PAPAL SCHEDULE FOR LAST WEEK IN JUNE – VATICAN STATEMENT ON MISSING CHINESE BISHOP

PAPAL SCHEDULE FOR LAST WEEK IN JUNE

MONDAY morning was Pope Francis’ last Mass in the chapel of the anta Marta Residence before his summer break. Masses will resume in September after the Pope’s trip to Colombia scheduled for September 6 to 11.

TUESDAY at 8 am in the Pauline Chapel. Pope Francis will concelebrate Mass with the cardinals present in Rome on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his Episcopal ordination.  At 9:30 he will meet with a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople as it visits Rome for the June 29th feast of St. Peter and Paul, Apostles. At 10 am he is scheduled to meet with Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

WEDNESDAY at 9 am in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father will meet with a delegation of about 1,000 members of the Confederation of Italian Labor Unions. At 10 in St. Peter’s Square he will preside at the final general audience before the summer break. Audiences will resume August 2.

At 4 pm Wednesday in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope will preside at an ordinary public consistory for the creation of five new cardinals. From 6 to 8 pm that day, courtesy visits to the new cardinals will take place in the Paul VI Hall.

THURSDAY, June 29, feast of St. Peter and Paul, Apostles, patron saints of Rome, is a holiday in both the Vatican and Rome. At 9:30 am in St. Peter’s Square, Mass with the rite of the blessings of palliums for the new metropolitan archbishops. The 5 new cardinals will be present, as will members of the College of Cardinals, bishops and priests. Pope Francis will recite the Angelus at noon.

FRIDAY, the Pope will have a series of private audiences in the morning and at 12:30, in the Clementine Hall welcome 200 members of the Italo-Latin American International Organization

VATICAN STATEMENT ON MISSING CHINESE BISHOP

From Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke:

In response to questions from journalists regarding the case of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou (Continental China), I can state the following:

The Holy See is observing with grave concern the personal situation of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, forcibly removed from his episcopal see some time ago.

The diocesan Catholic community and his relatives have no news or reasons for his removal, nor do they know where he is being held. In this respect, the Holy See, profoundly saddened for this and other similar episodes that unfortunately do not facilitate ways of understanding, expresses the hope that Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin may return as soon as possible to the diocese and that he can be assured the possibility of serenely exercising his episcopal ministry. We are all invited to pray for Bishop Shao Zhumin and for the path of the Catholic Church in China.

A recent chronology by AsiaNews:

June 8:

The bishop disappeared after being called for a meeting with the Office for Religious Affairs. Bishop Shao is recognized by the Vatican, but not by the government. The bishop’s mother, 90, asks to be able to see her son. Catholics in Wenzhou ask for prayers for their shepherd, so he may be “strong” in faith and witness. In the past some underground bishops were killed while in police hands.

Wenzhou (AsiaNews) – There is still no news of Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang). The diocese’s faithful are very concerned, and with them also the bishop’s mother, a 90-year-old woman who has already asked several times to see her son. Msgr. Shao, 54, disappeared last May 18, after being invited at 9 am to the office for religious affairs in the city. His whereabouts remain unknown.

On May 22, he made a request to his co-workers to have wine for the celebration of Mass, but since then nothing has been heard. Priests and faithful say they do not know where he is and the authorities will tell them nothing.

A message sent to AsiaNews by a member of the faithful asks for “prayers to God to guide him to have a strong faith and a clear witness.” Msgr. Shao had been kidnapped already in April, a few days ahead of Easter, perhaps to prevent him from commemorating the rites of Holy Week with the faithful and his priests. Bishop Shao is a member of the underground community and as a bishop is not recognized by the government. The Holy See, however, confirmed him as ordinary bishop of the diocese, after the death of his predecessor, Msgr. Vincenzo Zhu Weifang, on September 7th. It is most likely that his forced disappearance aims to persuade the prelate to enroll in the Patriotic Association (PA), the party body that wants to build an independent Church, which is “inconsistent with Catholic doctrine “as Benedict XVI affirms in his 2007 Letter to Chinese Catholics, a position confirmed by Pope Francis.

June 19:

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, a bishop not recognised by the overnment, is missing again. The bishop apparently arrived at Wenzhou airport, but did not go home.  Government officials took him to an unknown place. His priests did not see him at home. According to the latest figures, Wenzhou Catholics number 130,000.

Wenzhou (AsiaNews) – Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, ordinary bishop of Wenzhou, is still in the hands of the police held at an unknown location. A report AsiaNews received two days ago was only partially right.

Three days ago, the bishop was seen at Wenzhou Airport waiting for luggage. A Catholic who was there by chance took a photo of him.

This led some Catholics to believe that the bishop had finally been brought back to his city.  However, a day later, some priests in the diocese noted that the bishop had not been seen at his home.

When he was getting his luggage at the airport, the prelate was accompanied by government officers, perhaps plain-clothes police, who drove him in a Volkswagen, not home, but to an unknown location.

Bishop Shao, 54, belongs to Wenzhou’s unofficial Catholic community, which is not recognised by the government. He is the ordinary bishop of the local diocese. He was taken on 18 May by police and was held for almost a month until he was seen at the airport.

It is thought that his absence, like previous disappearances, was part of an attempt to persuade him to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association so that he can be under its control. For the latter, “underground” bishops are regarded as “unreliable”.

June 26:

The last 10 years of the Church in China: from the Letter of Benedict XVI to the silence on the arrest of Msgr. Shao Zhumin – by Joseph

The silence on the persecution of Chinese Catholics and their bishops in Wenzhou and Shanghai. The organisms that Benedict XVI did not accept (Patriotic Association and Chinese Bishops’ Conference) because “incompatible with Catholic doctrine” now govern the Church. Dialogue between China and the Vatican must address the issue of underground bishops out in the open and not under the shroud of secrecy. An analysis from a northeast Chinese Catholic, as the Vatican celebrates a new round of China-Holy See talks.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/The-last-10-years-of-the-Church-in-China:-from-the-Letter-of-Benedict-XVI-to-the-silence-on-the-arrest-of-Msgr.-Shao-Zhumin-41118.html

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS BETHLEHEM UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION – POPE TO SERRANS: “YOU ARE SPECIAL FRIENDS IN THE LIVES OF SEMINARIANS AND PRIESTS”

For many years my Father was the president of a local chapter of Serra International and very often I was invited to attend events in Oak Park, and sometimes in the larger chapter in Chicago. I attended many of the father/daughter dinners and have such a wonderful memories of those events.

There were also father/son dinners, of course. Serra events naturally focused on vocations to the priesthood but also the religious life as a nun, for example. Speakers usually highlighted the importance and the beauty of a vocation but also – and in some ways, more importantly – underscored the contribution that a good, loving, spiritually rich family can make to the creation of and support for a vocation.

During those “Serra years,” I also accompanied my parents to a number of Serra International conventions in the U.S and Canada, and I still have terrific memories of some of those gatherings and the marvelous people working to promote vocations to the priesthood. Obviously I also met a great number of seminarians and priests, in addfition to a number of bishops and cardinals.

Mom, Dad and I usually made the city of the Serra convention our final goal on a long car vacation, driving, for example, from Illinois to Toronto or Vancouver or San Francisco. We never forgot the miles we traveled for the Vancouver convention (Dad always set the odometer for a trip) – 5,280. We probably remembered because that is how many feet there are in a mile. (I cannot explain the reason I remember trivia like this).

I was so hoping to be part of this convention in Rome but at the moment it doesn’t seem possible. Will keep you posted if things change!  In any event, below you’ll find some of the Pope’s words to 600 Serrans whom he received in audience today.

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS BETHLEHEM UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION

This weekend promises to be, in many places around the world, a very hot weekend, weather-wise. But you can stay cool in your home or car as you listen to this week’s “Vatican Insider” when my special guest in the interview segment is John Schlageter, director of the Bethlehem University Foundation.

In the midst of the violence and conflicts and religious persecution in the Middle East, including, of course, the Holy Land, there is one oasis of peace – Bethlehem University in Bethlehem, Palestine. John and I both know and love this university so tune in as we talk about his work.

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE TO SERRANS: “YOU ARE SPECIAL FRIENDS IN THE LIVES OF SEMINARIANS AND PRIESTS”

Serra International,, a Catholic organization designed to help foster vocations to the priesthood, is currently celebrating its 75th annual convention in Rome, and 600 Serrans from around the world were received Friday by Pope Francis.

He urged members to “keep moving forward with courage, creativity and boldness,” and noted that a Serran, “is a special friend whom the Lord has brought into the lives of seminarians and priests.”

Speaking about friendship, the Holy Father said “friends stand at our side, they listen to us closely, and can see beyond mere words; they are merciful when faced with our faults; they are non-judgmental. “This is the kind of friendship that you seek to offer to priests.”  The Serra Club, he added,  “helps foster this beautiful vocation of being laity who are friends to priests.”

“Vocation,” Pope Francis explained, “is an invitation to go forth from ourselves, to rejoice in our relationship with the Lord, and to journey along the ways that he opens up before us. But we cannot make progress unless we take a risk, and have the courage to dare, not to let fear stifle creativity, not to be suspicious of new things, but instead to embrace the challenges which the Spirit sets before us, even when this means changing plans and charting a different course.”

 

VATICAN RETURNS PIECE OF HISTORY TO DUTCH ROYALS – POPE FRANCIS GREETS ROACO ON ITS 90TH PLENARY

VATICAN RETURNS PIECE OF HISTORY TO DUTCH ROYALS

Pope Francis this morning welcomed King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, accompanied by his wife, Queen Máxima, on the penultimate day of their visit to Italy. As is customary with leaders, the sovereigns then met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

The papal audience lasted about 35 minutes and, according to the media present at the encounter, was more than amiable as Queen Maximia was born, like Pope Francis, in Buenos Aires, thus the two could converse in their native Spanish

Among the gifts the royals gave to the Holy Father were Dutch tulips, with Queen Maxima noting they would be planted in the Vatican gardens and are good for more than just Easter.

Dutch flowers growers traditionally provide the plants, flowers and shrubs for the Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope gifted the royals a medallion depicting St. Martin of Tours, known for dividing his cloak to give to a poor man. Francis also gave them the customary gift of copies of his environmental encyclical Laudato si, and two Exhortations, “Amoris Laetitia” and “Evangelii Gaudium,” and his Message for the 2017 World Day of Peace.

During the meeting today with the Dutch Royals the Vatican turned over what is known as the baton (stick, also called scepter) of William of Orange. This is a unique icon in the story of the Dutch state and the nation. The baton bears the coat of arms of William of Orange. It is believed there are no other copies.

The baton was given by William of Orange to a Dutch commander who participated in the battle of Mookerheyde 1574. William’s brother, Luigi of Nassau, waved the baton/ scepter during the battle of Mookerheyde as a general of the Dutch insurrectionists. After they lost, the baton came into the hands of a Spanish general and then after having been given to a general of the Jesuits, today, June 22 it was returned into the hands of William Alexander of Orange.

A note from the museum that will host the baton next year said, “the turning over of the baton represents a witness to reconciliation of the current union between the two countries and religions. It is also a symbol of the long paths that the Roman Catholic Church and the kingdom of the Netherlands have traveled on, fom past rivalries and wars, to today’s reciprocal respect and promotion of peace and human rights.

This special relic will be displayed from April 27 to the end of October 2018 at the National Military Museum in Soesterberg in an exhibit on William of Orange.

POPE FRANCIS GREETS ROACO ON ITS 90TH PLENARY

Pope Francis this morning addressed Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches and all those gathered in Rome for the 90th Plenary Session of ROACO (Reunion of Aid Agencies to the Oriental Churches).

He renewed his “gratitude for the work and the constant effort of charity and solidarity guaranteed since 1968 to the Churches, Eastern and Latin, of the territories entrusted to the competence of the Congregation for Oriental Churches: you support the pastoral, educational and welfare activities and help meet their urgent needs, also thanks to the work of the Pontifical Representatives, whom I also have the pleasure of greeting. Through the Custos I greet and bless the Franciscan Friars of the Custody who have started to celebrate the eighth centenary of their presence in the Holy Land.”

Francis noted that,” the Congregation for the Oriental Churches is celebrating its centenary, a long period during which it has assisted the Supreme Pontiffs – who had been Prefects until 1967 – in their solicitude for all the Churches. There have been decades of dramatic events: Eastern Churches have often been overwhelmed by terrible waves of persecution and suffering, both in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Major migrations have weakened its presence in the territories where they had flourished for centuries. Now, thanks to God, some of them have returned to freedom after the painful period of the totalitarian regimes, but others, especially in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, see their children suffer as a result of the ongoing war and the senseless violence perpetrated by fundamentalist terrorism.”

Pope Francis thanked congregation staff and ROACO members for their constant work of charity and solidarity over the past half century in support of Latin and Eastern-rite communities under the care of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

He highlighted the persecution and emigration suffered by these Churches of the Middle East, as well as in Eastern Europe, saying they have often suffered from “terrible waves of persecution and pain.” Pope Francis said “emigration has also significantly weakened the presence of these Churches in places where they flourished for centuries.” Freedom has now returned to some of those regions, but others, particularly in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, are still devastated by “wars and absurd violence perpetrated by fundamentalist terrorism.” These experiences are a source of both suffering and salvation, he said, as we experience the Cross of Christ.”

The plenary members were reflecting on the current situation in the countries where ROACO is present, and they also reflected on what the Pope called, “the important issue of the initial formation of seminarians and the ongoing formation of priests. We are aware of the radical nature of the choice expressed by many of them, and the heroism of their testimony of dedication alongside their often sorely tried communities. But we are also aware of the temptations that one may encounter, such as the search for a social status attributed to the consecrated in some geographical areas, or a way of exercising the role of guide following criteria of human affirmation or according to patterns of culture and the environment.”

In concluding, the Holy Father said, “And let us not forget that even today in the East, Christians – be they Catholics, Orthodox, or Protestants – shed their blood as a seal of their witness. May oriental believers, if forced to emigrate, be welcomed in the places where they arrive, and continue to live according to their own ecclesial tradition. In this way your work, dear representatives of the Agencies, will be a bridge between the West and the East, both in the countries of origin and in those you yourselves come from.”

FRANCIS GREETS DELEGATION FROM NFL HALL OF FAME – THE SAINTS ARE WITNESSES AND COMPANIONS OF HOPE – WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT VATICAN DICASTERIES?

As you will see in the third story, I mention the SPC, the Secretariat for Communications. I had reason to look up a name today in the Vatican’s 2017 phone directory and was surprised to see that the SPC has 11 pages of phone numbers (Secretariat of State has only 4 and a half), having combined all the Vatican communications offices (newspaper, CTV, radio, press office, etc) under one umbrella. Took me quite a while to find the one name I needed!

FRANCIS GREETS DELEGATION FROM NFL HALL OF FAME

Before today’s general audience, Pope Francis received a delegation from the National Football League Hall of Fame, including six previous inductees, one team owner who will be inducted in August, and members of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees.Francis said. “I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame, and to welcome you to the Vatican.  As many of you know, I am an avid follower of ‘football’, but where I come from, the game is played very differently!”

The Pope highlighted the “traditional values of sportsmanship that you (NFL) seek to embody, both on the field and in your own lives, your families and your communities.  Our world, and especially our young people, need models, persons who show us how to bring out the best in ourselves, to use our God-given gifts and talents, and, in so doing, to point the way to a better future for our societies.”

The Holy Father, as he has done on many occasions when addressing sports figures and groups and young people in general, stressed the importance of “teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence” saying these “are the values – in the religious sense, we can say virtues” that are also “urgently needed off the field, on all levels of our life as a community.  They are the values that help build a culture of encounter, in which we anticipate and meet the needs of our brothers and sisters, and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family.  How greatly our world needs this culture of encounter!”

THE SAINTS ARE WITNESSES AND COMPANIONS OF HOPE

The Holy Father Wednesday, contin uing his series of catecheses on Christian hope, reflected on the Saints as witnesses and companions of Hope.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” began Francis, “we now look to the saints, to ‘those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith’.  The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the saints as ‘a great cloud of witnesses’ who support us on our pilgrim way through this present life.  In the sacraments of baptism, marriage and ordination, we pray the Litany of the Saints to implore their intercession and help in the particular vocation we have received.”

The Pope went on to note that, “the lives of the saints remind us that the Christian ideal is not unattainable.  Despite our human weakness, we can always count on God’s grace and the prayers of the saints to sustain us in faith and in hope for the transfiguration of this world and the fulfilment of Christ’s promises in the next.”

“May the Lord enable all of us,” concluded Francis, “to become saints, to be living images of Christ in our time.  May he strengthen us to be his witnesses and to bring the Gospel to all our brothers and sisters, especially the suffering and those most in need of its message of undying hope.”

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT VATICAN DICASTERIES?

Click on (then save) the following link and you’ll see the chart I posted below. I’ve not visited every site before posting this today, just a few, however some of them are still from the http://www.vatican.va site and have not been updated in quite some time. Other are quite interesting. I’m guessing this is all part of the Secretariat for Communication’s (SPC) planned reform in the area of communications and that some day there will be a totally new website that will be updated frequently, if not daily.

ttp://www.vatican.va/siti_va/index_va_en.htm

   
CONGREGATIONS
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith www.doctrinafidei.va www.memoriafidei.va www.acdf.va
Pontifical Commission for Latin America (Congregation for Bishops) www.americalatina.va
Pontifical Mission Societies (Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) www.ppoomm.va
Museum of Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) www.museopropagandafide.va
Historical Archive “de Propaganda Fide” (Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) www.archiviostoricopropaganda.va
Congregation for the Clergy www.clerus.va
Congregation for Catholic Education (for Institutes of Study) www.educatio.va
Congregation for the Causes of Saints www.causesanti.va
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life www.congregazionevitaconsacrata.va
TRIBUNALS
Apostolic Penitentiary www.penitenzieria.va
Roman Rota www.rotaromana.va
PONTIFICAL COUNCILS
Pontifical Council for the Laity www.laici.va
Pontifical Council for the Family www.familia.va
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace www.iustitiaetpax.va www.laudatosi.va
Pontifical Council for Culture www.cultura.va
Pontifical Council for Social Communications www.pccs.va www.intermirifica50.va
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization www.novaevangelizatio.va www.annusfidei.va www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va
Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts www.delegumtextibus.va
Pontifical Council Cor Unum www.corunum.va www.corunumjubilaeum.va
DICASTERIES
Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life www.laityfamilylife.va
SYNOD OF BISHOPS
XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (Holy See Press Office’s Communications Channel) synod15.vatican.va
XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops youth.synod2018.va
OFFICES
PONTIFICAL COMMISSIONS
Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors www.protectionofminors.va
OTHER INSTITUTIONS
Pontifical Musical Chorus of the Sistine Chapel: www.cappellamusicalepontificia.va
Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation www.centesimusannus.va
Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem www.oessh.va
Campo Santo Teutonico www.camposanto.va www.camposantoteutonico.va www.erzbruderschaft.va www.paepstlichespriesterkolleg.va www.pontificiocollegioteutonico.va www.deutscherfriedhof.va www.cimiteroteutonico.va www.priesterkolleg.va www.collegioteutonico.va
OTHER COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses www.congressieucaristici.va
Pontifical Swiss Guard www.guardiasvizzera.va
Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences www.historia.va
INSTITUTIONS CONNECTED WITH THE HOLY SEE
Vatican Secret Archives asv.vatican.va (www.archiviosegretovaticano.va) www.scuolavaticanapaleografia.va
Vatican Library www.vaticanlibrary.va
L’Osservatore Romano www.osservatoreromano.va
Vatican Publishing House www.libreriaeditricevaticana.va
Vatican Radio www.radiovaticana.va
Photografic Service of L’Osservatore Romano www.photo.va
Office of Papal Charities www.elemosineria.va
Holy See’s Agency for the Evaluation and Promotion of Quality in Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties (AVEPRO) www.avepro.va
Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF) www.aif.va
Vatican Television Center (CTV) www.ctv.va
Excavations Office (Fabric of St. Peter) www.scavi.va
LABOUR OFFICE OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE
ULSA (Labour Office of the Apostolic See) www.ulsa.va
VATICAN CITY STATE
Vatican City State www.vaticanstate.va
Vatican Museums www.museivaticani.va
Online Ticket Office of the Vatican Museums biglietteriamusei.vatican.va
The Vatican Observatory 2014 Summer School www.voss2014.va
Vatican Observatory www.vaticanobservatory.va
PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES
Pontifical Academy of Sciences www.casinapioiv.va www.endslavery.va
Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences www.pass.va
Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas www.past.va
INSTITUTES OF STUDIES
Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music www.musicasacra.va
SECTIONS OF THE OFFICIAL SITE
Abuse of minors. The Church’s response www.resources.va
Pontifical Council Cor Unum www.corunum.va
Photo Galleries www.photogallery.va
FOUNDATIONS
The Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation www.fondazioneratzinger.va
Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation www.centesimusannus.va
Paediatric Medical Foundation of Santa Marta www.dispensariosantamarta.va
OTHER
Pontifical Parish of St Anne in the Vatican www.santanna.va
Institute for Religious Works (IOR) www.ior.va
PONTIFICAL DELEGATIONS
Pontifical Delegation for the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua

 

HOLY FATHER MOURNS DEATH OF CARDINAL IVAN DIAS – POPE PAYS HOMAGE TO TWO “INCONVENIENT” PRIESTS – WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2017: HISTORICALLY HIGH NUMBERS OF DISPLACED PERSONS

The last few days have been nonstop for Pope Francis who Sunday presided at the noon Angelus prayer with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square below his study window, and later in the day presided at the Corpus Christi celebration of Mass at St. John Lateran. That was followed by a procession with the Blessed Sacrament to St. Mary Major where Francis venerated the Eucharist and blessed the faithful who had joined in the celebrations.

Monday evening, before opening the diocese of Rome’s annual pastoral conference, Francis met with some refugees being cared for the diocese through Caritas. Francis, as Pope, is the bishop of Rome.

SS. Francesco – Famiglie rifugiati ospiti Caritas
19-06-2017-Servizio Fotografico – L’Osservatore Romano

SS. Francesco – Famiglie rifugiati ospiti Caritas
19-06-2017-@Servizio Fotografico – L’Osservatore Romano

Today, as you will see, the Pope flew to northern Italy to pay homage to two Italian priests whose stories I did not know – it was an interesting trip to follow.

I presume the rest of the papal day was dedicated to preparing the catechesis for tomorrow’s general audience. He did have time for a tweet (a reference to the celebration today World Refugee Day): The personal encounter with refugees dispels fears and distorted ideologies and becomes a factor for growth in humanity. @M_RSection

HOLY FATHER MOURNS DEATH OF CARDINAL IVAN DIAS

Pope Francis sent a telegram Tuesday to Francis Dias, the brother of Cardinal Ivan Dias who died Monday in Rome at the age of 81. The cardinal was the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and archbishop emeritus of Bombay:

Deeply saddened to learn of the death of your dear brother, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and the Dias family.  I recall with gratitude the late Cardinal’s years of faithful service to the Apostolic See, especially his contribution to the spiritual and physical reconstruction of the suffering Church in Albania and the missionary zeal demonstrated in his work as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.  I likewise unite my prayers to those of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Bombay, where the pastoral concern and broad apostolic vision that marked his service as Archbishop are fondly remembered.  In union of prayer with all who mourn his passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I commend the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.

Cardinal Dias was born on April 14, 1936 in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. He was ordained for the archdiocese of Bombay on December 8, 1958 and held a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University.

He entered the Holy See’s diplomatic service in 1964 and was posted to the Nordic countries, Indonesia, Madagascar, La Réunion, the Comorros, Mauritius and the Secretariat of State.

Cardinal Dias served as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urbanian University from 2006 until 2011.

With his death, the College of Cardinals numbers 220, of whom 116 are Cardinal-electors.

POPE PAYS HOMAGE TO TWO “INCONVENIENT” PRIESTS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday travelled to two small towns in northern Italy to pay homage to two Italian parish priests of the past century who championed the poor and challenged powerful prelates to step outside their comfort zones.

Arriving by helicopter in the Lombardy town of Bozzolo to pray at the tomb of  Don Primo Mazzolari, Pope Francis was greeted by Cremona Bishop Antonio Napolioni who announced the process to beatify Mazzolari will start on September 18th.

Don in Italian means Father.

Fr. Mazzolari, who died in 1959, was the parish priest of Bozzolo. He was also a scholar who wrote about St. Francis and Blessed John Henry Newman, an anti-fascist activist who opposed the Mussolini regime and an ardent champion of the poor. Sanctioned for a time by diocesan authorities, Mazzolari was a friend of Pope John XXIII and praised by the future Pope Paul VI.

Pope Francis’ lengthy tribute to Fr. Mazzolari – whom he described as Italy’s parish priest – was above all a call to priests not to demand perfection from the faithful, but to encourage them to do their best and an exhortation to them to take the Gospel message into the peripheries in poverty and with simplicity, turning away from the temptations of clericalism and careerism.

Francis then flew to Barbiana, near Florence, to pray at the tomb of Don Lorenzo Milani, a man he has described as “a believer, enamored of the Church”  a “passionate educator” who used “original ways.”

Fr. Milani, who died in 1967, is universally acknowledged for having been an optimum interpreter of modern and contemporary pedagogy, a priest attentive to formative methods for young people, and  especially alert to the needs of the poor and the rights of workers.

Fr. Milani, the Pope said, taught the importance of giving the poor the capacity to speak up for themselves, because “without the word, there’s no dignity and therefore no justice or freedom.”

Francis said he undertook the pilgrimage in the footsteps of two parish priests whose legacy he described as “scomodo,” which means challenging or inconvenient, but that has left a radiant trace in their service to the Lord and to the people of God.

WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2017: HISTORICALLY HIGH NUMBERS OF DISPLACED PERSONS

(Vatican Radio) At a time in history in which an unprecedented 65,5 million people around the world have been forced from home, we are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record.

Among them are nearly 22,5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

World Refugee Day, held each year on June 20th, commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of men, women and children who are on the move, in search of protection and opportunity.

Pope Francis has done so again and again, both in words and in action, as he has appealed to governments and policy-makers to heed the Christian message of welcome as well as dedicating many personal moments of encounter and prayer to refugees and forced migrants in different situations.

Marking the occasion is also the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) with its message to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. In an effort to make its message even stronger and more effective, this year it has done so joining forces with other faith-based organizations and released an ecumenical statement entitled “Refugees: an opportunity to grow together.”

Jesuit Father Aloysius Mowe, International Director of Advocacy and Communications for JRS told Linda Bordoni that as Christians, it is not enough to profess to love Christ because faith is authentic only if it is expressed in loving action and solidarity:

Click here for that interview: http://www.news.va/en/news/world-refugee-day-an-opportunity-to-grow-together

 

THE EUCHARIST IS THE MEMORIAL OF GOD’S LOVE – THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI: THEN AND NOW

In case you did not see my earlier tweet or FB note, it was annnounced today by the press office director, Greg Burke, that Pope Francis will visit Chile and Peru in January 2018 – specific schedule and details to be announced.

THE EUCHARIST IS THE MEMORIAL OF GOD’S LOVE

On Sunday, the feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at St. John Lateran basilica, his cathedral as Bishop of Rome, followed by a procession to St. Mary Major Basilica. This annual procession has traditionally taken place on the Thursday before the feast of Corpus Christi but Pope Francis asked that it be moved this year to the actual feast day itself.

In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the word “memory,” noting that “remembering all that the Lord has done for us is the foundation of our own personal history of salvation.”

“Memory is important,” said Francis, “because it allows us to dwell in love, to be mindful, never forgetting who it is who loves us and whom we are called to love in return.  Yet nowadays, this singular ability that the Lord has given us is considerably weakened.  Amid so much frantic activity, many people and events seem to pass in a whirl.  We quickly turn the page, looking for novelty while unable to retain memories.  Leaving our memories behind and living only for the moment, we risk remaining ever on the surface of things, constantly in flux, without going deeper, without the broader vision that reminds us who we are and where we are going.  In this way, our life grows fragmented, and dulled within.”

And yet, he said, “today’s Solemnity reminds us that in our fragmented lives, the Lord comes to meet us with a loving ‘fragility’ which is the Eucharist.  In the Bread of Life, the Lord comes to us, making himself a humble meal that lovingly heals our memory, wounded by life’s frantic pace of life.  The Eucharist is the memorial of God’s love.

“There, ‘Christ’s sufferings are remembered’, and we recall God’s love for us, which gives us strength and support on our journey.  This is why the Eucharistic commemoration does us so much good: it is not an abstract, cold and superficial memory, but a living remembrance that comforts us with God’s love.  The Eucharist is flavored with Jesus’ words and deeds, the taste of his Passion, the fragrance of his Spirit.  When we receive it, our hearts are overcome with the certainty of Jesus’ love.  In saying this, I think in particular of you boys and girls, who recently received First Holy Communion, and are here today in great numbers.”

After Mass, the Holy Father travelled by car to St. Mary Major where he welcomed the huge procession carrying the Blessed Sacrament. For the first time, the Monstrance was carried on a platform, instead of placed in an open truck, held aloft on the shoulders of four men, alternating with others at points. A canopy was held over the Eucharist by 8 other men.

In 1994, when Pope John Paul began to have difficulty walking, a truck became the means of transportation for the pontiff and the Eucharist. Both a chair and a kneeler were planed in the open vehicle for the Pope. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI followed suit in the truck.

Pope Francis did walk behind the Eucharist in 2013 but since then has been driven to the basilica of St. Mary Major.

THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI – THEN AND NOW

The solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, known in many countries as Corpus Christi or Corpus Domini, is always a holiday in the Vatican. For years, the public celebration occurred on the Thursday before the Sunday feast of Corpus Christi and the main event on the papal schedule that day was Mass at 7 p.m. in the square outside the Pope’s cathedral church of St. John Lateran, a procession with the Blessed Sacrament down Via Merulana to St. Mary Major Basilica and a blessing of the crowd gathered there.

In March 2017, Pope Francis moved the traditional celebration in Rome of the feast of Corpus Christi from Thursday to the following Sunday.  One of the reasons seemed to be the Pope’s desire to attract more people to this annual Mass and procession, including people who would have Sunday as a day off of work.

After the Corpus Christi Mass on June 18, 2017,  the Holy Father travelled by car to St. Mary Major where he welcomed the huge procession carrying the Blessed Sacrament. For the first time, the Monstrance was carried on a platform, instead of placed in an open truck. It was held aloft on the shoulders of four men, alternating with others at points. A canopy was held over the Eucharist by 8 other men.

Let’s look back at the history of this important feast day.

Via Merulana, originally called Via Gregoriana, was laid out by Pope Gregory XIII during the Holy Year 1575. There is a Via Gregoriana in Rome today but it is located near the famed Spanish Steps. Among Pope Gregory’s achievements: He reformed the calendar, founded the papal observatory, as well as several colleges and seminaries, including the Gregorian University, and built the Quirinale Palace, for years the summer residence of Popes and now home to the president of Italy.

The procession between the two Roman basilicas began in the 1400’s. Its current itinerary began in 1575 when Pope Gregory XIII built the street that links them, originally named Via Gregorian and now called Via Merulana. This route was followed for more than 300 years until the procession fell into disuse until 1979 when St. John Paul revived the custom, He processed the distance on foot every year except 1981, after the attack on his life in St. Peter’s Square, and 1994 following hip surgery. Starting in 1995 he rode in an open, canopy-covered vehicle, seated before a small altar bearing the monstrance and host.

Pope Benedict XVI continued this tradition.

The feast of Corpus Christi is due in part to the visions of a 13th century Augustinian nun, Julianna of Lièges, known for her devotion to the Eucharist. In one vision, Our Lord appeared to her, reminding her there was no solemnity honoring the Blessed Sacrament and she began to promote such a feast. Pope Urban IV, who also wished to honor the Eucharist, wrote a Bull in 1264 in which he spoke of the love of Our Lord and Savior as expressed in the Holy Eucharist, ordering Corpus Christi to be celebrated annually on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Indulgences could be gained, he wrote, by attendance at Mass and reciting the Office composed at Urban’s request by St. Thomas Aquinas, which many say is the most beautiful office of the Breviary.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, about this same time in history – which was a period of infrequent communion – the elevation of the chalice and host came into being at Mass as well as placing the host in a monstrance for Eucharistic adoration. Corpus Christi is a moveable feast and in some countries is observed on the first Sunday following Trinity Sunday.

I am often asked: What is the difference between a solemnity and a feast day in the Church? Liturgy is, of course, the Church’s public worship and includes all rites and ceremonies by means of which the Church expresses her worship of God. The principal acts of liturgy that would immediately come to mind to all of us would be the seven sacraments, called sacramental liturgies.

There are also categories of liturgical days. The three technical categories are, in descending order: Solemnity, Feast and Memorial.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a feast is “technically, one category of liturgical day, a lesser rank than ‘solemnity’ and a higher rank than ‘memorial’. In popular usage, however, ‘feast’ is applied indiscriminately by the faithful to all liturgical days on which the Church commemorates a mystery of Our Lord or Our Lady, or keeps the memory of a saint.” Thus, these days mark an event in the life of Jesus or Mary or a saint. The Vatican is very careful to make the distinction between solemnity, feast or memorial: Corpus Christi is a solemnity.

Often the observance starts on the vigil, that is, the evening prior to the actual date. Many solemnities occur on fixed dates such as January 1 – Mother of God, January 6 – Epiphany, March 25 – the Annunciation, June 29 – Sts. Peter and Paul, August 15 – the Assumption, December 8 – the Immaculate Conception. Others are movable dates: Easter, the Ascension, Pentecost and Corpus Christi – which Pope Benedict marks today, May 22, in Rome.

A memorial refers to the so-called lowest type of feast found in the Church’s liturgical calendar. There is the obligatory memorial that must be celebrated and the optional memorial that is celebrated at Mass at the priest’s discretion. May 10th was, for example, an optional memorial of Saint Damien de Veuster of Molokai, the priest who treated lepers.

AN UPDATE FROM ROME

AN UPDATE FROM ROME

Please excuse my absence on this page yesterday. As you know I write a fresh column every day and, if I’ll be absent, I always explain the reason why – a trip, vacation, etc.

Yesterday was simply a question of being in too much pain to write.

For about 10 or so days I have been bothered by pain, first very slight, and a touch of swelling on my right ankle. I thought it night be the temporary result of a very slight twisted ankle on the cobblestone of St. Peter’s Square about two weeks ago. I did visit some doctors in the Vatican, was told by each of them that it was an infection in my ankle and even had a Doppler test to exclude phlebitis. I followed their orders, took the prescribe antibiotics and there was just no improvement.

Yesterday and today the pain was unbearable, thus my decision this morning to go to the emergency room at the very nearby Santo Spirito hospital. Busses, trains and planes were all on strike throughout Italy today and for this reason it was close to impossible to find a taxi – waits were very long. I tried, as my Mother advised us when we had disappointments growing up, to “offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory!”

In any case, staff at Santo Spirito (in a totally renovated emergency area) was great. The doctor confirmed a very bad infection and I had a procedure that made the pain of previous days seem like child’s play! I totally forgot why but he did give me a reason they could not use anesthesia to kill the pain.

I have a topical medicine to use twice a day for 5 days and an antibiotic, twice a day for 6 days. I have been told the pain should diminish each day as my body rids itself completely of any residual infection, swelling, etc. As I write, no one understands how this occurred – an insect bite has been the favorite hypothesis.

I can tell you one thing when physical pain is excruciating: it is very hard to pray.

Working helped take my mind off things so, until yesterday, I wrote a daily column and also managed all this past week and last to write and then film segments of AT HOME with Jim and Joy for the film crew came to my home: Thanks so much, my friends! Last night I wrote until about 8 as I had to prepare “Vatican Insider” news segment and my Vatican radio weekly show, “Joan Knows,” that I usually tape on Fridays – did it today over the phone.

So many people wanted to know how things turned out today that writing these lines was easier than responding to each email.

Thanks for continued prayers.

VATICAN INSIDER this weekend: For a number of reasons, the interview segment will be “The Best of” but the news segment is current. My guest is Eliyo. Eliyo is the professional name of Sarah Ego, an Assyrian Orthodox singer who was born in Augsburg, Germany. We met at one of her concerts in the Vatican where she sang traditional German Christian chorals as well as several songs in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and the Apostles, Schubert’s Ave Maria in Latin and several Christmas carols in English. We talk about her concerts and her dreams.