I am in transit today and will have little time to be on a computer so just one piece of news – a heads up on Vatican Insider for this weekend.


My special guests this weekend on Vatican Insider are Fr. Kyle Manno and Msgr. Glenn Nelson from the diocese of Rockford, Illinois. Msgr Nelson is director of the diocese’s Apostolate for the Deaf and Fr. Manno is director of Vocations for the diocese. But, as a team, they have another apostolate so stay tuned and learn about “A Priest with a Mic!”

Priest with a Mic!

Msgr. Nelson uses sign language –

Here’s a link to the video Fr. Manno speaks of in our conversation: Carpool Karaoke with Bishop Malloy:

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on 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 ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)



On the eve of his visit to Morocco, Pope Francis, in a video message, says he is coming to the country as a pilgrim of peace and fraternity.

Pope Francis will travel to Morocco from March 30 to 31 where he will celebrate Mass, travel to a migrant centre, run by the charity Caritas, and visit the Mohammed VI institute, which oversees the training and formation of Imams.

Peace and fraternity
In his video message, the Pope said he was coming to Morocco as “a pilgrim of peace and fraternity, in a world that greatly needs it.”

Pope Francis remarked that both Christians and Muslims believe in God the merciful Creator “who created men and women, and placed them in the world so that they might live as brothers and sisters, respecting each other’s diversity and helping each other in their needs.”

God entrusted to them the earth, our common home, he added, “to guard it responsibly and preserve it for future generations.”

“It will be a joy for me to share these convictions directly with you at the meeting we will have in Rabat”, he said.

Gracious invitation
The Pope expressed his thanks to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his gracious invitation and to the Moroccan authorities for their considerate participation.

He also thanked the people of Morocco, from the bottom of his heart, for their prayers.

Christian community
Pope Francis underlined that this trip offered him “the precious opportunity to visit the Christian community in Morocco and to encourage its journey.”

The Pope also mentioned that he would be meeting with migrants, who, he said, “together embody an appeal to build a world of greater justice and solidarity.”  (vaticannews)


I posted a separate story on my Facebook page about today’s commemorative Mass in Rome to mark the third anniversary of the death of Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN. (


In Wednesday’s general audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Our Father, focussing on the petition: “Give us this day our daily bread,” and saying this is where we present our needs to God.

“Give us this day our daily bread,” said Francis, reminds us that we are not self-sufficient. Prayer, he said, “begins with our daily concerns, our most pressing, concrete necessities of life,” and he invited the faithful to consider this prayer from the point of view of those who are in real need: “How many mothers, and how many fathers, even today, go to sleep with the anguish of not having sufficient bread for their children for the next day?” Seen from this perspective, “the words of Jesus take on new force.”

The Pope explained that, “with the request for ‘our daily bread’, rather than my daily bread, the ‘Our Father’ includes in itself an ‘attitude of empathy, an attitude of solidarity.” In this way, Jesus teaches us to present the needs of everyone to the Father.

The Pope then told the Gospel story of the feeding of the five thousand. The multiplication of the loaves and fishes was a true miracle, he said; but the greater miracle was the sharing. The young boy who shared his bread and fish “had understood the lesson of the ‘Our Father’, namely “that food is not private property… but providence to be shared, with the grace of God.”

In this miracle, Francis concluded, Jesus anticipated the offering of Himself in the Holy Eucharist: “Only the Eucharist,” he said, “is able to satisfy the hunger for the infinite and the desire for God that animates every human person, even in the search for daily bread.”


Pope Francis on Wednesday honored Sr. Maria Concetta Esu for her tireless work as a midwife in Africa over the past 60 years.
By Lydia O’Kane (vaticannews)

Sister Maria Concetta Esu is an Italian nun who for almost 60 years has devoted her life to missionary work in Africa. In her profession as a midwife, Sister Concetta has delivered thousands of babies and at 85 her commitment to children, mothers and families continues.

In recognition of her tireless efforts, Pope Francis at the end of his general audience on Wednesday, honored this Sister from the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Joseph of Genoni, telling her this accolade was “a sign of our affection and our ‘thanks’ for all the work you have done in the midst of our African brothers and sisters, in the service of life…”

The Pope told the pilgrims present that he had met Sr Maria Concetta in Bangui in the Central African Republic during his visit to open the Jubilee of Mercy in 2015, adding, “that day, too, she came from Congo in a canoe, … to do her shopping in Bangui.”

While honoring this religious sister, the Pontiff also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to all the missionaries, priests, religious and laity, who, he said, may not make the news, but “sow the seeds of the Kingdom of God in every part of the world.”

The Pope also spoke of Brazilian Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, who he recounted “goes to the cemetery and visits the graves of missionaries; many young people who have died from diseases…” Pope Francis said that the Cardinal told him, ‘they all deserve to be canonized’, because their life has been ‘consumed’ in service.

Sister Maria Concetta, who is in Rome for a meeting with her Congregation, is due to return to Africa to continue her work. Bidding her farewell, Pope Francis said, “Let us accompany her with prayer. And may her example help us all to live the Gospel wherever we are.”


Pope Francis conveyed his solidarity to the people of Iran after devastating floods that have caused many deaths and extensive damage.

By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

Pope Francis expressed his sorrow for the loss of life, injury and damage caused by flash floods in northern Iran that have killed at least 26 people.

In a telegram, signed on his behalf by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis on Wednesday conveyed his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected and said he is praying for the deceased.

The floods are being described as an “unprecedented natural disaster”. Rescuers are still searching for survivors and hundreds have reportedly been injured in the country that is more accustomed to drought than to rain.

In his message, the Pope also said he is praying for the emergency personnel involved in rescue efforts and assured the people of Iran that he has invoked divine blessings of consolation and strength on those who grieve.

Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani, who is accused by critics of mishandling the crisis, travelled to flooded areas to inspect the damage and promised compensation to all those affected.

Tuesday’s torrential rain struck 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces, and the scale of the disaster has reportedly overwhelmed emergency services in some areas.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced and thousands are being housed in emergency shelters.


A Holy See Press Office statement reveals Pope Francis will undertake an apostolic journey to Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius in September.

By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

Pope Francis will travel to the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar and Mauritius and to the Southeast African nation of Mozambique in September 2019.

In a statement on Wednesday, Holy See Press Office interim director Alessandro Gisotti, revealed that the journey is scheduled to take place from 4 to 10 September.

He said the Pope will visit the cities of Maputo in Mozambique, Antananarivo in Madagascar and Port Louis in Mauritius. The program for the visit will be published in due time.

Pope Francis travels to the three nations as a pilgrim of peace, hope and reconciliation, all themes that are reflected in the official logos of the journey.


I will have more to say tomorrow morning about the stunning news of what seems to be the mass resignation of the editorial board and founder of the Vatican’s monthly magazine on and for women that is published by the Vatican paper “L’Osservatore Romano.” Tune in tomorrow morning to Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo as we have our weekly radio chat. You can tune in starting at 9 am ET by going to and clicking on LISTEN LIVE.

If for some reason you did not already know this, Teresa Tomeo is the host of Catholic Connection, which is a co-production of Ave Maria Radio and the EWTN Global Radio Network and is broadcast on over 500 radio stations worldwide. It can be heard weekdays 8-10am ET on Ave Maria Radio, and from 9-10am ET on EWTN Radio.

Tune in tomorrow!


Pope Francis changes the Code of Canon Law, to provide for the dismissal ‘ipso facto’ of religious who are illegitimately absent from their religious house for a full year.
By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

Pope Francis has made several changes to ecclesial canons concerning the dismissal of consecrated persons from the religious institutes to which they belong.

According to the revised canons, religious who have been “illegitimately absent” from their religious house for a full twelve months are dismissed ipso facto from their Institutes. The new canons also stipulate that the superior of the institute must gather evidence of facts and issue a declaration, which must be confirmed, for the dismissal to be legally recognized.

In his letter, with the incipit Communis vita, Pope Francis notes that “community life is an essential element of religious life”, and that religious cannot leave the common life without permission from their superior. In recent years, however, the Pope says there have been cases where religious have left their communities without that permission, and sometimes cannot be traced. Although canon law had provided for such cases, the Pope said it was sometimes difficult to provide a legal remedy, especially when the whereabouts of the religious was unknown.

It was for that reason, Pope Francis said, that he has decided to make changes to canon law by making a prolonged illegitimate absence from one’s religious house one of the reasons for dismissal, ipso facto, from one’s religious institute. In order for this dismissal to have legal effect, the declaration of the fact must be confirmed by the Pope, for institutes of pontifical right; or by the Bishop of the principal See, for institutes of diocesan right.

The new regulations were promulgated by publication in L’Osservatore Romano, and will go into effect on 10 April 2019. Subsequently, they will be published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

Click here to read Latin text of papal letter:


VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Claiming a lack of support for open dialogue and for an editorial line run by women, the director and editorial staff of a Vatican women’s magazine have resigned.

But the editor of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, which publishes the magazine, countered that he has given the staff “the same total autonomy and freedom” that have marked its work since it began.

“There is a return to the clerical self-referentiality and an abandonment of that ‘parrhesia’ (courage) so often asked for by Pope Francis,” said Lucetta Scaraffia, founder and director of “Women-Church-World,” a monthly supplement to L’Osservatore Romano.

In December, Pope Francis appointed Andrea Monda, an Italian journalist and religion teacher, to be editor of L’Osservatore Romano.

The new management at the newspaper has not shown support for the magazine’s mission and has tried to “weaken” it by launching initiatives that “seem competitive, with the result of pitting women against each other, instead of encouraging open discussion,” Scaraffia wrote in an editorial that was to be published in the supplement’s April 1 issue.

Scaraffia sent Catholic News Service a copy of the editorial March 26 and a copy of an open letter to Pope Francis, explaining their resignation.
Monda’s choice of new writers for L’Osservatore Romano and his suggestion of new writers for the supplement, Scaraffia said, suggests she and the editorial board are no longer seen as trustworthy and has closed the door to any chance of “true, free and courageous dialogue among women who love the church in freedom and with men taking part,” she said in the editorial.

Responding in a note published by the Vatican press office, Monda said he never tried to weaken the magazine, underlining how its budget had been fully approved and translations guaranteed despite the need to cut costs within the curia.

“My commitment was and remains strengthening the daily edition of the Osservatore Romano, certainly not in terms of competition but of complementarity with the supplement,” he wrote.

“In no way have I selected anyone, man or woman, according to the criterion of obedience. If anything, on the contrary, avoiding any interference with the monthly supplement, I pushed for the daily newspaper to create discussion that was truly free, not built on a dynamic of one side against another” or closed cliques, he wrote.

Monda added the monthly supplement will continue “without clericalism of any kind.”

The publication began as a monthly insert in the Vatican newspaper seven years ago to give attention to women’s voices. When it was relaunched in 2016 as a magazine, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said, “If we do not listen attentively to the voice of women in the great decisive moments in the life of the church, we would lose” the crucial contribution of the feminine genius in the church.

Scaraffia said the April 1 issue would be the last for her and the all-female editorial board, in order to “safeguard their dignity.”

The publication, which had the support and encouragement of Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, she said, was founded to be autonomous and run by women.

In her letter to Pope Francis dated March 21, Scaraffia said they were “throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of distrust and continuous delegitimization.”

Because of their openness to exploring the world of women in the church and of other faiths, Scaraffia said they were able to cover and explore many new subjects and experiences, including the abuse of women religious.

“Now it seems that a vital initiative has been reduced to silence and returns to the antiquated and arid custom of choosing, from the top, under the direct control of men, women who are deemed trustworthy.”

(JFL: following ios thebstatement of Editor-in-Chief of “L’Osservatore Romano” Prof. Andrea Monda

I acknowledge Prof. Scaraffia’s free and autonomous decision to discontinue her coo peration with L’Osservatore Romano, and to consider as closed her editorship of “Donna Chiesa Mondo” (“Women Church World”). Along with our very best wishes, we offer her our sincere thanks for the valuable work she has done in these years, with great commitment and in full freedom.

In these few months since my appointment as Editor-in-Chief, I have guaranteed Prof. Scaraffia and the group women on the editorial staff the same complete autonomy and the same total freedom that have characterized the monthly insert since its inception, by refraining from interfering in any way in the the printing of the daily newspaper’s monthly supplement, and limiting my contribution (to suggesting topics and persons to engage) to be freely evaluated by Prof. Scaraffia and the editorial staff.

In no way did my efforts undermine the scope of the Donna Chiesa Mondo monthly. Indeed, its budget was entirely confirmed and its translation and circulation in other countries always guaranteed, notwithstanding the Curia’s general need for cost-containment. My commitment has been and continues to be that of empowering the daily edition of L’Osservatore Romano (certainly not in terms of competition, but of complementarity with the supplement) as is natural and right as it may be.

In no way have I chosen anyone, man or woman, with the criterion of obedience. If anything, on the contrary, forbearing to intervene in the monthly supplement, in creating the daily edition I sought comparisons that were truly free, not built on the mechanism of one against the others, or of closed groups. And I did so precisely in the sign of the openness and parrhesia requested by Pope Francis, with whose words and with whose Magisterium we all identify.

If, on the basis of current ecclesial and cultural events, I have devoted attention to topics such as that of plurality and difference in the world of the Church, this derives solely from the centrality that these topics have acquired, thanks precisely to the role of women.

This coming Monday, 1 April — just to offer an example — a round-table on the publication of an essay, signed by 17 highly regarded theologians and scholars, entitled “La voce delle donne” (“The voice of women”) (Ed. Paoline), will be held in the editorial offices. I can offer my assurances that the future of L’Osservatore Romano’s monthly supplement has never been under discussion; and therefore, that its history will continue uninterrupted. Without clericalism of any kind.


I did a spot for At Home with Jim and Joy for today’s show that featured the feast of the Annunciation and a special story of how this is celebrated in the Middle East where the populace is, of course, predominantly Muslim. I’d like to share that with you now.

For Christians, Mary is the Mother of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For Muslims, Mary is a much-revered figure as the Mother of the prophet Jesus. In September 1995 I was a member of the Holy See delegation to the UN conference on Women in Beijing. On September 8, a member of the Iran delegation came to our office with a beautiful picture of Mary, saying their delegation wanted to celebrate her birthday that day and this was their gift to us!

Years later, specifically on February 18, 2010, I was in Lebanon on my way to Iraq when the government made March 25 a national Christian-Muslim Day, something that had never occurred before in the history of Christian-Muslim relations. The decision was confirmed two days later during a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Hariri in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. That day I was in the offices of a Catholic newspaper in Beirut where people were scurrying to get this announcement in the press! The first joint celebration occurred a month later on March 25 as an official national holiday sanctioned by the government of Lebanon. All public buildings, schools, banks and university were closed and the government encouraged private businesses to do the same.

Last year, 2018 in Amman, Jordan, for the first time Christians and Muslims held an inter-religious celebration to mark the Annunciation. Patriarchal vicar Bishop William Shomali said the celebration was part of the “theological, religious, spiritual dialogue” that accompanies everyday life in Jordan. “We want to show the common points between Christians and Muslims on the Annunciation, in which even Muslims believe.”


If ever I could have bilocated, today would have been the day and Loreto, Italy, the place. I am in Chicago for some days for work, appointments and interviews but I would have loved to be next to the Pope, or at least in the crowd of faithful who greeted him today in Loreto at the Shrine of the Holy House. Loreto is one of my absolute favorite shrines in all of Italy.

The last time I was there was on November 14, 2017 with the pilgrimage women of WINE, Women In the New Evangelization. I posted a column a day later. Unfortunately the story appears but the photos do not as wordpress only saves photos for a few days. I don’t have access to them in Chicago as they are on my external hard drive in Rome. Here’s the story of this very special home (if you can add Loreto to your Italian travels, do so!):

Loreto had to be extra special today for another reason. After Pope Francis recited the Angelus, all the church bells in Loreto and throughout the Marche region where Loreto is located rang simultaneously! How glorious that had to have been!


By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the Sanctuary of the Holy House of Loreto on Monday, to mark the Feast of the Annunciation.

Tradition holds that the Virgin Mary lived within the relocated walls housed in the Sanctuary, and there received the Angel’s message of the Annunciation.

Following Mass, the Holy Father spoke to the 10,000-strong crowd of the faithful gathered in the square in front of the Basilica.

Pope Francis said the Sanctuary is “a privileged place to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God,” since it is “the house of Mary.”

Many pilgrims, he said, come from around the world to the “oasis of silence and piety” to draw strength and hope, calling the Holy House of Loreto a home for the young, families, and the sick.

Home for the young

Pope Francis said it is a home for young people, because the Virgin Mary “continues to speak to new generations, accompanying each one in the search for his or her vocation.”

It was for that reason, the Pope said, that he had chosen to sign his post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on young people in Loreto. The document is entitled “Christus vivit – Christ lives”, and is the culmination of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment that was held in October 2018.

“In the event of the Annunciation the dynamic of the vocation appears, expressed in the three moments that marked the Synod: 1) listening to the Word-project of God; 2) discernment; 3) decision,” he said.

Home for families
Pope Francis said the House of Mary in Loreto is also a home for the family.

“In the delicate situation of today’s world,” he said, “the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman assumes an essential importance and mission.”

He invited Catholics to rediscover the plan traced out by God for the family and to reaffirm its central role in society.

Within those walls, the Pope said, Mary lived out the many facets that characterize family relationships, “as a daughter, fiancée, and mother,” saying that her experience shows that the Church must care for families and young people in tandem and not separately.

Home for the sick
Finally, Pope Francis said the Holy House of Loreto is a home for the sick.

“Here are welcomed those who suffer in body and spirit, and our Mother brings to all the mercy of the Lord from generation to generation.”

The Holy Father said illness wounds the family, but that the family must welcome the sick person by loving, supporting, encouraging, and caring for them.

And the Pope sent his thoughts and prayers to people around the world who suffer from various illnesses and maladies. “Your suffering can become a decisive collaboration for the coming of the Kingdom of God,” he said.

Pope Francis closed his visit to the Basilica of the Holy House of Loreto with the Angelus prayer, asking all to pray for young people, families, and the sick.


By John Waters (vaticannews)

On the Feast of the Annunciation, Pope Francis signed his Apostolic Exhortation for the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.

“Christus vivit – Christ lives” is a letter to the world’s young people that represents the fruit of the October Synod. The Vatican will release the full text in the near future.

The Basilica of the Holy House in Loreto contains the walls of what tradition holds to be the house in which the Virgin Mary lived when the Angel Gabriel announced that she was to give birth to Jesus.

During his visit to Loreto, Pope Francis spoke about the Exhortation and explained that there are 3 sections to the document, which mirror 3 phases of the Synod process. To explain this further, he outlined this process whilst referencing the story of the Annunciation.

“The first moment, that of listening, is manifested by the words of the angel: ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.’ It is always God who takes the initiative in calling people to follow Him”, said the Pope.

He went on to explain that young people need to find moments of quiet and stillness to listen to God’s call and that God’s voice will not be heard amongst noise and agitation.

Instead, quiet and stillness will help young people discover that “His plan for our personal and social life is not perceived by remaining on the surface, but by descending to a deeper level, where moral and spiritual forces act. It is there that Mary invites young people to come down and tune in to God’s action.”

Then comes the phase of discernment, which is “expressed in Mary’s words: ‘How will this happen?’ Mary does not doubt; her question is not a lack of faith; on the contrary, she expresses her own desire to discover God’s ‘surprises’. In her there is attention to grasping all the demands of God’s plan for her life, to knowing it in its facets, to make one’s collaboration more responsible and complete.”

Pope Francis said this is the proper attitude with which to follow God’s call in our lives, since this attitude allows people to discover not only what God’s plan is for their lives, but also how God’s grace will help them to develop the skills and abilities needed to live out his call for them.

“Decision is the third step that characterizes every Christian vocation, and it is made explicit by Mary’s response to the angel: ‘Let it be done to me according to your word.’ Her ‘yes’ to God’s plan of salvation, implemented by means of the Incarnation, is the handing over to Him of her whole life. It is the ‘yes’ of full trust and total openness to God’s will,” said the Pope.

He highlighted the Virgin Mary as the model Christian disciple and suggested that today’s young people try to imitate her example as they search for God’s plan for their lives.

The Pope pointed out that Mary had lived a multitude of family relationships.

She was a daughter, a fiancée, a bride and a mother, so all young people, no matter what their role in life and calling from God, can find an example and inspiration in her.



Tune in this weekend to Vatican Insider for a special I have prepared on a wonderful, multi-century tradition in Rome during Lent – the celebrated Lenten Station Churches, What are they? What is their history? Why are they special in Lent? You will definitely want to come to Rome some year to participate, even for a few days, in this tradition but this weekend you can visit with me!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on 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 ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


The following telegram was sent to Mosul, Iraq by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in the name of Pope Francis for the victims of a ferry boat accident in Mosul:

“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of all who lost their lives following the tragic sinking of a ferry in the Tigris River in Mosul. Expressing his prayerful solidarity with those who mourn, His Holiness commends the deceased to the mercy of the Almighty, and prays for the local authorities and emergency personnel. Upon the whole Iraqi nation Pope Francis invokes the divine blessings of healing, strength and consolation.”

From AsiaNews and other agencies: The Iraqi Prime Minister has decreed three days of national mourning, after visiting the place where a ferry going across the Tigris sank yesterday afternoon near Mosul, killing nearly 100 people. According to state television, PM Adel Abdel Mahdi visited the injured in a hospital in the former “Caliphate” stronghold and the morgue where the bodies of the victims are held.

The ship, used for transporting people, was packed with families and tourists who celebrated the Nowrūz (Kurdish New Year).. First reports say there were around 200 people on board, more than the boat could contain.

The ship was heading towards the island of Umm Rabaen, a tourist resort about 4 km north of the center of the city of Mosul, one of the many stops planned for the trip organized in conjunction with the new year. According to some videos, the ferry suddenly tilted to the right, began taking on water, then capsized and was dragged downstream of the river.


A note today from the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development stated that during the last week the floods caused by the cyclone Idai have devastated entire areas between Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The death toll – constantly increasing – refers to at least 300 confirmed victims, thousands of wounded and hundreds of thousands of displaced people. At least one million would be the people involved in the disaster.

Pope Francis, through this dicastery, has decided to send a first contribution of 150,000 euros (50,000 for each country) for the relief of the population in this first phase of emergency.



Pope Francis on Thursday received in audience, members of the Italian Federation of Pediatricians. In prepared remarks, he urged them to commit themselves to an inclusive form of health care that respects the human body. (vaticannews)

For more than forty years the Italian Federation of Pediatricians has supported over 5,500 family pediatricians, offering them expertise from a professional and moral point of view, in the sphere of welfare and social security, as well as in the legal and economic fields.

The Federation has distinguished itself for its contribution to the foundation of the Italian National Health Service, and over the years has implemented countless health initiatives and has been involved in the upgrading of services offered to citizens. In prepared remarks to the members of the Federation on Thursday, Pope Francis praised their work with babies, children and adolescents, and noted their commitment in the area of training and education.

Inclusive healthcare
“In our time, where many comforts and technological and social developments are paid for with an increasingly invasive impact on the natural dynamics of the human body”, said the Pontiff, “it is urgent to implement a serious program of education promoting health and lifestyles respecting the body, so that progress is not at the expense of the individual.”

The Pope commented that those who have access to treatment are usually the ones who can afford it. Therefore, he encouraged those gathered to work to ensure that the weakest in society were taken care of in terms of healthcare and prevention. He also encouraged the Federation members to listen their young patients and provide a sense of security to parents.

Look to Jesus
Offering some spiritual advice, Pope Francis invited those present to look to the person of Jesus. “By reading often and rereading the Gospel texts in which Jesus meets and heals the sick, your sense of self and your actions are renewed,” he said. Drawing inspiration from their esteemed colleague and teacher, Dr. Franco Panizon, the Pope spoke of his unconditional dedication to his patients using the quote, ‘Never put your head on the pillow, unless you have done everything in your power for them before’.

Work as mission
Pope Francis concluded, “the work you do is a real mission, involving both the mind and the hear. You bear Christian witness, because you seek to practice the values of the Gospel and your sense of belonging to the Church; but also because of the breadth of your gaze, your ability to imagine the right social context and health care system for the future, and your desire to serve, with humility and competence, every person entrusted to you.”


At 4 this afternoon, Pope Francis visited the headquarters of Scholas Occurrentes in the Palazzo San Calisto in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome. He was there to kick off the international project “Programming for Peace,” together with computer experts. The aim of the initiative is to allow millions of young people to learn to program and use new technologies with an ethical perspective while committing themselves to the search for peace.

During the meeting, Pope Francis inaugurated, via video conference, the “Scholas Technological Hub” in the new Panama office. In addition, the Holy Father had a dialogue with the young people of the three new Scholas offices in Panama, Portugal and Romania, and he met some students who have participated in the sports, artistic and technological programs.

The Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, an international organization created by Pope Francis on August 13, 2013, is present in 190 countries and is currently the largest student movement in the world. The Foundation has as its fundamental objective promoting a culture of peace and encounter that includes schools and educational networks belonging to all religious denominations and secular realities, both public and private.


Keep your eyes and ears open in coming days as we might have an important announcement or two regarding some papal appointments, including the name of the new archbishop of Washington, D.C. Some red hats who are members of the Congregation for Bishops are in town and if I recall correctly, the congregation meets on the third Thursday of each month (which would be tomorrow) for some nominations.


At the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Our Father, focusing on the third invocation, “Thy will be done”.

By Christopher Wells

“God is not ambiguous, He is not hidden behind riddles, He has not planned the future of the world in an indecipherable manner.” In his catechesis on the third petition of the “Our Father,” Pope Francis said that we can see the will of the Father expressed in the words of Jesus: God wills “to seek and to save that which was lost.” This, the Pope said, “without any shadow of doubt, is the will of God: the salvation of all human beings,” of each one of us individually.

Because of His love for us, God “knocks on the door of our heart” in order “to draw us to Himself, to lead us forward along the path of salvation.” The Pope said, “God is close to each one of us with His love, in order to lead us by the hand to salvation.”

“And we, in prayer, ask that God’s seeking might come to a good end, that His universal plan of salvation should be accomplished,” Pope Francis continued, “first, in each one of us, and then in the whole world.”

God’s desire for the salvation of human beings, and of the whole world, means that our prayer that His will be done does not mean “bowing our heads,” like slaves, to an unalterable fate. On the contrary, “God wants us to be free,” the Pope said. “It is His love that frees us.”

“Thy will be done,” he said, is “a courageous, even combative prayer” precisely because there is so much evil in the world, which is not according to God’s [antecedent] will.

The Our Father, Francis continued, “is a prayer that kindles in us the same love [that] Jesus has for the will of the Father, a flame that impels one to transform the world with love.” There is nothing of random chance in the faith of Christians, the Pope explained: “Rather, there is a salvation that waits to manifest itself in the life of each man and woman, and to be fully accomplished in eternity.” If we prayer, he said, “it is because we believe that God is able and desires to transform reality, overcoming evil with good.”

Pope Francis pointed to the example of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when the Lord prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; but not my will, but yours, be done!” Although He is “crushed” by the weight of evil in the world, Jesus “confidently abandons Himself to the ocean of love of the will of the Father.”

In His love, God will never abandon us, the Pope insisted: “He will always be with us, beside us, within us. For a believer, more than a hope, this is a certainty.”

Concluding his catechesis, Pope Francis invited all those present in the Square to pray together the Our Father, each in their own language.


Pope Francis is urging prayers and support for the many victims of Cyclone Idai, which has caused widespread destruction and flooding in the southeast African nations of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.
By Devin Watkins

“In recent days, great floods have sowed mourning and devastation in various areas of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. I express my pain and closeness to those dear people.”

With these heartfelt words, Pope Francis expressed his condolences for the families of the more than 350 people killed by Cyclone Idai, as well as his solidarity with the millions of people affected. The powerful storm made landfall on the coast of Mozambique last Thursday before spreading death and destruction halfway across southeast Africa.

Pope Francis made the appeal at the Wednesday general audience held in St. Peter’s Square.

“I entrust the many victims and their families to the mercy of God, and I implore comfort and support for those affected by this calamity,” he said.

Hundreds dead in Mozambique
Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique’s port city of Beira with winds of up to 170 kph on Thursday last week. Drone footage taken by the Red Cross showed the devastation wreaked upon one area, with empty plots seen where winds had blown entire buildings from their foundations.

Mozambique started three days of national mourning on Wednesday for the victims, who currently number in excess of 200. President Filipe Nyusi says the death toll may reach 1,000 as rescuers continue to recover bodies and hundreds remain missing.

Officials say the full extent of the damage will only emerge when floodwaters recede, and forecasters predict persistent rains through Thursday.

Zimbabwe mourns
In neighboring Zimbabwe, the remnants of Cyclone Idai also caused massive flooding, killing at least 98 people. The number of victims may rise to around 300, say officials.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited the hard-hit mountain community of Chimanimani. The bodies of some flood victims may have been swept down the mountainside into nearby Mozambique.

A local resident took a video at Chimanimani’s Catholic Church, where funeral services were held and women wailed in mourning. “Lots of people suffering. People didn’t stand a chance here,” he said.

Unknown destruction in Malawi
Malawi has yet to release details of any casualties from the storm. But the UN’s World Food Programme said Tuesday that projections from satellite images indicate that Cyclone Idai affected some 920,000 people in Malawi. More than 1.7 million were in its direct path in Mozambique.

The United Nations has directed $20 million from its emergency response fund to help people suffering in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.


It has been said that the ways of the Lord are mysterious and I think today we can say the ways of the Church are also mysterious. Pope Francis, at 10 am yesterday, met with French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon who was found guilty by a French court of covering up sex abuse accusations against a French priest. The cardinal had announced he would come to Rome to offer the Pope his resignation.

He offered that resignation yesterday morning. This afternoon, at 2:30 pm local time, the Holy See finally let us know what happened 28 hours earlier.


Today, March 19 is the solemnity of St. Joseph and a Vatican holiday. In Italy, this beautiful feast is Father’s Day!

And today is also the onomastico or name day of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. Auguri, Santo Padre! Check out this panorama of photos of Pope Benedict:



Responding to journalists’ questions, the interim director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, stated the following today about yesterday’s meeting between Pope Francis and Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France:

“I can confirm that the Holy Father did not accept the resignation presented by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon. Aware, however, of the difficulties the archdiocese is experiencing at this time, the Holy Father left Cardinal Barbarin free to make the best decision for the diocese, and Cardinal Barbarin has decided to retire for a period of time and has asked Fr. Yves Baumgarten, vicar general, to assume the leadership of the diocese.

“The Holy See is keen to reiterate its closeness to the victims of abuse, to the faithful of the archdiocese of Lyon and of the whole Church of France who are experiencing a particularly painful time.”


Rome’s Bambin Gesu – Child Jesus – pediatric hospital celebrated its 150 years with a big ceremony this morning in the presence of Italian president Sergio Mattarella and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, to name but a few of the dignitaries present.

Bambin Gesu is on Janiculum Hill, about a 10-minute walk from St. Peter’s Square and Vatican City State. According to its website – which boasts “Welcome to a hospital
 unlike any other” – Bambin Gesu is the largest pediatric hospital and research center in Europe, with a staff of almost 3,300 including physicians, researchers, nurses, clinical technicians and office staff.

Bambin Gesu was founded in 1869 by the Salviati family – a family aware of the needs of less fortunate children – and began quite simply as a room with four beds.

Today, this sprawling complex provides over 1.9 million healthcare services each year to children and adolescents from all over the world. Known as the hospital for children and the hospital of the Pope, its slogan is “You think about your child, we’ll think about everything else.” The hospital is owned by the Holy See.

The website also explains that “The moral principles and ethical values of the Catholic faith that inspired its creation ensure its continuing development.”

You might remember that in July 2017 Bambin Gesu hospital offered to receive British infant Charlie Gard when the English hospital where he was a patient decided to suspend the child’s treatment for mitochondrial depletion syndrome.

At the time, according to ANSA news, Mariella Enoc, president of Rome’s Bambino Gesù children’s hospital, said that Charlie Gard’s therapy would not have been suspended if he had been at the Vatican-owned structure. “I don’t know why the English hospital decided to suspend the child’s treatments,” Enoc told a news conference. “I know that here with us this would not have happened… I don’t know if it would have been possible to save Charlie, but I do know that lots of time was wasted in legal debates that served for nothing.”
The hospital had offered to help Gard’s mother Connie Yates and her husband Chris Gard after Pope Francis said treatment should be provided “until the end.”



Pope Francis this morning at 10 received Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, found guilty by a French court of covering up sex abuse accusations against a French priest. The cardinal was expected to offer his resignation to the Holy Father but no news has come out from the Vatican as I write (5 pm Rome time). The court had sentenced the cardinal to a six-month suspended prison sentence.


Many people wrote to me via email and Facebook in recent weeks, asking me to find a way to pass on their prayers, support and encouragement to Cardinal Pell, currently in prison in Melbourne. I did send an email message containing those sentiments and know that the person I wrote to delivered those messages to the cardinal.

There is now a street address. For those interested in sending a letter to Cardinal Pell, you may write him here:

Cardinal George Pell
Melbourne Assessment Prison
317-353 Spencer Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003


It was a memorable day Sunday, March 17 for the American, Irish and English-speaking Catholic community in Rome as we celebrated St. Patrick at the American parish of of the same name. It was almost standing room only at the 10:30 Mass celebrated by Bishop Brian Farrell of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The Irish ambassador to Italy, Irish ambassador to the Holy See and U.S. ambassador to the Holy See were present as was the wonderful Voci Ladies Choir of Waterford, Ireland. Several dozen priests concelebrated and there were seminarians from the Irish College who brought shamrocks – blessed at the start of Mass – for everyone! The color green definitely dominated among the worshippers!

I was a lector and also read the Prayers of the Faithful and did not busy myself taking photos but you can find some here (FYI, the scarves of the choir were an emerald green, even though they seem blue in the photos):

Our website is:


US Cardinal DiNardo was taken to a hospital in Houston, Texas on Friday night after experiencing the symptoms of what tests on Saturday confirmed was a mild stroke.

According to a statement by the Archdiocese, “the Cardinal is resting comfortably and conversing with associates, doctors and nurses. It is expected that Cardinal DiNardo will remain hospitalized for a few more days of testing and observation, followed by a transfer to another facility for rehabilitation. He is grateful to the doctors and nurses for their wonderful care and for continued prayers during his recovery. Cardinal DiNardo said, “With so much to do, I am looking forward to getting back to work as soon as possible.”

Cardinal DiNardo was recently in Rome attending the “Protection of Minors in the Church” meeting in the Vatican as head of the USCCB. The Cardinal was also a delegate at the month long Synod on young people in October last year.