VATICAN INSIDER STUDIES SAINT-TO-BE CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN – POPE CONSECRATES SYNOD FOR THE AMAZON TO SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI – POPE TO NEW BISHOPS: WATCH OVER THE FLOCK WITH LOVE

If you want short but interesting reads about what is going on at the Pontifical Council for Culture, the council sends out periodic emails with links to news about their latest events, gatherings, visitors, etc. To learn more, you may access information and stories at the following links: English and Spanish. As the most recent email from the council said: “We hope it interests you and gives you inspiration for your own work promoting dialogue with the cultures of our time!”

VATICAN INSIDER STUDIES SAINT-TO-BE CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN

My special guest this week in the interview segment of Vatican Insider is Sister Birgit Dechant, FSO of the International Center of Newman Friends in Rome – an expert on all things Cardinal John Henry Newman who becomes a saint of the Universal Church in Rome on October 13, 2019. We look at so many aspects of Newman’s life this weekend and next weekend – when he will be canonized in Rome – when Sister returns to Vatican Insider and we explore more of his work, writings, influence as an Anglican and then as a Catholic, his legacy and the miracle that led to has canonization and much more!

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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: https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

POPE CONSECRATES SYNOD FOR THE AMAZON TO SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI

During a highly symbolic tree-planting ceremony in the Vatican Gardens on Friday, Pope Francis placed the upcoming Synod for the Amazon under the protection of Saint Francis of Assisi.
By Vatican News

The phrase “Everything is connected” recurs often in Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Sì.

During a unique ceremony in the Vatican Gardens on Friday, signs, symbols and songs ensured that everything really was “connected.”

Saint Francis and ecology
Starting with the timing: October 4 is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, and closes the “Season of Creation” that began on September 1. This year also marks 40 years since Pope Saint John Paul II proclaimed St. Francis the Patron Saint “of those who promote ecology.” And, in just two days, the Synod for the Amazon will open, the first Synod ever to address the issue of integral ecology.

Organizers and participants
Members of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, the Order of Franciscan Friars Minor, and the Global Catholic Climate Movement organized the event, while various religious congregations and representatives of the indigenous people of the Amazon Region played important roles in providing color and creativity.

Signs and symbols
The ceremony culminated with the planting of a holm oak from Assisi. The name of the tree is believed to come from the old Anglo-Saxon word for “holly” – “holy.”

Even the soil in which the tree was planted was steeped in significance. There was soil from the Amazon, celebrating the wealth of the bioregion’s cultures and traditions; earth from India, representing countries most vulnerable to the climate crisis, where droughts and floods leave millions devastated; soil representing refugees and migrants, forced to leave their homes because of war, poverty, and ecological devastation. There was earth from places of human trafficking, and from sustainable development projects around the world. And there was more soil from the Amazon, earth bathed in the blood of those who have died fighting against its destruction.

The Canticle of the Creatures
But the tree also stands in soil coming from the places where Saint Francis walked in and around Assisi: a place of encounter with the Creator, where the Saint composed the first part of his “Canticle of the Creatures.” Written in the 13th Century, it is believed to be one of the first works of literature in the Italian language. A musical version of this prayer-poem accompanied the tree planting ceremony in the Vatican Gardens.

Celebrating the Season of Creation
The prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, was present at the ceremony and described how the “Season of Creation” is “not only a time for prophetic gestures…but a time for wisdom, a season to respond to the ecological crisis.” Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Prayer for Creation, said the cardinal, suggests “a time of change: humanity’s turning a new leaf to save the planet.”

(JFL: Pope Francis led the gathering in praying the Our Father, and did not recite his prepared remarks. Click here and scroll down to watch video of Vatican Garden tree-planting ceremony with Pope Framcis: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-10/pope-synod-amazon-saint-francis-vatican-gardens.html)

POPE TO NEW BISHOPS: WATCH OVER THE FLOCK WITH LOVE

Pope Francis Friday afternoon presided over Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica and conferred Episcopal ordination on Fr. Michael Czerny SJ, and Msgrs. Antoine Camilleri, Paolo Rudelli and Paolo Borgia.

By Vatican News


Pope Francis began by reflecting on the ecclesial responsibilities to which the new Bishops are called. These responsibilities include perpetuating the Apostolic Ministry of the first Apostles from generation to generation.

Unbroken succession
“The Twelve gathered together collaborators”, said the Pope, and by the laying on of hands, they “transmitted to them the gift of the Spirit received from Christ”. Through the unbroken succession of Bishops in the living tradition of the Church, continued Pope Francis, “this primary ministry has been preserved and the work of the Saviour continues and develops to our times”.

It is Christ
It is Christ, said the Pope, “who in the ministry of the Bishop, continues to preach the Gospel of salvation and to sanctify believers through the sacraments of faith”. It is Christ, he continued, “Who in the wisdom and prudence of the Bishop, guides the People of God on their earthly pilgrimage to eternal happiness”.

Chosen by the Lord
Addressing the new Bishops directly, the Pope told them they are “chosen by the Lord”. “Episcopate”, he said, “is the name of a service, not of an honour”. The Bishop is more responsible for service than for domination.

Pope Francis also told them to announce the Word on every opportune and inopportune occasion: “admonish, reprove, exhort with all magnanimity and doctrine”, he said.

Faithful custodians
The Pope continued his advice to the new Bishops, asking them to be “faithful custodians and dispensers of the mysteries of Christ”, always following the example of the Good Shepherd, “who knows His sheep, is known by them and does not hesitate to give His life for them”.

Love the defenseless
Pope Francis said the Bishops need to love all those God entrusts to them, especially their priests and deacons but also “the poor, the defenseless and all those in need of hospitality and help”.

Watch over the flock
In conclusion, the Pope said they should watch over the whole flock with love. Watch, he said, “in the name of the Father, whose image you make present; in the name of Jesus Christ, his Son, by whom you are made teachers, priests and pastors; in the name of the Holy Spirit who gives life to the Church and who, by His power, sustains our weakness”.

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!”

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.