I hope and pray that all of you, your families and friends, had a beautiful, prayer-filled, safe and happy Easter. Vatican employees are now on the last day of their six-day Easter break, returning to work tomorrow, though many who staff the press office and Secretariat of State had to fill in some of those days. As you will see, the Monday after Easter is a national holiday and I took some time off but was around yesterday to visit At Home with Jim and Joy!
Life returns to normal here tomorrow as Pope Francis will preside the general audience in St. Peter’s square.
PS. For a good understanding of Vatican diplomacy, you will want to read the entire interview by Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Holy See Permanent observer to the United Nations!|
EASTER IN ROME: THE FAITHFUL, FAMILIES AND FLOWERS
Yesterday in Italy was Pasquetta, Little Easter, a huge national holiday here. It’s a big day for families as they spend it together with the main attraction being a long, festive meal. When weather allows, that meal usually takes the form of a picnic. The huge numbers of families and children I’ve seen these past days bring joy to the heart and a smile to one’s face!
And there were big numbers at the papal Easter Mass of the Resurrection Sunday in St. Peter’s Square – an estimated 45,000 at Mass and more than double that for the traditional Easter Urbi et Orbi – to the city and the world – message! After days of cool weather and intermittent rain, thankfully sunshine blessed the day! (Photos are both Vatican media and EWTN/CNA)
Almost as many flowers from the Netherlands – 35,000 flowers and plants – decorated the square. This offering from Dutch florists follows a tradition begun in 1985 with the beatification of the Dutch Carmelite priest Titus Brandsma.
Pope Francis presided over the Mass of the Resurrection but, as is traditional, did not pronounce a homily as he had already delivered his reflections at the Easter Vigil Mass. Three hundred priests, 15 bishops, and 31 cardinals concelebrated. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals, celebrated at the altar due to Francis’ ongoing mobility issues.
In his lengthy Urbi et Orbi message, the Holy Father began by announcing “the joyous message of this day when we proclaim that Christ is risen.” He went on to say that, “in Jesus, the passage of humanity from death to life, sin to grace, fear to confidence and desolation to communion has been made,” he said. “And this means that humanity’s journey has a sure footing in hope and therefore can move forward with confidence in facing the many challenges now and ahead.”
“The Lord has built us a bridge to life” in defeating death, stressed Francis, “making it for us “the most important and beautiful day of history.”
Easter Monday, also known as Monday of the Angel, the Holy Father recited the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered at noon in St. Peter’s Square. This prayer replaces the Angelus during the Easter season.
VATICAN OBSERVER TO UN: “PACEM IN TERRIS” A GUIDING STAR FOR PATH OF PEACE
Interview with the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the UN on the relevance of St. John XXIII’s encyclical 60 years after its publication. Archbishop Gabriele Caccia reiterates the Vatican’s commitment in favour of multilateralism and dialogue between peoples and nations and draws a connection between “Pacem in terris” and Pope Francis’ “Fratelli tutti.”
Sixty years after its publication, Pacem in terris (Peace on earth) continues to be the North Star that points the way for those who, especially in the field of diplomacy, are committed to promoting dialogue between peoples and building peace between nations. Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, is convinced of this. In this interview with L’Osservatore Romano, the prelate underlines the topicality of St. John XXIII’s encyclical and reiterates the Vatican’s support for international organisations and multilateralism at a time marked by wars and confrontations never experienced since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
You have served the Holy See for many years. How much has “Pacem in terris” influenced the vision and commitment of Vatican diplomacy for peace over the last 60 years and on what points in particular?
The encyclical was written after the first great international crisis in which the so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis” and its nuclear threat put the world at risk of planetary destruction. The encyclical allowed us to once again view a sky cleared of the clouds that had gathered, and to rediscover the polar star, which indicates the direction of the path, rather than the concrete roads to be undertaken. The text, as the title clearly states, deals with the theme of peace and extends to the complex network of relations both at an interpersonal level with rights and duties, and to the relationships between the individual and public authority, and between states. Moreover, the encyclical is significantly situated in the broader context of a particularly lively season regarding the Church’s reflection on its relationship with the world, that of the Second Vatican Council, which had just begun. Therefore it is rich with ideas and issues that will later be taken up in broader and more diversified contexts. However, I would like to emphasise the issue of disarmament.
To read full interview: Vatican Observer to UN: ‘Pacem in terris’ guiding star for path of peace – Vatican News