Today was a bittersweet day for me because I taped my final “Joan Knows” program at Vatican Radio after 20 years at the radio with this show and, in earlier years, especially when I worked at the Vatican Information Service, by participating in some form in an English language news program once a week.

The sweet part embraced those 20 years of covering both amazing news stories and everyday events in the life of the Pope and the Universal Church, of covering three pontificates, of making lifelong friends with my terrifically talented colleagues at Vatican Radio – colleagues of different languages and backgrounds but we were bound together by our vocation (almost a ministry), our friendship and our love of the Church and papacy.

I lived some heady moments and times and events and learned more than I could ever put in a book, much less one daily column.

And poof, in a flash, with one decision, that is all gone. That was the bitter part of my day.

As part of the reform of the Vatican communications, in particular at the radio, “Joan Knows” and other similar feature programs will be discontinued in English, as they have been or will be in other of the radio’s 40 plus languages, as of April 1.

The death of a radio as we all knew it for 87 years– as did millions around the globe! – on Easter Sunday but no resurrection in sight.

This is the historic radio set up by Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the radio, for Pope Pius XI in 1931. In fact, on February 12, 1931, he spoke these historical words at the inauguration of the radio: “I have the highest honor of announcing that in only a matter of seconds the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Pius XI, will inaugurate the Radio Station of the Vatican City State. The electric radio waves will transport to all the world his words of peace and blessing.”
To be honest, we were not supposed to use the name “Vatican Radio” as of early 2017. We all did in any case. After all, it was a radio and it was the Vatican’s radio so what else could we call it!

The name, as of last year, was to be strictly confined to “Radio Vaticana Italia” as this was part of a communications reorganization that was to be Italian-centric, at least in the beginning and for the most part.

I will not today speak of the reform in the rest of the Roman Curia where I have a ton of friends whom I’ve known for years and am also aware of the changes in their offices, the low morale in the Vatican, etc. My intent is only to write about the reform in Vatican communications – an initial look at this today because I could probably write a small volume on the topic.

When Pope Francis expressed the desire to reform the world of Vatican communications (Vatican Radio, CTV, the television, Publishing House, press office, L’Osservatore Romano newspaper, Pontifical Council for Social Communications), several commissions looked into and studied the matter, made recommendations to the Holy Father and subsequently he established the Secretariat for Communications, appointing a prefect and several initial board members. Later consultors were appointed.

In addition to consolidating some operations, one of the main objectives of the reform was to find ways to save money without, however, firing people or letting anyone go. It was a well-known published fact that Vatican Radio, for one, was always in the red. How to remedy that was to be uppermost in the minds of the reformers.

Most everyone in these Vatican offices knew there had to be, should be, some kind of consolidation. For example, why should six different offices be responsible for translating a papal homily or Angelus remarks into English or any other language? That’s understandable. And so on.

It was expected – perhaps just hoped for – that the new SPC (Secretariat for Communications) would invite, for example, two persons each from the above communications offices – people with experience in TV, radio, the written word, publishing, etc. – to be part of the new structure. People who could honestly critique their own office and suggest ways to merge activities, streamline functions and perhaps even get a better use of personnel.

That did not happen.

Outsiders were brought in, including a PR firm Accenture. Its specific recommendations, combined with the recommendations of the commissions that studied reforms, can only be guessed at – but perhaps not. Maybe all that is needed is to look at the results.

The biggest move for the radio was to go all digital. This has left millions of people around the world out in the cold. Believe it or not, not everyone on the planet has a computer, tablet or cell phone. There are parts of the world that do not have cell phone towers, where wi-fi is not readily available, areas where people still use home radios for short wave, car radios, small transistors. They will no longer be able to listen to Vatican Radio.

The six principal languages of the Vatican are Italian, English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish. While you can still find the former Vatican radio website online – – these six language are available on the new news site – – the most visible result of the communications reform.

As you read each news story, there is a link to the audio version by the author of that same story. The idea eventually is to have all of the 40 plus languages of (the former) Vatican Radio on a webpage. Right now, if you want Slovenian, for example, you can access that language page and find photos and print stories and audio files in that language. Soon that will no longer exist – it will be part of a webpage.

So, it is not radio per se but rather a webpage with audio files (is that too fine a distinction?) does say at the top of each language page that this is the BETA VERSION. I am waiting for the betah (better!) version – more on that later.

With the disappearance of what were known as Feature Stories, it seems there will be no more exciting behind the scenes reports, no profiles of people or organizations or institutions, no more “and today let’s explore the papal palace of Castelgandolfo”, the types of stories that good radio journalists bring to their medium and that listeners enjoy. Staff members still hope they will be allowed to be creative, to really be journalists.

Let’s wait and see.

The reform throughout the Curia, not only at Vatican radio, has meant that very often staff members, instead of being let go, are transferred to other offices for work in which they have no training whatsoever, or perhaps a minimal knowledge. Others have been let go. Yet others do not know from Monday to Friday if they have the same job they’ve had for years or will be asked to go to a new office or take a different direction in their work.

How would you like it if, after 20 plus years at the radio as a professional journalist, you now had to sit in a cubbyhole or small desk in a crowded room and be told to archive programs, photos, CDs?! Or be transferred to a pontifical council whose work was not familiar to you?

In the last two years, as I have talked to friends throughout the Curia and have gone to the radio to tape my weekly show, I have watched and seen things evolve. I have felt so much sadness and bewilderment and anxiety. Capable people who now feel challenged, who are questioned about what they do, who say they have never been asked for input or listened to in this transition period.

This is surely not the first column you have seen on this topic. Other very qualified people have also written about the reform of the Roman Curia, the reform of Vatican communications, citing many of the same issues I have mentioned. Perhaps you heard my two-part interview on EWTN’s Vatican Insider with Chris Altieri, a former colleague at Vatican Radio who left of his own will (as others have in recent months) after 12 years. Chris spoke of all these issues with me and in other interviews as well.

Staff are asking: Do we really have to burn down the whole house to build a new room? Wasn’t there a solid foundation to build on? Why can’t Vatican Radio be called Vatican Radio? Is CTV no longer Vatican Television? Will L’Osservatore Romano newspaper (born in 1861) disappear as well? Is everything now one entity known simply as “Vatican media”?

Why, they ask, would you throw the baby out with the bath water? Or, as one person commented: Vatican Radio has died and they don’t know what to do with the body.

Today is bittersweet because it is an ending, the finale to a terrific journey with marvelous people. Rest assured of one thing, however: I am not bitter. I’m puzzled and sad, but not bitter.

I have so much to thank the Lord for, especially my colleagues and wonderful friends from so many Vatican offices that I’ve known over the decades I have been here. I’m sure they are among the Lord’s favorite children. I pray for them daily, hoping they find fulfilment and continued happiness in serving the Church.

Thank you, my wonderful friends! No names – you all know who you are and what you mean to me!

As I often end this column: God sit on your shoulder!




My amazing guest in the interview segment this week is Bishop Saad Sirop Hanna, auxiliary of the Chaldean Patriarchate of Baghdad, and the Apostolic Visitor for Chaldeans Residing in Europe. He was in Rome to talk about his book “Abducted in Iraq” and graciously made time for an interview with “Vatican Insider.”

Bishop Hanna has advanced degrees in aeronautical engineering (Baghdad University), theology (Pontifical Urbaniana University) and a doctorate in philosophy (Pontifical Gregorian University).

Ordained to the episcopacy in 2014, he previously served as Director of Studies for Philosophy and Theology and at the Pontifical Babel College.

Bishop Hanna is a master linguist with fluency in Arabic, Aramaic, Italian, English, German and is also versed in classical Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He is a prolific writer of academic articles on Christianity and contemporary cultural challenges as well as ethical and anthropological questions in modern philosophy.

Bishop Hanna is author and translator of several books including his latest Abducted in Iraq: A Priest in Baghdad .

Abduction” is the firsthand account of his kidnapping in his hometown of Baghdad on August 15, 2006 by a militant group associated with al-Qaeda. As a young parish priest at the time and visiting lecturer on philosophy at Babel College near Baghdad, Fr. Hanna was kidnapped after celebrating Mass on August 15 and released on September 11. He was beaten because he would not become Muslim. He escaped but was soon captured once again. After a month in captivity, he was finally released and found his way back to his family.

Hanna’s plight attracted international attention after Pope Benedict XVI requested prayers for the safe return of the young priest.

“Abduction” is his inspiring tale of faith – in God and mankind – and courage and his insights on the future of Christianity in Iraq.

I felt I was in the presence of a very saintly man as we spoke and this is a do-not-miss interview.

As I was writing this introduction I received an email from Bishop Hanna (a letter to members of the media) stating: “I wanted to share with you the good news received this morning from University of Notre Dame that My book “Abducted in Iraq” was selected as a ForeWord Reviews Indies Award Finalist in the Religion Category. I thank God for his Love and Blessings. I pray for you all and for your families.”

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. 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.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: For VI archives:



Vatican News will be broadcasting the papal liturgies throughout Holy Week, with live English commentary.
By Christopher Wells

The Vatican is preparing for Holy Week with a full schedule of celebrations scheduled for the holiest portion of the Church year.

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Holy Week 2018 begins on Palm Sunday, March 25th, with the celebration of the thirty-third World Youth Day, celebrated at the diocesan level. The Church’s yearly celebration of young people alternates between international celebrations, held every two-three years, and diocesan events.

This year’s World Youth Day has the theme, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.” Those are the words of the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin at the Annunciation, as related in the Gospel of St. Luke.

For the diocese of Rome, the celebration will take place in St Peter’s Square, with Pope Francis presiding at the Blessing of Palms and the Procession for Palm Sunday, followed by the Mass of the Passion of the Lord.

Holy (Maundy) Thursday

There are two main liturgical events on Holy Thursday: the Chrism Mass, celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica; and the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which the Holy Father will offer in the Regina Coeli prison, not far from the Vatican.

During the Chrism Mass, the local Bishop consecrates and blesses the Sacred Oils – Chrism, used for Confirmation, and in the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders; the oil of catechumens, also used in Baptism; and the oil of the sick, for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. In Rome, the blessed oils are taken to the cathedral (of the bishop of Rome, the Pope), that is, St. John Lateran basilica, where they are dispensed to the parishes throughout the diocese.

Pope’s Holy Thursday liturgy in Rome’s Regina Coeli prison

On Thursday evening, Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, commemorating the institution of both the Most Holy Eucharist and the priesthood. Following a custom established at the very beginning of his pontificate, the Pope will say the Mass in a prison, this year at Regina Coeli. He will wash the feet of twelve inmates in imitation of the actions of Jesus Himself at the Last Supper.

The Pope will also have the opportunity to visit with sick inmates in the prison infirmary, as well as with prisoners in “Section VIII”, a protected area of the facility for prisoners who might be at risk in the general population.

Good Friday

On Good Friday, Pope Francis will preside at the solemn liturgical celebration of the Lord’s Passion. The Good Friday service is not a Mass, as the Holy Eucharist is not confected. The ritual consists in the Liturgy of the Word; the Adoration of the Cross; and the Rite of Communion, where Hosts consecrated on Holy Thursday are distributed to priests and faithful.

Following the Liturgy, Pope Francis will travel across town to the Colosseum where he will officiate at the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross. The Holy Father will offer a reflection at the conclusion of the service, followed by his Apostolic Blessing.

The Paschal Vigil and Easter Sunday

The rites of Holy Week reach their climax during the Easter Vigil of Holy Saturday, the “Mother of all Vigils.” The ceremony begins with the lighting of the new fire, which will take place in the atrium of St Peter’s Basilica. Then, with the Paschal Candle, the ministers will process to the sanctuary where Pope Francis will preside at the Solemn Mass. The Mass is notable for the chanting of the Exultet, the solemn proclamation of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead; and for the Baptismal liturgy that takes place after the Liturgy of the Word.

Finally, on Easter Sunday morning, Pope Francis will celebrate the Solemn Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord in Saint Peter’s Square. Following Mass, the Holy Father will give his Urbi et Orbi ( to the City and to the world) blessing.

Vatican News will be providing full coverage of all the papal events, with live commentary for the major liturgies. The broadcast begins immediately before the beginning of each ceremony.

Here is the full schedule for the papal events during Holy Week 2018 (all times local Roman time):

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – 25 March – 33rd World Youth Day – St Peter’s Square – 10.00 Solemn Mass of the Passion of the Lord (with Blessing and Procession of Palms)

Holy Wednesday – 28 March – St Peter’s Square – 10.00 General Audience

Holy Thursday – 29 March – Basilica of St Peter – 10.00 Chrism Mass

Holy Thursday –  29 March – Regina Coeli prison – 16.30 Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Good Friday – 30 March – Basilica of St Peter – 17.00 Celebration of the Passion of the Lord

Good Friday – 30 March – Colosseum  – 21.15 Via Crucis (Way of the Cross)

Holy Saturday – 31 March – Basilica of St Peter – 20.30 The Easter Vigil – Solemn Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord

Easter Sunday – 1 April – St. Peter’s Square – Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord –  Urbi et Orbi blessing



The weekly general audience was held in St. Peter’s Square today under sunny skies, something of a rarity in Rome in recent weeks, and Pope Francis continued his weekly series of catecheses on the Mass, turning to the “culminating moment in the rite of Holy Communion.”

Francis said, “the Lord’s gift of Himself at the Last Supper is renewed at each Mass in the offering of His body and blood under the signs of bread and wine. After the breaking of the bread, the priest asks us to acknowledge the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. His words invite us to acknowledge our sins, to trust in the reconciling power of Christ’s sacrifice, and to receive the medicine that unites us ever more closely to him.”

The Pope explained that, “at the moment of communion, we respond ‘Amen’ to the words ‘The body of Christ’. In this way, we signify our openness to the transformative power of God’s grace, which enables us to grow in the unity of Christ’s mystical body, which is the Church.”

“If it is we who move in procession to receive communion,” said the Holy Father, “in reality it is Christ Who comes to meet us, to assimilate us to Him. Being nourished by the Eucharist means letting ourselves be changed by the One Who comes to us.”

And the Pope gave a mini-catechesis on how to receive communion:

“The Church strongly desires that even the faithful receive the Body of Christ with hosts consecrated in the Mass itself; and the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is expressed with greater fullness if Holy Communion is done under both species, even with the knowledge that Catholic doctrine teaches that, even under one species, all of Christ is received. According to ecclesial practice, the faithful normally approach communion in a processional form and receive communion with devotion while standing, or while kneeling, as established by the Episcopal conference, receiving the sacrament by mouth or, where allowed, in the hand, as they prefer. After communion, silent prayer helps us keep in our hearts the gift received, as does a psalm or hymn of praise.”

“Nourished by the bread of life,” said Francis, “we become a living Eucharist; in a word, we become what we receive. Our silent prayer after receiving communion is gathered up in the final prayer of the Mass, which thanks God for making us sharers in this holy banquet and asks that we may grow daily in union with him, until we share at last in the wedding feast of heaven.”

At the end of the catechesis and greetings to pilgrims in various languages, Pope Francis announced that he intends to participate this summer in the August World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, travelling there on August 25 and 26.


The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference warmly welcomed the announcement today by Pope Francis that he will attend part of the 9th World Meeting of Families that will take place August 21 to 26 in Dublin on the theme, “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.

According to a press release from the Irish bishops, Pope Francis, 81, will arrive in Dublin on Saturday, August 25, and will take part in the “Festival of Families” in Croke Park. The Festival is the faith-based cultural concert of the World Meeting of Families six-day program. The next day, Sunday 26 August, Pope Francis will be the chief celebrant at Holy Mass in Phoenix Park, the concluding liturgy of the World Meeting of Families 2018. Full details of the papal schedule will be released at a later date.

The bishops said, “On behalf of the faithful of Ireland we warmly welcome today’s announcement, by the Holy Father himself, that he plans to visit Dublin in August for the World Meeting of Families. We are deeply honored that Pope Francis will come to our country to participate in this universal Church celebration of faith and joy, as well as of the contemporary challenges that face families. With great anticipation we also look forward to hearing the apostolic guidance of His Holiness during his stay with us.”

“Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin,” said the bishops, “as president of the World Meeting of Families 2018, has been charged with undertaking the significant task of organizing this global celebration and each of the other 25 dioceses on the island of Ireland is supporting the host diocese to ensure its success for the whole country and for the world. We eagerly await the visit of Pope Francis which no doubt will be an occasion of spiritual renewal for our laity, religious and clergy as well as a strengthening of Christian family life.

“The preparations for the World Meeting of Families in Dublin are benefiting from the 2014 and 2015 Synods of Bishops in Rome which discussed the role of the modern family in the world and how the Church should respond. Both synods were hosted by Pope Francis and were preceded by a worldwide consultation. The subsequent publication by the Holy Father in April 2016 of his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (the Joy of Love), represents the fruit of these synods as he reflected on the significance of the deep mutual love of spouses and on their love for their children for the good of humanity and for the stability of society.”

Also today, two Irish families presented the official World Meeting of Families 2018 “Icon of the Holy Family” to Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in Saint Peter’s Square. The Tobin family is from County Kildare and the Bushell family resides in Rome. The delegation was led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, president, and Father Timothy Bartlett, secretary general, of the World Meeting of Families 2018. The group also included the iconographer Mihai Cucu.



Following are my translations of Msgr. Vigano’s letter to Pope Francis in which he offers his resignation as prefect of the SPC, Secretariat for Communications, and the Holy Father’s letter in which he accepts that resignation but names Msgr. Vigano as assessor to the dicastery.

Vatican City, March 19, 2018

Holy Father,

In these last days there have been many polemics concerning a deed of mine that, beyond its intentions, has destabilized the complex and great work of reform that you entrusted to me in June 2015, work that, thanks to the contribution of many people, starting with the staff, is about to reach its final destination.

I thank you for the firm and paternal accompaniment that you have generously offered me over this time and for the renewed esteem you wished to show me in our most recent meeting.

In respect, however, for those who worked with me in these years, and to avoid having my person in some way delay, damage or even block what was established by the Motu proprio L’attuale contesto comunicativo of June 27, 2015 and, above all, out of love for the Church and for you, Holy Father, I ask you to receive my wish to step aside, if you wish it, and to be available to collaborate in some other way.

On the occasion of Christmas wishes to the Roman Curia in 2016, you reminded us how “the reform will be efficacious only if it takes place with ‘renewed’ people, not simply with ‘new’ people. It’s not enough to be content with changing personnel but rather leading the members of the Curia to be renewed spiritually, humanly and professionally. The reform of the Curia does not take place just by changing persons – that without a doubt is happening and will happen – but with inner conversion of people.

I believe that “stepping aside” can be for me a rich occasion for renewal or, recalling the encounter of Jesus with Nicodemus, a time in which to learn and “to be reborn from on high.” After all, it is not the Church of roles that you taught us to love and live, but rather that of service, a style I have always sought to live.

Holy Father, I thank you if you will except this desire of mine to step aside so that the Church and her path can be resumed with decision guided by the Spirit of God.

Asking you for your blessing I assure you of prayers for your ministry and for the path of the reform that has been undertaken.


Vatican City, March 21, 2018

Most Reverend Monsignor,

Following our recent encounter and, after having reflected and pondered at length the reasons for your request to take a step back in direct responsibilities of the dicastery for communications, I respect your decision and accept, but not without difficulty, your resignation as prefect.

I ask you, however, to remain at the dicastery, and I appoint you assessor for Dicastery for Communications to be able to give your human and professional contribution to the new prefect in the project of reform desired by the Council of Cardinals approved and regularly shared by me. This reform has almost reached its conclusive stage with the imminent merger of L’Osservatore Romano newspaper within the one communications system of the Holy See and the consolidation of the Vatican Printing Office.

The great commitment shown in these years in the new dicastery with the style of willing and docile debate that was shown among collaborators and with the organisms of the Roman Curia made evident how the reform of the Church is not above all a problem of an organizational chart but rather assuming a spirit of service.

While I thank you for your humility and your deep sensus ecclesia, I willingly bless you and entrust you to Mary.




Pope Francis sent the following telegram to Archbishop Leo Cushley upon the death of Cardinal O’Brien:

The Most Reverend Leo W. Cushley, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh

I was saddened to learn of the death of His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, and I offer heartfelt condolences to you, his family and all who mourn his passing. Commending his soul to the merciful love of God our Father, and with the assurance of my prayers for the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and consolation in our Lord Jesus Christ.


The Holy See Press Office announced today that, on March 29, Holy Thursday, at 4 in the afternoon, Pope Francis will go to Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) prison to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. He will meet with sick prisoners in the infirmary and then celebrate Mass during which he will wash the feet of 12 prisoners from Section VIII.


A new production combines innovation and tradition to lead younger generations to a new appreciation of one of the greatest works of art of all time – the Sistine Chapel.

The famous Last Judgment by Michelangelo is the centrepiece of a new, fully-immersive “live show” at the Conciliazione Auditorium in Rome.

Entitled “Universal Judgment: Michelangelo and the secrets of the Sistine Chapel,” the immersive spectacle features live-performances, 4k projections, and brilliant special effects. The four-part show was produced by Marco Balich, a director and producer famed for organizing ceremonies at the Olympic games.

“Universal Judgment” is the first production of Balich’s “Artainment” company, combining art and entertainment “to educate and amuse, in order to realize the full and harmonious development of the human person,” according to Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication.

The show features a theme song composed by pop star Sting, as well as dancers and acrobats, and an impressive sound system. “We want to imbue the fruition of a work of art with a strong emotional impact,” said Balich, “using the codes that relate to the younger generations that have grown up with Play Station, that go to the movies in 3D, watch Netflix, but are on the other hand almost distracted with respect to this wonderful artistic patrimony.”

The Vatican Museums offered their expertise to ensure the accuracy of the presentation. Experts from the Vatican helped recreate the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, and offered critical perspective on the relationships between Michelangelo and Popes Julius II and Clement VII; as well as explaining the process of papal conclaves.

The €9 million production opened March 15 at the Conciliazione Auditorium, with two shows per day for at least a year. However, it is hoped that the show will become a permanent fixture in Rome. (vaticannews,va)


The Vatican marks the day a pontificate began as a holiday, thus, March 19, 2013 was the day Francis’ papacy began, so today is a holiday. March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, is always Father’s Day in Italy – what a lovely day to celebrate fatherhood!

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews)

On March 19, 2013, the Solemnity of St Joseph, Pope Francis celebrated Mass inaugurating his pontificate. Since then, the 81-year old pontiff has certainly left his mark on the Church. The statistics put together by the Holy See Press Office (see below) give us but an outline of Pope Francis’ papacy. (photo vaticannews)

In the footsteps of John Paul II and Benedict XVI

Pope Francis has demonstrated that he is continuing in the footsteps of both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The themes of both synods – the family and young people – were very dear to John Paul II. And both Encyclicals have connections with Benedict XVI. The first, Lumen Fidei, is based on a manuscript begun by Pope Benedict and concludes his Encyclicals on Faith, Hope and Charity. The second, Laudato Si not only cites Pope Benedict numerous times, but also treats a recurring theme from Pope Benedict’s pontificate.

Pope Francis’ Signature

But Pope Francis is also leaving his own mark on the papacy, one which is rooted in his formation and pastoral experience in Argentina. The creation of a special Council of Cardinals to assist him in the reform of the Roman Curia is a concrete example of the collegiality that Pope Francis embraces.

Perhaps most remarkable of all is the Pope’s affable and affectionate personality that shines through every public and personal encounter with him. Francis is a Pope who enters into the everyday lives of people with phone calls and letters, with “Good evening,” “enjoy your lunch,” and “please don’t forget to pray for me.”

Statistics released by the Holy See Press Office:

Lumen fidei (20 June 2013)
Laudato si’ (24 May 2015

Apostolic Exhortations
Evangelii gaudium (24 November 2013)
Amoris laetitia (19 March 2016)

Misericordiae vultus (11 April 2015)

Motu Proprios
3 in 2013
2 in 2014
4 in 2015
9 in 2016
4 in 2017
1 in 2018

General audiences 219

Themes of the Wednesday Catechesis
Profession of Faith
The Sacraments
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Church
The Family
Christian hope
The Holy Mass

Angelus/Regina Coeli 286

International trips: 22
Pope Francis has traveled a total of 250,000km visiting: Brasil, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, South Korea, Albania, the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Turkey, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Cuba, the United States, Kenya, Uganda, Central African Republic, Mexico, Greece, Armenia, Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Sweden, Egypt, Portugal, Colombia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Chile, Peru

Trips within Italy: 18

Pastoral visits to the parishes of Rome: 16

III Extraordinary Synod on the Family (5-19 October 2014)
XIV Ordinary Synod on the Family (4-25 October 2015)
XVI Ordinary Synod on Youth (3-18 October 2018)
Special Synod on the Amazon (October 2019)

Special Years
Year of Consecrated Life (29 November 2014–2 February 2016)
Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy (8 December 2015–20 November 2016)

Special Months
Extraordinary Missionary month (October 2019)

World Days
World Day of fasting and prayer for Peace I: Syria (7 September 2013)
24 Hours for the Lord a Friday in Lent (inaugurated in 2014)
World day of prayer for creation: 1 September (inaugurated in 2015)
World day of the poor: 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (inaugurated in 2017)
Sunday of the Word: One Sunday during the Liturgical Year (inaugurated in 2017)
World Day of Migrants and Refugees: Second Sunday of September (inaugurated 14 January 2018)
World day of prayer and fasting for peace II: South Sudan, Congo and Syria (23 February 2018)

World Youth Days
28th World Day in Rio de Janeiro: 23-28 July 2013
31st World Day in Krakow: 26-31 July 2016
34th World Day in Panama: 22-27 January 2019

Consistories for the creation of Cardinals
Pope Francis has created a total of 61 cardinals. Of these, 49 are electors and 12 are non-electors (one of whom has subsequently died)
19 Cardinals created on 22 February 2014
20 Cardinals created on 14 February 2015
17 Cardinals created on 19 November 2016
5 Cardinals created on 28 June 2017

Pope Francis has canonized a total of 880 saints, 800 of whom are the Martyrs of Otranto
9 canonization ceremonies in the Vatican
3 canonizations ceremonies outside of the Vatican: United States, Sri Lanka, Portugal
5 canonizations equipollent