(Vatican Radio) People around the world can now connect directly with the Peter’s Pence Office on Twitter (@Obolus_EN) and Instagram. This Office collects donations offered by the faithful as signs of their sharing in the Pope’s concerns for the many different needs of the Universal Church.

Following the successful launch of a website in November 2016, the charitable Office’s goal of communicating directly, accurately and transparently with Catholics around the world and with all people who want to help the most needy has led to the launch of new accounts in English, Italian and Spanish.

Pope Francis’ messages, which can already be found on the Peter’s Pence website, are being posted on Twitter and Instagram on a daily basis, along with photos, reflections and more information about the charitable works of the Holy See. The Office has committed to sustaining projects of all sizes around the world, including the creation of a paediatric hospital in Bangui in the Central African Republic and supporting the first Catholic university in Jordan.

Follow Peter’s Pence on Instagram account. Click here to visit the Twitter accounts in Italian and in Spanish. Interact with the Office by using the hashtag: #movingMercy.

Following is the full communique:

The aim is to go out to those who want to help the most needy and to make them aware of the charitable works being carried out through the solidarity of the faithful across the world, including men and women religious, lay faithful, societies, institutions and foundations, together with the offices closely assisting the Holy Father in the exercise of his mission.

After the launch last November of the new website, the  longstanding charitable Office will now be on social networks. The Twitter and Instagram accounts of Peter’s Pence have been active since 1 March last, with the goal of communicating directly, accurately and transparently with Catholics throughout the world and with all people who want to help those most in need. Peter’s Pence can be found on Twitter in Italian, English and Spanish, whereas there is one Instagram account.

The Messages of Pope Francis found on the Peter’s Pence website are being published daily on Twitter and Instagram, together with photos, reflections and further information on the charitable works of the Holy See carried out through this historic initiative of Christian charity.  As was tweeted in one of the inaugural tweets: “Mercy is about moving together, it is about meeting the needs of the needy”. It is in this spirit that Peter’s Pence has committed itself to sustain small and large projects throughout the world, such as the creation of a pediatric hospital in Bangui in the Central African Republic, the collection taken up to alleviate the suffering of the Ukrainian people, and support for the first Catholic University on Jordanian soil.

An initiative of the Holy See and the result of close collaboration between the Secretariat of State, the Secretariat for Communication and the Governorate of Vatican City, the three Twitter accounts – “Obolo di San Pietro: @obolus_it”; “Obolo de San Pedro: @obolus_es”; “Peter’s Pence: @obolus_en” – and the Instagram account “Obolus: obolus_va” can now be followed by Catholics throughout the world who are inspired by a common path of mercy: #movingMercy. 


FYI: Pope Francis put a video on his Instagram account on Divine Mercy Sunday, a short clip from his video-message to the Cuban people ahead of his 2015 September visit: “I want to be among you as a missionary of the mercy and tenderness of God. But allow me to encourage you, too, to be missionaries of this infinite love of God. May no one be without the witness of our faith, of our love. May everyone know that God always forgives, that God is always at our side, that God loves us.”

When the papal account ( opened March 19, it reached 1 million followers faster than any other account in history. Francis now has 2 million followers.


At a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square before Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis spoke of God’s mercy, noting, “how very many faces has God’s mercy! It is known to us as closeness and tenderness, but also compassion and sharing, as consolation and pardon. The more we receive, the more we have to offer it, to share it. It cannot remain hidden nor kept for itself, It is something that burns hearts, causing them to love, recognizing the face of Jesus above all in those who are distant, weak, confused, marginalized. Mercy is not stationary, it seeks the lost sheep and when they are found, expresses a contagious joy. Mercy knows how to look into the eyes of each person; each one is precious for mercy because each person is unique. How much pain do we feel when we hear, “these people, these people, these poor guys, let’s kick them out, let’s let them sleepin the street….” Is this like Jesus?”

dm vigil

Addressing the many thousands of apostles of Divine Mercy in the square, the Holy Father then suggested that, ‘structures of mercy’ be built as a lasting tribute to the Jubilee of Mercy: “As a reminder, a ‘monument’ let’s say, to this Year of Mercy, how beautiful it would be if in every diocese there were a structural work of mercy: a hospital, a home for the aged or abandoned children, a school where there isn’t one, a home for recovering drug addicts—so many things could be done. …Let’s think about it and speak with the bishops.”

In his remarks Saturday, Francis also noted that April 2 marked the 11th anniversary of the death of St. John Paul, the Pope who designated the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presided over Mass in St Peter’s Square on Sunday for the Feast of Divine Mercy, and encouraged the faithful to be “apostles of mercy” toward those in need.


“We are all called to become living writers of the Gospel, heralds of the Good News to all men and women today,” the Pope told the crowds during his homily.

“We do this by practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are the hallmarks of the Christian life.

“By means of these simple yet powerful gestures, even when unseen, we can accompany the needy, bringing God’s tenderness and consolation.”

Pope Francis referred back to the day’s Gospel taken from John, which recounts the episode in which the Apostle Thomas doubts the Resurrection until he puts his hand in Jesus’ side.

These scenes denote the contrast between the disciple’s “fear” as they hid behind closed doors, and the “mission” on which Jesus sends them: “to proclaim the message of forgiveness,” the Pope said.

“Being apostles of mercy means touching and soothing the wounds that today afflict the bodies and souls of many of our brothers and sisters.”

“Curing these wounds, we profess Jesus, we make him present and alive; we allow others, who touch his mercy with their own hands, to recognize him as ‘Lord and God.’”

Click here for full homily:


Pope Francis Sunday at the Regina Coeli appealed for peace in Ukraine, involved in a war since April of 2014, and highlighted “the many who are suffering the effects of violence here in Europe.” He said he was “thinking of the ordeal of those who suffer the consequences of the violence in Ukraine: of those who continue to live in lands that are turned upside-down by hostilities that have caused thousands of deaths, and of those – over a million – who have been forced to leave due to  the grave situation that persists.”

Francis pointed out that the most vulnerable are always involved – the weak, the elderly and children – and said he is always praying for them. He then announced that, “To this end, there will be a special collection in all European churches on Sunday April 24. I invite the faithful to join this initiative with a generous contribution.” He said he wanted to support the Ukrainian people with more than prayer, and. “this gesture of charity, beyond alleviating material suffering, expresses my personal closeness and the solidarity of the entire Church.”

The Pope said he hoped this gesture might be of help in promoting peace and respect for rights in that “worn out land.”

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum will handle the gathering and disbursement of these funds.

Francis also recalled that Monday, April 4 marks the International Day of Awareness Against Antipersonnel Mines. He said that too many people continue to be killed or mutilated by these terrible explosives and that brave men and women risk their lives to clear mined land. “Please, let us renew the commitment for a world without landmines!” he appealed.


(Vatican Radio) The Press Office of the Holy See on Monday confirmed that Pope Francis met on Saturday, April 2, 2016, with the head of the dissident traditionalist Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay.

The confirmation came through a one-sentence communiqué from the Press Office, saying, “The Press Office confirms that Saturday, 2 April, a meeting took place in the Vatican between Pope Francis and Bishop Bernard, Fellay, Superior General of the St. Pius X Fraternity.”

The SSPX, as it is commonly known, was founded in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in order to preserve the centuries-old tradition of Catholic worship in the Latin Church.

In 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops in defiance of explicit Papal dispositions and in violation of an agreement reached a short time before, under the terms of which Lefebvre would have been permitted to consecrate one bishop (in order to guarantee continuity of leadership within the controversial Society).

Since that time, the status of the SSPX has been canonically irregular: efforts to repair the relationship between the SSPX and Church leadership in Rome have continued despite recurrent difficulties.



I want to send congratulations and best wishes to Pope Francis on the third anniversary of the start of his pontificate tomorrow, March 19! That is also the solemnity of St. Joseph and in Italy it is Father’s Day – a beautiful triple celebration!

This is a somewhat abbreviated version of “Joan Knows” – if I had the time I could either add more news or at least explain my amazing day so you’d understand the brevity of this column!


My guest this week is Janet Morana who is, many of you know, the Executive Director of Priests for Life and also co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a group that mobilizes women and men who have lost children to abortion. Janet is also co-host of The Catholic View for Women with Teresa Tomeo and Astrid Bennett Gutierrez.


Our focus this weekend in what is a riveting conversation, will be the lawsuit that Priests For Life has before the US Supreme Court, a case that will be heard at the Court on March 23rd . Janet is an individual plaintiff in that case. This all came about because of the HHS mandate that is part of the federal health insurance program as Obamacare. Under federal law, 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.

The Petitioners – Priests for Life, Little Sisters of the Poor and others who are in this suit, object to providing contraceptive coverage on religious grounds but are eligible for a regulatory accommodation that would allow them to opt out of the contraceptive-coverage requirement but which, in the long run, also has objectionable clauses. What you might not have understood before, you will understand after our conversation.

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:


THE LIGHTS OF THE DOME AND FACADE OF ST. PETER’S BASILICA are to go dark on the evening of Saturday, March 19th.. From 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM in the evening, the lights shall remain dark on the occasion of the 2016 edition of Earth Hour – an initiative promoted by the World Wildlife Fund International in which Vatican City State is participating. According to the Holy See Press Office, the lights illuminating the two fountains in the square and the four candelabra surrounding the central obelisk will remain shining, however, along with those that light the two “arms” stretching from either side of the Basilica’s narthex and signed by the two great equestrian statues of Constantine and Charlemagne, north and south, respectively. (Vatican Radio)

POPE TO LAUNCH INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT – Pope Francis on Saturday officially launches his own account on the Instagram photo-sharing social network site, under the name “Franciscus.” Founded in 2010, Instagram has around 400 million users worldwide and shares photos and videos with a community of followers. The opening of the Pope’s Instagram account will increase his strong presence on social media platforms. He already has a Twitter account with the hashtag @ Pontifex that has over 26 million followers who are constantly increasing in number.  Speaking in an interview with Vatican Radio,stagram the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Monsignor Dario Vigano said the decision to open an Instagram account arises from the Pope’s conviction that images can reveal many things. Monsignor Vigano explained that the aim is to tell the story of this Pontificate through images allowing people who want to follow or know more about the Pope to see and share his gestures of tenderness and mercy.  He said the images that will be posted on Instagram will emphasize the qualities of closeness and inclusion that Pope Francis lives out in his daily life.  The opening of the Pope’s Instagram account follows last month’s meeting between Pope Francis and the Instagram Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Systrom. In a post after the audience, Systrom said they discussed “the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages.”