JULY 11: POPE FRANCIS AT THE ANGELUS FROM GEMELLI HOSPITAL

JULY 11: POPE FRANCIS AT THE ANGELUS FROM GEMELLI HOSPITAL

Photos from EWTN’s Pablo Esparza: Pope Francis delivering Angelus reflections and blessing from balcony of papal suite on Sunday, July 11:

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In this photo, it seems Francis has a bandage on his right hand:

 

POPE: MARY’S ASSUMPTION, A “HUGE LEAP FORWARD FOR HUMANITY” – POST-ANGELUS REMARKS ON EGYPT, NIGERIA AND SHRINE OF LORETO – THE POPE EXTENDS LAURETAN JUBILEE TO DECEMBER 2021

POPE: MARY’S ASSUMPTION, A “HUGE LEAP FORWARD FOR HUMANITY”

During the Angelus on the feast of the Assumption, Pope Francis said that the Virgin Mary shows us that our goal is not to gain the things here on earth, which are fleeting, but the homeland above, which is forever.

By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Pope Francis on Saturday invited Christians to thank and praise God for the good that He has done in our life just as the Virgin did in the Magnificat, which became the source of her joy.

Pope Francis made the exhortation at the midday Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on the day the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into heaven.

The dogma of faith that Pope Pius XII proclaimed on November 1, 1950, asserts that the Virgin Mary, “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”  Pope Francis said the Assumption shines “as a sign of sure hope and solace to the People of God during its sojourn on earth,” as the Second Vatican Council puts it.

Addressing a holiday crowd from the window of his studio overlooking the square, the Pope said that in Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, we celebrate an infinitely greater conquest than the “giant step for mankind” when man first set foot on the moon.  When the lowly Virgin of Nazareth set foot in paradise, body and spirit, he said, it was “the huge leap forward for humanity.”

This, the Pope said, gives us hope that “we are precious, destined to rise again. …God does not allow our bodies to vanish into nothing. With God, nothing is lost!”

Pope Francis thus invited all to ask ourselves whether we, like Mary, praise and thank God for the good things He does for us, for His love, forgiveness, tenderness and for giving us His Mother and our brothers and sisters.

“If we forget the good,” the Pope warned, “the heart shrinks. … But if, like Mary, we remember the great things that the Lord does, if at least once a day we were to ‘magnify’ Him, then our hearts will expand and our joy will increase.”

POST-ANGELUS REMARKS ON EGYPT, NIGERIA AND SHRINE OF LORETO

After reciting the Angelus, Francis said, “the Virgin Mary, whom we contemplate today in heavenly glory, is the ‘Mother of hope’. This title of hers has been recently included in the Litany of Loreto. Let us invoke her intercession for all the situations in the world that are most in need of hope: hope for peace, for justice, hope for a dignified life. Today I would like to pray in particular for the population of the northern region of Nigeria, victim of violence and terrorist attacks.”

He went on to say he was “following with particular attention the situation of the difficult negotiations regarding the Nile between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. I invite all parties to continue on the path of dialogue so that the Eternal River might continue to be a source of life that unites, not divides, that always nourishes friendship, prosperity, fraternity, and never enmity, misunderstanding or conflict. Let dialogue, dear brothers and sisters of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, let dialogue be your only choice, for the good of your dear populations and of the entire world.”

THE POPE EXTENDS LAURETAN JUBILEE TO DECEMBER 2021

Archbishop Fabio dal Cin, Pontifical Delegate to the Shrine at Loreto announced that Pope Francis is extending the Lauretan Jubilee to December 2021. In his words, he thanks the Pope for a gift that allows people to enjoy for another twelve months the benefits of this spiritual jubilee in this time of pandemic.

By Vatican News

On Saturday evening, to the applause of the faithful, Archbishop Fabio Dal Cin, Pontifical Delegate to the Shrine at Loreto announced the Pope’s decision to extend the Lauretan Jubilee until December 10, 2021. The Jubilee was granted on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the proclamation by Pope Benedict XV of Our Lady of Loreto, Patroness of all airmen.

Imparting the news from the Shrine of the Holy House, the archbishop said, “In this difficult time for mankind, Holy Mother Church gives us another twelve months to start anew with Christ, letting us be accompanied by Mary, a sign of consolation and sure hope for all.”

The Jubilee was officially inaugurated on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, with the opening of the Holy Door presided over by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin but “unfortunately not celebrated in all its entirety because of the Covid-19 epidemic.” It was to end this coming December 10, 2020.

An Apostolic Decree issued on July 16 by the Apostolic Penitentiary states that there will be another twelve months to experience grace and forgiveness for all the faithful who visit the Pontifical Shrine, and this also extends to the many chapels of the civil airports and air force bases around the world.

 

POPE TO YOUNG PEOPLE: USE THE “FANTASY OF LOVE” TO REACH OUT TO THE ELDERLY

A heads up: I leave tomorrow afternoon for a few days in Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast, my first excursion out of Rome since March 13! It should be very interesting, even with all the Covid-related rules, regulations and restrictions. However, Sorrento and surroundings are a small slice of paradise so this will be more a delightful change of place, than a change of pace. I’ll be working, writing blogs (no promises for Monday!), posting stories and photos and doing radio shows, etc. It might be a “Joan’s Rome” lite but that’s OK!

I so enjoyed the Angelus today, especially Pope Francis’ remarks about grandparents on this day when we celebrate Sts. Joachim and Ann, Mary’s parents, thus Jesus’ grandparents. I don’t remember if I ever asked anyone when I was little about Jesus’ grandparents – I just knew his parents, Mary and Joseph.

When I became aware of Joachim and Ann (also spelled Anne), I started to imagine Jesus as a toddler, following his grandparents around the house when they came to visit or he went to their house. I pictured him perhaps helping in a garden or in the kitchen and surely in St. Joseph’s carpenter shop, asking a lot of questions. Were they around when Jesus was a teen? We know so little about them that we don’t know how old he was when they died.

By the way, this is one of my very favorite pictures! (from Pinterest)

Pope Francis has spoken of grandparents countless times in his papacy – one could write a short book on the subject. In addition, he has reminisced often about his own grandmother Rosa: On one trip, he said; “I had the grace to grow up in a family where faith was lived in a simple and concrete way; but it was above all my grandmother, my father’s mother, who marked my path of faith. She was a woman who explained to us, who spoke to us about Jesus, who taught us the Catechism.

“I always remember that on Good Friday evening she would take us to the candlelight procession, and at the end of this procession… my grandmother would make us children kneel and she would say: ‘Look, he is dead, but tomorrow he will rise again.” I received the first Christian announcement from this woman, from my grandmother! That’s beautiful! The first announcement at home, with the family! And this makes me think of the love of many mothers and grandmothers in the transmission of the faith. It is they who transmit the faith.”  

If you are blessed enough to have living grandparents; visit as often as possible, collect stories, ask a thousand questions, learn about the richness of your past! And with today’s technology be sure to record their stories and memories – and take pictures!

POPE TO YOUNG PEOPLE: USE THE ‘FANTASY OF LOVE’ TO REACH OUT TO THE ELDERLY

Pope Francis urges young people to show tenderness to the elderly by connecting with them, “calling them, video-chatting with them…sending them hugs.”

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

After reciting the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis recalled the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Ann, Jesus’ grandparents.

The Pope invited them to reach out tenderly to the elderly by doing something concrete for those “who are most alone in their homes or retirement residences, and who have not seen their loved-ones for months”.

“Dear young people, the Pope continued, “each elderly person is your grandparent!” He then begged young people not to leave the elderly alone. “Use the fantasy of love”, he told them. Then he gave them some suggestions: “Call them, videochat with them, send them messages, listen to them, go and visit them when it is possible while observing health precautions, send them a hug.”

Pope Francis then picked up one of his favorite themes, reminding young people that the elderly are their “roots.”

“An uprooted tree does not grow or bear flowers or fruit”, he said. Being united and connected with the elderly is important because that is how we remain connected to our roots, he explained. He then quoted an Argentinean poet, who said that the flowers that we see on trees come from what is underground.

After his words, the Pope asked for a round of applause for grandparents.

 

 

WHEN NO NEWS BECOMES THE NEWS – DISTINGUISHING REPORTING FROM SPIN ON THE POPE AND HONG KONG

WHEN NO NEWS BECOMES THE NEWS

No news becomes the news story of the day when you have news but cannot publish it. Sunday, as always happens before a papal speech or homily, the Holy See Press Office emailed an embargoed copy of the papal remarks to the media accredited to the press office. Embargo means we cannot publish or even hint at the content until the moment the Pope actually speaks the words in the text.

What happens when our embargoed text contains words the Pope does not say?

That happened last Sunday.

The original Italian-language text arrived at 11:15. Shortly before the Pope spoke at the Angelus the media was informed that a certain part of the text regarding Hong Kong would not be read by the Pope, and the eventual daily bulletin, in fact, did not have that part of the text, nor did the English and Spanish translations.

A non-text or deleted text, especially if somewhat sensitive, provokes many questions. The questions about the Sunday text are still being asked and explored and parsed today.

The embargo was broken and once that happened, other media felt free to go with the story, citing not the original Vatican text but the story as reported by the one who broke the embargo. I could not and did not say a thing until I knew that I would be working within EWTN’s standards, as well as those of the press office. I got clarification last night. Rather than re-tell Sunday’s story, here’s a link to John Allen’s piece in Crux as he tells the story and aftermath very well.

If we had been able to publish the original text Sunday, I’d have written a very long column. Pazienza! Maybe some day…..!

DISTINGUISHING REPORTING FROM SPIN ON THE POPE AND HONG KONG

ROME (July 7) – Reporters covering the Vatican find ourselves in a frustrating bind right now, because we’ve got news we can’t fully report — in part because we’re bound by journalistic ethics, and in part because we don’t know ourselves what happened. That vacuum hasn’t stopped the left v. right ideological sausage grinders from swinging into action anyway, running the risk of making it less likely we’ll ever get the full story.

I realize that sounds terribly cryptic, so let me try to break it down.

On Sunday, Pope Francis was set to deliver his usual noontime Angelus address, which often features a brief comment or two on the international situation. As it always does, the Vatican circulated a draft of the address in advance to help reporters prepare, which comes with a strict embargo: We can’t refer to its contents before it’s delivered, and only what the pope actually says is considered official. Anything he skips, therefore, is regarded as having never existed.

Normally popes don’t veer terribly far from the prepared text, sometimes injecting a word or two here or there, skipping a random line for one reason or another, and so on.

However, it’s now a matter of public record that yesterday, Pope Francis omitted a sizeable chunk of text on Hong Kong. I can’t report what the text contained, because I’m bound to honor the conditions under which I received the information. I can report, however, that several Italian news sites have published the text or commented on why it was omitted, and there’s certainly no embargo on their content.

In a nutshell, commentators and news outlets known to be critical of Pope Francis are styling the omission as the latest chapter in what they see as the Vatican’s appeasement of China and its Communist leadership, generally linking it to a deal signed two years ago and shortly up for review that afforded Chinese authorities a role in the nomination of Catholic bishops.

TO CONTINUE: https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2020/07/distinguishing-reporting-from-spin-on-the-pope-and-hong-kong/

“THE ACTION OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, A SINGLE PLAN OF LOVE THAT SAVES HUMANITY” – “THE HEART OF JESUS, A WELLSPRING OF GOD’S MERCY, FORGIVENESS AND TENDERNESS”

For the first time in its history, the Holy See Press Office today released English and Spanish translations of the Holy Father’s reflections at today’s Angelus, as well as his words after praying the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.   Though I usually post a summary, following are those English texts in full as they offer some wonderful food for reflection about the Holy Trinity and Sacred Heart of Jesus. I am sure you know that the Church always dedicates the month of June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

For the second Sunday in a row, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace that overlooks St. Peter’s Square where a small group of faithful, having gone through two security checks, gathered to pray with him.

“THE ACTION OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, A SINGLE PLAN OF LOVE THAT SAVES HUMANITY”

Dear brothers and sisters, good day! Today’s Gospel (see Jn 3: 16-18), on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, demonstrates – with John’s succinct language – the mystery of God’s love for the world, His creation. In the brief dialogue with Nicodemus, Jesus presents Himself as He who brings to fulfilment the Father’s plan of salvation for the world. He affirms: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (v. 16). These words are to indicate that the action of the three divine Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is all a single plan of love that saves humanity and the world. (photo vatican media)

The world is marked by evil and corruption, and we men and women are sinners; therefore, God could intervene to judge the world, to destroy evil and castigate sinners. Instead, He loves the world, despite its sins; God loves every one of us even when we make mistakes and distance ourselves from Him. God the Father loves the world so much that, to save it, He gives what is most precious to Him: His only-begotten Son, who gives His life for humanity, rises again, returns to the Father and together with Him sends the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is therefore Love, all in the service of the world, which He wishes to save and recreate.

When Jesus affirms that the Father has given His only-begotten Son, we spontaneously think of Abraham and his offering of his son Isaac, about whom the Book of Genesis speaks (cf. 22: 1-14): this is the “measure without measure” of God’s love. And let us also think of how God reveals Himself to Moses: full of tenderness, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and full of grace and fidelity. The encounter with this God encouraged Moses, who, as the book of Exodus tells us, was not afraid to stand between the people and the Lord, saying to Him: “Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance” (34: 9).

Dear brothers and sisters, today’s feast day invites us to let ourselves once again be fascinated by the beauty of God; beauty, goodness and inexhaustible truth. But also humble, close, who became flesh in order to enter into our life, into our history, so that every man and woman may encounter it and have eternal life. And this is faith: to welcome God-Love who gives Himself in Christ, to let ourselves be encountered by Him and to trust in Him.

We live faith in Christ in listening to the Word and partaking in the Sacraments, through which the Holy Spirit gives us God’s grace. Through the Sacraments we can remain in a continuous relationship with the divine Persons, we are stimulated to bear witness to evangelical charity, and we are sustained in our effort to live in unity and in peace, so that everything may be to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, of God-Love.

May the Virgin Mary, dwelling-place of the Trinity, help us to welcome with an open heart the love of God, which fills us with joy and gives meaning to our journey in this world, always guiding us towards our destination, which is Heaven.

“THE HEART OF JESUS, A WELLSPRING OF GOD’S MERCY, FORGIVENESS AND TENDERNESS”

Dear brothers and sisters, I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims: individual faithful, families and religious communities. Your presence in the square is a sign that the acute phase of the epidemic is over in Italy, even though it remains necessary to follow the rules in force carefully. But unfortunately in other countries, especially in Latin America, the virus continues to claim many victims. I wish to express my closeness to those populations, to the sick and their families, and to all those who care for them.

The month of June is dedicated in a special way to the Heart of Christ, a devotion that unites the great spiritual teachers and the simple among the people of God. Indeed, the human and divine Heart of Jesus is the wellspring where we can always draw upon God’s mercy, forgiveness and tenderness. We can do so by focusing on a passage from the Gospel, feeling that at the centre of every gesture, of every word of Jesus there is love, the love of the Father. And we can do this by adoring the Eucharist, where this love is present in the Sacrament. Then our heart too, little by little, will become more patient, more generous, more merciful.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and arrivederci.

POPE ANNOUNCES EXTRAORDINARY URBI ET ORBI BLESSING – COMMUNIQUE FROM PAPAL ALMSGIVER

I took a little bit of a hiatus from news yesterday, that is, I researched a lot, reposted some stories on Facebook but did not write a blog about the latest developments in Italy regarding quarantine, what we can do and cannot do, what some of the news measures are, etc. Tune in tomorrow!

I greatly enjoyed some Face Time with a niece last evening, and her two sisters and their children will join me later today. That is such a terrific way to stay in touch!

I don’t know where the time goes every day but I do know I am very behind in correspondence with so many of you who have sent me messages, emails, comments on Facebook, etc. I’ll try to be in touch personally in coming days.

Great news from my Rome parish of St. Patrick’s! Paulist Fathers Greg Apparcel and Steve Petroff have been posting videos of daily Mass in the small rectory chapel and that has been heart-warming but today’s Mass was quite special. Three of us who are lectors prepared the two readings and the Prayers of the Faithful in our homes, recording these segments on our iPads and then putting them on Google Drive. Ditto for our cantor and his wife who recorded music in their home. All segments were sent to Paulists in the U.S. who had the equipment needed to put the whole thing together, including putting sheet music online so we could sing as if in church. I was SO grateful for the sense of community!

Here are some links from Fr. Greg:
Mass for Sunday, March 22, 2020: +https://www.facebook.com/cacrome/videos/215511813030397/
YouTube: https://youtu.be/vB_Y27nL12A
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/399556467

Also look for our Stations of the Cross service that is now posted on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cacrome/videos/2508066879456605/
YouTube: https://youtu.be/dZvp2qHMsYA
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/399552697
For Sunday Mass, we thank our musicians, Dafrosa Cho and Raimundo Pereira; our Lectors: Joan Lewis, Gabriella Spadaro and Ann Haring; and our Paulist brothers in Washington DC and New York who edited all this together and upload the Mass on the different sites.
Next week we will be Livestreaming our daily Masses on Facebook, beginning at 9:30 AM, Monday through Friday.

Personally, I am so very grateful to Fathers Greg and Steve and the thousands of priest throughout the world who work so hard to bring us Mass every of these trying times!

After Mass I treated myself to brunch, as you can see here! This is how I usually spend every Sunday – Mass and then brunch at Homebaked, but brunch today was at my home!

POPE ANNOUNCES EXTRAORDINARY URBI ET ORBI BLESSING

At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis invited all Christians to join together in praying the Our Father as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
By Christopher Wells

Pope Francis on Sunday called for all Christians to respond to the coronavirus pandemic “with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness,” adding, “Let us remain united. Let us make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most lonely and tried.”

Speaking after the traditional recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father called on all Christians to join together in prayer. “In these trying days, while humanity trembles due to the thread of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards Heaven.”

The “Our Father” on the Annunciation

On Wednesday, March 25, feast of the Annunciation, he invited “the Heads of the Churches and the leaders of every Christian community, together with all Christians of the various confessions, to invoke the Almighty, the omnipotent God, to recite at the same time the prayer that Jesus, our Lord, taught us – the Our Father.”

“On that day on which many Christians recall the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary of the Incarnation of the Word,” Pope Francis prayed, “may the Lord listen to the united prayer of all of His disciples who are preparing themselves to celebrate the victory of the Risen Christ.”

A special Urbi et Orbi blessing

The Pope also announced that on the following Friday, March 27, he will preside over a moment of prayer on the sagrato of St Peter’s Basilica, the platform at the top of the steps immediately in front of the façade of the Church. “I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication,” he said, referring to the fact this would be done without the presence of the faithful in the square.

The ceremony will consist in readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et orbi Blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various forms of communication. The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.

The Director of the Holy See Press Office confirmed that the moment of prayer on Friday will be broadcast live from the Vatican, beginning at 6 pm Rome time. He noted that the plenary indulgence attached to the Urbi et orbi blessing is subject to the conditions foreseen by the recent Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
Prayers for Croatia

At the close of his remarks following the Angelus, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the people of Croatia, which was struck by magnitude 5.4 earthquake Sunday morning. The Holy Father prayed, “May the Risen Lord give them the strength and solidarity to face this calamity.”

COMMUNIQUE FROM PAPAL ALMSGIVER

The Holy Father’s almsgiver, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, sent out a note Saturday in which he wrote that he “wishes to sincerely thank all the volunteers and people of good will who continue to take care of the poorest and most needy, especially the homeless who live on the street, and do not abandon them right now at this even more difficult time. These brothers of ours not only don’t have a home, but now they can’t even ask for charity to buy something to eat. Now more than ever, they “depend” on our heart. Mercy is a very concrete word and only “charity covers a multitude of sins” (1Pt 4,8).”

He added that, “the office of the papal almoner also wishes to express its gratitude to all those companies and commercial entities that in these days have generously donated their products to prepare the “envelope of the heart” (tuna, small canned goods, fruit, cheese, packaged salami, bread …) which, in place of lunches and dinners, is offered to the poor by various soup kitchens, dormitories, parishes, voluntary associations and religious communities. An example comes from the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo that send hundreds of packs of fresh milk and yogurt daily.

“As for the soup kitchens, parishes and associations that prepare packed lunches or help the poor of the street in other forms,” the communique ended, “if they find themselves in difficulty, financially or due to the lack of food, they can contact the almoner via his cell phone (he gave his Roman number here), as he remains available also for those who wish to donate food useful for preparing meals, to receive them directly or direct them to other charitable realities that help the poor homeless.”

POPE APPEALS FOR SELF-CONTROL AMID HEIGHTENED THREAT OF WAR – POPE FRANCIS: LIKE THE MAGI, OUR LIVES ARE CHANGED BY ENCOUNTERING JESUS

As is usual on Sundays and religious holy days, the Pope appears at his study window at noon to recite the Angelus with the faithful gathered below in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis recited the Angelus on Sunday, January 5, noting that there is a “terrible air of tension” in many parts of the world, obviously referring to the escalating crisis between the United States and Iran.

He recited the Marian prayer again today, Monday, January 6, feast of the Epiphany, after presiding at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

POPE APPEALS FOR SELF-CONTROL AMID HEIGHTENED THREAT OF WAR

Amid an escalating crisis between the United States and Iran, Pope Francis urges nations to exercise self-control and dialogue.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

“War brings only death and destruction.”

Pope Francis spoke those words of warning on Sunday, following the Angelus prayer.

Without referring to any specific countries, the Pope said there is a “terrible air of tension” in many parts of the world. “I call upon all parties to fan the flame of dialogue and self-control, and to banish the shadow of enmity,” he said.
The Pope then invited everyone to pray in silence for a moment for this intention.

US – Iran tensions
Pope Francis’ appeal comes on the heels of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, after a US airstrike killed a top Iranian general in Iraq. General Qassem Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force, the wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for military activities outside Iran. His death on Friday in Baghdad raised the threat of direct confrontation between the US and Iran.

Iraqi concern
The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako, on Saturday expressed the Iraqi people’s shock at the event. “It is deplorable that our country should be transformed into a place where scores are settled, rather than being a sovereign nation, capable of protecting its own land, its own wealth, its own citizens.” He also called on all nations to exercise moderation, act reasonably, and sit down to seek understanding.

POPE FRANCIS: LIKE THE MAGI, OUR LIVES ARE CHANGED BY ENCOUNTERING JESUS

Pope Francis during the January 6 Angelus spoke of the Magi whose lives were changed after encountering the baby Jesus. He also greeted the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, many of whom celebrate the Lord’s Christmas on the 7th January.

By Vatican News
Following Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany, Pope Francis during his Angelus, addressed a special thought “to the brethren of the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, many of whom celebrate the Lord’s Christmas tomorrow. We wish them and their communities, he said, “the light and peace of Christ the Saviour.”

During his Angelus address, the Pope drew from the Gospel of the day that spoke of the three wise men.

The Magi on seeing Jesus
The Pontiff described how after encountering the baby Jesus, their lives were changed. “They saw a different king, a king “who is not of this world”, meek and humble, yet indicated in agreement by the stars and the Holy Scriptures.”

The Pope went on to explain that “the encounter with Jesus does not hold back the Magi, on the contrary, it gives them a new impetus to return to their country, to tell what they saw and the joy they felt.”

The experience of knowing God, remarked Pope Francis, “does not block us, but frees us; it does not imprison us, but it puts us back on the road…”

The Gospel passage, he emphasized, “contains a detail which prompts our reflection. At the end of the story, it is said that the Magi were “warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and by another route they returned to their country.”

Every experience of meeting Jesus, noted the Pope, “leads us to take different paths, because from Him comes a good force that heals the heart and detaches us from evil.”

“This is the difference between the true God and traitorous idols, such as money, power, success…; between God and those who promise to give you these idols, such as magicians, fortune tellers, sorcerers,” he said.

The true God does not hold us back
“The true God does not hold us back, nor does He let Himself be held back by us: He opens to us ways of novelty and freedom.”

Following the recitation of the Marian prayer, Pope Francis had a special greeting for those involved in the historical-folkloristic procession on Via della Conciliazione that is inspired by the traditions of the Epiphany. The Pope also extended his greeting to the procession of the Magi in numerous cities and villages in Poland.

POPE FRANCIS PRAYS FOR VICTIMS OF MEDITERRANEAN SHIPWRECK – POPE FRANCIS: THE OUR FATHER IS THE SYNTHESIS OF EVERY PRAYER – BONES FOUND IN TEUTONIC CEMETERY DATE TO END OF 1800s

POPE FRANCIS PRAYS FOR VICTIMS OF MEDITERRANEAN SHIPWRECK

At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis remembered migrants who drowned in a shipwreck earlier this week.
By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

Pope Francis has once again called on the international community “to act with speed and decisiveness” to address the issue of migration. His appeal came during the Sunday Angelus, when he prayed for victims of a shipwreck in the Mediterranean earlier this week.

Scores of migrants are feared drowned after a boat carrying migrants from Libya sank about 8 km from the coast of Libya on Wednesday. It is believed to be the worst shipwreck on the Mediterranean this year. Authorities said at least 115 are missing, while 134 were rescued. One body was recovered.

According to the UN refugee office, a total of 164 people had already died on the route between Libya and Europe in the first four months of 2019.

In his remarks on Sunday, Pope Francis called for action “to avoid a repetition of such tragedies, and to ensure the security and dignity of all.” He concluded his appeal by asking those present “to pray with me for the victims and for their families… and also, from the heart, to ask: ‘Father, Why?’”

POPE FRANCIS: THE OUR FATHER IS THE SYNTHESIS OF EVERY PRAYER

At the Angelus, Pope Francis reflected on the Our Father, “one of the most precious gifts” Jesus has left us.
By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

In his reflection on Sunday’s Gospel, Pope Francis said that the disciples wanted “to experience the same ‘quality’” of prayer was present in Jesus’ relationship with the Father. “They could see that prayer was an essential dimension in the life of their Master,” he said, noting that, “each of His important actions was characterized by extended periods of prayer.” They recognized, too, that Jesus “did not pray like the other masters of the time,” rather, “His prayer is an intimate link with the Father.”

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, the Pope said, the Lord did not simply “give an abstract definition of prayer, or teach an effective technique for praying in order to ‘obtain’ something.” Instead, Jesus shared with them His own experience of prayer, “putting them directly in contact with the Father, and arousing in them a longing for a personal relationship with Him.”

This, Pope Francis said, “is the novelty of Christian prayer: It is a dialogue between people who love one another, a dialogue based on trust, sustained by listening, and open to the commitment to solidarity.”

The prayer Jesus taught them, the Our Father, “is one of the most precious gifts left to us by the divine Master during His earthly mission,” the Pope said. With this prayer, Jesus teaches us “to enter into the Fatherhood of God, and shows us the way to enter into prayerful and direct dialogue with Him, through the way of filial trust.” The Our Father, he said, “is the synthesis of every prayer, and we always address it to the Father in communion with our brothers and sisters.”

BONES FOUND IN TEUTONIC CEMETERY DATE TO END OF 1800s

The Vatican released communications on Sunday, July 28, on the work done over the weekend in Vatican City’s Teutonic cemetery to analyze bone fragments found in two ossuaries to see if any bones or fragments belong to Manuela Orlando, the daughter of an Italian employee and citizen who disappeared on June 22, 1983, never returning home after a music lesson.

The Vatican has been examining graves and ossuaries since July 11, following an anonymous letter that arrived at the Orlandi home in the summer of 2018 that suggested Manuela’s remains could be found in the Teutonic cemetery where there was an angel and the words “requiescat in pace (rest in peace).”

Workers survey bones taken from an ossuary at the Teutonic cemetery in this image released by the Vatican July 27, 2019. The bones were inspected in the hope of finding the missing remains of a German princess and duchess and possibly the remains of Emanuela Orlandi, who disappeared in 1983. The Vatican announced that none of the bones postdate the 1800s. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) See VATICAN-BONES-ORLANDI July 29, 2019. 

Sunday’s Vatican statement said, “At 9.15 am this morning, as indicated yesterday, the morphological analysis of the findings discovered in the ossuaries in the Teutonic cemetery was resumed, as part of the investigative tasks of the Orlandi case. Present were Prof. Arcudi and his staff, the staff of the Fabbrica di San Pietro and the COS, the Operative Security Center of the Vatican Gendarmerie, the Promoter of Justice of Vatican City State Court, Prof. Gian Piero Milano, and his deputy, Prof. Alessandro Diddi, the lawyer and expert appointed by the Orlandi family and the officer in charge of the Judicial Police of the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps.

“At 12.30 the work in the cemetery was concluded. as part of the investigative tasks of the Orlandi case. Professor Giovanni Arcudi, assisted by his staff – in the presence of a trusted expert appointed by the Orlandi Family – completed the morphological analysis of the contents of the ossuaries (several hundred partially intact bone structures and thousands of fragments). During the forensic anthropological investigations, Prof. Arcudi did not find any bone structures that date back to a later period than the end of 1800.

“The consultant (for the family) requested a laboratory check on about seventy bone findings; Prof. Arcudi and his team did not endorse the request because the same bony structures have very ancient dating characteristics. For these reasons, the samples were collected and kept at the Gendarmerie Command available to the Promoter of Justice.

“In communicating these operations, the Holy See confirms its desire to seek the truth of the story of the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi and categorically denies that this attitude of full cooperation and transparency can in any way mean, as some people sometimes say, an implicit admission of responsibility.

“The search for truth is in the interest of the Holy See and the Orlandi family. The transparent will of the Holy See has already emerged, in addition to the investigations and examinations in progress at the Teutonico cemetery as in those carried out by Italian authorities following a report by the Vatican gendarmerie, at the headquarters of Villa Giorgina, the nunciature in Italy. A request for dismissal by the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Rome was communicated on 3 July.

“As to Villa Giorgina: bones found there July 25, 2018, were ascertained by Italian authorities to date back to a period between 90 and 230 AD. This belies any connection with the painful disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi.”

CARDINAL DELIVERS PAPAL LETTER TO PRESIDENT AL-ASSAD OF SYRIA – CARDINAL PAROLIN: “POPE ASKING ASSAD FOR CONCRETE INITIATIVES ON BEHALF OF SYRIAN POPULATION” – POPE: 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF MOON LANDING “INSPIRATION FOR COMMON GOOD” – WORK STARTS ON BONE OSSUAIRIES FOUND IN TEUTONIC CEMETERY

A statement this morning from Matteo Bruni notes this is his first day as the new director of the Holy See Press Office: “Today I begin my appointment as director of the Holy See Press Office after serving there for ten years in a spirit of service to the Pope and the Holy See with the experience and strength at my disposal. I thank my colleague and friend Alessandro Gisotti for having generously and expertly led the press office in recent months. I am aware of the delicate and decisive task of information and I am sure I will find support in my colleagues, whose value and professionalism in these intense years of work for the Holy See I have come to know. I thank the Holy Father for his confidence and the prefect of the Communication Department, Paolo Ruffini, for the support of the dicastery, which I know will not be lacking.

CARDINAL DELIVERS PAPAL LETTER TO PRESIDENT AL-ASSAD OF SYRIA

Statement by Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni on Monday, July 22: “This morning in Damascus, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, accompanied by Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Syria, and by the undersecretary of the aforementioned Dicastery, Fr. Nicola Riccardi, met with President Bashar Hafez al-Assad. During the meeting, the Cardinal prefect presented to the head of State a letter addressed to him by the Holy Father, which expresses the profound concern of His Holiness Pope Francis for the humanitarian situation in Syria, with particular reference to the dramatic conditions of the civil population in Idlib.”

CARDINAL PAROLIN: “POPE ASKING ASSAD FOR CONCRETE INITIATIVES ON BEHALF OF SYRIAN POPULATION”

Acts of war and bombardments against defenseless civilians continue to occur in Syria. With dozens of health facilities destroyed or closed in Idlib Province, Pope Francis asks Cardinal Turkson to deliver a letter to the Syrian President.
By Andrea Tornielli

Protection of civilian life, an end to the humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib Province, concrete initiatives for a safe return of displaced persons, the release of detainees and access for families to information regarding their loved ones, and humane conditions for political prisoners. All this and a renewed appeal for a resumption of dialogue and negotiations with the involvement of the international community.

These are the concerns and concrete requests contained in a letter that Pope Francis addressed to Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad. The Pope’s letter, dated 28 June 2019, was delivered only hours ago by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

The Cardinal, bearing the missive written in English, was accompanied by Fr. Nicola Riccardi, O.F.M., Undersecretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and by Cardinal Mario Zenari, the Apostolic Nuncio to Syria.

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the Pope’s primary collaborator, spoke to Vatican News about the content and purpose of the letter.

Q: Your Eminence, why did the Pope decide to write to President Assad?
Cardinal Parolin: “At the heart of this new initiative lies Pope Francis’ and the Holy See’s concern for the emergency humanitarian situation in Syria, in particular in Idlib Province. More than 3 million people live in the area, of which 1.3 million are internally displaced, forced by the long conflict in Syria to find refuge in the area, which last year was declared demilitarized. The recent military offensive has added to the already extreme living conditions they had to endure in the camps, forcing many of them to flee. The Pope follows with apprehension and great sorrow the tragic fate of the civilian population, children in particular, caught up in the bloody fighting. Unfortunately, the war grinds on – it has not ended: the bombings continue, various health facilities have been destroyed in that area, while many others have had to suspend their activities, either completely or partially.”

Q: What is the Pope asking of President Assad in the letter that was delivered?
A: “Pope Francis renews his appeal for the protection of civilian life and the preservation of the main infrastructures, such as schools, hospitals, and health facilities. What is happening is intolerable and inhuman. The Holy Father asks the President to do everything possible to put an end to this humanitarian catastrophe, in order to protect the defenseless population, especially those who are most vulnerable, in respect for international humanitarian law”.

Q: From what you have said, it seems that the intent of the papal initiative is not “political”. Is that true?
A: “Yes, it is. As I have already explained, the concern is humanitarian-based. The Pope continues to pray that Syria may regain a climate of fraternity after these long years of war, and that reconciliation may prevail over division and hatred. In his letter, the Holy Father uses the word ‘reconciliation’ three times: this is his objective, for the good of that country and its defenseless population. The Pope encourages President Bashar al-Assad to carry out significant gestures in this urgent process of reconciliation, and he offers concrete examples. He cites, for example, creating the conditions needed for the safe return of exiles and internally displaced persons, and for all those who wish to return to the country after having been forced to leave. He also mentions the release of prisoners and the access of families to information about their loved ones.”

Q: Another dramatic issue is that of political prisoners. Does the Pope mention this topic?
A: “Yes, Pope Francis is particularly concerned about the situation of political prisoners, to whom – he affirms –humane conditions cannot be denied. In March 2018, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic published a report on this issue, saying there are tens of thousands of people who have been arbitrarily detained. At times – in unofficial prisons and in unknown places – they are allegedly subjected to various forms of torture without any legal assistance or contact with their families. The report notes that, unfortunately, many of them die in prison, while others are summarily executed.”

Q: What then is the purpose of this new initiative by Francis?
A: “The Holy See has always insisted on the need to seek an appropriate political solution to end the conflict, overcoming partisan interests. And this must be done using the instruments of diplomacy, dialogue, and negotiation, along with the assistance of the international community. We have had to learn once again that war generates war and violence incites violence – as the Pope has said many times, and as he repeats also in this letter. Unfortunately, we are concerned about the stalemate in the negotiation process – especially that seen in Geneva – for a political solution to the crisis. That is why, in the letter sent to President Assad, the Holy Father encourages him to show good will and to work towards finding viable solutions, putting an end to a conflict which has lasted far too long and which has led to the loss of numerous innocent lives”.

POPE: 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF MOON LANDING “INSPIRATION FOR COMMON GOOD”

Pope Francis Sunday at the Angelus recalled the first time a person set foot on the moon, expressing hope that achieving this goal might inspire work toward even greater ones.

By Francesca Merlo (vaticannews)

“Fifty years ago, yesterday”, Pope Francis said on Sunday, “Man set foot on the moon, achieving an extraordinary dream.”

Addressing the crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square, the Pope expressed his hope that the memory of “that great step for humanity” might spark the desire to reach even “greater goals – more dignity for the weak, more justice among peoples, and more future for our common home.”

Pope St. Paul VI, who expressed much interest in space travel and spent lots of time at the Vatican Observatory, was Pope on July 20, 1969. On that night, along with millions worldwide he watched Neil Armstrong become the first man to set foot on the moon.

Fifty years later, Pope Francis has dedicated much of his pontificate to the fight for the rights of those who are most vulnerable in today’s society as well as for the care of our common home.

Francis has expressed, on numerous occasions, in both words and actions, his desire to help those in need: migrants, the poor, the ill, the elderly and our planet – our common home.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic moon landing, therefore, Pope Francis shared his hopes for the future and that people worldwide might be inspired by this historic achievement to pursue these fights, and to reach, as mankind did 50 years ago, other extraordinary dreams.

WORK STARTS ON BONE OSSUAIRIES FOUND IN TEUTONIC CEMETERY

Two statements were sent out on Saturday, July 20, by Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See Press Office regarding the recent discovery of bones in the Teutonic College, adjacent to the Teutonic cemetery in Vatican City:

Gisotti began: “At 9am this morning, operations began regularly at the Teutonic cemetery as part of the investigative tasks of the Orlandi case. As indicated in the decree of the Promoter of Justice of Vatican City State, the operations concern two ossuaries identified in an area adjacent to the tombs of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Princess Carlotta Federica of Mecklenburg.

“The remains were analyzed and studied on site in these hours by Prof. Giovanni Arcudi and his staff in the presence of the trusted expert appointed by the Orlandi family – according to internationally recognized protocols.

“It is not possible to predict, at the moment, the duration of the work to complete the morphological analysis of the remains found in the ossuaries.

“Today, in addition to Prof. Arcudi and his staff, the staff of the Fabbrica di San Pietro are working in the Teutonic Campo Santo for the opening and closing of the ossuaries and the staff of the COS, the Vatican Gendarme Security Operations Center. Present the Promoter of Justice of the Court of the State of the Vatican City, Prof. Gian Piero Milano, and his Deputy Prof. Alessandro Diddi, the lawyer of the Orlandi Family and the Officer in charge of the services of the judicial police of the Corps of the Gendarmerie.

“With this new forensic activity – after the operations of July 11 – the availability of the Holy See to the Orlandi Family is highlighted once again. An availability shown from the outset to accepting the (family) requests for verification (of possible remains) in the Teutonic cemetery, even on the basis of a mere anonymous report.

The second statement this afternoon noted that, “At 3 pm, work in the Teutonic cemetery was concluded as part of the investigative tasks of the Orlandi case. Prof. Giovanni Arcudi and his staff – in the presence of the trusted expert appointed by the Orlandi Family – brought to light the remains present in the ossuaries, which were subjected to an initial evaluation.
“According to the Office of the Promoter of Justice of the Vatican City State Court, the expert operations will continue on Saturday July 27, at 9 am, with an in-depth morphological analysis of the remains contained in the ossuaries.”

POPE AT ANGELUS: JESUS SHOWS US THE REMEDIES FOR TEMPTATIONS – POPE, ROMAN CURIA ON LENTEN RETREAT – PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES CRASH

POPE AT ANGELUS: JESUS SHOWS US THE REMEDIES FOR TEMPTATIONS

On the First Sunday of Lent, Pope Francis reflects on the day’s Gospel, which tells how Jesus was led into the desert where He was tempted by the devil.

By Christopher Wells (Vaticannews)

In his Angelus address, Pope Francis said the three temptations Jesus faced “indicate three paths that the world always proposes, promising great success”.

The greed of possession
After Jesus had fasted for forty days, the devil tempted Him to turn stones to bread. This, the Pope said, is “the path of the greed of possession”. The devil always begins with our natural and legitimate needs, he explained, “in order to push us to believe” that we can find fulfillment “without God, and even contrary to Him”. Jesus, however, responds by quoting Scripture: “Man shall not live by bread alone”.

The second temptation is “the prospect of becoming a powerful and glorious Messiah”, which Pope Francis describes as “the path of human glory”. Bowing down before “idols of money, of success, of power” can corrupt us. This leads to “the intoxication of an empty joy that soon fades away” – and this, the Pope says, is why Jesus responds, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve”.

Instrumentalizing God
Finally, the devil leads Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem, and “invites Him to cast Himself down” in order to demonstrate His divine power. Pope Francis calls this the path of “instrumentalizing God for one’s own advantage”. Jesus rejects the devil’s temptation, “with the firm decision to remain humble and confident before the Father”. Once again, the Lord quotes Scripture: “You shall not tempt the Lord your God”. In this way, the Pope said, Jesus “rejects perhaps the most subtle temptation: wanting ‘to bring God over to our own side’, by asking Him for graces that only serve to satisfy our own pride”.

All these temptations, the Pope said, are really “illusions” that promise “success and happiness”, but in reality “are all completely foreign to God’s way of acting”. In fact, he said, “they actually separate us from God, because they are the work of Satan”.

Remedies for temptation
Jesus overcomes these three temptations by personally facing them, “in order fully to adhere to the Father’s plan”. In doing so, Pope Francis said, Jesus shows us the remedies for temptations – namely, “the interior life, faith in God, the certainty of His love.” With the certainty that God is Father, and that He loves us, “we will overcome every temptation”.

So, Pope Francis said in conclusion, “let us take advantage of Lent, as a privileged time to purify ourselves, in order to experience the consoling presence of God in our life”.

POPE, ROMAN CURIA ON LENTEN RETREAT

Pope Francis and ranking members of the Roman Curia departed the Vatican Sunday afternoon for Ariccia where they will spend the next five days on retreat. Ariccia a 20-mile drive south of Rome, is home to the Casa Divin Maestro (Divine Master House), run by the Pauline Fathers. The retreat began at 6 pm Sunday with Eucharistic adoration then vespers at 6:45 and dinner at 7:30.

Click here to see where the Holy Father and other guests are staying (be sure to click on ‘Places and Surroundings” for some lovely additional photos): http://www.casadivinmaestro.it/www/aaa_intestazioni/intestazione.asp?LANGUAGE=ENG

This tradition of having weeklong retreats or “spiritual exercises” began with Pope Pius XI in 1925 and for over three decades took place in Advent. Pope St. John XXIII changed that when, a month before the October 1962 start of Vatican Council II, he went on retreat to prepare for the Council. A year after Pope John’s death in 1963, Pope Paul VI moved the retreat dates to Lent. For years they were held in the Vatican’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel, starting the first Sunday of Lent and concluding the following Saturday morning. (photo Vaticannews)

Pope Francis decided that the 2014 retreat – a year after his election – would take place outside the Vatican. This year, Pope Francis will be in Ariccia on March 13, the 6th anniversary of his election to the papacy.

The daily schedule looks like this:
· – 7.30 am, lauds and a brief reflection
· – 8.00 am, breakfast
· – 9.30 am, first meditation
· – 11.30 am, Eucharistic concelebration
· – 12.30 lunch
· – 4 pm, second meditation
· – 6 pm, Eucharistic adoration
· – 6.45 pm, vespers
· – 7.30 pm, dinner

Pope Francis mentioned the retreat at yesterday’s Angelus: “I hope that for everyone the Lenten journey, recently begun, will be rich in fruits; and I ask you a remembrance in prayer for me and my collaborators of the Roman Curia as this evening we will begin the week of Spiritual Exercises.”

And he tweeted an almost identical message: “I ask everyone to remember in prayer both myself and my collaborators in the Roman Curia as this evening we will begin the week of Spiritual Exercises.”

In this period, all papal audiences, including Wednesday’s general audience, are suspended.

PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES CRASH

The following telegram was sent in Pope Francis’ name by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin for the plane crash yesterday of Ethiopian airlines about 50km from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. All aboard perished. The Vaticannews story did not say to whom the telegram was sent:

Having learned with sadness of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash, His Holiness Pope Francis offers prayers for the deceased from various countries and commends their souls to the mercy of Almighty God. Pope Francis sends heartfelt condolences to their families, and upon all who mourn this tragic loss he invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength.