An acquaintance of mine, four-star Admiral Harry Harris, Jr. CINCPAC (Commander in Chief Pacific) yesterday at a Change of Command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, turned command over to Navy Adm. Philip Davidson.

As are most military ceremonies, I could attest how inspiring it was because a friend sent me the DOD link to the video of the ceremony and I enjoyed “returning” to a base I know well, having a number of Navy friends in Honolulu. It was also fun to see another friend, Fr. John Shimotsu as he gave the invocation.

I first met Admiral Harris when he commanded the Sixth Fleet and was based in Naples and Gaeta. We met on a day that was dedicated to a former Navy Chaplain, Fr. Vincent Capodanno, who was killed in Vietnam on September 4, 1967. Ceremonies were held in Gaeta (where the Capodanno family had roots) in September in 2011 to mark that anniversary and there was a large component of the Sixth Fleet present for the daylong events that began with a Mass presided by Cardinal Raymond Burke.

Actually the day began with breakfast at a hotel garden where many of the guests were staying who had come from Rome for the occasion. That was the first time I met Adm. Harris and his wife Bruni – we shared a few other moments during the day and then had lunch aboard the USS Mount Whitney. Not a lot of time but enough to begin to understand what a thoroughly delightful person Harry Harris was, as well as one of the most brilliant people to ever command a Navy fleet. A bit of that came out in conversations but I had also started to follow his career through a mutual friend of ours – and it was Ted who sent me the link to the Change of Command ceremony.

We next met several years ago at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. I was in Honolulu on my by-now annual retreat to this island paradise. I knew Adm. Harris had been here for a few years and I emailed him and asked if I could come by and say “aloha,” and so it was that we re-connected in his office. I remember quite well that part of our conversation focused on the cause for canonization of Fr. Capodanno: the admiral wanted to understand what a cause was and asked at what stage was Fr. Vincent’s cause.

“Souvenirs” of the visit:

Also present was out mutual friend, Navy chaplain Fr. Shimotsu.

Admiral Harris’ illustrious 40-year career with the Navy ended yesterday, but President Trump has nominated him to be the U.S. ambassador to Korea, thus a life of service will continue.

I am sure that, at some point in his time as ambassador, he will be able to meet the Holy See’s new ambassador to Korea. Archbishop Alfred Xuereb.

I’ll be praying for both of them.

PS. Following is a link to the DOD video of the Change of Command ceremony. If you have military in your family, you might enjoy this. I found it riveting because I know Admiral Harris, I know the Navy base and I know Honolulu. What is really worthwhile are the speeches of the outgoing and incoming commanders and that of Defense Secretary James Mattis, especially if you are interested in US foreign and defense policy.



The Holy See Press Office issued a statement noting that today, May 31, 2018, the Holy Father named Archbishop Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., emeritus of Warszawa-Praga, Poland, as Apostolic Visitor for the parish of Medjugorje, for an indeterminate period of time ‘ad nutum Sanctae Sedis’ (at the pleasure of the Holy See).

“This is exclusively a pastoral assignment in continuity with the mission of Holy See Special Envoy to the parish of Medjugorje that was entrusted to Abp. Hoser on February 11, 2017, and concluded by him in recent months. The aim of the Apostolic Visitor is to assure a stable and continuous accompaniment of the parish community of Medjugorje and of the faithful who travel there in pilgrimage whose needs call for a particular attention.”

(JFL: Archbishop Hoser, a Pallottine missionary priest and a trained physican, was sent to Medjugorje in 2011 to assess the pastoral needs of this immensely popular pilgrimage site. He was not tasked to judge the veracity of alleged appearances by the Blessed Virgin on this site as that is a doctrinal issue. However, Abp. Hoser’s final report is expected to be added to conclusions reached by the Ruini International Commission – a study and evaluation of Medjugorje entrusted to the former vicar of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini – that took place over several years.)


Statement from Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke:

This coming weekend, as scheduled, the Holy Father will host a group of Chilean priests at the Santa Marta residence:

With the aim of going forward with the process of reparation and healing of the victims of abuse, once again in coming days Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Bishop Jordi Bertomeu will go to Chile, this time on a mission in the diocese of Osorno, in agreement with Pope Francis.

In the meantime, as he had promised the bishops of Chile, the Holy Father will send the president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile a letter personally written by him and addressed to the People

(JFL: In 2015 Pope Francis appointed Bishop Juan Barros to the Diocese of Osorno, an appointment that was extremely controversial in Chile as Barros had been accused of covering up sexual abuse by a close priest friend, Fr. Fernando Karadima. Victims tried for years to convince authorities of Karadima’s crimes and Barros’ coverup. In 2011, Karadima was proniunced guilty and sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude.)