This week I offer a somewhat unusual edition of Vatican Insider’s interview segment -unusual in the how and where I recorded the segment with Franziska from Cologne, Germany and Alexandra from Warsaw, Poland. These two amazing young ladies were in Rome last weekend for the August 3 meeting that Pope Francis had with an estimated 5,000 participants of Euromoot, an international Catholic scout gathering attended by boys and girls aged 16 to 21 coming from 20 nations.

Franziska and Alexandra, as all the scouts who came to Rome, belong to the International Union of the Guides and Scouts of Europe (UISGE) In fact, they both work with UISGE in the communications field. (Franziska L and Alexandra R)

Euromoot is scout jargon for an international gathering of Rangers (Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) and Rovers (Boy Scouts). So join me on Vatican Insider and you’ll meet two Rangers of the scouting movement!

Our conversation followed a morning audience with Pope Francis and then Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. In the early afternoon, there was no possibility to find a quiet venue such as a studio for our conversation so we stopped off at Homebaked as it was close to our meeting point and not far from their next appointment. And it had air conditioning! There was the occasional background sound of voices and a few times it sounded like a plane had landed near out table so I ask your indulgence as you listen to our conversation. As I mention at the start of our conversation, you can even hear a milkshake being made!

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)


It’s been around a few months now and there’s still some work to do on the new website for Vatican City State but it is a good start as it offers terrific photos and many interesting articles, although most are in Italian. The previous website for Vatican City had been translated in five languages and when I tried to find English on the new site, I got nowhere. So, I went to the url ( and simply changed the ‘it’ for Italian to ‘en’ for English and it worked. Not for other languages, however.

To find a few articles in English, click here: Then go to the table of contents (the three little lines in the upper right hand corner) and click on a topic that may interest you (I repeat, not all are in English, no matter what the table of contents implies!). Not all topics are clickable. You might get a 404 ERROR!

One thing I do miss was all the information the former website provided about visiting Vatican City, the gardens, the Museums, Castelgandolfo, the Scavi, St. Peter’s Basilica, climbing to the dome, etc. I put that info (telephone numbers, fax numbers, emails, etc) in my book on the Holy Year and I have a copy in my travel folder in my computer. I’ll publish that in a day or two – just make you keep a copy for yourself as you will not find the info on the new website.

Here is one offering in English on Vatican City State itself:

Vatican City State was founded following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy on February 11, 1929. These were ratified on June 7, 1929. Its nature as a sovereign State distinct from the Holy See is universally recognized under international law.

The Catholic Church carries out its mission of announcing the truth of the Gospel for the salvation of all humanity and in the service of peace and justice in favour of all peoples, both through the various specific and local Churches spread throughout the world, as well as through its central government.

This is made up of the Pope and the Departments that assist him in carrying out his responsibilities towards the universal Church (identified as the Apostolic See or Holy See). The Pope lives in Vatican City where several of the aforementioned Departments are to be found.

Vatican City State has the singular characteristic of being an instrument of the independence of the Holy See, and of the Catholic Church, from any earthly power. In a way, it is a sign of the Church’s supernatural character insofar as the structures of Vatican City are reduced to the minimum necessary to guarantee its functions.

(Click here for a map –

Vatican City lies just beyond the right bank of the Tiber River on a slight rise, part of the ancient Montes Vaticani (the Vatican Hill), on which several villas were built in pre-Christian times.

The Roman Emperor Caligula (37-41AD) had a private circus built here. It appears that many Christians living in Rome during the reign of the Emperor Nero (54-68AD) were martyred in this circus and in the adjoining gardens.

St Peter was buried to the north of the circus, in a necropolis that lay beside a secondary road. Between 324 and 326 AD, the Emperor Constantine built a magnificent basilica over the burial site. It was replaced by the present Basilica between the 16th and 17th centuries.

Vatican City covers a territory of 44 hectares (roughly 108.7 acres). It is partly surrounded by walls and stretches into St Peter’\’s Square as far as a strip of travertine stone that corresponds with the furthest end of the colonnade. This marks the boundary of the State and the edge of the square that is normally open to everyone. Even though it is part of Vatican City, the Square is usually patrolled by members of the Italian Police Force.

There are five entrances to Vatican City, each of them guarded by the Pontifical Swiss Guards and by the Gendarmes Corps of Vatican City State. The entrance to the Vatican Museums is on Viale Vaticano, not far from Piazza del Risorgimento.

Because Vatican City is so small, several departments and offices belonging to the Holy See are situated in buildings around Rome (Piazza Pio XII, Via della Conciliazione, Piazza San Callisto, Piazza della Cancelleria and Piazza di Spagna). According to the Lateran Treaty, these buildings enjoy the same status, recognized by international law, as embassies and foreign diplomatic missions abroad.

The areas occupied by these buildings are commonly known as “extraterritorial”.

The population of Vatican City is about 800 people, of whom over 450 have Vatican citizenship, while the rest have permission to reside there, either temporarily or permanently, without the benefit of citizenship.

About half of the Vatican’s citizens do not live inside Vatican City. Because of their occupations (mostly as diplomatic personnel), they live in different countries around the world. The conferral or loss of citizenship, authorization to live inside Vatican City and formalities for entering the territory, are governed by special regulations issued according to the Lateran Treaty.

There are two sets of initials that identify vehicles registered in the Vatican Automobile Register: SCV (Stato della Citta del Vaticano) for vehicles belonging to the Vatican City State and departments of the Holy See; CV (Citta del Vaticano) for vehicles that are the property of Vatican citizens and individuals who, in agreement with Italian authorities, are allowed to register their vehicles in Vatican City. The international abbreviation is V.

(JFL: For decades, Italians (and a number of Vatican employees) have said that SVC really means “Se Cristo vedesse!” (If only Christ could see!”)


I met two wonderful young Rangers this afternoon – scouting jargon for girl scouts or girl guides – and interviewed them for my weekend radio show, Vatican Insider. That conversation with Franziska from Cologne, Germany and Alexandra from Warsaw, Poland will air next weekend.

I felt privileged to be in the presence of these terrific and personable young ladies and leaders and you will understand why when you listen to them talk about their life and experiences in scouting and their time in Rome with the Euromoot (scout jargon for an international meeting) that concluded with a meeting this morning with Pope Francis, followed by Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica presided over by Italian Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

P.S. More scouting jargon: Rovers are boy scouts.



By Courtney Grogan (CNA).- This week, as many as 5,000 Catholic scouts are walking historic pilgrimage routes to Rome that will culminate in a private audience with Pope Francis and a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Aug. 3.

Catholic scout troops are a European tradition that started in the early 20th century with Venerable Jacques Sevin, a French Catholic priest who was inspired by the potential of scouting, founded by his contemporary Robert Baden-Powell in England, for youth development.

Fr. Sevin founded the first Catholic scouting troop, consecrated to the Sacred Heart, in France in 1918.

The Scouts of Europe, a Catholic scouting organization recognized by the Holy See, was founded in the wake of World War II, built on the idea that scouting can help young people “discover that the true European legacy is the capacity to live together in peace and brotherhood around a common aim, Christ,” according to the International Union of European Guides and Scouts – European Scout Federation.

The theme of the scouts’ weeklong trek to Rome, called the “Euromoot,” is “Parate Viam Domini,” which means “prepare the way of the Lord.” The logo includes twelve stars symbolizing the Virgin Mary.

Some of the scouts are walking to Rome by the Way of St. Francis from Assisi, while others have chosen to walk the Way of St. Benedict or part of the medieval Via Francigena. Priests walk with the different scout troops to provide access to the sacraments throughout the pilgrimage.

The scout troops of “rangers” and “rovers” aged 16-21 come from more than 20 countries. Some members of the organization’s North American branch, the Federation of North American Explorers, are also participating in the pilgrimage.

Reflections for the journey focus on St. Catherine of Siena, St. Paul, St. Benedict, St. Francis, and Sts. Cyril and Methodius as ideal examples of heroic virtue to be imitated.

“The most important thing … for us as leaders … is to take their souls to God, their sanctity is essential,” Spanish scout leader Flory Delgado told CNA.

Delgado, 32, has been involved with Catholic scouting her entire life before becoming a volunteer leader for the Scouts of Europe. Delgado’s parents met through their Catholic scouting troops in Spain.

“For us scouting is a style of life,” she explained. The aim of this lifestyle is God, above all, and then training one’s character, good health, service to others, and practicality, she said.

Delgado said that the scouts try to incorporate their Catholic faith into all of their activities with a particular emphasis on the sacraments and service.
“In every activity, we start with a prayer, we finish with a prayer. We pray together the Angelus,” she said.

In her 14 years serving as a scout leader, Delgado has seen the benefits of getting young people out of the house through scouting.

When you leave your comfort zone, you have to face difficulties, Delgado explained, such as the weight of your backpack on a hiking trip.

“You have to make your own decisions of what we will bring with us, and this is what we will carry on our shoulders,” Delgado said. This is a lesson for life, she explained, you have to take responsibility for your own decisions.

“Also, when you start something, finish something,” she said.

The first Scouts of Europe pilgrimage to Rome took place in 1975, in which 500 scouts met St. Paul VI.

St. John Paul II met with scout delegations on several occasions. In 2003, the pope met the scouts in Castel Gandolfo and said to them:

“Dear young people, be generous in answering Jesus’ call inviting you to put out into the deep and become his witnesses, discovering the trust he puts in you to devise a future together with him. Above all, to fulfil this mission the Church is entrusting to you requires that you cultivate a genuine life of prayer nourished by the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession.”

“Dear Guides and Scouts of Europe, you are a precious gift not only for the Church, but also for the new Europe which you see growing before your eyes, and you have been called to share, with all the ardour of youth, in building the Europe of peoples, so that the dignity of every individual as a child loved by God will be recognized, and a society built on the basis of solidarity and charity,” he said.


Pope Francis on Saturday met some 5,000 scout rangers and rovers from over 20 countries of the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe. The papal audience concluded the weeklong Euromoot 2019 event of the young men and women.

By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Pope Francis on Saturday urged scouts to give of themselves to others by building, serving and caring for others, saying it will free them from within and enrich the world.

He made the exhortation to some 5,000 young scout men and women from over 20 countries belonging to the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe. They met the pope at the end of their Euromoot 2019 event, July 27-August 3, that saw them travelling along historical itineraries of Italy and converging on Rome.

“Give, and it will be given to you”
Noting that during their itinerary, they contemplated Saints Paul, Benedict, Cyril and Methodius, Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena who travelled through Italy, the Pope said they gave their lives for others without keeping anything for themselves. The Pope said that the “Gospel is the map of life” where Jesus indicates a clear course to happiness: “Give, and it will be given to you.”

The Pope said that for Jesus, the starting point is giving, not having. It consists of coming out of the comforts of the armchair and going out to the field to give the world a little bit of goodness.

Rewards of giving
The Pope assured that by giving one is not left empty-handed because when it seems that God is taking something away from you, “it is only to give you something more and better”. Jesus makes you happy from within, not outside, by freeing you from the false promises of consumption.

“One receives only by giving .” This, the Pope said is the secret of life. The latest smartphone, the fastest car or the fashionable dress, besides never being enough, he said, will never give them you the joy of feeling loved and loving.

The Pope expressed appreciation for the scouting term “departure”, whereby scouts take upon themselves to serve as a way of life, living the brotherhood of scouting by being open to the others and doing good. “If you build bridges to others,” he said, “you will see others walk those bridges to you.”

“Look at your hands, that are made to build, to serve and to give and say to yourselves: ‘I care, the other concerns me,’” the Pope urged.

The words of Jesus, “Give, and it will be given to you,” the Pope said, is also applied to creation. “If we take care of it, we will have a home tomorrow too.”

Creation, he said, is an open book that teaches that we are in the world to meet others, to create communion because we are all connected. “Creation is made to connect with God and among us,” the Pope said, adding, “It is God’s social media.”

Even the love of the scout rovers and rangers for their common homeland, Europe, the Pope said, requires not only attentive observers but active builders of reconciled and integrated societies that give life to a renewed Europe, not as protectors of spaces but as generators of encounters.