A SAINT, BABY LAMBS, AND PALLIUMS

In St. Peter’s Square today, June 29, solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Pope Francis presided at Mass with the new cardinals he created yesterday and with other members of the College of Cardinals. The College now has 226 members, 125 of whom are cardinal electors under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave.

During Mass the Pope blessed the palliums worn by metropolitan archbishops that for years were placed on the shoulders of the archbishops by the Pope on this very feast day. This year the palliums were handed in a box to the new metropolitan archbishops.

In 2015 Francis changed the traditional ceremony in which the prelates receive the pallium, deciding that the public ceremony of investiture of the pallium on metropolitan archbishops would henceforth take place in their home dioceses and not in the Vatican as has been the case under recent pontiffs.

The pallium is a white woolen circular band embroidered with six black crosses which is worn over the shoulders and has two hanging pieces, one in front and another in back. Worn by the Pope and by metropolitan archbishops, it symbolizes their authority as archbishop and expresses the special bond between the bishops and the Roman Pontiff.
In a 1978 document, “Inter Eximina Episcopalis,” Pope Paul VI restricted its use to the Pope and metropolitan archbishops. Six years later, Pope John Paul decreed that it would be conferred on the metropolitans by the Pope on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Every year in the Vatican, on January 21, in keeping with the tradition for the liturgical memory of St. Agnes, two lambs, blessed earlier in the morning in the Roman basilica named for this saint, are presented to the Pope. The lambs are raised by the Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of the Three Fountains. When their wool is shorn, the Sisters of St. Cecelia weave it into the palliums (pallia is another plural form) that, on the June 29th feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, are given to new metropolitan archbishops as signs of their office.

Usually in attendance at the January 21 ceremony in the Apostolic Palace are 21 people, including two Trappist fathers, several nuns, two canons of the Chapter of St. John, the dean of the Roman Rota, and two officials from the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, and a number of other invited guests.

The baby lambs, under one year of age, are normally tucked into wicker baskets, and both lambs and baskets are adorned with red and white ribbons and flowers, white to symbolize purity and red to signify the blood of a martyr. In 2004 St. John Paul II blessed the lambs during a general audience in the Paul VI Hall as both the audience and St. Agnes’ feast day occurred on a Wednesday.

Agnes died about 305 and is buried in the basilica named for her on Rome’s Via Nomentana. Historical accounts vary about the birth, life and manner of death of Agnes but generally it is recounted that, in order to preserve her virginity, she was martyred at a very young age, probably 12. She is usually depicted with a lamb because the Latin word so similar to her name, agnus, means “lamb.” The name Agnes is actually derived from the feminine Greek adjective hagné meaning “chaste, pure.”

In 2011, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican paper, carried an interview with Sr. Hanna Pomniaowska, one of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth who prepares the lambs every year for their Vatican visit. This order of nuns has been preparing the baby lambs for over 130 years and it was their founder, Blessed Frances Siedliska, who started this custom in 1884. Up to that date another order of nuns had prepared the lambs but it became difficult when the nuns began to age. At that time the Sisters of the Holy Family took over the duties.

Two lambs are brought to the sisters on January 20 by the Trappist Fathers of Tre Fontane (Three Fountains). The nuns then bring the lambs to the top floor of their residence where there is a terrace with a laundry room where the lambs are washed with delicate soap usually used for children until their wool is white as the driven snow and they are dried with a hair dryer that, in recent years, has replaced the towels they once used.

The nuns are careful to completely dry the lambs so that, at their tender age, they do not fall sick. The room is well heated. After the lambs are dried they are placed in a tub that is covered with straw and closed with canvas so they don’t catch cold. A meal of straw is fed to the lambs who then spend the night in the laundry.

The morning of January 21, the nuns place two small capes on the lambs, one is red to indicate St. Agnes’ martyrdom and the other is white to indicate her virginity. There are also three letters on each mantle: S.A.V. (St. Agnes Virgin) and S.A.M. (St. Agnes Martyr). The sisters weave crowns of interlocking red and white flowers, place them on the baby lambs’ heads, and then put the lambs in a decorated basket. The lambs are tied so they don’t escape. In fact, one of them did escape a few years back, jumping up and running from the altar at St. Agnes basilica.

In the morning the lambs are brought to St. Agnes Basilica where they are placed on the altar and blessed. Following this ceremony, two papal sediari or chair bearers bring the lambs in a van to the Vatican where they are presented to the Holy Father. It is usually the sisters who are celebrating a jubilee of religious vows who are present in the papal residence.

VATICAN INSIDER MEETS THE BENEDICTINE ABBOT PRIMATE

I wish Pope emeritus Benedict XVI God’s choicest blessings as today he marks 67 years of priesthood! God sit on your shoulder!

VATICAN INSIDER MEETS THE BENEDICTINE ABBOT PRIMATE

Join me this weekend for my conversation with Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation Gregory Polan. Born near Chicago Illinois, Abbot Polan is a linguist, a scripture and theology scholar, a translator and, I have heard, is quite the organist. As abbot primate of the Confederation, he is also the abbot of St. Anselm in Rome and chancellor of the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm and its Pontifical Liturgical Institute.

Abbot Polan was ordained a priest on May 26, 1977. After some years of teaching and pastoral experience in a parish, he completed his doctorate in Biblical Theology at the Pontifical Faculty of Saint Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. He served in the administration at Conception Seminary College from 1985 until 1996. In 1996, he was elected Abbot of Conception Abbey, and subsequently in September 2016 was elected Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation.

Listen as Abbot Polan tells us about St. Benedict, the history of the order, its famous motto, his specific ministry as Abbot primate, what it means to be a monk, the difference between monastery, abbey and priory, the Benedictine Oblates and so much more.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

ADDRESS OF HIS BEATITUDE LOUIS RAPHAËL I SAKO, PATRIARCH OF BABYLON OF THE CHALDEANS

ADDRESS OF HIS BEATITUDE LOUIS RAPHAËL I SAKO, PATRIARCH OF BABYLON OF THE CHALDEANS

Holiness,

In my name and that of my new brother Cardinals, I think your Holiness for the trust placed in us and for having called us to serve with an ever greater love the Church and all men.

This naming of cardinals from diverse countries expresses the vitality and the opening of the Catholic Church and concretizes her catholicity – her universality – in service to all men,

His Beatitude Sako (CNS photo)

A number of Muslims have come to give me their best wishes, and they expressed their admiration for the opening of the Church and for your always being close to people in their concerns, fears and hopes.

As far as I am concerned, I am the recipient of your special attention for the Eastern Churches and for the small flock at constitutes the Christians in the Middle East, in Pakistan and in other countries that are going through a difficult period because of wars and sectarianism and where there are still many martyrs. We pray and hope that your efforts to promote peace will change the hearts of men and women for the better and will contribute to assuring a dignified atmosphere for every person.

These nominations on the day of Pentecost did not come by chance. We are called to commit to announcing and expressing more deeply the faith that responds to the needs of the current time and the future, and it impels us to an ever greater service more attentive to the people of God entrusted to us and it asks us to have ever broader horizons.

Naming one to the cardinalate is not a prize or a personal honor, as is sometimes thought but rather it is sending us into mission with a red habit (indicating) that we will give our life to the very end, even to the shedding of blood, bringing “Evangelii gaudium” –the gospel of joy – to everyone.

Your paternal call for us is an encouragement in our sufferings and gives us the hope that the actual storm will pass, and it will be possible to live together harmoniously. I firmly believe in the fullness of love, right to the very end. This blood of the martyrs has not been shed for nothing, Holiness!

We assure you of our support and an even more intense collaboration in promoting a culture of dialogue, of respect and peace everywhere and in particular where there is need such as in Iraq, the land of Abraham, in Syria, in Palestine and in the Middle East and throughout the world. We are aware of the risks and the challenges that we must face but our faith in the Lord gives us the courage to continue to hope for a better future for everyone.

Today in your presence we wish to renew our fidelity, the love of the church and our people with the promise that we will do our best to be joyful witnesses of our faith, our love, freely given, of pardon, and building peace in a world that lives in indifference, consumerism and in conflicts of power and interest.

POPE FRANCIS TO NEW CARDINALS: THE GREATEST PROMOTION THAT CAN BE AWARDED US: TO SERVE CHRIST IN GOD’S FAITHFUL PEOPLE

POPE FRANCIS TO NEW CARDINALS: THE GREATEST PROMOTION THAT CAN BE AWARDED US: TO SERVE CHRIST IN GOD’S FAITHFUL PEOPLE

“They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them” (Mk 10:32). [1]

The beginning of this typical passage in Mark always helps us realize how the Lord cares for his people with a pedagogy all his own. Journeying to Jerusalem, Jesus is careful to walk ahead of his disciples.

Jerusalem represents the defining and decisive moment of his life. All of us know that at important and crucial times in life, the heart can speak and reveal the intentions and tensions within us. These turning points in life challenge us; they bring out questions and desires not always evident to our human hearts. This is what is presented, with great simplicity and realism, in the Gospel passage we have just heard. At the third and most troubling announcement of the Lord’s passion, the Evangelist does not shrink from disclosing secrets present in the hearts of the disciples: their quest of honours, jealousy, envy, intrigue, accommodation and compromise. This kind of thinking not only wears and eats away at their relationship, but also imprisons them in useless and petty discussions. Yet Jesus is not concerned with this: he walks ahead of them and he keeps going. And he tells them forcefully: “But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant” (Mk 10:43). In this way, the Lord tries to refocus the eyes and hearts of his disciples, so that there will be no fruitless and self-referential discussions in the community. What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we are corroded within? What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we are living in a stifling atmosphere of intrigues that dry up our hearts and impede our mission? Here, as someone has observed, we might think of all those palace intrigues that take place, even in curial offices.

“But it shall not be so among you”. The Lord’s response is above all an encouragement and a challenge to his disciples to recoup their better part, lest their hearts be spoiled and imprisoned by a worldly mentality blind to what is really important. “But it shall not be so among you”. The voice of the Lord saves the community from undue introspection and directs its vision, resources, aspirations and heart to the only thing that counts: the mission.

Jesus teaches us that conversion, change of heart and Church reform is and ever shall be in a missionary key, which demands an end to looking out for and protecting our own interests, in order to look out for and protect those of the Father. Conversion from our sins and from selfishness will never be an end in itself, but is always a means of growing in fidelity and willingness to embrace the mission. At the moment of truth, especially when we see the distress of our brothers and sisters, we will be completely prepared to accompany and embrace them, one and all. In this way, we avoid becoming effective “roadblocks”, whether because of our short-sightedness[2] or our useless wrangling about who is most important. When we forget the mission, when we lose sight of the real faces of our brothers and sisters, our life gets locked up in the pursuit of our own interests and securities. Resentment then begins to grow, together with sadness and revulsion. Gradually we have less and less room for others, for the Church community, for the poor, for hearing the Lord’s voice. Joy fades and the heart withers (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 2).

“But it shall not be so among you”. Jesus goes on to say. “Whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mk 10:43.44). This is the Beatitude and the Magnificat that we are called to sing daily. It is the Lord’s invitation not to forget that the Church’s authority grows with this ability to defend the dignity of others, to anoint them and to heal their wounds and their frequently dashed hopes. It means remembering that we are here because we have been asked “to preach good news to the poor…to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19).

Dear brother Cardinals and new Cardinals! In our journey towards Jerusalem, the Lord walks ahead of us, to keep reminding us that the only credible form of authority is born of sitting at the feet of others in order to serve Christ. It is the authority that comes from never forgetting that Jesus, before bowing his head on the cross, did not hesitate to bow down and wash the feet of the disciples. This is the highest honour that we can receive, the greatest promotion that can be awarded us: to serve Christ in God’s faithful people. In those who are hungry, neglected, imprisoned, sick, suffering, addicted to drugs, cast aside. In real people, each with his or her own life story and experiences, hopes and disappointments, hurts and wounds. Only in this way, can the authority of the Shepherd have the flavour of Gospel and not appear as “a noisy gong or a clanging symbol” (1 Cor 13:1). None of us must feel “superior” to anyone. None of us should look down at others from above. The only time we can look at a person in this way is when we are helping them to stand up.

I would like now to share with you a part of the spiritual testament of Saint John XXIII. Progressing in his own journey, he could say: “Born poor, but of humble and respectable folk, I am particularly happy to die poor, having distributed, in accordance with the various needs and circumstances of my simple and modest life in the service of the poor and of Holy Church which has nurtured me, whatever came into my hands – and it was very little – during the years of my priesthood and episcopate. Appearances of wealth have frequently disguised thorns of frustrating poverty, which prevented me from giving to others as generously as I would have wished. I thank God for this grace of poverty to which I vowed fidelity in my youth; poverty of spirit, as a priest of the Sacred Heart, and material poverty, which has strengthened me in my resolve never to ask for anything – money, positions or favours – never, either for myself, or for my relations and friends” (29 June 1954). _________________________

AN ORDINARY PUBLIC CONSISTORY: BACKGROUND AND RITUALS

As I post this column, the consistory in St. Peter’s is about to start. When the embargo on the talk by Cardinal Sako and the homily by Pope Francis is over, I will publish those in a separate post.

AN ORDINARY PUBLIC CONSISTORY: BACKGROUND AND RITUALS

The Holy See Press Office published data on the ordinary public consistory that Pope Francis announced on Pentecost Sunday, May 20, 2018 at the Regina Coeli. Following are Francis’ words at that moment, including the names of the new cardinals, how a consistory unfolds and where the new cardinals may be seen in the late afternoon, traditional post-consistory “Courtesy Visits” hosted by the Vatican.

Regina Coeli, Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am glad to announce that on 28th June I will hold a Consistory for the appointment of fourteen new cardinals. Their origins express the universality of the Church, who continues to announce God’s merciful love to all men on earth. Moreover, the insertion of the new cardinals in the diocese of Rome, expresses the inseparable link between the See of Peter and the particular Churches throughout the world.

These are the names of the new cardinals:

1. His Beatitude Louis Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans;
2. H.E. Msgr. Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.I., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
3. H.E. Msgr. Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of Rome;
4. H.E. Msgr. Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Substitute for the General Affairs of the Secretariat of State and special delegate to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta;
5. H.E. Msgr. Konrad Krajewski, apostolic almoner;
6. H.E. Msgr. Joseph Coutts, archbishop of Karachi;
7. H.E. Msgr. António dos Santos Marto, bishop of Leiria-Fátima;
8. H.E. Msgr. Pedro Barreto Jimeno, S.I., archbishop of Huancayo;
9. H.E. Msgr. Désiré Tsarahazana, archbishop of Toamasina;
10. H.E. Msgr. Giuseppe Petrocchi, archbishop of L’Aquila;
11. H.E. Msgr. Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda, archbishop of Osaka.
Along with them, I will join with the members of the College of Cardinals an archbishop, a bishop and a religious who are distinguished for their service to the Church:
12. H.E. Msgr. Sergio Obeso Rivera, archbishop emeritus of Xalapa;
13. H.E. Msgr. Toribio Ticona Porco, prelate emeritus of Corocoro;
14. Rev. Fr. Aquilino Bocos Merino, Claretian.
Let us pray for the new cardinals, so that, confirming their following of Christ, merciful and faithful Supreme Priest (cf. Heb 2: 17), they may help me in my ministry as bishop of Rome for the good of all the faithful Holy People of God.

As of the June 28 consistory the College of Cardinals will have 226 members:
– 77 created by Pope St. John Paul
– 75 created by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI
– 74 created by Pope Francis

As of June 28, there are 125 cardinal electors (that is, under the age of 80) (5 electors over the ceiling set by Blessed Pope Paul VI:)
– 19 were created by Pope John Paul II
– 47 created by Benedict XVI
– 59 created by Francis

Of the 226 total members of the College of Cardinals:
– Europe has 107 cardinals (of whom 53 electors, **)
– North America has 26 (of whom 17 electors)
– Central America has 8 (5 electors)
– South America has 27 (13 electors)
– Africa has 26 cardinals (16 electors)
– Asia 26 cardinals (17 electors)
– Oceania 6 cardinals (4 electors)
– ** Italy alone has 44 cardinals, of whom 22 are electors

ORDINARY PUBLIC CONSISTORY FOR THE CREATION OF 14 NEW CARDINALS

THURSDAY, JUNE 28TH

16:00 p.m. St. Peter’s Basilica – Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals

18:00 – 20:00 p.m. COURTESY VISITS to the new Cardinals:

PAUL VI HALL

Atrium

1. His Beatitude Louis Raphaël I Sako 2. His Excellency Msgr. Joseph Couttsi 3. His Excellency Msgr. Sergio Obeso Rivera 4. His Excellency Msgr. Toribio Ticona Porco 5. Reverend Father Aquilino Bocos Merino, C.M.F.

Hall

6. His Excellency Msgr. Angelo De Donatis 7. His Excellency Msgr. António Augusto dos Santos Marto 8. His Excellency Msgr. Pedro Barreto Jimeno, S.I. 9. His Excellency Msgr. Désiré Tsarahazana 10. His Excellency Msgr. Giuseppe Petrocchi 11. His Excellency Msgr. Thomas Aquino Manyo Maeda

APOSTOLIC PALACE

“Regia” Room

12. His Excellency Msgr. Giovanni Angelo Becciu

“Ducale” Room

13. His Excellency Msgr. Mons. Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.I. 14. His Excellency Msgr. Konrad Krajewski

ORDINARY PUBLIC CONSISTORY FOR THE CREATION OF 14 NEW CARDINALS

I – The rite (JFL file photo)

On Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 16:00 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis will hold an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of 14 new Cardinals. A Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals contains the following points:

– The Greeting; Prayer; Epistle

– At the opening of the celebration the first of the new cardinals (Louis Raphaël I Sako) then addresses the Holy Father, on behalf of everyone.

– Allocution of the Holy Father

– The Pope reads the formula of creation, and solemnly proclaims the names of the new cardinals.

“Dear brothers and sisters, we are about to carry out an agreeable and solemn task of our sacred ministry. It chiefly concerns the Church of Rome, but it also affects the entire ecclesial community: we will call certain of our brethren to enter the College of Cardinals, so that they may be united to the Chair of Peter by a closer bond our apostolic ministry. Having been invested with the sacred purple, they are to be fearless witnesses to Christ and his Gospel in the City of Rome and in faraway regions. Therefore, by the authority of Almighty God, of Saints Peter and Paul and our Own, we create and solemnly proclaim Cardinals of Holy Roman Church these brothers of ours…”

– The Profession of Faith and the oath of fidelity by new cardinals:. “I, N., Cardinal of Holy Roman Church, promise and swear, from this day forth and as long as I live, to remain faithful to Christ and his Gospel, constantly obedient to the Holy Apostolic Roman Church, to Blessed Peter in the person of the Supreme Pontiff, become members of the Roman clergy and cooperate more directly in Francis and his canonically elected successors, always to remain in communion with the Catholic Church in my words and actions, not to make known to anyone matters entrusted to me in confidence, the disclosure of which could bring damage or dishonour to Holy Church, to carry out diligently and faithfully the duties to which I am called in my service to the Church, according to the norms laid down by law. So help me Almighty God.”

– Each new cardinal then approaches the Holy Father and kneels before him to receive the cardinal’s biretta, the cardinalatial ring and the name of his title or deaconry:

– The Pope places the biretta on his head and says, in part: “(This is) scarlet as a sign of the dignity of the cardinalate, signifying your readiness to act with courage, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and tranquillity of the people of God and for the freedom and growth of Holy Roman Church.

– The Pope gives the cardinalatial ring: “Receive the ring from the hands of Peter and know that your love for the Church is strengthened by the love of the Price off the Apostles.”

– The new cardinals are assigned a church of Rome (“Title” or “Deaconry”), as a sign of their participation in the pastoral care of the Pope for the City.

– The Holy Father hands over the Bull of the Creation of Cardinals, assigns the Title or Deaconry and exchanges a kiss of peace with the new members of the College of Cardinals.

– The cardinals also exchange such a sign among themselves.

– The rite is concluded with the Lord’s Prayer.

FRIDAY, JUNE 29TH (THE SOLEMNITY OF ST. PETER AND PAUL)

9:30 a.m. St. Peter’s Square – Blessing of the Pallia (Palliums) – Holy Mass

12:00 p.m. Angelus Domini

 

PAPAL AUDIENCE: THE SICK AND DISABLED, THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

PAPAL AUDIENCE: THE SICK AND DISABLED, THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Ahead of the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis greeted sick and disabled people, saying God has a special place in His heart for people with a disability.

Pope Francis made a special stop in the air-conditioned Paul VI Hall on Wednesday to greet sick and disabled people, giving a warm welcome to the “Deaf Catholic Youth Initiative of the Americas” group and praying for the spiritual outcome of their pilgrimage to Rome.

“Dear friends,” said Francis, “I offer a warm welcome to the group from the ‘Deaf Catholic Youth Initiative of the Americas’. I pray that your pilgrimage – ‘A Time to Walk with Jesus’ – will help you to grow in love for Christ and for one another. The Lord has a special place in his heart for those with any kind of disability, and so does the Successor of Saint Peter! I hope that your time in Rome will be spiritually enriching and strengthen your witness to God’s love for all his children. As you continue your journey, I ask you please remember to pray for me. May Almighty God richly bless you all!”

Afterwards, outside in a sun-blessed St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father continued his new catechesis on the Ten Commandments.

“In our continuing catechesis on the commandments,” he began, “we now consider the text of the Decalogue, the ten commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The text begins with the words: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery’ (Ex 20:2). God first identifies himself as our God, the God whose love sets us free from all that enslaves us.”

Francis explained that, “these words show that God’s ‘commands’ are really an invitation to respond with gratitude to his saving love, a love disclosed fully in the coming of Jesus his Son. Gratitude to God for his many gifts, and willingness to accept his offer of love, are at the heart of the Christian moral life; they inspire us to heed God’s words and obey his commands.”

The Pope then paused in his catechesis, leaving aside his prepared remarks, and he asked everyone to be silent for a moment and to think about all the reasons in their own lives that they have reason to be grateful to God.

Continuing his text, the Pope said, “If our obedience to God’s law is servile, mere legalism, then, like the ancient Israelites, we should cry out in prayer to be released from that slavery and to enjoy the freedom of God’s beloved children in Christ. God wants to break every chain that binds us, so that, in loving obedience to his will, we can enjoy true freedom and life in abundance.”

After the catechesis on the commandments, Pope Francis welcomed a delegation from the “Special Olympics” organization: “I extend a special welcome to the delegation from the Special Olympics organization on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation. The world of sport offers a particular opportunity for people to grow in mutual understanding and friendship, and I pray that this Olympic Flame may be a sign of joy and hope in the Lord who bestows the gifts unity and peace on his children. Upon all who support the aims of the Special Olympics, I willingly invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.”
(source: Vaticannews)

POPE PICKED FELLOW ‘STREET PRIEST’ WHEN HE NAMED HIS ALMONER A CARDINAL

My day has been so crammed with activities, meetings and appointments that when I finally got home just before 6 I felt breathless – like I’d been given only 10 minutes between flights!

About 9:15 I got on a bus to go to a 10am appointment in the center of Rome. Traffic was so bad I got out midway and got into a taxi. Five minutes into that ride I got 2 phone calls – one from EWTN saying our appointment with Iraqi cardinal-elect Patriarch Sako was at noon where he is staying in Rome. The second call was from our doorman who said the Italgas people had come and wanted to start their work to connect new gas pipes in my apartment! Finally – it’s only been 28 days! Gas won’t be on, of course, till all the apartments have been retro-fitted and the new outdoor gas pipe is actually connected to the gas main beneath the sidewalk. Pazienza!

I told the taxi driver to turn around and bring me home.

Although I had fixed an appointment to interview Patriarch Sako on Friday at 5 pm, I was now back home with enough time, I hoped, to finish the interview questions and put that, my recorder and a camera in my bag…..just in case the cardinal changed his mind and was available today. Minutes before we were all to meet, the Italgas technician finished his preliminary work and I was able to get to our meeting on time.

It was a great reunion – we have known each other for eight years. I also met one of his auxiliary bishops and his secretary with whom we’ve been communicating like mad the past 2 weeks. And we did confirm that our interview on Friday!

More appointments after that and a brief lunch in a restaurant – something I rarely do on a workday!

The best part of your day will be when you read the following story about someone I’ve known for years and admire and respect beyond words. I saw him today in the Vatican and congratulated him – Papal Almoner and Cardinal-elect Konrad Krajewski. Great story by a friend, Carol Glatz.

POPE PICKED FELLOW ‘STREET PRIEST’ WHEN HE NAMED HIS ALMONER A CARDINAL

June 26, 2018 (CNS) – Carol Glatz

ROME – Realizing he could no longer minister directly to poor people as he used to in Buenos Aires, a newly elected Pope Francis found another secret “street priest” to act in his place – Cardinal-designate Konrad Krajewski.

For years, this Polish assistant to St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI walked Rome’s streets offering meals and assistance, often accompanied by volunteers from the papal Swiss Guard.

“My arms have been shortened,” he said Francis remarked when explaining why he was naming him papal almoner.

“If we can make my arms longer with your arms, I will be able to touch the poor of Rome and in Italy. I can’t leave. You can,” the pope explained.

By elevating him to the College of Cardinals June 28, the pope is elevating the office of papal almoner, the 54-year-old liturgist told Vatican News May 20. This honor “is for the poor and the volunteers. I can take no credit,” he said.

“I only did what the Holy Father wanted,” he explained, which was to be the pope’s eyes, ears and hands, looking out for and offering direct assistance to those in need, as well as spiritual comfort and prayers.

Every morning he reads requests for help forwarded from the pope with a comment that says, “You know what you must do.”

“And so I try to think, what would Francis do if he were here?” he told the Italian magazine, Il Mio Papa.

As papal almoner, the Polish cardinal-designate distributes charitable aid from the pope; but he has taken the job to a whole new level, getting a dormitory, showers, a barbershop and laundromat set up near the Vatican for homeless people. He handed out 1,600 prepaid phone cards to refugees who survived a dangerous journey by boat to Lampedusa to let their families know they were safe. He’s also organized special private tours for poor and homeless people to the Vatican Gardens, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.

Receiving the red hat should not make a big difference in his day-to-day dealings, he told Vatican Insider. He already had enough clout just being the pope’s almoner. “When they give me donations for the poor, they have trust because they trust the pope,” he said.

Krajewski said Francis told him to sell his desk when he was hired because his job wasn’t to wait for people to come ringing, but to go out and look for those in need. The cardinal-designate went a step further, giving up his apartment for a time to a Syrian refugee family.

He said the pope wanted him to do what he had been free to do in Buenos Aires: to seek out, share with, and be there for people.

“‘You will see,’ he told me, ‘I have entrusted you with the most beautiful part’” of being a priest, the cardinal-designate said.

Born in Lodz, Poland, Nov. 25, 1963, the cardinal-designate studied in Poland and Rome, where he earned degrees in theology and sacred liturgy. He served as a hospital chaplain in Rome before returning to Lodz to teach liturgy at local seminaries and become prefect of the diocesan seminary.

He returned to Rome in 1998 to work in the Vatican’s office of papal liturgical celebrations and master of liturgical ceremonies from 1999 to 2013 when he could be seen at the side of St. John Paul and Pope Benedict assisting during papal Masses.

He was appointed papal almoner August 2013 and consecrated a bishop the next month, taking the Latin word for “mercy” as his motto.

He told journalists in late November 2013 that he had been one of the four men who dressed St. John Paul after he died, in preparation for his lying-in-state and funeral.

“Perhaps this is why I never devoted myself to praying intensely for his beatification because I had already begun to take part in it,” he said, speaking of his fellow-countryman, whom he had served for seven years.

A former recreational skier and swimmer in his native Poland – like the pope-saint – the cardinal-designate said he also tried to emulate St. John Paul with a strong life of prayer so as to be close to God. He celebrates Mass at the late pope’s tomb once a week and prays the rosary and hears confessions every day at a nearby church dedicated to the Divine Mercy.

He said Francis once told him to never stop hearing confessions because that, too, is a kind of alms.

Despite always being in the thick of things – delivering food or sleeping bags, visiting the infirm and families in crisis – Krajewski said he prefers to stay off the radar and avoid giving interviews.

“I’d like to stay hidden, without any ruckus,” he told the Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana in 2014, explaining why he was turning them down for an interview request. “Poverty is something serious; it’s not there to give oneself publicity.”

But what he does not hide is his faith. “It is helpful for the Church when we do not hide God, but we reveal him with our lifestyle,” he told the magazine reporter. Doing good “is contagious,” he said.