Here’s a really wonderful web page about St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you enjoy every word, statistic and photo!

Pope Francis tweeted today: Fasting means not only abstaining from food, but also from any unhealthy attachment, and especially sin.


My guest this weekend on “Vatican Insider” is Fr. Jan Machniak, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Krakow, author of “Apostles of Divine Mercy” and a professor at the John Paul II University in Krakow. He has a web page with his lectures in English for students –

We met when I was recently in Krakow. I had asked Fr. Jan to share some stories about Pope John Paul for my book on Poland’s newest saint. He also has a great tidbit about John Paul II and Mother Angelica. In any case, this is a conversation rather than a typical interview where I might jump in to clarify a name or give some background information. I’ll do that now – here – and, as you’ll hear when you listen to Vatican Insider, I also explain at the start of the interview.

For example, you will hear the name Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz: In 1966 he was named secretary to Archbishop, later Cardinal Karol Wojtyla who became Pope John Paul. Cardinal Dziwisz later succeeded him as archbishop of Krakow and just months ago retired.

At the end of our conversation, I mention Fr. Dariusz Ras. He’s a good friend who was a former secretary to Cardinal Dziwisz and is now the archpriest of St. Mary’s Basilica on Market Square in Krakow.

At one point, Father Jan also talks about oplatki, an unleavened Christmas wafer, about the size of a postcard that is embossed with Christmas-related images. At Christmas time every person or guest in a family or other setting gets an oplatki: you exchange greetings with other people by breaking off a piece of their oplatki and they break off a piece of yours.

In his story about a monstrance that Pope John Paul gave to Mother Angelica, Fr. Jan mentions Nowa Huta, a neighborhood on the periphery of Krakow where, until the 70s, there was no Catholic Church. It took many years but then Bishop Karol Wojtyla of Krakow finally persuaded the communist authorities to allow the building of a church that they called the Ark. (Father asked me, how to translate the Italian “arco di Noe) and I said Noah’s Ark. I thought that was the name of the church but the Nowa Huta church is Ark of the Lord).

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 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:   For VI archives:


This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received the participants in the 28th annual course on the Internal Forum that was organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary. They have just ended three days of meetings.

Francis said, “I am pleased to meet you in this first audience after the Jubilee of Mercy, on the occasion of the annual course on the Internal Forum. I address warm greetings to the Cardinal Major Penitentiary, and thank him for his kind remarks. I greet the Regent, the Prelates, the Officials and the staff of the Penitentiary, the Colleges of the ordinary and extraordinary penitentiaries of the papal basilicas in Rome, and all of you, participants in this course.

”In reality,” the Pope went on, “I admit this Penitentiary is the type of tribunal I truly like! It is a ‘tribunal of mercy’, to which we turn to obtain that indispensable medicine that is divine mercy. Your course on the internal forum, which contributes to the formation of good confessors, is more useful than ever, and I would say even necessary in our times. Certainly, one does not become a good confessor thanks to a course, no: that of the confessional is a long education, that lasts a lifetime. But who is a ‘good confessor’? How does one become a good confessor?

Francis said he “would like to indicate, in this respect, three aspects.

1. The “good confessor” is, first of all, a true friend of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

2. The good confessor is, in second place, a man of the Spirit , a man of discernment

3. Finally, the confessional is also a true place of evangelization

For the full address, click here:


Following the enthusiasm of past years, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization again proposes “24 hours for the Lord” for Lent 2017 on March 24-25.

Tonight, March 17, as a precursor to that event, Pope Francis will preside at a penitential celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica in order to place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the center of the Church’s mission of the new evangelization.

The theme that will guide the reflection in 2017 is: I desire mercy (Mt 09:13).