I wanted to post this column on Monday, following an important pro-life event here in Rome on Saturday but some big news – the naming of new cardinals! – grabbed my attention and I spent time writing about that, as well as the celebration of Pentecost and the newly celebrated memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church. Yesterday I updated that news with bios and photos of the future cardinals.

Last Saturday was the eighth edition of Italy’s March for Life and our very own – Priests for Life’s very own – Janet Morana was a headline speaker at the gathering. This annual event has grown from just a few hundred people in the first years to an estimated 15,000 this people this year, including priests and nuns, parish groups, students, large and small families, mayors of many Italian cities and representatives of international pro-life movements. Janet’s visit to Rome took place just days after she participated in the Canadian March for life.

Here’s a great video from the Register’s website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=31&v=mdoMvH7Uw9Y

God bless her, Janet addressed the marchers in Italian at Pza. Venezia at the end of their long but joy-filled walk on a warm afternoon. Her talk followed weeks of study and some heavy tutoring by a mutual friend of ours. I posted a video of her speech a few days ago.

To many cheers, Janet said, in part: “We stand and march today for the greatest and most urgent human rights cause of our day. Nothing in our world takes more lives than abortion! No one is more defenceless than the child in the womb. If you take away a child’s right to life, you cannot credibly claim to care about its right to an education, housing, healthcare, immigration or anything else. Unless you are safely born, you cannot exercise any other right!”

This year’s March for life took place just days before the 40th anniversary of Italy’s legalization of abortion on May 22, 1978. Italy legalized abortion through the first 90 days of pregnancy or later in cases of life-endangering circumstances for the mother or child.

Saturday evening, Janet, our mutual friend and her tutor, Geoffrey Strickland, who studies in Rome and helps out Priests for Life on occasion, and I celebrated her milestone with a wonderful dinner at the every amazing Terrazza Borromini.

Here are some of the photos I took that evening, as the sun set and into the evening. If Rome is not magical, no place is!



Pope Francis’s catechesis on Wednesday focused on the Sacrament of Confirmation. He was addressing the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience. Here is the official English Summary of his address:

Dear brothers and sisters: In these days following the Church’s celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, our catechesis turns to the sacrament of Confirmation, which “confirms” the grace of our Baptism and “anoints” us with the Spirit to bear witness to Christ before the world. Jesus himself, filled with the Holy Spirit, carried out his mission as the Lord’s Anointed, and after his death and resurrection, bestowed the Spirit upon his disciples, who went forth from the Upper Room to proclaim God’s mighty works (cf. Acts 2:11). As Christ was anointed by the Spirit at his baptism in the Jordan, so at Pentecost the Church received the Spirit in order to carry out her mission of preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In Confirmation, Jesus fills us with his Spirit and makes us sharers in his own life and mission, in accordance with the Father’s saving plan. May this sacrament strengthen us to be ever docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, as we strive in all our actions and words to live fully the new life received in Baptism and to advance the Church’s mission in the world.


Pope Francis, at the end of the general audience Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square, asked for prayers for Chinese Catholics.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis has appealed to all Christians to be spiritually close to Catholics who live in China, and to pray they may live their faith in full communion with the Holy See. Speaking during the general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope recalled that Thursday, May 24, is the Feast Day of “Mary Help of Christians,” and noted that she is particularly venerated at the Sanctuary of Sheshan, in Shanghai.

He said this observance invites us to be spiritually close to all Catholic believers who live in China and asked for prayers so that they “may live their faith with generosity and serenity” and “be able to make concrete gestures of fraternity, harmony and reconciliation in full communion with the Successor of Peter.”

“Dear disciples of the Lord in China, the Universal Church prays with you and for you, so that even amid difficulties, you may continue to entrust yourselves to God’s will,” he said.

Pope Francis concluded his appeal saying that Our Lady will never deprive them of Her help and that She will look over them with the love of a mother.



The Holy See Press Office issued a statement last night, May 22, that Pope Francis, from June 1 to 3 in the Vatican, will meet with a second group of Fr, Fernando Karadima’s victims of abuse – or that of his followers – from the parish of Sagrado Corazón de Providencia (“El Bosque”) in Chile.

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

Among the group are 5 priests who were victims of “abuse of power, of conscience and sexual abuse,” as well as 2 additional priests who “have assisted the victims throughout the juridical and spiritual process, and 2 lay people involved in this suffering.” The group will be provided hospitality in the Santa Marta residence where the Pope lives.

The communique reported that most of those coming also took part in the meetings that took place in Chile with Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Bishop Jordi Bertomeu in February. Others collaborated in the weeks after their visit.

This upcoming June meeting was scheduled a month ago because, said the statement, “Pope Francis wants to demonstrate his closeness to the abused priests, to accompany them in their pain and listen to their valuable opinion so as to improve preventive measures and the fight against abuse in the Church.” This will conclude the first phase of the meetings that Pope Francis wanted to have with the victims from Sagrado Corazón de Providencia parish.

The meetings will be conducted “in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality.” On Saturday morning, June 2, the Pope will celebrate Mass privately at Casa Santa Marta. In the afternoon, a meeting with the group is scheduled which will be followed by individual meetings.

The communique concluded: “The Holy Father continues to ask the faithful of Chile, and especially the faithful of the parishes where these priests have exercised their pastoral ministry—to accompany them with prayer and solidarity during these days.”