FRANCIS VISITS POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI – PASCHAL TRIDUUM IS CENTER OF OUR FAITH AND VOCATION – FROM THE PASSION TO PENTECOST AND BEYOND, CHRIST’S MISSIONARIES OF HIS WORD

I learned something new and interesting a few years ago when a priest friend, having read my column about Holy Week in Rome, asked me if I knew what the other name was for Wednesday of Holy Week. I did not know and looked it up and learned the answer was Spy Wednesday.

As I looked it up in the EWTN Q&A area, I found this from Father John Echert: “Spy Wednesday is the name given to Wednesday of Holy Week, marking the fact that on this day, Judas agreed with Jewish officials to betray our Lord, for the price of 30 pieces of silver. And while we do not give much attention to this in our own Country, in Poland there is a tradition by which an effigy of Judas is cast down from a height, dragged through the streets while being stoned, and then “drown” in a river or pond.”

This column will be silent for a few days as I celebrate Holy Week liturgies in New York, arriving in the Big Apple early afternoon tomorrow. However, I’ll be back on these pages after Easter. EWTN allows its staff time off during these days so that we can participate in Holy Week liturgies.

I hope you all have a beautiful and Blessed Easter and that you feel renewed in your spiritual life and in your knowledge of God’s love for you!

Just a quick note: No guest this weekend in the interview segment of VATICAN INSIDER. Rather, I bring you a special that is about facts and figures, monuments and moments, things to see and do, places to visit in and around the Vatican. Some fun trivia as well!

FRANCIS VISITS POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI

Tuesday afternoon, Pope Francis met Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at his Mater Ecclesiae Monastery residence in the Vatican and offered him best wishes for Easter.


Earlier Tuesday, he visited the Vatican Secretariat of State where some 300 persons are employed. In particular, he visited and blessed the offices of the new Third Section, which was set up in November for the diplomatic personnel of the Holy See. He then personally greeted all the officials and employees, wishing them Happy Easter and thanking them for their work. The last time Pope Francis met the officials and staff of the Secretariat was in April 2013.

PASCHAL TRIDUUM IS CENTER OF OUR FAITH AND VOCATION

The Holy Father presided at the weekly general audience today in St. Peter’s Square and dedicated his catechesis to the upcoming Easter celebrations. “Tomorrow,” he said, “begins the Church’s celebration of the Paschal Triduum, in which we re-live the great mystery of the Lord’s death and resurrection. It is thus the center of our faith and vocation.”

The Triduum – meaning “three days” – begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening and ends on Easter Sunday. The Holy Father said Christians are called to live the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection as “the matrix of their personal and communitarian lives.”

“Dear brothers and sisters,” began Francis. “The Gospel message that Jesus died for our sins and rose to new life is a source of joy and hope for all the world. At the same time, it is a summons to our responsibility and mission as the Lord’s followers to proclaim the victory of the Risen Jesus by our lives.

Francis explained that, “in Baptism, we were given a share in Christ’s passover from death to life. Each of us has been called to live fully this new life in union with him and in imitation of his loving concern for the least of our brothers and sisters. In the poor, the suffering, the lonely and all those in need, we are asked to see the face of Jesus, and to become, in him, a means of redemption and hope, life and resurrection for our world.”

The Holy Father prayed, “May Mary, who knew both the sufferings of the cross and the joy of the resurrection, obtain for us the grace to be united ever more fully to the Risen Lord and to reflect in our lives the reconciling and transforming power of his divine love.

In language greetings after the catechesis in Italian and summaries in seven languages, the Pope said, “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, particularly those from England, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Ghana, South Africa, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and the United States of America. I offer a special greeting to the delegates taking part in the Seminar organized by the Vatican Observatory in preparation for the forthcoming UNISPACE+50 Conference. May this Holy Week lead all of us to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with hearts purified and renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. God bless you!”

Click here and scroll down to see Vatican media images from today’s general audience:
https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-03/pope-general-audience-easter-triduum-catechesis.html

FROM THE PASSION TO PENTECOST AND BEYOND, CHRIST’S MISSIONARIES OF HIS WORD

Following is the homily given yesterday afternoon by Cardinal Edwin O’Brien in St. Peter’s basilica at the Mass marking the second anniversary of the death of Mother Angelica.

He offered some reflections on Holy Week, starting with the sadness of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, and, noting that, “In every age and culture Christ’s disciples have preached the word, often at critical times for his Church,” Cardinal O’Brien moved on to reflections about the life and work of Mother Angelica.

Here is that homily:

The Liturgy of this solemn Tuesday of Holy Week focuses upon the tragic betrayal of Judas as the Church moves closer to the Passion and Death of Jesus. The sad event begins the spiral of the disciples into confusion and despondency as the capture and trial of Jesus immediately follow.

There is a light of hope, however, to balance the Gospel’s foreboding and we find it in the first reading.

The Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people has come to an end, and Isaiah is speaking in the name of the newly liberated Jews. Israel and her every member has from of old been called to be a prophetic people, commissioned by Yahweh to spread the Word of God.

While for all these years of captivity, and before, God’s eternal word – God’s sharp edged sword and polished arrow have been concealed, mute and ineffective. Now, Israel is inspired by new strength as she hears the Lord’s promise: Not only, will I grace you with my word to revive my despondent nation. “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

And Pentecost was the answer: From the Cenacle, God’s eternal word speaks in the language of every nation: the throng were all amazed and bewildered because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

In every age and culture Christ’s disciples have preached the word, often at critical times for his Church. Think of Augustine of Canterbury, Cyril and Methodius, Francis and Dominic, Loyola and Xavier, John Paul II, surprising and often unexpected missionaries of the word.

And when we speak of the millions who hear his eternal word, might not Canton Ohio’s Rita Antoinette Rizzo come to mind! A worldly-wise contemplative, a handicapped hobbler, an unsophisticated, but highly intelligent charismatic voice still touching the hearts of millions around the world, Mother Mary Angelica would surely be an unexpected choice to enable God’s word to reach to the ends of the earth.

Some years ago, Time magazine profile called her “an improbable superstar of religious broadcasting and arguably the most influential Roman Catholic woman of America.”

Started with $200 in 1981, the Eternal World Television Network now transmits to more than 261 million homes in 150 countries, energizing 400 dedicated lay workers. Not to mention Mother’s founding along the way of communities of men and women religious, two shrines of the Blessed Sacrament visited annually by tens of thousands of pilgrims at the very heart of Baptist country.

Her accomplishments could go on-and-on. But did I say “her accomplishments”? In saying that, I fear I’d be victim of one of her patented scowls – and rightly so! All this, she insists has not been her work. “This network doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to God.”

Her every living moment was spent in a scrupulous discernment of God’s will in her life – an active life of contemplation guided by the Eucharist and that well-worn Bible always clutched in her arms.

Throughout her life Mother suffered greatly – physically, for sure, but also what she called interior suffering, a sometimes greater cross. Her steel-willed, tenacious determination resulted in amazing achievements but could bring about a confrontation or two which could go too far. She once admitted: Lord, there were people in my path who touched off painful weaknesses in my soul – weaknesses I did not want to see…. Give to those I have offended many graces; make them holy. Bless those who have offended me and forgive them.”

But of all the trials this active contemplative experienced, the most difficult challenge was yet to come. A series of serious strokes left her physically powerless the last 15 years of her life and, more frustrating for this great communicator, speechless. As never before she now realized the life of a true contemplative. Now, words written earlier for others’ inspiration resonated in her very own mind and heart:

“Love speaks loudly in silence and that silence touches our souls. The Voice of Jesus sounds in our hearts like the voice of mighty waters, cleansing the debris collected during the storms of life. Our parched souls, tired of the journey, find refreshment in the living water flowing from the tabernacle… His silent presence hidden in the tabernacle, says to each of us, Come to me all you who labor and I will refresh you.”

Can we doubt that Jesus would have abandoned this faithful servant of his without strong graces of perseverance and insights into the Cross of his suffering and death for the sake of the world! And we can but imagine what graces which those years of silent suffering have won for the spread of the eternal word, even as we speak.

For that we give thanks to the Lord as we continue to commend her soul to God’s mercy.

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REMEMBERING MOTHER ANGELICA

REMEMBERING MOTHER ANGELICA

Mass this afternoon in the Chapel of the Choir (aka Chapel of the Canons) in St. Peter’s Basilica on the second anniversary of the death of Mother Angelica. Cardinal Edwin O’Brien presided at the concelebration and gave a very beautiful homily about Mother Angelica, her life, her dreams, her pain – and EWTN!

Took these with my phone and can’t wait to buy a new camera – my terrific Samsung Galaxy died in Chicago at Christmas. It is just frozen – cannot do anything except turn it on and off!

MASS IN UKRAINE COMMEMORATES MOTHER ANGELICA – PAPAL LITURGIES FOR HOLY WEEK AND EASTER – CARDINAL TURKSON: THE NAME OF PEACE IS DEVELOPMENT

The Vatican today released the schedule of liturgical celebrations over which the Pope will preside during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday. I noted that there was no mention made of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, traditionally celebrated on Holy Thursday afternoon. In recent years Pope Francis has chosen to celebrate that Mass outside the Vatican, so I am guessing they are still finalizing the details of that Eucharistic celebration.

Add the archbishop of Paris to your prayer list: The archdiocese of Paris announced today that Cardinal André Vingt-Trois has been in the hospital since February 25 where he underwent tests and is being treated for Guillain-Barré syndrome as a consequence of a viral infection. Holy Week and Easter Sunday liturgies will be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishops Jerome Beau with the auxiliary bishops, general vicars, priests, deacons and faithful of the diocese.

MASS IN UKRAINE COMMEMORATES MOTHER ANGELICA

A Mass commemorating the first anniversary of the death of Mother Angelica was held yesterday in the EWTN Ukraine chapel. This chapel is located in the Catholic Media Center in Kiev, home of EWTN Ukraine, which reaches about 50 cities via cable TV. It is headed by Fr. Diego Saez Martin, OMI (sitting on the left).

Bishop Vitali Skomarovski, Apostolic Administrator of Kiev-Zhytomyr diocese and Head of the Commission on Mass Media of the Conference of Bishops, celebrated the Holy Mass for the eternal rest of Mother Angelica, and of deceased workers, volunteers, viewers and benefactors of EWTN

Among the Masses for Mother Angelica, one was celebrated at the Conversion of St. Paul Shrine in Cleveland, OH.  This was the same Monastery where she began her religious vocation as a Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration. AM 1260 The Rock, Cleveland’s EWTN Radio affiliate, hosted a social after Mass.

PAPAL LITURGIES FOR HOLY WEEK AND EASTER

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Tuesday released details of the celebrations that Pope Francis will preside over for Holy Week and Easter.

A note from the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff notes that on Palm Sunday, April 9, the Pope will lead a procession for the blessing of the olive and palm branches in St. Peter’s Square starting at 10am, and then celebrate the Mass of Our Lord’s Passion. Palm Sunday also marks the XXXII World Youth Day with the theme taken from St Luke’s Gospel ‘The Mighty One has done great things for me’

On Thursday April 13 Pope Francis will preside at the Chrism Mass with the blessing of the holy oils in St. Peter’s Basilica, starting at 9.30am.

On Good Friday, April 14, the Pope will lead the celebration of Our Lord’s Passion in St. Peter’s Basilica, beginning at 5pm. That will be followed at 9.15pm by the traditional Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross at the Colosseum, after which the Pope will greet the crowds and impart his Apostolic Blessing.

On Saturday April 15 the Holy Father will celebrate the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica beginning at 8.30pm with the blessing of the new fire and a procession with the Paschal candle. During the celebration he will administer the Sacrament of Baptism before concelebrating Mass with the other cardinals and bishops.

Easter Sunday morning, April 16, beginning at 10am, Pope Francis will preside at the Mass of Our Lord’s Resurrection in St. Peter’s Square before giving his ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing (to the city of Rome and to the world) from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

CARDINAL TURKSON: THE NAME OF PEACE IS DEVELOPMENT

Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, on Tuesday addressed the 39th national meeting of diocesan Caritas taking place in the Italian city of Castellaneta (province of Taranto) that began Monday and ends March 30. (photo: SIR)

He issued a warning, saying, “peace in Europe is threatened not just by terrorism: we should not forget that, to the east, at the Ukrainian border, there is heavy fighting with weapons, tanks and warplanes.” He mentioned Pope Francis’ address to the EU leaders last week: “There is no true peace whenever people are cast aside or forced to live in dire poverty. There is no peace without employment and the prospect of earning a dignified wage. There is no peace in the peripheries of our cities, with their rampant drug abuse and violence.”

“There is no peace,” said Cardinal Turkson, “when politics – instead of being a service, a work of charity, commitment to the common good – turn into a farce, a source of enrichment, a controversy over minor issues; when it cares for its own place instead of caring for the place of progress in society.”

He continued, noting that, “there is no peace whenever the Internet and social media are divisive, make people lose critical thinking, but rather instill and spread bullying, violence, pornography, deception and insecurity. There is no peace when many banks, unbridled financial markets and speculation shift the focus away from the needs of the real economy and from citizens’ control.”

“The new name for peace is development,” explained Cardinal Turkson. But this is Europe, a place of relative peace, a desired destination for many, and an example, at least for some decades.” (source: SIR)

 

COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS ISSUES REPORT

This afternoon there was a lovely, well-attended Mass at the St. Joseph altar of St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the one year anniversary of the death of EWTN’s founder, Mother Angelica. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, presided at the English-language Mass, joined by three priests, including Fr. Federico Lombardi, former head of the Holy See Press Office.

Abp. Fisichella gave a wonderful homily and made it seem he had known Mother Angelica for years. After Mass, a number of us met outside the left hand colonnade to film some brief segments, and I told him his homily was spot on and it indeed seemed he had known Mother Angelica. He smiled and, in a sort of conspiritorial tone, said, “I have seen EWTN, you know!”

He had several quotes from Mother Angelica, and this is my favorite: “Faith starts you out on the path, Hope keeps you going and Love gets you to the end.”

Tune in to News Nightly to see a brief segment from this anniversary celebration. A longer version will appear in EWTN’s weekly news magazine “Vaticano” and, when I receive images and video, I’ll post them.

Monday was a fairly quiet today for Pope Francis whose morning agenda included meeting with 24 bishops and Rev. Abbot Peter Novecovsky, O.S.B., secretary general of the Canadian Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops, who are in Rome on their “ad limina” visit.

COMMISSION FOR PROTECION OF MINORS ISSUES REPORT

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] met for its eighth Plenary Assembly from March 24-26, 2017, the session starting the day after the March 23 Education Day at the Gregorian University that was co-sponsored in partnership with the Cente for Child Protection and the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Following is the Commision’s Concluding Statement:

A central topic in this Plenary Assembly was the resignation of founding member Marie Collins. The Commission members expressed strong support for her and her continuing work to promote healing for victims of abuse and the prevention of all abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.  They also expressed their particular gratitude that Marie Collins has agreed to continue working with the Commission’s educational programs for new bishops and the offices of the Roman Curia.

Commission members have unanimously agreed to find new ways to ensure its work is shaped and informed with and by victims/survivors. Several ideas that have been successfully implemented elsewhere are being carefully considered for recommendation to the Holy Father.

The Commission discussed the importance of responding directly and compassionately to victims/survivors when they write to offices of the Holy See.  Members agreed that acknowledging correspondence and giving a timely and personal response is one part of furthering transparency and healing.  They acknowledged that this is a significant task due to the volume and nature of the correspondence and requires clear and specific resources and procedures. They have agreed to send further recommendations to Pope Francis for consideration.

This Plenary Assembly followed the Education Day on March 23, at the Gregorian University, co-sponsored in partnership with the Centre for Child Protection and the Congregation for Catholic Education.  Titled “Safeguarding in schools and homes: learning from experience worldwide”, it had a particular focus on Latin American countries that have large Catholic school systems, and presentations concerning efforts in Australia and Italy.  The academic seminar was attended by more than 150 people.  These included prefects and representatives from Vatican dicasteries including the Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin, seminary rectors, educators, formators and authorities from Italian State Police and the Vatican gendarme who are all seen as key collaborators in the PCPM’s educational efforts.  The Commissioners reiterated their sincere gratitude to the invited guests and speakers:  Fr Friedrich Bechina, FSO, Undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Mónica Yerena Suárez – Provincia Marista de México Central; Fr Wilfredo Grajales Rosas, SDB – Director del Instituto Distrital para la Protección de Niños, Niñas, Adolescentes y Jóvenes, Bogotá, Colombia; Juan Ignacio Fuentes, CONSUDEC Argentina; Francis Sullivan, CEO, Truth Justice and Healing Commission, Australia and Dott. Giovanni Ippolito, Direttore Tecnico Capo Psicologo, Questura di Foggia.  The speakers were also invited to address the opening session of the PCPM Plenary Assembly.

The Commission members continue the work entrusted by Pope Francis to assist local Churches with their responsibility for the protection of all minors and vulnerable adults (Statutes, art. 1).  As our Holy Father wrote to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences and Superiors of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, “I now ask for your close and complete cooperation with the Commission for the Protection of Minors. The work I have entrusted to them includes providing assistance to you and your Conferences through an exchange of best practices and through programmes of education, training, and developing adequate responses to sexual abuse” (2 February 2015).  The Commission is also receiving representatives of bishop’s conferences around the world who are in Rome for their Ad Limina visits.

Commissioners continue to visit episcopal conferences and local churches throughout the world to assist in policy development and implementation of best practices to create a safer environment. So far this year, these include workshops with the Church leadership, formators, catechists and child protection officers in Zambia and Colombia. Members are currently preparing to present to the first European Conference on Formation and Prevention in Seminaries co-organized by the Archdiocese of Florence and the Centre for Child Protection of the Gregorian University, and the upcoming meeting of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Bangkok, Thailand this Spring, and the May meeting of the Directors of CELAM and the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean Islands.

An essential element of these presentations is the PCPM Guidelines template. The Holy Father wrote, “every effort must also be made to ensure that the provisions of the Circular Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dated 3 May 2011 are fully implemented” (2 February 2015).  Thus, at the plenary meeting, the members spoke again of their willingness to work together with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith communicating a “Guidelines Template” to episcopal conferences and religious congregations, both directly and through the CommissionWebsite (www.protectionofminors.va).

A GOLD MEDAL OLYMPIAN AND MOTHER ANGELICA

A GOLD MEDAL OLYMPIAN AND MOTHER ANGELICA

The 2016 Rio Olympics are over but the memories of our favorite sports and favorite athletes are undoubtedly very strong. Many moments and athletes stood out for me as I love so very many sports but I was especially happy about the coverage given to those young guys and gals on the Olympic stage for whom faith – not sports – is Number One in their lives.

Perhaps you even saw my Facebook post on August 17 entitled “This Catholic Network of Schools Produced Nine Rio Olympians.”

Now, here’s a very interesting August 20 story by my CNA/EWTN colleagues in New York about a retired Olympian and Mother Angelica. Enjoy!

(CNA/EWTN News).- When the New York Times interviewed retired Olympian Dominique Dawes, she was asked a peculiar question: if you could have dinner with one person who is no longer living, and whose obituary was published in the New York Times, who would it be?

The three-time Olympian responded by saying, “I would choose to dine with Mother Angelica.” “I’d invite Mother Angelica to my home and have her sit at the head of our table, alongside my husband and two baby girls,” Dawes told the New York Times in an Aug. 17 interview. “I’d ask her to say the blessing, then proceed to ask her a few things about her life and about fortitude.”

MOTHER A and DAWES

Dawes, who made Olympic history by becoming the first African-American female gymnast to win an individual medal in 1996, grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and started taking gymnastic lessons at age six. Also known as “Awesome Dawesome,” she was part of the “Magnificent Seven” at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where the U.S. women’s gymnastic team won gold for the first time in history.

After retiring from gymnastics in 2000, Dawes converted to Catholicism on Easter Vigil in 2013, and soon after married Jeff Thomson, a Catholic high school teacher. Dawes was originally drawn to EWTN foundress Mother Angelica because of her faith, resilience and perseverance.

“She knew resilience most of all, raised by a single mother from an early age after her father had abandoned them,” Dawes said, asking “I often wondered how she overcame this abandonment, learned to forgive her father and ultimately trust in God?” Noting Mother Angelica’s humble beginnings, Dawes said that she would cook Mother Angelica some “soul food” for dinner – a meal that would include chitlins, collard greens, cheese grits and candied yams.

“Mother Angelica would understand this meal: She was raised around blacks and poor Italians in a tough Canton, Ohio, neighborhood. She knew people, she understood their plights, she was one of them!” Dawes said.

Impressed by Mother Angelica’s ability to start the largest religious television network with only $200, Dawes mentioned many questions she would ask the beloved nun. “She was a cloistered nun, in a convent, yet she was seen by hundreds of millions of people worldwide as the host of a series on EWTN. How was she able to embrace both of these so very opposite vocations?” Dawes asked.

The retired Olympian particularly related to the contradictory aspect of Mother Angelica’s vocation and admired how she balanced a quiet life with a public one. Dawes said that because of her own introverted nature, performing at the Olympics always gave her anxiety. Dawes was also struck by Mother Angelica’s ability to take her own painful, personal experiences and turn them into fuel for the greater good.

The gymnast said she would ask Mother Angelica how she could help others in her own life, “whether they suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction, physical ailments or the pain of abandonment or divorce.” Dawes also noted her desire to learn from Mother Angelica’s lasting example. “Mother Angelica…how can we here on earth emulate what you did, even in a smaller way, offering help to others in a world that so desperately needs it?”

 

MASS IN VATICAN PARISH COMMEMORATES MOTHER ANGELICA

Today is the 11th anniversary of the death of St. John Paul, a day that no one who was in Rome at the time will ever forget. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to overhear a conversation between St. John Paul and Mother Angelica!

Mass last night at Sant’Anna was just lovely, as I hope you can glean from my photos. I was very blessed to be a lector at that Mass. I have not actually checked but I am sure that video is now or will be soon be posted on Youtube.

As you pray today, include members of the large pilgrimage organized by New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan whose flight to Rome yesterday was cancelled by Delta! I was to have joined them today for a walk together with Cardinal Dolan to St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy by entering the Holy Door to receive a plenary indulgence. Afterwards, at 4 pm, he was scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter: Hopefully those events can be rescheduled!  Tonight was to feature dinner and a book-signing event with the pilgrims, many of whom I know!

MASS IN VATICAN PARISH COMMEMORATES MOTHER ANGELICA

At the same time that the funeral for Mother Angelica was being held at the Shrine of the Angels in Hanceville, Alabama, yesterday morning, the Rome EWTN family and friends attended a Mass in the Vatican parish of Sant’Anna that was celebrated by Cardinal George Pell.

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EWTN staff were lectors and readers of prayer intentions during Mass, including intentions read in various languages by the multi-lingual Rome members.

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Cardinal Pell was the principal celebrant and concelebrants for the Mass were: Msgr. Dario Eduardo Vigano, president of the Secretariat for Communications, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., spokesman for the Vatican and director of the Holy See Press Office, and Fr. Jeff Kirby, who is studying for his doctorate in moral theology in Rome

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Present at the Sant’Anna Mass were Ambassadors to the Holy See Ken Hackett of the U,S. Esteban Kriskovich of Paraguay, as well as representatives from Opus Dei, Cor Unum, the Foreign Press Office, FAO, L’Osservatore Romano, Order of the Holy Sepulcher, Catholic-Link, the Pontifical North American College (NAC), the Vatican Post Office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Christian Life Movement, the European Parliament, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and Greg Burke, vice director of the Holy See Press Office.

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Numerous media representatives were present as well.

Following is Cardinal Pell’s homily for Mother Angelica memorial Mass:

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April 1, 2016 –  St. Anne’s Church, Vatican City

Easter Sunday is a good day for dying, a good day for being born into eternal life. Mother Angelica died on last Easter Sunday, and we should be consoled by the time of her passing as we gather to pray for the repose of her soul as she awaits the Resurrection of the body.

Today’s Easter Gospel passage and the reading from Acts both speak of spectacular miracles. In the Gospel the apostles had been fishing all through the night without catching anything. And they did not recognize Jesus as he stood on the bank and invited them to try once more. I suspect the fisherman complied with the request out of politeness rather than conviction. But they took in a great catch of 153 fish, which strained their nets, and Jesus then gave them breakfast. In the passage from Acts we have Peter and John curing the crippled man through the power of Jesus Christ, and so disturbing the high priests and the leaders with their teachings and their miracles. It was after the first Pentecost, and Peter was no longer afraid as he defended his good deed done to a cripple. Mother Angelica would have been proud of him. ‘The man who stands before you was healed,’ he proclaimed, ‘in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. He is the stone rejected by you builders which has become the corner stone. And there is no salvation through anyone else.’ As the cross was proclaimed as a sign of contradiction with such faith and courage, it’s not surprising that by then the early Christian community numbered 5,000 men.

Some parallels quickly come to mind. The spread and effectiveness of Mother Angelica’s Eternal Word Television Network, EWTN, founded in 1981 with an investment of $200 was as unexpected as the apostles’ huge catch of fish. So too we should draw strength from the fact that Peter’s salvation message was exactly the same as Mother Angelica’s, unbroken and substantially unchanged across 2,000 years. This kerygma, the basic Good News, doesn’t need improvement or pruning, and doesn’t need corrections or additions. And part of Mother Angelica’s effectiveness came from her acceptance of this truth.

Mother Angelica’s public personality was so boisterous that we can be tempted to forget that she was a contemplative Franciscan nun, a Poor Clare from the age of 21. I still feel her religious name is somewhat incongruous, as she was not angelic in any conventional sense. The Little Flower’s parents were both canonized, but Mother Angelica had no such blessing. Born into a poor family in the Rust Belt, Ohio, Rita Rizzo’s father abandoned her when she was five, and she was brought up by her mother, who suffered from depression. She did poorly at school – at the McKinley High School ­– although she was the drum majorette in the school band. Her life story brings a message of encouragement for all those who were or are children from broken homes. Some, perhaps many, from such backgrounds are tempted to be resentful, short of self-confidence, uncertain of their ability to contribute or build a good family. Mother Angelica is one more example of what can be achieved from difficult beginnings. She knew what it was to struggle. She wasn’t a ‘milk and water’ character, but a triumph of God’s grace through, and perhaps despite, her nature. She truly cast fire upon the earth.

God works in unexpected ways, as Mother Angelica promised him that she would found a monastery deep in the Protestant south, at Irondale in Alabama. With four companions she came there in 1962. An unlikely launching pad for an international television network, although probably not quite as unpromising a spot as Bethlehem and Nazareth. Mother began in a small way by recording video tapes of her homilies in the 1970s until she founded EWTN with Deacon Bill Steltemeier. Eventually EWTN pioneered the digital revolution in broadcasting, and many experts visited to examine just what they were doing. There was an enormous development and progression.

Mother Angelica was conservative, direct, and in fact somewhat divisive. She spoke truth to authority, as strong women have ever done to their families, their priests and bishops, and sometimes to the public; just think of Catherine of Siena. She didn’t found another church, and while she spoke bluntly to a number of the Church’s officials, she recognized the office of Pope and bishops and priests.

The Catholic world was very different back when she unleashed her withering attack on those who presented a female Christ figure at the 1993 Denver World Youth Day. There were not, then, as there are now, so many signs of hope; not so many young, orthodox and vital priests and religious. And this para-liturgical abuse provoked her to unleash the pent-up frustrations of many years. It was powerful and eloquent, something of a diatribe, certainly over-the-top in some ways. But thank God she spoke that way. When I read it, I remember thinking ‘yes, she’s right.’ And one Australian activist had written to me just recently, and told me that he changed his life’s direction after hearing it. It wasn’t discreet – in fact it was massively imprudent. But it was great copy for the journalists, and a great witness to the Christ that we follow.

She slowed down the drift toward destruction, turned away many from damaging themselves. We pray for her soul, despite the long years of penance through suffering which occurred after her strokes in 2001. May she be liberated from the effects of her weakness and sins.

Above all we thank God for her message, her courage and her faith. And we pray that the Church in the United States will throw up other giants equally unexpectedly to help strengthen our faith and lead us to Christ. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

George Card. Pell

Prefect

Secretariat for the Economy

VATICAN INSIDER ASKS: WHO IS THE MAN OF THE SHROUD? – CARDINAL DZIWISZ REMEMBERS MOTHER ANGELICA

This is a brief column today as I will shortly be leaving for a Mass at the Vatican parish of Sant’Anna for the repose of the soul of Mother Angelica. Cardinal George Pell will preside at the Eucharist, which takes place at the same time has her funeral in Alabama.

A note about a special that EWTN will air at 9 pm ET on Divine Mercy Sunday: Divine Mercy – The Canonization Of John Paul II: Join Newt and Callista Gingrich, along with a cast of scholars, witnesses, and pilgrims, as they share their experiences of the canonization of Pope John Paul II and reflect on his legacy. This is a sequel to their celebrated film, “Nine Days that Changed the World.” I have a very small part in this fascinating video.

GINGRICH

VATICAN INSIDER ASKS: WHO IS THE MAN OF THE SHROUD?

In lieu of an interview segment on “Vatican Insider” this Divine Mercy Sunday weekend is Part II of the Special I have prepared on the Shroud of Turin. This week and next I ask the question – and attempt to answer – Who is the Man of the Shroud?

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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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

CARDINAL DZIWISZ REMEMBERS MOTHER ANGELICA

Following is the letter sent by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, upon learning of the death of Mother Angelica.

Reverend Mother Dolores Marie,

Superior of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale, Alabama

Dear Mr. Michael Warsaw,

EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,

I received the sad information regarding Mother Angelica the Founders of EWTN, who the Lord called to the heaven on Easter Sunday March 27, 2016. It is only fitting that the Lord chose this day to call home one of his humble servants.

I met her personally, when she was visiting the Holy Father John Paul II in Vatican and I have to give the witness, She was a wonderful women dedicated to Jesus and to the Church. She devoted her life to ministry, converting untold numbers of people to the church. She left an indelible mark on the Catholic Church and the world as a whole. She will be always remembered for her personal sermons and she will live on forever in the hearts of all those that her sermons have touched through her gift to the world, the Eternal Word Television Network.”

other Angelica was a great Apostle of Jesus and gave a wonderful witness to the Love of God in The Eternal Word Television Network. I am convinced She is enjoying the eternal life with our Lord in Heaven.

I would like to express my compassion to the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in the Convent of Hanceville and to the all Collaborators of EWTN Irondale, Alabama and to assure you, who are mourning after Your Mother, of my prayers.

May Jesus, who conquered death, be the source of hope for you all.

With my prayers,