VATICAN INSIDER RETURNS TO THE “ANGELICUM” – WHAT GIFTS WOULD GOD LIKE AT CHRISTMAS?

Had an interesting Vatican experience this morning. Every year at Christmas Vatican employees receive a panetone and a bottle of spumante. I learned only last week that retirees also receive this gift and was told where to go on Via della Conciliazione. I went this morning, showed my ID, said yes, I am a Vatican retiree, that my pension goes to the Vatican bank, etc. MY name was not on any list and I learned that only retirees with 20 or more years of service get the panetone and spumante…..under 20, even 19 years, will not get you a Christmas gift. I wonder if Pope Francis knows this!

VATICAN INSIDER RETURNS TO THE “ANGELICUM”

Tune in this weekend to Vatican Insider for Part II of my conversation with Dominican Father Benedict Croell, director of Development and Mission Advancement atSt. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University, known by its friends here in Rome as the Angelicum. Part I aired last weekend.

Fr. Croell hails from Broomfield, Colorado. Among his university studies was time at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He has served in parish, university and itinerant preaching ministries as well as in the Order’s East African missions where he was novice master for friars in their initial stage of formation from 7 countries. He was Director of Vocations for the Eastern Province Dominicans from 2010-18 at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. He was named a Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s along with 21 other U.S, Dominican Friars during the Ash Wednesday Mass.

Here are a few more photos of the breathtaking views from the Angelicum

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://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 http://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)

WHAT GIFTS WOULD GOD LIKE AT CHRISTMAS?

At today’s general audience in the festive setting of the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis catechesis on Christmas focused on the idea of “surprises.” While the world insists on exchanging presents, he asked, “what gifts and surprises would God want?”

“Dear brothers and sisters,” Francis began. “In a few days it will be Christmas. In this busy season, we might ask ourselves how the Lord himself would like us to keep this feast. If we look at the first Christmas, we see that it is full of God’s surprises. Mary is visited by an angel; Joseph is told to take her in, to become a father to her Child and to flee with the Holy Family to Egypt. But the greatest surprise of all is that God himself becomes a little Child, born in humility and poverty.

“Christmas changes our world,” the Holy Father continued. It speaks to us of God’s self-giving love that should inspire the way we live and relate to one another. It tells us that we best celebrate the Savior’s birth by imitating Mary’s trusting faith and Joseph’s quiet openness to God’s will, and by opening our hearts to the Lord, who asks us to make room for him in our busy lives.”

“Amid the bustle of our Christmas preparations,” stressed Francis, “may we not forget the very One whose birth we are celebrating! And in worshiping the Son of God, born in the poverty of our flesh, may we be mindful of the poor and those in need all around us. This Christmas, may you and your families experience the joy and peace proclaimed by the angels, and be ever more open to God’s wonderful surprises!”

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VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE “ANGELICUM” – POPE TO ARTISTS: “YOU HELP THE CHURCH EXPRESS ITS MISSION” – ROME ATHLETES TO COOK, SERVE DINNER TO THE POOR

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE “ANGELICUM”

Dominican Father Benedict Croell is my special guest this week on Vatican Insider. He heads the Development and Mission Advancement at the St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University, known by its friends here in Rome as the Angelicum. I’ve done occasional profiles of Rome’s pontifical universities and today I turn to the Dominican-inspired and -run Angelicum, its staff and students, its courses, programs and future plans – its famous alumni and so much more.

There was entertainment at the coffee break by two professors.

Fr. Croell hails from Broomfield, Colorado. Among his university studies was time at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He has served in parish, university and itinerant preaching ministries as well as in the Order’s East African missions where he was novice master for friars in their initial stage of formation from 7 countries. He was Director of Vocations for the Eastern Province Dominicans from 2010-18 at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. He was named a Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s along with 21 other U.S, Dominican Friars during the Ash Wednesday Mass.

Here is the view from his office in this historic building – you can see Pza. Venezia, the Roman Forum, the Victor Emanuel monument and much more!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://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 http://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)

 

POPE TO ARTISTS: “YOU HELP THE CHURCH EXPRESS ITS MISSION”

Friday at noon, the Holy Father received the promoters, organizers and artists of the Christmas Concert at the Vatican that will take place tomorrow, December 15, in the Paul Hall VI. It is promoted by the Congregation for Catholic Education, and proceeds will be donated to the Pontifical Foundation Scholas Occurrentes and the Salesian Missions Don Bosco Foundation.

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews)

“The Church’s mission has always been expressed through the creativity and talent of artists,” he said.

Pope Francis’ reflection was framed by the two organizations that will benefit from proceeds raised through the Concert. The first is a ministry of the Salesian Fathers called Missione Don Bosco (Don Bosco Mission), dedicated to the education of South Sudanese children in a refugee camp in Palabek, Uganda. The second will benefit Scholas Occurrentes who educate children in Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, where 130,000 Christians are refugees.

The Pope said that refugee children “must have suffered terrible situations”. He compared them to Jesus who descended to earth from “another place” where “He lived in a communion of wisdom, light and love with God the Father, with the Holy Spirit”. Here on earth, Jesus experienced “our limitations, and our sins in order to give us the Holy Trinity’s love”, the Pope said.

Jesus, too, had to escape Herod’s wrath, Pope Francis continued. This forced the Holy Family to experience the “anguish of persecution”. hus little Jesus reminds us that half of today’s refugees in the world are children, guiltless victims of human injustices.

The Church responds
One of the many ways that the Church responds to this tragic reality is through educational networks, Pope Francis said, introducing the work of the two charities. Refugee children “also need formation so that tomorrow they can work and participate as conscientious citizens for the common good”. Education is also a way to help people get back on their feet, give them back their dignity, provide the courage to face life and appreciate one’s own talents, the Pope said.

How artists help
Pope Francis then concluded his reflection saying that artists have always helped the Church express its mission. “Artists succeed in touching the most intimate parts of men and women’s consciences. For that, to those of you present here, go my thanks and my encouragement to pursue your work, to enkindle the warmth and tenderness of Christmas in every heart.”

ROME ATHLETES TO COOK, SERVE DINNER TO THE POOR

The Apostolic Eleemosynary or Office of the Apostolic Almsgiver, also known as the office of papal charities, today announced in a communiqué that, on behalf of Pope Francis, it has invited – on Tuesday 18 December – a group of poor people to a Christmas lunch offered by the athletes of the Fiamme Gialle (Yellow flames) Sports Group, in the sports center of the Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s treasury department police, at Castelporziano. The insignia of the treasury department are yellow flames.

This meal is also being offered through Caritas of the Diocese of Rome, in the cafeteria of a reception center in Ostia in via Lungomare Toscanelli.

The athletes themselves will cook the lunch and serve it to the guests, sharing with them a day of celebration, full of fun that sport can offer in a family atmosphere, and also symbolic gifts.

The initiative was made possible by Athletica Vaticana, which hopes to re-launch the appeal of Pope Francis to live Christmas in the name of solidarity and concrete attention to those in need. It is a testimony of charity and fraternity through the language of sport which, by its nature, provides for inclusion and respect for the dignity of the last.

Polish cardinal Konrad Krajewski is the Papal Almoner.