I had read the following story by a CNA colleague on Tuesday and realized that I only had that day, December 7th and the next day to see these relics before they ended their Roman pilgrimage. I got a taxi and went to San Giuseppe Lavoratore parish and, alas, after looking all over the church for the relics, discovered in a conversation with a parishioner that the relics had departed on December 5th. I did, however, take time to pray before the Blessed Sacrament with several other people, thus, my trip to the church was more than blessed.

The relics have now returned to Sant’Anastasia and the lady with whom I spoke seemed to know how to get to see them and gave me some advice I hope to follow very soon.

The year of St. Joseph might have ended as an earthly celebration but I can tell you that, from what I learned and read this past year about him, St. Joseph occupies a much bigger place in my heart and I don’t need a special Year to think of or pray to him.

Here’s Hannah’s story: For the Year of St. Joseph, a look at the relic of his holy cloak in Rome | Catholic News Agency


A Jubilee or Holy Year or a Year dedicated to a person such as St. Paul or this past year, St. Joseph, usually starts off with a bang, a special papal Mass, for example, and is followed by a multitude of events over a period of 12 months. And usually, such Jubilees or Holy Years close ceremoniously with another remarkable papal event or solemn Mass.

Such was the case one year ago, December 8, 2020 with Pope Francis inaugurating the Year of St. Joseph, as well as the publication of Patris Corde, the Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father Francis on the 150th Anniversary Of The Proclamation Of Saint Joseph As Patron Of The Universal Church. The Year of St. Francis began December 8, 2020.

Yesterday, December 8, the Year of St. Joseph ended without fanfare or trumpets. However, Pope Francis did mark it, in a special way, with his visit yesterday afternoon to the Rome comunità cenacolo, about which I wrote yesterday in this column.

In its story, Vaticannews wrote the following: “Pope Francis then moved to the Chapel dedicated to the Good Samaritan for a blessing and to conclude the Year of St Joseph. A symbolic gesture in an even more symbolic place: the Chapel, made of wood and white marble, was in fact built entirely by the children, ‘with their creativity and their hands’. They picked up pieces of travertine, oak beams and other waste material from rubbish tips and rubbish bins: ‘This is a concrete example of what we do here: we take waste to make wonderful works,’ says Don Stefano. ‘These young people, if before in the life of evil they gave the worst of themselves, now in the life of good they rediscover the love of God.’

“Pope Francis blessed the chapel and prayed together with all those present, whom he then greeted one by one. Each person was offered a leaflet so that the prayer to Mary’s spouse, contained in the last pages of the Patris Corde, could be recited together.

“Hail, guardian of the Redeemer and husband of the Virgin Mary / To you God entrusted his Son; in you, Mary placed her trust / with you Christ became man / O Blessed Joseph, show yourself to be a father also for us, and guide us on the path of life / Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage, and defend us from all evil / Amen.”

Here is the link to the full vaticannews story: Pope to Cenacolo Community: Let us not be afraid of our miseries – Vatican News

(On Wednesday, at the Angelus, the Holy Father spoke of St. Joseph, noting the end of the year dedicated to him, and he also noted that December 10th marks the end of the Lauretan Year, a year dedicated to the Holy House of Loreto.)


Today, December 8, solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, is a holyday and a holiday here. I did not intend to work today but this just came in at 7 tonight and I thought you might find it interesting and uplifting. No Vatican photos at this time I go to press.

I did post other stories in Twitter and Facebook, including the Pope’s visit to the statue of Mary Immaculate at the Spanish Steps at 6 this morning, so check those out!


The Comunita Cenacolo is an organization that helps people with addictions and was founded in northern Italy by Mother Elvira. There are 71 centers in 20 countries, including the United States. Retired Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, Alabama, has been more than instrumental in setting up the communities in Florida and once near the shrine founded by EWTN’s Mother Angelica in Hanceville, Alabama. I nhave visited all four and they are stupendous, inspiring communities. Here is the website of Cenacolo in the U.S.: Comunità Cenacolo America ( Also this: (20+) Comunità Cenacolo America | Facebook

Just after 7pm today, feast of the Immaculate Conception and end of the Year of St. Joseph, the press office released the following communiqué:

This afternoon, just before 4.30 pm, Pope Francis went to the headquarters of the Cenacolo Community, where he was welcomed by about 25 brothers and sisters of the Good Samaritan fraternity, present in Rome, and by others from some fraternities scattered around the ‘Italy, united with families born within the community and people assisted regularly.

After having seen a film on the life of Saint Joseph, made by the young guests of the two fraternities in Medjugorje, and having heard some of the stories of welcome and rebirth experienced by the members of the Community, the Pope spoke to thank the Cenacle Community and encourage the journey of these young people: “Do not be afraid of reality, of truth, of our miseries. Do not be afraid because Jesus likes reality as it is, not made up, altered; The Lord does not like people who put makeup on their souls, who put makeup on their hearts. Help many young people who are in situations like yours.” Pope Francis exhorted: “Have the courage to say: ‘Think there is a better way’.”

While visiting the fraternity headquarters, Pope Francis personally greeted those present and stopped in particular to bless the chapel, built by the members themselves with objects and materials they had salvaged, also signifying the renewal of everyone’s life within the Cenacle Community. He then prayed together with everyone with the prayer dedicated to Saint Joseph and contained in the Apostolic Letter Patris Corde, entrusting the world and the Church to the protection of the Saint, and thus concluding the Year dedicated to him.

At 6:20 the Pope returned to the Vatican.


I am sure you know about the vote in Ireland last Friday that said ‘yes’ to legalizing same sex “marriage.”  I’ll not make a long commentary here today, except to say I now have another country and another people to add to my prayer list.

However, I have wondered for ever so long why there need to be special laws passed, why people have to vote on same sex “marriage,” why do judges and courts have to get involved, why do people “come out of the closet,” why do there have to be campaigns and marches, etc. to try to place same sex unions on the same level as traditional marriage if indeed, these unions were a normal part of the Lord’s plan for creation and procreation.

For the moment, here is a link to an interview a good friend of mine, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, gave to La Stampa paper:


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday met with Franciscans taking part in the General Chapter of the Order of Friars Minor.

In his address to the friars, the Holy Father focused on two “essential elements” of Franciscan identity: “minority” (It: minorità), a spirit of littleness; and “fraternity.” (photo: – L’Osservatore Romano)


The spirit of being a “minor,” he said, “calls one to be and to feel that one is little before God, entrusting oneself totally to His infinite mercy.” The recognition of one’s littleness and sinfulness allows a person to receive salvation. Those on the other hand, who do not feel needy cannot receive the mercy and salvation God offers them. “Minority,” the Pope continued, also means going out of oneself, beyond structures, attitudes, and feelings of security, in order to bear concrete witness of God’s mercy to the poor and needy “in an authentic attitude of sharing and service.”

Fraternity, or brotherhood, was the other aspect of being a Franciscan highlighted by Pope Francis. The Pope noted the witness of Christians in the early church, whose fraternal communion was “an eloquent and attractive sign of unity and charity.” Franciscans, he said, are called “to express this concrete fraternity, by means of a recovery of reciprocal confidence in interpersonal relationships, so that the world might see and believe” recognizing that Christ’s love can heal our wounds and make us one.

Recalling a story of the early days of the Order, Pope Francis noted that the early Franciscans recognized the whole world as their cloister, the space for their evangelical witness. “How important it is to live a Christian and religious existence without losing oneself in disputes and chattering, cultivating a serene dialogue with all, with meekness, mildness, and humility, with poor means, proclaiming peace and living soberly, content with what is offered to you.” Alluding gently to some difficulties the Franciscans have faced in recent years, the Pope said Franciscans must be committed to their vocation of poverty and littleness.

Pope Francis reminded the friars that it is the Holy Spirit who animates the religious life. “When consecrated persons live, allowing themselves to be illuminated and guide by the Spirit, they discover in this supernatural vision the secret of their fraternity, the inspiration of their service to the brethren, the strength of their prophetic presence in the Church and in the world.” The “light and strength” of the Holy Spirit, he said, will also help Franciscans confront the challenges posed by a decline in numbers and vocations, and by an aging congregation.

Brother Michael Perry of the United States was elected last Thursday to a six-year term as minister general of the Order of Friars Minor, a post he has held for the past two years.


I am back in Rome, as you know, but I’m still receiving daily updates from the media office for the Shroud of Turin. A really interesting piece of news arrived yesterday afternoon about the Comunità Cenacolo, an organization I know from its three campuses in and near Jacksonville, Florida and another one near the monastery and shrine in Hanceville, Alabama.

Comunità Cenacolo is very close to Birmingham Bishop Robert Baker’s heart and he has been instrumental in setting up the U.S. communities. Shortly after it opened, I visited the one in Hanceville on a day when Bishop Baker said Mass there and the young men prepared a wonderful lunch for their guests.  I spent half a day and learned a great deal about the life and daily routine of these 12 young men recovering from addiction.

Here is a link to the Comunità website:

And here is my translation of the May 25 communiqué from Turin:

500 Young People from the Comunità Cenacolo Before the Shroud

“Dress yourselves with peace and love to re-embrace life!” These were the words sung by 500 young people, priests and sisters of the Comunità Cenacolo as they processed toward the cathedral to see the Shroud. This community, founded in 1983 by Sr. Elvira Petrozzi in Saluzzo (northern Italy), welcomes young people who have gone through the tunnel of drugs, drug dependency and prostitution. Today Comunità Cenacolo has 62 houses welcoming people in 18 countries (22 houses just in Italy).

The group, led by Fr. Stefano Aragno, was composed of young people from the motherhouse in Saluzzo where 6 priests and 30 nuns work, and also youth from the communities in Croatia, Slovakia, Poland, Brazil, Argentina, the United States and throughout Italy.  Also present in Turin were several sisters who have recently returned from missions in Liberia, Brazil and Peru, as well as some parents who are living a path of faith in order to re-build their families parallel to those of their own children.

Fr. Aragno said, “In the wounds of the Man of the Shroud we see the suffering that our young people bear inside. The Shroud is a witness for us of the grace of God that passed through those wounds, from which we can receive a path of light, hope and resurrection. Our community is one of the witnesses that the greatest Love is capable of defeating sin and death to give us a new life.”

“Sister Elvira and the community,” he said, “have always had a particular devotion for the Shroud. In the Saluzzo house, in fact, in the chapel, there is a small copy of the Linen before which we pray every day.”

Sister Veronica, who has just returned from a mission in Liberia, shared these thoughts. “In front of the Shroud, I’ve brought the wounded faces of the abandoned children I took care of in the mission in this Africa country, devastated by wars and by Ebola.”