VATICAN INSIDER GOES UNDERGROUND – FRANCIS EXPRESSES SYMPATHY AND CLOSENESS TO BENEDICT XVI ON LOSS OF BROTHER

There will probably be little news from or about Pope Francis this month as he traditionally reduces his working schedule, including the weekly general audiences and private encounters, during July. He is scheduled to appear at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace on Sundays for the Angelus as part of his working vacation.

EWTN employees have been given Friday, July 3 and Monday, July 6 as holidays so these pages might be quiet. I’ll stay on top of news stories and may pop in if something extraordinary develops (which we really do not want to happen in such hot weather). Often I repost stories I see on Facebook so you may find some news there (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420).

In any case, I wish each and every one of you a blessed, happy, peaceful, healthy and patriotic July 4th! Our nation truly needs prayers and that would be the best gift to our country on this 244th anniversary!

VATICAN INSIDER GOES UNDERGROUND

This weekend on “Vatican Insider,” I’ll take you on a tour of the Vatican’s famed “scavi” – Italian for excavations – the celebrated pre-Constantine necropolis (‘city of the dead’) that lies under the basilica named for the first Pope, Peter, who is buried in this necropolis. In fact, one of the most special visits you will make in the Eternal City, and possibly all of Italy, is to the scavi.

I mention Constantine as he became the Western emperor in 312 and the sole Roman emperor in 324. Constantine was also the first emperor to adhere to Christianity. He issued an edict in February 313 that protected Christians in the empire and converted to Christianity on his deathbed in 337.

Because of the extremely limited number of people allowed into the scavi on a daily basis, reservations are given out on a first come – first served basis. I absolutely recommend that you contact the scavi office for tickets between three and four months prior to your arrival in Rome. YES, 3 or 4 months before you arrive!

I do not know all the rules and regulations regarding tours in a coronavirus era but here’s a link to the website. I just spoke to the scavi office and learned they will re-open Monday, July 6: http://www.scavi.va/content/scavi/en/ufficio-scavi.html

FRANCIS EXPRESSES SYMPATHY AND CLOSENESS TO BENEDICT XVI ON LOSS OF BROTHER

The Vatican today published Pope Francis’ letter to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI whose older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, 96, died in Regensburg, Germany Wednesday morning, July 1. On June 29th the brothers marked the 69th anniversary of priestly ordination.

Addressed to “His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope emeritus,” Francis wrote: “You had the sensitivity to be the first to inform me of the news of the death of your beloved brother, Monsignor Georg. I wish to renew my deepest sympathy and spiritual closeness to you in this moment of sorrow.  I assure you of my prayers for the repose of the soul of the late and lamented, that the Lord of life, in His merciful goodness, may welcome him into heaven and grant him the reward prepared for faithful servants of the Gospel. I pray also for you, Your Holiness, invoking the Father, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the support of Christian hope and tender divine consolation.

Always united in faith in the Risen Christ, the source of hope and peace,

Filially and fraternally,

Francis

Vatican media file photo

PETER’S PENCE COLLECTION TO BE MOVED TO OCTOBER 4 FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS – PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR DEATH OF GRAND MASTER OF ORDER OF MALTA – POPE ENDS CATECHESIS ON THE BEATITUDES, HIGHLIGHTS FEAST OF ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA

PETER’S PENCE COLLECTION TO BE MOVED TO OCTOBER 4 FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS  

Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said in a statement today that, “In consideration of the current health emergency situation, the Holy Father has established that, for this year 2020 the Peter’s Pence collection, which traditionally takes place around the June 29th solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, be transferred worldwide to the 27th Sunday of ordinary time, that is, October 4, the day dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi.” 

PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR DEATH OF GRAND MASTER OF ORDER OF MALTA

The Holy See Press Office this afternoon released Pope Francis’ telegram for the death this morning of the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, His Eminent Highness Frà Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto. The message was sent to the ad interim Lieutenant of the Order, Fra’ Ruy Gonçalo Do Valle Peixoto de Villas Boas. (photo: EWTN Daniel Ibanez)

Pope Francis expressed his condolences to the entire Order of Malta for the death of “such a zealous man of culture and faith. I remember his faithful allegiance to Christ and the Gospel, combined with the generous commitment to exercise his office for the good of the Church with a spirit of service, as well as his dedication to those who suffer the most. As I share your pain, I pray for the respèose of his soul and invoke eternal peace for his soul with divine goodness.” 

Vatican news posted this story earlier today: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2020-04/sovereign-order-of-malta-announces-death-of-grand-master.html

POPE ENDS CATECHESIS ON THE BEATITUDES, HIGHLIGHTS FEAST OF ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA

Once again, Pope Francis presided at the weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace, accompanied by monsignors from the Secretariat of State who translate his weekly catechesis into summaries in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Polish.

“Today,” noted Francis, “we conclude our catechesis on the Beatitudes with the final Beatitude: ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’.”

The Pope explained that, “all the attitudes contained in the Beatitudes, when lived for Christ, can lead to oppression by the world; yet ultimately this persecution is a cause of joy in heaven. The way of the Beatitudes is an Easter path, leading us from selfishness to a life guided by the Spirit. We see this in the saints who show that the experience of persecution can set the Christian free from worldly compromise.”

The Holy Father went on to say that, “Tragically, today many of our brothers and sisters still face persecution, and we express our closeness to them. May we too always remain ‘salt of the earth’, lest by losing the ‘taste’ of the Gospel we lead others to disdain it.”

“By God’s grace,” concluded Pope Francis, “whatever trials we do face can draw us to become more like Christ, who leads us to new life. In this manner, following the humble way of the Beatitudes, we will come to experience the kingdom of heaven: our greatest joy and happiness.”

In greeting to the Italian-speaking faithful, Francis said, “Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, co-patron of Italy. This great figure of a woman drew from communion with Jesus the courage of action and that inexhaustible hope that supported her in the most difficult hours, even when everything seemed lost, and allowed her to influence others, even at the highest civil and ecclesiastical levels, with the strength of his faith. May her example help each one to know how to unite, with Christian coherence, an intense love of the Church with an effective concern for the civil community, especially in this time of trial. I ask Saint Catherine to protect Italy during this pandemic; and to protect Europe, because she is the patron saint of Europe so that it remains united.

Catherine of Siena was born March 25, 1347 in Siena, Tuscany, and died April 29, 1380 in Rome. She was canonized in 1461. On April 13, 1866, Pope Pius IX declared Catherine a co-patroness of Rome. On June 18, 1939 Pope Pius XII named her a co-patron saint of Italy along with Saint Francis of Assisi. She was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970 and a patron sai
nt of Europe in 1999.