Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said in a statement this morning that, “a further confirmation of positivity to Covid-19 among the employees of the Holy See arrived today. He is a person who has had symptoms since the first half of March and was therefore in solitary confinement at home. Before returning to work as a precaution, the employee was tested and tested positive for the disease. He is now again in quarantine at his home.”

Click here to access this week’s English language edition of L’Osservatore Romano:


A statement released by the Holy See Press Office on Thursday said, in part, “The proceeding relative to the alleged entombment of Emanuela Orlandi’s remains in the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery has been closed by the Single Judge of Vatican City State who had received the request from the Office of the Promoter of Justice.”

The statement also included information regarding the human remains found in the ossuaries adjacent to the two tombs that were opened in July 2019 that revealed they dated further back in time before Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance. Emanuela was the daughter of a Holy See employee whose family lived in Vatican City. She never returned home from a music lesson on June 22, 1983, and no indication of her whereabouts, alive or dead, has ever been found.

The statement concluded: “The order filed allows the Orlandi family to proceed privately with any further investigations on the same fragments already found, which are kept sealed in containers in the offices of the Vatican Gendarmerie.”


I was once asked in the Q&A portion of my EWTN weekend radio show, Vatican Insider, “Why do Popes wear white?”

I knew that for the first centuries, there was no set “institutional” wear for Popes but did not know when or why wearing white became the tradition so I did some research and the answer is related to today’s saint, St. Pius V!

You see, Pius V was the first Dominican ever to be elected to the papacy and he said that, since the day he first wore the white Dominican habit, he had never worn anything else and, as Pope, would continue to wear it. At first there was consternation but then people realized the Pope would be a standout among prelates and easier for the faithful to see in crowds!

Born Antonio Ghislieri in January 1504, he took the name Michele Ghislieri when he became a Dominican. He was elected to the papacy on January 8, 1566 and took the name Pius V. As Pope he was also ruler of the Papal States until his death on May 1, 1572. Buried in St. Mary Major, he was beatified by Clement X in 1672, and canonized by Clement XI in 1712.

Here’s a great rosary story linked to Pius V courtesy of CNA:

“(Pius) worked hard to unite the Christian armies against the Turks, and perhaps the most famous success of his papacy was the miraculous victory of the Christian fleet in the battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. The island of Malta was attacked by the Turkish fleet and nearly every man defending the fortress was killed in battle. The Pope sent out a fleet to meet the enemy, requesting that each man on board pray the Rosary and receive communion. Meanwhile, he called on all of Europe to recite the Rosary and ordered a 40-hour devotion in Rome during which time the battle took place. The Christian fleet, vastly outnumbered by the Turks, inflicted an impossible defeat on the Turkish navy, demolishing the entire fleet.

“In memory of the triumph, he declared the day the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary because of her intercession in answering the mass recitation of the Rosary and obtaining the victory. He has also been called ‘the Pope of the Rosary’ for this reason.”

I subscribe to Franciscan Media for their Saint of the Day emails that arrive with both a print and audio story. Click here for a brief story of Pius VI:

For CNA story:

(And just a reminder, speaking of the rosary: Tomorrow, May 1, Pope Francis has asked us, if we do not do so already, to pray the rosary daily, be it alone or with family members. In addition, tomorrow May 1, the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to renew the consecration of the two nations to the care of our Blessed Mother. The re-consecration will take place at 12 noon, California time (3 p.m. ET) ive from Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles with Archbishop Jose Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, celebrating.



Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said in a statement today that, “In consideration of the current health emergency situation, the Holy Father has established that, for this year 2020 the Peter’s Pence collection, which traditionally takes place around the June 29th solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, be transferred worldwide to the 27th Sunday of ordinary time, that is, October 4, the day dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi.” 


The Holy See Press Office this afternoon released Pope Francis’ telegram for the death this morning of the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, His Eminent Highness Frà Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto. The message was sent to the ad interim Lieutenant of the Order, Fra’ Ruy Gonçalo Do Valle Peixoto de Villas Boas. (photo: EWTN Daniel Ibanez)

Pope Francis expressed his condolences to the entire Order of Malta for the death of “such a zealous man of culture and faith. I remember his faithful allegiance to Christ and the Gospel, combined with the generous commitment to exercise his office for the good of the Church with a spirit of service, as well as his dedication to those who suffer the most. As I share your pain, I pray for the respèose of his soul and invoke eternal peace for his soul with divine goodness.” 

Vatican news posted this story earlier today:


Once again, Pope Francis presided at the weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace, accompanied by monsignors from the Secretariat of State who translate his weekly catechesis into summaries in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Polish.

“Today,” noted Francis, “we conclude our catechesis on the Beatitudes with the final Beatitude: ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’.”

The Pope explained that, “all the attitudes contained in the Beatitudes, when lived for Christ, can lead to oppression by the world; yet ultimately this persecution is a cause of joy in heaven. The way of the Beatitudes is an Easter path, leading us from selfishness to a life guided by the Spirit. We see this in the saints who show that the experience of persecution can set the Christian free from worldly compromise.”

The Holy Father went on to say that, “Tragically, today many of our brothers and sisters still face persecution, and we express our closeness to them. May we too always remain ‘salt of the earth’, lest by losing the ‘taste’ of the Gospel we lead others to disdain it.”

“By God’s grace,” concluded Pope Francis, “whatever trials we do face can draw us to become more like Christ, who leads us to new life. In this manner, following the humble way of the Beatitudes, we will come to experience the kingdom of heaven: our greatest joy and happiness.”

In greeting to the Italian-speaking faithful, Francis said, “Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, co-patron of Italy. This great figure of a woman drew from communion with Jesus the courage of action and that inexhaustible hope that supported her in the most difficult hours, even when everything seemed lost, and allowed her to influence others, even at the highest civil and ecclesiastical levels, with the strength of his faith. May her example help each one to know how to unite, with Christian coherence, an intense love of the Church with an effective concern for the civil community, especially in this time of trial. I ask Saint Catherine to protect Italy during this pandemic; and to protect Europe, because she is the patron saint of Europe so that it remains united.

Catherine of Siena was born March 25, 1347 in Siena, Tuscany, and died April 29, 1380 in Rome. She was canonized in 1461. On April 13, 1866, Pope Pius IX declared Catherine a co-patroness of Rome. On June 18, 1939 Pope Pius XII named her a co-patron saint of Italy along with Saint Francis of Assisi. She was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970 and a patron sai
nt of Europe in 1999.


On another subject for just a moment: Would you like to attend a May Crowning this Sunday? Virtual, of course! Here’s the site:


As you will read below in a report from Wanted in Rome online magazine, Phase Two of the Italian government’s coronavirus plan is about to start on Monday May 4. As I wrote yesterday, there was a ton of pushback after the Prime Minister spoke Sunday night about this phase as it does not resemble what people had been hearing would happen and what they had been planning for, whether it was for the re-opening of restaurants, hair salons, updating of transportation systems, etc.

Several large unions linked, for example, to the hospitality industry and to restaurants and bars, have complained that these businesses have been planning for weeks to reopen, re-arranging table positions and numbers of tables, to sanitizing locales to having plastic menus printed that could be sanitized, etc. Now their opening dates has been pushed back by several weeks – a huge loss in income and yet expenses that continue – rent, the cost of business licenses, etc. If staff has to be reduced that means employees will have to apply for unemployment compensation and that could cost the government more than it would to help businesses financially or to let them finally open and operate.

For hairdressers and barbers, it seems only one client can be allowed in the salon at a time. That might be OK for a 30-minute hair trim and blow dry but not for a lengthy procedure that might require two hours. And gloves and masks for everyone! Can’t wait to have a shampoo and hair trim and see how that works with a mask!

Those issues are just the tip of the iceberg.

One of the biggest problems was that churches were not included in Sunday’s Phase 2 list of openings except for wording such as “a date to be determined.” That did not go well with the Italian Episcopal conference and other religious leaders in Italy, and it seems the government has backtracked and we are now looking at a possible date of May 10 for Masses open to the public – with a thousand restrictions, of course. In fact, the government indicated it favored Masses outdoors! Like where outdoors?   Most churches have only the sidewalk leading to the church steps as an “outdoor” area.

There is Article 2 of the 1984 Church State Concordat: “The Italian Republic recognizes the Catholic Church’s full freedom to carry out its pastoral, educational and charitable th. The Church is guaranteed freedom of organization, public exercise of worship, exercise of the magisterium and spiritual ministry as well as jurisdiction in ecclesiastical matters.”

Relative to that, we have this comment:

And relative to Phase 2 of Italy’s coronavirus plan, there is this:


(Wanted in Rome) Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has unveiled details of Italy’s Phase Two plan in the coronavirus emergency, outlining the gradual loosening of the restrictions in place since the country went into lockdown on 10 March.

The current period of quarantine and restrictive measures expires on 3 May, with Phase Two – “co-existing with the virus” – beginning cautiously on 4 May, with social distancing to remain in place.

Conte thanked Italians for their sacrifice, strength, courage and sense of responsibility in a live address broadcast on the evening of 26 April. However he warned of the risk that the coronavirus curve could rise again, stating that it was fundamental for the public to maintain social distancing measures.

“If you love Italy keep your distance,” said Conte who added that the price of protective face masks would be reduced and fixed at 50 cent.

From 4 May people will be allowed to move around within the region in which they live, with greater freedom for outdoor excerise and the chance to visit family members, all while maintaining social distancing.

However the ban on travel between different regions of Italy remains in place, except for proven reasons of work, health or emergencies.

Gatherings of any kind, private or public, will remain strictly banned. Public parks, gardens and villas can reopen from 4 May but mayors will have the power to close them if necessary.

People can go walking and jogging away from their home so long as they practice social distancing: two metres apart for joggers, one metre for walkers.


Factories and building sites can reopen from 4 May however public construction projects can get back to work from 27 April, as can manufacturing and wholesale trade related to exports.


The commercial sector including clothes shops will reopen on 18 May, with strict rules on social distancing.


Museums, galleries, libraries and places of culture are to reopen on 18 May.


From 4 May restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate a take-away service – in addition to home delivery which is already permitted. However Conte warned that this didn’t mean people could gather or eat outside the premises.

The government has identified 1 June as the date when bars and restaurants can reopen.


Barbers, hairdressers and beauty salons can reopen on 1 June.


Protective face masks will be mandatory for commuters on public transport, with restricted numbers on buses and trains especially during rush hour.


Professional athletes including Serie A footballers can resume individual training on 4 May, with group training to begin again on 18 May.


From 4 May funerals can be attended by a maximum of 15 mourners, while respecting social distancing measures and wearing protective masks.


Conte confirmed that Italy’s schools will reopen in September, as he outlined in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica earlier the same day.

 Read also:


The news comes the same day as Italy registered its fewest coronavirus-related deaths since the early days of the lockdown, reporting 260 fatalities over the last 24 hours – compared to 415 the day before. (


I am so happy to hear the news about the John Paul I Vatican Foundation. I was in Rome when he was elected and for the Mass starting his far too brief pontificate. I was in Cairo, Egypt when he died and for the election of his successor, John Paul II.   I’ve previously told that story on these pages – days and week that were unforgettable in a thousand ways!

If you want to read something totally delightful, get Albino Luciani’s “Illustrissimi,” a collection of 40 letters written over several years to people, historic and fictional, including Pinocchio, Jesus Christ, Charles Dickens, Maria Theresa of Austria, Mark Twain, G.K. Chesteron and King David

Cardinal Pietro Parolin has written a piece about John Paul I and I include that in today’s news. I especially imagine it will be relevant for those of you who may not have known John Paul I, his character and personality and his pontificate.

By the way, at his morning Mass today, Pope Francis prayed that people will prudently adhere to measures put in place for the easing of the quarantine so that the Covid-19 pandemic does not return.

I write about Italy’s Phase Two plan in a separate post.


Statement by Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni: In recent days, another employee was found to be positive with Covid-19. The person had presented symptoms in March and remained in solitary confinement, continuing to work remotely. Having no symptoms, the employee is now in quarantine and the necessary health measures for the workplace have been taken as a precaution and checks have been carried out among colleagues, with negative results.


The Vatican today published a rescript by Pope Francis, made following a February 10 audience with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, that established the institution of the John Paul I Vatican Foundation. It will have a juridic personality in both civil and canon law and an office within the Secretariat of State. The Foundation was officially established on February 17.

Born Albino Luciani in northern Italy, John Paul I was the archbishop of Venice when elected to the papacy on August 26, 1978, following the death of his predecessor, Pope Paul VI. Known as the “smiling pope,” Luciani was the first Pope in history to have a double name, selecting the names of his two predecessors John XXIII and Paul VI. He died on September 28 after a pontificate of only 33 days.

During his pontificate he was known as Pope John Paul. He became John Paul I when a second John Paul was elected on October 16, 1978.

According to a Holy See communiqué, “The purpose of the Foundation is to enhance and spread the knowledge of the thought, works and example of Pope John Paul I.” It will “protect and preserve the cultural and religious heritage left by Pope John Paul I; promote initiatives such as conferences, meetings, seminars, and study sessions; establish awards and scholarships; take care of the publishing activity by publishing both the results of its own studies and research, and works by third parties; propose itself as a reference point, in Italy and abroad, for those operating in the same area and with the same purposes (Articles of Association, art. 2).” Cardinal Parolin was named president of the John Paul I Vatican Foundation. Members include Dr. Lina Petri, a retired Holy See Press Office employee and niece of John Paul I.


Pope Francis establishes a John Paul I Vatican Foundation presided over by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State.

By Cardinal Pietro Parolin

The Holy Father established the Vatican John Paul I Foundation on 17 February. This was done in response to the proposal made to create a body destined to deepen the person, thoughts and teachings of John Paul I (26 August 1978 – 28 September 1978) .

Pope John Paul I was, and remains, a point of reference in the history of the universal Church. His importance, as Saint John Paul II had pointed out, is inversely proportional to the length of his very short pontificate: “magis ostentus quam datus.

The story of Albino Luciani is one of a pastor who is close to his people, centered on the essentials of faith and with an extraordinary social sensitivity. His magisterium is contemporary: proximity, humility, simplicity, insistence on God’s mercy, love of one’s neighbour and solidarity are the salient features.

He was a bishop who lived and applied the experience of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. In his brief pontificate, he led the Church along the magisterial paths indicated by this Council: going back to the sources of the Gospel and a renewed missionary spirit, episcopal collegiality, service in ecclesial poverty, the search for Christian unity, interreligious dialogue, dialogue with the modern world and international dialogue, all conducted with perseverance and determination, in favour of justice and peace.

I think, for example, of his general audiences and his persistence on ecclesial poverty, universal brotherhood and active love for the poor. Along with the traditional precepts of the Church, he wanted to include a precept on works of solidarity, which he had proposed to the Italian bishops.

I am thinking also of the appeal he made during his Angelus of 10 September 1978 in which he asked for peace in the Middle East and addressed his prayer invitation to Presidents of different faiths. He had already made this appeal in his speech to the Diplomatic Corps on 31 August, during which he freed himself from presumptions of geopolitical protagonism and defined the nature and peculiarity of the diplomatic action of the Holy See from a viewpoint of faith.

Receiving then the more than one hundred representatives of the international missions present at the inauguration of his pontificate, he stressed how “our heart is open to all peoples, all cultures and all races.” He then affirmed: “We certainly do not have miraculous solutions to the world’s great problems, but we can nevertheless give something very precious: a spirit that helps to solve these problems and places them in the essential dimension, that of openness to the values of universal charity… so that the Church, humble messenger of the Gospel to all the peoples of the earth, can contribute to creating a climate of justice, brotherhood, solidarity and hope without which the world cannot live”.

And so, following in the footsteps of the Council’s Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, and in so many messages of Saint Paul VI, he acted in the wake of the great diplomacy that has given so many fruits to the Church, by nourishing Her with charity.

This history of the Church, dedicated to serving the world, was not interrupted with his sudden death. The perspective marked by his brief pontificate was not a side note. Although John Paul I’s governance of the Church could not unfold in time, he helped – explevit tempora multa – to strengthen the design of a Church that is close to the pain of the people and their thirst for charity.

Through John Paul I’s cause for canonisation, numerous sources have been accumulated today, beginning an important work of research and elaboration from a historical and historiographical perspective. It is now possible, therefore, to bequeath the memory of Pope Luciani, so that its historical value can be fully restored within the historical period. It can now be examined with the analytical rigor that is due to him and may open up new perspectives of study on his work.

In this regard, the establishment of a new ad hoc Foundation can rightfully fulfil the task not only of protecting the entire patrimony of the writings and works of John Paul I, but also of encouraging the systematic study and diffusion of his thought and spirituality – all the more motivated by the consideration of how his person and his message are extraordinarily relevant.


Six years ago today, the world welcomed two new saints, Blessed Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. More than half a million people were in Rome for the canonization Mass, several hundred thousand of whom watched on large screens placed throughout Rome.

Two living Popes were present at the canonization of their two predecessors. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was present as Pope Francis presided at the canonization Mass in the presence of 90 official delegations, 24 heads of State, 150 cardinals and 1,000 bishops.

For me it was an extraordinary personal and professional experience, for a number of reasons. I resumed “Rome Dispatch,” a half-hour live television program that aired at 4 pm in Rome, and that was a great joy as I could talk about the 5 Popes in whose presence I have been and the 4 Popes whom I met and have spoken to – one of whom was being canonized, Blessed John Paul II. I attended a papal audience with John XXII but never met him personally, whereas I did meet Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.

Here’s a link to the Rome Dispatch edition I dedicated to the first Pope I ever saw, Angelo Roncalli, John XXIII. I bring you to his birthplace via a video I made with my iPad in Sotto il Monte as well as a video of my meeting with the then brand new Cardinal Loris Capovilla who for 10 years had been the private secretary to Roncalli, as archbishop of Venice and then as Pope:

I thank the Lord each and every day for the privileges and blessings He has bestowed on me!


Pope Francis writes a letter to street newspapers to expresses his solidarity with the volunteers and homeless people put to the test by the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Devin Watkins

In a letter sent on Monday to over 100 street papers around the world, Pope Francis acknowledged that the coronavirus outbreak has severely tested the people who rely on them for an income.

“I would like to acknowledge the world of street papers and especially the vendors – who for the most part are homeless, terribly marginalized, or unemployed: thousands of people across the world who live and have a job thanks to selling these extraordinary newspapers,” Pope Francis writes.

Giving voice to the marginalized
Street papers are publications produced to support those who write, edit and distribute them. These newspapers often seek to give the marginalized a voice in their community.

More than 100 street papers are published in 35 countries, in 25 different languages. They provide 20,500 people with employment and an income.

Pope Francis expressed appreciation for this mission, and warmly recalled a Caritas Italy project called Scarp de’ tennis (tennis shoes). The publication provides an income and “access to fundamental citizens’ rights” to over 130 people facing financial and social difficulties.

Paying a high price
Pope Francis also lamented that the Covid-19 pandemic has kept those who rely on street papers from working. He said the “most vulnerable, the invisible, and those without an abode are at risk of paying the highest price” from the coronavirus.

“I would like to express my solidarity with the journalists, the volunteers, and the people living thanks to these projects and those who these days are doing everything they can thanks to many innovative ideas,” he said.

The pandemic, said the Pope, has made their work difficult, “But I am sure that the great network of street papers will come back stronger than ever.”

Stories of hope
In conclusion, the Pope encouraged everyone to turn our attention to the poor during this unique moment. He said the poor can “help us all realize how much is actually happening to us and what our circumstances really are. Thank you for the work you do, for the information you provide, and for the stories of hope that you tell.”


Italy’s Bishops’ Conference voices concerns over certain aspects of the government’s plans for “phase 2”, saying the Church “cannot accept seeing the exercise of freedom of religion compromised”.

By Vatican News

The Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) responded shortly after the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, revealed “phase 2” of the response to the coronavirus crisis on Sunday evening.

In a note sent to the government, the bishops addressed the policies that would continue to restrict the Church’s ability to carry out its pastoral activity. The bishops of Italy made it clear that any move to compromise the “exercise of freedom of religion” is unacceptable.

Noting the important services the Church provides in Italy, the bishops write: “It should be clear to all that the commitment to serving the poor, [which is] so significant in this emergency, stems from a faith that must be nourished at its source, especially the sacramental life.”

Duties of the state and of the Church
In their message, the bishops indicate that they have been in negotiations with the government. As a result, CEI proposed “guidelines and protocols” for the transitional phase of the response to coronavirus, “in full compliance with all health regulations.”

Nonetheless, the note continues, the plan presented by Prime Minister Conte “arbitrarily excludes the possibility of celebrating Mass with the people.”

The bishops remind those responsible for the plan – the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (the prime minister’s office) and the Technical-Scientific Committee – “of the duty to distinguish between their responsibility – to give precise indications related to health matters – and that of the Church, which is called to organize the life of the Christian community, respecting the measures laid down, but in the fullness of their own autonomy.”

Resuming the Church’s pastoral activity
The bishops also take note of an earlier statement by the Minister of the Interior, who said that “new measures were being studied by the Government to allow the widest possible exercise of freedom of worship.” That statement came “after an ongoing and constructive discussion between the General Secretariat of the CEI, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Council Presidency itself,” the bishops say.

In the meantime, “the Church has painfully and with a sense of responsibility accepted the limitations imposed by the government in order to deal with the health crisis.”

In the dialogue with government offices, the note continues, the Bishops’ Conference has stressed, repeatedly and explicitly, that as soon as the measures taken to deal with the pandemic began to be lifted, “the Church would demand to be able to resume its pastoral activity.”

Government response
The Presidency of the Council (the administrative structure that supports the prime minister), acknowledged receipt of the bishops’ communication on Sunday night.

The statement from the administration “confirms what has already been announced” in the prime minister’s press conference, adding, “In the coming days we will already be studying a protocol that will allow the participation of the faithful in liturgical celebrations, in conditions of maximum security, as soon as possible.”



At the end of his letter encouraging the faithful to pray the rosary during the month of May, either alone or in a family setting, Pope Francis wrote: “I am also providing two prayers to Our Lady that you can recite at the end of the Rosary, and that I myself will pray in the month of May, in spiritual union with all of you. I include them with this letter so that they are available to everyone.”

That letter was signed “Rome, Saint John Lateran, 25 April 2020 Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist”

Here are those prayers:


O Mary, You shine continuously on our journey

as a sign of salvation and hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,

who, at the foot of the cross, was united with Jesus’ suffering,

and persevered in your faith.


“Protectress of the Roman people”,

you know our needs,

and we know that you will provide,

so that, as at Cana in Galilee,

joy and celebration may return after this time of trial.


Help us, Mother of Divine Love,

to conform ourselves to the will of the Father

and to do what Jesus tells us.

For he took upon himself our suffering,

and burdened himself with our sorrows

to bring us, through the cross,

to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.


We fly to your protection,

O Holy Mother of God;

Do not despise our petitions

in our necessities, but deliver us always

from every danger,

O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.


“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.

In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.

Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.

Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.

Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.


Following is a link for the weekly English edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano:

I know we are all still coping with some degree of lockdown and restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic but, notwithstanding everything, I’d like to wish you a lovely, happy and healthy weekend! Hopefully you can spend part of it listening to Vatican Insider!


Welcome to a new edition of Vatican Insider. After my report on the news highlights of the past week at the Vatican, stay tuned for the Q&A on the Paschal candle after which I bring you a very special story about the Via Lucis, the Way of Light, basically a post-Easter journey through 14 stations of light, the light that fills our life because of the Resurrection. This devotion is also known as Stations of the Resurrection, as it encourages the faithful to meditate on the Resurrection of Jesus and on his post-Resurrection appearances to the disciples and others.

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The Holy See Dicastery for Communications is making available a downloadable book entitled “Strong in the Face of Tribulation” that contains prayers, supplications and the Pope’s homilies as “a sure support in time of trial.”

By Eugenio Bonanata and Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ (vaticannews)

“A little help offered to all, so as to know how to discern and experience God’s closeness and tenderness in pain, in suffering, in solitude and in fear,” writes Andrea Tornielli, the editorial director of Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, presenting Strong in the Face of TribulationThe Church in Communion – a Sure Support in Time of Trial.

Edited by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication, the digital publication, contains a collection of prayers, intercessions and homilies to help sustain the Church’s sense of communion amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Strong in the Face of Tribulation is available for download free of charge on the website of the Vatican’s publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, in PDF format. It is currently available in English, Italian, Spanish and French.

The cover of the book carries an image of the Archangel Michael who “protects the Church against evil and supports us in this difficult trial, so that this evil may not prejudice our trust in the Father and the solidarity among us,” writes Tornielli. Rather, these trying times should become an “opportunity to look at what is truly essential for our lives and to share the love received from God among all,” especially with those who are most in need.

Prayers from the Church’s tradition
Strong in the Face of Tribulation contains three sections. In the first, prayers, rituals and supplications for difficult times inspired by Christian tradition can be found. It includes, blessings for the sick, prayers for liberation from evil, and other texts that originate from various ecclesial contexts and historical eras.

Pastoral indications
The second section is dedicated to the indications given by the Church on how people can continue to live out a sacramental life even though coronavirus precautionary measures do not permit their physical participation in them. It focuses on elements that foster spiritual communion with the Church, and how to obtain forgiveness from sin despite the impossibility of receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Pope’s words
The final part is a collection of Pope Francis’s words to the ecclesial community in these times of trial. It contains all of his homilies from Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, and the texts of the Sunday Angelus discourses, beginning from 9 March.

The digital copy of the book will be updated several times a week in the light of new developments and the “rediscovery” of other treasures of the Church’s tradition. It can therefore be downloaded several times to keep abreast of new additions.

Click here to download Strong in the Face of Tribulation in English

Click here to download the Way of the Cross led by Pope Francis on Good Friday in St Peter’s Square, 2020




Today is the feast of St. George and Pope Francis’ name day as his birth name is Jorge – George. In Italy there are many people who celebrate their name day or onomastico in a bigger fashion than a birthday.

Tanti auguri, Jorge!


The Church today remembers Saint George the martyr, Pope Francis’ name day. To mark this occasion a number of ventilators will be delivered to Romania, Spain and Italy, countries particularly affected by the coronavirus epidemic. The delivery comes after an announcement on March 27 in response to the needs of several hospitals. Best wishes to the Pope are being received from all over the world.

By Benedetta Capelli and Adrian Dancă – vaticannews

Giving not receiving. This is the spirit that distinguishes today’s day, in which the Church remembers Saint George the martyr. This Saint died in 303, for not renouncing the faith during the anti-Christian persecutions unleashed by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Tradition remembers him in this episode in which, protected by the Cross, he slayed the dragon that devoured people: a symbol of faith that triumphs over evil.

The Pope’s name-day

This is therefore, the day in which Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s name day, Pope Francis, is celebrated. The Pontiff’s gift is the delivery of ventilators and medical equipment, masks, protective glasses for doctors and nurses, overalls for intensive care. A number of hospitals will be benefiting: one is in the city of Suceava, Romania, which has seen an outbreak of coronavirus, where 5 latest generation ventilators are expected; another 2 will go to a hospital in Lecce, Italy, and 3 to Madrid, Spain.

It is “a beautiful sign that falls on this particular day when the Holy Father does not receive a gift but gives it to others”, said Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner, speaking of the imminent delivery that he calls “an embrace of the Pope in a difficult situation for the whole world”.

Romania is experiencing a real emergency in the small town of Suceava where the ventilators will go.  There is almost 25% of the total contagion at national level. The town, together with several surrounding municipalities is in quarantine and is located in the poorest region of the country and the European Union.

In Romania there are more than 515 victims and almost 10 thousand infected. The ventilators and all the equipment donated by the Pope will be transported by a flight which will also carry a team of eleven Romanian doctors and six health workers, sent on 7 April by the government of Bucharest to a hospital in Lecce to work alongside Italy in its difficult battle against the coronavirus.

The three ventilators in Madrid will be taken care of by the Nunciature which, together with Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of the Spanish capital, who will bring them to the hospitals most in need. The Iberian country is in lockdown until 9 May. The number of those infected exceeds 208,000, the death toll stands at over 21,000 and almost 86,000 have been cured of the coronavirus.

Two ventilators destined for the hospital in Lecce will be delivered today by Cardinal Krajewski himself. On the journey back to the Vatican, the Papal Almoner will stop in Naples to receive medicine for the poor of Rome

A few days before Easter, two ventilators, medical devices for doctors and nurses and Easter eggs arrived directly from the Vatican at the Cotugno hospital in Naples. Last year, again on the day of his name day, Pope Francis donated Rosary wreaths made for WYD in Panama to young people in the archdiocese of Milan, and a 20 kg chocolate egg to the poor at the Caritas canteen at Termini Station in Rome.

 Best wishes to the Pope

At this time the Pope is receiving best wishes for his name day. In his message for Easter, the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella thanked Pope Francis for “the vibrant words of life and hope” repeatedly addressed by the Pope to the country and expressed in his best wishes for the Pope’s name day.


The Vatican has announced that the International Eucharistic Congress, set to take place in Budapest this fall, has been postponed to September 2021. (Vatican News)

Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni announced today in a written statement that the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress scheduled to take place in September 2020 will now take place in September 2021.

The decision was made “because of the current health situation and its consequences for the movement and aggregation of the faithful and pilgrims.”

In his statement, Bruni notes that the decision was taken by Pope Francis together with the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic[BR1]  Congresses and the Hungarian Episcopate.

What a Eucharistic Congress is

Eucharistic Congresses are designed to promote devotion to and belief in Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. In 1967, following the Second Vatican Council, the then Sacred Congregation of Rites wrote, “In Eucharistic Congresses Christians seek to understand this mystery more deeply through a consideration of its many aspects.” It emphasized the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, saying that during the Congresses, the faithful “should venerate [this mystery] through devotions and private prayers, especially by solemn processions, in such a way that all these forms of devotion find their climax in the solemn celebration of Mass”.

History of the Eucharistic Congress

The first Eucharistic Congress took place in France in 1881, during the pontificate of Leo XIII. Since that time, Congresses have been held throughout the world, in places as diverse as Jerusalem, Rome, Montreal, Sydney, Carthage (in Tunisia), Buenos Aires, and Manila. The most recent Eucharistic Congress was held in Cebu City in the Philippines in 2016 with Burmese Cardinal Charles Bo serving as the papal legate.

JFL: An international Eucharistic Congress was held in Chicago from June 20 to 24, 1926. My grandfather William H. Lewis was on the Layman’s Organizing Committee and received the yellow and white decoration with medal that you see here. Members also received the bronze medal you see from Pope Pius XI



Pope Francis dedicated the entire catechesis of today’s general audience to the April 22nd 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The press office published the original Italian-language text as well as the complete English translation. There were also summaries of the Earth Day catechesis in the usual languages of French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Polish.

Pope Francis began the audience that took place in the library of the Apostolic Palace by noting that, “Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. This is an opportunity for renewing our commitment to caring for our common home. We are called to cherish creation and all life within it, for the natural world is the ‘Gospel of Creation’, not a set of resources for us to exploit.”

He explained that, “To overcome our selfishness and rediscover a sacred respect for the earth, we need a new way of seeing – an ecological conversion – for the earth is also God’s home and we stand on holy ground. We can only be authentic custodians of the earth, and overcome the challenges before us – such as the coronavirus pandemic – by acting in solidarity with one another.”

The Holy Father, speaking of his May 2015 encyclical letter, said “As Laudato Si’ reminds us, we are one interdependent human family and so need a common response to the threats we face (cf. 164). In this Easter season of renewal, as we strive to love more deeply our common home and all our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need, let us implore our Heavenly Father: ‘Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth’.”



According to a story, Pope Francis and French President Macron engaged in a telephone conversation focussed on the European Union’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the need for debt reduction in poor countries. The Holy See Press Office has said nothing about this but French President Emmanuel Macron’s communications office published the news.

Vatican news reported that Pope Francis took the opportunity to express his closeness and support to France where Covid-19 has claimed more than 20,000 lives during a telephone conversation with the French President. The president’s office said Pope Francis and President Emmanuel Macron spoke for about 45 minutes on Tuesday afternoon. It also said the Pope positively acknowledged “the constructive responses taken by France at the international level after the health crisis caused by the pandemic.”


A Holy See Pfress Office communique today stated that, “This morning in the old Synod Hall, an extraordinary meeting took place chaired by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in the presence of the heads of the dicasteries and entities of the Holy See. The aim of the meeting was to reflect on a second phase of Covid19 emergency that will begin next May. The Holy See’s efforts to deal with the crisis in a sustainable way were underlined. In addition, the gradual reactivation of ordinary services was decided, while safeguarding the health precautions to limit contagion, so as to ensure service to the Holy Father and to the Universal Church.”


Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, speaks about the decision to postpone the World Meeting of Families and World Youth Day, and about the lessons we can learn during these difficult times.

By Vatican News

Cardinal Kevin Farrell said that the decision to postpone two major ecclesial events was made out of prudence, and concern for the safety of the millions of people who are expected to take part.

The Vatican on Monday announced that the World Meeting of Families (WMF), set to take place in Rome in June 2021; and the next World Youth Day (WYD), scheduled for August 2022 in Lisbon, would both be pushed back a year, to 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Prudence and safety
In an interview with Vatican News, Cardinal Farrell explained that the organizational, logistical, and economic aspects of planning such events were important factors in the decision to postpone the events. Normally, planning for major international events of this kind takes place a year or more in advance. In these times, the Cardinal explained, “it would be imprudent of us to make that decision now, because we do not know exactly what the situation of our world will be as this pandemic comes to an end”.

He also expressed sympathy for people making plans for their families. Both the WMF and WYD draw large crowds from all over the world. It would be unreasonable to make plans for one’s family so soon after a major epidemic. Safety concerns are important too, Cardinal Farrell said: “It’s just not prudent” to have very large gatherings of people “until we know they are going to be safe”.

What we can learn
Cardinal Farrell focused on the importance of families, especially during a period when so many people are “locked down”. The family, he said, “is the most essential aspect of our social life. It is the basis of all social life”.

With so many people living closely together because of necessary health restrictions, families are learning how to care for each other more than ever before, Cardinal Farrell said. It is precisely in family life, that we learn how to value others and to care for them. He said he prays that this might be “one of the aspects” of the coronavirus emergency “that will most affect us”.

“We are one family”
The Cardinal said he believes the world will become “a smaller place” because we are learning that our lives are all interconnected. The Covid-19 emergency has affected every corner of the world, “which shows that the human race, we are all one family”. He said he hopes that “the greatest lesson we would all learn in this experience is precisely that: We are one family”.




Has been a quiet day here – a day that should be filled with fun and celebrating Rome’s 2,773rd birthday! I posted this story on Facebook and tweeted it as well (

I think we need more days not filled with bad news and dreaded statistics so it’s Joan’s Rome Lite today, as you will see!


You gotta love it! I saw this story and photo in Italian papers and had to share it.

Sport with “social distancing”: two athletes from the Tennis Club of Finale Ligure (Savona), Vittoria Oliveri, 13 and Carola Pessina, 11 played tennis, challenging each other from the roof of their respective buildings and filming their volleys. They then sent the video to their coach, Dionisio Poggi, who posted it on social media. The video of the training on the roof has been re-shared almost 15 thousand times and has collected over 32 thousand “likes,” The girls said it all depends on their desire to return as soon as possible to training.


Not sure if I have previously posted this from Aleteia but I know that every so often we all need to laugh so hard we cry! Here you go!