VATICAN INSIDER GOES TO THE UNITED NATIONS – PAPAL PRAYER INTENTION FOR MAY: CHRISTIANS IN AFRICA – POPE TO ROMANIAN SEMINARY: PRESERVE MEMORY, CULTIVATE HOPE – POPE TO WELCOME PRESIDENT TRUMP ON MAY 24

As is traditional on May 6, the newest Swiss Guards will be sworn in tomorrow in the Vatican in what is always a colorful and memorable ceremony. Say a pray for these young men from Switzerland as they take the oath to defend the person of the Supreme Pontiff:

“I swear I will faithfully, loyally and honourably serve the Supreme Pontiff Francis and his legitimate successors, and also dedicate myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing if necessary also my life to defend them. I assume this same commitment with regard to the Sacred College of Cardinals whenever the See is vacant.

Furthermore I promise to the Commanding Captain and my other superiors, respect, fidelity and obedience. This I swear! May God and our Holy Patrons assist me!”

VATICAN INSIDER GOES TO THE UNITED NATIONS

Join me on “Vatican Insider” this weekend where my special guest is Archbishop Bernadito Auza, apostolic nuncio and Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations. We spoke when I was in New York recently and attended an event at his residence for the Bethlehem University Foundation.

Listen to Abp. Auza as he explains Holy See diplomacy and his work at the U.N.. Our conversation, by the way, follows my double Q&A this weekend in which I explain what an apostolic nuncio is and also talk about the work of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State.

The archbishop’s limestone residence in the Upper East side of New York was a delightful setting for the reception for the BU Foundation. The archbishop, in opening remarks to the assembled guests, explained that his five-story residence was once home to New York’s youngest mayor, Hugh J. Grant, but noted with a smile that he was no relation to the actor by the same name! Mayor Grant and his wife hired the same firm of architects that had worked on St. Patrick’s Cathedral and they asked that a small private chapel be installed.

We also saw the bedroom in which Pope Francis slept during his NYC visit. Interestingly enough, we learned that he asked that the flat screen TV be removed from the room.

The crucifix facing the bed –

The residence foyer –

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 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=

PAPAL PRAYER INTENTION FOR MAY: CHRISTIANS IN AFRICA

Pope Francis’ prayer intention for May is: That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace.

The Apostleship of Prayer produced the Pope’s Video on this intention. http://www.apostleshipofprayer.org/

Here is the English text of that video:

When we look at Africa, we see much more than its great natural richness. We see its joie de vivre, and above all, we see grounds for hope in Africa’s rich intellectual, cultural and religious heritage. But we cannot fail to see the fratricidal wars decimating peoples and destroying these natural and cultural resources. Let us join with our brothers and sisters of this great continent, and pray together that Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace.

POPE TO ROMANIAN SEMINARY: PRESERVE MEMORY, CULTIVATE HOPE

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday greeted members of the Pontifical Romanian College or Collegio Pio Romeno on the occasion of its 80th anniversary.

This Roman Pontifical College has been training seminarians from all over the world for eight decades in the Eternal City and on Friday the Pope on this auspicious occasion had two wishes for those present.

The first was to preserve memory and the second, to cultivate hope.

Speaking about the former, the Holy Father said that by tuning into ones ecclesial memory which he added, lives through the events that each era presents us with, “you will be helped to overcome dangerous temptations that may arise, such as settling for mediocrity, settling for a normal life; where one jealously guards their own time and their own well-being.

The Pope described their College as a place where seminarians train as if they were “in a gym” in order to give their lives for the good of others.

On the theme of cultivating hope, Pope Francis said that there was, “so much need to nourish Christian hope, that hope that gives a new outlook, capable of discovering and seeing good, even when it is obscured by evil”.

Concluding his address the Pope had a special greeting for those present from the Pontifical College of St. Ephrem, which provides lodgings for those student priests of the Arabic language from all of the Oriental Catholic Churches and who are welcomed by the Pontifical Romanian College (Pio Romeno).

The Pope said that, “by meeting you I think of the situation in which there are so many faithful in your lands, many families who are forced to leave their homes in the face of waves of violence and suffering. I want to embrace these brothers and sisters in a special way, together with their Patriarchs and Bishops.”

POPE TO WELCOME PRESIDENT TRUMP ON MAY 24

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See press office announced on Thursday that Pope Francis will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Vatican on the morning of May 24th. The U.S. leader will also meet with Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See foreign minister.

A senior White House official said Donald Trump’s first foreign trip as U.S. president will also include visits to Belgium, Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as Italy and the Vatican.

On May 25th Trump will attend a NATO meeting in Brussels and the following day he will take part in the G7 summit meeting in Sicily.

 

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THE CHILDREN OF SYRIA: A LOST GENERATION? – LENTEN STATION CHURCHES OF ROME: TUESDAY OF WEEK 4, SAN LORENZO IN DAMASO

 

Image result for st. patrick's day

It was a quiet St. Patrick’s Day in Rome, well, at least at the Vatican, as far as I know! Today’s feast day was noted by Vatican Radio this morning and all those of Irish heritage were given a mention and wishes for a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day. There are plenty of pubs in Rome and I am guessing there will be some celebrating tonight – and wouldn’t it be nice if those festivities followed the 6 pm Mass at St. Patrick’s Church on Via Boncompagni.

Two images of St. Patrick (from Google images):

ST PATRICK - 2 - Dublin ST. PATRICK

Tuesdays are often quiet in the Vatican as the Holy Father spends the day doing all the usual things such as saying morning Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence, working on papers, letters, reports from Roman Curia offices, talking to his close collaborators and, oh yes, preparing for the Wednesday general audience!

I’ll bring you that report tomorrow, of course, but in the meantime I’d like to update you on the Lenten Station Churches of Rome (apologies for being remiss during the time I was gone), and also focus your attention on the talk given today by a good friend of mine, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva. You will find a Vatican Radio summary of his talk on the victims of the war in Syria, and a link to his entire address.

So often we think pronouncements from or about the Universal Church only come from Rome, from the Vatican, from the Holy Father. However, the Holy See has a commanding voice in many quarters, including her ambassadors accredited to nations and international organizations around the world, especially the offices and institutions of the United Nations at UN headquarters in New York and offices in Vienna, Geneva, Rome and other cities.

Here is the link to the Holy See Mission at the UN: http://www.holyseemission.org/

And a link to the Holy See Mission in Geneva: http://holyseemissiongeneva.org/

If you want to know what the Holy See is saying about any issue, you can go to these sites, in addition, of course, to the www.vatican.va and www.news.va

THE CHILDREN OF SYRIA: A LOST GENERATION?

(Vatican Radio) Archbishop Silvano Tomasi has warned that unless efforts are made to protect millions of children caught up in the Syrian conflict they are at risk of becoming a lost generation.

In an statement delivered on March 17 to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Archbishop Tomasi, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN in Geneva, made a series of recommendations following the release of the “Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic”.

Noting that since the start of the crisis in Syria, “more than 10 million Syrians have fled their homes” Tomasi said this amounts to almost half of the country’s population “now deprived of their basic rights to shelter and adequate housing, security and human dignity”.

He pointed out that many are victims of human rights violations and abuses and are in urgent need of protective measures and support.

Tomasi also observed that “to compound this tragedy, more than 3 million people, most of them women and children, have fled the Syrian Arab Republic and are refugees in neighboring countries”.

He says that a variety of sources have provided evidence on how children suffer the brutal consequences of a persistent status of war in their country: “Children are recruited, trained and used in active combat roles, at times even as human shields in military attacks. The so-called Islamic State (ISIL) group has worsened the situation by training and using children as suicide bombers; killing children who belong to different religious and ethnic communities; selling children as slaves in markets; executing large numbers of boys; and committing other atrocities.”

And noting that in camps throughout the Middle East, children constitute approximately half of the refugee population and they are the most vulnerable demographic group in times of conflict and displacement, Tomasi said their lives in exile are full of uncertainty and daily struggles.

In his intervention Tomasi continues to focus on the lack of rights of children affected by the Syrian conflict calling on the world to deal with the situation of stateless children; to take stock of the fact that more than one and a half million students in refugee camps no longer receive an education; that the separation of family members destabilizes society and breaks down its basic social unit.

Archbishop Tomasi concluded his intervention with a call to protect these children giving them the right to a legal identity, to an adequate education and to a family.

Such measures, he said, require the close collaboration of all stakeholders. But, if the violence does not stop, he said, and the normal pace of education and development is not resumed, these children are at risk of becoming a lost generation.

And quoting Pope Francis during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he said: “May the violence cease and may humanitarian law be respected, thus ensuring much needed assistance to those who are suffering! May all parties abandon the attempt to resolve issues by the use of arms and return to negotiations. A solution will only be found through dialogue and restraint, through compassion for those who suffer, through the search for a political solution and through a sense of fraternal responsibility.”

See also Archbishop Tomasi’s statement on the use of force to defeat ISIS: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2015/03/13/0186/00415.html

LENTEN STATION CHURCHES OF ROME: TUESDAY OF WEEK 4, SAN LORENZO IN DAMASO

From the website of the North American College on Lenten Station Churches:

The busy Corso Vittorio Emanuele II helps to recreate some of the bustle that must have been present in this area when this location held the stables of one of the chariot teams in ancient Rome.  In time, these gave way to residential dwellings, one of which was the home of Pope St. Damasus.  This holy man, famous for the epigraphs composed by him for the tombs of the various saints around Rome, converted the hall in his home into a church in honor of St. Lawrence.

His devotion to the saint may have begun during his years of service at the Basilica of St. Lawrence outside-the-Walls before his election to the papacy in 366.  Although he won the election by a large majority, a faction supported another candidate, and a disagreement that sometimes descended into violence began between supporters of the two men until the matter was settled in St. Damasus’ favor.

While he spent much of his energy in supporting orthodox teaching against the attacks of the Arians, he also strove to adorn the shrines of the martyrs in this city, even writing verses in honor of the saints himself.  He passed away in 384.

The first basilica on this site, built by Pope St. Damasus in the mid to late fourth century, had roughly the same orientation as the present one.  As a result of it being near the former stables of the “Green” team of chariots, this church was also known as St. Lawrence in Prasino, this being the word for “leek green” in Latin.  The basilica had a quiet history, there being some records of gifts given for the adornment of the church but not much else.

This church survived until the late fifteenth century when the new papal chancellery was built on the site.  Although the old basilica was demolished to make way for the new building, it was desired that a replacement be included in the new chancellery.  This was constructed between 1495 and 1511, although the basilica would receive several redecorations over the following centuries.  The basilica would also be damaged on various occasions, notably during the Napoleonic occupation of Rome in 1798 and in a fire in 1939.  The current appearance of the interior is largely due to the nineteenth century, with two major renovations in the periods 1807-1820 and 1868-1882, both of which are responsible for practically all that we see today, though there are some smaller components from previous periods.

And here is the page from the 2014 diary of seminarian Brian Lenz as he and others from NAC made their Lenten pilgrimage: http://blenzinrome.blogspot.it/2014/04/tuesday-of-fourth-week-san-lorenzo-in.html

Another very interesting page: http://zephyrinus-zephyrinus.blogspot.it/2015/03/lenten-station-at-basilica-of-saint_17.html