POPE AT CANONIZATION MASS: NEW SAINTS “KINDLY LIGHTS” IN THE GLOOM OF THE WORLD

Better late than never! Some day I will publish a moment-by- moment account of participation in or covering a major event in the Vatican such as a synod or yesterday’s Mass in St. Peter’s Square with a canonization ceremony. If you’d been by my side yesterday (I had a privileged seat in an area to the right of but on the same level as the papal altar!), from early morning to late night, and then again, this morning and afternoon, you’d understand perhaps just a bit the delay in publishing the news and photos of the canonization.

And sometimes I simply like to enjoy a Sunday and participate in a papal Mass as a member of the faithful, not the media (leaving that to other colleagues).

In any case, here’s part of the papal homily yesterday as well as some photos I took from my wonderful seat.

POPE AT CANONIZATION MASS: NEW SAINTS “KINDLY LIGHTS” IN THE GLOOM OF THE WORLD

Pope Francis presided over the canonizations of Cardinal John Henry Newman, Sister Marian Thresia, Sister Giuseppina Vannini, Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes, and Marguerite Bays on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square. In his homily, the Pope reflected on the Gospel account of the lepers, and on the verbs “to cry out, to walk, to give thanks”.

And he spoke on the new saints
Noting that three of the new saints canonized this Sunday were religious women, the Pope said they show us that “the consecrated life is a journey of love to the existential peripheries”. Laywoman Marguerite Bays, on the other hand, “speaks to us of the power of simple prayer, enduring patience and silent self-giving.

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Pope Francis concluded his homily by quoting Saint John Henry Newman, who described the holiness of daily life in these words: “The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world sees not… The Christian is cheerful, easy, kind, gentle, courteous, candid, unassuming; has no pretence… with so little that is unusual or striking in his bearing, that he may easily be taken at first sight for an ordinary man.”

Let us ask God to be like that, said Pope Francis: “Kindly lights” amid the encircling gloom.

To read the rest of the Pope’s homily and his words in the Gospel story of the 10 lepers whom Jesus cured but only one returned to thank him, click here: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-10/pope-canonization-mass-st-peters-newman.html

GENDARME COMMANDER INTERVIEWED BY VATICAN MEDIA

GENDARME COMMANDER INTERVIEWED BY VATICAN MEDIA

Following is my English translation of the interview that Vatican Gendarme Commander Domenico Giani gave to Vatican media that was sent to media outlets today:

Giani: Gratitude for having been able to serve the Pope with honor until the end

The Commander of the Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani, in talking to Vatican media, emphasizes his gratitude to the Pope for the service he has been able to perform in the Vatican in recent years

By Alessandro Gisotti, Deputy Editorial Director of the Communication Department

A delicate moment of great personal trial, but lived inwardly with serenity, encouraged by the trust and support of the Holy Father, his family and the many collaborators and people who in various ways in these years have known him and appreciated his human and professional qualities. Domenico Giani, Commander of the Gendarmerie Corps, in an interview with the Vatican media, talks about the feelings with which he leaves the service, and underlines his gratitude to the Pope who recognized his honor, loyalty and fidelity in his daily work.

After 20 years of service to the Pope and the Holy See as head of the Gendarme Corps, you leave it at a delicate moment and certainly one that is not easy for you. What are your feelings as you live this moment?

I’m living this difficult moment with the inner serenity that those who know me know has marked my lifestyle, even in the face of painful events. I have dedicated 38 years of my life to institutions, first in Italy, and then for 20 years in the Vatican to the Roman Pontiff. In these years I have spent all my energy to ensuring the service entrusted to me. I tried to do it with self-denial and professionalism, but with the feeling, as the Gospel two weeks ago reminded us, of being a serene “useless servant” who did his small part up to the end.

In the press release issued by the press office, it was underlined that you resigned while not having “any subjective responsibility” in the affair …

The recent events caused serious pain for the Holy Father and this deeply affected me. Fifteen days have passed since the publication of the document that was forwarded for internal use exclusively by the Gendarmes and the Swiss Guards. As indicated in the October 1 press release, an investigation is underway and the persons involved have been reached by an administrative provision. The release of this document, published by some media outlets, has certainly trampled on the dignity of these people. I too, as Commander, felt ashamed at what happened and at the suffering caused to these people. For this reason, having always said and testified to being ready to sacrifice my life to defend that of the Pope, with this same spirit I made the decision to resign so as not to damage the image and activity of the Holy Father in any way. And this, assuming that “objective responsibility” that only a commander can feel.

The Pope stressed that both the resignation and the service performed in these years “do honor to your person”. How important is this for you?

During the talks I had with the Holy Father these days, I always felt the paternity that marked the special relationship I had with him, since the beginning of the Pontificate, and I think I can say that this was visible to everyone. In these meetings, I have always felt the human suffering of the Holy Father in a shared decision. The Pope, however, also knew some personal hardships that I had been carrying for months and my desire to devote more time to my family, my wife and my children. I am therefore deeply grateful to the Holy Father because his attesting to my loyalty, honor and fidelity with which I carried out my service helps me to face the future and the new commitments that I’ll be able to take on within the framework of my skills with serenity after this extraordinary experience.

In 20 years the Gendarmerie has served three Popes. For the media, this corps is the Pope’s “guardian angel” for its role in protecting the person of the Holy Father. What does this unique experience bring you personally?

I’ve had the honor of serving three Popes. First of all, I remember with great emotion Saint John Paul II who called me to serve in the Vatican and whom I accompanied up to the end of his life. I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy the esteem and affection of Benedict XVI at whose side I’ve faced very delicate questions but always receiving his appreciation and his trust. The pontificate of Pope Francis, because of his style marked by proximity to people and spontaneity in gestures, was a further great challenge with significant and particular moments: I especially remember his pilgrimage to Lampedusa, the apostolic journey to Brazil for the WYD and that taken to the Central African Republic. If I close my eyes, endless scenes of the almost 70 international apostolic journeys I have followed, of countless pastoral visits to Rome and Italy, and of so many private moments with three Pontiffs, pass before me. Alongside this, I like to recall that, under my command, the Gendarmerie has developed a whole series of charitable activities and service to the least of our brothers as the Gospel asks us.

What message do you leave to your men, to the Gendarme Corps, that you led in these difficult years?

On the occasion of the last celebration of the Gendarme Corps, I focused on some qualities that should distinguish our men: discipline, obedience, fraternity, charity and humanity. To this I wish to add unity in fidelity, despite some physiological situations that have caused me understandable sorrows. The Corps, as I also emphasized to the Holy Father these days, is healthy and well prepared. I have always tried, together with my collaborators, to train people who could be good gendarmes and, with the precious help of chaplains, even good Christians. I am sure that the person who succeeds me in this delicate task will find fertile ground, the same that that I received from the late Commander Cibin to whom I dedicate a deferential memory. One last thought, filled with my gratitude and my love, goes to my wife Chiara and my children Luca and Laura. They supported a life filled with satisfactions but also of great sacrifices and denials. Despite the current moment of uncertainty, even the personal moment that I am experiencing, I know that Providence, to which I always refer, will show us the way that certainly is that of the Lord.

VATICAN GENDARME COMMANDER RESIGNS POST

I tweeted yesterday about the rumor of Gendarme Commander Giani’s resignation – a rumor that had surfaced a day earlier and has been surrounded by an aura of mystery. The Vatican issued a communiqué today in Italian, English and Spanish on the resignation of Commander Giani. They also issued an interview with him by Vatican media. That is in Italian and I will translate it asap and post it. By the way, Giani also heads the Vatican’s fire department.

I have known Commander Giani for all of his years at the Vatican and wish him only the very best in life, in fact, better than the best, due a man of great honesty and integrity.

VATICAN GENDARME COMMANDER RESIGNS POST

October 14, 2019: Communique from Holy See Press office

On 2nd October some media outlets published a confidential order, signed by the Commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani, concerning the consequences of certain administrative limitations imposed upon Holy See staff members. This publication was prejudicial to the dignity of the people involved and to the image of the Gendarmerie. In order to assure the proper serenity to the ongoing investigation, coordinated by the Promoter of Justice and carried out by the Gendarmerie, since the perpetrator of the external circulation of the order – reserved to the staff of the Gendarmerie and of the Pontifical Swiss Guard – remains unknown, and although the Commander bears no personal responsibility in the unfolding of the events, Domenico Giani has tendered his resignation to the Holy Father out of love for the Church and faithfulness to Peter’s Successor. In receiving his resignation, the Holy Father conversed at length with Domenico Giani and expressed his appreciation to the Commander for his gesture, an expression of freedom and institutional sensitivity, which honours Commander Giani and the work he has carried out with humility and discretion in the service of the Petrine Ministry and the Holy See. Pope Francis also recalled Domenico Giani’s twenty years of unquestionable faithfulness and loyalty and underlined how, by offering an outstanding witness in many parts of the world, Commander Giani was able to establish and guarantee a lasting atmosphere of ease and security around the Holy Father. In his farewell to Domenico Giani, the Holy Father also thanked him for the extreme competence shown in the performance of his many sensitive tasks, also at international level, and for the undisputed professionalism he has brought to the Vatican Gendarmerie.