Papal tweets over the weekend and on Monday:

November 20: Let us work together to ensure that children continue to smile: their faces serene, filled with joy and hope. #WorldChildrensDay

November 19: On this day, I invite the entire Church to keep its gaze fixed on those who hold out their hands asking for our solidarity.

November 18: Without the support of the prayers of the faithful, the Successor of Peter cannot fulfill his mission in the world.…

A HEADS UP: Cardinal James Harvey, Fr. Greg Apparcel, rector of St. Patrick’s Church, Fr. Eric Andrews, president of the Paulists and three priests who have helped Fr. Greg out during the four years that we were exiled from our home of 95 years, Santa Susanna, yesterday celebrated a beautiful Mass to mark the official opening of the church for the Catholic American community. Ambassador-designate Callista Gingrich and her husband, Newt were in attendance as well. (She is called ambasador-designate until she presents her Letters of Credence to the Holy Father next month). EWTN filmed the Mass and portions of the morning will be featured in News Nightly tomorrow Tuesday, November 21.


The women of the WINE pilgrimage, with whom I spent last week in Assisi, Loreto, and Siena, arrived Rome Friday about noon and have been visiting all the mandatory sites since, especially the four papal basilicas and many other churches in between. The guide in Rome for churches and the history of art has been Liz Lev, and our spiritual advisor and celebrant at a number of Masses has been Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo.

I’ve not been on the Rome tours but I did join the women this morning, the final day of their pilgrimage for Mass with Msgr. Anthony in the very beautiful church of Santa Maria dell’Anima, just yards from the enchanting Piazza Navona. This is one my very favorite churches in Rome, not just for the breathtaking art work but for its interesting history as well.

I leave shortly to join everyone for the farewell dinner on the old Appian way. I just hope the computer decides to play along with me as I try to download and post some photos of this church which is, in itself, a gigantic work of art. In any case, here’s a bit of history and some photos I took today….


Santa Maria dell’Anima was founded during the course of the 14th century by Dutch merchants, who at that time belonged to the Holy Roman Empire. In the course of the 15th century, it became the national church of the whole Holy Roman Empire in Rome and henceforth the national church of Germany and hospice of German-speaking people in Rome.

According to tradition, the church received its name, from the picture of Our Lady which forms its coat of arms (the Blessed Virgin between two souls).[1] Among the artworks housed inside is the Holy Family by Giulio Romano. It is the resting place of the Dutch Pope Adrian VI as well as of Cardinals William of Enckenvoirt and Andrew of Austria.

Santa Maria dell’Anima is one of the many medieval charity institutions built for pilgrims in Rome. The church found its origin in 1350, when Johannes (Jan) and Katharina Peters of Dordrecht bought three houses and turned it into a private hospice for pilgrims, at the occasion of the Jubilee of 1350.[2] Jan Peters may have been a Dutch merchant or papal soldier; Dordrecht belonged to a region which later became independent as the Netherlands. They named the hospice “Beatae Mariae Animarum” (“Saint Mary of the Souls”).[3] It was erected on its present site in 1386. In the 15th century Santa Maria dell’Anima expanded to be a hostel for visitors from the entire Holy Roman Empire, though initially the occupants were primarily from the Low Countries and (from the middle 15th century) the Rhineland.

The foundation of the hospice was confirmed by the bull of Pope Boniface IX on 9 November 1399, which granted it indulgences.[3]

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