Pope Francis launches a powerful appeal for people to get vaccinated with approved Covid-19 vaccines, calling it “an act of love.”

By Devin Watkins

The Pope has joined his voice to those of Bishops across North and South America to urge people to get jabbed against Covid-19.

In a video message produced in conjunction with the Ad Council, Pope Francis praised the work of researchers and scientists in producing safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines.

Click here to see video: Pope Francis urges people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 – Vatican News

“Thanks to God’s grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from Covid-19,” he said in the video released on Wednesday.

He added that vaccines “bring hope to end the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we collaborate with one another.”

Vaccination is an act of love

Pope Francis went on to say that getting a Covid jab that is “authorized by the respective authorities” is an “act of love.”

Helping other do the same, he said, is also an act of love. “Love for oneself, love for our families and friends, and love for all peoples. Love is also social and political.”

The Pope noted that social and political love is built up through “small, individual gestures capable of transforming and improving societies.”

“Getting vaccinated is a simple yet profound way to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable,” he said.

Pope Francis then prayed to God that, “each one of us can make his or her own small gesture of love.”

“No matter how small, love is always grand. Small gestures for a better future.”

‘Strength of faith’

The Pope was joined in the video by several cardinals and archbishops from across the Americas.

Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the archbishop of Los Angeles, lamented the suffering and death the pandemic has wrought across the globe.

He prayed that God might “grant us the grace to face it with the strength of faith, ensuring that vaccines are available for all, so that we can all get immunized.”

Mexican Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes linked Covid-19 jabs to a better future for all.

“From North to South America, we support vaccinations for all,” said the cardinal.

Safe, effective vaccines

Honduran Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga said the world has much to learn from the coronavirus. “But one thing is certain: the authorized vaccines are effective, and are here to save lives. They are the key to a path of personal and universal healing.”

Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes praised the “heroic efforts” of health professionals in developing “safe and effective” jabs. He also repeated the Pope’s affirmation that “getting vaccinated is an act of love”.

Salvadorian Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez said vaccination helps protect the most vulnerable. “Our choice to get vaccinated affects others,” he said, adding that it is a moral responsibility.

Unity across the Americas

Peruvian Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos rounded out the testimonies contained in the video with an appeal to unity. “We are united—North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean—to promote and support vaccination for all,” he said, encouraging everyone to “act responsibly, as members of the great human family, seeking and protecting our integral health and universal vaccination.”




Pope Francis this afternoon made an unannounced visit to the basilica of Sant’Agostino (St. Augustine) near Rome’s celebrated Pza. Navona that houses the tomb of Saint Monica, the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. Today is the memorial of St. Monica, who died in 387.

The following photos were taken by EWTN’s Daniel Ibanez who, knowing it was the saint’s feast day, decided to visit the church!

Built in the 13th century, Sant’Agostino is the mother church of the Order of Saint Augustine and hosts works by Renaissance artists including Caravaggio, Raphael, Guercino and Bernini. The façade was constructed with travertine taken from the Colosseum.

St. Augustine was bishop of Hippo in northern Africa from 396 to 430, and was buried here when he died on August 28, 430. Over time, with the persecution of Christians in this area, his remains were moved to Sardinia and, in 720, when Sardinia also became dangerous his remains were moved to Pavia, northern Italy. This Doctor of the Church now rests in the basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro in an elaborate marble reliquary.


The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the World Council of Churches call for Christians to reflect on “the importance of interreligious solidarity in a world wounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

By Vatican News

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) on Thursday released a joint document. In it, they call on Christians to reflect on the importance of interreligious solidarity as the world confronts the Covid-19 crisis.

“Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19,” is aimed at encouraging “churches and Christian organisations to reflect on the importance of interreligious solidarity in a world wounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The document provides a Christian rationale for interreligious solidarity in response to the crisis but is also aimed at followers of other religions, “who have already responded to Covid-19” with similar reflections based on their own traditions.

“Because interreligious relationships can be a powerful means of expressing and building solidarity, and of opening ourselves to resources coming to us from beyond our limitations, we invite reflection on how we as Christians can become partners in solidarity with all people of faith and goodwill. In this journey towards solidarity, different communities are inspired and sustained by the hope we find in our respective traditions.”

In the document, the PCID and the WCC find a basis “for interreligious solidarity in our belief in the God who is one in three Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

In a series of statements, the document notes that all human beings are a family, created by God according to the Father’s plan; that “our trust and our hope are in Jesus Christ”; and that we are “all connected by the work of the Holy Spirit.” This serves as a foundation for universal solidarity, following the example of Christ in serving others, inspired by the spiritual force of the Spirit which “turns us towards God in prayer and towards our neighbours in service and solidarity.”

The document continues with shared Christian principles that can “guide us in our work of serving each other in a wounded world, together with all people of faith and goodwill.”

These principles include humility and vulnerability, respect for others, compassion, dialogue, repentance, gratitude and generosity, and love.

The heart of the document lies in a series of recommendations for how Christians can serve our neighbours, and serve alongside them.

It asks Christians to consider finding ways to bear witness to suffering; nurture solidarity through common forms of spirituality; encourage and support the idealism and energy of the young; and restructure projects and processes for interreligious solidarity, among other ideas.“Love one another”

In the statement introducing the document, Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, President of the PCID, notes that the Covid-19 pandemic “has exposed the woundedness and fragility of our world, revealing that our responses must be offered in an inclusive solidarity, open to followers of other religious traditions and people of goodwill, given the concern for the entire human family.”

The interim general secretary of the WCC, Dr Ioan Sauca said, “In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the human family is facing together an unprecedented call to protect one another, and to heal our communities.” He added:

“Interreligious dialogue not only helps clarify the principles of our own faith and our identity as Christians, but also opens our understanding of the challenges—and creative solutions—others may have.”

 An excerpt from “Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19,” along with a link to the full text (PDF file), can be found on the website of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.



The following stories about travel, Italy and Covid are from wantedinrome.com and the Italian news agency, ANSA. I think you’ll be able to understand why Italy has included the U.S. among those countries on the “at risk” list, seeing that the U.S. has far more cases than the countries listed in the news stories. And you won’t need to read in between the lines to understand the importance of wearing masks and doing social distancing. This is what has been generally missing in the “at risk” countries.

It was a very quiet day in the Vatican, no news stories and no press office bulletin. August is, in any case, the month when great numbers of the Roman Curia staff go on holiday so few events, press conferences, etc. are ever planned for this month. In the past – the non-Covid past – people began to return and activities resume more or less full force by mid-September.


AUGUST 12: Italy adds Colombia to its travel ban list.

Travellers arriving into Italy from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain must be tested for covid-19 as concern grows over new infections amid a recent surge of coronavirus cases in the countries in question, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

Italy has also added Colombia to a list of countries under a complete travel ban, including transit passengers, announced Italian health minister Roberto Speranza late on 12 August

Health authorities in Italy are concerned about the return of Italian holidaymakers from destinations where social distancing and mask-wearing appear to have been widely ignored, according to Reuters.

“We must continue on a path of caution to defend the results we have obtained over the past months through sacrifices by everyone,” Speranza said on Twitter.

AUGUST 16: As from today, 16 August, vacationers returning to Italy from Spain, Greece, Croatia and Malta will be subjected to nasal swabs.

They will also be obligated to stay in their homes, and to remain in isolation until further notice, relative to the outcome of the test.

Covid-19 testing areas are already operational at Fiumicino and Ciampino airports. The governor of Lazio Nicola Zingaretti announced this via Facebook, stating that Rome’s airports “represent 70% of national traffic.”

In less than 24 hours, 12 testing sites were set up at the Leonardo da Vinci airport, in the arrivals area of Terminal 3, just after baggage claim. In a space of about 1,000 square meters 480 passengers can be tested simultaneously in full compliance with distancing rules. At Ciampino Airport there are three testing sites.

AUGUST 18: Rapid tests at Rome airport detect six coronavirus cases from ‘at risk’ countries.
Six holidaymakers tested positive for covid-19 on the first day of testing at Rome’s Fiumicino airport, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The six individuals travelled to Rome from countries identified by Italy as being ‘at risk’ for covid-19, including Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain.

The testing began at both Rome’s airports, Fiumicino and Ciampino, on 16 August in a bid to contain imported cases of coronavirus.

The first person to test positive at Fiumicino was a young man from Pescara returning from a trip to Malta.

A Roman woman returning to Fiumicino airport and coming from Greece (Skiathos) with a stopover in Athens also tested positive, as did a French man coming from Split in Croatia. Both are reportedly asymptomatic.

A Spanish man from Barcelona, who was travelling to Tuscany, also tested positive for covid-19 at Fiumicino.

The fifth case concerns a six-year-old Spanish boy, asymptomatic, from Barcelona who was travelling with his family.

The sixth case was a Roman woman returning from the Spanish island of Tenerife.

“The prevention method implemented in the airports of the capital is working”, said the health councillor for the Lazio Region, Alessio D’Amato.



Hope Association, an Italian-based non-profit organization has mobilized the procurement and delivery of the devices, says the Office of Papal Charities.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis continues to make his heartfelt appeal for generosity and solidarity for communities and countries hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic by personally leading the way through concrete acts of closeness and affection.

He carries this out through the Office of Papal Charities, a department of the Holy See headed by the Apostolic Almoner, or papal almsgiver, Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.

The cardinal said in a statement released Monday by the Holy See Press Office ithat, n the latest move, the Pope’s charity is being directed to Brazil.  Eight Draeger intensive care ventilators and 6 portable Fuji ultrasound scanners are being shipped to needy hospitals in Brazil.

Cardinal Krajewski said this has been made possible through the generous commitment of Hope Association, an Italy-based non-profit group that helps needy children and communities.  Highly specialized in humanitarian projects on health and education, he said the Hope Association finds ways to obtain high-tech life-saving medical equipment through donors, and arranges for their shipping and installation in hospitals.

These medical devices will be delivered to hospitals in Brazil chosen by the Apostolic Nunciature, so that “this gesture of Christian solidarity and charity can really help the poorest and neediest people,”

On several occasions, the Office of Papal Charities has mobilized medical material and equipment to be donated to many health facilities in situations of emergency and poverty around the world so that many human lives are treated and saved.

After the United States, Brazil has the world’s worst coronavirus scenario, reporting more than 3.3 million cases and close to 108,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.


(thelocal.it) We’re back from our Ferragosto break, so here’s a quick look at the latest news here in Italy today:

The government held out until after the traditional August holiday weekend, but on Sunday night ordered nightclubs to shut down again and said masks must be worn at night in public amid a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases – many of which are being blamed on partying holidaymakers. (Masks must be worn from 6 pm to 6 am in public areas where people may congregate such as popular piazzas or squares)

Government health advisors also warned that further business closures could follow if people don’t stick to the rules – and insisted that Italy’s schools must reopen as planned in September “at any cost.”

On Sunday evening, the first cruise ship set sail from Italy since before lockdown as the MSC Grandiosa departed from the port of Genoa. Meanwhile, anti-cruise campaigners in Venice celebrated a temporary reprieve from liners in the lagoon.

And sadly, forestry police in northern Italy are investigating the “inexplicable” and “catastrophic” deaths of some four million bees overnight in the Lombardy region.





(wantedintome.com) – Italy marks the national holiday of Ferragosto each year on 15 August, the feast of the Assumption, the day when Catholics believe the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven, body and soul, at the end of her earthly life.

The origins of Italy’s Ferragosto, however, date back to Roman times, with the Feriae Augusti introduced as a period of rest by Emperor Augustus in 18 BC.

In the modern-day capital Ferragosto normally means an exodus of Romans as well as the closure of public offices and family-run businesses, restaurants, bars and shops, although larger supermarkets tend to open for a half day.

This year however, due to the covid-19 crisis, things may be busier than usual, as many families can’t afford holidays, or don’t wish to travel, and many restaurants can’t afford to close.


(wantedinrome.com) – Rome’s hotels are slashing their rates, in some cases by 50 per cent, in a desperate bid to attract the few tourists visiting the Eternal City this summer. The capital’s hospitality sector, decimated by the covid-19 crisis, is struggling to survive, with many hotels either closed or with only a handful of rooms occupied.

The city’s luxury hotels are finding it particularly tough, with the absence of wealthy tourists from America, Asia and Russia, reports Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

(Rome hotels losing ‘€100 million a month’)

The Condotti Palace, a four-star hotel near the Spanish Steps, is offering a double room in the week before the national Ferragosto holiday at €67. The four-star Milton Hotel near the Basilica di S. Giovanni in Laterano offers a double room for €67, while the four-star Hotel della Conciliazione on Via di Borgo Pio near St Peter’s rents a room for just €65, half the price of last year.

So who are the tourists in Rome visiting this summer? Europeans: French, Spanish, British, and naturally Italians.


(wantedinrome.com) – Hotels may be in trouble now but the celebrated jeweller Bulgari intends to open a luxury hotel in 2022 that will overlook the Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome.

The Bulgari Hotel will be located in a rationalist-style building dating from the fascist era, designed by Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, and built between 1936 and 1938. It will reportedly have 114 rooms (most of which will be suites measuring up to 400 sqm), a restaurant run by star chef Niko Romito, as well as the Bulgari Bar.

There will also be a 1,000-sqm spa, a 20-sqm swimming pool inspired by Roman baths, a gym and a library with antique books, according to local media.

Earlier this year it was reported that the mausoleum would open during the spring of 2020 however the covid-19 pandemic arrived in the meantime and no official completion date has been announced.

In addition to the Mausoleum, the piazza is home to the Ara Pacis museum designed by American architect Richard Meier in 2006 and two Baroque churches.

The new Bulgari hotel will be situated near its flagship store on the luxury shopping street Via Condotti and not far from the Spanish Steps whose €1.5 million restoration Bulgari financed in 2016. (wantedinome.com)


(wantedinrome.com) – Rome’s archaeological site at Largo di Torre Argentina is to be restored in a €1 million project sponsored by luxury jeweller Bulgari, with a completion date in the second half of 2021.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi has thanked Bulgari for what she describes as an “act of love for the city” while the deputy mayor Luca Bergamo said the site’s many cats would not be disturbed.

The works will reportedly include a new entry into the site, including elevator access, under the tower, with new paths around the archaeological area. (photo: https://civitavecchia.portmobility)

The so-called sacred area of Largo Argentina is best known as being the scene of Julius Caesar’s assassination; it is also the home of a popular cat sanctuary.

The plan to restore the site follows Bulgari’s €1.5 million restoration of the Spanish Steps in 2016.


(Thelocal.it) – The southern region of Puglia says residents must quarantine if they return from a holiday in one of three ‘high-risk’ EU countries.

Residents of Puglia will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon re-entry if they travel to Spain, Greece or Malta, according to a new regional ordinance, after a number of recent infections were traced back to returning holidaymakers.

“In the last two days we’ve logged numerous cases of Puglia residents who have tested positive after coming back from Greece, Malta, Spain, countries with a high viral circulation,” said regional president Michele Emiliano as he announced the new rule on Tuesday evening.

The quarantine requirement will not apply to Spanish, Greek or Maltese residents visiting Puglia, nor to people who live elsewhere in Italy and pass through the region on their way home – if, for instance, they return by ferry to the large ports of Bari or Brindisi and drive to another part of the country.

But everyone arriving in Puglia, including locals, residents of other regions and foreign tourists, is required to inform regional health authorities using an online ‘self-report’ form (available here). The requirement applies whether you’re entering Puglia from abroad or simply another region of Italy.

(Campania and Emilia-Romagna regions have also announced their own restrictions)


(TheLocal.it) – Neither MSC Cruises nor Costa Crociere plan to sail their giant liners to Venice as they resume operations this summer after a six-month shutdown.

Instead the companies are planning departures from the port of Trieste, around two hours north-east of Venice, and Genoa on the north-west coast.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 9, 2019 The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen from San Maggiore’s bell tower leaving in the Venice Lagoon. – Italy’s cruise industry is preparing to sail again in Mediterranean waters, hoping to help jumpstart the country’s economy while restoring the reputation of the beleaguered global cruise industry. The planned departure of the MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica on August 16 and 29 from Genoa and Bari, respectively, to sites in Italy, Malta and Greece, represents a high-stakes bet for the industry that Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has called a “fundamental part of our economy.” (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Italy’s government has given the go-ahead for cruises to restart from August 15th, though operators must stick to European routes in line with a ban on tourism from outside the EU.


(ANSA) – Rome – The CTS panel of experts advising the government on the coronavirus emergency is looking at the possible use of new rapid COVID-19 tests to prevent outbreaks being caused by cases imported from abroad, sources said. These new tests are in the process of being approved. They could potentially be used at airports and border crossings on people arriving from abroad. hey could be especially useful for people arriving from countries with a high prevalence of COVID-19.

(ANSA) – Rome – Francesco Vaia, the health director of Rome’s Spallanzani infectious-diseases hospital, told ANSA on Monday that over 3,000 people have volunteered to take part in human trials on an Italian-developed COVID-19 vaccine. The hospital is set to start testing the vaccine on 90 people later this month. Vaia said the response to the appeal for volunteers showed the “great heart of the Italian people.”


Not much news here at the Vatican today as Pope Francis is at about the mid-point of his July working vacation, a period of time when general audiences, most private audiences and most all public events are taken off his agenda, with the exception of the Sunday Angelus. How does he spend his time? Well, it’s a safe bet to say he reads reports and news from and about the Church around the world, from officials at offices of the Roman Curia and personal correspondence from friends and colleagues.

The Holy Father and his cardinal advisors and others have been working for years on reform of the offices of Vatican City and, principally, those of the Roman Curia, and we seem to be close to seeing the result of that work – the publication of the Apostolic Constitution that will replace Pope Saint John Paul’s 1988 constitution, “Pastor Bonus” that instituted reforms in the central government of the Catholic Church.

What Pastor Bonus did essentially was to lay out in great detail the organization of the Roman Curia, specifying the names, duties, norms and jurisdiction of each particular office, who oversees what and so on.

And that is what most people expect from Pope Francis, although some early signs point to epochal changes in the administrative structure of the Roman Curia.

Drafts of the constitution have been sent to the world’s bishops, to heads of Roman Curia offices and to heads of religious orders and congregations around the world, among others. Once finalized and signed by the Pope (seems that has been done), the constitution must then be translated into the Church’s major languages.

Will there be a summer surprise?


By Vatican News

Pope Francis donated a ventilator to the Campanha de Maraba Hospital in Brazil as the number of infections and deaths due to the Covid-19 virus continues to increase in the South American country.

Expressing his gratitude in a video, Bishop Vital Corbellini of Marabá said that, “it was a beautiful charitable action of Pope Francis through the Apostolic Nunciature” which will be used to “save as many lives as possible.”

“We ask that it be used especially for the Indigenous Peoples, because they are the most in need,” Bishop Corbellini told Vatican News.

The Pope’s gift
The respirator, one of four sent by the Holy Father to Brazil, along with a temperature monitor, arrived in Marabá on Sunday. Bishop Corbellini, in turn, presented them to the health facility’s coordinator during a small ceremony on Monday, July 13.

The hospital, situated in Pará, has ten beds reserved for indigenous patients who have contracted Covid-19, two of which are currently occupied.

Pope Francis’ closeness
“The Pope cares about Indigenous Peoples whose rights are often violated,” said the Bishop, adding that the government does not pay much attention to them.

“Their lands, forests and rivers are occupied, so it is necessary to look after them with affection and help them live well,” he stated. “Now we have this device that can help save lives. That is why we are delivering it here – to this very important hospital of Marabá,” Bishop Corbellini added.

According to the Department of Health of the State of Amapá, 91 percent of the beds in intensive care are occupied.




Pope Francis expressed his nearness to the people of Brazil in a telephone call to the Archbishop of Aparecida on Wednesday.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews.va)

As the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic shifts to Latin America, Pope Francis made a personal phone call as a sign of his pastoral care for all Brazilians.

The Pope telephoned Archbishop Orlando Brandes of Aparecida on Wednesday. According to the archbishop, the Pope asked him to assure everyone of his prayers.

“I am always near to you, as my heart reaches out to all Brazilians,” the Pope said.

Pope Francis also extended his affection and prayers to the nation as a whole, and not merely to Christians, said Archbishop Brandes.

The Pope’s call came at a difficult time for Brazil. As of Thursday, over 772,000 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in the Latin American nation. Nearly 40,000 people have died with the novel coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Those numbers put Brazil in second place regarding confirmed cases, after the United States

At this difficult time, Pope Francis invited Brazilians to place themselves in the lap of Our Lady of Aparecida, the Patroness of Brazil.

Her image was enthroned in the Vatican Gardens in September 2016.

According to Archbishop Brandes, the Pope said, “I recall that I took the image of Our Lady of Aparecida in my lap – the Madonnina, which means ‘little mother’. I urge you all to rest in her arms.”

Pope Francis then blessed the people of Brazil, and concluded the phone call with a word of encouragement.

“Have courage and hope,” he said. “We are people of faith.”

This is the third call the Pope has made to Brazil since the pandemic began. He spoke first with Archbishop Leonard Steiner of Manaus on 25 April, and with Cardinal Odilo Scherer, the Archbishop of São Paulo, on 9 May.

Pope Francis made his first Apostolic Journey to Brazil for the 2013 World Youth Day. During that trip, he paid a special visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida. There he entrusted his pontificate to her maternal care.


(ANSA) – Rome, June 11 – The turnover of Italy’s bar and restaurants is still over 50% down three weeks after emerging from lockdown, catering category association FIPE said Thursday. Staff has returned to pre-crisis levels in only a third of establishments, it said.

(ANSA) – Venice, June 11 – St Mark’s Basilica in Venice on Thursday reopened to visitors.   Only 150 people will be allowed into the iconic building every hour, authorities said. Authorities called for action to protect St Mark’s from acqua alta high tides after it suffered damage earlier this year.

View of the Basilica of Saint Marco on sunset during the lockdown emergency period aimed at stopping the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Although the lockdown and full absence of people, the scenery of the Italian squares and monuments remain fascinating, Venice, Italy, 28 April 2020. (ANSA foto Fabio Muzzi)

(ANSA) – Rome, June 11 – Obesity rose sharply during Italy’s recent coronavirus lockdown, according to a new Italian report. It said cardiologists and other medical professions “should get ready” for a “significant” rise in obesity levels.They should encourage people who are overweight and obese to return to a healthy diet and get regular exercise to shed the pounds gained during the lockdown, said the report, The Pandemic Effect, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. It said anxiety and stress, as well as fear of getting enough food, led people to eat poorly and lead sedentary lives during the almost three-month confinement.

(TheLocal.it) – Italy lifts its lockdown and presto! The forlorn sunbeds of a hotel on the Venetian coast fill up once more with German and Austrian tourists. Much of Italy is still waiting for visitors to return after the government imposed an economically crippling shutdown to halt the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 34,000 people, mostly in the country’s north. But at the Cavalieri Palace in the resort town of Jesolo on Venice’s Adriatic coast, families play frisbee on the sand, sunbathe on deck chairs or order lunch at the hotel’s poolside bar. The four-star hotel is among the first to open its doors to international tourists.”As soon as the borders opened on June 3rd, we had the pleasant surprise of finding four to five German families and an Austrian one having breakfast in our restaurant,” the hotel’s owner Antonio Vigolo said with a smile. (https://www.thelocal.it/20200611/we-really-feel-safe-in-this-hotel-german-tourists-revive-pandemic-hit-italian-coast)

(WantedinRome.com) – June in Rome normally sees the capital’s many outdoor festivals kick off for the summer. Sadly this is not the case in 2020, due to covid-19, however June does mark the reopening of the city’s museums and several major exhibitions. We list here some of the best things to do and places to go in June as the Eternal City begins its road to recovery, with a tip for each day of the month. (https://www.wantedinrome.com/whatson/what-to-do-in-rome-in-june-2020.html)

(WantedinRome.com) – Greece and Austria prepare to lift restrictions for Italian tourists. Austria will reopen its border with Italy from 16 June as the country relaxes its coronavirus restrictions, reports Italian news agency ANSA. The news was announced by Austrian foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg who said that a travel warning would remain in place for Lombardy, the north Italian region hardest-hit by the covid-19 crisis. Schallenberg also invited Austrians to “not forget common sense when packing” for their summer holidays abroad. Separately, Greece is to gradually lift all restrictions on Italian tourists entering the country by the end of this month, reports ANSA. (https://www.wantedinrome.com/news/austria-and-greece-to-reopen-borders-with-italy.html


The main story below from the Pontifical Council for Culture is a very important piece of news. Be sure to share this with you pastor, for starters, and I can only hope that every bishop around the world, especially if his diocese has precious and valuable art, will have seen these critical guidelines.

For your reading pleasure this weekend, here is a link to the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano:.



Welcome to a new edition of Vatican Insider. A update about the interview segment – or what is normally an interview. With some covid19 restrictions still in place, I have not been able yet to get out and about and visit people for interviews but hope to resume that soon. In the meantime, I continue with my SPECIAL presentations and this week offer Part I of a visit to the ever- glorious St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. Obviously as a podcast it will be very useful when you finally travel back to Italy and Rome!

So this week, be a tourist for a few minutes! Come to Rome! You know that’s where you want to be!

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From the website of the Pontifical Council for Culture:

There have been reports that, in this period of health emergency, the necessary disinfection of areas, vestments and sacred vessels for worship has been carried out in some cases using detergents that are not suitable for objects of art and cultural heritage.

We publish below a document drawn up not by the Pontifical Council for Culture, but shared by it. It offers simple indications to avoid causing irreversible damage to the most precious and delicate objects present in our churches.

Above all, it is recommended that priests or those in charge of the churches make contact with the cultural heritage specialists in their diocese or competent civil authorities, especially in the most delicate cases.

Recommendations in view of COVID 19 regarding the handling, cleaning and disinfection of cultural property: http://www.cultura.va/content/dam/cultura/docs/pdf/beniculturali/RECOMMENDATIONS_ENG.pdf

SUMMARY TABLE: A graph with recommendations – the Dos and Donts – for handling, cleaning and disinfecting cultural heritage: http://www.cultura.va/content/dam/cultura/docs/pdf/beniculturali/TABLE_ENG.pdf


Rome, May 21 – Italy saw 47,000 more deaths in March and April this year than last, social security and pensions agency INPS said Thursday. In January and February, it said, there were 10,000 fewer than expected. The INPS study, Analysis of Mortality in the COVID-19 Epidemic, stressed that the number of deaths from the coronavirus were 28,000 in March and April. “With due caution,” the report said, “we can attribute a great part of the higher deaths that happened in the last two months, with respect to the baseline, to the ongoing epidemic.”

Florence, May 21 – Florence’s famed Uffizi gallery will reopen on Wednesday June 3, director Eike Schmidt as the Boboli gardens reopened on Thursday. Palazzo Pitti, the Renaissance palazzo across the Arno from the Uffizi and next to the Boboli gardens, will reopen on Thursday May 28, Schmidt said.



The Saint of the Day, St. Isidore the Farmer, has a fascinating story that is told on www.franciscanmedia.org There is also an audio version of the story on the website and kids as well as adults will appreciate this. And you can sign up to get their emails with The Saint of the Day story. Isidore has become the patron of farmers and rural communities. In particular, he is the patron of Madrid, Spain, and of the United States National Rural Life Conference. He died May 15, 1130, and was declared a saint in 1622, with Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, and Philip Neri. Together, the group is known in Spain as “the five saints.


In this week’s edition of Vatican Insider I bring you some news updates, take a look at Pope Francis’ special prayer intentions this week at his private morning Masses and then bring you on a tour of a major Roman basilica in what is normally the interview segment. As you know, Coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Italian government and by Vatican City that adheres to those rules have kept me home for months now, unable to go out an interview people but some day soon I am sure I’ll be able to do that again.

So this week, be a tourist for a few minutes! Come to Rome! You know that’s where you want to be!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


Those in charge of the four major Roman papal basilicas (St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls) met on Thursday to study and discuss what needs to be done to re-open the basilicas to the faithful to once again assist at a liturgy. Each basilica has an archpriest, who is a cardinal, who oversees the basilica for its day-to-day life, normal maintenance, repairs and, naturally its liturgical life.

The Thursday meeting was organized by the Secretariat of State.

The meeting allowed the prelates to discuss the “new aspects of Phase 2,” a period of gradual re-openings in Italy and resumption of activities in stores, factories, etc. that began on May 4. As part of Phase 2, churches will be allowed to open their doors to the faithful once again for the celebration of Holy Mass beginning on May 18.

Among the items discussed by the archpriests of the basilicas were the “necessary measures most suitable to guarantee the safety of the faithful.” One specific measure would be the use a thermoscanner to take the temperature of those who wish to participate in liturgical celebrations.