Today is the feast of St. George and Pope Francis’ name day as his birth name is Jorge – George. In Italy there are many people who celebrate their name day or onomastico in a bigger fashion than a birthday.

Tanti auguri, Jorge!


The Church today remembers Saint George the martyr, Pope Francis’ name day. To mark this occasion a number of ventilators will be delivered to Romania, Spain and Italy, countries particularly affected by the coronavirus epidemic. The delivery comes after an announcement on March 27 in response to the needs of several hospitals. Best wishes to the Pope are being received from all over the world.

By Benedetta Capelli and Adrian Dancă – vaticannews

Giving not receiving. This is the spirit that distinguishes today’s day, in which the Church remembers Saint George the martyr. This Saint died in 303, for not renouncing the faith during the anti-Christian persecutions unleashed by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Tradition remembers him in this episode in which, protected by the Cross, he slayed the dragon that devoured people: a symbol of faith that triumphs over evil.

The Pope’s name-day

This is therefore, the day in which Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s name day, Pope Francis, is celebrated. The Pontiff’s gift is the delivery of ventilators and medical equipment, masks, protective glasses for doctors and nurses, overalls for intensive care. A number of hospitals will be benefiting: one is in the city of Suceava, Romania, which has seen an outbreak of coronavirus, where 5 latest generation ventilators are expected; another 2 will go to a hospital in Lecce, Italy, and 3 to Madrid, Spain.

It is “a beautiful sign that falls on this particular day when the Holy Father does not receive a gift but gives it to others”, said Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner, speaking of the imminent delivery that he calls “an embrace of the Pope in a difficult situation for the whole world”.

Romania is experiencing a real emergency in the small town of Suceava where the ventilators will go.  There is almost 25% of the total contagion at national level. The town, together with several surrounding municipalities is in quarantine and is located in the poorest region of the country and the European Union.

In Romania there are more than 515 victims and almost 10 thousand infected. The ventilators and all the equipment donated by the Pope will be transported by a flight which will also carry a team of eleven Romanian doctors and six health workers, sent on 7 April by the government of Bucharest to a hospital in Lecce to work alongside Italy in its difficult battle against the coronavirus.

The three ventilators in Madrid will be taken care of by the Nunciature which, together with Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of the Spanish capital, who will bring them to the hospitals most in need. The Iberian country is in lockdown until 9 May. The number of those infected exceeds 208,000, the death toll stands at over 21,000 and almost 86,000 have been cured of the coronavirus.

Two ventilators destined for the hospital in Lecce will be delivered today by Cardinal Krajewski himself. On the journey back to the Vatican, the Papal Almoner will stop in Naples to receive medicine for the poor of Rome

A few days before Easter, two ventilators, medical devices for doctors and nurses and Easter eggs arrived directly from the Vatican at the Cotugno hospital in Naples. Last year, again on the day of his name day, Pope Francis donated Rosary wreaths made for WYD in Panama to young people in the archdiocese of Milan, and a 20 kg chocolate egg to the poor at the Caritas canteen at Termini Station in Rome.

 Best wishes to the Pope

At this time the Pope is receiving best wishes for his name day. In his message for Easter, the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella thanked Pope Francis for “the vibrant words of life and hope” repeatedly addressed by the Pope to the country and expressed in his best wishes for the Pope’s name day.


The Vatican has announced that the International Eucharistic Congress, set to take place in Budapest this fall, has been postponed to September 2021. (Vatican News)

Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni announced today in a written statement that the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress scheduled to take place in September 2020 will now take place in September 2021.

The decision was made “because of the current health situation and its consequences for the movement and aggregation of the faithful and pilgrims.”

In his statement, Bruni notes that the decision was taken by Pope Francis together with the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic[BR1]  Congresses and the Hungarian Episcopate.

What a Eucharistic Congress is

Eucharistic Congresses are designed to promote devotion to and belief in Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. In 1967, following the Second Vatican Council, the then Sacred Congregation of Rites wrote, “In Eucharistic Congresses Christians seek to understand this mystery more deeply through a consideration of its many aspects.” It emphasized the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, saying that during the Congresses, the faithful “should venerate [this mystery] through devotions and private prayers, especially by solemn processions, in such a way that all these forms of devotion find their climax in the solemn celebration of Mass”.

History of the Eucharistic Congress

The first Eucharistic Congress took place in France in 1881, during the pontificate of Leo XIII. Since that time, Congresses have been held throughout the world, in places as diverse as Jerusalem, Rome, Montreal, Sydney, Carthage (in Tunisia), Buenos Aires, and Manila. The most recent Eucharistic Congress was held in Cebu City in the Philippines in 2016 with Burmese Cardinal Charles Bo serving as the papal legate.

JFL: An international Eucharistic Congress was held in Chicago from June 20 to 24, 1926. My grandfather William H. Lewis was on the Layman’s Organizing Committee and received the yellow and white decoration with medal that you see here. Members also received the bronze medal you see from Pope Pius XI