POPE FRANCIS GREETS FACEBOOK CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG
A Holy See Press Office statement from director Greg Burke announced that Pope Francis met this morning with Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook and his wife, Priscilla Chan, in a private audience. The statement only noted that, “They spoke about how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and help deliver a message of hope, especially to those people who are most disadvantaged.”
More information was available – guess where!? – Zuckerberg’s FB page:
Priscilla and I had the honor of meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican. We told him how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness, and how he’s found new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world.
We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access. We gave him a model of Aquila, our solar-powered aircraft that will beam internet connectivity to places that don’t have it. And we shared our work with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help people around the world.
It was a meeting we’ll never forget. You can feel his warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people.
HOLY FATHER REMEMBERS QUAKE VICTIMS AT ANGELUS
The August 24 earthquake that rocked central Italy, killing nearly 300, was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks Sunday after praying the noon Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. He offered words of encouragement to the people of the quake-damaged area, renewed his appeal for prayerful and concrete solidarity, and expressed the desire to visit the stricken places as soon as possible.
He specifically named the towns with the highest loss of life and the most extensive damage – Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto and Norcia.
Francis said, “the Church shares your suffering and your worries,…and prays for the dead and for the survivors.” He noted that “the work of the volunteers, police, and civil protection shows how important solidarity is in order to overcome such painful trials.”
“I hope to come to see you as soon as possible,” said the Holy Father, “to bring you in person the comfort of the faith, the embrace of a father and a brother, and the support of Christian hope.” He then led the faithful in the square in praying a Hail Mary for the victims, their families, and for everyone affected by the deadly quake.
Saturday was a national day of mourning in Italy, and a mass funeral took place at a sports hall in the regional capital, Ascoli Piceno, for 35 of the people killed in the powerful earthquake. The coffins were laid out in rows on the floor, and included two small white one for children. The death toll from the quake is approaching 300
Museums across Italy donated proceeds from their ticket sales on Sunday to help the rebuilding effort, while soccer teams held a minute’s silence before their weekend matches out of respect for the victims.
SEPTEMBER 1, WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR CARE OF CREATION
Speaking to the faithful following the traditional Angelus prayer Sunday Pope Francis called attention to the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to be celebrated Thursday, September 1. A major global ecumenical stewardship initiative, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation began in 1989 under the leadership of the Orthodox Church.
Pope Francis established the Day for the Catholic Church by a letter dated August 6, 2015 and addressed to both Cardinals Peter Turkson and Kurt Koch, respectively the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
In the letter, Pope Francis says, “The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.” (source Vatican Radio)
QUAKE UPDATE FROM BENEDICTINES OF NORCIA
Dear Friends, This will be a shorter update since we’ve been very busy today responding to journalists and townspeople, politicians and bishops, all wanting to help us in their own way, and we are grateful to all of them. Inspectors finally came and as expected declared the church and most of the monastery unusable. Only the brewery a few rooms, and our gift shop will be allowed to be used as they are nearest to the ground and suffered the least damage. As a result, we’ll be setting up a new base camp at our monastery outside the walls, the restoration of which has not yet been completed, but which offers us various fields for tents and temporary buildings and a local farm house where we can take our meals. Alas the Basilica will remain closed for some months, but over the next weeks we hope to be able to gain access to the crypt or an adjacent room for daily celebration of Mass.
Today we were also able to stop in and see a few families and businesses and assure them of our prayers. The Archbishop of Spoleto Norcia made an official visit with the inspectors of all the churches in Norcia (all will remain closed) and made arrangements with the Pastor of the town for Mass to be offered outside in a field this Sunday as aftershocks continue to make all the already damaged churches dangerous.
The monks in Rome also continue to care for the people of Norcia through their particular monastic role of intercessory prayer on behalf of and for the people. The monks’ primary role in the life of the Church is one of praying quietly and silently, often unnoticed and even forgotten. Thus, we continue to strive to support the local parish clergy, who are charged with the particular sacramental needs of the townspeople, with our spiritual intercession, and collaborate with them when they request need. We know by faith our prayers help sustain their work and all those suffering and assist in healing the sufferings of many all over our region in these difficult times. Your continued support has inspired us in our prayer and mission.
Pax, Fr. Benedict, Subprior
Buona Domenica, as the Italians say to wish one another a happy Sunday. For us, it was indeed a blessed one, as for the first time since the earthquake, we have a safe and worthy little chapel to offer the Holy Mass in private (the St. Bartholomew Chapel, named after the saint on whose feast the earthquake occurred).
More than that, the good people at Agriturismo il Casale degli Amici have dedicated a space for us to offer Mass in public, and, as you can see from the photograph, the Nursini turned up in good number, trekking up the hill a good 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the city center.
The Tipiloschi family, who we mentioned in our last update, have finished the makeshift tent that is perched across the elevated garden area of our property Fuori Le Mura (Outside the Walls), and our beds and cupboards have been moved in. It’s already feeling like home.
A few monks are still in Rome, waiting for us to finish preparations to make enough livable space to accommodate them. We’ll have everyone back by the end of the month, and for that, and God’s goodness in providing for us so quickly, deeply grateful.
To all of the Nursini, the people of the region, our friends and family abroad, we wish you a blessed Sunday. Please keep us in your prayers.
Pax, Fr, Benedict, Subprior