“AUTHENTIC PRAYER IS A HOPE-FILLED GAZE DIRECTED TO GOD” – KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FOUNDER TO BE BEATIFIED – CORONAVIRUS, ITALY: SHORT TAKES

“AUTHENTIC PRAYER IS A HOPE-FILLED GAZE DIRECTED TO GOD”

As he has done for several months now, Pope Francis presided at the weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace, accompanied by monsignori from the Secretariat of State who, practicing social distancing, delivered summaries of the main audience catechesis in diverse languages.

Francis began his reflections by noting that, “in our continuing catechesis on prayer, we now consider the prayer of the just. In the book of Genesis, the accounts of the fall of Adam and Eve and of the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, tell of the emergence and expansion of evil and sin across successive generations. We too still experience the presence of wickedness in the world. Yet God’s will for his creatures is for the good, not for evil.”

He went on to explain that, “in the first pages of the Bible we also see another, less conspicuous story, with Abel, Seth, Enoch and Noah, who acted humbly and prayed to God with sincerity. These just men of prayer were peacemakers who show that authentic prayer, freed from the tendency to violence, is a hope-filled gaze directed to God, which can cultivate new life in place of arid hatred.”

Francis underscored the fact that, “throughout history, righteous men and women of prayer – often misunderstood or marginalized – have ceaselessly offered up intercession for the world, invoking God’s power to bring about healing and growth. May we, like them, faithfully ask God to fulfil his work of transforming hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.”

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FOUNDER TO BE BEATIFIED

Congratulations to the Knights of Columbus! Truly a red-letter day for them as their founder, Dr. Michael McGivney, is slated for beatification! Yesterday afternoon, in a meeting with Cardinal Becciu who heads the Congregation for Saints, Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of a number of decrees, including a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Michael McGivney, Diocesan priest, Founder of the Order of the Knights of Columbus. McGivney was born August 12, 1852 in Waterbury, and died in Thomaston on August 14, 1890.

The Vaticannews biography states: Venerable Michael McGivney was the founder of the Knights of Columbus, now the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization. After studies in Canada and the United States, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop James Gibbons in Baltimore. He founded the Knights of Columbus as a mutual aid society, geared especially to working men and their families. He was known for his tireless work among his parishioners. He died at the early age of 38 from pneumonia. Following Wednesday’s announcement, the Knights of Columbus released a statement, where you can read more about the life of Ven Michael McGivney and the work of the Knights. 

CORONAVIRUS, ITALY: SHORT TAKES

THE COLOSSEUM IN ROME, ITALY’S MOST VISITED TOURIST SITE, WILL REOPEN on Monday June 1, after being closed for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. With over 7 million visitors a year, the Colosseum is one of Rome’s major tourist attractions. The Flavian amphitheatre, which is listed as world heritage, “will finally reopen to the public, under the banner of accessibility, welcome and above all, safety,” according to a statement from the archaeological site.

ITALY IS PUSHING FOR A COORDINATED RESUMPTION OF TRAVEL IN EUROPE FROM JUNE 15, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Monday evening. “For tourism, June 15 is a bit like the European D-Day,” Di Maio stated on Italian television channel Rai 1. “Germany aspires to reopen on June 15,” Di Maio pointed out, and “we are working on this together with Austria and other countries,” he added. His statements come as France and Germany have called for the borders to be reopened as soon as possible. So far, announcements of plans to reopen borders have been made by individual European countries despite the European Commission calling for more consultation. Di Maio hopes to be able to present “homogeneous indications to tourists” in all regions of Italy so tourists can move freely from one region to another. “We must save what we can save of the summer to help our entrepreneurs.”

POMPEII TO OPEN IN TWO PHASES AND WITH NEW TIME SLOTS FOR VISITORS. Italy’s archaeological site Pompeii reopens to the public in two stages after being closed for more than two and a half months due to the coronavirus lockdown. In the first phase, from May 26, visitors will be able to walk along a pre-established route through the ruins of the ancient Roman city that was buried under a thick carpet of volcanic ash in 79 AD. Visitors must book online and select a time slot for entry – scheduled every 15 minutes for a maximum of 40 people at a time. Tickets must be presented either using the QRcode or already printed. All visitors must pass through thermoscanners before entering the site and are obliged to wear masks for the duration of their visit as well as respecting social distancing: one metre outside and 1.5 metres inside. For the duration of the first phase tickets will be reduced to €5 before returning to normal prices on June 9 when the site reopens fully, with access to areas previously closed-off to the public. For full details about access, tickets and opening times see Pompeii website.

Speaking of Pompeii: if you have to be in lockdown…. https://news.yahoo.com/us-couple-waits-2-1-133541074.html

A GOVERNMENT CALL FOR 60,000 VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO HELP ENSURE SOCIAL DISTANCING in Italy sparked a new controversy within the ruling coalition. Photos of Italian beaches and piazzas crowded with people enjoying the first weekend outdoors continued to alarm authorities and experts. That prompted local authorities to issue a call to recruit 60,000 volunteers who will help people comply with the social distancing measures. The move, however, sparked a new political controversy, as the Interior Ministry complained that it was not informed of the initiative and several politicians expressed doubts over the new figures. The volunteers will oblige people — “with kindness” and without the possibility of imposing fines — to respect social distancing rules in the parks, beaches and clubs, while also supporting the weakest part of the population, including kids and elderly people. Civil assistants, or volunteers, must be older than 18 years of age, unemployed or low-income earners, and supported by social safety nets.

ROME TO HAND OUT MASSIVE FINES FOR DUMPED MASKS AND GLOVES. Rome is to issue fines of up to €500 for those caught dumping used protective masks or plastic gloves on the streets of the capital during the pandemic. The measure is part of a zero-tolerance approach by Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi who says she is taking the action after repeated complaints from the city’s refuse collectors who have to dispose of the used gloves and masks. Raggi said that “uncivilised people” were responsible for the “shameful behavior that, thanks to this measure, will be severely sanctioned,” reports Italian newspaper La Stampa. Environmental association Legambiente said recently that with rain there is a high risk of the plastic trash finding its way into the sea.

ITALIAN TENOR ANDREA BOCELLI ON TUESDAY DONATED BLOOD PLASMA after saying he had had the coronavirus. Bocelli told journalists at a Pisa hospital that he had had mild symptoms, a slight fever, and had practically been asymptomatic. Speaking at the blood sampling centre of Cisanello Hospital, he said his wife and children had also had COVID-19, but were now fine. His wife had also given plasma for the study, led by the AOUP association of Pisa, into treatment for COVID patients. He said he had discovered he had the virus after taking a test on March 10.Bocelli said he hoped his plasma would help find a treatment for the deadly virus.

(Sources: Brussels Times, ANSA, Wanted in Rome, AA)