“AUTHENTIC PRAYER IS A HOPE-FILLED GAZE DIRECTED TO GOD” – KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FOUNDER TO BE BEATIFIED – CORONAVIRUS, ITALY: SHORT TAKES

“AUTHENTIC PRAYER IS A HOPE-FILLED GAZE DIRECTED TO GOD”

As he has done for several months now, Pope Francis presided at the weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace, accompanied by monsignori from the Secretariat of State who, practicing social distancing, delivered summaries of the main audience catechesis in diverse languages.

Francis began his reflections by noting that, “in our continuing catechesis on prayer, we now consider the prayer of the just. In the book of Genesis, the accounts of the fall of Adam and Eve and of the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, tell of the emergence and expansion of evil and sin across successive generations. We too still experience the presence of wickedness in the world. Yet God’s will for his creatures is for the good, not for evil.”

He went on to explain that, “in the first pages of the Bible we also see another, less conspicuous story, with Abel, Seth, Enoch and Noah, who acted humbly and prayed to God with sincerity. These just men of prayer were peacemakers who show that authentic prayer, freed from the tendency to violence, is a hope-filled gaze directed to God, which can cultivate new life in place of arid hatred.”

Francis underscored the fact that, “throughout history, righteous men and women of prayer – often misunderstood or marginalized – have ceaselessly offered up intercession for the world, invoking God’s power to bring about healing and growth. May we, like them, faithfully ask God to fulfil his work of transforming hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.”

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FOUNDER TO BE BEATIFIED

Congratulations to the Knights of Columbus! Truly a red-letter day for them as their founder, Dr. Michael McGivney, is slated for beatification! Yesterday afternoon, in a meeting with Cardinal Becciu who heads the Congregation for Saints, Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of a number of decrees, including a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Michael McGivney, Diocesan priest, Founder of the Order of the Knights of Columbus. McGivney was born August 12, 1852 in Waterbury, and died in Thomaston on August 14, 1890.

The Vaticannews biography states: Venerable Michael McGivney was the founder of the Knights of Columbus, now the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization. After studies in Canada and the United States, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop James Gibbons in Baltimore. He founded the Knights of Columbus as a mutual aid society, geared especially to working men and their families. He was known for his tireless work among his parishioners. He died at the early age of 38 from pneumonia. Following Wednesday’s announcement, the Knights of Columbus released a statement, where you can read more about the life of Ven Michael McGivney and the work of the Knights. 

CORONAVIRUS, ITALY: SHORT TAKES

THE COLOSSEUM IN ROME, ITALY’S MOST VISITED TOURIST SITE, WILL REOPEN on Monday June 1, after being closed for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. With over 7 million visitors a year, the Colosseum is one of Rome’s major tourist attractions. The Flavian amphitheatre, which is listed as world heritage, “will finally reopen to the public, under the banner of accessibility, welcome and above all, safety,” according to a statement from the archaeological site.

ITALY IS PUSHING FOR A COORDINATED RESUMPTION OF TRAVEL IN EUROPE FROM JUNE 15, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Monday evening. “For tourism, June 15 is a bit like the European D-Day,” Di Maio stated on Italian television channel Rai 1. “Germany aspires to reopen on June 15,” Di Maio pointed out, and “we are working on this together with Austria and other countries,” he added. His statements come as France and Germany have called for the borders to be reopened as soon as possible. So far, announcements of plans to reopen borders have been made by individual European countries despite the European Commission calling for more consultation. Di Maio hopes to be able to present “homogeneous indications to tourists” in all regions of Italy so tourists can move freely from one region to another. “We must save what we can save of the summer to help our entrepreneurs.”

POMPEII TO OPEN IN TWO PHASES AND WITH NEW TIME SLOTS FOR VISITORS. Italy’s archaeological site Pompeii reopens to the public in two stages after being closed for more than two and a half months due to the coronavirus lockdown. In the first phase, from May 26, visitors will be able to walk along a pre-established route through the ruins of the ancient Roman city that was buried under a thick carpet of volcanic ash in 79 AD. Visitors must book online and select a time slot for entry – scheduled every 15 minutes for a maximum of 40 people at a time. Tickets must be presented either using the QRcode or already printed. All visitors must pass through thermoscanners before entering the site and are obliged to wear masks for the duration of their visit as well as respecting social distancing: one metre outside and 1.5 metres inside. For the duration of the first phase tickets will be reduced to €5 before returning to normal prices on June 9 when the site reopens fully, with access to areas previously closed-off to the public. For full details about access, tickets and opening times see Pompeii website.

Speaking of Pompeii: if you have to be in lockdown…. https://news.yahoo.com/us-couple-waits-2-1-133541074.html

A GOVERNMENT CALL FOR 60,000 VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO HELP ENSURE SOCIAL DISTANCING in Italy sparked a new controversy within the ruling coalition. Photos of Italian beaches and piazzas crowded with people enjoying the first weekend outdoors continued to alarm authorities and experts. That prompted local authorities to issue a call to recruit 60,000 volunteers who will help people comply with the social distancing measures. The move, however, sparked a new political controversy, as the Interior Ministry complained that it was not informed of the initiative and several politicians expressed doubts over the new figures. The volunteers will oblige people — “with kindness” and without the possibility of imposing fines — to respect social distancing rules in the parks, beaches and clubs, while also supporting the weakest part of the population, including kids and elderly people. Civil assistants, or volunteers, must be older than 18 years of age, unemployed or low-income earners, and supported by social safety nets.

ROME TO HAND OUT MASSIVE FINES FOR DUMPED MASKS AND GLOVES. Rome is to issue fines of up to €500 for those caught dumping used protective masks or plastic gloves on the streets of the capital during the pandemic. The measure is part of a zero-tolerance approach by Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi who says she is taking the action after repeated complaints from the city’s refuse collectors who have to dispose of the used gloves and masks. Raggi said that “uncivilised people” were responsible for the “shameful behavior that, thanks to this measure, will be severely sanctioned,” reports Italian newspaper La Stampa. Environmental association Legambiente said recently that with rain there is a high risk of the plastic trash finding its way into the sea.

ITALIAN TENOR ANDREA BOCELLI ON TUESDAY DONATED BLOOD PLASMA after saying he had had the coronavirus. Bocelli told journalists at a Pisa hospital that he had had mild symptoms, a slight fever, and had practically been asymptomatic. Speaking at the blood sampling centre of Cisanello Hospital, he said his wife and children had also had COVID-19, but were now fine. His wife had also given plasma for the study, led by the AOUP association of Pisa, into treatment for COVID patients. He said he had discovered he had the virus after taking a test on March 10.Bocelli said he hoped his plasma would help find a treatment for the deadly virus.

(Sources: Brussels Times, ANSA, Wanted in Rome, AA)

POPE FRANCIS TO MEET VICTIMS OF PERSECUTION

POPE FRANCIS TO MEET VICTIMS OF PERSECUTION

Pope Francis on Saturday, February 24, will receive in a private audience relatives of Asia Bibi – Ashiq Masih and Eisham Ashiq, respectively her husband and daughter – and Mrs. Rebecca Bitrus, a victim of Boko Haram. They will be accompanied by Alessandro Monteduro, the direct of ACN, Aid to the Church in Need.

The evening of February 24 at 6 pm, the Colosseum will be spotlighted in red, to represent the blood of Christians who have been wounded or lost their lives due to religious persecution. Simultaneously, in Syria and Iraq, prominent churches will be illuminated with red lights. In Aleppo, the St. Elijah Maronite Cathedral will be lighted, and in Mosul, the Church of St. Paul, where this past December 24, the first Mass was celebrated after the city’s liberation from ISIS.

That event is sponsored is ACN, as it has done in other cities in previous years. Alessandro Monteduro, director of ACN, told journalists February 7 that the “illumination [of the Colosseum] will have two symbolic figures: Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian condemned to death for blasphemy and whose umpteenth judgment is expected to revoke the sentence; and Rebecca, a girl kidnapped by Boko Haram along with her two children when she was pregnant with a third. One of the children was killed, she lost the baby she was carrying, and then became pregnant after one of the many brutalities she was subjected to by her captors.”

PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR DEATH OF COUNCIL PRESIDENT – POPE NAMES 16 NEW MEMBERS TO COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARIAT – HOLY FATHER SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR ITALIAN TRAIN COLLISION – THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR DEATH OF COUNCIL PRESIDENT

Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolences to Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Workers following the death today of Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the same dicastery, at the age of 67. The Pope noted that he died, “after a long and painful illness, lived in a spirit of faith and Christian testimony.” (news.va photo ANSA)

ABP ZIMOWSKI

“I wish to express my spiritual participation in mourning with the dicastery and, while I recall his generous ministry, first as pastor of the diocese of Radom and then in the service of the Holy See, I raise fervent prayers to the Lord for the his soul, entrusting him to the maternal intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland. With these sentiments I invoke for the departed collaborator the eternal reward promised to faithful servants of the Gospel, and I gladly impart to you, to the staff and collaborators of the Pontifical Council, and to the relatives of the dear prelate, the comfort of my apostolic blessing”.

Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers, died overnight at the age of 67 after a long illness.

He was born in Kupienin, Poland, April 7, 1949; and was ordained a priest on May 25, 1973.

Pope St. John Paul II appointed Zimowski bishop of the Diocese of Radom, Poland, on 28 March 2002; and he was appointed President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers by Pope Benedict XVI on April 18, 2009.

In 2014, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

POPE NAMES 16 NEW MEMBERS TO COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARIAT

Two days after naming American Greg Burke as director of the Holy See Press Office, Pope Francis named yet another American, a woman, as a member of the Secretariat for Communications. Kim Daniels, an attorney, has served as spokesperson for the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and is the director of Catholic Voices USA.

Daniels joins the ranks of 15 other new members of the secretariat in a sign that the Holy Father is further internationalizing this dicastery.

Following are the newly-appointed Members of the Secretariat for Communication: Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya; Cardinal Chibly Langlios, bishop of Les Cayes, Haiti; Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland; Archbishop Gintaras Grušas of Vilnius, Lithuania; Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy; Bishop Stanislas Lalanne of Pontoise, France; Bishop Pierre Nguyên Văn Kham of My Tho, Vietnam; Bishop Ginés Ramón García Beltrán of Guadix, Spain; Bishop Nuno Brás da Silva Martins, auxiliary of Lisbon, Portugal; Dr. Kim Daniels, advisor to the Episcopal Conference of the United States of America for the ad hoc Commission on religious freedom; Dr. Markus Schächter, professor of ethics of mass media and in society in the Jesuit faculty of philosophy in Munich, Germany; and Dr. Leticia Soberón Mainero, psychologist and expert in communication, formerly advisor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (Mexico and Spain).

Bishop Marcello Semeraro is also the Secretary of the C9 Council Cardinals that advises Pope Francis.

The Secretariat is led by Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, former head of CTV, Vatican Television Center.

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Issued Motu Proprio “For The Establishment Of The Secretariat For Communications,” was promulgated on June 27, 2015.

The Motu proprio begins:

“The current context of communications, characterized by the presence and development of digital media, by the factors of convergence and interaction, demands both a rethinking of the Holy See’s information system, and a commitment to reorganize it, while appreciating what has been developed historically within the framework of communications of the Apostolic See, certainly moves towards a unified integration and management.

“For these reasons I believe that all of the realities which, in various ways up to the present have dealt with communications, should be incorporated into a new Dicastery of the Roman Curia, which will bear the title Secretariat for Communications. In this way, the Holy See communications system will respond ever better to the needs of the mission of the Church.

“Therefore, after having examined the reports and studies submitted, having recently received the study on its feasibility, and having heard the unanimous opinion of the Council of Cardinals, I institute the Secretariat for Communications and establish it as follows.

Art. 1

The Dicastery, according to what was presented by the Vatican Media Commission, instituted on 30 April 2015, will combine the following Bodies within the set time limit: the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; the Holy See Press Office; the Vatican Internet Service; Vatican Radio; the Vatican Television Centre; L’Osservatore Romano; the Vatican Printing Press; the Photo Service; and the Vatican Publishing House.

Art. 2

Such Bodies, from the date of publication of the present Motu Proprio, shall continue their respective activities, observing however, the indications provided by the Secretariat for Communications.

Art. 3

The new Dicastery, in accord with the Secretariat of State, will assume responsibility for the Holy See’s institutional website: www.vatican.va, and the Twitter service of the Supreme Pontiff: @pontifex.

Art. 4

The Secretariat for Communications will begin its proper functions on 29 June 2015, having as its provisional headquarters Palazzo Pio, Piazza Pia, 3, 00120 Vatican City State.

All that I have determined with this Apostolic Letter, issued Motu Proprio, I prescribe that it be observed in all its parts, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention, and I dispose that it shall be promulgated by publication in the daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, and thereafter in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

HOLY FATHER SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR ITALIAN TRAIN COLLISION

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolences to the local archbishop after Tuesday’s deadly train collision in southern Italy.

At least 25 people were killed and around 50 were wounded in the crash, some of them critically. (news.va photo)

CRASh PUGLIA

In Tuesday’s telegram addressed to Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari-Bitonto, and signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope expressed “his warm and heartfelt participation in the suffering” of the families affected by the tragedy.

The Pope assured them of his “fervent prayer of intercession for those tragically killed and,” and prayed for the “swift healing of the wounded.”

Finally, Pope Francis bestowed his apostolic blessing, and entrusted all those affected by the tragedy to the “Maternal protection of the Virgin Mary.”

The crash occurred at around 11:30 in Southern Italy’s Puglia region, tearing apart three carriages and sending debris into the surrounding olive groves.

The two trains collided while on the same track connecting the small towns of Corato and Andria.

There was no immediate indication of the cause of the crash, but the government has promised a full and swift investigation.

Tuesday’s incident is Italy’s worst railway disaster in recent years.

The last major rail disaster in Italy was in 2009 when a freight train derailed the central Italian town Viareggio, killing more than 30 people living close to the tracks in the subsequent fire.

THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

EXPERIMENTAL THIRD ENTRANCE DESIGNED TO REDUCE LINES INTO COLOSSEUM. A third entrance to the Colosseum, at the Via Labicana corner of the amphitheatre, will be in operation on a trial basis from 15 July until 31 October. The entrance will be reserved for groups of up to 50 people that have booked tours with accredited guides. Visitors coming through the new entrance will enter directly onto the arena floor, with daily numbers estimated at between 1,800 and 2,400, depending on the opening hours of the season. Culture officials say the experimental measure is designed to reduce the queues while maintaining current safety standards, which limit the number of visitors to 3,250 at any one time. The news comes ten days after Italy pledged €18 million of state funds to rebuild the Colosseum’s central arena floor, by the end of 2018.

THE TEATRO DELL’OPERA SUMMER SEASON AT THE BATHS OF CARACALLA. The three operas in the Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma summer season at the Baths of Caracalla are Nabucco (9 July-9 Aug), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (18 July-10 Aug) and Madame Butterfly (19 July-8 Aug). Nabucco is a new production by the Teatro dell’ Opera, conducted by John Fiore and directed by Federico Grazzini. Grazzini is young, talented and a graduate of Milan’s prestigious Piccolo Theatre. He won considerable praise for his lively modern interpretation of Rigoletto at the Marcerata opera festival last year. Baths of Caracalla, www.operaroma.it.

RETAKE ROMA, THE VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT that tackles urban decay in the capital, is holding an event aimed at Rome’s international community, in Piazzale Appio on Monday 18 July from 17.30-20.30. In addition to removing illegal graffiti and stickers, the Midsummer Chillout and Retake involves aperitivi at LeFoodie, art, live music and English conversation. Throughout the event Rome-based artist Katherine Krizek will turn rubbish cans into street art and Italian singer songwriter Francesco Bolognesi will perform live. The clean-up is supported by the group American Free Exchange and the U.S. Mission to the UN agencies in Rome, together with refuse management agency AMA Roma and the Roman police décor section PICS.  (The three preceding stories are from www.wantedinrome.com)