Pope Francis dedicated the entire catechesis of today’s general audience to the April 22nd 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The press office published the original Italian-language text as well as the complete English translation. There were also summaries of the Earth Day catechesis in the usual languages of French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Polish.

Pope Francis began the audience that took place in the library of the Apostolic Palace by noting that, “Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. This is an opportunity for renewing our commitment to caring for our common home. We are called to cherish creation and all life within it, for the natural world is the ‘Gospel of Creation’, not a set of resources for us to exploit.”

He explained that, “To overcome our selfishness and rediscover a sacred respect for the earth, we need a new way of seeing – an ecological conversion – for the earth is also God’s home and we stand on holy ground. We can only be authentic custodians of the earth, and overcome the challenges before us – such as the coronavirus pandemic – by acting in solidarity with one another.”

The Holy Father, speaking of his May 2015 encyclical letter, said “As Laudato Si’ reminds us, we are one interdependent human family and so need a common response to the threats we face (cf. 164). In this Easter season of renewal, as we strive to love more deeply our common home and all our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need, let us implore our Heavenly Father: ‘Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth’.”

FOR FULL ENGLISH TEXT: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/04/22/0240/00522.html


According to a vaticannews.va story, Pope Francis and French President Macron engaged in a telephone conversation focussed on the European Union’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the need for debt reduction in poor countries. The Holy See Press Office has said nothing about this but French President Emmanuel Macron’s communications office published the news.

Vatican news reported that Pope Francis took the opportunity to express his closeness and support to France where Covid-19 has claimed more than 20,000 lives during a telephone conversation with the French President. The president’s office said Pope Francis and President Emmanuel Macron spoke for about 45 minutes on Tuesday afternoon. It also said the Pope positively acknowledged “the constructive responses taken by France at the international level after the health crisis caused by the pandemic.”


A Holy See Pfress Office communique today stated that, “This morning in the old Synod Hall, an extraordinary meeting took place chaired by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in the presence of the heads of the dicasteries and entities of the Holy See. The aim of the meeting was to reflect on a second phase of Covid19 emergency that will begin next May. The Holy See’s efforts to deal with the crisis in a sustainable way were underlined. In addition, the gradual reactivation of ordinary services was decided, while safeguarding the health precautions to limit contagion, so as to ensure service to the Holy Father and to the Universal Church.”


Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, speaks about the decision to postpone the World Meeting of Families and World Youth Day, and about the lessons we can learn during these difficult times.

By Vatican News

Cardinal Kevin Farrell said that the decision to postpone two major ecclesial events was made out of prudence, and concern for the safety of the millions of people who are expected to take part.

The Vatican on Monday announced that the World Meeting of Families (WMF), set to take place in Rome in June 2021; and the next World Youth Day (WYD), scheduled for August 2022 in Lisbon, would both be pushed back a year, to 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Prudence and safety
In an interview with Vatican News, Cardinal Farrell explained that the organizational, logistical, and economic aspects of planning such events were important factors in the decision to postpone the events. Normally, planning for major international events of this kind takes place a year or more in advance. In these times, the Cardinal explained, “it would be imprudent of us to make that decision now, because we do not know exactly what the situation of our world will be as this pandemic comes to an end”.

He also expressed sympathy for people making plans for their families. Both the WMF and WYD draw large crowds from all over the world. It would be unreasonable to make plans for one’s family so soon after a major epidemic. Safety concerns are important too, Cardinal Farrell said: “It’s just not prudent” to have very large gatherings of people “until we know they are going to be safe”.

What we can learn
Cardinal Farrell focused on the importance of families, especially during a period when so many people are “locked down”. The family, he said, “is the most essential aspect of our social life. It is the basis of all social life”.

With so many people living closely together because of necessary health restrictions, families are learning how to care for each other more than ever before, Cardinal Farrell said. It is precisely in family life, that we learn how to value others and to care for them. He said he prays that this might be “one of the aspects” of the coronavirus emergency “that will most affect us”.

“We are one family”
The Cardinal said he believes the world will become “a smaller place” because we are learning that our lives are all interconnected. The Covid-19 emergency has affected every corner of the world, “which shows that the human race, we are all one family”. He said he hopes that “the greatest lesson we would all learn in this experience is precisely that: We are one family”.



I hope that, wherever you are celebrating St. Valentine’s Day, you are having a blessed day. Hopefully the link to this Jacquie Lawson greeting card will work as there is a message for each one of you – my faithful readers, radio listeners and TV viewers – on the Valentine tree. (Jacquie Lawson cards are marvelous, by the way, for many occasions)


As I watched this e-card play out, I thought of my own childhood and how we celebrated Valentine’s Day. One year, Mom took a shoebox, decorated it with red, white and pink paper and hearts, cut a slit on the middle and put it in the center of our dinner table every February 14. Even as young kids, we bought small greeting cards with our allowance, wrote a message and then addressed the cards to Mom, to Dad and to our siblings, and slipped them in the shoebox. Cards were distributed at dessert time!

As we grew, Mom started a tradition of creating a box for each of us – this time a much bigger box – into which she put our baby books, perhaps a lock of hair, report cards and every single card we gave, whatever our age, to her and my Dad on birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and so on. I still have “Joan’s Box”!

PS – Did you know that St. Valentine’s skull is in a reliquary in Rome’s Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin!


Vatican City, Feb 14, 2019 / 05:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis Thursday nominated a new camerlengo, Irish-American Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, and a former bishop of Dallas.

The responsibilities of camerlengo include overseeing the preparations for a papal conclave and managing the administration of the Holy See in the period between a pope’s death or renunciation and the election of a new pope.

Farrell was one of several bishops about whom questions were raised last summer regarding prior knowledge of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s misdeeds in the dioceses of Metuchen and Newark.

Farrell had served as an auxilary bishop under the former cardinal in Washington, DC, as well as moderator of the curia and vicar general, a chief advisory role to the disgraced archbishop.
Farrell lived together with McCarrick in a renovated parish building in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood for six years, and many have characterized McCarrick as a mentor to the cardinal.
Last July, Farrell denied having any knowledge of accusations of sexual abuse or harassment against McCarrick.

A former member of the Legion of Christ, Farrell had also previously denied having prior knowledge of sexual abuse on the part of the Legion of Christ’s founder and former general director, Marcial Maciel.

Farrell also caused controversy last summer after he suggested in an interview with the Irish Catholic magazine Intercom that priests lack the necessary experience to provide adequate marriage preparation to engaged couples, saying, “priests are not the best people to train others for marriage.” The comment echoed a statement of his from September 2017, that priests have “no credibility when it comes to living the reality of marriage.”

The office of camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, which is situated within the pontifical household, has been vacant since the death of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran last July.

To take office, Farrell, 71, will take an oath before Pope Francis, who will give him a scepter, a symbol of the authority of the camerlengo. The current scepter, covered in red velvet, dates to the papacy of Benedict XV.

Born in Ireland and ordained a priest in 1978 as a member of the Legion of Christ, Farrell eventually relocated to Washington, DC, serving as director of Washington’s Spanish Catholic Center, before becoming the archdiocese’s finance officer in 1989.

In 2002, he became an auxiliary bishop of Washington, serving as moderator of the curia and vicar general, a chief advisory role, to then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

He was named Bishop of Dallas in 2007, where he served until his appointment as the first prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life in August 2016, which put him in charge of the planning of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018 and World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019.

Farrell became a cardinal in November 2016.

The camerlengo is one of two head officials of the Roman Curia who do not lose their office while the papacy is vacant. The position of camerlengo, which is regulated by the apostolic constitutions Pastor bonus and Universi dominici gregis, administers Church finances and property during the interregnum.

Paragraph 17 of Universi dominici gregis establishes that “the Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church must officially ascertain the Pope’s death” and “must also place seals on the Pope’s study and bedroom,” and later “the entire papal apartment.”

The camerlengo is also responsible for notifying the cardinal vicar for Rome of the pope’s death, who then notifies the people of Rome by special announcement. He takes possession of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican and Palaces of the Lateran and of Castel Gandolfo and manages their administration.

“During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church has the duty of safeguarding and administering the goods and temporal rights of the Holy See, with the help of the three Cardinal Assistants, having sought the views of the College of Cardinals, once only for less important matters, and on each occasion when more serious matters arise,” the constitution states.

Only the pope may choose the cardinal to fill the position of camerlengo, though he may also leave it vacant, in which case, the College of Cardinals would hold an election to fill the office at the start of a sede vacante.


Pope Francis tells staff of the International Fund for Agricultural Development that God appreciates their work to eradicate poverty and hunger in rural areas of the world.
By Vatican News
Seventy-five percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas of developing countries. Addressing the 42nd annual Governing Council meeting of IFAD in Rome, on Thursday, Pope Francis pointed out how paradoxical it is that “a good part of the more than 820 million people who suffer hunger and malnutrition in the world, live in rural areas, are dedicated to food production, and are farmers”.

Going against the flow
Following that address, the Pope met with IFAD staff members and thanked them for their work “in the service of such a noble cause as the fight against hunger and poverty in the world”. He also thanked them “for going against the flow”.

“Today’s trend sees a slowdown in the reduction of extreme poverty and an increase in the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few”, he said. “Few have too much and too many have too little”. The Pope described what he called “this perverse current of inequality” as being “disastrous for the future of humanity”.

Competence and sensitivity
Pope Francis acknowledged how “many needy and disadvantaged people, who survive with so much suffering on the peripheries of the world, benefit from your work”. These beneficiaries include disadvantaged children, women, and entire families.

He went on to tell IFAD staff how, “in order to perform this type of service well, it is necessary to combine competence with a particular human sensitivity”. It is important to “cultivate the inner life”, he told them, “the feelings that open the heart and ennoble others”.

Putting God in everything
Pope Francis encouraged everyone working at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, not to lose hope, not to give in to resignation, “thinking that it is only a drop in the ocean”. We can inject enthusiasm into everything we do, “day by day, even in small things”, he said. This means “putting God in what we do”, added Pope Francis: “because God never tires of doing good, of starting again. He never tires of giving hope”.

Looking for faces
Finally, the Pope urged IFAD staff always “to look for a face”, the faces of the people behind the case studies. “It is important not to stay on the surface”, he said, “but to enter into reality, to see the faces”.

The question to be asked, suggested Pope Francis, is “how much love do I put into the things I do now”? Those who love, he concluded, use their imagination: they can see solutions “where others see only problems”.