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.

POPE AT ANGELUS: JOIN FORCES TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING

As he did at today’s Angelus, Pope Francis has spoken out many times on human trafficking. It has also been for quite some time now one of the main concerns of the United States and, in particular, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See (see their website: https://va.usembassy.gov/)

POPE AT ANGELUS: JOIN FORCES TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Pope Francis appeals for renewed efforts to protect victims of human trafficking, and to denounce the exploitation and slavery of men, women, and children.
By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis drew attention to the “plague” of human trafficking, and called on government leaders to confront the causes of the trade in human beings.

Recalling the World Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, which takes place on the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, the Holy Father said the motto for this year’s observance – “Together against Human Trafficking” – is “an invitation to join forces to overcome this challenge”. All of us, he said, “can and must work together to denounce the cases of exploitation and slavery of men, women, and children”.

Prayer sustains our commitment

The Pope insisted, “Prayer is the force that sustains our common commitment” to ending trafficking. He led the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square in a prayer to St. Josephine, who had herself suffered as a slave before her conversion to Christianity.

The following prayer was printed and distributed at the Angelus, and shown on the screens for those present:

St Josephine Bakhita, as a child you were sold as a slave, and had to face unspeakable difficulties and suffering.

Once you were freed from physical slavery, you found true redemption in the encounter with Christ and His Church.

Saint Josephine Bakhita, help all those who are trapped in slavery.
In their name, intercede with the God of mercy, that the chains of their captivity might be broken.

May God Himself free all those who have been threatened, wounded, or mistreated by the trade and trafficking of human beings. May He bring relief to those who survive this slavery, and teach them to see Jesus as a model of faith and hope, that their wounds may be healed.

We implore you to pray and intercede for all of us: that we not fall into indifference; that we may open our eyes and look upon the miseries and wounds of so many brothers and sisters deprived of their dignity and freedom, and hear their cry for help. Amen.

A strong commitment
At a press conference on Friday, the actual World Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, Jesuit Father Frédéric Fornos noted Pope Francis’ strong commitment “to the fight against this scourge in its different expressions”. It is a “drama”, he said, that the Holy Father has had “in heart and in prayer for a long time”.

The scourge of human trafficking is also the subject of Pope Francis’ February prayer intention: “Let us pray for a generous welcome to the victims of human trafficking, enforced prostitution, and violence.”

ANGELUS: POPE FRANCIS RECALLS UKRAINE HOLODOMOR FAMINE – CARDINAL O’MALLEY: “FEBRUARY MEETING WILL BE AN IMPORTANT MOMENT” – ABP SCICLUNA: PROTECTION OF MINORS IS A GLOBAL, SYNODAL ISSUE

Pope Francis on Monday spent the morning in a meeting with the heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia. This occurs several times a year and there are usually no Vatican statements following those meetings.

Yesterday, as you know, the Church celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King, instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI to respond to growing secularism. In a note about this feast, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote: “In 2018, the Church faces pressures from without and crisis from within. In addition to the challenges that Christians in a secular society must confront, the body of Christ must also tend to the wounds inflicted on the Church by priests and bishops who either committed acts of sexual abuse themselves or failed to respond to abuse with justice when they had the opportunity.”

Relative to the sex abuse scandal, over the weekend in Rome, the Vatican announced that an organizing Committee has been instituted in view of the February 21-24 meeting in Rome on this crisis. Pope Francis named Cardinals Blase J. Cupich, of Chicago and Oswald Gracias of Bombay (India), Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, President of the Center for the Protection of Minors at the Gregorian University as leading members. The meeting will include bishops, men and women religious and lay experts in the field.

Holy See Press Office director Greg Burke said: “The February meeting is unprecedented” and “shows that Pope Francis has made the protection of minors a fundamental priority for the Church.”

While many episcopacies already have guidelines for disciplining priests guilty of sex abuse, little exists on how bishops are to be held accountable or disciplined. It is hoped this will be a focus of the February meeting. Currently only the Pope may discipline bishops, although in a May 2010 update of Church child abuse laws, Benedict XVI gave the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the authority to judge cardinals and bishops, as well as priests and deacons.

Following are comments on that February 2019 meeting by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta. Scicluna worked for many years at the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and headed its clerical sex abuse section. Pope Francis recently appointed him adjunct secretary of the CDF while maintaining his position as archbishop of Malta. Abp. Scicluna was assigned by the Pope earlier this year to look into the cases of reported clerical sex abuse in Chile, reports that convinced Pope Francis that he had been wrong in his earlier estimates of stories told by sex abuse victims as not being believable.

ANGELUS: POPE FRANCIS RECALLS UKRAINE HOLODOMOR FAMINE

Following the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis remembered the man-made famine that struck Ukraine in 1932-1933 and the anniversary of the event that occurred on Saturday.

The famine is known as “Holodomor” in Ukrainian, which means “to kill by starvation”.

Pope Francis called it “a terrible famine instigated by the Soviet regime which caused millions of people to die.”

Though the final death toll is unknown, most estimates put the number of people killed between 3.3 and 7.5 million, most of whom were ethnic Ukrainians.

Vatican City State is one of 16 countries to consider Holodomor an act of genocide carried out by the Soviet government.

“The image is painful,” the Pope said. “This terrible wound of the past is an appeal for all people to ensure that these tragedies never happen again.”

Pope Francis invited the faithful to pray for Ukraine “and for its long-sought-after peace.” (By Devin Watkins – vaticannews)

CARDINAL O’MALLEY: “FEBRUARY MEETING WILL BE AN IMPORTANT MOMENT”

Cardinal O’Malley, President of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, says he is grateful for the announcement of the formation of an organizing committee in view of the February meeting on the protection of minors in the Church.
By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews)


In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, and President of the Vatican Commission for the Protection of Minors, says he is grateful for the announcement that Pope Francis has appointed a commission to prepare for the February meeting on the protection of minors in the Church.

Who proposed the February meeting?
Cardinal O’Malley disclosed in the statement that the “proposal” for the February meeting “was developed by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, was reviewed by the Council of Cardinals and subsequently accepted by the Holy Father”. He is both pleased that Pope Francis has called for the meeting and he says he looks forward to participating in it.

Role of the Pontifical Commission
The Cardinal explained that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is an “advisory body to the Holy Father, making recommendations on best practices for the universal Church for education and prevention programs regarding the crime of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults”. In view of this mission, he said that the Commission will be a resource for the committee in its work of preparing for the meeting in February. The Commission’s regularly hosts face to face meetings with survivors and newly appointed bishops, he said. This practice provided the Commission with the inspiration that “calling the bishops to Rome for a similar high-impact meeting would be very important in addressing the clergy abuse crisis globally”.

Commitment to zero tolerance
Cardinal O’Malley calls the meeting in February “a critical moment for the universal Church in addressing the sexual abuse crisis”. Diocese around the world will then be part of “developing a clear path forward” toward the implementation of the Church’s zero tolerance policy. He reiterated that the “support and pastoral care of survivors” is the Church’s first priority.

He concluded his statement saying: “This is a life-long journey that is now part of the fabric of the Catholic family and requires a partnership between the laity and clergy in responding to the failures of episcopal leadership by holding bishops accountable for the crimes against children and vulnerable adults.”

ABP SCICLUNA: PROTECTION OF MINORS IS A GLOBAL, SYNODAL ISSUE

Newly appointed to the organising Committee for a February meeting of Church leaders from around the world, Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna says he hopes the Church will begin to take a global approach to protecting minors and confronting clerical sexual abuse.
By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

In an exclusive interview with Jesuit periodical America, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta described the upcoming meeting as “the beginning of a new approach that I hope will be global, because it concerns the whole Church.” But, he continued, “it will also have a very important local context, because safeguarding is not something up-there, it has to be lived in every parish, in every school, in every diocese.”


A new phase
With the announcement on Friday of an organising Committee, preparations for February’s summit on the protection of minors in the Church has entered a new phase. In addition to Abp Scicluna, the organising Committee is composed of Cardinals Blase Cupich and Oswald Gracias, and child protection expert Father Hans Zollner, SJ.

In the interview with America, Abp Scicluna emphasised the importance of the upcoming meeting, which he called “quite significant,” precisely because it involves bishops from around the world, coming together in dialogue with Pope Francis, in order “to get them on the same page with the Holy Father.”

A crisis in how we approach ministry
Archbishop Scicluna described the main goals of the meeting as making bishops “realise and discuss together the fact that the sexual abuse of minors is not only an egregious phenomenon in itself and a crime, but it is also a very grave symptom of something deeper, which is actually a crisis in the way we approach ministry.” In this context, Abp Scicluna placed accountability in the context of good “stewardship,” and described the cover-up of abuse which has plagued the Church as “the antithesis of stewardship.”

We have to move away from panic-driven policies that put the good name of the institution above all other considerations,” he said, noting that “in the end, those policies do reputational damage to the institution; they are actually also counterproductive.”

At the top of the Church’s agenda
Archbishop Scicluna said that the February summit meeting was called by Pope Francis precisely because “he realises that this issue” – the issue of abuse of minors in the Church – “has to be at the top on the Church’s agenda.” Pope Francis, he said, realises that this is a “global issue which the Church would want to approach with a united front, with respect for the different cultures, but with a united resolve, and with people being on the same page.”

The February meeting, Abp Scicluna said, will send an “important message” that “the prevention of abuse and protection and safeguarding of our children and young people is not a question only of the bishops; it is a synodal issue. It is something that involves the whole Church and everyone in the Church around the world; it concerns one and all.”