I am much more aware of the need for warm clothing (see first story) because our building has been without heat for 3 days! Our doorman Carlo hinted that it might be back on tonight and I think a lot of us are saying a few ‘Aves’ that this does indeed happen, sooner rather than later. It seems I can’t wear enough layers of clothing, in addition to the blanket I put over my legs as I sit for hours and write. My AC unit does not provide heat as it is supposed to. I have a small electric heater that I place outside the bathroom door in the morning but do not run it throughout the day as electricity costs and arm and a leg here (and that, before the recent big rise in utility bills this year).

As Mom always told us whenever there was a difficult moment or a disappointment in life: Offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory!

And so I am!

I’ll also get a thermal t-shirt to help some Ukrainians who are far worse off than we are! The following is from the website: Elemosineria Apostolica | Città del Vaticano. Polish Cardinal Krajewski heads the newly-named Dicastery for Charity.


The Ukrainian people are experiencing an emergency linked, in addition to the war, also to the lack of electricity, gas and the very harsh cold of winter. We could help them, this Christmas, with the gift of thermal shirts, suitable for maintaining body temperature, for men, women, or children (the ones you use to go skiing).

The Elemosineria Apostolica is already being replenished, anyone who wants, can join this initiative by purchasing and bringing/shipping the shirts directly to this Dicastery within a month, in order to send them as soon as possible, by truck, to Kiev.

Please ship or deliver to:  Elemosineria Apostolica,  Cortile Sant’Egidio  00120 Città del Vaticano ,cardKonrad Krajewski

A bench in the courtyard of the papal charity office:

Furthermore, if you want to make this a truly Christian Christmas, you can make a donation on a crowd-funding platform where the Apostolic Almsgiving has launched a fundraising campaign called: “The Warmth of Solidarity – Thermal T-Shirts for Ukraine”


I had read last week of the excommunication of Fr. Rupnik, SJ, on three websites that I did not know and I sought but did not get confirmation. One even reported that it was Pope Francis who lifted the excommunication. Therefore, I did not write of it or talk of it (excommunication) last week on Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo because the Jesuit communique that had just come out and that we were talking about, did not mention excommunication or confirm the reports.

But now we know: Fr. Marko Rupnik was indeed excommunicated, he repented and it was lifted.

CNA: The Jesuit Superior General, Father Arturo Sosa, has confirmed that Jesuit artist Father Marko Rupnik incurred an automatic excommunication in 2019 for absolving a woman he had sex with, a fact his religious order was aware of but did not disclose until now.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Sosa disclosed this new information Wednesday in a briefing with journalists in Rome.

Abusing the sacrament of confession in this manner is one of the most serious crimes in the Catholic Church.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “said it happened, there was absolution of an accomplice,” Sosa said. “So he was excommunicated. How do you lift an excommunication? The person has to recognize it and has to repent, which he did.”

Sosa also contradicted the Jesuits’ earlier statement and said the restrictions on Rupnik’s ministry, which remain in effect, dated from this earlier conviction and not the 2021 allegations that the Vatican’s sex crimes office decided to shelve because they were deemed too old to prosecute, the AP reported.

Rupnik, 68, is alleged to have sexually abused members of a women’s institute of religious life in Ljubljana, Slovenia, while serving as the chaplain there in the early 1990s, according to the Italian news outlet One of the women allegedly attempted suicide because of the abuse, reported. A source told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news outlet partner, that at least nine women were allegedly abused.

Those sex abuse allegations were forwarded to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (now the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith) in 2021. The dicastery closed the case in October after concluding that a 30-year statute of limitations on allegations of abuse between adults had run out.

That decision, which came to light through Italian media reports earlier this month, has generated a host of questions about why the Vatican office chose not to waive the statute of limitations as it has done in other cases. The office is headed by a Jesuit, has a Jesuit sex crimes prosecutor, and had as its No. 2 at the time someone who lived in Rupnik’s Jesuit community in Rome, the AP reported.



Yesterday, Good Friday 2022, the Holy See Press Office published an audio file which they transcribed (see below) from Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, papal almoner, who is in Ukraine on his third visit, this time having driven from Rome a second ambulance offered by Pope Francis to a Ukrainian hospital. They also released the photo below.

This afternoon, on his return from Borodianka, north of Kiev, where he stopped to pray in front of the graves and bodies found, as in a Way of the Cross, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski entrusted his pain to this message:

“Here with the nuncio, we are now returning to Kiev, from these difficult places for every person in the world, where we found so many dead and a (common) tomb of at least 80 people, buried with no name or surname. Luckily there is faith, and we are in Holy Week, Good Friday, when we can unite with the person of Jesus and go up to the Cross with Him, because after Good Friday … I know, I know: there will be Sunday of the Resurrection. And perhaps He will explain everything to us with His love and change everything within us too, this bitterness and this suffering that we have been carrying for a few days, but especially today.”



For audio of this report, click here: 

The stunning surprise of the day: Cardinal Krajewski, as reported in L’Osservatore Romano, highlighted “how the Pope’s support came about in a practical way: Here they have difficulty in finding diesel fuel and therefore, through charity, the Holy Father has paid for many trips by truck, large trucks carrying humanitarian aid inside Ukraine.”


(My quick translation from a report in the March 9 edition of L’Osservatore Romano)

Solidarity moves along roads that bombs threaten, roads where carrying boxes of food and packages of medicine can be a journey of no return. But this is the solidarity sustained in the heart of Francis.

News comes from the areas around Lviv where the “arm” of this papal closeness, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, has arrived after his stay in Poland, amidst the ocean of refugees that continues to swell. The papal almsgiver crossed the Ukrainian border, and met with and told Vatican media about the massive effort underway in the relative safety of Lviv to reach even those who are still under falling missiles or are struggling to embark on the escape route between the shores of very fragile humanitarian corridors.

The cardinal explains: “I am in the outskirts of Lviv, and for security reasons we do not say where. It is here that all the great aid arrives from the European community through Poland. Everything is unloaded in large warehouses and from here the trucks leave for Kiev, for Odessa, towards the south of the country.”  The good news, Cardinal Krajewski says with satisfaction, “is that all this aid is still reaching its destination, despite the bombings.” The bishops of Kiev, Odessa, Karkhiv, and the apostolic nuncio with whom he is in contact, confirmed this.

He then highlighted how the Pope’s support came about in a practical way: “Here they have difficulty in finding diesel fuel and therefore, through charity, the Holy Father has paid for many trips by truck, large trucks carrying humanitarian aid inside Ukraine.” (file photo)

Yesterday in Lviv the papal almsgiver also met the Greek-Catholic Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk. Tomorrow Cardinal Krajewski will meet for a moment of prayer with the archbishop and the heads of various confessions who are able to participate. “We know that faith – he says – is able to move mountains, so we read in the Gospel, and we are sure of it. I think we will be able to stop this war precisely with our prayer, with our faith.”

Solidarity and prayer together give breath to hope. Hoping, despite everything, is an obvious encourgement in many who have left home and intend to return. “Here – said the cardinal, “every five minutes I see refugees arriving from the eastern part of Kiev. Many are waiting for liberation, they pray and truly thank the European community which brings them so many gifts, which is close, which prays for them. They had never felt so close: they already felt part of Europe, through these humanitarian gestures they now feel an integral part of it.”


The following statement was released Monday morning by the Holy See Press Office in Italian, English and Spanish. It offers more details about the humanitarian mission of two Vatican cardinals to Ukraine but does differ from news reports on Sunday’s Vatican News website:


The Holy See has put itself at the service of achieving peace in Ukraine. In an extraordinary gesture, Pope Francis announced at the Angelus in St Peter’s Square on Sunday 6 March, that he has dispatched two Cardinals as expressions of the Church’s solidarity with the suffering Ukrainian people; Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Almoner, and Cardinal Michael Czerny, the Prefect ad interim of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Cardinal Krajewski is on his way now (7 March) towards the Polish/Ukraine border, where he will visit refugees and volunteers in shelters and homes.

Cardinal Czerny will arrive in Hungary on Tuesday (8 March) to visit some reception centres for the migrants coming from Ukraine.

Both are directed to Ukraine and depending on the situation they intend to reach the country in the coming days.

The Cardinals will bring aid to the needy and serve as “the presence not only of the Pope, but of all the Christian people who express solidarity with the people of Ukraine and say: ‘War is madness! Stop, please! Look at this cruelty!’ Rivers of blood and tears are flowing in Ukraine. It is not merely a ‘military operation’, but a war, which sows death, destruction and misery.”

Pope Francis declared, “The number of victims is increasing, as are the people fleeing, especially mothers and children. The need for humanitarian assistance in that troubled country is growing dramatically by the hour. I make a heartfelt appeal for humanitarian corridors to be genuinely secured, and for aid to be guaranteed and access facilitated to the besieged areas, in order to offer vital relief to our brothers and sisters oppressed by bombs and fear. I thank all those who are taking in refugees. Above all, I implore that the armed attacks cease and that negotiation – and common sense – prevail. And that international law be respected once again!”

This latest action by Pope Francis is meant to also call attention to the many similar situations throughout the world. As the Holy Father said on the previous Sunday, “With a heart broken by what is happening in Ukraine – let us not forget the wars in other parts of the world, such as Yemen, Syria, Ethiopia. I repeat: put down your weapons! God is with the peacemakers, not with those who use violence.” (Angelus, 27.02).

Cardinal Czerny will continue drawing the sad similarity between the Ukrainians’ sufferings and the protracted conflicts that no longer attract the world’s attention. In addition, he will raise concern that African and Asian residents in Ukraine, also suffering fear and displacement be allowed to seek refuge without discrimination. There are also worrisome reports of increasing activities of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants at the borders and in the neighboring countries. Since most of the people fleeing are believers, he will affirm that religious assistance should be offered to everyone, with sensitivity to ecumenical and interfaith differences. Finally, throughout the praiseworthy efforts to offer humanitarian responses and organize humanitarian corridors, there is great need for coordination, good organization and shared strategy, in order to embrace people’s sufferings and provide effective relief.


I’m not sure if you are aware of it but the Vatican is present at the Dubai Expo that began earlier this month and runs through March 2022. Here are some links to stories about the Holy See Pavilion: A 1,200-year-old Vatican Library manuscript is on display at Dubai Expo ( ALSO: The Holy See Opens Pavilion at Expo 2020 – Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia – Abu Dhabi ( ALSO: Expo Dubai 2020 – Holy See Pavilion – YouTube. ALSO: Holy See Pavilion | Expo 2020 Dubai

As I do every Monday, I appear tonight on EWTN’s “At Home with Jim and Joy” when we talk about their focus this week: How can one know true and lasting happiness?  I explain what true and lasting happiness is for me. Tune in at 7:30 pm, East Coast time. You can also watch online if you can’t get to a TV (, then TV, then Watch Live).


There are some great photos in the following link about a meeting that Pope Francis had this morning in the Paul VI Hall with 500 Lutheran youths on an ecumenical journey to Rome from Germany. There was a musical interlude for the Holy Father who afterwards said: “Singing unites. …In the choir, no one is alone: it is important to listen to others.” Pope Francis: Listen to the melody of God in your lives – Vatican News

Also this morning, Francis welcomed German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who afterwards met Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

A Vatican statement noted that, “During the cordial talks, the Parties discussed the recent internal political developments within the country. Attention then turned to matters of mutual interest, especially the question of migration and various situations of international conflict, as well as the importance of multilateral commitment to the search for a solution.”

Click here for additional photos: Pope Francis receives German president in audience – Vatican News


The Office of Papal Charities and Rome’s San Carlo di Nancy Hospital team up to offer cardiological checkups for the poor at a mobile medical unit placed in St. Peter’s Square. The initiative is called “The roads of the heart, a journey for prevention.”

By Benedetta Capelli (vaticannews)

The goal of the joint initiative of the Office of Papal Charities and Rome’s San Carlo di Nancy Hospital is to provide life-saving cardiological checkups for those who do not have easy access to them, especially the poor living in the surrounding areas. The outreach is also providing a solidarity of presence for those who often feel alone and abandoned.

Many disadvantaged persons went to St. Peter’s Square since 9am Monday morning when the mobile clinic opened its doors. Service continued until 6pm. The initiative has been dubbed, “The Roads of the Heart,” and is coordinated by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski who heads the Office of Papal Charities, the Vatican’s charitable office that operates on behalf of the Pope, and medical doctors from the San Carlo di Nancy Hospital in Rome.

Outreach for the most vulnerable
The mobile clinic was placed next to the right colonnade where free heart and general medical consultations were carried out. The initiative, organized by the hospital, and including involvement from Tiberia Hospital and the Italian Heart Foundation, is itinerant and started on Thursday. It aims to raise awareness on good practices in daily life and the importance of regular check-ups. Cardiovascular diseases are in fact the main cause of death in Italy, accounting for 35.8% of all deaths, with a higher incidence among females: 38.8% compared to 32.5% for males. The percentages increase significantly for those living on the street, especially when compounded by other health challenges.

(PS. Rosaries blessed by the Pope were given to the doctors of this mobile clinic).