Did you know that….

– Today is the 41st anniversary of St. John Paul’s election to the papacy in 1978 (I was in Cairo, Egypt when he was elected!)

– Mother Giuseppina Vannini, foundress of the Daughters of St. Camillus, is the first Roman to become a saint in over 400 years: St. Francesca Romana was canonized in 1608.

– Cardinal John Henry Newman is the 1st English person born after the 17th century to be canonized.

On another topic….

I found the Holy Father’s words in today’s general audience catechesis to be remarkably similar – if not identical – to words he has used several times in the synod, especially at the October 6 Mass to open the Pan-Amazonian synod about being open to the “creativity” of the Holy Spirit.

At the opening Mass, Francis said: “We cannot spend our days (in the synod) “defending the status quo. Jesus did not come to bring a gentle evening breeze, but to light a fire on the earth, … a fire that is the Holy Spirit. …. Saint Paul tells Timothy: ‘God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power and love and prudence’. Paul places prudence in opposition to timidity … which the Catechism defines as ‘the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it’.”

Those words pronounced October 6 and today’s general audience catechesis sounds like the Pope is gently alerting us to be open to big changes in the Church after – or because of – the synod. Are we being alerted to this possibility – or warned!


At the weekly general audience held in St. Peter’s Square this morning, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, and noted how the first Pope, St. Peter opened his mind and heart to the creativity of the Holy Spirit.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” began Francis. “In our catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we have seen how the outpouring of the Holy Spirit led the early Church to realize that God’s offer of salvation in Christ is intended for people of every nation.”

He added that, “a critical moment in this process takes place when, in a dream, Saint Peter is told that henceforth no food is unclean in God’s eyes. Almost immediately, a Gentile, the Roman centurion Cornelius, comes to Peter and, while hearing him preach the Gospel, receives, together with his household, the gift of the Holy Spirit and is baptized.”

The Pope explained that, “these events led Peter to open his mind and heart to the “creativity” with which God was extending to all people the blessings promised to Israel. Peter’s discernment of God’s universal saving will was the mark of a true evangelizer, who desires to share the joy of the Gospel with everyone.

Pope Francis concluded by noting that, “Peter’s example also challenges us to examine our own openness to the surprising creativity with which the Holy Spirit is even now drawing all people to salvation in the Risen Lord.”