VATICAN INSIDER: THE VATICAN COMMUNICATIONS REFORMATION: PART II – AN UPDATE FROM SANT’EGIDIO (OR, HOW POPE FRANCIS CELEBRATED THE ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ELECTION)

Once again, a very beautiful Friday morning, a day that now ends the work week and starts the weekend on a special note for EWTN personnel for whom Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo celebrates weekly Mass at the altar of Pope St. John XXIII in St. Peter’s Basilica.

EWTN’s German bureau chief, Martin Rothweiler is in Rome and he did the reading today from the Book of Wisdom. Here are a few photos:

After Mass, Msgr. Anthony and I met up with Ben Crockett (who is helping us with some very special projects) in the atrium of the basilica. As soon as I saw these workmen preparing the tapestry for Monday’s Episcopal ordinations by the Holy Father in the basilica, I knew I had to take some “behind the scenes” photos and do a Facebook Live.

I hope the start of your Friday and end of your workweek was as beautiful as ours!

By the way, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all the Irish – and Irish wannabees! Special wishes and prayers to all the faithful of the new church for American and English-speaking Catholics in Rome – St. Patrick’s! Come see us Sunday on Via Boncompagni 31 and wear green!

VATICAN INSIDER: THE VATICAN COMMUNICATIONS REFORMATION: PART II

My guest again this week on Vatican Insider is Chris Altieri, a former colleague at Vatican Radio. As I noted earlier, you are probably familiar with his name because you surely read Chris’ many stories on the webpages of (what was once) English Vatican Radio and heard his voice as he did wonderful commentaries for papal Masses and other events.

This weekend, in the second of two parts, we look at the reform of Vatican communications – what has happened so far, the low morale in the Vatican, what reform means for Vatican personnel in the communications area and what it means for people around the world who listen to a greatly changed Vatican radio – except we are not supposed to use that name anymore!

Don’t leave town just yet because at the end of next week you will hear the stunning conclusion to the odyssey of the reform of Vatican communications!

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. 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.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

AN UPDATE FROM SANT EGIDIO (OR, HOW POPE FRANCIS CELEBRATED THE ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ELECTION)

An email I received today from the Sant’Egidio Community that Pope Francis visited last Sunday to mark its 50th anniversary, had a delightful surprise: It seems that on Tuesday, March 13, Pope Francis welcomed to the Santa Marta residence a group of refugees coming from the Horn of Africa and from Syria, arriving Italy through the Sant’Egidio Humanitarian Corridors. There were also some ill people who are being hosted by the community as well as community president, Marco Impagliazzo.

Pope Francis listened carefully to the different and sorrowful experiences refugees had to face before arriving safe in Italy, according to the email. Francis asked extensively about the operation mode of the Humanitarian Corridors. He remembered his personal intervention in aid of the refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos, and re-stated the urgency to develop this kind of corridor which has welcomed and integrated more than 1,000 in Italy and Europe.

During his recent visit to Santa Maria in Trastevere, Pope Francis said: “Today, more than ever, carry on audaciously on this path … Carry on opening new humanitarian corridors for the refugees of war and hunger. The poor are your treasure!”

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EPISCOPAL ORDINATIONS MARK THE SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOSEPH

EPISCOPAL ORDINATIONS MARK THE SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOSEPH

Today is the very beautiful solemnity of St. Joseph, a holiday in the Vatican, and the onomastico, or name day, of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, né Joseph Ratzinger. And, as I wrote yesterday, this is also Father’s Day in Italy!

In addition to being a day off for Vatican and Roman Curia employees, it was a very special morning for two priests who work at the Vatican and for large numbers of people whom they count as friends, yours truly included. You see, Pope Francis conferred episcopal ordination on two monsignori this morning in an always beautiful and moving ceremony that took place during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

I do not know Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, but I’ve known Oklahoma-born Msgr. Peter Wells for many years and he has graced my table for dinner a number of times. Peter now has a standing invitation to dinner whenever he returns to the Eternal City from his new assignment as Apostolic Nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Namibia. Until February 9, he was the Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, essentially a deputy to the Substitute for General Affairs, or deputy chief of staff.

Pope Francis embraces the new Archbishop Peter Wells –

POPE AND PETER WELLS

The General Affairs section handles the normal operations of the Church such as organizing Roman Curia activities, making appointments to curia offices, publishing official communications, including papal documents, and handling diplomatic matters such as the concerns of embassies accredited to the Holy See and the concerns and activities of the Holy See embassies around the world.

Apostolic nuncios or papal ambassadors have the rank of archbishop.

I enjoyed the Pope’s homily so much this morning but cannot find the full text on the Vatican websites – probably because it is a holiday and few people are in the trenches.

Pope Francis spoke a number of times off the cuff, as is his wont on many occasions, and his words were so heartfelt and touching about the duties of a bishop. Three points were important for me: his insistence that a bishop’s ministry is to serve, not be served or seek favor or honor; that a bishop’s best friends and closest collaborators are his priests and he should always be close to them; that behind every piece of paper, every letter, every document that falls into a bishop’s hands there is a person, a human face. Be sure to see the person, said Francis, not the piece of paper

The only reference to the ordination and the papal homily that I found came from the ever faithful Vatican Radio personnel – there is always a small number in the trenches at VR. Here is a report Christopher Wells:

In Saint Peter’s Basilica on Saturday morning, Pope Francis ordained two priests to the episcopate and, in his homily, he reminded the new bishops that they are called to be servants to all.

Pope Francis based his homily on the sermon given in the Roman Pontifical for the Ordination of Bishops. He emphasized that when a bishop exercises his ministry, it is Christ Himself who acts: “Christ who preaches, Christ who makes the Church, Christ who makes the Church fruitful, Christ who leads.”

The Pope reminded the new bishops that they are “servants to all, … the great and the least, always servants, always at the service of others.”

“Do not forget,” he said, “that the first duty of the Bishop is prayer… the second duty, the proclamation of the Word.” Everything else follows. If a Bishop does not pray, Pope Francis said, he can do nothing.

The Pope also emphasized the importance of loving those the Lord has entrusted to their care, and especially the priests and deacons. They are the closest collaborators of the Bishop, his first “neighbor.” If the bishop does not learn to love those closest to him, he will not be able to love everyone.

And Pope Francis called on bishops to really look at the faithful – not obliquely, but looking them in the eye, so they can see them with the heart.

The Holy Father concluded his homily with the prayer that the Lord might accompany the new bishops, and be close to them on the new journey that they have begun.