POPE PRAYS FOR VICTIMS OF PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE SHOOTING – MICHELANGELO’S PIETÀ HAS STUNNING NEW ILLUMINATION – PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR VICTIMS OF INDONESIA’S PLANE CRASH

Tune in tonight to EWTN’s “At Home with Jim and Joy” when I talk of the papal condolences for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the just-concluded synod of bishops.

POPE PRAYS FOR VICTIMS OF PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE SHOOTING

Pope Francis remembers the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighbourhood of Pittsburgh.
By Christopher Wells (Vaticannews)

At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the city of Pittsburgh, USA, and especially to the Jewish community there.

Eleven people were killed, and several others were wounded, on in a shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the neighbourhood of Squirrel Hill. A suspect was taken into custody after the attack.

In his remarks at the Angelus, Pope Francis prayed that, “the Most High might welcome into His peace those who have died; comfort their families; and sustain those who were wounded. In reality we are all wounded by this inhuman act of violence.”

Pope Francis prayed that the Lord might “help us to extinguish the hotbeds of hatred that are developing in our societies, strengthening the sense of humanity, respect for life, moral and civil values, and the holy fear of God, who is Love and the Father of all.”

MICHELANGELO’S PIETÀ HAS STUNNING NEW ILLUMINATION

(Informative note by the Fabbrica di San Pietro in Vaticano) – Cardinal Angelo Comastri, President of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, explains: “The new lighting, also taken care of from a scientific point of view, allows us to admire and better understand the universal value of Michelangelo’s work. The ‘Pietà’ in fact is the faith of Michelangelo carved on marble. The Artist wanted to highlight in the young face of Mary an ever present message: avoiding sin is the only true cure of beauty and perennial youth. Now the work can be enjoyed even more.”

Pietro Zander, director of the Office of conservation and restoration of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, underlines: “The light factor is very important. Michelangelo had thought it out carefully, with very low values of illumination, carefully smoothing the marble surfaces so that even a few candles could make the marble group shine. It is the first time that the Fabbrica di San Pietro lights it up with such great attention.”

In addition to replacing the previous fixtures with others using the latest generation of LED sources, the new lighting project uses compact solutions with minimum visual encumbrance of warm white tones (equal to 3000 K) with very high color rendering. The iGuzzini Illuminazione company has made available a system of lighting units, divided into groups that power on and off in luminous intensity to allow for the different lighting scenarios.

North scenario – sculptural scenario:
Light focuses on the sculpture, while the floor, ceiling and background are illuminated to a minimum. No prevailing directionality is perceived; on the other hand, there is a balance of chiaroscuro that restores the plasticity of the work and allows one to dwell on both the single detail and the harmony of the whole.

East scenario – A beam of light:
A beam of light illuminates the La Pietà. The direction of incidence is evident, the marked shadows. The peaceful lighting of the vaults and the background frame the entire marble group. Luminous beams of the headlamps, with different degrees of dimming; times and almost obscured floor.

 

South scenario – full light:
All the devices are switched on. The sculpture is absolutely dazzling and becomes itself a source of light. The vaults and the floor have a slightly lower illumination because everything is concentrated in the band in which there is the sculpture. The light of the central vault, of the arches and of the side vaults is more sustained.

West scenario – daily light
Designed for the pilgrim or visitor to the Basilica who enjoys the work through the protective window. For this reason, the lighting is frontal: the beams of light intersect with symmetrical angles to give the viewer the plasticity of the work. The central vault is evenly lit, while the arches and the side vault vaults receive a lower intensity light.

This video was produced by the Vatican in Italian only. It opens with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the basilica of St. Peter , as he explains this magnificent piece of art, unique in the world, that Michelangelo sculpted at the age of 23!

The lighting company explains the four basic scenarios of the new lamps (see above), noting that each light is directional and each has its own task.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TrPEyuz86yE8YrGLfluuRNeVc5J0GB05/view

PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR VICTIMS OF INDONESIA’S PLANE CRASH
By Robin Gomes (Vatiannews)

Pope Francis has expressed his sadness for the victims of a low-cost Indonesian aircraft that crashed into the sea on Monday with 189 people on board soon after taking off from the capital, Jakarta.

“Having learned with sadness of the recent plane crash in Jakarta, His Holiness Pope Francis conveys his condolences to all those affected by this tragedy,” read a condolence telegram signed on the Pope’s behalf by Vatican Secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

“He offers the assurance of his prayers for all who have died and for those who mourn their loss. Upon the nation and all involved in the rescue and recovery efforts His Holiness invokes the strength and peace of Almighty God,” the cardinal wrote in the message to Archbishop Piero Pioppo, Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia.

No survivors
Lion Air flight JT610 heading to Pangkal Pinang, in Bangka Island off Sumatra coast, lost contact with ground officials shortly after its pilot had asked to turn back to base about 13 minutes after takeoff, and crashed into the sea, officials said.

POPE APPEALS FOR US-NORTH KOREA SUMMIT IN SINGAPORE

POPE APPEALS FOR US-NORTH KOREA SUMMIT IN SINGAPORE

Ahead of Tuesday’s summit in Singapore between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, Pope Francis prays for a future of peace on the Korean peninsula and throughout the world.
By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis on Sunday renewed his prayers for the “beloved Korean people”.

He prayed that the upcoming summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea “may contribute to the development of a positive path to assure a future of peace on the Korean peninsula and throughout the world.”

The Pope was referring to a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 12th, in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Pope Francis invited all people around the world to pray for the first meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president.
“Let us together invoke Our Lady, Queen of Korea. May she guide these talks,” he said.

Both men arrived in Singapore on Sunday, where they meet separately with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong before the summit.

POPE “DEEPLY PAINED” AT RECENT TERROR ACTS

POPE “DEEPLY PAINED” AT RECENT TERROR ACTS

After praying the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square today, November 1, feast of All Saints, Pope Francis spoke of his pain at recent terror attacks. He said, “Dear Brothers and Sisters, I am deeply pained for the terror attacks of recent days in Somalia, Afghanistan and yesterday in New York. While I deplore such acts of violence, I pray for the deceased, for the wounded and for their family members. Let us ask the Lord to convert the hearts of terrorists and free the world from hatred and mad killings that abuse the name of God and sow death.” (file photo)

POPE CELEBRATES 800 YEARS OF FRANCISCANS IN THE HOLY LAND – BISHOP THANKS POPE FOR CALLING SYNOD FOR PAN-AMAZON REGION

Pope Francis tweeted today: It is the duty of the human family to help free every single person from poverty and hunger.

As a Lady of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, I follow any and all news on the Holy Land because it is that holy part of the world that is the first and main concern of the Order – of our activities, our pilgrimages, our financial help and our prayers. The Franciscans in the Holy Land are celebrating a historic anniversary, and Pope Francis had great praise for the Order as you’ll read below. If you’ve even been on a Holy Land pilgrimage, the Franciscans undoubtedly played a big role in your visit. Remember them in your prayers today!

The big news this weekend was Sunday’s announcement by the Holy Father of a synod for the Pan-Amazon region! The staff of the Synod of Bishops never seems to rest – they are currently working on the October 2018 synod for young people.

Before I move on, here’s a photo I took when I got up this morning. This vessel looked familiar and I remembered I had seen a news story on TV Sunday when I arrived. Here’s a related online news story with video: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/36597875/fire-ignites-aboard-vessel-stuck-in-waikiki-waters

Someone in our building told me today the big problem is trying to remove this vessel without harming the reef it is stuck on!

POPE CELEBRATES 800 YEARS OF FRANCISCANS IN THE HOLY LAND

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a letter to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land marking the 800th anniversary of their presence as guardians of the holy sites in modern day Israel and Palestine.

In the letter, published on Tuesday, the pope praises the Franciscans for their vital contribution to life in the Holy Land, in particular their work to accompany pilgrims coming from all over the world. (photo: news.va)

The Pope recalls the way that Saint Francis, in May 1217 during the chapter of his recently founded order, decided to send the friars out on mission. The first missionaries to the Holy Land arrived that summer in the town of Acre, near Haifa, in northern Israel and just over a hundred years later, Pope Clement VI confirmed them as the custodians of the holy places.

Sowing peace, fraternity, respect

In the message, Pope Francis notes how the Franciscans live alongside people of different cultures and religions, sowing seeds of “peace, fraternity and respect”. As well as their work as guides for pilgrims, the Pope recalls, they are also committed to biblical and archaeological studies. Franciscans also work closely with the local Churches taking care of the poor, the sick, the elderly and the young people who find it hard to keep up hope amidst the ongoing conflict.

Collection for the Holy Land

The Pope says that the Franciscans are ambassadors for the whole people of God, who support them through the traditional Good Friday collection for the Holy Land and through the Vatican’s Congregation for Oriental Churches, which is currently marking the centenary of its foundation.

BISHOP THANKS POPE FOR CALLING SYNOD FOR PAN-AMAZON REGION

(Vatican Radio) Bishop Emmanuel Lafont of Cayenne in French Guyana reacted with joy Monday when he heard Pope Francis’ announcement of a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region.

French Guyana and Suriname are part of the Amazon territory together with Guyana, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and Brazil. (photo news.va)

Pope Francis had announced a special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region that will focus on the needs of its indigenous people, on new paths for evangelization and on the crisis of the rain forest. The announcement came on Sunday during the Angelus after a canonization Mass during which he canonized 35 new saints, including three indigenous children martyred in 16th century Mexico.

As well as being an essential ‘lung’ for the entire planet as Pope Francis said when he made the announcement, the six million square kilometers that define the region are home to indigenous tribes and even uncontacted peoples whose cultures and whose very existences are threatened by large-scale logging, mining and other industrial projects as well as by pollution and climate change

Speaking to Vatican Radio Bishop Lafont said he is very grateful to Pope Francis for having called this Synod.

“I am very happy, grateful to the Holy Father for having called this Synod which is most important” he said.

For the benefit of the indigenous peoples

First of all, Bishop Lafont continued “for the benefit of the indigenous people – the First Nations – of the Amazonian region, because they have a long history, for the past 500 years of submission, of exploitation, of misunderstanding.”

For the protection of Creation

The second reason for which he is grateful, the Bishop said, that “the Amazon is one of the most important regions in the world for the protection of Creation” and it is currently facing many challenges. “The Church, he said, ought to speak even more loudly for the protection of the region, and for the sake of the protection of the whole world”.

 

TURN TO FAITH, NOT FORTUNE TELLERS, WHEN LIFE GETS TOUGH

Weekend tweets from Pope Francis:

August 12: Dear young people, you are the hope of the Church. Do you dream about your future? Then take part in #synod18! https://t.co/XNDm29yp3s

August 13: In Mary we see that humility is not a virtue of the weak but of the strong who don’t have to treat others badly to feel important.

TURN TO FAITH, NOT FORTUNE TELLERS, WHEN LIFE GETS TOUGH

(Vatican Radio) “When you do not cling to the word of the Lord, but have more security in consulting horoscopes and fortune tellers, you sink”. Those were Pope Francis’ words during his Angelus address on Sunday in St Peter’s Square. He was referring to the Gospel of the day where Jesus walks on the waters of Lake Galilee to save Peter and the disciples from sinking in their boat due to the heavy waves of the sea.

The Pope recounted how this story is rich in symbolism. The boat, he continued, “is the life of each of us, but it is also the life of the Church; The wind represents difficulties and trials.”

Peter’s invocation: “Lord, command me to come to you!” And his cry, “Lord, save me”, the Holy Father noted  “are so much like our desire to feel the closeness of the Lord, but also the fear and anguish that accompany the toughest moments of our lives and our communities, marked by internal fragility and external difficulties.”

Pope Francis explained, that at that moment, Peter was not sure of the word of Jesus, which was like a rope to cling to in hostile and turbulent waters. This is what can happen to us as well, he said,   “when you do not cling to the word of the Lord, but to have more security in consulting horoscopes and fortune tellers you sink”.

The Gospel of today, the Pope underlined, “reminds us that faith in the Lord and in his word does not open a path where everything is easy and quiet for us; It does not take away the storms of life.

But faith, the Holy Father went on to say, “gives us the assurance of a Presence, that is Christ, which pushes us to overcome the existential buffs; Faith, in short, is not a loophole from the problems of life, but it sustains our journey and gives it meaning.

“SUMMERTIME, AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY” (EVEN FOR POPES)

Saw this news report this morning: Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that 755 staff must leave U.S. diplomatic missions by September 1 in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions against Moscow. I read that, on that date, staff levels of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia will total 455 people, identical to the number of Russian embassy employees in Washington. Thus, the total US diplomatic staff in Russia (is) was 1210 people. I just have one question – and am guessing I have a lot to learn: Why on earth does one embassy need 1,210 people? I’m sure that includes some chefs and household staff and office cleaning staff and a few drivers – but 1,210 people?

“SUMMERTIME, AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY” (EVEN FOR POPES)

A song from the musical “Porgy and Bess” has the line “Summertime and the livin is easy,” and that’s pretty much how it is in Italy in July and even more so in August. Many businesses and shops close, sometimes for several weeks, Italians vacate major cities for their summer homes on the beach or in the cooler mountains, traffic is less congested and the noise level goes down noticeably.

It has been torrid in Rome since mid-June at least. Today it’s 95, tomorrow we’ll hit 101 and Wednesday will be 103. In fact, predictions for the next week say every day will be 100+ degrees. We are still waiting to hear if water rationing will go into effect throughout Rome. (photo EFP)

 

I know many places in the U.S. and around the world are experiencing heat waves and, in some places (Italy included), devastating fires, but it may seem hotter here than elsewhere simply because there is not as much air conditioning here as in the US. Many homes do not have AC as it is so expensive to run. Stores will have conditioning but they negate the effects by leaving their doors open. Generally speaking, in the U.S., you’ll be hot while outside but once you are in a car, bus, train, home, store, restaurant – you name it – you’ll find relief with AC.

Coming back this afternoon from Castel Sant’Angelo where I filmed a segment for “At Home with Jim and Joy,” the water in my bottle got so warm I had to empty the bottle – it was undrinkable.

Let’s not talk about public transport in this weather! A relatively small number of busses have fully functioning AC but often, those that have AC leave the windows open and in five minutes you feel like you are travelling in an oven! Right now the transport crisis is less about working AC than it is working drivers. Some drivers are on vacation but many are simply not reporting for work as they’ve not been paid in three months! Thus, fewer buses, longer waits and when your bus does come, chances are people are packed in like the proverbial sardines!

Tourists abound at this time of year, of course, but Italians have started their mass vacation exodus as, almost every weekend in July, cars filled with families depart Rome for the seashore or the mountains. Most families have second homes – some an hour’s drive away, others in the northern Alpine areas or on the beaches of Calabria and Sicily in southern Italy. Most Italians drive to their vacation home, some take a ship to the islands and many Italians, of course, travel beyond the borders of Italy to exotic places. July is a big month for vacation but August is traditionally the month when cities seem to literally close.

July and August in Rome is when people walk slower, simply because it is so hot or because they are just strolling for the fun of it, in good company and seemingly aimlessly. These are months when the sun shines mercilessly and you walk on the shady side of the street so that your shoes don’t stick to the sidewalk that appears to be melting under your feet. These are months when stores seem to close a bit earlier than usual, when restaurants remain open later than usual, when gelateria are still selling mouth-watering cones at midnight and watermelons are sold on every fifth street corner, satisfying a national passion – and a national pastime – in the summer.

This afternoon, as I was returning home from taping, I saw quite a number of places – restaurants, cafes, pharmacies, a newsstand, a hardware store – that are shuttered for the holidays. Such places usually put a sign on the shutter that tells when they will re-open. Pharmacies are required to post a list of close by alternative pharmacies that are open.

The Vatican is no exception to the July-August vacation time. Most employees want to escape the heat by heading to a milder clime or, when that is not possible, to seek relief in any form – the mountains, the sea or some place that at least can offer a lot of air-conditioning! Many employees are from overseas and thus return home for a month.

News is scarce because there are few people to make it. The main Vatican newsmaker, Pope Francis, has spent the last month on a relatively quiet working vacation, appearing in public only on Sundays for the Angelus. He resumes his weekly general audience this Wednesday, August 2.

Yesterday at the Angelus, before a fair sized crowd in St. Peter’s Square, notwithstanding the midday heat, he called for increased efforts to end human trafficking. His made his appeal after reciting the Marian prayer with pilgrims and tourists gathered in the square on the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

Francis began by noting, “Today is the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, promoted by the United Nations. Each year, thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of sexual and organ trafficking, and it seems that we are so accustomed to seeing it as a normal thing. This is ugly, it is cruel, it is criminal! I would like to ask everyone to commit to countering this aberrant plague, a modern form of slavery, Let us pray together to the Virgin Mary to support the victims of trafficking and to convert the hearts of traffickers.”

I remember when papal vacations lasted several months. John Paul – and Benedict XVI in the early years – would often spend part of July in cooler northern Italy, usually at a summer residence owned by a diocese or seminary, and then go to Castelgandolfo for August and most of September. Often the Sunday Angelus was recited in the canopy-covered courtyard of the summer papal residence.

Yes, summertime – and the livin is easy!

C9 CARDINALS EXPRESS FULL SUPPORT FOR PERSON, TEACHING OF POPE – AT ANGELUS, POPE LOOKS AT MURDER, ADULTERY, OATH-TAKING

C9 CARDINALS EXPRESS FULL SUPPORT FOR PERSON, TEACHING OF POPE

The Cardinals Council today began its eighteenth session. They will be meeting until Wednesday of this week. At the beginning of this morning’s meetings at the Domus Sanctae Marthae Cardinal, Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the group, after greeting the Holy Father, thanked him on behalf of all the Members for his words in the Christmas address to the Roman Curia last December 22, 2016, expressing gratitude for the Pope’s encouragement of the work of the Council of Cardinals. Regarding recent events, the Council of Cardinals expressed its full support for the work of the Pope, while ensuring full adhesion and support of His person and His Magisterium.

December 2016 address: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2016/12/22/0927/02060.html

AT ANGELUS, POPE LOOKS AT MURDER, ADULTERY, OATH-TAKING

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered a meditation on the Sermon on the Mount, speaking about how Jesus wishes to help his listeners to reflect on the Mosaic Law.

“What was said in the ancient Covenant was not everything,” the Holy Father explained. “Jesus came to fulfil and promulgate God’s law definitively, to the last iota. He manifests its original purposes and fulfils the authentic aspects, and He does all this through His preaching and, even more so, with the offer of Himself on the cross. In this way Jesus teaches how to carry out fully the will of God, with a ‘higher justice’ than that of the scribes and the Pharisees. A justice inspired by love, charity and mercy, and therefore capable of realising the substance of the commandments, avoiding the risk of formalism. Formalism: I can do this, I can’t do that; I can up to this point, up to here I can’t… No. It is more, more”.

With regard to the commandment, “You shall not kill, He affirms that it is violated not only by effective homicide, but also by behaviour that offends the dignity of the person, including insulting words. “Certainly, these do not have the same gravity and culpability as killing, but they are on the same line, as they are its premises and reveal the same malevolence,” the Pope observed.

“Jesus invites us not to establish a scale of offence, but rather to consider them all harmful, inasmuch as they are motivated by the intention to do harm to our neighbour.

And Jesus gives us an example. Insulting: we are used to insulting; it is like saying ‘hello’ And this is along the same lines as killing. When we insult our brother, we kill him in his heart. Please, do not insult! We gain nothing by insulting.”

Another fulfilment is related to matrimonial law. “Adultery was considered a violation of a man’s right of ownership over a woman. Jesus instead goes to the root of the evil. Just as one arrives at homicide through insults and offence, one arrives at adultery through the intentions of possession with regard to a woman other than one’s wife. Adultery, like theft, corruption and other sins, is conceived first within and, once the wrong decision is made in the heart, it is made manifest in concrete behaviour. And Jesus says: he who looks at a woman who is not his own with the spirit of possession is an adulterer in his heart. He has already set out on the path to adultery. Let us think a little about this: the evil thoughts that head in this direction”.

”Jesus also says to His disciples not to take an oath, in as much as the oath is a sign of the insecurity and duplicity of human relations. God’s authority is exploited to guarantee our human affairs. Instead, we are called to establish among us, in our families and in our communities, an atmosphere of clarity and mutual trust, so that we can be considered sincere without resorting to higher interventions to be believed. Diffidence and mutual suspicion always threaten serenity!”

“May the Virgin Mary, woman of docile listening and joyous obedience”, he concluded, “help us draw ever closer to the Gospel, to be Christians of substance, not superficial. “And this is possible with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Who enables us to do everything with love, and thereby to carry out fully the will of God”.