POPE “DEEPLY MOVED BY LOSS OF LIFE, IMMENSE DEVASTATION” OF HURRICANE HARVEY

I leave for vacation this coming Saturday and, in order to depart with peace of mind, I’ve spent most of the past week preparing a number of special segments for “At Home with Jim and Joy” for those Mondays and Thursdays of each week I will be away.  I also prepared four Specials for my weekend radio program, “Vatican Insider.”  It has all been a lot of work but will be worth it as I relax in Chicago, Honolulu and San Diego with friends and family for what everyone says when they leave on vacation, “some well-deserved time off!

I am so in the mood for Waikiki and Pearl Harbor and other amazing places in Oahu, not to mention the best part, my friends, that I’ve set my dining room table with items from Honolulu. My table is set year round for four people (just in case someone drops in) and this is my Hawaii table!

POPE “DEEPLY MOVED BY LOSS OF LIFE, IMMENSE DEVASTATION” OF HURRICANE HARVEY

Pope Francis has sent a Message to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressing his condolences to the loved-ones of the victims of hurricane Harvey, promising continued spiritual solicitude for all those affected, and asking for the prayerful solidarity that has already been shown, to continue in the days and weeks to come.

The message was sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in the Pope’s name:

“His Holiness Pope Francis asks you kindly to convey the assurance of his spiritual closeness and pastoral concern to all those affected by the violent hurricane that swept through the states of Texas and Louisiana in these days.  Deeply moved by the tragic loss of life and the immense material devastation that this natural catastrophe has left in its wake, he prays for the victims and their families, and for all those engaged in the vital work of relief, recovery and rebuilding.  He likewise trusts that the immense and immediate needs of so many individuals and communities will continue to inspire a vast outpouring of solidarity and mutual aid in the best traditions of the nation.  With these sentiments, and with the renewed promise of his prayers, the Holy Father sends his blessing as a pledge of consolation, strength and peace in the Lord.”

 

EWTN DOCUMENTARY HONORS FR. VINCENT CAPODANNO 50 YEARS AFTER DEATH – GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM! FINDING FAITH IN A FARAWAY LAND

Following this press release from EWTN, is a brief account of an amazing trip I took to Vietnam in June 2013 to the places where Fr. Capodanno lived and died. I re-count here, but only very, very briefly, some of my adventures as I wrote about them in my daily blog. I’d have done Facebook Live but it wasn’t around then! However, I posted a lot of videos on youtube.com/joansrome and many, many photos each day.  I hope you enjoy this!

EWTN DOCUMENTARY HONORS FR. VINCENT CAPODANNO 50 YEARS AFTER DEATH

Tonight, Wednesday, August, at 10:00 p.m. (EDST), EWTN will premiere an all-new film about Vietnam War hero and U.S. Navy Chaplain, Father Vincent R. Capodanno, M.M., Servant of God. The 90-minute film, Called and Chosen – Father Vincent R. Capodanno, explores the life of the Maryknoll missionary-turned-military-chaplain, who died at the age of 38 in Vietnam’s Quế Sơn Valley, administering the sacraments to embattled U.S. Marines and pulling the wounded to safety. Father Capodanno received the Medal of Honor posthumously on January 7, 1969, and the Holy See’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints is now considering whether to recognize him as a Saint.

EWTN will broadcast encore showings of the new film on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 3:00 p.m. (EDST), and on Monday, Sept. 4, at 3:00 p.m. (EDST).

Called and Chosen was filmed in New York and California under the direction of Mr. James Kelty, who has written and directed a number of films for EWTN, including the award-winning Kateri. Mr. Kelty will be among guests interviewed in the special EWTN Live which airs at 8:00 p.m. (EDST) the night of the premiere. Other special guests will be Mr. George J. Phillips, USMC (Ret.), Chairman of the Board of the Father Capodanno Guild, who served with Father Capodanno and whose testimony is also in the film; and Mrs. Mary Preece, Vice-Postulator of Cause of Father Vincent R. Capodanno. EWTN will air encores of this program on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 1:00 a.m. (EDST), and on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 9:00 a.m. (EDST).

“Not only was Father Capodanno a hero, he was one of those people who had charisma while still being a very humble person,” Mr. Kelty said. “People just wanted to be around him — everyone who knew him told me that.” According to EWTN, Called and Chosen is most riveting in the last hour of the film, which intersperses the testimonies of Marines who served alongside Father Capodanno with realistic battle scenes that put viewers in the heart of the action. Viewers see a Military Chaplain who went into battle – even though it wasn’t required of him – armed only with the weapon of his faith.

The premiere comes as the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), prepares to observe the 50th anniversary of Father Capodanno’s death in 1967. On Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m., His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, will celebrate the annual Mass on the anniversary of his death at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Avenue, Northeast, Washington, D.C. The Mass will be concelebrated by dozens of priests from the AMS. Many of the surviving Marines who served with Father Capodanno, including Mr. Phillips, will participate, along with current senior military leaders and active-duty personnel.

GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM! FINDING FAITH IN A FARAWAY LAND

There are some journeys that, when you start to write a diary or some account, the opening words come easily.

After what I had hoped would be an uneventful flight from Rome to Frankfurt and then an overnight flight to my final destination (I experienced a 24 hour delay that I wrote about in a separate blog), I decided to introduce this trip and open this column with just the three-word title of a 1987 movie entitled “Good Morning Vietnam!”

It is Monday morning, June 10, 2013, and it is a beautiful day as I near Vietnam at the start of a journey that really is a pilgrimage, a journey to some very sacred places in this historic and magnificent Asian land. It is also a spiritual journey to places associated with Servant of God Fr. Vincent Capodanno, a Maryknoll priest and missionary who, in his brief life as a priest was also a much loved chaplain who was affectionately called “the Grunt Padre” by “his” marines in Vietnam  ……

FINDING FAITH IN A FARAWAY LAND

I have been in Vietnam for two and a half days and have had enough adventures to last a lifetime.  In those brief days I have met some of the loveliest people ever, the warm, hospitable, generous – and always smiling, it seems – Vietnamese.  The expression “they would give you the shirt off their back” is so true here.

Each day has seemed like two days, given the miles traveled, the people I have met, the events and Masses and so many things that fill the hours. Starting to write a travelblogue at 9 pm or later leaves little time for the length and depth I would like to offer about each place and person, so what I am unable to cover this week, I will bring you next week on these pages.

In the meantime, the best way to follow my daily adventures, to be at my side as I travel through the countryside, visit a shrine, see a UNESCO World Heritage site, attend Mass in a private home in a Vietnamese village or the DaNang cathedral, is to follow my YouTube page.  The videos tell the story, in the order in which I experienced events. They are brief and to the point and, I feel, allow you to share the culture and people I am experiencing.

To recap a bit: Monday, June 10 I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, met my friend Ted, a volunteer to promote the cause of canonization of Servant of God Fr. Vincent Capodanno, and we flew to DaNang in central Vietnam where we were met by a driver arranged by Bishop Tri (his own driver, to be honest). We drove to the Shrine of Our Lady of LaVang – a long drive not because the distance was great but because the speed limits here are very low, often not over 50 kilometers an hour. LaVang is the national shrine of Our Lady in Vietnam (more videos!).

We attended Mass, ate dinner at a small, local café-cum-souvenir store and stayed the night in the guest house, leaving at 5 am on Tuesday, June 11 for DaNang, passing through Hue, the fourth largest city in Vietnam where we stopped for breakfast at the lovely and historical Hotel Morin.

The rest of the day included checking in the hotel, lunch with Bishop Tri, visiting the cathedral, a nearby school, and other church property.

Wednesday, June 12, was a very long, very beautiful and faith-filled day. Ted and I visited a new church in a small village southwest of DaNang whose pastor said Mass in a home in another very small village near the battlefield where Fr. Capodanno died on September 4, 1967. Very often a priest can only come once a month to small villages to say Mass and today was a bonus for the visitors as the Mass was a special one to commemorate Fr. Capodanno, who is known by everyone here.

Mass was followed by an incredibly abundant lunch prepared and offered by the 68 faithful who came from neighboring villages.

The man in the middle knew Fr. Capodanno:

After Mass Ted and I were taken on motorbikes and then walked a bit to within a few hundred feet of the field where Fr. Capodano was killed on September 4, 1967. I did a video of that as well.

On our way back to DaNang, we stopped again at Xuan Dhanh parish to drop Fr. Andrew off, then proceeded to DaNang for our late afternoon meeting with the bishop and Sr. Catherine of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres to talk about the liturgy for the Mass on Friday to commemorate Fr. Capodanno. I attended a very special Mass in the cathedral where the altar boys were marking the feast of their patron saint, St. Dominic Savio.

That was followed by a visit to Sr. Catherine’s convent, then back to the hotel for a quick meal before chatting with Teresa Tomeo on our weekly get-together, but at 8:40 DaNang time.

”AND THE LORD WAS WITH US THIS DAY”

As I write these words, it is 9 am on a hot Friday morning, June 14, in DaNang and I am in the courtyard of Sacred Heart Cathedral where the gates have been opened to welcome the bus loads of pilgrims from nearby and from far villages who have come today for Mass at 10 that Bishop Joseph Tri has organized to celebrate Servant of God Fr. Vincent Capodanno.

June 14th was the day, 55 years ago, that Vincent Capodanno was ordained to the priesthood in the Maryknoll order, a missionary order that sent him abroad during his short life as a priest. Eventually he became a chaplain and died giving the last rites to solders in Vietnam, not far from DaNang.

The courtyard is huge but I know it will soon be filled by scores of motorbikes and bicycles in addition to the buses – probably not a single car! For a while I sat on a stone bench next to a lovely sculpture of the Holy Family, listening to the hustle and bustle and horns of DaNang traffic outside the complex that comprises the cathedral, bishop’s residence, school rooms, church halls and the convent.

I videoed the Mass as well as taking a ton of photos.

With the terrific young choir who sang every song in English:

After Mass:

Following Mass, the cathedral offered a buffet lunch for about 400-500 people. It was astonishing hospitality and prepared by a group of women in the parish!! It was a ton of fun and I could have stayed and spoken to the people for hours, especially the wonderful, joyful, enthusiastic young people! I wanted to charter a plane and bring them to Rome!

This is not even the tip of the iceberg of what I wrote about Vietnam and all the places I visited while in this land. My final days were spent in Ho Chi Minh Ville (former Saigon). I’d love to have more time to post photos of the beautiful people of this land, of the scenery, the historic places, the flowers, the temples and churches, the food –but mainly the people.

 

VATICAN SECURITY PREPARED AND VIGILANT IN FACE OF THREATS

VATICAN SECURITY PREPARED AND VIGILANT IN FACE OF THREATS

Recently, 450 former Swiss Guards and their family members participated in their 27th general assembly in Soleur, Switzerland. During the gathering, the current Swiss Guard commandant gave a talk in which he said, it is perhaps “only a matter of time” before Rome is hit by a Barcelona-style attack but “the Guards are well prepared to face any threats, notably terrorism.” (photo: http://www.cath.ch)

His words were a clear reference to the latest videos produced by ISIS showing the terrorists destroying churches in the Philipines and ripping up photos of Popes Francis, and Benedict, saying “we are coming to Rome.”

Graf, commandant at the Vatican since 2015, noted that Swiss Guards are not just subjects to be photographed by tourists with their colorful uniforms, swords and halberds. They form a real protective detail that is trained with the most modern techniques because it is always necessary to be ready and able to face attacks such as that in Barcelona.

Swiss Guards are constantly adapting to current challenges. So much so that now the intitial training period for recruits in Switzerland has gone from two to four months and is organized in collaboration with the police of the Canton of Tessin. Subjects such as weapons training and shooting practice, body guard training, fire protection, first aid and juridical questions are part of the program.

In an increadsingly secularized society, the religious and spiritual formation of the guards takes on growing importance, according to the commandant. One could even speak of the “Francis effect,” he said. He expressed his happiness at the priestly and religious vocations that have developed during service in the Swiss Guards. A number of young men who join the guards are seeking an orientation in their lives and do not have only an interest for the military or security aspect. (source: http://www.cath.ch)

Security around the Vatican has been fairly tight for years, going back to the Great Jubilee of 2000. Measures tightened at the start of the Holy Year of Mercy in Dcember 2015 and never relented when it ended last November. In fact, secutiry around Vatican City became noticably stepped up after a series of attacks with vehicles that killed people in Nice, Berlin, London, Stockholm and recently Barcelona.

At the Vatican, there are 110 very well trained Swiss Guards defending the Pope and Vatican City and about the same number of superbly trained gendarmes.

Security measures throughout Italy and at the Vatican include police cars and vans, Italian Army jeeps with soldiers carrying heavy weapons, and untold numbers of plainclothesmen. All of these protect important monuments, churches and embassies, and gathering spots such as Rome’s famed Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo.

Cement barriers have been strategically place on such broad avenues like Via della Conciliazione, the street that leads to St. Peter’s Square and Vatican City, an historic street now closed to traffic.

People entering St. Peter’s Square last Sunday for the Angelus had their bags checked, via airport-style security or checks by individual officers. This is also done for the weekly general audiences and for those wishing to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. Visitors to the Vatican Museums go through airport-style security.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, said the ISIS video was worrisome but pointed to the high level of readiness at the Vatican.  “Obviously, one cannot help but worry, above all for the senseless hatred that it is.” But he said the Vatican has not added more measures to its notable security forces and preventive measures.

 

POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO MYANMAR AND BANGLADESH – IN BRIEF

PAPAL TWEETS:

Sunday, August 27, feast of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine; Today how many mothers shed tears, like St Monica, so that their children will return to Christ! Do not lose hope in God’s grace!

Monday, August 28, feast of St. Augustine the once errant son of St. Monica who became a saint: “You made us unto Yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you”. (St Augustine’s “Confessions”)

POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO MYANMAR AND BANGLADESH

The Holy See Press Office made the following announcement this morning:

“Welcoming the invitation of the respective heads of state and bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Visit to Myanmar from 27 to 30 November 2017, visiting the cities of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, and to Bangladesh from 30 November to 2 December 2017, visiting the city of Dhaka. The program for the Visit will be published shortly.

On Sunday, in fact, at the Angelus, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of massive flooding in Bangladesh, Nepal, and northern India over the past several days: “I express my closeness to all the [affected] populations, and pray for the victims and for all who suffer because of this calamity.”

Annual monsoon rains have caused the flooding, which has claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people, and disrupted the lives of some 24 million others. Rescue and relief efforts are ongoing, with international aid agencies reporting thousands of villages cut off. People in remote and isolated areas have been without food and clean water for many days. (Vatican Radio)

Also Monday, the Vatican released the official logos for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Myanmar logo

The logo for his visit to Myanmar depicts Pope Francis releasing a white dove from within a heart drawn in the colors of Myanmar’s flag: yellow, green, and red. An outline of Myanmar’s landmass sits beside the Pope within the heart, while the motto for his journey is shown above: “Love & Peace”.

Bangladesh logo

The logo for Pope Francis’ visit to Bangladesh has colored streamers in the shape of a dove, with a cross raised over a water lily (Bangladesh’s national flower) within it. Above, the official motto for the Apostolic Journey, “Harmony and Peace”, is written in red.

IN BRIEF

CARDINAL DANIEL DINARDO, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and president of the U..S Conference of Catholic Bishops, released a statement regard the Texas floods on the website of the USCCB: “Please join me and pray for all of those affected by the storm and in need of assistance during this natural disaster,” the cardinal said Aug. 26. “In addition, I ask the faithful to also keep the emergency response personnel and volunteers in your prayers. For those residing in our Archdiocese, in Texas and along the Gulf Coast, be safe and may God have mercy on those affected by Hurricane Harvey.” Sunday he said: “Your safety and the safety of your loved ones is paramount during this emergency. Please do not be concerned about attending Mass today, and heed the warnings of civil authorities to shelter in place. More here: http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-150.cfm

CARDINAL SECRETARY OF STATE PIETRO PAROLIN, this evening at 6:30 in the millennia-old St. Peter’s Basilica in Ciel d’Oro di Pavia, northern Italy, celebrated Mass on the tomb of St. Augustine on the liturgical memory of the saint. The remains of St. Augustine have been in Pavia since the 8th century. In a note published by the Pavia Committee for St. Augustine, the cardinal said: “I have a great love and admiration for St. Augustine. I consider him a friend, a teacher, a model. The pages of his writings that move me and fill me with fire are when he speaks of Jesus, of eternal life and the intense desire to attain it, of prayer, of Christian virtues and above all of love and humility. Relative to my work at the Holy See, the pages that greatly interest me are where St. Augustine enters into dialogue with the society of his time, and gives the Church the task of promoting harmony and solidarity, that is, to make herself build the City of God within earthly cities.”

 

VATICAN INSIDER: ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH IN ROME, HOME FOR CATHOLIC AMERICANS – COMING TO THE RESCUE IN SIERRA LEONE

I have once again been dealing with Internet problems – meaning that Internet is out and, according to the phone company, it is a neighborhood issue and they are working on it. I’ve written and recorded the news segment for my weekend radio program, “Vatican Insider” but cannot at the moment get that to my colleagues in Alabama as they are the ones who put the whole show together. I did transmit the interview with Fr. Apparcel yesterday so they have that.

I have already posted to Facebook (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420) the very important Vatican radio and TV interview with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin after his four-day visit to Russia. I was able to do that via my cell phone, but posting this column via my phone is not possible.

It is 5:40 pm here. Unless things clear up in the next 90 minutes, my only possibility is to go to La Vittoria restaurant with my computer and hope their Internet is working so that I can post this column and send the news audio segment to EWTN. If time allows I will add some photos and post the link to Vatican Radio’s interview with Cardinal Parolin.

If you are reading these lines, you’ll know my Internet returned OR I am having dinner and working at La Vittoria!

In case I cannot post photos, here’s a link to St. Patrick’s! https://stpatricksamericanrome.org/

Here’s the link to Cardinal Parolin’s intervew after his four-day Russia trip! Fascinating  information! http://www.news.va/en/news/exclusive-pope-francis-pleased-with-card-parolins

VATICAN INSIDER: ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH IN ROME, HOME FOR CATHOLIC AMERICANS

My guest in the intervew segment this week is Paulist Fr. Greg Apparcel, rector of St. Patrick’s Church in Rome, the new home iu the Eternal City for Catholic Americans and English-speaking Catholics after 95 years at the historic church of Santa Susanna. That move is a long story but there is now light at the end of the tunnel. Father Greg tells the story very well – who we are as a faith commmunity, our programs and outreach and where the church actually is. If you have plans to come to Rome, St. Patrick’s and your fellow American Catholics should be on your itinerary.

I have some great photo os Fr. Greg that he sent 2 days ago in an email and for reasons beyond my ken, I cannot find them – so check the St. Patrick’s link until I do find them (am transmitting this column from La Vittoria): https://stpatricksamericanrome.org/

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=

COMING TO THE RESCUE IN SIERRA LEONE

I believe I have mentioned in the past that I am on the Board of HIRF, the Healey International Relief Foundation, an organization dedicated solely, as its website says, to improving the quality of life of vulnerable individuals and families in Sierra Leone who have long ben affected by civil way and adverse socioeconomic conditions. The Healey motto is “Turning Scars into Stars.”

We have all been following events since the terrible mudslide that killed an estimated 400 people and I wanted you to know how people have been helping. Injust got this letter from HIRF:

A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU

 Thank you to all those who continue to support Sierra Leone and the victims of the massive mudslide and flooding in Freetown.  Thus far, your donations have provided healthcare services and food to those in need.  Without your help, immediate aid relief would not have been possible. We have detailed our efforts below and continue on with determination during the weeks to come.  Again, a very heartfelt thank you. Tenki, Tenki!

To view pictures of our work on the ground click here for mobile devices and click here for laptops or computers.

MEALS TO SURVIVORS

Great loss and suffering brings countless worry.  With so many troubles to be concerned with, where one is going to get their next meal, or how one will feed their family should NOT be one of them. nding provided through our appeal is going directly to supply meals. With our partners Caritas-Freetown and the Tzu Chi Foundation we are providing lunch daily to survivors of the flooding in the Culvert area of Freetown.  The team has also provided dinners to those taking up temporary residence at the Mudslide Shelter Site in Regent.

MOBILE CLINIC SERVICES HELPING WOMEN & CHILDREN

After the massive flooding and mudslide in Freetown, it was critical to go into the affected communities and provide healthcare services.  Not only for individual health but also to protect against the outbreak of any communicable diseases.  The fear of disease is high, especially cholera.

Our mobile health clinic was onsite immediately following the mudslide in the Regent area and has been deployed in other critical areas every day since.  To date, over 850 patients have been treated and clinic visits are ongoing throughout the Freetown area.  Funding provided though our appeal was used to purchase the needed medicines and supplies to treat the patients, many of whom are women and children.

 

 

POPE FRANCIS: WE CAN ASSERT WITH MAGISTERIAL AUTHORITY THAT THE LITURGICAL REFORM IS IRREVERSIBLE – AMATRICE, ONE YEAR LATER

Papal tweet August 24: Humanity needs hope in order to live and needs the Holy Spirit in order to hope.

A lot to ponder in this talk today by Pope Francis. I can’t wait to talk to some officials and experts in liturgy about the content, in particular because the Holy Father did not go into specific detail about change, what stays, what was perhaps on the way out and should go – or might stay – etc.

POPE FRANCIS: WE CAN ASSERT WITH MAGISTERIAL AUTHORITY THAT THE LITURGICAL REFORM IS IRREVERSIBLE

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis gave an important address on the liturgical reform on Thursday, speaking to participants of the 68th Italian National Liturgical Week.

The liturgical reform, he said, did not “flourish suddenly,” but was the result of a long preparation. It was brought to maturity by the Second Vatican Council with the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, “whose lines of general reform respond to real needs and to the concrete hope of a renewal; it desired a living liturgy for a Church completely vivified by the mysteries celebrated.”

The direction marked out by the Council, the Pope continued, found expression in the revised liturgical books promulgated by Blessed Paul VI. But “it is not enough to reform the liturgical books; the mentality of the people must be reformed as well.” The reformation of the liturgical books was the first step in a process, he said, “that requires time, faithful reception, practical obedience, wise implementation” on the part first of the ordained ministers, but also of the other ministers, and indeed, of all who take part in the liturgy.

Today, Pope Francis said, “there is still work to do in this direction, in particular rediscovering the reasons for the decisions made with the liturgical reform, overcoming unfounded and superficial readings, partial receptions, and practices that disfigure it.” He said that this is not a question “of rethinking the reform by reviewing its choices, but of knowing better the underlying reasons [for it]… [and] of internalizing its inspirational principles and of observing the discipline that governs it.”

The Supreme Pontiff insisted, “After this magisterial, and after this long journey, we can assert with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.”

Reflecting on the theme of this year’s Liturgy Week – “A living Liturgy for a living Church” – Pope Francis dwelt on three points:

1)The liturgy is “living” in virtue of the living presence of Christ; Christ is at the heart of the liturgical action.

2)The liturgy is life through the whole people of God. By its nature, the liturgy is “popular” rather than clerical; it is an action for the people, but also by the people.

3) The liturgy is life, and not an idea to be understood. It brings us to live an initiatory experience, a transformative experience that changes how we think and act; it is not simply a means of enriching our own set of ideas about God.

The Church, Pope Francis said, “is truly living if, forming one single living being with Christ, it is a bearer of life, it is maternal, it is missionary, going out to encounter the neighbour, careful to serve without pursuing worldly powers that render it sterile.”

The Holy Father concluded his reflection by noting that the Church in prayer, insofar as it is catholic, “goes beyond the Roman Rite” which, although it is the largest, is by no means the only Rite within the Church. “The harmony of the ritual traditions, of the East and of the West,” by means of the same Spirit, gives voice to the one only Church  praying through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, to the glory of the Father, and for the salvation of the world.”

AMATRICE, ONE YEAR LATER

It certainly sounds like the today’s papal tweet applies to the people of Amatrice and nearby towns!

Today marks the first anniversary of the tremendous 6.2 quake that killed 299 people last year in central Italy, in particular the charming town of Amatrice which was basically razed to the ground. The entire rebuilding process will be very, very long, as you see in the photos below and the accompanying article. Posted August 23 on www.thelocal.it

One year after an earthquake struck the Amatrice region – and less than 24 hours after another struck the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples – Italy on Thursday will remember the 299 victims killed in the August 23rd, 2016, disaster that still haunts the country.

Survivors will hold a candle-lit procession in the early hours, even as Ischia island to the south, recovers from Italy’s latest quake — and critics again criticize the government for failing to shore-up the nation’s poorly constructed buildings. (photo afp April 2017)

It was well before dawn on August 24, 2016 when a 6.0-magnitude quake razed much of Amatrice and the surrounding region, killing families in their beds or trapping them in dust-filled cavities in the rubble.

Children in their pajamas were pulled lifeless from the debris, one youngster having used up the last of the oxygen tunnelling in the wrong direction in a futile bid to reach safety.

There was more to come. Shell-shocked locals suffered three more violent quakes, on October 26 and 30 and January 18 — the last one sparking an avalanche that would wipe out a hotel and kill 29 people. (photo afp: April 2017)

Damage to homes, schools, hospitals and churches in the region are estimated at 23.55 billion euros ($27.7 billion).

Hours before dawn on Thursday, relatives of the 239 victims who died in Amatrice on the 24th will meet at 1:30 am to remember their loved ones with candles and prayers.

At 3:36am the moment the earthquake struck, a bell will toll 239 times, before a memorial mass is held.

Other commemorations are planned for Wednesday or Thursday in devastated hamlets nearby, from Accumoli to Pescara del Tronto, whose mayor recalled this week “we didn’t know where to put all the dead”.

Continue reading here: https://www.thelocal.it/20170823/italy-prepares-to-remember-2016-amatrice-earthquake-victims

 

IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD, ALL EVIL IS BANISHED FOREVER

Pope Francis tweeted today: The Lord is close to all those who are victims of old and new forms of slavery: inhuman labour, illegal trafficking and exploitation.

At today’s general audience, the Pope spoke of Monday’s 4.0 quake on the Italian island of Ischia, a quake that occurred just three days before the one-year anniversary of the devastating quake in central Italy that killed 300 people. In fact tomorow marks that sad anniversary and tonight a candlelit procession is scheduled for the town that lost the most inhabitants and buildings, Amatrice.

How well I remember being awakened in the wee small hours of the morning a year ago –  I looked at my clock when my shaking bed awoke me and it said 3:35 am!

If you are down Naples way on a trip to Italy, Ischia is well worth a visit, a short boat ride, as you will see in a few of the photos I’ve posted below and on this website: http://www.ischiareview.com/

IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD, ALL EVIL IS BANISHED FOREVER

In a filled-to-capacity Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis Wednesday resumed the weekly general audience after a holiday break last week. Continuing his catecheses on the virtue of Christian hope, he began by noting that the Bible tells us that, “the ultimate destination of our Christian pilgrimage will be the heavenly Jerusalem. And on this pilgrimage we encounter the God of surprises who treats us with infinite tenderness, like a father welcoming his children home after a long and difficult journey.”

Francis then spoke of those who “experience life as a prolonged period of suffering,” saying, “I think of the fearful faces of those haunted by violence and war.” At this point, he departed from his prepared remarks, and listed recent violence “that has made news headlines” such as “the attacks in Barcelona and the sad news coming out of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” where there have been attacks on Christians and Catholic churches.

However, the Pope explained, “We believe that neither death nor hatred have the last word, for we Christians see, with great hope, a larger horizon: the Kingdom of God, where all evil is banished forever.  It is Jesus himself who is the light of this new future, and who even now accompanies us on our way.  Creation did not stop on the sixth day of Genesis, because God is continually looking after us, always ready to pronounce his blessing: “Behold, I make all things new!”

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis said his “thoughts and affection turn to those suffering from the earthquake Monday evening on the island of Ischia.”

Ischia is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, well known for its lovely small towns and its many spas and mineral-rich thermal waters. It is about 19 miles off shore from Naples.

The Holy Father asked the faithful to join him in prayer for the dead and wounded  and their families and those who lost their homes.”

The Ischia quake killed two, injured dozens and destroyed a number of buildings.