Pope Francis tweeted today: When we pray, we need to have the courage of faith. Have trust that the Lord hears us!


My special guest this week on Vatican Insider is Audrey Toguchi of Honolulu. It was her miraculous cure from cancer that led to the canonization in 2009 of Blessed Damien of Molokai, and Audrey tells us her story. The Italian word for the person undergoing what has been recognized as a miraculous cure is “miracolata.”

Last week you met Kate Mahony whose miraculous cure from a total organ shutdown through the intercession of Mother Marianne Cope of Molokai led to her beatification in 2005. Years before meeting Kate, however, I met another woman, Audrey and heard her story.

Two women, two miracolata….

I saw both of them at the recent Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference in Honolulu, and that is where I interviewed Kate. I saw Audrey a number of times in that period and listened to her story – not the first time I had heard it. That was in 2008, my first trip to Hawaii when I met Audrey and her husband Yuki.

We met again when they came to Rome with a Hawaii delegation for Damien’s canonization in 2009. I interviewed Audrey at that time and that is the conversation you will hear today.

Audrey and I had quality time together in Honolulu on my recent visit but our conference schedule was so busy that I did not have time to interview her. However her story, be it 2009 or today, is the same. So stay tuned as Audrey and I talk in Rome in 2009 right after Fr. Damien’s canonization. Hear how she became aware of Fr. Damien at the age of 8 when the ship bearing his remains came into Honolulu harbor on a trip that would return Damien to his native Belgium…..that and much more.

This was taken at a farewell dinner given for me by my friends Trip and Jan McKinney just hours before my departure for Rome. Audrey and her husband could not stay for dinner. Audrey is seated between Jan and me, and Yuki is standing next to Trip

In the second photo you see Kate Mahoney, her mother Mary and a priest from the diocese of Syracuse, early home to St. Marianne and home of her Franciscan sisters. Fr. Andrew Baranski. The sun had set, as you can tell! This lanai overlooks Pearl Harbor, gorgeous at night!

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 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:   For VI archives:


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for all those cardinals and bishops who have died over the past year. During his homily the Pope reflected on the reality of death, but he also reminded us of the promise of eternal life which is grounded in our union with the risen Christ. Linda Bordoni reports for Vatican Radio:

“Today’s celebration,” Pope Francis said, “once more sets before us the reality of death.  It renews our sorrow for the loss of those who were dear and good to us.” But more importantly, reflecting on the liturgical reading of the day, he said it increases our hope for them and for ourselves, as it expresses speaks of the  resurrection of the just.

The resurrection of the just

“They are the multitude,” Franicis continued, “that, thanks to the goodness and mercy of God, can experience the life that does not pass away, the complete victory over death brought by the resurrection”. And recalling Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross the Pope said that “by His love, He shattered the yoke of death and opened to us the doors of life”.

Our faith in the resurrection opens the doors to eternal life

The faith we profess in the resurrection, Pope Francis explained, makes us men and woman of hope, not despair, men and women of life, not death, for we are comforted by the promise of eternal life, grounded in our union with the risen Christ. He urged the faithful to be trusting in the face of death as Jesus has shown us that death is not the last word. Our souls, he said, thirst for the living God whose beauty, happiness, and wisdom has been impressed on the souls of our brother cardinals and bishops whom we remember today.

Hope does not disappoint

Pope Francis concluded giving thanks for their generous service to the gospel and the Church and reminding those present that Hope never disappoints.


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has released a video message accompanying his monthly prayer intention for November 2017.

This month’s intention is for Evangelization: To Witness to the Gospel in Asia. That Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed, may promote dialogue, peace, and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions

The text of the video message reads:

The most striking feature of Asia is the variety of its peoples who ar  heirs of ancient cultures, religions and traditions.On this continent where the Church is a minority, the challenges are intense. We must promote dialogue among religions and cultures.
Let us pray that Christians in Asia may promote dialogue, that peace and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed the “Pope Video” initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity.





The Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference ended this morning with the third very special liturgy of the weekend. There was a Hawaiian Mass Friday, a Tonga celebration yesterday and the closing Mass this afternoon that featured various cultural elements and many languages.

To experience the Universal Church right here in the United States, in the very multi-cultural state of Hawaii was truly a joy. The beauty of the various languages and dress, the cultural customs incorporated into the Mass, the wonderful music, the pre-celebration dance by young children before our opening Mass, gave such a rich meaning to the Mass.

The Tongan Mass was so special. The Tongans create very special coverings for the altar, the chair of the main celebrant, the ambo and, in one photo you will see, a small podium with a box on top containing relics of St. Damien had its own covering and was surrounded by a lei as well.

Flowers in the form of leis play a huge role in all ceremonies in Polynesian cultures. In Hawaii, the placing of a lei over the head and around the shoulders of a person exemplifies the bestowing of honor and respect, and also the spirit of aloha. According to Hawaiian tradition, the maile was the lei for people of all classes and all occasions. The maile is a long-lasting lei and probably the oldest and most popular material used in leis by the early Hawaiians. It is an open-ended horseshoe fashion lei made of the spicy scented green maile stems and leaves.

The maile is most often reserved for memorable occasions. It is known to many as the “lei of royalty,” given to signify respect and honor. The maile is very popular at weddings, graduations and especially proms. On the US mainland, young men usually receive a boutonniere from their prom dates. In Hawaii, they are presented with a maile lei. Wedding leis are a Hawaiian wedding tradition. The maile is the most traditional wedding lei, as it was used by the Kahuna (Hawaiian priest) in old Hawaii to bind the hands of the bride and groom, symbolizing their commitment to each other.

I was blessed to receive 7 leis in two days, one of which was a maile. In the days fo the monarch, only royalty could wear these, never the ordinary people.

Conference organizers prepared more than 50 informative, inspiring sessions by local, national and international presenters over a three-day period, with the goal of transforming the lives of attendees. The sessions covered a broad range of topics, including leadership development, faith formation, spirituality, youth and young adult programs, and social services, and inspiring talks on sainthood, pointing to the lives of Damien and Marianne.

I had so hoped to bring you numerous Facebook Live posts but FB Live never worked in the convention center! In my condo, on the street, in a restaurant or store, yes, but never the center. Here, however, a few photos from the Tongan Mass:

Conference president, Makaka Aiona, said organizers hoped to keep the conference practical with principles that attendees could apply right away. “Our goal was to show the relevance and role of Saints Damien and Marianne in addressing the challenges we face every day in our families, homes and community.”

Some of the featured speakers we heard over these three days:

Very special guest and liturgical celebrant; Cardinal Soane Patita Mafi of Tonga: you will hear directly from him on my EWTN radio program, Vatican Insider.

Father William Petrie (a very close friend of mine for many years) shared his experiences as a Sacred Heart priest involved with Hansen’s disease patients for 25 years in India in a sponsored ministry of St. Teresa of Calcutta. He also served as pastor at St. Damien Church on Molokai for five years. Mother Teresa said: “I have to become holy in the state of life I live, and you must become holy in the state of life you live.”

Sister Alicia Damien Lau, (also a good friend from my visits here to learn about St. Marianne) – a Sister of St. Francis, she offered practical advice on how to follow in the footsteps of a saint by showing how the decisions we make every day can make a positive difference.  She retraces the life of an ordinary woman called to live the gospels to the fullest and experienced true spirituality as she reached out in faith and love to restore dignity, grace and healing to the outcasts in Kalaupapa, Molokai.

Dr. Edward Sri, theologian, best-selling author and well-known Catholic speaker who appears regularly on EWTN television, provided sessions on how love in marriages can be transformative and life-giving.  He teaches that falling in love is easy; growing in love is more difficult.

Teens often feel their families are dysfunctional and an impossible challenge and Paul J. Kim, international speaker, musician, and licensed marriage and family therapist had a session on how God can make beautiful things come out of the ugliest situations.

Jackie Angel, Catholic musician, singer, songwriter, speaker, and youth minister, showed God’s plan for romantic relationships to avoid heartache and pain.

Dr. H. Anthony Chan gave tips on how even with a very busy life and a demanding career in science and engineering research, he has found peace in the sacraments and Eucharistic adoration – something that has changed his life and he is changing lives!

Patrick Boland – (A new friend as I am an ‘ex officio’ member of the Joseph Dutton Guild) Patrick first visited Kalaupapa 50 years ago, and has been absorbed by the stories and the people of the place ever since.  He has been a board member of the Damien Museum and Archives, a member of Ka `Ohana O Kalaupapa, the Bishop’s Damien/Marianne Commission and now the Joseph Dutton Guild.  On occasion, he is a driver/guide for Damien Tours; a tour service at Kalaupapa that was started by patient Richard Marks 51 years ago.

Maria Devera  – (I am also blessed to have Maria as a very dear and close friend) a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist whose journey has taken her to Loma Linda University Medical Center and Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry at Stanford University Medical Center and work in many communities in California before living in Hawaii. For the past 12 and a half years she has worked at Schofield Barracks Pediatric Clinic serving military families in Hawaii, in particular veterans returning from war zones, and her faith community. She has a passion for Brother Joseph Dutton and is a member of the Guild for his cause for canonization.

Audrey Toguchi – (one of my dearest friends) – Hawaii resident and retired school teacher whose recovery from lung cancer a decade ago stunned her doctor and was ruled a miracle by the Vatican. A warm, loving, humble lady, Audrey is a living, walking, talking phenomenon of Hawaiian history. She weaves Hawaiian history and her knowledge of St. Damien into a riveting story.

Kate D. Mahoney – The author of The Misfit Miracle Girl, Candid Reflections and an international speaker who travels the country to share anecdotes from life as patient and caregiver- it’s crisis, but with jazz hands. She is on a mission to inspire audiences across the globe sharing candid reflections and her miracle story – her miraculous cure from total bodily function shutdown due to the intercession of St. Marianne Cope.

Cardinal Mafi (l) and Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva (note the leis)

Audrey (l) and Kate – they just met for the first time!

Yours truly –



October 16th has always had a special place in my mind and my heart as it was on that day, 39 years ago, that a Polish cardinal was elected to the See of Peter and took the names John Paul II. I was actually in Cairo, Egypt the night he was elected and that in itself is a great story – but for another day.

I followed almost every day of St. John Paul’s magnificent papacy, and our lives intertwined a number of times during the years I worked in the Vatican. When I tell people those stories, they always say “God bless you!”  And I reply, “He really has!”

As a saint, he is now with us, more than ever. Someone to pray to and someone whose life (and death) can be an inspiration!


Yesterday was a remarkable day, as I posted on Facebook during my travels….travels that encompassed 4 cities (Rome, Frankfurt, San Francisco and Honoulu) and 12 time zones in 24 hours!

I was tired but, oddly enough, not exhausted and attribute some of that to PMA, a Positive Mental Attitude. I try to immediately adjust to where I am, not think about what time it is where I came from, and then just proceed as normal. I went to a local ABC store, got things for breakfast, had a sandwich for dinner and then unpacked.

As you know, I’m here for this weekend’s Saints Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference at the convention center. I’ve already been in touch with my friends here and with conference organizers and things look very promising – lots of enthusiasm about the conference guest speakers (

As I was about to get off the plane in San Francisco, I told the attendant who had been such a jewel on the flight from Frankfurt that I still had a six-hour flight ahead of me to Honolulu. A woman in the seat in front of me remarked how lucky I was to be going there, I agreed and explained I was going to attend a conference and give a talk. She asked the subject and I replied that I’d be speaking on how to become a saint! The woman smiled and said she wished she could attend the conference, and then asked me to tell her how one becomes a saint. I said, “If by chance you’re on the flight to Hawaii, I can explain!”

As I sit at a table in the wonderful condo of a good friend to write this column, I once again marvel at the beauty of this land I love. Windows surround me, and everywhere I look, I see the Pacific Ocean, the white, foamy surf, the surfers on big, crashing waves, the sunbathers on Waikiki beach, the palm trees and my favorite, the plumeria trees. And then there’s Diamond Head, an extinct volcanic crater and surely Hawaii’s most famous landmark. It is directly in front of me as I write these lines.

As the saying goes, “Life’s a beach”

It’s also  –

And Diamond Head –

And St. Augustine Church –

And –

This was the first photo I ever took of Diamond Head –

As I was going through my photos, I found this picture from a previous trip and only now realize the tall building on the right is where I am staying – the penultimate floor (above me is the penthouse)

I found the following on a site about historic Pacific parks: Lē‘ahi is the traditional Hawaiian place name for the crater. It is said that Hi’iaka, sister of the fire goddess Pele, gave Lē‘ahi its name because the summit resembles the forehead of the ‘ahi fish. Another translation is “fire headland” and refers to the navigation fires that were lit at the summit to assist canoes traveling along the shoreline.

It is hard to believe, looking at the overwhelmingly beautiful nature that marks this corner of God’s creation, that so many lives were marked for so many years by exile, pain, loneliness and deprivation in this paradise. Families were separated and, most often, never able to be together again. The years, the decades, well over a century in fact, when people with leprosy were exiled to the Kalaupapa peninsula on Molokai, those were dark years of hopelessness and fear – fear of contagion of a terrible disease for which, at the time, there was no remedy or cure.

There was no beauty on Kalaupapa for those exiles. They lived each day wondering about food, sanitation, a roof over their heads and, of course, medicines and medical care.

There was no hope for a bright future, for a job, for a tomorrow that promised to be even minimally better than today.

Until Fr. Damien arrived in 1873 at this isolated settlement to bring comfort and hope to these outcasts. Sixteen years among the patients of Hansen’s disease, improving their lot, little by little, day by day, trying to restore a lost sense of human dignity. Sixteen years of living heroic virtues until he died of leprosy in 1889.

In November 1888, a year before Fr. Damien died, Mother Marianne Cope arrived with six Sisters of St. Francis. She worked with the exiles for 30 years and died in 1918.

Damien and Marianne are the saints whose lives and virtues we will be looking at this weekend.

As the conference webpage states, its focus is “the respect of human life and dignity, marriage, youth and family life, education, social justice and evangelism.


A NOTE FOR TRAVELLERS : I flew from San Fran to Honolulu on United and, even though the flight is nearly six hours long, United does not serve a meal – you have to buy food. It is basically just snack food, except for a hamburger, a chicken wrap or a small pizza.   United offered the same terrible choice on my September 9-hour flight from Chicago to Honolulu and that prompted me to write to the president of the airlines and to essentially say that not serving a meal on a 9-hour flight was inhuman.

I wrote the letter while on the plane and told the crew and they were delighted! They said they’d LOVE to serve a meal and were happy I wrote because they feel the powers-to-be listen more to passengers than to the personnel.  I did get a very nice, lengthy letter from president Munoz’s assistant and some compensation for the issues encountered on the flight. She said there was one issue they were not aware of and was happy I wrote.

These lines are just to let you know that, as customers of a service you are paying for, you have rights, including the right to complain when something does not go as promised. Don’t make it angry, just factual.






Sunday, October 8: When you experience bitterness, put your faith in all those who still work for good: in their humility lies the seed of a new world.

Monday, October 9: The search for peace is an open-ended task, a responsibility that never ends and that demands the commitment of everyone.

Put this on your calendar: At 5 pm Rome time on Thursday, October 26, from a small room in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis will have a linkup with the crew of the International Space Station.


On Sunday I leave for Hawaii to participate in the October 20-22 Saints Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference at the Honolulu Convention Center. I am very excited about the conference because, starting in 2008, I have spent years researching the lives and works of Saints Damien and Marianne Cope, and then covering their canonizations in Rome (respectively 2009 and 2012), and now I can share my stories and listen to the stories of others who also love Hawaii’s two very special saints.

And Hawaii may well have a third saint – Brother Joseph Dutton. He was not a religious brother but rather received that name from Fr. Damien himself who told Joseph one day as they worked together on Kalaupapa, “You are like a brother to everyone here.”

Born Ira Dutton, he took the name Joseph when he became a Catholic. Joseph worked for 44 years alongside Fr. Damien and Sr. Marianne and her nuns, with the leprosy patients on Kalaupapa, this hankerchief-sized piece of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Hansen’s disease is the medical name for leprosy. When it came to the Hawaiian Islands, then a kingdom, King Kamehameha V banished all those with the disease to the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula on the north shore of the island of Molokai. The leprosy colonies operated from 1866 to 1969 and had a total of over 8,500 residents over the decades.

At the time of Fr. Damien, a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, people sick with leprosy were exiled to Kalaupapa. It was that exile of so many human beings who needed the hand not only of a doctor but of another human being to comfort them in their dreadful living conditions, both physical and spiritual, that prompted Fr. Damien to go to Kalaupapa in 1873. He served there until his death in 1889.

Damien was joined by Mother Marianne Cope and six sisters from her Order, the Sisters of St. Francis of Syracuse, in 1883. She lived and worked there until her death in 1918.

We see the words “heroic virtues” literally come to life in Damien and Marianne.

More than 8,000 people, mostly Hawaiians, have died at Kalaupapa. Many of their tombs can still be seen today, although many thousands were washed away years ago as the result of a tsunami. Kalaupapa is now home to just a few remaining residents who are now cured, but were forced to live their lives in isolation.

The conference will, as its title says, focus on Hawaii’s two saints, on their heroic virtues but also on human rights because that is really what Damien and Marianne fought for over so many decades – the rights of people who had been ostracized by society and forced to live in totally undignified circumstances.

When we think of sainthood and heroic virtues, we think: this is Mission Impossible – not something I can achieve. And yet, this is what we are all called to do! And this is what the conference hopes to achieve: to inspire all of us to – in our way, with whatever gifts God gave us, in whatever circumstances He placed us – aim high, to look at sanctity as something eminently achievable.

Did Marianne and Damien think like Mother Teresa: “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much!”

A number of the speakers, as you’ll see from the program, are from the same congregation as St. Damien and the order of St. Marianne.

The special guest of honor is Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga. We have been in touch and I’ll be interviewing him!

I’ll also join Bishop Larry Silva on a pilgrimage to Kalaupapa on October 23. I’ve been there several times before, and have written stories and posted videos and interviewed many people.

I am truly looking forward to returning to a place that, for me, is a shrine.




This morning the Holy Father had a number of private audiences and he also met with several groups, addressing members of the John Paul II Foundation as well as the participants in an international meeting of the pastoral ministry for vocations promoted by the Congregation for Clergy

Francis’ private audiences included a meeting with Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy and a separate one with Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of APSA, the Administration for the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

While no communiqués are given about the content of these private meetings, Cardinal Calcagno’s office, APSA, which handles real estate holdings, has been under fire from seven fellow cardinals who live in a Vatican-owned building, part of which, according reports, will soon be leased out by the Vatican to McDonald’s for €30,000 a month. It seems that several of the cardinals have written to the Pope about the matter. In addition, there has been general consternation about this potential tenant in this much-trafficked neighborhood, filled with souvenir stores, coffee bars and restaurants.

Today, Friday we saw the start of the three-day Jubilee of Choirs and Liturgical Animators that has brought together liturgical directors, choir directors, musicians, choirs, organists, schools of sacred music, and musical bands that serve liturgy. They met today on the theme “Music in Liturgy for Evangelization.” Tomorrow there will be a celebration with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, and later that afternoon a concert in the Paul VI Hall with the participation of all the choirs. Sunday participants will attend a Jubilee Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica that will be presided over by Abp. Rino Fisichella. That will be followed by the recitation of the Angelus by Pope Francis.


My special guest this weekend and next on Vatican Insider is Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu. We met on my very first visit to the islands in 2008 and now have an almost annual reunion, usually including a meal, during my summer vacation stays in Honolulu. We also met in Rome in 2009 when Fr. Damien was canonized and again in 2012 when the Pope declared Blessed Marianne Cope a saint.



This time Bishop Larry and I talk about two big anniversaries coming up in the diocese in 2018 – the 100th anniversary of the death of St. Marianne Cope and the 175th anniversary of the cathedral. Our Lady of Peace Cathedral, in fact, is closely associated with the lives of Hawaii’s two saints – Fr. Damien and St. Marianne  – and also with Bishop Larry’s family! Our Lady of Peace needs a fair amount of restoration and updating and the bishop explains the plans to accomplish that by the 2018 anniversary. Renovations will include building a side chapel to enshrine the remains of St. Marianne and the relics of St. Damien.


By the way, we talk about a possible third saint for Hawaii – Brother Joseph Dutton!

I took the pictures shown here in Bishop Silva’s office. Next weekend, I’ll post some great photos of the cathedral that I took during an evening visit after dinner with the bishop and a visiting priest friend from the mainland.

Bishop Silva told me that this statue of Our Lady of Fatima is one of four that the Portuguese sculptor, Jose Ferreira Thedim, made: The well-known original is in the chapel at Fatima:


As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live 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 9:00 am (Eastern time). 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 FOR YOUR TIME ZONE. Past shows are in VI archives:



This weekend and next I have a fascinating guest on Vatican Insider – Fr. Bill Petrie, pastor of St. Damien parish on the Hawaiian island of Molokai’i. We have been friends for a number of years and usually meet on Kalaupapa, a peninsula of Molokai’i, to talk about St. Damien or St. Marianne Cope and their work there with victims of leprosy. A week ago we met in Honolulu to talk about his 25 years of work with Mother Teresa! 25 years! Tons of insight and remarkable stories about this holy woman who will be declared a saint in two weeks!

Here we are on the lanai of our friends, the McKinneys. As you will hear me say in Part 2 of the interview, a rainbow graced a nearby hill just as we finished our conversation– you can see it over Fr. Bill’s shoulder.



You will hear this little fellow (or another member of his family) in the background of our conversation. One of these little creatures started singing every morning at sunrise, usually about 5:40 am and often on the lanai right outside my bedroom. There also was a rooster somewhere in the hills but a certain point he became quiet while the birds continued to sing (so to speak).


As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live 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 9:00 am (Eastern time). 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 FOR YOUR TIME ZONE. Past shows are in VI archives:


(Vatican Radio) Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of the Diocese of Dallas, Texas, said he was “humbled” when Pope Francis asked him to be the new prefect of the new dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

“I was obviously humbled by the fact that the Holy Father would ask me to go and do such an important work,” Bishop Farrell told Vatican Radio.

“I have always considered myself to be just a bishop of the diocese and at service to the people here, so when you get a call from the Holy Father asking you to do something like this you cannot but be amazed and humbled at the same time by the whole venture,” he said.

He takes up his new position in just a matter of weeks: The new dicastery has a start date of September 1, when it takes over the duties of the Pontifical Councils for the Family and for the Laity (when they cease to exist as councils).

“I look forward to it,” Bishop Farrell said.

“It seems to me to be a great challenge, especially given the fact that the Holy Father’s letter Amoris laetitia is so important and so well-received by the whole world; and being in charge of what was the Council for the Family, obviously that is going to be my number one agenda,” he continued. “And obviously to promote lay ministry, and to ensure that the lay people take their rightful place in the Church, and to promote the apostolate of the laity in the world. I see it as a challenge. I didn’t expect this at this stage in my life, but that’s where we are!”

When Bishop Farrell arrives in Rome, he will become the second Bishop Farrell at the Vatican: His older brother, Bishop Brian Farrell, is the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

“Yes, I do have a brother there that works there in the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity,” Bishop Kevin Farrell said.

“I am looking forward to it,” – he explained. – “We have been priests for many, many years, but we have never worked together in the same city, so it will be unique, it will be change.”


On August 26, 2016, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See will launch an online tribute to Mother Teresa. Check the home page on that date:

Saint Mother Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, was often a guest in the United States. An adamant pro-life advocate and opponent of the death penalty, she opened her first American-based house of charity in New York in 1971. She was a frequent guest at the White House, met with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the World Food Resolution, addressed the United Nations in New York, and became an honorary American citizen in 1996. Although the Nobel Peace Prize winner was often the attention of the powerful and the media, she never forgot her true calling to care for the poor and sick.

With materials collected from her past collaborators in organizations such as Catholic Relief Services, our tribute will feature original speeches, congressional records, and rare photographs, all of which speak to her tireless efforts to rid the world of poverty, homelessness, and hunger.




I just got back to the Eternal City after a truly incredible vacation with many family members and friends in two beautiful places, Southern California and enchanting Hawaii. I literally traveled half way around the world – 12 time zones from Hawaii to Italy! – leaving on a redeye Sunday night for San Francisco and traveling on to Chicago Monday morning and then from Chicago to Rome last night.

Travellers in either Business or First Class almost always receive what is called an “amenity kit” and, while these vary from airline to airline, they usually include a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, eye shades, socks, some type of hand or face cream, etc. A few airlines even offer First Class passengers sleepwear! The kits usually bear the airline logo or perhaps the designer of the amenities (very often they are name brands) and can often be reused as cosmetic bags or shaving kits on future trips.

I traveled on United Airlines and had upgraded to Business Class so had a terrific flight. Those of us in Business received a very special gift, offered only during the Olympics by United as they are the official carrier for Team USA Olympic athletes. Here is our amenity kit ( I love the socks and eye shades!):


The case  – like the fuselage of an airplane –


When we arrived in Rome I felt like it was my first time ever as I saw a section of the airport I had never seen before – a new arrivals hall, new booths for passport control officials, etc. Another first: no wait at all for my bag! Fiumicino Airport has been notorious for years for very long waits for bags. In fact, I usually take out my iPad or a good book and sit down for what I know will be a long wait. But not today!

This morning I got my new suitcase immediately but I can’t open it! I have been using TSA locks with a key instead of a numerical keypad (I have three of those and all are broken), and I cannot find the key. It was not in the one pocket of my purse where I always put it and I am guessing that means it fell out when I opened that pocket for the Euro to pay the taxi driver or it is on my bed in Hawaii where I laid the plastic bag with the key and a second lock after closing the suitcase.

Today is August 16, one day after the biggest holiday of the year – the feast of the Assumption, when just about everything in this country except restaurants and resorts closes. No other keys I have worked on this lock and the stores I needed today were closed – “Gone on Vacation.” I have a tool kit and nothing there worked either. I need a mini saw and will have to wait until tomorrow to see if our doorman Carlo has one – he is off for the Vatican holidays of August 15 and 16. The neighborhood hardware store is closed until August 24 and obviously I cannot wait that long.

Yes, I did pray to St. Anthony but still have not found the key.

My friends Trip and Jan McKinney, with whom I stayed in Aeia, traditionally offer a massive brunch on one of the Sundays I am in Honolulu for all of our mutual friends. This year was no exception and Sunday was no exception as friends came by after morning Mass, with a few more dropping by in early afternoon.

Here are Trip and Jan as Trip prepares his very special omelets –


Maria DeVera and her award-winning dog –


Enjoying a cup of Kona coffee!


With Sr. Davilyn – a Sister of St. Francis, the Order of St. Marianne Cope. Sr. Davilyn is a true authority on St. Marianne, and is the principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help school. She gave me the lei I am wearing that I wore back to Rome and now have in a special place. I cannot remember the names of the flowers but they are very long lasting.


Enjoying our omelets: In red is Audrey Toguchi, a remarkable woman whose cure of lung cancer through the intercession of St. Damien of Molokai’i led to his canonization in 2009.


With Sisters Malia Dominica and Marykutty Kottuppalil (she gave me this beautifully perfumed lei made with, among other flowers, tuber roses. I wore both on the plane later that night.


I will miss my loving, talented, amazing Hawaii friends so very much, and I will also miss these views from the lanai of my guest quarters, including Pearl Harbor!


A close up of the Arizona monument (white) in Pearl Harbor –


….and the “Golf Ball,” a giant satellite unit