IN BRIEF

Don’t forget to tune in to “At Home with Jim and Joy” on Mondays and Thursdays at 2pm ET. I bring some commentary or news from Rome each week to both shows. If you watch EWTN in Europe, the Monday shows airs on Tuesday at 10am and Wednesday at 6 pm. The Thursday show airs Friday at 10 and Saturday at 6 pm.

IN BRIEF

VATICAN WELCOMES THREE NEW SYRIAN FAMILIES. They have found shelter and welcome in the Vatican as part of an ongoing effort to provide the means and the tools for integration and a new life of hope for those fleeing conflict and persecution. All told, 13 people from two Christian families and one Muslim family have been able make their homes in three Vatican-owned apartments recently vacated by other refugees who have since moved on to more permanent situations. Two of the families fled violence and discrimination because of their Christian faith. They arrived in Italy in March. The refugees hosted in the Vatican have all been able to travel safely to Italy thanks to the “humanitarian corridor” project promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy and the Waldesian Table. (http://www.news.va/en/news/the-vatican-welcomes-new-refugee-families-from-syr)

POPE SAYS IT IS TIME TO END “WORSENING TRAGEDY OF CHILD trafficking and slavery. He said this in a Message sent Monday to a Vienna “Trafficking in Persons” conference. The Pope’s words came in a message read out by Fr. Michael Czerny, SJ, under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. He was in Vienna at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)’s “17th Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference.” In hisMessage, Pope Francis spoke about the goal of prevention: “It should be acknowledged that very little has been done to address the “why” of many young people being tricked or sold into trafficking and slavery.” He said, “Demand and supply, in turn, are deeply rooted in the three great issues of conflicts and wars, economic privation and natural disasters, or what the victims experience as extreme poverty, underdevelopment, exclusion, unemployment and lack of access to education.” Protection against human trafficking, the Pope said, begins with protection of the family. (http://www.news.va/en/news/popes-message-to-osce-human-trafficking-conference): Click here to read the full text of Pope Francis’ message to the OSCE Conference.

CARDINAL LEONARDO SANDRI URGES GENEROSITY FOR ANNUAL GOOD FRIDAY COLLECTION. The cardinal, who heads the Congregation for Oriental Churches, called on Catholics to be generous in their supòport of projects in the Holy Land. In an interview with SIR, the news agency of the Italian Bishops Conference the cardinal talks about the importance of contributing to the upkeep of the sacred sites, while at the same time supporting the search for peace in the land where Jesus lived. Faced with the events that “take place in this troubled region of the world”, the cardinal says, there is a risk that we see them as unconnected to our own lives, “as if we had no responsibility.”  (http://www.news.va/en/news/card-sandri-on-good-friday-collection-for-the-holy)

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

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VATICAN INSIDER: AN INSIDER’S LOOK AT THE LIFE OF NORMA MCCORVEY – PAPAL ALMONER SUPPORTS FARMERS, PRODUCERS FROM EARTHQUAKE-STRUCK TOWNS – COULD ONE BISHOP’S IDEA HELP THE WORLD’S DIOCESES?

Pope Francis on Twitter today: The Christian heart is always full of joy. Always. Joy received as a gift and kept in order to be shared with everyone.

Shall we all try to share a moment of joy with one new person this weekend!

If you follow events in the Holy Land, having perhaps made several pilgrimages to Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon (yes, all are the Holy Land), there are two websites you really might want to visit to keep well informed on all that is happening in the area, especially vis-à-vis the Catholic Church.

The first is http://en.lpj.org/

The LPJ stands for Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and it is a fact-filled site with daily news stories (such as “Don’t Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Bishops Ask Secretary of State), videos, upcoming events, a look at the Order of the Holy Sepulchre (to which I belong) and information for visitors and pilgrims. You might already be familiar with this site: if not, it is a must-visit site if you love the Holy Land, or are simply curious to know more.

A second site will probably be less familiar: http://en.abouna.org/

The “en” in the site refers to the English version, as you probably guessed: the original is in Arabic (abouna.org). “Abouna” is Arabic for Father. A good friend of mine in Amman, Jordan, Fr. Rifat Bader, put this together a few years ago and he and his team (a fairly small one) are doing a great job. He is the founder and director of the Amman-based Catholic Center for Studies and Media.

Father is pointing at me – we are at the Beirut Airport in September 2012 for the arrival of Pope Benedict:

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I saw a story here this morning (also on lpj.org) about the arrival in Amman today of another friend, Bishop William Shomali, as the new patriarchal vicar of Jordan (for the Latin Patriarchate). He succeeds Bishop Maroun Lahham whom I interviewed in 2014 on my trip to Jordan. When Bishop Shomali and I first met, he was rector of the Patriarchate seminary in Beit Sahour, not far from Bethlehem.. I had lunch with then-Father Shomali, the seminarians and staff just before they all left on Christmas vacation.

He is on the right on this photo –

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…and on the top of the group photo, wearing a gray scarf.

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VATICAN INSIDER: AN INSIDER’S LOOK AT THE LIFE OF NORMA MCCORVEY

My guest this week on “Vatican Insider” in the interview segment is Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life. As I wrote last weekend on these pages, she was in Rome last week with Fr. Frank Pavone and I had interviewed her about their work at Priests for Life, the March for Life in DC, etc. She suggested that we do a separate interview about someone big in the prolife movement and a good friend to Janet and Father Frank who was in failing health – that is, Norma McCorvey, the Roe of Roe v Wade in the 1973 Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion.

It was Norma’s courageous decision later in life, to renounce abortion – the goal she had espoused as the plaintiff in Roe v Wade – and to denounce it as the deliberate killing of a human being in its mother’s womb that led her to spend successive decades trying to overturn the law she had been instrumental in creating – even though she never set foot in court.

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Listen as Janet tells the inside story of Norma McCorvey who died one hour after we did our interview!

PAPAL ALMONER SUPPORTS FARMERS, PRODUCERS FROM EARTHQUAKE- STRUCK TOWNS

(Vatican Radio)  The Office of Papal Charities this week helped out the earthquake-hit regions of central Italy at the express wish of Pope Francis, buying typical food products from local producers and distributing it to several soup kitchens in Rome.

Central Italy was hit by a powerful 6.3 magnitude quake in August 2016, which killed nearly 300 people. Other earthquakes have since caused major damage to the area.

Farmers and merchants in the affected areas have since suffered a drastic reduction in their revenues.

A communique from the Office of Papal Charities said the organization selected “several groups of farmers and producers at risk of closure because of the damages provoked by the earthquake” from which to buy alimentary products.

Papal Almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, is standing on the right:

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It said vendors were chosen in conjunction with Bishop Domenico Pompili of Rieti, Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole of Ascoli Piceno, Archbishop Francesco Giovanni Brugnaro of Camerino-San Severino Marche, and Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Spoleto-Norcia.

“The Office of Papal Charities bought a large quantity of their products with the intention, expressed by the Holy Father, to help and encourage them in their activities. It is a gesture in line with the Magisterium of Pope Francis, who in his meetings has often said that ‘when a person does not earn their bread, their dignity is lost’”.

The food products bought in the name of the Pope were distributed to several soup kitchens in Rome to make meals for homeless people in need.

The Vatican supermarket currently sells products from the earthquake hit zones of central Italy, in an effort to help out the local economy.

COULD ONE BISHOP’S IDEA HELP THE WORLD’S DIOCESES?

(Vatican Radio) A bishop in Scotland has high hopes for his diocese as a new fundraising initiative was recently launched at his cathedral.

Bishop John Keenan is encouraging the faithful of the Diocese of Paisley to become ‘Friends’ of certain diocesan projects in a bid to combat a £3 million (€3.5 million) deficit. Bishop Keenan explained in a letter read out at all Masses in St Mirin’s Cathedral that the cause for the deficit is not surprising. “It is the same deadly combination of rising costs and falling income that you know all too well from your own home finances.” (photo: news.va)

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The bishop emphasised that a change in culture is needed. In his letter, he tells the lay faithful that he would rather put his trust in his own people than in professional fundraisers. If his desire for a deficit-free diocese is to be realised, then annual savings worth £300,000 must be found. He added that the “bulk of our efforts to eradicate the deficit will come from fundraising.”

He has appointed Fr Oliver Freney, administrator of St Mirin’s Cathedral, as the new diocesan Director of Fundraising and has challenged him to raise £100,000 annually. He said that the ‘Friends Project’ will be the “heart and soul of his fundraising campaign.”

Fr Freney was joined by several young people from the diocese for the launch at St Mirin’s. His fellow priests will be launching it in their parishes over the coming weeks. He said after the launch: “If every member of our diocese signed up to give just £5 a year, we would be in surplus.” He added that he encourages parishioners to “think about our situation and give thoughtfully and generously.”

The diocesan treasurer attended the launch. Fr Stephen Bailey explained that the faithful could opt to become ‘Friends’ of particular projects like ‘vocations’, ‘education’ and ‘youth’.  He added that Bishop Keenan wants to let people know how their money is being spent.

Bishop Keenan recently led the diocesan community through a synod, during which the important role of the lay faithful within the Church was highlighted.

POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR PLANE CRASH IN KYRGYZSTAN – BISHOPS VISIT HOLY LAND ON 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE

Today is Religious Freedom Day in the U.S. and, in the event you were not aware of this special day, here is a link that will explain it: http://www.religiousfreedomday.com/

There is a separate internal link for churches: http://www.religiousfreedomsunday.com/

I leave tomorrow for Washington D.C. where I will be able to participate in many inaugural events. I’m delighted to add that I’ll be staying on through the January 27th March for Life, the annual event that EWTN covers from gavel to gavel, so to speak. Perhaps I’ll even see some of you there!  If you come to D.C. for that event, try to look me up – I’m hoping I’ll be near a microphone!

While in D.C. I will have some office space in which to work and will do my best to bring you news, photos, perhaps even some videos and Facebook Live postings. I do not know where my schedule will bring me but I do know my days will be filled with fascinating people and events!

POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR PLANE CRASH IN KYRGYZSTAN

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his condolences after a cargo plane crashed in a residential area outside Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The Turkish plane was flying from Hong Kong, and was scheduled to stop at Manas Airport, before continuing to Istanbul.

At least 37 people were killed in the crash, most of them on the ground. Over half the houses in the small village next to the airport were reported destroyed in the accident. (photo news.va)

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Following is the telegram sent in Pope Francis’ name by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin:

“Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic crash of a cargo plane near Bishkek, Pope Francis sends his condolences to all those who have lost loved ones, particularly in Manas, and commends the souls of the deceased to the mercy of Almighty God. In praying for the search and rescue efforts, His Holiness invokes upon the nation the divine blessings of strength and consolation.”

BISHOPS VISIT HOLY LAND ON 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE

(Vatican Radio)  The Holy Land Co-ordination, comprising bishops from across Europe, North America, and South Africa, is on its annual pilgrimage to the area with the aim of visiting and supporting the local Christian communities.

Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces in New Mexico, USA, is participating in the pilgrimage which runs from 14-19 of January. In an interview with Devin Watkins, Bishop Cantú said the Co-ordination’s theme this year is on the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine.

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This is the third year that Bishop Cantú participates in the Holy Land pilgrimage.

“The settlements continue, and there are some small signs on the part of the Israelis that seem to show some good faith, but it’s one step forward and two or three steps backwards.”

But Bishop Cantú said the elements of good faith seem to be “disingenuous”.

He said the reality is “just a gradual taking-over of land and closing the possibility of a two-state solution. And that’s particularly what we’re concerned about: the dignity of persons, no matter their religion or their ethnicity, and their self-determination. That is a basic human right that is disrespected.”

Bishop Cantú noted that issue is complex and that the motivations for the settlements vary between families, “some are political, some are economic, some are religious”. “No matter what the motivations are, the Palestinian people are becoming a people without a land, and they are certainly people without rights.”

In conclusion, Bishop Cantú said that, as the group walked through the city of Hebron on Monday, “the tension is palpable…, and I can’t imagine having to live in this kind of tension”, which he said “day-in and day-out certainly weighs on the human spirit. So it allows us to enter into, a bit, the minds and the psyche of the Palestinians living under occupation.

(As Vatican Radio noted last year, Each year Bishops from around the world travel to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage to support the Christian community in the land of Jesus’ birth. Organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the annual Holy Land Coordination brings together Bishops from different countries, especially countries that have historically had an influence in the Holy Land. This year’s visit included Bishops from the Europe, North America, and South Africa.)

(You may remember that the Holy Land and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were among the topics discussed last Saturday by Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican.)

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS PARADISUS DEI – JUBILEE DOORS IN THE HOLY LAND TO CLOSE DECEMBER 3 AND 9 – THE LITTLE KNOWN MARIAN SHRINE OF ANJARA IN JORDAN

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS PARADISUS DEI

My guest this weekend on Vatican Insider is Steve Bollman, founder of Paradisus Dei, an amazing organization that helps families discover the superabundance of God within marriage and family life. Since its inception, Paradisus Dei has grown rapidly (largely by word of mouth), and has established itself as a large nationwide ministry. It has particular strengths in developing compelling programming and helping individuals discover the presence of God in the midst of communion.

As you will see on the organization’s website (https://www.paradisusdei.org/), during the Great Jubilee, Steve experienced a personal call to found a ministry dedicated to finding God within the context of marriage and family life. In 2001, he founded Paradisus Dei as a lay Catholic ministry and in 2002 he set aside his professional interests as an energy derivatives trader in Houston, TX to dedicate himself full time to the development of the ministry.

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As he was about to hold the first meeting at 6am on a weekday morning, he was told no one would show up. Except, 150 men came to the meeting. And it kept on growing. The growth has been amazing since then and today Paradisus Dei is in well over 500 parishes in the U.S.

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

JUBILEE DOORS IN THE HOLY LAND TO CLOSE DECEMBER 3 AND 9

(Vatican Radio) Following the closure of the Jubilee of Mercy, the Holy Doors in Jerusalem and Nazareth will be closed respectively on December 3 and 9, during Solemn Masses in the Church of All Nations and the Basilica of the Annunciation.

The Masses will be presided by Patriarchal Vicars Bishop William Shomali in Jerusalem, Bishop Giacinto Marcuzzo in Nazareth and by Fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land.

The Apostolic Administrator of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa spoke to Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni of the meaning of the event in the Holy Land.

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa points out that the Holy Door will also be closed in Anjara in Jordan that together with Getsemane and Nazareth are the three most significant Holy places in the Holy Land.

“The meaning is the same as it is all over the world: first of all to close the Jubilee Year but also to remind the community that the commitment to mercy for us Christians isn’t over, but must continue, especially here in the Holy Land where divisions and hatred are so evinent – mercy is the language that we Christians have to talk” he said.

Abp. Pizzaballa says that the Holy Year of Mercy has not had any visible effects at the macro level of politics and high level decisions, but he says at a ground level “with the people, in the communities, in the schools we have seen many initiatives of encounter and dialogue between Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims.”

THE LITTLE KNOWN MARIAN SHRINE OF ANJARA IN JORDAN

As I read the preceding article, I realized I knew nothing of Anjara and so looked up various sties about this shrine. Here is some information I culled from several web sites.

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Anjara is a biblical city in Jordan that is on most biblical tours of the nation and it is here that we find the shrine of Our Lady of the Mountain (sometimes written Mount). The church itself consists of a large hall to receive pilgrims who come venerate the life-size wooden statue of the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus that was placed in a newly built grotto.

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It is believed that Jesus Christ and his disciples, including the Virgin Mary, passed through Anjara and rested in a cave in the Ajloun mountains during a journey between Jerusalem and Galilee. The cave in Anjara has long been a holy place for pilgrims and has now been commemorated with a modern shrine, precisely, the Church of Our Lady of the Mountain. The cave was also designated by the Catholic Churches of the Middle East as one of the five pilgrimage sites (the others being Mount Nebo, Machaerus, Tell Mar Elias near Ajloun, and the Jordan River region at Bethany beyond the Jordan) in Jordan.

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Anjara, a little-visited archaeological site, is believed to be the birthplace of the prophet Elijah.

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Here’s a link to a great story in the National Catholic Register about this shrine – a shrine I now have placed on my list of places the visit the next time I am in Jordan: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/jordans-devotion-to-our-lady

 

GOOD FRIDAY COLLECTION FOR CHURCH IN THE HOLY LAND – KING RICHARD III TO BE RE-INTERED IN LEICESTER CATHEDRAL

Just two news stories for today, one from the Vatican and the second from the Catholic Church in England and Wales – a fascinating bit of news.

GOOD FRIDAY COLLECTION FOR CHURCH IN THE HOLY LAND

(Vatican Radio) Parishes across the world year after year take up the traditional annual Good Friday Collection for the Church in the Holy Land. This year is no different and the prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, has written a letter to all pastors of the Universal Church in which he expresses the gratitude of Pope Francis, of his dicastery and of all the Churches “in the land of Christ” for their attention and generous response to the Collection.

The proceeds from the Good Friday Collection go to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. The Franciscans have been caring for the holy sites there since 1209. They also assist the poor, run schools, provide scholarships, and conduct pastoral ministries to keep Christianity alive in the land where it originated.

The Collection is still today the principal source that sustains the life and works of the region’s Christians. It helps Christians of many denominations remain in the region as living witnesses to Christ.

In his appeal to Catholics to donate generously this Good Friday, Cardinal Sandri noted that  “there are millions of refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq, where the roar of arms does not cease and the way of dialogue and concord seems completely lost. … This year presents a still more precious opportunity to become pilgrims of faith after the example of the Holy Father, who in May last year visited this patch of land, so dear to Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. It is a chance to become promoters of dialogue through peace, prayer and sharing of burdens.”

KING RICHARD III TO BE RE-INTERED IN LEICESTER CATHEDRAL

Press statement by the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham:.

On Monday, 23rd March 2015, just three days before Richard III is re-interred in Leicester Cathedral, the mediaeval Catholic parish church of Leicester, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, will celebrate Mass for the repose of his soul in Holy Cross Church, the current Catholic parish church and Dominican priory in Leicester city centre.

In order that as many people as possible can be accommodated safely and the liturgy celebrated in a dignified manner, admission to this Mass will be by ticket only; the ballot for tickets is now closed, and successful applicants will be notified within the next few days.

The following day, Tuesday 24th March, Mass will be offered for the repose of the soul of Richard III in Holy Cross Church by the Dominican friars at 4.00 pm. This Mass will be open to the public, and no tickets are required. After Mass, the friars will process through the city centre to Leicester Cathedral, where they will sing Vespers, the Catholic Church’s evening service, at 5.30 pm.

Msgr. Thomas McGovern, the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Nottingham, said: “We very much look forward to welcoming Cardinal Nichols to Leicester this month for the Mass which he will celebrate in Holy Cross Church in advance of the re-interment of Richard III, one of the last Catholic kings of England, in the city in which he was buried in 1485.”

Father David Rocks, OP, Prior and Parish Priest of Holy Cross Priory, said: “The Dominicans of Holy Cross Priory are looking forward to welcoming people from across the world to our beautiful church during the week when Richard III will be re-interred here in Leicester. More people than we could have ever hoped for have been in touch to ask for tickets for the Mass which Cardinal Nichols will celebrate on Monday 23rd March, which is why we are pleased to announce another celebration of Mass on Tuesday 24th March, before the friars depart for Leicester Cathedral to sing Vespers in the presence of the mortal remains of Richard III. No tickets will be required for this Mass, and everyone is welcome to come along.”