To all my American family members and friends, have a wonderful, happy and safe Labor Day celebration on Monday!


Here we are, a new month and a new edition of Vatican Insider. But you know my guest in the interview segment, Msgr. Tom Powers, the new rector of the Pontifical North American College because Part I of our conversation aired last week, He told us how he was invited to be rector, stating “My priesthood has been one of saying yes to the Church.” He also explained all the duties of a rector.

This week he talks about the new freshman class of seminarians, highlighting how they all met and exchanged inspirational vocation stories. He spoke of the vocation stories as “moments of God’s grace,”   adding, “my work here, our work here, is to form men to the heart of Christ.”

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on 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.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.


Pope Francis sends a telegram expressing his solidarity to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the vice president of Argentina, after she narrowly survived an attempt on her life.

By Benedict Mayaki, SJ (vaticannews)

Pope Francis has sent a message of closeness to Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina, following reports of an attack on her on Thursday.

“Having received the disturbing news of the attack that Your Excellency suffered yesterday afternoon, I wish to express my solidarity and closeness in this delicate moment,” the Pope said in a telegram on Friday.

The Pope prayed that, “social harmony and respect for democratic values may prevail in dear Argentina, against all types of violence and aggression.” (APF photo or licensor)

Assassination attempt

The Argentine Vice President narrowly survived an assassination attempt late Thursday, after a gunman’s weapon failed to fire as he aimed at her.

Footage circulating online shows Fernández de Kirchner surrounded by a mob of supporters as a hand appears from the crowd holding a gun pointed at her face at close range. The weapon did not discharge and Fernández can be seen flinching and ducking.

Police said the gunman, identified as a 35-year-old Brazilian, has been taken into custody, according to the BBC.

Authorities are still attempting to establish a motive for the attack on the vice president.




Following is the telegram of condolences that Pope Francis sent to His Holiness Tawadros II, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, for the many victims of a fire in a Coptic church in Giza, Egypt. It was sent in the Pope’s name by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin:

His Holiness Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark,

His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened upon being informed of the recent fire at Abu Sefein church in Giza which caused the deaths of so many, including a number of children and Bishop Abdul Bahkit. In offering heartfelt condolences and the assurance of spiritual closeness to the injured and those affected by this tragedy, His Holiness entrusts the victims and their families to the merciful love of Almighty God and invokes upon all consolation and strength in the Lord.      Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State

A CNA news story reported that 35 children between two and six years of age were among the victims of the blaze that ripped through the Church of Saint Mercurius (known in Arabic as Abu Sefein), reported ACI MENA, CNA’s partner agency for the Middle East and Northern Africa.

In fact, twins and triplets were among the young victims.

The cause of the blaze has so far not been established. Reuters reported that an electrical fire broke out at the church where people gathered during the Divine Liturgy celebration. The blaze reportedly blocked the exit from the church and caused a stampede.



Just in: Following is the papal telegram sent by Pope Francis to Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia with a copy to Msgr. Jan Dubina of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, Vatican City. Cardinal Tomko will be buried in Kosice.

“In learning the news of the death of Cardinal Jozef Tomko, illustrious of this land, I wish to express to members of his family, to you, to the priests and to all the faithful my closeness and my condolences for the mourning that has struck the ecclesial community and the Slovak nation. In remembering this appreciated and wise brother who, supported by deep faith and a far-sighted gaze, served the Gospel and the Church with humility and self-denial, I think with gratitude of his long and fruitful work in the Holy See as a diligent and prudent collaborator of my predecessors. I also think of his prayerful spirit that saw him, at an advanced age, remain assiduous at the daily evening recitation of the rosary in St. Peter’s Square, giving pilgrims and tourists a beautiful and public testimony of love for the Holy Virgin. I ask the Lord to welcome this faithful servant of his to heavenly Jerusalem, and I cordially impart my blessing to those who mourn his departure, with a thought of gratitude for the Sisters of Mercy of St. Vincent de Paul Satma’rok who took such thoughtful care of him.”



You will really want to read this excellent piece by Bishop Robert Barron. You’ll probably end up wondering why we have not been inundated with similar cogent statements from more bishops. Our Catholic President and the Most Pressing Moral Issue of Our Time – Word on Fire


CARDINAL JOZEF TOMKO DIES AT 98 – Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, died in Rome at 5 a.m. on Monday, 8 August, aged 98. The Slovak-born Cardinal was the oldest member of the College of Cardinals. He was created a Cardinal in 1985 by Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Tomko died in his apartment in Rome, where he was cared for by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. He had been admitted to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on June 25 due to an injury to his cervical spine, and he had returned home on Saturday, August 6, to continue his in-home care, with a dedicated nurse. CONTINUE: Cardinal Jozef Tomko dies at 98 – Vatican News

POPE PRAYS FOR VICTIMS OF MASSIVE BLAZE AT CUBAN FUEL DEPOT – In a telegram, Pope Francis conveys his closeness and prays for those affected by a huge fire, caused by lightning strikes on the Matanzas Supertanker Base in Cuba. Pope Francis has expressed his closeness to the Cuban people and the loved ones of those affected by the massive oil-fed fire at Cuba’s Supertanker port in Matanzas over the weekend. The blaze began on Friday night after lightning struck a fuel storage tank at a depot in Matanzas. The fire spread to a second storage tank on Saturday morning, triggering further explosions. As of Sunday, Cuba appeared to have made some progress in bringing the fire under control, with the help of special teams sent by other countries. According to news reports, at least one person died, 17 firefighters are missing and 121 people have been hurt in the fire. CONTINUE: Pope prays for victims of massive blaze at Cuban fuel depot – Vatican News

POPE PRAYS FOR VICTIMS OF BUS CRASH IN CROATIA – Pope Francis offers prayers for Polish travelers who died in a bus crash on Saturday in Croatia, as they were headed on pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Praying that Our Lady intercede for the victims and their families, Pope Francis remembered the Polish pilgrims who perished in a bus crash in Croatia on Saturday morning. The bus was taking them on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. At least 12 people were killed, and another 32 were injured. Speaking after the recitation of the Sunday Angelus, the Pope expressed his condolences over the incident, offering prayers for all those who died, the injuried and their families. “I learned with sorrow the news of the bus crash yesterday morning in Croatia. Several Polish pilgrims on their way to Medjugorje lost their lives and others were injured. May Our Lady intercede for them and their families.” CONTINUE: Pope prays for victims of bus crash in Croatia – Vatican News

BISHOPS IN NICARAGUA ‘CLOSE’ TO BISHOP ALVAREZ UNDER HOUSE ARREST- In a statement released on Sunday, the Nicaragua’s Catholic Bishops express their fraternal closeness to the Bishop of northern Nicaraguan Diocese of Matagalpa, who has been stuck in his residence since Thursday under the accusation of allegedly inciting acts of violence. As he continues to be held under house arrest, the Bishops’ Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) have expressed their “fraternal” closeness, “amity and episcopal communion” with Bishop Rolando José Álvarez of Matagalpa. The outspoken bishop has been prevented from leaving his home since August 4, when the police stopped him from going to the local Cathedral to celebrate Mass after he voiced criticism over the government’s closing of five Catholic radio stations earlier last week. CONTINUE: Bishops in Nicaragua ‘close’ to Bishop Alvarez under house arrest – Vatican News

GALANTINO ON APSA FINANCIAL STATEMENT: CREDIBILITY IN SERVICE OF CHURCH’S MISSION – The president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) explains the 2021 Financial Statement in an interview with Vatican Media, noting a surplus of 8.11 million Euro and highlighting that the main objective remains evangelizing and providing aid to tenants in need. For the second consecutive year, APSA publishes its financial statement under the banner of total transparency. Bishop Nunzio Galantino, APSA president discusses the key figures of the 2021 Financial Statement, recalling that, as Pope Francis says in Praedicate evangelium, evangelization is a central priority of all Holy See entities. For this, credibility and earning the trust of those who use their talents and resources for the Church’s mission are crucial. Of the 38.11 million Euro operational income and the 30 million Euro allocated to the Curia, there is a surplus of 8.11 million Euro…. Q: Bishop Galantino, this is the second time the APSA financial statement has been published. Why has this not been done in previous years? CONTINUE: Galantino on APSA financial statement: Credibility in service of Church’s mission – Vatican News




Pope Francis decries a shooting in which six people were killed and over 30 injured at a Fourth of July parade in the northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov (vaticannews)

Pope Francis has decried the tragic shootings that killed six and wounded some 30 others during a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park on Monday, appealing for a rejection of all forms of violence, and a respect for life at all its stages.

The Holy Father did so in a telegram sent to the archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich. In the telegram, sent on the Pope’s behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, he said he was “deeply saddened” to learn “of the senseless shooting” that took place in the U.S., and asked the cardinal to convey his spiritual closeness to all affected by this attack.

Appeal to reject violence and respect life

The Pope said he “joins the entire community in praying that Almighty God will grant eternal rest to the dead and healing and consolation to the injured and bereaved.”

“With unwavering faith that the grace of God is able to convert even the hardest of hearts, making it possible to depart from evil and do good,” Pope Francis prayed “that every member of society will reject violence in all of its forms and respect life in all of its stages.”

Pope Francis concluded, by sending his Apostolic Blessing “as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord.”

U.S. Shootings

On Monday, a gunman on a rooftop opened fire on an Independence Day parade in the affluent northern Chicago suburb killing at least six people and wounding at least 30 others.

Police identified Robert E. Crimo III as a person of interest in the shooting and, after an hours-long manhunt, the suspect was taken into police custody.

The July 4 shooting marks the latest tragic shooting in the country, and takes place in the light of hundreds of others during 2022 that have plagued schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades.



I stole some time today to watch some of the royal events in London marking Queen Elizabeth’s 70th anniversary on the throne, her Platinum Jubilee. Beautiful tradition, pageantry and protocol – and a unique, remarkable woman at the center! Such fun to watch! As I watched, I thought back to 1980: I remember being in the San Damaso courtyard in Vatican City when Queen Elizabeth came to the Vatican in 1980. I took a few photos but also had a video camera and started filming but had to stop as I was not accredited at the time as a photographer!  I wonder where on earth that video is!  Will try to find it!  I remember being VERY impressed with the car that brought the Queen and Prince Philip into the courtyard, especially because it had both the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom and the flag of Vatican City State!  I did not know if that was usual protocol but I remember being impressed!

Now, read on…

Muslim and Protestant politicians receive Communion at German Catholic event | Catholic News Agency

How excruciatingly sad!

No wonder that the faithful are confused about the Catholic Church. The basic teachings of the Catholic faith today appear to vary from country, from diocese to diocese!

We profess to be the “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.”

Nota bene that that line in the Creed begins with the word “one.”

Right now it does not seem that we are “one.”

So people are asking: Who is right? Who (priest, bishop or cardinal) is following and teaching the Church’s Magisterium? Canon Law?   Who is not? Who is tweaking that teaching to be something else?

If we are “one,” can we have a bishop who cites Canon 915 (“Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion”) to ban a member of the faithful from communion, and other bishops who allow those who “persist in manifest grave sin” to go to communion?

What am I to think as a Catholic? Is that not beyond confusing for faithful Catholics who follow the Church’s Magisterium?

The Church’s teaching, her orthodoxy, her Magisterium are out there for all to see, read and know. It’s called Canon Law. It’s called the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s even called the Bible!

The website offers a resource page: The Holy See – Archive (

Don’t be put off by the amount of materials offered here for your study. If you have a specific question, choose a resource (most likely, Canon Law or the catechism) and ask that question. You might actually find that reading a bit of Canon Law is not only instructive, it can be very interesting! Those are the materials I use when I prepare articles for this page, explain papal documents, homilies or other communications as well as answer your questions.


Today, the start of four days of celebration for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee for her 70 years on the throne, Pope Francis sent a telegram of congratulations and prayers to the monarch.

“On this joyful occasion of your Majesty’s birthday,” began the Holy Father, “and as you celebrate this Platinum Jubilee year, I send cordial greetings and good wishes, together with the renewed assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will bestow upon you, the members of the Royal Family and all the people of the nation blessings of unity, prosperity and peace.”

Vatican news added that, “The Pope also said he joined with those expressing appreciation for her persevering and steadfast service to the good of the nation, “the advancement of its people, and the preservation of its illustrious spiritual, cultural and political heritage.”

The Vatican report also noted that, in recognition of the monarch’s commitment to the care of God’s creation, Pope Francis is donating a Cedar of Lebanon to the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. This invited people throughout the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee.”

Pope Francis met the Queen and her late husband Prince Philip, in 2014. She first visited the Vatican in 1951 as a princess and met Pope Pius XII. (Vatican photo)

As Queen, Elizabeth has met four Popes. On May 5, 1961, she was received by Pope John XXIII at the Vatican. In 1980, on a state visit to the Vatican, she met Pope John Paul II for the first time. In 1982, John Paul visited Great Britain where the two met again. In 2000, for the Great Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth again visited the Vatican and John Paul II. She met Pope Benedict on his 2010 visit to Great Britain: the two met in Edinburgh, Scotland. As noted, the Queen and Prince Philip were welcomed by Pope Francis in 2014.


David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament, died early this morning and reverberations were immediately felt around the EU. Tributes poured in to his office and family, describing him as a remarkable, immensely respected, even-keeled man of good judgment, with a sincere love of Europe and a desire to see it go forward in unity and peace.

The sentiments in the papal message of both praise and condolences were echoed in many languages and many countries throughout the day.


In a telegram of condolences following the death of David Sassoli, Pope Francis recalls the many virtues of the man, the journalist, the politician who was universally acclaimed as a sincere and passionate promoter of the EU’s identity.

By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

In a telegram addressed to Alessandra Vittorini, wife of David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, who died in the early hours of Tuesday morning following a serious illness, Pope Francis said he remembers him as a man of faith “animated by hope and charity.”

The message, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on the Pope’s behalf, expressed the Holy Father’s spiritual closeness at this time of sorrow, and assured Sassoli’s wife and two children of his heartfelt participation in the mourning that has struck Italy and the European Union.

Sassoli, 65, became President of the 705-seat European Parliament in July 2019. He was the second Italian president since the assembly was elected by universal suffrage. He was widely respected for being a strong defender of the EU’s core values, invoking a return to the spirit of its founders based on the rejection of conflict and nationalism and the promotion of peace and equality.

Pope Francis, who met him on various institutional occasions, said he remembers him as a man of faith, “animated by hope and charity, a competent journalist and an esteemed man of the institutions who, calmly and respectfully, in his public role and responsibility, did his utmost for the common good with rectitude and generous commitment. He described him as a politician who always promoted a vision of solidarity of the European community with lucidity and passion, and dedicated himself with particular care to the least.”

He concluded by raising prayers of suffrage and invoking the Risen Lord’s eternal peace and consolation for those who mourn his passing.

Pope Francis and Sassoli

On December 17 last, marking Pope Francis’ 85th birthday, David Sassoli had sent his best wishes to the Pontiff in an interview with Vatican Radio.

On that occasion, the President of the EU Parliament described Francis’ pontificate as a “magisterium that speaks to the world.” He also reiterated his pledge to work for a European Union that welcomes and protects migrants and the most vulnerable members of society, as discussed with the Pope during an audience in the Vatican in June. He also upheld Pope Francis’ appeal to guarantee a fair distribution of anti-Covid vaccines in the global south.

The EU in mourning

Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, released a statement following news of Sassoli’s death in which he described him as “a symbol of balance, humanity and generosity.” Qualities, Draghi said, that have always been recognised by all his colleagues, from every political quarter and every European country.

Flags at EU institutions were lowered to half-mast as praise for Sassoli poured in from across the political spectrum.

European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, a conservative who secured Sassoli’s backing within the EU parliament despite coming from different camps, said she had lost a dear friend.

“Today is a sad day for Europe. Our union loses a passionate European, a sincere democrat and a good man,” she told reporters. “He wanted Europe to be more united, closer to its people, more faithful to our values.”



I hit a double-header this morning when I went to Rome’s Spallanzani hospital for the booster dose of the Moderna anti-Covid vaccine. They were also offering the flu vaccine and I said ‘si’ faster than you can say ‘si’! Spallanzani is Italy’s premier research center and home to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

I was able to celebrate that good news by joining colleagues at the EWTN Rome bureau for another celebration – the 500th episode of “Vaticano”! A multi-flavored crostata was enjoyed by all (photo by bureau chief Andreas Thonhauser)

A very interesting Covid-related story comes from Austria whose bishops were due in Rome next Sunday for the start of their ad limina visit. According to the Catholic agency Kathpress, in an article that quotes the president of the Episcopal mconference, Archbishop Franz Lackner of Salzburg, the bishops have asked to postpone the ad limina visit because of the severity of the Covid pandemic and resulting full national lockdown. Their ad limina will now take place sometime in 2022.

All the bishops have been fully vaccinated. However, with travel so severely restricted now, it was considered prudent for them to remain in Austria, especially when citizens are limited in their movements.

According to a local website, Austria has paused leisure travel during its new national lockdown and will no longer accept PCR tests for entry. In Austria, due to the current Coronavirus infection situation, a temporary lockdown is in effect from 22 November until 13 December at the latest. Travel to Austria for touristic purposes will only be possible again after this period. Latest Information on the Coronavirus Situation in Austria

From the BBC: (Nov. 22) – Austria has returned to a full national lockdown as protests against new restrictions aimed at curbing Covid-19 infections spread across Europe. From midnight, Austrians have been asked to work from home and non-essential shops have closed.

Last week Austria became the first European country to make Covid vaccination a legal requirement, with the law due to take effect in February. Politicians in neighbouring Germany are debating similar measures as intensive care units there fill up and case numbers hit fresh records.


Pope Francis, through Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, sent a telegram of condolences and prayers to Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, for the tragedy that occurred Sunday in Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb: “The Holy Father asks you kindly to convey the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all affected by the tragic incident that recently took place in Waukesha. He commends the souls of those who died to Almighty God’s loving mercy and implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved. He joins you in asking the Lord to bestow upon everyone the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence and overcomes evil with good.”

Sunday afternoon in Waukesha, during what was to have been a festive Christmas parade, a man driving a red SUV sped through the parade of marchers, musicians, a group called Dancing Grannies and many young people, killing 5 and leaving more than 40 injured.

The driver, Darrell Brooks, now in custody, has a long criminal record and is a registered sex offender. He had recently been released from jail on a $1,000 bail.

On Monday, November 22, Archbishop Listecki released a video message about the Waukesha tragedy a day earlier, saying, “when confronted with the shock and the grief encountered by our brothers and sisters in Waukesha, it is now important for us to turn to our faith, which offers us God’s loving presence and consolation.”

The archbishop noted that, “among the injured are one of our Catholic priests, as well as multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children. …I know that people of every faith and tradition will call their communities together and offer to God, their sense of confidence in his ability to guide us through this difficult period and offer hope and healing.”




Pope Francis sends a message of solidarity to Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in the wake of an attack on his residence in Baghdad, Iraq’s capital

By Vatican News staff writer

Pope Francis has expressed his closeness to Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, after a recent attack on his residence, from which Al-Kadhimi came out unscathed.

The Prime Minister’s residence in Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone was attacked by an explosive-laden drone on Sunday. The drone struck the building injuring seven of the Prime Minister’s bodyguards and drawing condemnation from several quarters.

News sources say that three drones were used in the attack, but two were shot down.

“Following the attack on your residence in Baghdad, His holiness, Pope Francis wishes me to convey his prayerful closeness to you and your family, and to those injured,” read the telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

Pope Francis expressed hope that in condemning this “vile act of terrorism,” he is confident that with God’s blessing, the Iraqi people “will be confirmed in wisdom and strength in pursuing the path of peace through dialogue and fraternal solidarity.”

The Holy Father visited the Middle Eastern country from March 5 to 8 this year, making stops at Baghdad, Mosul, Qaraqosh and Erbil. The Prime Minister was part of the delegation that greeted the Holy Father upon his arrival at the Baghdad International Airport.

In July, Pope Francis received Al-Kadhimi in a private audience in the Vatican.

The Holy Father’s message joins the many voices condemning the Sunday attack on the Iraqi Prime Minister.

In an interview, Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, denounced the attack, describing it as an attempt to destabilize the state that is based on law, citizenship, order and justice. Cardinal Sako encouraged Iraqi Christians not to get carried away by opposing tensions but to pray for the good of the country.


The Vatican has released the program for Pope Francis’ one-day, private visit to Assisi to meet the poor on November 12.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis will travel to the Italian town of Assisi on Friday, November 12, on the occasion of the World Day of the Poor. The meeting in Assisi, St. Francis’ hometown, will be a private one, during which Pope Francis will share moments of listening and prayer with about 500 people from all over Europe.

Arrival of the Holy Father in Assisi at 9:00 a.m.

In addition to the authorities, who will greet him in the courtyard of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the Pope will be welcomed by the poor, who will form a symbolic “embrace” to welcome him. Some of the poor will also symbolically hand over to Pope Francis the pilgrim’s cloak and staff, indicating that all have come as pilgrims to the places of St Francis, to listen to his word.

In the Basilica

Testimony of six poor people (two French, one Polish, one Spanish, two Italians). Response of the Holy Father

10:30 a.m. Moment of pause to offer refreshments to the poor

11:00 a.m. Return to the Basilica. Moment of prayer with the Holy Father, Distribution of the Holy Father’s gift to the poor

Concluding greetings

The Pope returns to the Vatican by helicopter while the poor will be hosted for lunch by the Bishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino.


( – Most Catholics think of St. Peter’s as the pope’s main church, but they are wrong. St. John Lateran is the pope’s church, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome where the Bishop of Rome presides.

The first basilica on the site was built in the fourth century when Constantine donated land he had received from the wealthy Lateran family. That structure and its successors suffered fire, earthquake, and the ravages of war, but the Lateran remained the church where popes were consecrated. In the 14th century when the papacy returned to Rome from Avignon, the church and the adjoining palace were found to be in ruins.

Pope Innocent X commissioned the present structure in 1646. One of Rome’s most imposing churches, the Lateran’s towering facade is crowned with 15 colossal statues of Christ, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, and 12 doctors of the Church. Beneath its high altar rest the remains of the small wooden table on which tradition holds Saint Peter himself celebrated Mass. (JFL photos)

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Reflection: Unlike the commemorations of other Roman churches, this anniversary is a feast. The dedication of a church is a feast for all its parishioners. In a sense, St. John Lateran is the parish church of all Catholics, because it is the pope’s cathedral. This church is the spiritual home of the people who are the Church.



As you will see below, the Vatican today published the itinerary of Pope Francis’ September 12 to 15 trip to Budapest, Hungary and to Slovakia. It seems to be a jam-packed few days and hopes are high that the Holy Father will be returned to full health by departure day. I counted about 25 events, including plane trips, meetings, and various liturgies in three and a half days! (I have left the upper case references in the original report).


The following telegram was sent Tuesday afternoon in Pope Francis’ name by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to the Apostolic Nuncio in Iraq, Archbishop Mitja Leskovar:

“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life in the explosion at the al-Wuhailat market in Baghdad and he sends condolences to the families and friends of those who have died. Entrusting their souls to the mercy of Almighty God, His Holiness renews his fervent prayers that no act of violence will diminish the efforts of those who strive to promote reconciliation and peace in Iraq.” (AFP photo on Vatican media)


Following is the itinerary for the Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis to Budapest on the occasion of the concluding Holy Mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, and to Slovakia, (12-15 September 2021):

Sunday 12 September 2021 ROME – BUDAPEST – BRATISLAVA

06:00 Departure by airplane from Rome/Fiumicino International Airport for Budapest 07:45 Arrival at Budapest International Airport

07:45 OFFICIAL WELCOME at Budapest International Airport


09:15 MEETING WITH THE BISHOPS at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest Address of the Holy Father

10:00 MEETING WITH THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES AND SOME JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN HUNGARY at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest Address of the Holy Father 11:30 HOLY MASS at Heroes’ Square in Budapest Homily of the Holy Father Angelus

14:30 FAREWELL CEREMONY at Budapest International Airport 14:40 Departure by airplane for Bratislava

15:30 Arrival at Bratislava International Airport

15:30 OFFICIAL WELCOME at Bratislava International Airport

16:30 ECUMENICAL MEETING at the Apostolic Nunciature in Bratislava Address of the Holy Father

17:30 PRIVATE MEETING WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS at the Apostolic Nunciature in Bratislava

Monday 13 September 2021 BRATISLAVA

09:15 WELCOME CEREMONY at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava

09:30 COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC in the “Golden Hall” of the Presidential Palace in Bratislava

10:00 MEETING WITH AUTHORITIES, CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS in the garden of the Presidential Palace in Bratislava Address of the Holy Father



16:45 MEETING WITH THE JEWISH COMMUNITY at Rybné námestie Square in Bratislava Address of the Holy Father

18:00 VISIT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE PARLIAMENT at the Apostolic Nunciature in Bratislava

18:15 VISIT OF THE PRIME MINISTER at the Apostolic Nunciature in Bratislava


08:10 Departure by airplane for Košice

09:00 Arrival at Košice Airport

10:30 BYZANTINE DIVINE LITURGY OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM PRESIDED BY THE HOLY FATHER in the square of the Mestská športová hala in Prešov Homily of the Holy Father

16:00 MEETING WITH THE ROMA COMMUNITY at Luník IX district in Košice Greeting of the Holy Father

17:00 MEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE at Lokomotiva Stadium in Košice Address of the Holy Father

18:30 Departure by airplane for Bratislava 19:30 Arrival at Bratislava International Airport

Wednesday 15 September 2021 BRATISLAVA – ŠAŠTIN – BRATISLAVA – ROME

09:10 MOMENT OF PRAYER WITH THE BISHOPS at the National Shrine in Šaštin

10:00 HOLY MASS on the esplanade of the National Shrine in Šaštin Homily of the Holy Father

13:30 FAREWELL CEREMONY at Bratislava International Airport

13:45 Departure by airplane for Rome

15:30 Arrival at Rome/Ciampino International Airport