Pope Francis and his colleagues in the Roman Curia who were in Arricia since last Sunday for a six-day retreat, have returned to Rome. They arrived in Vatican City in late morning and attended the fourth Lenten sermon given by the preacher of the Papal Household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa.

It was exactly 58 years ago today, March 11, that Jorge Mario Bergoglio – Pope Francis – entered the Society of Jesus.

Bergoglio family: Jorge Mario, his 4 siblings and parents:

Bergoglio family

He was ordained a priest on December 13, 1969, consecrated a bishop on June 27, 1992, created a cardinal on February 21, 2001 and elected to the papacy on March 13, 2013.

Francis election

Last year, on the second anniversary of his election as Supreme Pontiff, Francis surprised everyone by announcing an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy that would start December 8, 2015.

Will he have a surprise for us this Sunday?!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, HOLY FATHER! Wishing you many more years as the Successor of Peter!


My special guest this weekend in the interview segment is Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. He was recently in Rome with several faith leaders from Baltimore in support of their work together to improve relations and conditions in Baltimore in anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the unrest in that city.

A look back: The mysterious death last April 19 of Freddie Gray due to injuries allegedly sustained while in police custody in Baltimore brought the city from peaceful protests to an outbreak of riots, the first since 1968, on the afternoon of Gray’s funeral — a day that protest leaders and Gray’s family had called to be demonstration-free. The outrage surrounding Gray’s death showed the wounds suffered by the African-American community, ranging from crushing poverty to gang violence and other crime.


Hear Abp. Lori talk about the delegation’s Rome visit and also the March 23 appearance before the Supreme Court of Priests for Life and other plaintiffs (EWTN, Little Sisters of the Poor, Catholic dioceses, Christian colleges, etc) as they ask the court to safeguard religious freedom by not holding religious organizations to a specific requirement of the HHS mandate: Under federal law (known as Obamacare), health insurers and employer-sponsored group health plans generally must cover certain preventive health services, including contraceptive services, abortifacents, etc. prescribed for women by their doctors. Petitioners object to providing contraceptive coverage on religious grounds and ask for exemptions from the mandate similar to exemptions given to VISA and other non-religious companies.

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 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 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives:


(Vatican Radio) How does one German Jesuit perceive the pontificate of Pope Francis three years on from his election to the See of Peter? That’s what Veronica Scarisbrick attempts to find out in an interview with Father Bernd Hagenkord, head of the German programme of Vatican Radio.

Listen to Father Bernd Hagenkord SJ, in an interview with Veronica Scarisbrick:

In this interview Father Hagenkord outlines his take upon some of the Pope’s first words upon his election on the13th of March 2013, namely when he said he had been chosen from ‘the ends of the earth’. But also what Pope Francis brings with him to the papacy highlighting his effort to make the world a better place both at a personal and social level. In a special way Father Hagenkord sheds light on the importance the Pope gives to mercy.


(Vatican Radio) The Holy See on Thursday said “crimes against women and girls…cannot anymore go unheard, unseen, overlooked or treated as an inevitable consequence in the horrible reality of armed conflict.”

Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, the Holy See’s Permanent Presentative to the OSCE, was speaking on Thursday about the commemoration on Tuesday of International Women’s Day.

“The Holy See is highly concerned about women who are discriminated against or undervalued solely on the ground of their gender and will continue to work with other stakeholders in promoting a culture that recognizes the equivalent dignity that belongs to women and men, in law and in concrete reality,” the Vatican diplomat said.

“The Holy See welcomes the progress already made in favour of women’s advancement but regrets, however, that, at a time when sensitivity to women’s issues appears stronger than ever, the world is still confronted with old and new forms of violence and slavery directed at women,” said Msgr. Urbańczyk.

“These include the use of rape as a weapon of war during conflicts; the trafficking of girls (who are treated as merchandise); the abuse of domestic workers (that remains, at times, unpunished); kidnapping of young women, forced marriage, forced conversion and forced abortion” – he continued – “All these types of violence occur more frequently where poverty and social instability are prevalent or even where some legal systems and traditions continue to condone them and they cause serious and long-lasting physical, psychological and social effects.”

His entire talk can be found here: