POPE TO PRIESTS IN AHIARA DIOCESE: “ACCEPT YOUR BISHOP OR BE SUSPENDED A DIVINIS”

Here is a terrific update from the Benedictine Monks of Norcia about the progress in re- building since last fall’s devastating earthquake. I could not get the Facebook icon in their email to work so this is the next best thing: http://mailchi.mp/nursia/springatthemonastery-494285

POPE TO PRIESTS IN AHIARA DIOCESE: “ACCEPT YOUR BISHOP OR BE SUSPENDED A DIVINIS”

(Vatican Radio) At an audience for a delegation from the Nigerian diocese of Ahiara, Pope Francis said he had been “deeply saddened” by the refusal of the diocese to accept the Bishop appointed for them. (photo: news.va)

During the audience, the Pope requested explicitly that the diocese receive Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke, who was appointed to Ahiara by Pope Benedict in 2012. In his address to the delegation, the Holy Father, while asking pardon for the harsh language, said the Church in Ahiara “is like a widow for having prevented the Bishop from coming to the diocese.” He called to mind the parable, from the Gospel of Matthew, of the murderous tenants who wanted to steal the inheritance. “In this current situation, the Diocese of Ahiara is without the bridegroom, has lost her fertility, and cannot bear fruit. Whoever is opposed to Bishop Okpaleke taking possession of the diocese wants to destroy the Church.”

In such a situation, Pope Francis continued, where the Church is suffering, “the Pope cannot remain indifferent.”

In response to that situation, which he described as “an attempted taking over of the vineyard of the Lord,” Pope Francis asked “every priest or ecclesiastic incardinated in the Diocese of Ahiara, whether he resides there or works elsewhere, even abroad, write a letter addressed to me in which he asks for forgiveness; all must write individually and personally. We all must share this common sorrow.”

Whoever fails to do so within thirty days, the Pope said, “will be ipso facto [by that very fact] suspended a divinis [‘from divine things,’  such as the celebration of the sacraments] and will lose his current office.”

This course of action was necessary, he continued, “Because the people of God are scandalized. Jesus reminds us that whoever causes scandal must suffer the consequences. Maybe someone has been manipulated without having full awareness of the wound inflicted upon the ecclesial communion.”

Following the Pope’s address, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja and Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara, thanked the Holy Father. Following his remarks, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, asked the Holy Father that the Diocese of Ahiara, with its Bishop, might make a pilgrimage to Rome to meet with him when the situation was resolved; a request the Pope accepted.

The audience concluded with a prayer to Mary and the blessing of the Holy Father.

Complete text of Papal letter here: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-receives-delegation-from-nigerian-diocese-of

SOME BACKGROUND FROM CNS:

When Okpaleke was appointed to the diocese, the announcement was met by protests and petitions calling for the appointment of a bishop from among the local clergy.

Nevertheless, he was ordained a bishop in May 2013, although the ordination took place not in the Ahiara diocese, but at a seminary in the Archdiocese of Owerri.

Ahiara is in Mbaise, a predominantly Catholic region of Imo State in southern Nigeria.

Okpaleke is from Anambra State, which borders Imo to the north.

A petition to Pope Benedict launched by the “Coalition of Igbo Catholics” said, “That no priest of Mbaise origin is a bishop today … is mind boggling. Mbaise has embraced, enhanced the growth of and sacrificed for the Catholic Church, has more priests per capita than any other diocese in Nigeria and certainly more than enough pool of priests qualified to become the next bishop of the episcopal see of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise.”

According to the Vatican, the diocese has close to 423,000 Catholics and 110 diocesan priests.

Trying to calm the situation, in July 2013 Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Onaiyekan to serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese, and the following December he sent Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, then-president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to Ahiara to listen to the concerns of the diocesan priests and local laity.

Onaiyekan joined Okpaleke on the “ad limina” visit to Rome, as did Kaigama and Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Owerri. Three priests, a religious sister and a traditional elder also made the trip.

 

 

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POPE FRANCIS’ VIDEO MESSAGE FOR XXXII WORLD YOUTH DAY – MONKS OF NORCIA MARK TRANSITUS OF ST. BENEDICT

POPE FRANCIS’ VIDEO MESSAGE FOR XXXII WORLD YOUTH DAY

The Vatican today released a video message from Pope Francis for the XXXII World Youth Day to be held in the dioceses of the world on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017. The Pope’s written message was also released (see below). Following is the text in English of the video message:

Dear young people,

With the memory vividly in our minds of our meeting together at World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, we have set out towards the next goal that will be, God willing, Panama in 2019. These moments of encounter and conversation with you are very important to me. I want this journey to proceed in line with preparations for the next Synod of Bishops because it is dedicated to you young people.

We are accompanied on this journey by Our Mother the Virgin Mary. She encourages us with her faith, the same faith that she expressed in her song of praise. Mary said, “The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49). She knew how to give thanks to God who looked upon her littleness, and she recognised the great things that God was accomplishing in her life. So she set off to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was old and needed her to be close by. Mary did not stay at home because she was not a young couch potato who looks for comfort and safety where nobody can bother them. She was moved by faith because faith is at the heart of Our Mother’s entire life story.

Dear young people, God is also watching over you and calling you, and when God does so, he is looking at all the love you are able to offer. Like the young woman of Nazareth, you can improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history ‒ your history and that of many others. The Church and society need you. With your plans and with your courage, with your dreams and ideals, walls of stagnation fall and roads open up that lead us to a better, fairer, less cruel and more humane world.

As you follow this path, I encourage you to cultivate a relationship of familiarity and friendship with Our Lady. She is our Mother. Speak to her as you would to a Mother. Together with her, give thanks for the precious gift of faith that you have received from your elders, and entrust your whole life to her. She is a good Mother who listens to you and embraces you, who loves you and walks together with you. I assure you that if you do that, you will not regret it.

Have a good pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2019. May God bless you all.

For the video: Go to: http://www.news.va/en and scroll down until you see VIDEO CHANNEL – click here to see Pope Francis who speaks in Spanish

Here is the link to Pope Francis’ written message for the 2017 diocesan level celebration of the XXXII World Youth Day, which takes place on Palm Sunday on the Marian theme: “The Mighty One has done great things for me,” taken from the Magnifcat. The Holy Father tells young people that the world “needs your courage, dreams and ideals.” http://www.news.va/en/news/our-lady-at-the-heart-of-2017-wyd-message

MONKS OF NORCIA MARK TRANSITUS OF ST. BENEDICT

Following is a letter and some photos sent by Father Benedict Nivakoff, OSB, Prior with an update as they mark the transitus of St. Benedict:

Dear Friends, On this Feast, for several centuries, monks, clergy and citizens of Norcia have celebrated St. Benedict’s Transitus – his earthly death and birth into Heaven — in a packed basilica with local townspeople in medieval costume. In the crypt of that basilica, the saint (and his saintly sister) was born to life, while in the upper church his birth into heaven was remembered. Eight months after the great earthquake of 2016, the celebrations have a different character.

The Archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia offered the Mass at a portable altar in front of the statue of our great patron in the piazza with the ruins of the basilica and its still-standing facade covered in scaffolding in the background. Beloved traditions do not die easily and today’s solemnity is a timely reminder that “deep roots are not touched by the frost.”

The Feast comes in Lent and along with St. Joseph and the Annunciation, this week brings a sort of intermission to the monk’s Lenten routine. Many ask me about it. Here is a brief sketch. Our day still begins at the same time, 03:15 AM. Private Lectio, devotions, low Masses and classes punctuate the morning between vigils, lauds, prime and terce. The sung Conventual Mass is at 10:00 as usual then we go outside to work. The main difference to our schedule is that the one meal of the day is moved to 17:30. St. Benedict was keen that the monks not eat until after vespers, or near sunset. Afterward, there is a short meeting called collation, then compline and bed time. Each monk suggests to the Prior a little extra fasting, a little extra prayer and some almsgiving (within the house) and these are added to his daily schedule.

For one of our monks, Fr. Basil, this Lent has an added gift of service. He is spending the month of March with the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta, India. Last year, Br. Anthony was able to help the sisters there for a month and it proved an invaluable source of inspiration for his monastic vocation and for our community at home. While it is true that there are many ways we try to help people near us in the earthquake zone, the stark poverty that affects that region of India brings an added urgency and we are glad our monks can lend a hand.

One way we help locally is through our beer, and we are grateful to God to be able to announce that after moving some equipment and making minor repairs we will finally be reopening a part of the brewery next week for production. Most of the brewery is still badly damaged but a small part remains intact. Re-opening that part (with some modifications) will allow us to get Birra Nursia out — albeit in limited quantities — to more local shops trying to open again. I’ll have more information about that next week. May Nursia help to gladden hearts in Norcia and abroad and may God bless each of you for your continued support of lour many needs!

UPDATE FROM NORCIA – THE UNSEEN DEVASTATION

UPDATE FROM NORCIA – THJE UNSEEN DEVASTATION

Dear Friends,

Although aftershocks continue, we are doing our best to return to our normal monastic life. As we try, we are still responding to the ever-new and evolving challenges of life in a heavily earthquake-damaged region. The difficulty of this task was epitomized this past week as we returned to one of our community’s “wilder” customs.   Every week, we take a three-hour hike in the mountains near the monastery. Four times a year, though, we extend that to an all-day or even overnight excursion. Last week we retraced an old favorite route of the path from Norcia to the monastery of Sant’Eutizio in Preci. St. Eutizio was a hermit and, along with St. Fiorenzio and St. Spes, educated the child St. Benedict. The walk we took was the walk our patron would have taken 15 centuries ago to build up his foundations in virtue and learning.

Except for the sighting of a family of 12 wild boars – which we chased for 200 yards before we lost them in the thick woods — this normally gentle and welcoming path looks nothing like it did six months ago. Much of the attention after the earthquakes has understandably been paid to the bigger disasters of the towns of Amatrice and Norcia, but what isn’t so often reported are the saddening blocks of tiny ruined country villages. We saw church after church lowered to the ground and house after house destroyed beyond repair in hill towns that news cameras didn’t reach. As we hiked, they seemed to all blend together into one long tragic chain. Even though lives were spared by the grace of God, the men and women of these places have no home to return to and many have no jobs to sustain them. They also must confront the question of whether to stay and wait for the rebuilding of a brand new town, or settle with friends and family in better conditions.

Uniting our prayers to those suffering, we began earlier this month a new tradition of a community rosary procession with a statue of Our Lady, which we pulled from the rubble of our monastery in town. Painstakingly repaired by one of the novices with glue and plaster, we wandered with her through the hillside and up and down the mountain paths asking her to intercede so that new life will spring up in these millennia-old towns and villages. Quia non est impossibile apud Deum.

With the assurance of our prayers and gratitude for your support,

Fr. Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B. Prior

THE CHURCHES OF NORCIA ARE GONE!

THE CHURCHES OF NORCIA ARE GONE!

From the Benedictine Monks of Norcia –

Dear friends,

How can I even begin to describe the scene we witnessed yesterday in Norcia?

It was like those photographs of bombed-out churches from the Second World War. It reminded me of all those ruined monasteries one sees passing through the English countryside. It was an image of devastation. All the churches in Norcia are on the ground. Every single one. The roofs caved in on all of them; they are no more. What remains of them are a few corners, a facade, a window with the sun coming through from the wrong side. Inside are “bare ruin’d choirs” as Shakespeare wrote of the destroyed monasteries in his time.

The Church of the Madonna Addolorata in Norcia, crumbled to the ground. Notice the still-standing inscription above the door, which bears the words from the Book of Lamentations: Missit ignem in ossibus meis. (He hath sent fire into my bones.)

addolorata-1

addolorata-2

The wonder, the miracle, is that there were no casualties. All the fear and anxiety following the first few earthquakes now seem a providential part of God’s mysterious plan to clear the city of all inhabitants. He spent two months preparing us for the complete destruction of our patron’s church so that when it finally happened we would watch it, in horror but in safety, from atop the town.

The Basilica of San Benedict, Norcia.

benedict-basilica

Is it over yet? We do not know. These are mysteries which will take years — not days or months — to understand. We watch and pray all together on the mountainside for Norcia and for the world. The priests go into town to visit the sick and the homeless. We are grateful for your prayers, as ever.

In Christ,

Fr. Benedict

Subprior

NEW QUAKE CAUSES DAMAGE, DESPERATION IN NORCIA

NEW QUAKE CAUSES DAMAGE, DESPERATION IN NORCIA

Here is the latest letter from Fr. Benedict, subprior of the Monks of Norcia, a town struck once again by Wednesday’s earthquake in central Italy:

Dear friends, I am hesitant to implore you all again for prayers and support. In the midst of so much suffering, one cannot help but feel a kind of embarrassment to invite your attention to our situation so soon after the first series of earthquakes in August. Since then, we monks have been trying to determine God’s will for our lives and community. Perhaps, at least for us, this second quake is God yelling even louder His will for our lives. We pray for understanding.   Over the past 24 hours, a powerful series of earthquakes passed through Norcia, once again graciously sparing the lives of the monks and inhabitants to Norcia. Unfortunately, however, it has brought many of the townspeople to the brink of despair and more damage than any of us can yet assess. As before, we are busy at work trying to respond to the crisis on multiple levels. Therefore, my time is short to update all of you, even though you each have found so much time to support us through your prayers and donations.

The Basilica fared the worst. Entire walls of decorative plaster crashed to the floor and the dome has begun to cave in. The roof collapsed in two places, leaving the ancient Basilica exposed to all the elements. Most dramatically, perhaps, the Celtic Cross which adorned the 13th century facade came crashing down.

celtic-cross

The 50% of the monastery which had been considered “habitable” after the August quakes has now been damaged far beyond what one might call safe livable conditions. At 10:30 PM last night, 5 of the town monks escaped to San Benedetto in Monte to join the 8 of us already here, where, after a common sip of Birra Nursia Extra, we camped out for a night of turbulence. After a few scant moments of sleep, we rose at 3:30 AM for Matins and started to accept once more that our life is not our own and God had altered our path once again, solidifying it here on the mountain top. Sadly, for the foreseeable future, this means it will no longer be possible for us to offer Mass in the crypt of the Basilica for the public. But, if God wills it, we will soon offer Mass here on the mountain.

In closing, and on a note of hope, I want to tell you about a special visitor we had this morning. In an act of both ecclesiastical solidarity and paternal support, and as the ground beneath us continued to tremble, Archbishop Alexander K. Sample of Portland, Oregon, became the first Bishop to offer Mass in the private chapel of our modest dwellings. The Bishop was in Norcia to participate in the fifth annual Populus Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage. (photo from Summorum Pontificum)

abp-sample

Following the earthquake, the pilgrimage’s Norcia events were cancelled, and so the Bishop spent time with our community. He was able to join us for coffee and offered soothing words of support, which we in turn repeat and offer to all of those in the region affected by natural disaster: “God will bring good to you out of this suffering and this earthquake will become the cornerstone on which generations of monks will build their monastic life.”

FAITH IS TRUSTING IN JESUS’ MERCY AND SAVING POWER – PAPAL MOTU PROPRIO FOR NEW DICASTERY ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT – BENEDICTINE MONKS WRITE OF VISITORS AND HOMECOMINGS

FAITH IS TRUSTING IN JESUS’ MERCY AND SAVING POWER

Wednesday, at the weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis focussed on St Matthew’s Gospel account of the cure of a woman suffering from hemorrhages. The audience was held under overast skies and, about an hour after it ended, the heavens opened and a torrential rain fell, accompanied, by extraordinarily loud cracks of thunder and lightning

“In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy,” began the Holy Father. “we now consider Jesus’ cure of the woman suffering from hemorrhages (Mt 9:20-22). This unnamed woman, considered impure according to the Law, trusted in Jesus’ mercy and saving power to free her from her illness and isolation.”

Francis explained that, “Filled with deep faith, she reached out and touched his garment.  In Hebrew religious tradition, wearing such a garment was a symbol of being clothed with the divine Law, the source of blessing.  The woman’s gesture of touching his garment is thus a form of quiet prayer and a sign of hope.”

AG - AUGUST 31

The Pope went on to say that, “Jesus responds by looking upon her with tenderness and acknowledges her dignity.  He treats her with love and heals her of her affliction.  Faith in Christ brings salvation; it offers healing, restores right relationships between people and affirms our inviolable dignity.  Jesus asks all of us to trust in his word and, having experienced his mercy, to be a leaven of that mercy in our world.”

After the main catechesis in Italian and summaries in six other languages, the Pope had greetings for the visitors present, expressed in the different languages by monsignori of the Secretariat of State. In English he said: “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, particularly those from Ireland, Malta, the Philippines, Vietnam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the United States of America.  May your stay in the Eternal City confirm you in love for our Lord, and may he make you his missionaries of mercy, especially for all those who feel distant from God.  May God bless you all!”

PAPAL MOTU PROPRIO FOR NEW DICASTERY ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has created a new Dicastery to better minister to the needs of the men and women the Church is called to serve.

The new “Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development” was instituted in a Motu Proprio published on Wednesday in the Osservatore Romano.

It will come into effect on January 1, 2017 and will be have jurisdiction especially “in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture.”

On that same date, four Pontifical Councils dedicated to charity and to the promotion of human development will cease to exist and effectively be encompassed in the new institution.

The Pope has appointed Cardinal Peter Turkson as Prefect of the new dicastery. Turkson is the current President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace – one of those destined to be suppressed.

As Pope Francis highlights in the Motu Proprio: ‘the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel’, thus the Successor of Peter must ‘continuously adapt the institutions which collaborate with him.’

One of the sections of the new dicastery is an expression of the Pope’s particular concern for refugees and migrants and of his deep belief that in today’s world integral human development cannot be promoted without special attention for the phenomenon of migration. For this reason, this particular section is placed ad tempus beneath the direct jurisdiction of the Pope.

Click here for full text of motu proprio: http://www.news.va/en/news/migrants-and-refugees-at-the-heart-of-popes-new-mo

BENEDICTINE MONKS WRITE OF VISITORS AND HOMECOMINGS

From Fr. Benedict, subprior:

Yesterday was a day of visitors and homecomings. What no doubt garnered the most attention from the press was the visit of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who came in by helicopter to Norcia to see the damage. Accompanied by the mayor, the archbishop and the president of Umbria, Renzi was able to see first hand the damages done to the basilica and to assure us and all those in Norcia of his support. Fr. Cassian and I were able to greet him personally.

RENZI - MONKS

Much closer to our hearts, though, was the return of our dear brothers from Rome who arrived at the same time the prime minister did. They were less noticed but much needed. Their presence in Norcia had not been possible up until yesterday as the cells and other parts of the building had been declared unsafe by the fire marshals and they were required to evacuate. But we have found a few rooms that are usable for 4 brothers, and 3 brothers are sleeping in what were once our small guest quarters, which was not damaged since our neighbors who own it had it rebuilt after the last earthquake from the ground up.

With the community now all safely back in Norcia the monks were able to pray vespers together at Fuori Le Mura and Br. Michael posted his first recording since the quake. Afterwards we had a warm celebration together with a little Birra Nursia and a large Minestrone soup prepared by a friend of the monastery. All of us thanked God that in spite of the damage we are all safe and alive and we renewed our intention to be present to the people of Norcia through our prayer and support, now needed more than ever.

One more visitor is pictured below. The first snake we’ve encountered was thankfully already dead, which the brothers took to be a propitious sign: the reclaiming of our property from the beasts! Other visitors have been hedgehogs, wild boar, and a neighbor’s cow that feeds near our stone wall.

snake - monks

 

POPE FRANCIS GREETS FACEBOOK CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG – HOLY FATHER REMEMBERS QUAKE VICTIMS AT ANGELUS – SEPTEMBER 1, WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR CARE OF CREATION – QUAKE UPDATE FROM BENEDICTINES OF NORCIA

POPE FRANCIS GREETS FACEBOOK CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG

A Holy See Press Office statement from director Greg Burke announced that Pope Francis met this morning with Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook and his wife, Priscilla Chan, in a private audience. The statement only noted that, “They spoke about how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and help deliver a message of hope, especially to those people who are most disadvantaged.”

POPE-ZUCKERBERG  2

More information was available – guess where!? – Zuckerberg’s FB page:

Priscilla and I had the honor of meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican. We told him how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness, and how he’s found new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world.

We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access. We gave him a model of Aquila, our solar-powered aircraft that will beam internet connectivity to places that don’t have it. And we shared our work with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help people around the world.

It was a meeting we’ll never forget. You can feel his warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people.

HOLY FATHER REMEMBERS QUAKE VICTIMS AT ANGELUS

The August 24 earthquake that rocked central Italy, killing nearly 300, was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks Sunday after praying the noon Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. He offered words of encouragement to the people of the quake-damaged area, renewed his appeal for prayerful and concrete solidarity, and expressed the desire to visit the stricken places as soon as possible.

He specifically named the towns with the highest loss of life and the most extensive damage – Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto and Norcia.

Francis said, “the Church shares your suffering and your worries,…and prays for the dead and for the survivors.” He noted that “the work of the volunteers, police, and civil protection shows how important solidarity is in order to overcome such painful trials.”

“I hope to come to see you as soon as possible,” said the Holy Father, “to bring you in person the comfort of the faith, the embrace of a father and a brother, and the support of Christian hope.” He then led the faithful in the square in praying a Hail Mary for the victims, their families, and for everyone affected by the deadly quake.

Saturday was a national day of mourning in Italy, and a mass funeral took place at a sports hall in the regional capital, Ascoli Piceno, for 35 of the people killed in the powerful earthquake. The coffins were laid out in rows on the floor, and included two small white one for children. The death toll from the quake is approaching 300

Museums across Italy donated proceeds from their ticket sales on Sunday to help the rebuilding effort, while soccer teams held a minute’s silence before their weekend matches out of respect for the victims.

SEPTEMBER 1, WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR CARE OF CREATION

Speaking to the faithful following the traditional Angelus prayer Sunday Pope Francis called attention to the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to be celebrated Thursday, September 1. A major global ecumenical stewardship initiative, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation began in 1989 under the leadership of the Orthodox Church.

Pope Francis established the Day for the Catholic Church by a letter dated August 6, 2015 and addressed to both Cardinals Peter Turkson and Kurt Koch, respectively the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

In the letter, Pope Francis says, “The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.” (source Vatican Radio)

QUAKE UPDATE FROM BENEDICTINES OF NORCIA

SATURDAY

Dear Friends, This will be a shorter update since we’ve been very busy today responding to journalists and townspeople, politicians and bishops, all wanting to help us in their own way, and we are grateful to all of them. Inspectors finally came and as expected declared the church and most of the monastery unusable. Only the brewery a few rooms, and our gift shop will be allowed to be used as they are nearest to the ground and suffered the least damage. As a result, we’ll be setting up a new base camp at our monastery outside the walls, the restoration of which has not yet been completed, but which offers us various fields for tents and temporary buildings and a local farm house where we can take our meals. Alas the Basilica will remain closed for some months, but over the next weeks we hope to be able to gain access to the crypt or an adjacent room for daily celebration of Mass.

Today we were also able to stop in and see a few families and businesses and assure them of our prayers. The Archbishop of Spoleto Norcia made an official visit with the inspectors of all the churches in Norcia (all will remain closed) and made arrangements with the Pastor of the town for Mass to be offered outside in a field this Sunday as aftershocks continue to make all the already damaged churches dangerous.

The monks in Rome also continue to care for the people of Norcia through their particular monastic role of intercessory prayer on behalf of and for the people. The monks’ primary role in the life of the Church is one of praying quietly and silently, often unnoticed and even forgotten. Thus, we continue to strive to support the local parish clergy, who are charged with the particular sacramental needs of the townspeople, with our spiritual intercession, and collaborate with them when they request need. We know by faith our prayers help sustain their work and all those suffering and assist in healing the sufferings of many all over our region in these difficult times. Your continued support has inspired us in our prayer and mission.

Pax, Fr. Benedict, Subprior

SUNDAY

Dear Friends,

MONKS  11

Buona Domenica, as the Italians say to wish one another a happy Sunday. For us, it was indeed a blessed one, as for the first time since the earthquake, we have a safe and worthy little chapel to offer the Holy Mass in private (the St. Bartholomew Chapel, named after the saint on whose feast the earthquake occurred).

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More than that, the good people at Agriturismo il Casale degli Amici have dedicated a space for us to offer Mass in public, and, as you can see from the photograph, the Nursini turned up in good number, trekking up the hill a good 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the city center.

MONKS   3

The Tipiloschi family, who we mentioned in our last update, have finished the makeshift tent that is perched across the elevated garden area of our property Fuori Le Mura (Outside the Walls), and our beds and cupboards have been moved in. It’s already feeling like home.

A few monks are still in Rome, waiting for us to finish preparations to make enough livable space to accommodate them. We’ll have everyone back by the end of the month, and for that, and God’s goodness in providing for us so quickly, deeply grateful.

To all of the Nursini, the people of the region, our friends and family abroad, we wish you a blessed Sunday. Please keep us in your prayers.

Pax, Fr, Benedict, Subprior