This weekend I offer some great websites (not for the first time!) for your visit to Vatican City. You may know these already but if you don’t, you’ll probably discover they have the answers to your questions about getting tickets for and attending papal functions, reserving tickets for the Vatican Museums so you can skip the long lines, how to visit the Vatican Gardens and Castelgandolfo, get papal blessings, etc.

Visiting the gardens, museums, buying coins and stamps, etc:

For papal audiences and events:

The Papal Almoner – for papal blessings:


I am finally back at the helm and rarin’ to go again with “Vatican Insider,” my segments on “At Home with Jim and Joy” and my Wednesday radio conversations with Teresa Tomeo on “Catholic Connection,” not to mention this column which I resumed on Monday.

Be sure to tune in to Vatican Insider this weekend for my conversation with Kathleen Beckman whom most of you know as a prolific author, engaging speaker and retreat master, and founder of Foundation of Prayer for Priests. Kathleen and I collaborated on the newly-released book, “When Women Pray” and that is what we’ll talk about today – prayer. This was a totally off-the-cuff conversation – one Kathleen suggested after we had just taped an interview about her experience in Rome attending a course on exorcism. So stay with us –and maybe pray with us!

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:


(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has confirmed that the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin will travel to Moscow in September.

Parolin’s journey to Russia comes in the wake of his visits to Belarus and to Ukraine in the past two years signaling the Vatican’s continuing engagement with eastern Europe and its desire to continue supporting the Christians in the region.

In an exclusive interview with the Italian newspaper “Il Sole 24 ore, Cardinal Parolin pointed out that the Holy See’s support for Christians in Eastern Europe has never waned, not even in the darkest of years.

Holy See’s historical relationship with Russia

He said the Vatican has always given great value to its relationship with Eastern Europe and with Russia and he recalled the Tsar, Nicholas I’s two meetings with Pope Gregorius XVI in 1845, and how the the Pontificate of Pius IX began in 1847 with an agreement by which both the government and the Holy See played a part in filling vacant Latin Church episcopal sees in Russia and in its Polish provinces.

Parolin described the continuing relationship between the Vatican and Russia as a “patient, constructive and respectful dialogue”.

Diplomacy of peace

It is crucially important, he said, especially regarding those issues that are at the root of current conflicts or that risk triggering further tensions.

“In this sense, the question of peace and the quest for solutions to the various crises should be placed above any national or partial interest. There cannot be winners or losers, Cardinal Parolin stressed, I am convinced that it is the mission of the Holy See to insist on this fact”.

In the article the Vatican Secretary of State also touched on the global issue of violence perpetrated in the name of religion and spoke of the need to protect religious freedom and at the same time protect Christians – or any other community –  at risk of persecution.

He also spoke of the need to continue to work to protect and care for creation expressing his hope that the United States – and other international actors – do not ignore their international responsibility to care for our common home, work to reduce poverty and inequality, and open their hearts to forced migrants and refugees.

“The Catholic Church’s diplomacy is a diplomacy of peace” – Parolin explained – it is not driven by political, ideological or economic interests, and for this reason it is free to pursue the path to common good and to denounce the catastrophic effects a self-referenced vision can have on all.