HELPING REFUGEES EXPERIENCE THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

HELPING REFUGEES EXPERIENCE THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

I have been involved for over 40 years in my Rome parish, for 95 years it was at Santa Susanna’s and now, since 2017, at St. Patrick’s Catholic church. For even more than four decades, our parish has raised money for various Rome charities via a big annual gala event, usually the first Saturday of December, a day on or near the feast of St. Nicholas.

As our pastor, Fr. Steve Petroff recently wrote on the parish website, “despite the limits we all continue to struggle with under COVID-19, Saint Patrick’s has not forgotten our commitment to others – especially those local charities who have relied on our generosity for years.

”Taking a cue from Pope Francis and his recent visit to refugee camps in Greece and the needs of our own trusted partners, this year’s beneficiaries are the Centro Astalli Casa die Georgia and the Joel Nafuma Refuge Center. Both of these charities assist refugees here in Rome. To assist them this year your contributions will be collected through two dedicated go fund me accounts and they go directly to each charity. This campaign will run through the entire Christmas season but if you can give today, please do so.”

I echo Fr. Steve’s words and, in this unusual post on Joan’s Rome, I ask you to consider helping our virtual campaign and showing your Christmas spirit by supporting the two institutions mentioned, especially because the pandemic has created many new needs. No gift is too small.

Wishing you the Lord’s choicest blessings!

Website: Home – St. Patrick’s Catholic American Parish in Rome (stpatricksamericanrome.org)

Facebook: (20+) St. Patrick’s Catholic American Parish in Rome | Facebook

One goal of the 2021 all-virtual St. Nicholas Serata for Charity campaign is to meet specific needs of Centro Astalli’s Casa di Giorgia, a structure that offers far more than just hospitality to women refugees and their children. Casa di Giorgia, founded in Rome in 1999, welcomes women, alone or with children, who are in need of international protection. For each beneficiary, after an initial interview and evaluation, volunteers build a customized integration project that takes into account their previous migratory path, psycho-physical conditions and socio-cultural context of origin. Casa di Giorgio currently welcomes 30 women of various nationalities, fleeing major crisis areas around the world such as Congo and recently Afghanistan, and as winter approaches, they urgently need: 30 new mattresses (Only €135 will provide a brand new mattress) – a new gas boiler (1500 euros) and 5 cabinets (5,000 euros). If just 10 people give €150 each, they can get the new gas boiler for hot water. Give today at https://www.gofundme.com/…/st-patricks-american-church…

Another goal of  the 2021 all-virtual St. Nicholas Serata for Charity campaign is to meet specific needs of the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center (JNRC). This Center, a non-faith outreach ministry of St Paul’s within the Walls Episcopal Church in the heart of Rome, provides humanitarian and educational support for refugees and asylum seekers from all over the world. Many have fled political and religious persecution and the majority of them have been exploited by smugglers or traffickers. Average age ranges between 18-30 years: 80% male and 20% female. The JNRC’s holistic approach provides for both the physical needs of their guests, such as food, clothing, shoes & blankets, as well as educational, financial, psychological, legal & livelihood assistance; plus language classes, assistance in finding work and integrating into Italian society. The JNRC needs 600 underwear (600 Euro), 2250 pairs of socks (675 Euro), – 50 Winter sleeping bags (1100 Euro), educator for 32 Italian lessons @ 90 mins. each (1120 Euro),  Emergency Fund (500 Euro), Personnel – cultural mediator (1000 Euro), Give here today: Fundraiser for Giulia Bonoldi by St Patrick’s Catholic American Church in Rome : St Patrick’s American Church for JNRC (gofundme.com)

 

VATICAN BANK (IOR) RELEASES ANNUAL REPORT – VATIVISION PLATFORM INAUGURATED TODAY

Today is a kind of smorgasbord of news – something for everyone: Corpus Christi, a papal charity fund raiser, Vatican City and coronavirus, Vatican bank annual report and a just-inaugurated Vativision platform that streams content on demand – films, documentaries and TV series – inspired by the Christian message.

Sunday, June 14, feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Altar of the Chair at 9:45 am. About 50 faithful will be present for the papal Mass.

Do you want to help Pope Francis’ fund-raising efforts to help Italian hospitals? If so, click here to check out the site and to participate in the charity auction (there are some amazing offers): charitystars.com

 In a statement released on Saturday, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, announced that the last person in the Vatican to have been reported sick in the past few weeks has tested negative for Covid-19. “To date there are no positive cases of coronavirus among employees of the Holy See and within Vatican City State,” reads the statement.

VATICAN BANK (IOR) RELEASES ANNUAL REPORT

Vatican City, 8 June 2020 – For the eighth consecutive year, the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR) publishes the Financial Statements in its Annual Report.

The 2019 Financial Statements have been audited by the independent international auditing firm Mazars.

On 28 April 2020, the Board of Superintendence of the Institute unanimously approved the 2019 Financial Statements. In accordance with the Statutes, they were submitted to the Commission of Cardinals highlighting the soundness and the strength of IOR financials (capital and liquidity level) and its compliance with international best practices. In line with the indications of His Holiness Pope Francis, the Commission of Cardinals decided again this year for a full distribution of profits. (photo: Vatican media)

In 2019 the Institute continued to provide, with rigor and prudence, financial services to the Vatican City State and the Catholic Church worldwide. The Institute also continued its work to ensure adherence to Catholic Social Teaching throughout its operations. The priority and commitment of the Institute to the ethical and social principles of Catholic Teaching is applied to the management and investment policies of its own account and to those of its clients.

Key financial data for the Institute in 2019 are the following:

– Euro 5.1 billion (Euro 5 billion in 2018) of client assets of which 3.4 billion are assets· managed for third parties or under custody;

– Euro 38 million (Euro 17.5 million in 2018), as a net result illustrating the risk-based· and faith consistent investment process applied to manage IOR balance sheet;

– Euro 630.3 million of net equity after distribution of profit as at 31 December 2019. In· addition, IOR maintains a strong liquidity level with a Liquidity Coverage Ratio LCR of 443% and a Net Stable Funding Ratio NSFR of 1008%.

During the year, the IOR has continued to strengthen its senior management team and increased its investments in IT including those related to the membership of the European SEPA payment platforms.

(IOR website: http://www.ior.va/content/ior/en.html)

VATIVISION PLATFORM INAUGURATED TODAY

As of today, the VatiVision platform is online to stream content on demand – films, documentaries and TV series – inspired by the Christian message. The new initiative is the result of the collaboration between the Vatican’s Communication Secretariat and Vetrya.** The service is available worldwide in multi-screen mode, through a browser, by connecting to http://www.vativision.com or as an app on smartphones, tablets, smart-TVs and set-top boxes, where it is already present in all digital stores.

Dubbed “the Netflix of the Vatican,” VatiVision offers a catalogue full of content, religious documentaries, such as Lourdes and the Great Popes, films and documentaries dedicated to great biographies, such as Padre Pio, or art documentaries. VatiVision is available on TIMVISION***, TIM’s TV, and will soon be available on other international telecommunications operators.

(** Vetrya is an Italian cloud computing platform for the telecommunication industry – *** TIM is the Italian Telephone Company. www.vativision.com at the moment is only in Italian)

 

EMERGENCY AND CHARITY: A REFLECTION BY CARDINAL TAGLE – IS CHARITY CONTAGIOUS?

Even though the Vatican daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, born July 1, 1861, has temporarily suspended its print version, and thus delivery to the city of Rome and environs, it can still be accessed in multiple languages in its digital form at http://www.osservatoreromano.va You may also go to http://www.vaticannews.va and click on the yellow and white block on the right side of the home page.

Today I offer a thoughtful video message from Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, newly appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Until that appointment he was the archbishop of Manila, the Philippines.

EMERGENCY AND CHARITY: A REFLECTION BY CARDINAL TAGLE

What place does charity have in a time marked by the Coronavirus pandemic? Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and President of Caritas Internationalis, reflects with Vatican News on this question, urging us to conquer the virus and fear with the “contagious pandemic of love.”

(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We are faced with an emergency due to the coronavirus 19. An emergency, from the Latin word “emergere,” refers to an unforeseen occurrence that rises before us and requires attention. Emergencies are not new to us. Every year we experience earthquakes, typhoons, floods, drought and diseases. But they are often confined to a limited place and people. The current covid19 emergency is called pandemic, from the two Greek words: “pan”, meaning “all” and “demo,” meaning “people or population.” A pandemia affects all or nearly all people. We can say that the covid19 is a general or universal emergency. It affects nearly all of us. It invites a response from all of us.

During emergencies, we instinctively think first of ourselves, our families and the people close to us. We will do anything within our means to protect them. While this reaction is basically good, we should be careful so that we do not end up thinking only of ourselves. We should avoid fear from making us blind to the needs of other people, those needs that are the same as ours. We should prevent anxiety from killing genuine concern for neighbors. In an emergency, the true heart of a person also emerges. From an emergency that affects all people (pandemia), we hope to see a pandemic emergence of caring, compassion and love. An emergency crisis that erupts unexpectedly can be addressed only by an equal “eruption” of hope. A pandemic spread of a virus must produce a pandemic “contagion” of charity. History will judge our generation by the power of self-less love that this common emergency will have generated and spread or will have failed to do so. We thank the heroic people whose love and courage have already been a source of healing and hope these past weeks.

Experts say that we should wash our hands to avoid being contaminated by the virus and to avoid spreading it. At the trial of Jesus, Pontius Pilate “called for water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, declaring as he did, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just man. The responsibility is yours’” (Matthew 27:24). We should wash our hands, but not the way Pilate did. We cannot wash our hands of our responsibility towards the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, the refugees, the homeless, the health providers, indeed all people, creation and future generations. We pray through the power of the Holy Spirit, genuine love for all may emerge from all human hearts as we face a common emergency.

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-03/emergency-charity-cardinal-tagle-coronavirus-covid.html

IS CHARITY CONTAGIOUS?

I believe we all know, from days and weeks of devouring news stories online or listening to the radio or watching television, that people in the United States and so many other countries have stepped up to the plate when it comes to what Cardinal Tagle called “self-less love” and “an eruption of hope.”

Individuals, celebrated and unknown, as well as corporations and institutions have come forth with amazing charitable gifts and offers of help, including for example, a list of Italian fashion designers who are turning their ateliers over to producing masks and protective clothing for medical personnel.

I follow U.S. football and, while I would not be a ‘Jeopardy’ contestant for my vast knowledge of this sport, I do know a few names, mainly quarterbacks. I thus recognized the name Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback, when I read he and his wife gave $5 million to help fight coronavirus.

Football fan or not, I am sure you all know the story of Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, that is, the person in charge of Francis’ office for charity. Most of you think of the elemosineria as the Vatican office where you can obtain papal blessings. True – also true is that the monies paid for blessings go to papal charities. (www.elemosineria.va)

It is how Cardinal Krajewski uses that income that is the beautiful story.

CRUX did a great profile of this enormously generous and self-less prelate as he brings an “eruption of hope” to Rome’s homeless in these days of a pandemic: https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2020/03/vatican-official-tells-clergy-there-is-a-gospel-in-the-making-on-the-streets/

Cardinal Krajewski has been in the Vatican for decades and those of us who knew him called him simply “Don Corrado” (‘Don’ is Italian for ‘Father’). I used to refer to him as the Pope’s “altar ego” because he was one of the ceremonial officials whom you’d always see at the side of Pope John Paul, and also of Benedict in his early years, at papal liturgies.

You have to write the word “charity” in capital letters when it is in the same sentence as Don Corrado. Please pray for his health and well-being as he doubtlessly exposes himself to possible contagion in thee tumultuous times.

Another source of information on aid that is coming to Italy are embassies. The U.S. embassies, for example, have been emailing coronavirus-related alerts and messages to all U.S. citizens who have registered with them.

The U.S. embassy to Italy has a Twitter account in Italian and English that updates us on what they are doing: @AmbasciataUSA. That account, for example, posted news from Samaritans Purse that, with the assistance of the embassy, brought a field hospital and medical personnel to Cremona, Italy:
“To date, our medical team in Cremona, Italy has treated more than 100 patients at our Emergency Field Hospital. Each day, more patients with the #coronavirus are being admitted to our hospital. https://sampur.se/”

The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See has a website filled with information about diplomatic ties, our history with the Holy See, speeches and engagements of the ambassador but also valuable information for American citizens residing in Italy in the coronavirus era: https://va.usembassy.gov/

So, the answer is YES, charity is contagious!