The Laudato Si’ Special Anniversary Year was announced on May 16 by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development. Here is a link to their website and events scheduled for the year, including today’s commemoration, that opened May 24, 2020 and will run to the same date in 2021. A summary of the Papal message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and the Season of Creation follows and includes a link to the full message. http://www.humandevelopment.va/en/news/laudato-si-special-anniversary-year-plan.html


In his message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and the Season of Creation, Pope Francis reflects on the Biblical significance of the Jubilee, as evoked by the theme of the Season of Creation, “Jubilee of the Earth”.

By Vatican News

As the September 1 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation kicks off the month-long Season of Creation, Pope Francis offers a profound reflection on respect for the earth, its resources, the evils caused by man’s greed and the need for “restorative justice” such as debt cancellation for poor countries.

This decisive moment
In his message, the Pope notes that, “the pandemic has brought us to a crossroads”.  “We must use this decisive moment,” he says, “to end our superfluous and destructive goals and activities, and to cultivate values, connections and activities that are life-giving.” “We must examine our habits of energy usage, consumption, transportation, and diet.  We must eliminate the superfluous and destructive aspects of our economies, and nurture life-giving ways to trade, produce, and transport goods.”

Listen to the land and creation
The Pope reminds us that, “we cannot live in harmony with creation if we are not at peace with the Creator who is the source and origin of all things”.  The Jubilee is a time for thinking once again of our fellow human beings, especially the poor and the most vulnerable, to share the common heritage of creation in a “spirit of conviviality, not in competitive scramble but in joyful fellowship, supporting and protecting one another”.

The Jubilee is also a time to listen to the land, to hear the voice of creation and return to our rightful place in the natural created order, remembering that we are part of this interconnected web of life, not its masters.

“The disintegration of biodiversity, spiralling climate disasters, and unjust impact of the current pandemic on the poor and vulnerable,” the Pope says, are a “wakeup call in the face of our rampant greed and consumption”.

A jubilee, the Pope says, is a time to set free the oppressed such as the indigenous people who face injustice and others who are subjected to various forms of modern slavery, such as trafficking in persons and child labour.

Debt cancellation
Stressing that the Jubilee is a time for “restorative justice”, the Pope renews his “call for the cancellation of the debt of the most vulnerable countries, in recognition of the severe impacts of the medical, social and economic crises they face as a result of Covid-19”.

This also calls for ensuring that the recovery packages being developed and deployed at global, regional and national levels be regeneration packages.  Policy, legislation and investment must be focused on the common good and guarantee that global social and environmental goals are met.

Restoring the Earth
Alarmed by the climate emergency, the Pontiff warns that “we are running out of time”, and unless we take action it “will prove catastrophic, especially for poor communities around the world”. He thus invites all nations to adopt more ambitious national targets to reduce emissions.

Lamenting the unprecedented loss of species and degradation of ecosystems, he urges for “restoring the earth to be a home of life in abundance, as willed by the Creator”.

Indigenous rights
The principle of “restorative justice”, the Holy Father continues, calls for restoring the right of indigenous communities to regain control of the usage of the land on which they have lived for generations.

“Indigenous communities,” he says, “must be protected from companies, particularly multinational companies, that ‘operate in less developed countries in ways they could never do at home”, through the destructive extraction of fossil fuels, minerals, timber and agro-industrial products.”

He denounces as a “new version of colonialism” the corporate misconduct of shamefully exploiting poorer countries and communities that are desperately seeking economic development.

Joining hands
The Pope admits, “We are aware that the cries of the earth and of the poor have become even louder and more painful in recent years.”  Yet it is a reason for joy to witness how the Holy Spirit is bringing individuals and communities around the world together to rebuild our common home and defend the most vulnerable.

Young people, communities and indigenous communities are on the frontlines in responding to the ecological crisis.  They are calling for a Jubilee for the earth and a new beginning, aware that “things can change”.

The way the “Laudato Si’ Special Anniversary Year” is unfolding is another reason to rejoice.  The numerous initiatives at local and global levels for the care of our common home and the poor during the year, the Pope says, should lead to long-term action plans to practise integral ecology in our families, parishes and dioceses, religious orders, our schools and universities, our healthcare, business and agricultural institutions, and many others as well.

Faith communities are coming together to create a more just, peaceful and sustainable world, and the Season of Creation is becoming a truly ecumenical initiative.

Please follow the link to read the full text of Pope Francis’ “Message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.”


Belarusian border authorities deny Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk Mogilev entry into the country. Appealing to the faithful, he urges them not to let this latest development “aggravate tensions” currently rocking the nation.

By Vatican News

Belarusian border authorities barred Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz from entering into the country on Monday as he sought to return after a trip to Poland.

In a written appeal to the faithful on Tuesday, the 74-year-old Archbishop of Minsk Mogilev explained that he was stopped at the Bruzhi border crossing “without explanation of any reasons” even though the guards “behaved very politely.”

The Archbishop said that he did not want the “incomprehensible and challenging decision of the border authorities to aggravate tensions” given the “current political crisis” taking place in Belarus, reminding everyone that he has always called for “dialogue and peace.”

Invoking his citizenship rights, the Archbishop said that the border officials’ grounds for refusing him entry were not clear to him, and he pointed out that article No. 49–3 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus of 20 September 2009 states: “The right of citizens to enter into the Republic of Belarus can’t be limited.”

Besides, the Archbishop continued, the ban on entry interferes with his “pastoral plans as the ordinary of the Minsk-Mogilev Archdiocese and as the Chairman of the Catholic Bishops of Belarus.”

Expressing hope that the “annoying misunderstanding” will soon be corrected, he said that he had made an official request to the nation’s State Border Committee to clarify the situation.

Concluding, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz invited everyone to pray for his return home and for a “peaceful solution to the acute socio-political crisis” in Belarus. He also entrusted the nation and its people to Our Lady and to the intercession of Archangel Michael, the patron of Belarus.

Belarus protests
Protests in Belarus broke out after President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus for 26 years, declared victory in presidential elections in early August with around 80% of the vote. Thousands have taken to the streets in massive protests over the past three weeks denouncing the results and calling for a free and transparent vote.

The protests have persisted despite a crackdown that has left many injured and at least six people dead.

In the wake of the protests, Archbishop Kondruziewicz has continuously called on Belarusians to embrace peace and dialogue. He has also spoken against the crackdown on protesters by the nation’s security forces.




I hope everyone had a meaningful and happy Memorial Day yesterday. It’s a day off for EWTN staff and, while I did not post my usual blog, I did a lot of other work-related projects. I admit that I yearned (dreamed!) all day long for a family-oriented bar-b-q around a pool and in a lovely garden, visiting with my nieces and nephews (and great nieces and nephews!) and catching up on family news. If you actually did something similar (with or without a pool), I’m sure you obeyed all the health protocols and managed to have a good time notwithstanding everything.

I actually went to dinner at La Vittoria! everyone had masks except clients. of course, as we eat. In the envelope on the table was a letter from my best friend in Hawaii and a special mask made by a friend of hers. One side depicts St. Damien who worked for years alongside victims of leprosy on Kalaupapa, Moloka’i and the other side, as you see, colorful crosses!  I might be the only person in Rome to have a Hawaiian mask!



This Sunday, May 31, Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Father will celebrate Holy Mass at 10 am in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the Vatican Basilica, without the participation of the faithful.

At 12:00 noon, from the window of his private study, the Holy Father will resume the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. Law enforcement will ensure safe access to the square and will ensure that the faithful present can respect the necessary interpersonal distance.


The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization has announced that Pope Francis is to join Marian shrines across the world, to pray to the Virgin Mary for help amidst the pandemic.

By Gabriella Ceraso (vaticannews)

“Devoted and with one accord to prayer, together with Mary (cf. Acts 1:14)”. On this theme Pope Francis will lead the recitation of the Rosary on Saturday May 30, joining the Marian Shrines of the world that, due to the health emergency, have had to interrupt their normal activities and pilgrimages.

The Pope will once again be close to humanity in prayer, to ask the Virgin Mary for help amid the pandemic. The prayer will be broadcast live to the world from the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens at 5:30pm Rome time.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization that is promoting the initiative, has given dozens of rosaries to families and individuals who represent the areas most involved and most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. These include doctors and nurses, recovered patients and people who have suffered a loss, a hospital chaplain, a pharmacist and a journalist, a Civil Defence volunteer with his family and a family who welcomed their newest member into the world during this difficult time. They will all be present to express hope.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization writes that at the end of this Marian month, Pope Francis will place the sorrows of all humanity at the feet of our heavenly Mother, certain that she will not fail to help.

The largest sanctuaries of the five continents will be connected online. These include Lourdes, Fatima, Lujan, Milagro, Guadalupe, San Giovanni Rotondo and Pompeii.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, sent out a letter addressed to the rectors of the shrines to invite them to organise and promote this special moment of prayer in accordance with current health regulations and relevant time zones.

The appointment for the end of the Marion month is a further sign of closeness and consolation for all those who in various ways have been struck by the coronavirus in the certainty is that our heavenly mother will listen to all requests for protection.

A separate note from the Council stated: “The rosary decades will be recited by several men and women who will represent various categories of people particularly touched by the virus. There will be a doctor and a nurse for all of the sanitary personnel committed on the front lines of hospitals; a person who has been healed and another person who lost a family member for all of those representing all of those who have personally been touched by coronavirus; a priest, a hospital chaplain and a nun who is a nurse will represent all priests and consecrated persons close to those who have been so tried by the illness; a pharmacist and a journalist representing all persons who, even during the period of the pandemic, have continued to undertake their own work in favor of others; a volunteer from civil protection with their family representing all those who gave themselves to face this emergency and for the entire vast world of volunteerism; a young family to whom was born precisely in this time, a baby boy, a sign of hope and the victory of life over death.


In a letter marking the 25th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s landmark encyclical “Ut unum sint”, Pope Francis calls for a renewed commitment to ecumenism. Pope Francis has recalled the Church’s “irrevocable” commitment to the task of ecumenism on the 25th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s encyclical Ut unum sint.In a Letter addressed to Cardinal Kurt Koch, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Holy Father notes that Ut unum sint was published on the Solemnity of the Ascension, “under the sign of the Holy Spirit, the creator of unity in diversity”. It is in “that same liturgical and spiritual context”, the Pope says, that “we now commemorate it and propose it once more to the People of God”.https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-05/pope-renews-ecumenical-commitment-on-anniversary-of-ut-unum-sint.html

The Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem reopens its doors to the faithful limiting access to 50 people at a time. As restrictions due to Covid-19 begin to ease many countries are making their first tentative steps into the next phase of the pandemic. Churches that have been closed for physical worship are opening their doors to the faithful who are asked to observe a series of precautionary measures. In the Holy Land, Tuesday 26 May is the turn of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem where 50 people will be allowed inside at a time. This comes on the heels of the official reopening of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday, as announced by the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Francis Patton, OFM, and the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Theophilus III and Nourhan Manougian. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2020-05/holy-land-churches-naivity-bethlehem-reopening-patton.html

The Apostolic Nunciature in the Philippine capital Manila has alerted the country’s bishops against a certain Cristian Eduardo Tietze who is falsely claiming to be close to Pope Francis and Vatican officials. Tietze introduces himself as president of the “Peace for Life Foundation”. In a May 22 circular letter to bishops and diocesan administrators, Father Marvin Mejia, the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said that Monsignor Julien Kaboré, chargé d’affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila, has written to CBCP President, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, warning dioceses and religious communities against Tietze. Father Mejia warned that the person is “claiming to be close to the Holy Father and to the Holy See”.

As the Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year gets underway, the secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development urges Catholics to take part in the annual Season of Creation. The Season of Creation is an annual ecumenical celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home. It takes place from September 1 – the World Day of Prayer for Creation – to October 4 – the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Christians of all traditions are invited to take part by organizing prayer services, community litter clean-ups, or advocacy actions. This year’s event takes place within the context of the special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year that Pope Francis opened on Sunday, May 24. The Year coincides with the 5th anniversary of his encyclical. The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development launched a special invitation on Monday urging Catholics to take part in the Season of Creation. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-05/vatican-climate-season-of-creation-laudato-si.html


Following is an interesting read from the New York Times that explains how residents of 11 countries that normally have huge numbers of tourists experience life in a non-tourist environment. As the Times writes: “We asked people in 11 of the most overtouristed places around the world what it’s like” now, in a coronavirus world. Places from Rome to Bali, Croatia to Barcelona, Amsterdam to Iceland.  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/19/travel/coronavirus-travel-restrictions-tourist-attractions.html?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20200520&instance_id=18629&nl=the-morning&regi_id=84973144&segment_id=28532&te=1&user_id=248d4496ef882f1f1c056200ea9c8351

Opening up in Rome has meant that I had a hair trim Monday morning, went to confession, Mass and received communion that same afternoon and am going to my favorite restaurant tonight for the first time since March 8!

As a popular brand says, LG! Life is good!


At today’s weekly general audience, streamed live from the library of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis began by saying, “In our continuing catechesis on prayer, we now consider the mystery of creation.”

It was noteworthy that the general audience was bring held in Laudato Si’ Week, a week established by the Vatican to mark the fifth anniversary of the publication of Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si’ On the Care for our Common Home” on May 24, 2015. In addition, the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development that is behind this week also announced the celebration of a special Laudato Si’ anniversary year that will run from May 24, 2020 to May 24, 2021.

“The first pages of the Bible,” said Francis in his catechesis, “resemble a great hymn of thanksgiving for the goodness and beauty of creation, whose grandeur awakens a sense of wonder within the human heart and a desire to pray. The awe-inspiring immensity of creation stirs us to contemplate the mystery of our own being. Though we may experience the weight of our insignificance, we are not nothing. Prayer assures us that things do not exist merely by chance, and that our relationship with God is the source of our nobility.   (vaticannews photo)

The Pope went on to explain that, “Men and women, by nature, may be almost nothing; yet by vocation, they are children of a great King! Amidst the difficulties and trials of life, prayer sustains our appreciation and gratitude, for it gives vigor to our hope. The hope of those who pray can in turn help others to realize that life is a gift from God; that hope is stronger than despair; that love is stronger than death.”

“For the simple joy of being alive,” concluded Francis, “let us offer praise and thanks to our heavenly Father.”

At the end of the catechesis, monsignori from the Secretariat of State read summaries in various languages and transmitted papal greetings to the faithful.

Francis had “cordial greetings for all Polish people” tuning in for the online general audience, noting that, “In these days we celebrate the centenary of the birth of Saint John Paul II. A Shepherd of great faith, he loved to entrust the Church and all humanity to God in prayer. Choosing the episcopal motto “Totus Tuus,” (‘all yours’) , he also showed that in difficult times we must turn to the Mother of God, who can help us and intercede for us. His life, built on deep, intense and confident prayer is an example for today’s Christians. I bless you from my heart.

In greetings to Italian-speaking faithful, the Pope highlighted “the approaching feast of the Ascension of the Lord (that) offers me the opportunity to urge everyone to be generous witnesses of the Risen Christ, knowing full well that He is always with us and supports us along the way.”

At the start of the general audience, Psalm 8 was read by each monsignor in their own language (French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Polish):

LORD, our Lord,

How awesome is your name through all the earth!

I will sing of your majesty above the heavens

with the mouths of babes and infants.

You have established a bulwark against your foes,

to silence enemy and avenger.

When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and stars that you set in place—

What is man that you are mindful of him,

and a son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him little less than a god,

crowned him with glory and honor.

You have given him rule over the works of your hands,

put all things at his feet:

All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field,

The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,

and whatever swims the paths of the seas.


With a Rescript promulgated on Wednesday, Pope Francis transferred the Data Processing Centre (CED) from the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) to the Secretariat for the Economy (SPE).

By Vatican News

Pope Francis has made a shuffle in the Roman Curia. He has issued a Rescript transferring the Data Processing Centre, previously managed by the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) to the Secretary for the Economy (SPE). It was made public on Wednesday by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, with a statement dated May 11.

It said that Pope Francis considers the transfer is needed “to guarantee a more rational organization of the Holy See’s economic and financial information.” Another reason cited is the eventual computerization of all its activities “so as to guarantee the simplification of activities and the effectiveness of controls, as they are fundamental for the correct functioning of the Entities of the Roman Curia.”

The transfer of the Data Processing Centre will proceed according to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between APSA President Bishop Nunzio Galantino and the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves.

Officials and personnel of the CED will move under the responsibility of the SPE, except those who, by common agreement and for better convenience, continue to be employed by the APSA.

The Prefect of the SPE will re-organize the services offered by the CED, guaranteeing what is necessary for the performance of the APSA’s institutional tasks.

Promulgated on Wednesday, the new measure of Pope Francis will come into effect on June 1, 2020.


From the Holy See Press Office:

“Today, H.E. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, was contacted by telephone by H.E. Saeb Erekat, Chief negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The latter wished to inform the Holy See about recent developments in the Palestinian territories and of the possibility of Israeli applying its sovereignty unilaterally to part of those territories, further jeopardizing the peace process.

“The Holy See reiterates that respect for international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions, is an indispensable element for the two peoples to live side by side in two States, within the borders internationally recognized before 1967.

“The Holy See is following the situation closely, and expresses concern about any future actions that could further compromise dialogue, while also expressing its hope that Israelis and Palestinians will be soon able to find once again the possibility for directly negotiating an agreement, with the help of the International Community, so that peace may finally reign in the Holy Land, so beloved by Jews and Christians and Muslims.”