It is now 8 pm, and it has suddenly dawned on my that, after spending the day listening to and editing the interview I will present this weekend on “Vatican Insider,” preparing for this afternoon’s weekly phone conversation with Teresa Tomeo on “Catholic Connection” and researching and writing two segments for “At Home with Jim and Joy,” I had not prepared a single sentence for my daily column.

Well, there you have it, my day in a single sentence!

My only other offering for the day is a look at the weekly general audience:


As is traditional at the weekly general audience that takes place following a papal trip, Pope Francis Wednesday spoke of his extraordinarily rich trip to Egypt where, in only 27 hours, he held meetings of great importance with religious leaders, including the Grand Imam of Al Azhar University, the summit of Sunni Islam teaching, and addressed the International Peace Conference organized by the Grand Imam. (photo:

He spoke of his visit to Al-Azhar, saying it was focused on both “dialogue between Christians and Muslims” and “the promotion of peace” in the world. Pope Francis summarized his address at the International Conference for peace, and emphasized Egypt’s history as a “land of civility” and a “land of covenant.

Egypt, said the Holy Father, recalling words from the Grand Imam al-Tayeb, “reminds us that peace is built through education, formation in wisdom, a humanism that includes the religious dimension, the relationship with God, as an integral part.” He explained that “peace is built on the relationship between God and men, and on the alliance between all human beings. This… is the foundation for a civil and social order in which all are called to participate.”

Pope Francis said Christians are called to be a “leaven of fraternity,” in Egypt and elsewhere. He described his meeting with Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Pope Tawadros II and their “Common Statement” as “signs of the commitment of Christians to that fraternity.”

Saturday, April 29, the second day of the papal trip, was dedicated to the Catholic faithful. It included Mass in a stadium with 15,000 faithful, a Mass the Pope called “a feast of faith and fraternity.” He also reflected on the final event – the meeting with priests, religious, and seminarians. He said the many seminarians in Egypt are a “consolation.

In conclusion, the Holy Father said Christians in the region, guided by their pastors, should be “salt and light” for the Middle East. He called his voyage to Egypt “a sign of hope, refuge, and help,” and said it “signifies walking together along the path of hope.” Pope Francis said Egypt is a “sign of hope” for fraternity, not just in the past, but also for the present day.