as Love, which is Mercy. It is this very mercy that makes us new in love; and we know how much Christian families are a place of mercy and witnesses of mercy, and even more so after the extraordinary Jubilee. The Dublin meeting will be able to offer concrete signs of this.

I therefore invite all the Church to keep these indications in mind in the pastoral preparation for the next World Meeting. You, dear Brother, along with your collaborators, have the task of translating in a special way the teaching of Amoris Laetitia, with which the Church wishes families always to be in step, in that inner pilgrimage that is the manifestation of authentic life.

My thoughts go in a special way to the archdiocese of Dublin and to all the dear Irish nation for the generous welcome and commitment involved in hosting such an important event. May the Lord recompense you as of now, granting you abundant heavenly favours.

May the Holy Family of Nazareth guide, accompany and bless your service, and all the families involved in the preparation of the great World Meeting in Dublin.

AUDIENCE CATECHESIS: HOPING AGAINST HOPE – FRANCIS: PROFOUND SORROW FOR VICTIMS OF BLOODY CONFLICT IN IRAQ – POPE TO YOUNG PEOPLE: REFLECT ON CHALLENGES OF EVANGELIZATION – 25,000 JOIN LENTEN WALKING PILGRIMAGE IN INDIA

After reports on the weekly general audience, the papal appeal for Iraq and his meeting with religious leaders from that nation and the Holy Father’s Message to young people in Barcelona, I offer an interesting story about the Catholic Church in India. We know the word “catholic” means universal but on occasion we can forget about the faithful in nations other than the ones we live in, the believers around the world in the Universal Church.

POPE FRANCIS TWEETED TODAY: The peace that springs from faith is a gift: it is the grace of feeling that God loves us and that he is always beside us.

AUDIENCE CATECHESIS: HOPING AGAINST HOPE

Pope Francis at today’s general audience again focused the weekly catechesis on hope, this time linking that virtue to faith. Above all, he explained how the faithful should put their trust in God’s word, even at those times when hope seems humanly impossible, hoping against hope.

“In the chapter from the Letter to Romans that opened today’s audience,” said the Pope, referring to the reading that precedes the weekly catechesis in all languages, “Saint Paul presents Abraham not only as our father in faith, but also as our father in hope.  Paul tells us that Abraham put his faith in the God who gives life to the dead, who calls all things into being.  Hoping against hope, he trusted in God’s promise that, despite his old age and that of Sarah his wife, he would become the father of many nations.

“In Abraham, we see the close bond existing between faith and hope.  Abraham’s hope in God’s promises was fulfilled in the birth of his son Isaac, and, in the fullness of time, in the ‘many nations’ gathered into a new humanity set free from sin and death by the power of Christ’s resurrection.”

Francis explained that, “faith teaches us, in fact, to hope against hope by putting our own trust in God’s word even at those times when hope seems humanly impossible.  In our Lenten journey to Easter, may we be confirmed in faith and hope, and show ourselves children of Abraham by accepting the promise of new life given us in the Lord’s resurrection.”

“And now, said the Holy Father, “I would like to ask you a question: are we all convinced of this? Are we convinced that God wishes us well and that all that He promised us is able to bring it to fruition? But Father, how much do we have to pay for this? There is just one price: opening your hearts. Open your hearts and this strength of God will lead you ahead, it will do miraculous things and will teach you what hope is. This is the only price: open your heart to faith and He will do the rest. This is the paradox and, at the same time, the strongest, highest element of our hope! A hope based on a promise that from a human point of view seems uncertain and unpredictable, but which is no less even when faced with death, when it is the God of Resurrection and life Who promises. This is not a promise from anyone? He Who promises is the God of Resurrection and of life.

“Today we are all in the square, we praise the Lord, we will sing the Lord’s Prayer, then we will receive the blessing. But this passes. But this is also a promise of hope. If today we have an open heart, I assure you that all of us will meet in the square of Heaven that never comes to an end. This is God’s promise, and this is our hope, if we open our hearts. Thank you.”

FRANCIS: PROFOUND SORROW FOR VICTIMS OF BLOODY CONFLICT IN IRAQ

Before today’s weekly general audience in a sun-splashed St. Peter’s Square, in a room adjacent to the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis received participants in the meeting of the permanent Committee for Dialogue between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Iraqi superintendents: Shiite, Sunni, and those for the Christians, Yazidis, Sabeans/Mandaeans.

At the end of the weekly catechesis in Italian, Pope Francis greeted that delegation of Iraqi superintendents, noting it was “composed of representatives of different religious groups, accompanied by His Eminence Cardinal Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The richness of the dear Iraqi nation consists precisely in this mosaic that represents unity in diversity, strength in union, prosperity in harmony.

“Dear brothers,” continued the Holy Father, “I encourage you to go ahead on this road and I invite you to pray that Iraq may find peace, unity and prosperity in reconciliation and harmony between the various ethnic and religious groups. My thoughts go to the civil populations trapped in the western districts of Mosul and those displaced by war, to whom I feel united in suffering, through prayer and spiritual closeness. In expressing my profound sorrow for the victims of the bloody conflict, I renew to all my appeal for every effort to be made to protect civilians, an imperative and urgent obligation.”

POPE TO YOUNG PEOPLE: REFLECT ON CHALLENGES OF EVANGELIZATION

Pope Francis has sent a Message to a symposium for youth in Barcelona, Spain telling the young people they should reflect on the challenges of evangelization. The theme of the four-day meeting that began March 28 is “He walked by their side (Lk 24:15) – Accompanying young people to freely respond to Christ’s call.

The symposium was organized by the CCEE, Council of European Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, the Spanish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the archdiocese of Barcelona. Joining Archbishop Juan José Omella of Barcelona are other church leaders including Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, and Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski of Krakow.

The message was sent in the Pope’s name by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. The Holy Father urged youth “to conduct a reflection on the challenges of evangelization and on the accompaniment of young people, so that – through dialogue and encounter and as living members of the family of Christ – young people may be enthusiastic bearers of the joy of the Gospel in all areas.”

25,000 JOIN LENTEN WALKING PILGRIMAGE IN INDIA

About 25,000 people took part in the annual Lenten Walking Pilgrimage in the western Indian city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in which Catholics, members of other Christian Churches and other religions also participated. A large number of priests, religious, Catholic lay people and members of other confessions and religions participated in the overnight march led by the Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay.    The pilgrimage began at night on March 25 from Cross Maidan, wound its way to the Basilica of Mount Mary (some 20 kilometers distant) the following morning, Sunday, where it concluded with Holy Mass.

Cardinal Gracias, president of India’s Latin-rite bishops, began the pilgrimage with his blessings and reciting prayers to the Virgin, interceding for the city of Mumbai and the whole of India.  He prayed in particular for harmony and peaceful coexistence among the different components of Indian society, asking that,”Christians in India may live their faith in peace.”

More than 50 percent of the participants were boys and girls from remote villages of Goral, Uttan, Vasai Agassi, Korlai, Roha and from the suburbs of Maharashtra. Cardinal Gracias recited a special prayer for the young people: “Mary Seat of Wisdom guide our young people, and direct their steps towards mission, both for the country and for the Church, and intercede for the young people present, to contribute mission of the Church and the growth of the nation. We also pray for our young people for their faith and for their vocational discernment.”

The cardinal led the pilgrimage for a short distance, reuniting with the crowd at the time of recitation of the Holy Rosary. The pilgrims walked for seven hours at night, animated by prayers, songs and the many volunteers.  Felix Sequeira, one of the pilgrimage organizers told AsiaNews: “About 25,000 pilgrims carried four statues in procession decorated with flowers and lights: Mary Queen of Peace, Jesus carrying the Cross, Mary Mother of Sorrows and St. Joseph Patron of the pilgrimage.”

The pilgrimage is held every year in March, during the season of Lent. The first edition took place in the Marian Year 1988, when some devotees have decided to organize a Lenten march for peace. “Since then, the number of participants has grown from year to year with people of every creed and caste,” Francis Fernandes, president of Marian Seva Sangh, a main organizer, told AsiaNews. (Source: AsiaNews)

MASS IN UKRAINE COMMEMORATES MOTHER ANGELICA – PAPAL LITURGIES FOR HOLY WEEK AND EASTER – CARDINAL TURKSON: THE NAME OF PEACE IS DEVELOPMENT

The Vatican today released the schedule of liturgical celebrations over which the Pope will preside during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday. I noted that there was no mention made of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, traditionally celebrated on Holy Thursday afternoon. In recent years Pope Francis has chosen to celebrate that Mass outside the Vatican, so I am guessing they are still finalizing the details of that Eucharistic celebration.

Add the archbishop of Paris to your prayer list: The archdiocese of Paris announced today that Cardinal André Vingt-Trois has been in the hospital since February 25 where he underwent tests and is being treated for Guillain-Barré syndrome as a consequence of a viral infection. Holy Week and Easter Sunday liturgies will be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishops Jerome Beau with the auxiliary bishops, general vicars, priests, deacons and faithful of the diocese.

MASS IN UKRAINE COMMEMORATES MOTHER ANGELICA

A Mass commemorating the first anniversary of the death of Mother Angelica was held yesterday in the EWTN Ukraine chapel. This chapel is located in the Catholic Media Center in Kiev, home of EWTN Ukraine, which reaches about 50 cities via cable TV. It is headed by Fr. Diego Saez Martin, OMI (sitting on the left).

Bishop Vitali Skomarovski, Apostolic Administrator of Kiev-Zhytomyr diocese and Head of the Commission on Mass Media of the Conference of Bishops, celebrated the Holy Mass for the eternal rest of Mother Angelica, and of deceased workers, volunteers, viewers and benefactors of EWTN

Among the Masses for Mother Angelica, one was celebrated at the Conversion of St. Paul Shrine in Cleveland, OH.  This was the same Monastery where she began her religious vocation as a Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration. AM 1260 The Rock, Cleveland’s EWTN Radio affiliate, hosted a social after Mass.

PAPAL LITURGIES FOR HOLY WEEK AND EASTER

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Tuesday released details of the celebrations that Pope Francis will preside over for Holy Week and Easter.

A note from the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff notes that on Palm Sunday, April 9, the Pope will lead a procession for the blessing of the olive and palm branches in St. Peter’s Square starting at 10am, and then celebrate the Mass of Our Lord’s Passion. Palm Sunday also marks the XXXII World Youth Day with the theme taken from St Luke’s Gospel ‘The Mighty One has done great things for me’

On Thursday April 13 Pope Francis will preside at the Chrism Mass with the blessing of the holy oils in St. Peter’s Basilica, starting at 9.30am.

On Good Friday, April 14, the Pope will lead the celebration of Our Lord’s Passion in St. Peter’s Basilica, beginning at 5pm. That will be followed at 9.15pm by the traditional Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross at the Colosseum, after which the Pope will greet the crowds and impart his Apostolic Blessing.

On Saturday April 15 the Holy Father will celebrate the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica beginning at 8.30pm with the blessing of the new fire and a procession with the Paschal candle. During the celebration he will administer the Sacrament of Baptism before concelebrating Mass with the other cardinals and bishops.

Easter Sunday morning, April 16, beginning at 10am, Pope Francis will preside at the Mass of Our Lord’s Resurrection in St. Peter’s Square before giving his ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing (to the city of Rome and to the world) from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

CARDINAL TURKSON: THE NAME OF PEACE IS DEVELOPMENT

Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, on Tuesday addressed the 39th national meeting of diocesan Caritas taking place in the Italian city of Castellaneta (province of Taranto) that began Monday and ends March 30. (photo: SIR)

He issued a warning, saying, “peace in Europe is threatened not just by terrorism: we should not forget that, to the east, at the Ukrainian border, there is heavy fighting with weapons, tanks and warplanes.” He mentioned Pope Francis’ address to the EU leaders last week: “There is no true peace whenever people are cast aside or forced to live in dire poverty. There is no peace without employment and the prospect of earning a dignified wage. There is no peace in the peripheries of our cities, with their rampant drug abuse and violence.”

“There is no peace,” said Cardinal Turkson, “when politics – instead of being a service, a work of charity, commitment to the common good – turn into a farce, a source of enrichment, a controversy over minor issues; when it cares for its own place instead of caring for the place of progress in society.”

He continued, noting that, “there is no peace whenever the Internet and social media are divisive, make people lose critical thinking, but rather instill and spread bullying, violence, pornography, deception and insecurity. There is no peace when many banks, unbridled financial markets and speculation shift the focus away from the needs of the real economy and from citizens’ control.”

“The new name for peace is development,” explained Cardinal Turkson. But this is Europe, a place of relative peace, a desired destination for many, and an example, at least for some decades.” (source: SIR)

 

COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS ISSUES REPORT

This afternoon there was a lovely, well-attended Mass at the St. Joseph altar of St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the one year anniversary of the death of EWTN’s founder, Mother Angelica. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, presided at the English-language Mass, joined by three priests, including Fr. Federico Lombardi, former head of the Holy See Press Office.

Abp. Fisichella gave a wonderful homily and made it seem he had known Mother Angelica for years. After Mass, a number of us met outside the left hand colonnade to film some brief segments, and I told him his homily was spot on and it indeed seemed he had known Mother Angelica. He smiled and, in a sort of conspiritorial tone, said, “I have seen EWTN, you know!”

He had several quotes from Mother Angelica, and this is my favorite: “Faith starts you out on the path, Hope keeps you going and Love gets you to the end.”

Tune in to News Nightly to see a brief segment from this anniversary celebration. A longer version will appear in EWTN’s weekly news magazine “Vaticano” and, when I receive images and video, I’ll post them.

Monday was a fairly quiet today for Pope Francis whose morning agenda included meeting with 24 bishops and Rev. Abbot Peter Novecovsky, O.S.B., secretary general of the Canadian Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops, who are in Rome on their “ad limina” visit.

COMMISSION FOR PROTECION OF MINORS ISSUES REPORT

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] met for its eighth Plenary Assembly from March 24-26, 2017, the session starting the day after the March 23 Education Day at the Gregorian University that was co-sponsored in partnership with the Cente for Child Protection and the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Following is the Commision’s Concluding Statement:

A central topic in this Plenary Assembly was the resignation of founding member Marie Collins. The Commission members expressed strong support for her and her continuing work to promote healing for victims of abuse and the prevention of all abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.  They also expressed their particular gratitude that Marie Collins has agreed to continue working with the Commission’s educational programs for new bishops and the offices of the Roman Curia.

Commission members have unanimously agreed to find new ways to ensure its work is shaped and informed with and by victims/survivors. Several ideas that have been successfully implemented elsewhere are being carefully considered for recommendation to the Holy Father.

The Commission discussed the importance of responding directly and compassionately to victims/survivors when they write to offices of the Holy See.  Members agreed that acknowledging correspondence and giving a timely and personal response is one part of furthering transparency and healing.  They acknowledged that this is a significant task due to the volume and nature of the correspondence and requires clear and specific resources and procedures. They have agreed to send further recommendations to Pope Francis for consideration.

This Plenary Assembly followed the Education Day on March 23, at the Gregorian University, co-sponsored in partnership with the Centre for Child Protection and the Congregation for Catholic Education.  Titled “Safeguarding in schools and homes: learning from experience worldwide”, it had a particular focus on Latin American countries that have large Catholic school systems, and presentations concerning efforts in Australia and Italy.  The academic seminar was attended by more than 150 people.  These included prefects and representatives from Vatican dicasteries including the Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin, seminary rectors, educators, formators and authorities from Italian State Police and the Vatican gendarme who are all seen as key collaborators in the PCPM’s educational efforts.  The Commissioners reiterated their sincere gratitude to the invited guests and speakers:  Fr Friedrich Bechina, FSO, Undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Mónica Yerena Suárez – Provincia Marista de México Central; Fr Wilfredo Grajales Rosas, SDB – Director del Instituto Distrital para la Protección de Niños, Niñas, Adolescentes y Jóvenes, Bogotá, Colombia; Juan Ignacio Fuentes, CONSUDEC Argentina; Francis Sullivan, CEO, Truth Justice and Healing Commission, Australia and Dott. Giovanni Ippolito, Direttore Tecnico Capo Psicologo, Questura di Foggia.  The speakers were also invited to address the opening session of the PCPM Plenary Assembly.

The Commission members continue the work entrusted by Pope Francis to assist local Churches with their responsibility for the protection of all minors and vulnerable adults (Statutes, art. 1).  As our Holy Father wrote to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences and Superiors of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, “I now ask for your close and complete cooperation with the Commission for the Protection of Minors. The work I have entrusted to them includes providing assistance to you and your Conferences through an exchange of best practices and through programmes of education, training, and developing adequate responses to sexual abuse” (2 February 2015).  The Commission is also receiving representatives of bishop’s conferences around the world who are in Rome for their Ad Limina visits.

Commissioners continue to visit episcopal conferences and local churches throughout the world to assist in policy development and implementation of best practices to create a safer environment. So far this year, these include workshops with the Church leadership, formators, catechists and child protection officers in Zambia and Colombia. Members are currently preparing to present to the first European Conference on Formation and Prevention in Seminaries co-organized by the Archdiocese of Florence and the Centre for Child Protection of the Gregorian University, and the upcoming meeting of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Bangkok, Thailand this Spring, and the May meeting of the Directors of CELAM and the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean Islands.

An essential element of these presentations is the PCPM Guidelines template. The Holy Father wrote, “every effort must also be made to ensure that the provisions of the Circular Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dated 3 May 2011 are fully implemented” (2 February 2015).  Thus, at the plenary meeting, the members spoke again of their willingness to work together with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith communicating a “Guidelines Template” to episcopal conferences and religious congregations, both directly and through the CommissionWebsite (www.protectionofminors.va).

VATICAN INSIDER AND THE ACTON INSTITUTE – POPE FRANCIS: CARDINAL KEELER, “A WISE AND GENTLE PASTOR” – POPE PIUS XII SPEAKS ON THE TREATY OF ROME

Rome, especially the historic center and the Vatican area, is in lockdown for the visit by more than 4 dozen European Union leaders, heads of State and government who have descended on Rome to mark the 60th anniversary tomorrow of the Treaties of Rome that created the European Economic Community, the precursor of today’s EU, European Union.

I posted the following link on FB as this gives you an idea of the security measures, although it does not include the fact that air space over Rome has been closed from 6 am today to 11 pm tomorrow, and that sharpshooters are everywhere, including rooftops as you can imagine – a total of 5,000 police put in place. http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/rome-security-plan-for-eu-summit/

If that is not enough, Milan is also in a state of lockdown for Pope Francis daylong visit tomorrow!

Pope Francis has concluded his address to the EU leaders in the Vatican’s Sala Regia. Click here for a summary of that talk: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-man-at-centre-of-european-project  –  And here for an English translation of that talk: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-address-to-eu-heads-of-state-and-gove

VATICAN INSIDER AND THE ACTON INSTITUTE

My guest this weekend on Vatican Insider is Kishore Jayabalan, director of the Acton Institute’s Rome Office. We talk about the mission and work of the Institute. The future of Europe, and we dedicate some time to one of our favorite people and friends, the late, great Michael Novak, and his impact on the world, on Acton and on our personal lives. Part I airs this weekend.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. 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 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE FRANCIS: CARDINAL KEELER, “A WISE AND GENTLE PASTOR”

Pope Francis sent the following telegram of condolences for the death yesterday, March 23, at the age of 86 of Cardinal William Henry Keeler, archbishop emeritus of Baltimore. to Archbishop William Lori, archbishop of Baltimore. Cardinal Keeler had the titular church in Rome of Santa Maria degli Angeli e Martiri on Pza. Della Repubblica.

”Deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal William H. Keeler, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese. With gratitude for Cardinal Keeler’s years of devoted episcopal ministry in the local Churches of Harrisburg and Baltimore, his years of leadership within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and his long-standing commitment to ecumenical and interreligious understanding, I join you in commending the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father. To all who mourn the late Cardinal in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord. FRANCISCUS PP.

POPE PIUS XII SPEAKS ON THE TREATY OF ROME

(Vatican Radio) Celebrations are underway here in Rome to mark 60 years since the signing of the ‘The Treaty of Rome’. It was March 25, 1957 and when it was signed it established one of the foundation stones of the European Economic Community.

And to mark the occasion Pope Francis is set to receive 27 European Union heads of State and government during a private audience in the Vatican’s ‘Sala Regia’ on Friday evening.

But why not step back in time to the days of that treaty when the Roman Pontiff was Pius XII.

Listen to the words, in English, of Pope Pius XII to mark that occasion in a programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick:  http://www.news.va/en/news/pius-xii-and-the-the-treaty-of-rome