I had the great joy of attending Mass this morning for the media celebrated by the cardinal vicar of Rome on the feast day of our patron saint, St. Francis de Sales. From what I could see and hear, it was predominantly Italian Catholic media. One of my friends in the vicariate is Msgr. Walter Insero, head of diocesan communications. I shared a fun story with him about a man we both knew, the late Cardinal John Foley.

Cardinal John Foley was one of the best Catholic communicators ever, as well as a friend. I remember one speech he gave about Francis de Sales in which he said he and the saint had 3 things in common – both were bishops, both writers and both bald!  Humor was always a hallmark of his!

I was going to ask Msgr. Walter to send me the cardinal’s homily but L’Osservatore Romano published a summary of his words directed specifically to the media which I have used here.


Addressing members of the media at a Mass this morning, feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers and journalists, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar for the diocese of Rome, said, “Dear journalists and communicators, I encourage you to live your profession as a vocation at the service of truth, without tiring.” He spoke at Mass in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto, also known as Santa Maria degli Artisti (St. Mary of Artists), in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo. This year marks the 4th centenary of the death of St. Francis.

The cardinal thanked the media “for the commitment, courage and generosity shown in the harshest periods of the pandemic, guaranteeing information service.” He exhorted them with the words of Pope Francis in his 2021 Message for the 55th Day of Social Communications, to cultivate “a curiosity, an openness and a passion” that leads to “wearing out the soles of shoes.”

Pope Francis’ Message for the Day of Social Communications is always released on the January 24 feast of St. Francis. His 2022 Message, released today, can be found here: Pope’s Communications Day message: ‘Listening is essential for dialogue’ – Vatican News

The cardinal vicar then invited journalists to take part in the synodal journey as members of the Church of Rome, supporting it “by intercepting the voices, stories and experiences of people we might risk not reaching. In this sense, parish collaboration in helping to read the reality of the various districts of the capital is precious. In moments of fatigue and discouragement due to the difficulties and complexity of the work, may this truth be consoled by the patron saint Francis de Sales: ‘It is not the greatness of our actions that will please God, but the ‘love with which we accomplish them’.”

Piazza del Popolo –



I just got back to Rome this morning from New York and will recount my adventures and what Rome is like now in a blog over the weekend.

In the meantime, to read the weekly edition in English of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, click here:


My two amazing guests in the interview segment of Vatican Insider this weekend are Catherine Wiley, grandmother and founder of Catholic Grandparents Association – CGA – and Marilyn Henry, also a grandmother, who founded the American branch of Catholic Grandparents. Part I of our conversation aired last weekend.

We spoke when they were in Rome for “The Richness of Many Years of Life” conference organized by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life that brought together 550 participants from 60 countries. Catherine tells us how she came to found this Association and both women speak about the work of CGA and how you, if you are a grandparent, can join this unique, lively and loving association.

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As I wrote last week, if you could plug Catherine into a wall socket, you’d not have to pay an electric company! She is so very passionate about her work, about CGA, about being a grandparent. And that’s how she feels about her “American double,” Marilyn Henry of Houston, Texas.

If you’re a grandparent and want to know if there is a CGA affiliate in your parish or diocese, all the info you need (phone numbers, email, etc) is right here:

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


Parish churches in Rome to remain open for private prayer
In agreement with Pope Francis, the Cardinal Vicar of the Diocese of Rome has decided to amend an earlier decree closing Rome’s churches. Parish churches, as well as equivalent missionary centres, will now be allowed to remain open, while complying with measures to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

By Vatican News
The Diocese of Rome acted quickly to allow some churches in the city to remain open, one day after an initial decision had been made to close places of worship to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Covid-19.

On Friday morning, Pope Francis prayed “that the Holy Spirit might grant pastoral discernment to pastors so that they might perceive measures that might not leave the holy, faithful people of God alone, and so that the people of God might feel accompanied by their pastors.” With the Holy Father’s agreement, Cardinal Vicar Angelo De Donatis, exercising pastoral discernment and wishing to avoid disorientation or confusion to the faithful, issued a new decree allowing parish churches, and some other equivalent pastoral missions, to remain open for private prayer.

In a letter to the faithful of the diocese, Cardinal De Donatis explained that the decision to close the churches of Rome had not been made out of “irrational fear, or worse, a pragmatism devoid of hope,”, but as a means of preventing contagion. However, he explained, there is also a need to ensure that people do not feel even more isolated, prompting the revised pastoral provisions.

Cardinal De Donatis said the Church is relying on the “wise discernment” of priests. “Be very close to the people of God. Make sure that every person feels loved and accompanied, help everyone to perceive that the Church does not close its doors to anyone, but is concerned that none of the ‘little ones’ should risk their lives or be forgotten.”

He encouraged them to bring “the comfort of the sacraments” to those who are ill and to ensure the help necessary for the poor, while taking every possible precaution to avoid anything that could endanger the health of others.

Cardinal De Donatis also encouraged prayer in the family, maintaining “the tradition of our parents and grandparents.”

The Cardinal Vicar concluded his letter by calling on all the faithful of the diocese to entrust themselves once more to Our Lady of Divine Love, the Madonna del Divino Amore.