VATICAN INSIDER GOES UNDERGROUND – FRANCIS EXPRESSES SYMPATHY AND CLOSENESS TO BENEDICT XVI ON LOSS OF BROTHER

There will probably be little news from or about Pope Francis this month as he traditionally reduces his working schedule, including the weekly general audiences and private encounters, during July. He is scheduled to appear at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace on Sundays for the Angelus as part of his working vacation.

EWTN employees have been given Friday, July 3 and Monday, July 6 as holidays so these pages might be quiet. I’ll stay on top of news stories and may pop in if something extraordinary develops (which we really do not want to happen in such hot weather). Often I repost stories I see on Facebook so you may find some news there (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420).

In any case, I wish each and every one of you a blessed, happy, peaceful, healthy and patriotic July 4th! Our nation truly needs prayers and that would be the best gift to our country on this 244th anniversary!

VATICAN INSIDER GOES UNDERGROUND

This weekend on “Vatican Insider,” I’ll take you on a tour of the Vatican’s famed “scavi” – Italian for excavations – the celebrated pre-Constantine necropolis (‘city of the dead’) that lies under the basilica named for the first Pope, Peter, who is buried in this necropolis. In fact, one of the most special visits you will make in the Eternal City, and possibly all of Italy, is to the scavi.

I mention Constantine as he became the Western emperor in 312 and the sole Roman emperor in 324. Constantine was also the first emperor to adhere to Christianity. He issued an edict in February 313 that protected Christians in the empire and converted to Christianity on his deathbed in 337.

Because of the extremely limited number of people allowed into the scavi on a daily basis, reservations are given out on a first come – first served basis. I absolutely recommend that you contact the scavi office for tickets between three and four months prior to your arrival in Rome. YES, 3 or 4 months before you arrive!

I do not know all the rules and regulations regarding tours in a coronavirus era but here’s a link to the website. I just spoke to the scavi office and learned they will re-open Monday, July 6: http://www.scavi.va/content/scavi/en/ufficio-scavi.html

FRANCIS EXPRESSES SYMPATHY AND CLOSENESS TO BENEDICT XVI ON LOSS OF BROTHER

The Vatican today published Pope Francis’ letter to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI whose older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, 96, died in Regensburg, Germany Wednesday morning, July 1. On June 29th the brothers marked the 69th anniversary of priestly ordination.

Addressed to “His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope emeritus,” Francis wrote: “You had the sensitivity to be the first to inform me of the news of the death of your beloved brother, Monsignor Georg. I wish to renew my deepest sympathy and spiritual closeness to you in this moment of sorrow.  I assure you of my prayers for the repose of the soul of the late and lamented, that the Lord of life, in His merciful goodness, may welcome him into heaven and grant him the reward prepared for faithful servants of the Gospel. I pray also for you, Your Holiness, invoking the Father, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the support of Christian hope and tender divine consolation.

Always united in faith in the Risen Christ, the source of hope and peace,

Filially and fraternally,

Francis

Vatican media file photo