“AUTHENTIC PRAYER IS A HOPE-FILLED GAZE DIRECTED TO GOD” – KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FOUNDER TO BE BEATIFIED – CORONAVIRUS, ITALY: SHORT TAKES

“AUTHENTIC PRAYER IS A HOPE-FILLED GAZE DIRECTED TO GOD”

As he has done for several months now, Pope Francis presided at the weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace, accompanied by monsignori from the Secretariat of State who, practicing social distancing, delivered summaries of the main audience catechesis in diverse languages.

Francis began his reflections by noting that, “in our continuing catechesis on prayer, we now consider the prayer of the just. In the book of Genesis, the accounts of the fall of Adam and Eve and of the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, tell of the emergence and expansion of evil and sin across successive generations. We too still experience the presence of wickedness in the world. Yet God’s will for his creatures is for the good, not for evil.”

He went on to explain that, “in the first pages of the Bible we also see another, less conspicuous story, with Abel, Seth, Enoch and Noah, who acted humbly and prayed to God with sincerity. These just men of prayer were peacemakers who show that authentic prayer, freed from the tendency to violence, is a hope-filled gaze directed to God, which can cultivate new life in place of arid hatred.”

Francis underscored the fact that, “throughout history, righteous men and women of prayer – often misunderstood or marginalized – have ceaselessly offered up intercession for the world, invoking God’s power to bring about healing and growth. May we, like them, faithfully ask God to fulfil his work of transforming hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.”

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FOUNDER TO BE BEATIFIED

Congratulations to the Knights of Columbus! Truly a red-letter day for them as their founder, Dr. Michael McGivney, is slated for beatification! Yesterday afternoon, in a meeting with Cardinal Becciu who heads the Congregation for Saints, Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of a number of decrees, including a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Michael McGivney, Diocesan priest, Founder of the Order of the Knights of Columbus. McGivney was born August 12, 1852 in Waterbury, and died in Thomaston on August 14, 1890.

The Vaticannews biography states: Venerable Michael McGivney was the founder of the Knights of Columbus, now the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization. After studies in Canada and the United States, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop James Gibbons in Baltimore. He founded the Knights of Columbus as a mutual aid society, geared especially to working men and their families. He was known for his tireless work among his parishioners. He died at the early age of 38 from pneumonia. Following Wednesday’s announcement, the Knights of Columbus released a statement, where you can read more about the life of Ven Michael McGivney and the work of the Knights. 

CORONAVIRUS, ITALY: SHORT TAKES

THE COLOSSEUM IN ROME, ITALY’S MOST VISITED TOURIST SITE, WILL REOPEN on Monday June 1, after being closed for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. With over 7 million visitors a year, the Colosseum is one of Rome’s major tourist attractions. The Flavian amphitheatre, which is listed as world heritage, “will finally reopen to the public, under the banner of accessibility, welcome and above all, safety,” according to a statement from the archaeological site.

ITALY IS PUSHING FOR A COORDINATED RESUMPTION OF TRAVEL IN EUROPE FROM JUNE 15, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Monday evening. “For tourism, June 15 is a bit like the European D-Day,” Di Maio stated on Italian television channel Rai 1. “Germany aspires to reopen on June 15,” Di Maio pointed out, and “we are working on this together with Austria and other countries,” he added. His statements come as France and Germany have called for the borders to be reopened as soon as possible. So far, announcements of plans to reopen borders have been made by individual European countries despite the European Commission calling for more consultation. Di Maio hopes to be able to present “homogeneous indications to tourists” in all regions of Italy so tourists can move freely from one region to another. “We must save what we can save of the summer to help our entrepreneurs.”

POMPEII TO OPEN IN TWO PHASES AND WITH NEW TIME SLOTS FOR VISITORS. Italy’s archaeological site Pompeii reopens to the public in two stages after being closed for more than two and a half months due to the coronavirus lockdown. In the first phase, from May 26, visitors will be able to walk along a pre-established route through the ruins of the ancient Roman city that was buried under a thick carpet of volcanic ash in 79 AD. Visitors must book online and select a time slot for entry – scheduled every 15 minutes for a maximum of 40 people at a time. Tickets must be presented either using the QRcode or already printed. All visitors must pass through thermoscanners before entering the site and are obliged to wear masks for the duration of their visit as well as respecting social distancing: one metre outside and 1.5 metres inside. For the duration of the first phase tickets will be reduced to €5 before returning to normal prices on June 9 when the site reopens fully, with access to areas previously closed-off to the public. For full details about access, tickets and opening times see Pompeii website.

Speaking of Pompeii: if you have to be in lockdown…. https://news.yahoo.com/us-couple-waits-2-1-133541074.html

A GOVERNMENT CALL FOR 60,000 VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO HELP ENSURE SOCIAL DISTANCING in Italy sparked a new controversy within the ruling coalition. Photos of Italian beaches and piazzas crowded with people enjoying the first weekend outdoors continued to alarm authorities and experts. That prompted local authorities to issue a call to recruit 60,000 volunteers who will help people comply with the social distancing measures. The move, however, sparked a new political controversy, as the Interior Ministry complained that it was not informed of the initiative and several politicians expressed doubts over the new figures. The volunteers will oblige people — “with kindness” and without the possibility of imposing fines — to respect social distancing rules in the parks, beaches and clubs, while also supporting the weakest part of the population, including kids and elderly people. Civil assistants, or volunteers, must be older than 18 years of age, unemployed or low-income earners, and supported by social safety nets.

ROME TO HAND OUT MASSIVE FINES FOR DUMPED MASKS AND GLOVES. Rome is to issue fines of up to €500 for those caught dumping used protective masks or plastic gloves on the streets of the capital during the pandemic. The measure is part of a zero-tolerance approach by Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi who says she is taking the action after repeated complaints from the city’s refuse collectors who have to dispose of the used gloves and masks. Raggi said that “uncivilised people” were responsible for the “shameful behavior that, thanks to this measure, will be severely sanctioned,” reports Italian newspaper La Stampa. Environmental association Legambiente said recently that with rain there is a high risk of the plastic trash finding its way into the sea.

ITALIAN TENOR ANDREA BOCELLI ON TUESDAY DONATED BLOOD PLASMA after saying he had had the coronavirus. Bocelli told journalists at a Pisa hospital that he had had mild symptoms, a slight fever, and had practically been asymptomatic. Speaking at the blood sampling centre of Cisanello Hospital, he said his wife and children had also had COVID-19, but were now fine. His wife had also given plasma for the study, led by the AOUP association of Pisa, into treatment for COVID patients. He said he had discovered he had the virus after taking a test on March 10.Bocelli said he hoped his plasma would help find a treatment for the deadly virus.

(Sources: Brussels Times, ANSA, Wanted in Rome, AA)

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS MARK CENTENARY IN ROME – POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO MALTA MAY 31

It all depends on how you look at it – and this is fairly typical for a visit by a head of State or government to the Pope. These stories refer to the visit Saturday by Ukraine’s president who met the Pope and then Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and Abp. Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

Vatican press office communiqué:
Talks in the Secretariat of State were mainly devoted to the humanitarian situation and to the search for peace in the context of the conflict that, since 2014, is still plaguing Ukraine. In this regard, the hope was shared that all parties involved show maximum sensitivity towards the needs of the population, the first victims of violence, as well as commitment and consistency in dialogue. Issues related to bilateral cooperation and the contribution of the Catholic Church, present in the country in various rites, were also examined.

Secular news media:
(Breitbart) – ROME — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Pope Francis in the Vatican Saturday, during which Zelensky asked the pope to intervene to secure the release of Ukrainian prisoners of war. While an official Vatican communiqué said that discussions between the Ukrainian leader and Vatican officials focused on “the humanitarian situation and the quest for peace,” President Volodymyr Zelensky became much more specific in a tweet he sent out to followers in both Ukrainian and Italian.

(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked Pope Francis on Saturday for help to win the release of prisoners of war held by Russia and Russian-backed separatists. “(The pope) does everything possible to achieve peace and harmony throughout the world,” Zelenskiy said in a tweet after their meeting at the Vatican. “I asked for help with the release of Ukrainians captured in Donbass, Crimea and Russia.” Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its subsequent support for separatists in a conflict in eastern Ukraine.)

Interestingly enough, if you go to the Vatican site http://www.vatican.va, (the original portal) and go to the News summaries, the same stories do not appear on all language sites. For February 8, English had only two papal addresses and no mention of the visit by the president of Ukraine. The press office communique on the visit was in Italian and appeared only on the Italian language site.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS MARK CENTENARY IN ROME

Pope Francis this morning received members of the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus, led by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and noted, they are in Rome on a pilgrimage to “mark the centennial of the charitable activity of the Knights of Columbus in this city.”

“In fact, it was one hundred years ago,” said Francis, “that my predecessor Pope Benedict XV invited the Knights of Columbus to provide humanitarian aid to young people and others in Rome following the terrible conflict of the First World War. The Knights responded generously, establishing sports centers for youth that quickly became places for education, catechesis and the distribution of food and other essentials so needed at that time.

The Holy Father pointed out that, “in this way, your Order proved faithful to the vision of your founder, Venerable Michael McGivney, who was inspired by the principles of Christian charity and fraternity to assist those most in need.”

He underscored the work of the knights today, “in particular, your faithful witness to the sacredness and dignity of human life, evident at both the local and national levels. This conviction has also led the Knights of Columbus to aid, both materially and spiritually, those Christian communities in the Middle East that are suffering the effects of violence, war and poverty. I thank all the members of your Order for seeing in our persecuted and displaced brothers and sisters of that region neighbours for whom you are a sign of God’s infinite love.

He also noted the Order’s “unswerving devotion to the Successor of Peter. The establishment of the Vicarius Christi Fund is a testimony to this devotion, as well as to the desire of the Knights to share in the Pope’s solicitude for all the Churches and in his universal mission of charity. In our world, marked by divisions and inequalities, the generous commitment of your Order to serve all in need offers, especially to young people, an important inspiration to overcome a globalization of indifference and build together a more just and inclusive society.”

The knights are in Rome from February 7 to 13.

POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO MALTA MAY 31

The Holy See Press Office announced this morning that Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Journey to Malta and Gozo on May 31. He has accepted invitations from Malta’s president and civil and religious authorities.

The Vatican will publish the itinerary at a later date but today did reveal the logo and the motto: “They showed us unusual kindness” Acts 28, 2 (vaticannews photo. Church of St. Paul)

The logo of the visit shows hands pointing towards the Cross, coming from a ship at the mercy of the waves. The hands represent a sign of the Christian’s welcome towards his neighbor and assistance to those who are in difficulty, abandoned to their destiny. The boat recalls the dramatic story of the shipwreck of the Apostle Paul on the island of Malta (see Acts 27.27-44) and the welcome given by the Maltese to the Apostle and shipwrecked (see Acts 28.1-10).

GOD’S LOVE AND POWER, THE SECRET SOURCE OF CHRISTIAN LIFE AND MISSION

Tune it to “At Home with Jim and Joy” this afternoon when I bring you a report from one of the terraces EWTN tapes specials and interviews and segments for News Nightly. It’s a new location for me and was fun to do – except that it was 102 on the ground and I have no idea what the temp was up there! And I was the only one with a water bottle!  Will post some photos later ……

GOD’S LOVE AND POWER, THE SECRET SOURCE OF CHRISTIANJ LIFE AND MISSION

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent greetings to the Knights of Columbus on the occasion of their 135th Supreme Convention, which concludes on Thursday in St Louis.

The Pope’s message, conveyed in letter from the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, says the theme of the Convention – “Convinced of God’s Love and Power” – points “to the secret source of all Christian life and mission: our conviction that God’s saving love, revealed in the death and resurrection of his Son and poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, impels us to share the Good News of salvation with every man and woman.” This conviction, it continues, “underlies all our enthusiasm for evangelization.”

It is this experience of God’s love and power, Cardinal Parolin says, that led to the founding of the Knights of Columbus, and to their continued growth.

Cardinal Parolin calls on the Knights, in the spirit of their founder, the Servant of God Father Michael McGivney, to respond generously to the call of Pope Francis to reject the mentality of the contemporary “culture of indifference,” and to commit themselves “to their properly lay vocation of striving for the sanctification of the world from within, by carrying out their daily responsibilities in the spirit of the Gospel and revealing Christ to others through the witness of their lives.”

In particular, Cardinal Parolin says that Pope Francis “is especially appreciative of the unremitting efforts of the Knights of Columbus to defend and promote the sanctity of marriage and the dignity and beauty of family life,” noting that the Pope, following the lead of the 2015 Synod of Bishops, has linked the health of the family to the health of society as a whole. “The strengthening of sound family values and a renewed vision of our responsibility for the moral health of the greater community will contribute to overcoming the polarization and general coarsening of the social fabric that is an increasing source of concern even in the most prosperous of our societies.”

Finally, Cardinal Parolin’s letter expresses the Holy Father’s gratitude for the Knights’ support of Christians in the Middle East who are suffering from violence and persecution.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS TO UNVEIL REPORT ON CHRISTIAN GENOCIDE

Let’s help make this work!

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS TO UNVEIL REPORT ON CHRISTIAN GENOCIDE  

WASHINGTON — The Knights of Columbus will unveil a detailed report documenting the genocide facing Christians in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS at 10 a.m. E.T. on Thursday, March 10 at the National Press Club (529 14TH St. NW). State Department officials requested that the Knights create such a report specifically on the Christian situation. State is required by law to make a determination as to whether the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East will be designated “genocide” by a congressionally-mandated deadline of March 17.

The event will include remarks by Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, as well as by a panel of experts including:

  • Father Douglas al-Bazi, former hostage, now a priest at Mar Elia Refugee Camp in Erbil, Iraq
  • Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo, Chaldean Catholic Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle of the Western USA
  • Bishop Anba Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom
  • Nina Shea, Director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom
  • Prof. Gregory Stanton, Founding President, Genocide Watch

The Knights of Columbus is currently sponsoring an online petition www.StopTheChristianGenocide.org that urges Secretary of State John Kerry not to exclude Christians from a declaration of genocide at the hands of ISIS. The petition has so far garnered more than 50,000 signatures, including those of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio; Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz; Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals; Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan Prelate, Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy); historian Philip Jenkins; human rights experts and activists; and Hollywood producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

The Knights petition was launched February 25 and is being promoted with a new nationwide TV ad that cites Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio all naming what his happening to Christians in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS as “genocide.” The fact that what is happening to Christians and other minority groups is genocide is also supported by 55 percent of Americans, according to a 2015 K of C-Marist poll.

To date, the European Parliament, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, as well as government bodies in Iraq and elsewhere have designated the situation facing Christians and other minority groups in the region as genocide. Secretary Kerry himself, said in 2014: “ISIL’s campaign of terror against the innocent, including Yazidi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide.”

 

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR AUGUST – ST. PADRE PIO’S REMAINS IN ST. PETER’S FOR ASH WEDNESDAY 2016 – FROM NOTRE DAME TO PHILADELPHIA – KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS EXPAND AID TO MIDDLE EAST CHRISTIANS

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR AUGUST

The Holy Father’s universal prayer intention for August: “That volunteers may give themselves generously to the service of the needy.”

His intention for evangelization: “That setting aside our very selves we may learn to be neighbors to those who find themselves on the margins of human life and society.”

PADRE PIO’S REMAINS IN ST. PETER’S FOR ASH WEDNESDAY 2016

(Vatican Radio)  The Vatican announced on Monday that the remains of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, better known as Padre Pio, will be exposed for veneration in St. Peter’s Basilica during the Jubilee of Mercy from 8-14 February 2016.  (photo news.va)

ST PADRE PIO

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, wrote in a letter to the Archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo that it was Pope Francis who desired that Padre Pio’s reliquary be present in the Vatican for Ash Wednesday of the Jubilee of Mercy.

“The Holy Father has expressed his strong desire that the remains of St. Pio of Pietrelcina be exposed in St. Peter’s Basilica for Ash Wednesday of the upcoming Extraordinary Holy Year, the day in which he will send ‘Missionaries of Mercy’ throughout the world, giving them a special mandate to preach and confess so that they may be a living sign of how the Father welcomes all who seek his pardon,” Archbishop Fisichella wrote. The presence of St. Pio’s remains will be a precious sign for all missionaries and priests, who will find strength and support for their own mission in his admirable example of a untiring confessor, welcoming and patient, an authentic witness of the Mercy of the Father.”

FROM NOTRE DAME TO PHILADELPHIA

Here’s a great story from Notre Dame’s architecure school about a graduate who has built a sanctuary for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia. You will have to click on the link to read it because each of the three times I have clicked on the link and then attempted to cut-and-paste the story to this column, Microsoft Windows closed all my Word documents. Not the first time my life that has happened: the annoying part is that it closes all open Word docs. http://news.nd.edu/news/59604-notre-dame-architecture-graduate-designs-a-sanctuary-for-pope-francis/

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS EXPAND AID TO MIDDLE EAST CHRISTIANS

Following is a press release from the Knights of Columbus that illustrates their plans for an expanded campaign of humanitarian aid to Christians in the Middle East:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Having already donated more than $3 million in humanitarian aid to persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, the Knights of Columbus will expand its efforts even further with a national campaign to raise funds and foster awareness of the terrible suffering of Christians and others in the Middle East.

As part of the K of C effort, a new commercial on the issue will be airing nationally beginning this weekend. It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq–mXUhNfk

The Knights will also announce additional details of its program to aid Christian refugees at its international convention being held August 4-6 in Philadelphia. In attendance will be archbishops from Iraq and Syria, where the violence against Christians has been particularly severe.

An exposé on the deafening silence of the international community on this issue was published in the July 26 edition of The New York Times Magazine: “Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?” It reported that extremist groups “are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in sight.”   In the article, which was featured on the magazine’s cover, author Eliza Griswold reported that, “according to a Pew study, more Christians are now faced with religious persecution than at any time since their early history.”

The Knights began its Christian Refugee Relief Fund in August 2014 with $1 million in matching funds that was quickly met and exceeded by its members and the public. The humanitarian assistance provided has included new housing for those who have had to flee their homes, as well as support for medical facilities in areas flooded with Christian and other refugees.

“Christians in the Middle East are facing a dire situation – and even extinction – while the response from the international community has woefully inadequate,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson. “Pope Francis has urged the international community to take action to help Christians in the Middle East, and, as an organization that has long supported victims of religious persecution, the Knights of Columbus is responding by asking our own members, and the public at large, to help us save the lives of people who are being persecuted simply because of their Christian faith.”

Those wishing to assist with the relief efforts can donate by visiting http://www.christiansatrisk.org or by sending checks or money orders payable to Knights of Columbus Charities at P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966. The memo portion should indicate that the check is for Christian Refugee Relief.

One hundred percent of all donations directly supports humanitarian assistance and raising awareness for persecuted Christians and other religious minorities, especially in the Middle East. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., is recognized by the IRS as a charitable organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

The K of C has a long history of providing humanitarian relief and has done so following the 9/11 terrorist attacks; the 2013 typhoons in the Philippines; hurricanes Katrina and Sandy; nationwide tornadoes; flooding in Mexico; and tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan.

In the area of support for victims of religious persecution, the Knights provided humanitarian assistance and created international awareness of the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico throughout the 1920s.

The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization with nearly 1.9 million members worldwide. One of the most active charitable organizations in the United States, the Knights of Columbus donated more than $173.5 million and 71.5 million hours of service in 2014.

For more information visit http://www.kofc.org/en/christianRelief/index.html