ARCHBISHOP BROGLIO: SYNOD AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMBAT POLARISATION – POPE GRIEVES FOR CARDINAL BAAWOBR, “WISE AND GENTLE PASTOR”

So much confusion has surround the now three-year long Synod on Synodality –including the very meaning and definition of synodality! – that one looks for clarity anywhere on anything involving that synod that started in 2021 and will now, per Pope Francis, be extended until the fall of 2024. The Church is in the final, continental stage of that synod.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio, new president of the USCCB, is in Rome for meetings on the continental stage of the synod. He was interviewed by Vatican News and I think you’ll learn something from the conversation.

I was saddened yesterday to learn of the death of Cardinal Baawobr, I did not know and never met him but I well remember during the busy late August days that included a consistory to make 20 new cardinals and the presence in Rome of the entire College of Cardinals that it was announced that one cardinal had to be admitted to the hospital and he would still get the red hat. Apparently a much-loved pastor, he will be greatly missed in all of Africa.  And it seems the College of Cardinals was deprived of a great gift.

Vatican news reported that Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, archbishop of Kinshasaa in the DRC, said: “All of Africa, the Islands, and indeed, the universal Church have lost a great and devout churchman, a selfless servant and a good Shepherd.”

ARCHBISHOP BROGLIO: SYNOD AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMBAT POLARISATION

The newly elected head of the US Bishops’ Conference discusses the synodal process in the country, its potential to combat polarisation in the Church, and strategies for including the voices of the marginalised.

By Joseph Tulloch (vaticannews)

Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for Military Services in the United States, spoke to Vatican News on Tuesday about the upcoming Continental Stage of the synodal process.

The Archbishop, who was recently appointed head of the US Bishops’ Conference, was in Rome for a meeting of the Presidents and Coordinators of the Continental Assemblies of the Synod.

During the interview, he discussed the meeting in Rome, strategies for listening to the voices of the marginalised, and the opportunity the synod offers to combat polarisation in the US Church.

The following transcript has been lightly edited for reasons of style.

You’re just coming to the end of this two-day meeting with the Secretariat of the Synod. How has it been? What have you talked about? What have you discussed? What have you learned?

Well, I think it’s been a very useful meeting. In terms of what we’ve discussed, we basically saw how each Continental group has approached the Continental session. It’s interesting that all the continents that are represented are doing it in different ways, and that also reflects the different realities that are represented here. The United States and Canada are using a virtual approach because of the size of the countries and also the question of logistics, but very interesting to see the variety of approaches.

And I think in terms of things learned, the time we spent this morning on spiritual conversation has been very useful. Of course, it was a Jesuit who made the presentation so you could see the spirit of Saint Ignatius kind of lurking over the process, but really fascinating.

I think now the challenge will be how do we put this into action in our different continental gatherings. Obviously, the role of facilitator will be very important, but also this ability to listen and then to put together what we’ve heard.

 One of the things that you read in the Working Document for the Continental Stage is that they’re quite interested in making sure that the Synod hears the voice of all of the people of God. They talk particularly about making heard the voices of women and laypeople, people who live in conditions of poverty and marginalisation. How is the Church in the U.S. going to try and put that into practice?

Well, we’re trying to use, as I said, a virtual method … the hope with that is that by not obliging people to go someplace, we can reach out to those who are more marginalised, and also those for whom affronting the cost of a trip might be problematic.

Now, it’s going to depend very much on each diocesan bishop to recruit those people because each one can have 3 to 5 delegates. So it will depend on the individual dioceses to make sure that they have this cross representation of people. But hopefully, that is taking place now, and also the fact that we’ve extended the deadline by a few days will make it a little bit easier, I think, for some of the dioceses that were lagging behind to catch up. But I hope that it’ll be a fruitful exchange.

And we have ten opportunities to participate; there are five in English, two in French and three in Spanish. So hopefully it will be a wide cross-section of both the United States and Canada because we’re doing it together.

 One of the things you hear people talk a lot about in the context of the U.S. Church is polarisation. And I’m wondering if you think that the synodal path has any potential to help with that.

I certainly hope that it does. I think the emphasis that’s been placed on listening will be a great help if people enter into these moments of conversation and dialogue and discernment with a spirit of listening to the other.

Unfortunately, one of the aspects – I don’t know how prevalent this is in the Church, but certainly one of the aspects of the society in general in the United States – is the inability to listen to the other. You only listen to the newscasters that tell you what you want to hear, or from your point of view, and if you don’t agree with someone, then you don’t listen to him or her.

We even see this on university campuses, where you would think a fundamental aspect of learning is also to listen to those who don’t necessarily agree with me. But we have this closing off where we don’t we don’t want to hear people, if they represent a certain position they’re not welcome on a campus.

I’m hopeful that at least among Catholics in those who participate in the Synodal process, perhaps this opening to the presence of the spirit will allow … and that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is a moment of changing convictions, but it is a moment of hearing where the other person is and trying to respond and put together that sharing of views. I hope that that will help heal, at least as far as the church is concerned, some of the polarisation.

 What are you most excited about going forward with the Synod process in this next continental stage?

I’m most excited about the fact that we’ll be working together with Canada. As my Canadian brother has pointed out repeatedly, it’s the longest border in the world that’s unfortified.

And so we do have a lot in common – and there’s of course, there’s enough to make the two realities distinct as well – but that’s an enrichment to be able to enter into the other country and to listen with them.

Because of these sessions, you won’t need a passport to participate in them. So they will be mixed. All of the sessions, obviously, probably the two in French should be a little more aimed at Quebec, but I intend to participate, at least in one of them in French, so that I can hear what’s going on.

So I think there will be a great opening and a great appreciation of the church in both countries. And then it will be interesting to see, when we come to the conclusions, what the Church in North America has to contribute to the whole synodal process. I think that will be very interesting to see.

POPE GRIEVES FOR CARDINAL BAAWOBR, “WISE AND GENTLE PASTOR”

Pope Francis on Tuesday expressed sorrow for the death of Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr, Archbishop of Wa, who died unexpectedly in Rome on Sunday evening.

In a telegram in which he extends his heartfelt condolences to the cardinal’s family, to the Missionaries of Africa of which he was part, to the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Wa, the Pope said he is grateful for the cardinal’s faithful witness to the Gospel, “marked by generous service to the Church in Ghana, especially to those in need.”

“I willingly join the faithful in praying that our merciful Father may grant to this wise and gentle pastor the reward of his labours and welcome him into the light and peace of heaven.”

The Pope’s telegram concluded with words of comfort for all those who are mourning the late cardinal’s passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection and with his apostolic blessing “as a pledge of consolation and peace in Jesus, the firstborn from the dead.”

Created Cardinal in absentia

Richard Kuuia Baawobr, Bishop of Wa, Ghana, was created a cardinal on 27 August in absentia. He had arrived in Rome the day before but was unable to attend the consistory due to illness. He was hospitalised and spent more than two months in hospital. Only a few days after leaving his hospital room, Cardinal Baawobr passed away on Sunday, while still in Rome. FOR MORE: Pope grieves for “wise and gentle pastor” Cardinal Baawobr – Vatican News

MAY ADVENT BE A TIME OF JOYFUL, PRAYERFUL ANTICIPATION

MAY ADVENT BE A TIME OF JOYFUL, PRAYERFUL ANTICIPATION

Yesterday was, as we know, the first Sunday of Advent, the special liturgical season that seems to creep up on us, almost without our realizing it, that liturgical time of joyfully anticipating the birth of Baby Jesus, that little infant whom God the Father sent to mankind as our Redeemer.

Advent is actually the first liturgical season of the Church year, followed by Christmas, Ordinary, Lent, Easter and Ordinary.

Do you know the colors of these seasons (as seen in a priest’s vestments on the Sunday of that season)? We have just experienced the purple color that marks Advent as seen in vestments and the candles on the Advent wreath. Christmas (white and/or gold – purity, joy, light): Ordinary time (green – life, hope and expectancy, anticipation); Lent (purple – penance and sacrifice); Easter (white and/or gold – purity, joy, light) and Ordinary.

How much of what you know about traditions, liturgical seasons and colors, feast days and fast days, and other celebrations in the Catholic Church did you learn as a youngster growing up in your family or in grammar school?

As these special days in the Church come around every year, I look back and realize how very much I did learn from Mom and Dad and from the Dominican nuns in grammar school.

Advent, for example, makes me go back in time to that season and how, growing up, we celebrated it in our home as we always celebrated Catholic feasts and holy days and traditions. I remember learning about the Advent wreath and remember having one on our table and the candles were properly lit every night at dinner. Just as they were lit in church during Mass in Advent.

And the good sisters?   They taught us so many wonderful things – great stories about people, saints, popes, Church celebrations, liturgical traditions. Who doesn’t love a well-told story and some of the nuns were wonderful storytellers and we listened, riveted, to their every word.

Fr. Townsend, who had the children’s Masses every Sunday at St. Edmunds in Oak Park, Illinois, was beyond amazing. He told great stories and always asked questions of us kids but we were OK because the nuns knew what he would talk about on Sunday and prepared us all week so that when Father asked a question, all hands were enthusiastically raised!

And our parents were riveted as well and sometimes asked questions of us after Mass!

I well remember the stories the nuns taught us in grammar school at this time of year – the stories leading up to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, the story of Mary and Joseph, of their travels from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It was great to hear their stories and then sing Christmas carols that simply retold those stories!

Above all, the sisters tried to instill in us that the Christmas gift we should most look forward to was Baby Jesus, not some item sitting under the Christmas tree, beautifully wrapped with our name on it!

Many years ago at Christmas, when I worked in a retail store, Moms and Dads would come in to shop, often bringing their children. One day, I asked a youngster who was perhaps 7 or 8, “Are you ready for Christmas?”   When he said, “yes” with a big smile, I then asked: “Are you ready to give or receive?”

It was awesome to watch his face as he pondered the question. He eventually offered with some uncertainty that maybe he was ready for both!   Who knows, maybe he is in the diplomatic corps somewhere today!

It was equally awesome to watch his Mom as she pondered the question as well. Before leaving, in a low voice with a smile, she thanked me for the question, saying it would make interesting dinner conversation!

Advent should be a time when the whole family gets ready, with joy, anticipation and thanksgiving, for the impending birth of Our Savior. The kids should know all the stories by heart.

There are countless ways that parents can impart the faith, the Church’s traditions and prayers, the lives of the saints, so much more. They can tell stories at the dinner table. They can talk about the saint of the day – or the saints that inspired the children’s names (even if, sadly, that does not happen as often today!).  They can encourage their children to ask questions. They an explain liturgical seasons and the colors!

Above all, ask your children if they are ready for Christmas!  To give or receive?

And don’t forget to have an Advent wreath! and maybe make your own Advent calendar!

Wishing you all the joy and prayerful anticipation of this beautiful liturgical season!

THANKSGIVING DAY IN ROME

THANKSGIVING DAY IN ROME

I had some issues downloading my photos on Thanksgiving Day that kept me from posting a column that very evening but, as the saying goes, better late than never!

A decades-old tradition in Rome, Thanksgiving Day began with 10:30 Mass at St. Patrick’s church for Americans and other English-speaking Catholics in the Eternal City. The American ambassador to the Holy See, Joseph Donnelly – as again is an annual tradition – attended Mass and read the Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Later in the afternoon, the Pontifical North American College had its traditional Thanksgiving Day Mass, followed by an always-delicious multi-course turkey dinner. We are in Italy, after all, so there had to be an antipasto and some pasta before turkey was served! Again, Ambassador Donnelly read the president’s proclamation.

Priests, seminarians and guests are seated at “state” tables, that is, states with seminarians attending the college decorate their tables so that, at once glance, you are to know which state is celebrating Thanksgiving. You’ll see a few familiar flags, banners, license plates, sports emblems and other items on the tables. And yes, there is an Australia table as several seminarians from down under are studying at NAC.

I was with friends from the Illinois-Ohio table. The youngest guest of the evening, Briella, daughter of the college’s music director, was also at our table. Thursday was her first birthday and the college acknowledged her with a cake and candle and several hundred people singing an enthusiastic Happy Birthday!

Here are some of the photos I took. (And yes, that is a plate of buckeyes!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On one wall of the dining room are oil portraits of the Popes, starting with Pius XII, who reigned since the College opened on Janiculum Hill in 1953. I realized that, starting with Pius XII (1939 to 1958), all the pontiffs shown are the Popes of my entire lifetime! John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I (albeit Pope for only 33 days), John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

VATICAN INSIDER: FR. JOHN PAUL KIMES, NOTRE DAME AND JOSEPH DUTTON (PART II) – MY THANKSGIVING PRAYER…

I will be enjoying several days off – Thanksgiving Thursday and “Black Friday” – EWTN’s gift to staff members at this time of year. Just another reason to be both happy and grateful!

I will remember all of you – my blog readers, TV viewers and radio listeners – at Mass tomorrow, praying for your health, happiness, spiritual well-being and special prayer intentions.

Below you will find my personal prayer of thanksgiving – I hope you might see yourself in my words!

VATICAN INSIDER: FR. JOHN PAUL KIMES, NOTRE DAME AND JOSEPH DUTTON (PART II)

Join me this weekend on Vatican Insider for Part II of my off-the-cuff interview with Fr. John Paul Kimes, Canon law professor at the university of Notre Dame and member of the Historical Commission for the cause of canonization of Servant of God Joseph Dutton. Dutton, a layman was companion, caregiver and friend for 44 years, alongside Sts. Damien and Marianne Cope, to the victims of leprosy on Kalaupapa, a peninsula of the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

Father John Paul and I spoke after a recent event in Honolulu for this cause of canonization, a gala, fund-raising luncheon that brought together just under 500 people from several Hawaiian islands. He gave an over-the-top keynote address at that event! This took place during a week in Hawaii in which I was also sworn in as an official member of the Historical Commission, a huge honor!

Father Kimes, a riveting storyteller, tells us about the link between Notre Dame University and Joseph Dutton and explains what he has learned of Dutton by researching the university archives on this Servant of God. You’ll love every minute of our conversation!

Fr. John Paul had arrived in Honolulu the night before the luncheon and had to get to the airport almost immediately afterwards for his return flight so finding time – and a place! – to have this conversation was a real blessing, almost a miracle.

The only available space, in fact, was in a small hallway off the main hallway not far from the room where our luncheon was. A table and two unoccupied chairs seemed to be waiting just for us. Not an acoustically perfect setting, however, so you’ll hear some faint background conversation as people walk by in the main hall but Father John Paul is such a great storyteller that you may not even note it!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

MY THANKSGIVING PRAYER…

Dear Lord, how have you blessed me? Let me count the ways…..

My wonderful family, my beautiful faith, my ocean of friends, the friends throughout your great universe whom You have brought into my life.

Does a day pass that You do not bring some unique, new person into my life? The newest member of my wonderful, large family? A friend from another country? Another wonderful seminarian or priest added to the many who have made my life and my faith so fulfilling? The list is so very long!

Does a day pass that I am not enriched and blessed by some amazing event that You placed in my path as a learning moment, a time of prayer, a period of silent Thanksgiving? You blessed me at my baptism when You brought me into your beautiful Catholic Church and a faith to which I have always tried to be faithful.

You have blessed me by enriching that faith over the years, allowing me to work for You every day, to bring Your Word and Your teachings and Your Truth to so many. My words, by comparison, are very insignificant but truly heartfelt.

I am filled with both thanksgiving and joy as I write these words, as my mind’s eye overflows with images of each family member, of friends here in Rome and around the globe, of the magnificent events that daily fill my life.

I sign most emails and letters with “God bless,” and below that, my name “Joan” – but I read it silently as “God bless Joan.” And, Lord, You HAVE blessed me! Heartfelt Thanks!

PAPAL DECREE REMOVES LEADERSHIP AT CARITAS INTERNATIONALIS, APPOINTS TEMPORARY ADMINISTRATOR – POPE APPOINTS TEMPORARY ADMINISTRATOR TO RELAUNCH CARITAS INTERNATIONALIS

PAPAL DECREE REMOVES LEADERSHIP AT CARITAS INTERNATIONALIS, APPOINTS TEMPORARY ADMINISTRATOR

Just yesterday, the director of Fundraising, PR and Communications at Caritas Internationalis sent members of the media the following announcement: “Tomorrow, 22 November, at 11 a.m. in Sala Anfiteatro of Villa Aurelia (Via Leone XIII 469) Caritas Internationalis will host a press conference on fraternal Cooperation within the Caritas Confederation and a meeting point with Caritas representatives from different countries. The following will speak and/or be available for questions: Aloysius John, Secretary General, Caritas Internationalis: Msgr. Pierre Cibambo, Ecclesiastical Assistant, Caritas Internationalis.” The email also listed speakers from various national and regional Caritas offices.

And today the bolt out of the blue that shocked Caritas staff!

That press conference did take place, just one hour before the 12 noon Holy See Press Office bulletin officially came out with the news!

The papal decree that removed the current leadership at Caritas Internationalis came midday of the second day of a Rome meeting for representatives of Caritas from around the world. Reports indicate that they were as surprised as anyone by the papal move.

Also on Monday, the first of a two-day meeting of CI representatives: Caritas tweeted:#FraternalCooperation is #subsidiarity, willingness to journey together as members of the same family said @iamCARITAS Secretary-General Aloysius John opening the conference on “Together, serving out of love – Strengthening our fraternal cooperation.”

Has the Pope also demoted one of his closest collaborators? The decree reads “… and that Cardinal Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis until now, will assist Dr Pinelli in the duties entrusted to him.”

There is obviously much more to learn about the decree and what led Pope Francis to make such a drastic move (other than what the following Vatican News story tells us), so stay tuned!

Here’s the website (at least for now!): Caritas – Ending poverty, promoting justice and restoring dignity

POPE APPOINTS TEMPORARY ADMINISTRATOR TO RELAUNCH CARITAS INTERNATIONALIS

Pope Francis issues a decree on Tuesday naming Dr. Pier Francesco Pinelli as Temporary Administrator of Caritas Internationalis.

By Sr Bernadette Reis, fsp

In a Decree released on Tuesday, Pope Francis has appointed Dr Pier Francesco Pinelli as Temporary Administrator (Commissario straordinario in the original Decree) of Caritas Internationalis. The Decree also names Dr. Maria Amparo Alonso Escobar and  Rev. P. Manuel Morujão, S.J., as support to Dr Pinelli “for the personal and spiritual accompaniment of the employees.”

In addition the decree also states that those serving as President, Vice-Presidents, General Secretary, Treasurer, and Ecclesiastical Assistant “shall cease from their respective offices”; and that Cardinal Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis until now, will assist Dr Pinelli in the duties entrusted to him.

Caritas Internationalis, the Pope says in the Decree, assists him personally in his own ministry to the poorest and most in need, manages humanitarian crises, and collaborates in spreading charity throughout the world “!in the light of the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Pope Francis also explains in the Decree his motivation for appointing a temporary administrator, saying the move is necessary to review Caritas’ norms and procedures and to make necessary preparations for the elections set for the next General Assembly.

Decree follows review process

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD), the Dicastery in which Caritas Internationalis is situated, also issued a Press Statement, explaining that Pope Francis’ decision comes “after a review of its [Caritas Internationalis] operations by an independent panel.” It further clarifies that “financial matters have been well-handled and fundraising goals regularly achieved.” The motivation for taking this step, the Statement explains, is to better serve “its member charitable organizations around the world.”

About the new appointees

Temporary Administrator of Caritas Internationalis, Dr Pinelli, is described in the Press Statement as a “well-known organizational consultant and administrator”, “with a more humanist than technical way of proceeding.” With a background in Ignatian spirituality, his volunteer works include “the recovery of drugs addicts, in development cooperation, support for missionary works and catechesis.” His professional portfolio includes “33 years of work…in different sectors”, and 10 years as “CEO and then Chairman of large energy companies.” His consultancy expertise has benefited the religious, secular, and cultural sectors, including serving as the Administrator of the Italian Government for the rehabilitation of cultural and performing arts organizations, the Jesuit Education Foundation, the DPIHD, Magis, and Treccani. Dr Pinelli was a member of a pontifical commission appointed for the evaluation of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and of the dicasterial commission for the evaluation of the Migrants and Refugees Section.”

Alongside Dr Pinelli will be Ms Maria Amparo Alonso Escobar, currently serving as Head of Advocacy for Caritas International, and by Fr Manuel Morujão S.J. Economist Ms Alonso is a graduate of Extremadura University and has worked with various Caritas member organizations for 28 years. Father Morujão, has been involved in pastoral and spiritual ministry in Goa, Cape Verde, as well as his native Portugal, and was appointed as a Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis. The Press Statement further states that “the functioning of member organizations” will not be affected by these changes. Rather, the Statement emphasizes, the measures announced today “will serve to strengthen such service.”

Decree follows review process

The decisions announced today follow a review commissioned by the DPIHD. The scope of this review was “the CI General Secretariat and the alignment with Catholic values of human dignity and respect for each person. The review was performed by a panel of independent experts that included, in addition to Dr Pinelli, psychologists Fr Enrico Parolari and Dr Francesca Busnelli.” The Statement further clarifies that “no evidence emerged of financial mismanagement or sexual impropriety”, but that “real deficiencies were noted in management and procedures, seriously prejudicing team-spirit and staff morale.”

Cardinal Michael Czerny S.J., Prefect of the DPIHD, acknowledges in the Press Statement that “the needs of the many whom Caritas serves” have increased markedly in recent years. …It is imperative that Caritas Internationalis be well prepared to meet these challenges.” With today’s decision, Cardinal Czerny explains that “Pope Francis invites us to consider ‘the mission that Caritas is called to carry out in the Church…. What we must never forget is that charity has its origin and its essence in God himself (cf. 1 Jn 4:8); charity is God our Father’s embrace of every person, particularly of the least and the suffering, those who occupy a preferential place in his heart’ (27 May 2019). These words inspire everyone involved in CI to ensure the organization proves equal to its mission.”

Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic reliefdevelopment and social service organizations, operating in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Its headquarters is incorporated in the Holy See and is supervised by the DPIHD.

 

PAPAL VISIT TO ASTI FOR “FAMILY TIME” – POPE APPOINTS RELIGION TEACHER AS NEW SECRETARY FOR DICASTERY FOR LAITY, FAMILY AND LIFE

An important weekend for two people: Pope Francis who visited family in Asti, in Italy’s northern region of Piedmont, and Brazilian-born Gleison De Paula Souza, a family man and high school teacher in Puglia, southern Italy, whom the Pope named as secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

I remember interviewing the late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago the day before the cardinal electors started meeting in congregations before the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis. He noted that the reform of the Roman Curia was high on the agenda of many cardinals, and suggested that the time had come for well-qualified lay people to head some of the offices in the Roman Curia, and to be placed in positions of importance. For example, Cardinal George specified he saw no reason why a competent, experience layman or woman should not head a pontifical council (The councils are now called dicasteries).

And Pope Francis has brought some lay people into responsible positions during the reform of the Roman Curia. Though none head a dicastery, he did name Lateran University Professor Vincenzo Buonomo to head the Disciplinary Commissionof the Roman Curia in 2021.

PAPAL VISIT TO ASTI FOR “FAMILY TIME”

Bishop Marco Prastaro told Vatican News: “The Pope threw himself into our arms.”Asti’s bishop, who accompanied Francis on his two days in Piedmont, spoke of “an experience of great joy and great human warmth that made us feel part of something beautiful.” The inhabitants of Asti took “a step forward towards him, and the Pontiff embraced us all,” one by one. Of the homily, the bishop said: “He reminded us that God is present in every man’s life and takes it all into consideration.”

Before boarding the helicopter, Bishop Prastaro told Vatican News, “the Pope thanked us for the warm welcome and added ‘sorry to disturb you’. I had just said to him again: ‘Holiness, come back whenever you want, this is your home’.” Asti’s bishop thus recalled the final moments of the “long-awaited meeting” with Pope Francis, who came “to rediscover the flavor of his roots” as he confided in the Mass in the cathedral.

This photo of Pope Francis – nè Jorge Mario Bergoglio – was taken in the bishop’s residence in Asti with several generations of his relatives.

POPE APPOINTS RELIGION TEACHER AS NEW SECRETARY FOR DICASTERY FOR LAITY, FAMILY AND LIFE

A 38-year-old husband and father of two, Gleison De Paula Souza has been appointed secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. Originally hailing from Brazil, Souza teaches high school in Puglia.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Originally from the state of Minas Geiras, in south-eastern Brazil, Gelison De Paula Souza’s journey has taken him to Puglia, in the ‘heel’ of Italy, and now to the Vatican. On Thursday, Pope Francis appointed Souza as secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. Thirty-eight years old, married and father of two daughters, De Paula Souza teaches religion at a secondary school, the A. Vallone Liceo Scientifico e Linguistico Statale in Galatina, Puglia.

The newly appointed secretary of the dicastery was a member of the Orionian religious family, between 2005 and 2016. In 2015, he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Theology at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome and in 2019 a Master’s degree in Philosophical Sciences at the University of Salento in Lecce.

HOW A TICKET BOOKING ERROR SAVED A FAMILY AND FUTURE POPE

HOW A TICKET BOOKING ERROR SAVED A FAMILY AND FUTURE POPE

Pope Francis today travelled to Asti in the northern Italian region of Piedmont to visit with relatives over the weekend. The visit was occasioned by the 90th birthday of a second cousin, Carla Rabezzana, who welcomed the Pope as family members began a strictly private reunion. Tomorrow the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in Asti’s cathedral.

Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936. His father, Mario Jose Bergoglio – whose story you will read below – was an accountant in Portacomaro, northern Italy, who emigrated to Argentina in 1929. There he met the Pope’s mother, Regina Sivori, who was born in Buenos Aires to a family also of northern Italian origin.

One of the first books I read after the 2013 election of Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy was, “The Pope Who Loves Soccer” by Michael Part.   It was sent to me by Sole Books who have given me permission to reprint part of Chapter Two, “Two Continents.”

Read on and you will see how a ticket booking agent error saved a family, and a future pope…..

Mario Bergoglio, the cardinal’s father, just 21 years old in 1927, bounced in the seat of his horse-drawn cart as he approached the shipping port in the Italian city of Genoa. When he reached the docks, he pulled the rains hard. “Ferma,” he shouted at the old horse and it happily came to an abrupt stop. It had been an all-day trip from his hilly commune in Portacomaro, 100 kilometers north.

Mario jumped down out of the cart. He hurried over to the Italian General Navigation shipping company building near the dock, yanked the hat off his head and went inside.

Mario sat across from a booking agent who looked at him as if he were from Mars. Something did not feel right. The agent checked his papers. Looked at him again. Mario shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “I’m afraid all staterooms are booked for the Principessa Mafalda,” the booking agent finally said.

”But my family made reservation months ago,” Mario argued, reaching into an inside pocket in his jacket and pulling out a folded piece of paper; unfolding it, he shoved it across the desk at the booking agent.

The booking agent picked up the piece of paper dispassionately, glanced at it quickly, and then shoved it back at Mario. “The rate for these passages, I see here, is too low,” he said, poking it with his finger. “Someone made a mistake. That cabin has been booked at a much higher rate. Next…, ” the booking agent said, craning his head around Mario to look at the family standing in line behind them, letting them know it was their turn.

“Well, is there anything available in another class?” Mario asked, refusing to badge from his seat.

“I told you the Principessa Mafalda is sold out. In all classes, “he said. “Next!”

Mario was depressed. He had dreamt of the day they would leave their village and travel to the New World. There, in Buenos Aires, his uncles were doing great. Here in Italy, things had turned ugly. It was hard for the Bergoglios to make ends meet. He could not see any future in the village of Portacomaro. And he could not see himself living under the fascist dictator, Mussolini, who ruled with an iron fist. He could not wait to get out.

But now, all his dreams were shattered.

Two weeks later, Mario Jose Bergoglio raced into the family home in Portacomaro. His parents, Rosa and Giovanni, were setting the supper table. Mario slapped the newspaper down on the table for all to see. The headline was one of the biggest they had ever seen and the size of the type was usually reserved exclusively for the ends of wars and assassinations. But this time, it was for a shipwreck:

PRINCESS MAFALDA SINKS!

Rosa drifted into Giovanni’s arms as all three of them stared at the newspaper headline on the table. No one said anything for a long time. Finally, Rosa said, “It is a miracle. “

Giovanni looked at his son and said, “Mama is right. “

It took the Bergoglio family two more years before they could leave Italy and immigrate to Argentina. They arrived in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, in February 1929. Rosa Bergoglio, who despite the heat, was dressed elegantly in a long coat with a fur collar, was the first of her family off the ship, the Giulio Cesare. She was followed by her husband, Giovanni, and their son Mario. A porter felt sorry for Rosa and stepped up to her to help her with her bags. “Ma’am, would you also like me to get your coat?” he asked, reaching for it. She pulled away from him. “No, Señor, thank you. I am fine, “she said in perfect Spanish, The porter shrugged, picked up her bags and starting to carry them away. The Bergoglios followed the porters to a car that was waiting for them to take them home.

They marvelled at their four-story family house, planted on the bustling street. Rosa hesitantly stepped into the elevator car at her son’s urging, but had no idea what to do once she got in. She had never seen an elevator, let alone been in one. Until now.

“Whew,” she said as she got off the elevator on the fourth floor. She immediately threw off her heavy coat and then did an odd thing. Instead of hanging it up, she spread it out on the kitchen table. Mario and Giovanni and his brothers brought in all the luggage and stacked it in the living room, paying her no mind.

Rosa grabbed a butcher knife from the knife block on the counter, and without hesitation, cut open the seam in the silk lining of the coat. Then she picked up the coat and shook it. As if by magic, thousands of Lira notes spilled out on the kitchen table. When she finished shaking the coat, she carelessly tossed it aside. “I thought I was going to die when I got off that ship,” she said, giggling. “It was so hot!”

Giovanni and his three brothers and Mario all shared the laugh.

With gratitude to Sole Books –

And this from Vatican news: The Pope in Asti, a visit between memory and the future – Vatican News

VATICAN INSIDER: FR. JOHN PAUL KIMES, NOTRE DAME AND JOSEPH DUTTON

For the latest in papal interviews: Pope: peace between Russia and Ukraine is possible, don’t forget the poor – Vatican News

VATICAN INSIDER: FR. JOHN PAUL KIMES, NOTRE DAME AND JOSEPH DUTTON

What an exciting guest I have this weekend and next on Vatican Insider! I feature an off-the-cuff interview with Fr. John Paul Kimes, Canon law professor at the university of Notre Dame and member of the Historical Commission for the cause of canonization of Servant of God Joseph Dutton. Dutton, a layman was companion, caregiver and friend for 44 years, alongside Sts. Damien and Marianne Cope, to the victims of leprosy on Kalaupapa, a peninsula of the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

Father John Paul and I spoke after a recent event in Honolulu for this cause of canonization, a gala, fund-raising luncheon that brought together just under 500 people from several Hawaiian islands. He gave an over-the-top keynote address at that event! This took place during a week in Hawaii in which I was also sworn in as a member of the Historical Commission, a huge honor!

Father Kimes, a riveting storyteller, tells us about the link between Notre Dame University and Joseph Dutton and explains what he has learned of Dutton by researching the university archives on this Servant of God. You’ll love every minute of our conversation!

Fr. John Paul had arrived in Honolulu the night before the luncheon and had to get to the airport almost immediately afterwards for his return flight so finding time – and a place! – to have this conversation was a real blessing, almost a miracle.

The only available space, in fact, was in a small hallway off the main hallway not far from the room where our luncheon was. A table and two unoccupied chairs seemed to be waiting just for us. Not an acoustically perfect setting, however, so you’ll hear some faint background conversation as people walk by in the main hall but Father John Paul is such a great storyteller that you may not even note it!

Here we are with Msgr. Robert Sarno who worked for 38 years in Rome at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

CARDINAL TAGLE: STORIES AND STORYTELLING MAKE YOU AND SHAPE YOU

I found the following article intriguing and interesting for a number of reasons but principally because I consider myself a storyteller. A few years ago at an embassy reception, a woman I had just met asked me what I did and I replied – for the first time ever in my life as a writer and journalist – “I’m a storyteller.”

That spontaneous response surprised her and, in a way, surprised me as well! I then explained how as a writer, in recounting the news, for example, one is, in fact, telling a story.

I then added that I was a storyteller in another way as well. From the time they were little enough to understand, I told stories to my many nieces and nephews. As they will tell you today, I did not read stories to them. I told them stories of my life and work in Italy, stories of the Church, the Vatican, the pope, of my travels, what I had seen and experienced and learned. To this day, some of those stories are so imprinted on their minds that they re-tell them to their own children.

To those nieces and nephews who might be reading this today, yes, I know your favorite story: Aunt Joan skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland!

Storytelling is sharing emotions and experiences. It is above all communication.

How many of you today will tell a story? A story about your day at work, something extraordinary that happened to you, something fascinating that you learned, perhaps answering the question of a child or family member or friend?

Storytelling (Smithsonian Magazine)

CARDINAL TAGLE: STORIES AND STORYTELLING MAKE YOU AND SHAPE YOU

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle reflects on eight points regarding stories and storytelling, and urges those attending a Propaganda Fide conference to learn to apply them to their communities and institutions.

By Francesca Merlo (vaticannews)

Addressing an international study conference for the IV centenary of the Congregation “De Propaganda Fide,” Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, reflected on the fact that many stories regarding the history of the congregation would be told throughout the conference.

“Human life is unimaginable without stories,” said the cardinal, and with that idea in mind he shared some aspects of story and storytelling that he discussed in the mission Congress.

 

Good stories are based on experience

“There are good stories and bad ones,” said Cardinal Tagle, “but the difference does not always depend on the style of the narrator or the ending of the story.” We tell our best stories when they are about our experience, when they are true.” And, he added, “good history relies on stories of eyewitnesses.”

Stories reveal personal identity and what shaped that identity

Cardinal Tagle then went on to note that, “stories reveal who we are, the sense of our lives and where we are going.” On top of this, he continued, “I am what I am because I am immersed in other people’s stories and the stories of my time. If I neglect or deny them, I have no personal story to tell.”

Stories are dynamic, open to re-telling, and transformative.

The cardinal then went on to stress that personal identity is shaped by interaction with the world put into memory. With this in mind, he noted that, “remembrance is vital for self-knowledge.” By remembering our stories, Cardinal Tagle explained that we realize that the past is not static and that it actually continues to mold us. “Through stories we see how much we have changed and how much more we need to change.”

Stories are the ground for understanding symbols

“Stories are the ground for understanding spiritual, doctrinal, and ethical symbols,” said Cardinal Tagle, introducing his next reflection. “Stories disclose the values, moral norms, and priorities of a person or community.”

Stories shape community

“Common experience and memories bind unique individuals into a cohesive body,” he said, explaining that, “a community’s distinguishing beliefs, rituals, celebrations, customs, and lifestyle will make sense to us only if we go back to the stories that the members of that community hold and cherish in common.”

Stories can transform the listener

Cardinal Tagle then reminded those present that, “when we experience something significant, we cannot wait to tell it to someone.” He explained that, “this tells us that a story begs for a listener, for someone with whom to share.” In fact, one’s story can awaken memories of similar experiences in a listener, “open new meanings, create wonder, and awaken from slumber.”

There are different ways of telling stories

“Stories can be told in a variety of ways, even when not literally telling a story,” said Cardinal Tagle. “Oral narration is still the most common, but stories can be told through writing letters, novels, or poems.” Likewise, he continued, there are photos and videos, gestures, mannerisms, tone of voice, facial contortions, and body postures. And there is silence, he added, which can also be “a powerful way of telling a story.”

Stories can be suppressed

Cardinal Tagle’s final reflection is that “even if telling stories comes spontaneously to us, some factors can suppress storytelling.” He explained that the pain brought about by a traumatic memory, shame, or guilt can prevent victims from telling their story or prompt them to deny that a story is part of their memory. “Dictators forbid stories of corruption, oppression, killings, and destruction from being told, they bribe media people and threaten those who want to expose the truth, they impose an official national history that erases memories that would put them in a bad light. …Some stories are too dangerous to tell, but healing is possible.”

Finally, Cardinal Tagle invited those attending the conference to apply all these points to a community or institution like Propaganda Fide. And he asked them: “Will the history of Propaganda Fide embolden us to enter the contemporary worlds of artificial and digital intelligence, extremism, polarization, religious indifference, forced migration, climatic disasters, to name a few? How will the story of Jesus be told in these worlds? Who will tell the story of Jesus? Euntes in mundum universum,” said the cardinal.

 

POPE FRANCIS ON HOW “DESOLATION” IS PART OF DISCERNMENT

As a follow-up to my reports from Hawaii on Servant of God Joseph Dutton, I’ve received several requests from people asking if there are books on or by Joseph Dutton. Certainly one of the most interesting are Dutton’s own memoirs and you can find that book on the Dutton Guild website: Dutton Memoirs Book | Joseph Dutton Guild     Enjoy!

Following is a summary of today’s general audience catechesis. Click here for some great photos of the gathering: General Audience – Activities of the Holy Father Pope Francis | Vatican.va

POPE FRANCIS ON HOW “DESOLATION” IS PART OF DISCERNMENT

The Holy Father began this week’s general audience by noting that, “in our continuing catechesis on discernment, we have seen the importance of interpreting the movements of our heart, including occasional experiences of ‘desolation’ or interior unrest and dissatisfaction. Such moments are in fact a challenge to our complacency and an incentive to growth in the spiritual life.”

In fact, says Pope Francis, “we have seen how important it is to read what stirs within us, so as not to make hasty decisions, spurred by the emotion of the moment, only to regret them when it is too late. That is, to read what happens and then make decisions.”

Addressing the thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, he said, “we cannot ignore our feelings: we are human and sentiment is a part of our humanity. And without understanding feelings we are inhuman; without living our sentiments we will also be indifferent to the sufferings of others and incapable of accepting our own.” (Vatican photo)

“Not to mention,” Francis continued, that such a ‘perfect serenity’ cannot be reached by this path of indifference. This sterile distance: ‘I won’t get involved in things, I will keep my distance’: this is not life, it is as though we lived in a laboratory, shut away, so as not to have microbes and diseases. For many saints, restlessness was a decisive impetus to turn their lives around. This artificial serenity will not do. Yes, a healthy restlessness is fine, the restless heart, the heart that seeks its way.”

The Pope went on to note that “desolation … offers us the possibility of growth, of initiating a more mature, more beautiful relationship with the Lord and with our loved ones, a relationship that is not reduced to a mere exchange of giving and having.”

In concluding remarks, the Holy Father pointed out that “many of our prayers are also somewhat like this: they are requests for favors addressed to the Lord, without any real interest in him. We go to ask, to ask, to ask the Lord. The Gospel notes that Jesus was often surrounded by many people who sought him out in order to obtain something: healing, material assistance, but not simply to be with him. He was pushed by the crowds, yet he was alone. Some saints, and even some artists, have contemplated this condition of Jesus.

Pope Francis then offered a suggestion: “It may seem strange, unreal, to ask the Lord: “How are you?” Instead, it is a beautiful way to enter into a true, sincere relationship, with his humanity, with his suffering, even with his singular solitude. With him, with the Lord, who wanted to share his life with us to the full.”