HOLY FATHER MOURNS DEATH OF CARDINAL IVAN DIAS – POPE PAYS HOMAGE TO TWO “INCONVENIENT” PRIESTS – WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2017: HISTORICALLY HIGH NUMBERS OF DISPLACED PERSONS

The last few days have been nonstop for Pope Francis who Sunday presided at the noon Angelus prayer with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square below his study window, and later in the day presided at the Corpus Christi celebration of Mass at St. John Lateran. That was followed by a procession with the Blessed Sacrament to St. Mary Major where Francis venerated the Eucharist and blessed the faithful who had joined in the celebrations.

Monday evening, before opening the diocese of Rome’s annual pastoral conference, Francis met with some refugees being cared for the diocese through Caritas. Francis, as Pope, is the bishop of Rome.

SS. Francesco – Famiglie rifugiati ospiti Caritas
19-06-2017-Servizio Fotografico – L’Osservatore Romano

SS. Francesco – Famiglie rifugiati ospiti Caritas
19-06-2017-@Servizio Fotografico – L’Osservatore Romano

Today, as you will see, the Pope flew to northern Italy to pay homage to two Italian priests whose stories I did not know – it was an interesting trip to follow.

I presume the rest of the papal day was dedicated to preparing the catechesis for tomorrow’s general audience. He did have time for a tweet (a reference to the celebration today World Refugee Day): The personal encounter with refugees dispels fears and distorted ideologies and becomes a factor for growth in humanity. @M_RSection

HOLY FATHER MOURNS DEATH OF CARDINAL IVAN DIAS

Pope Francis sent a telegram Tuesday to Francis Dias, the brother of Cardinal Ivan Dias who died Monday in Rome at the age of 81. The cardinal was the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and archbishop emeritus of Bombay:

Deeply saddened to learn of the death of your dear brother, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and the Dias family.  I recall with gratitude the late Cardinal’s years of faithful service to the Apostolic See, especially his contribution to the spiritual and physical reconstruction of the suffering Church in Albania and the missionary zeal demonstrated in his work as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.  I likewise unite my prayers to those of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Bombay, where the pastoral concern and broad apostolic vision that marked his service as Archbishop are fondly remembered.  In union of prayer with all who mourn his passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I commend the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.

Cardinal Dias was born on April 14, 1936 in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. He was ordained for the archdiocese of Bombay on December 8, 1958 and held a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University.

He entered the Holy See’s diplomatic service in 1964 and was posted to the Nordic countries, Indonesia, Madagascar, La Réunion, the Comorros, Mauritius and the Secretariat of State.

Cardinal Dias served as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urbanian University from 2006 until 2011.

With his death, the College of Cardinals numbers 220, of whom 116 are Cardinal-electors.

POPE PAYS HOMAGE TO TWO “INCONVENIENT” PRIESTS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday travelled to two small towns in northern Italy to pay homage to two Italian parish priests of the past century who championed the poor and challenged powerful prelates to step outside their comfort zones.

Arriving by helicopter in the Lombardy town of Bozzolo to pray at the tomb of  Don Primo Mazzolari, Pope Francis was greeted by Cremona Bishop Antonio Napolioni who announced the process to beatify Mazzolari will start on September 18th.

Don in Italian means Father.

Fr. Mazzolari, who died in 1959, was the parish priest of Bozzolo. He was also a scholar who wrote about St. Francis and Blessed John Henry Newman, an anti-fascist activist who opposed the Mussolini regime and an ardent champion of the poor. Sanctioned for a time by diocesan authorities, Mazzolari was a friend of Pope John XXIII and praised by the future Pope Paul VI.

Pope Francis’ lengthy tribute to Fr. Mazzolari – whom he described as Italy’s parish priest – was above all a call to priests not to demand perfection from the faithful, but to encourage them to do their best and an exhortation to them to take the Gospel message into the peripheries in poverty and with simplicity, turning away from the temptations of clericalism and careerism.

Francis then flew to Barbiana, near Florence, to pray at the tomb of Don Lorenzo Milani, a man he has described as “a believer, enamored of the Church”  a “passionate educator” who used “original ways.”

Fr. Milani, who died in 1967, is universally acknowledged for having been an optimum interpreter of modern and contemporary pedagogy, a priest attentive to formative methods for young people, and  especially alert to the needs of the poor and the rights of workers.

Fr. Milani, the Pope said, taught the importance of giving the poor the capacity to speak up for themselves, because “without the word, there’s no dignity and therefore no justice or freedom.”

Francis said he undertook the pilgrimage in the footsteps of two parish priests whose legacy he described as “scomodo,” which means challenging or inconvenient, but that has left a radiant trace in their service to the Lord and to the people of God.

WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2017: HISTORICALLY HIGH NUMBERS OF DISPLACED PERSONS

(Vatican Radio) At a time in history in which an unprecedented 65,5 million people around the world have been forced from home, we are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record.

Among them are nearly 22,5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

World Refugee Day, held each year on June 20th, commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of men, women and children who are on the move, in search of protection and opportunity.

Pope Francis has done so again and again, both in words and in action, as he has appealed to governments and policy-makers to heed the Christian message of welcome as well as dedicating many personal moments of encounter and prayer to refugees and forced migrants in different situations.

Marking the occasion is also the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) with its message to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. In an effort to make its message even stronger and more effective, this year it has done so joining forces with other faith-based organizations and released an ecumenical statement entitled “Refugees: an opportunity to grow together.”

Jesuit Father Aloysius Mowe, International Director of Advocacy and Communications for JRS told Linda Bordoni that as Christians, it is not enough to profess to love Christ because faith is authentic only if it is expressed in loving action and solidarity:

Click here for that interview: http://www.news.va/en/news/world-refugee-day-an-opportunity-to-grow-together

 

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE FOYER UNITAS IN ROME

Pope Francis is in Fatima, Portugal as I write and the television coverage has been riveting so far. I hope you take time during the 22 or so hours that the Holy Father is in Portugal to follow his 19th apostolic trip, and to that end, my only post today is a preview of “Vatican Insider” and my weekend guest-

If we want to give a spiritual bouquet of flowers to Pope Francis, we might do so by reciting the Rosary – perhaps a decade, perhaps five decades or maybe, over the weekend, all 20 mysteries, including, of course, the Mysteries of Light, the Luminous Mysteries.

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE FOYER UNITAS IN ROME

My guest this weekend on Vatican Insider is Donna Orsuto, co-founder and director of the Lay Center Foyer Unitas in Rome, and president of the Center’s Board of Directors. A long time resident of Rome, Donna will tell us what inspired her to found this center, where it is located – in one of the most beautiful settings in Rome! – and what the Center does for its students.

I know Donna and the Center fairly well as there is an annual dinner for visiting presidents of Catholic Universities at which two members of the media and an ambassador speak. I’ve been privileged to speak at this dinner for the past several years.

Donna Orsuto, among other things, is a professor of spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, has written two books and many articles, gives retreats and is active in ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.

In our conversation, Donna and I spoke of the beautiful grounds on which the Center is located, and I promised I’d post some photos for our listeners, so here are just a few I took that day:

.

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

 

FRANCIS REVIEWS HIS TRIP TO EGYPT AT GENERAL AUDIENCE

It is now 8 pm, and it has suddenly dawned on my that, after spending the day listening to and editing the interview I will present this weekend on “Vatican Insider,” preparing for this afternoon’s weekly phone conversation with Teresa Tomeo on “Catholic Connection” and researching and writing two segments for “At Home with Jim and Joy,” I had not prepared a single sentence for my daily column.

Well, there you have it, my day in a single sentence!

My only other offering for the day is a look at the weekly general audience:

FRANCIS REVIEWS HIS TRIP TO EGYPT AT GENERAL AUDIENCE

As is traditional at the weekly general audience that takes place following a papal trip, Pope Francis Wednesday spoke of his extraordinarily rich trip to Egypt where, in only 27 hours, he held meetings of great importance with religious leaders, including the Grand Imam of Al Azhar University, the summit of Sunni Islam teaching, and addressed the International Peace Conference organized by the Grand Imam. (photo: news.va)

He spoke of his visit to Al-Azhar, saying it was focused on both “dialogue between Christians and Muslims” and “the promotion of peace” in the world. Pope Francis summarized his address at the International Conference for peace, and emphasized Egypt’s history as a “land of civility” and a “land of covenant.

Egypt, said the Holy Father, recalling words from the Grand Imam al-Tayeb, “reminds us that peace is built through education, formation in wisdom, a humanism that includes the religious dimension, the relationship with God, as an integral part.” He explained that “peace is built on the relationship between God and men, and on the alliance between all human beings. This… is the foundation for a civil and social order in which all are called to participate.”

Pope Francis said Christians are called to be a “leaven of fraternity,” in Egypt and elsewhere. He described his meeting with Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Pope Tawadros II and their “Common Statement” as “signs of the commitment of Christians to that fraternity.”

Saturday, April 29, the second day of the papal trip, was dedicated to the Catholic faithful. It included Mass in a stadium with 15,000 faithful, a Mass the Pope called “a feast of faith and fraternity.” He also reflected on the final event – the meeting with priests, religious, and seminarians. He said the many seminarians in Egypt are a “consolation.

In conclusion, the Holy Father said Christians in the region, guided by their pastors, should be “salt and light” for the Middle East. He called his voyage to Egypt “a sign of hope, refuge, and help,” and said it “signifies walking together along the path of hope.” Pope Francis said Egypt is a “sign of hope” for fraternity, not just in the past, but also for the present day.

SHORT TAKES…..

Pope Francis tweeted this today, May 1: “May Saint Joseph give young people the ability to dream, to take risks for big tasks, the things that God dreams for us.”

Today is May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and the celebration throughout Italy and much of the world of Labor Day, a public holiday and this year a three-day weekend. Rome is extraordinarily quiet today, with most stores and all offices closing, and fewer busses and taxis running. In fact, on Sundays and holidays the number of busses and taxis are cut in half, so that taxis on those days number 4,000, not 8,000. You do not need a newspaper article to tell you this – just try waiting for a bus. The waiting time is longer than usual (and on some routes that can be quite long) and many bus routes simply do not function on those days. Tourist monuents and the Vatican, however, always have high numbers of visitors on holidays.

A huge rock concert takes place on this day every year on the grounds surrounding St. John Lateran basilica. The crowd has traditionally been really huge – several hundred thousand over the hours of the concert that ends around midnight. It may be larger than usual today simply by the fact that Italians had a long three-day weekend with the May 1 holiday.

It was a long weekend for Pope Francis – he was in Egypt for 27 hours Friday and Saturday and on Sunday, back in Rome, he addressed a massive crowd of members of Italian Catholic Action as they celebrated the 150th anniversary of this organization. He prayed the noon Regina Coeli prayer with all the faithful that spilled over into Via della Conciliazione.

Francis was in Egypt to attend the International Peace Conference at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Friday, after his arrival, he paid a courtesy visit to Egyptian President Al-Sisi. Afterwards, he went to Al Azhar University, the summit of Sunni Islam teaching where he heard an opening address by the Grand Imam, Sheik Ahmad Al-Tayeb. Francis told the conference that religious leaders must denounce violations of human rights and expose attempts to justify violence and hatred in the name of God.

Later, in a meeting with Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox leader Pope Tawadros II Pope Francis said the two communities must oppose violence and work more closely together to witness to Christ in the world.  Both agreed they must try to fix a common date for Easter among Christians.  Friday evening, an impromptu meeting took place when a group of  around 300 young people gathered in front of the apostolic nunciature in Cairo, where the Pope spent the night. He had brief remarks for the young people, blessed them, prayed the Our Father with them and said several words in Arabic.

Saturday at the seminary in Cairo, Francis told priests, religious and seminarians to be “sowers of hope, builders of bridges and agents of dialogue,” despite the many difficulties they face. At Mass at Cairo’s “Air Defense Stadium,” he spoke of the need to “proclaim our faith in the Resurrection precisely by living in a way that conveys our conviction.” He said, “the only fanaticism that believers can have is that of charity – any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him.” He returned to Rome Saturday evening.

SHORT TAKES…..

FRANCIS AND THE MEDIA ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (CNA/EWTN News) – In his conversation with journalists on the way back from Egypt, Pope Francis touched on an array of topics, including North Korea, populism and a possible visit from President Donald Trump. Click here to read full text of papal in-flight presser: (photos: news.va)  http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-pope-francis-in-flight-presser-from-egypt-24826/

POPE FRANCIS APPEALS FOR END TO VIOLENCE IN VENEZUELA – (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has appealed for an end to violence in Venezuela and for respect of human rights in the country where nearly 30 people have been killed in unrest this month. His appeal came on Sunday before the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square. “I make a heartfelt appeal to the government and all components of Venezuelan society to avoid any more forms of violence, to respect human rights and to seek a negotiated solution.” Decrying the “grave humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis that is exhausting the population,” the Holy Father said we are continuing to receive dramatic news of people being killed, injured, and detained. http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-appeals-for-an-end-to-violence-in-ven

FRATERNITY CAN GENERATE A JUST SOCIETY WITH DIGNITY FOR ALL -(Vatican Radio) On May 1st the Church  remembers Saint Joseph the Worker, a day marked across the globe as International Labor Day. Pope Francis’ thoughts in these days go especially towards young people as expressed in his May 1st tweet: “May Saint Joseph give young people the ability to dream, to take risks for big tasks, the things that God dreams for us,” many of whom are faced with unprecedented high rates of unemployment and socio-financial difficulties. And, in a message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences as it holds its Plenary Assembly in the Vatican on the theme “Towards a Participatory Society: New Roads to Social and Cultural Integration,” the Pope recalls the “hard battles” of workers during the 19th and 20th centuries which took place “in the name of solidarity and rights.”       http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-fraternity-can-generate-a-just-society-with-d

VATICAN INSIDER, A TRIBUTE TO MOTHER ANGELICA – EGYPT, IN FESTIVE MODE, ON FULL ALERT, READY TO WELCOME POPE FRANCIS – THE MODERN DAY PLAGUES OF EGYPT

AsiaNews has a great number of very good journalists and guest authors who write for them about current events, noteworthy people and historical moments in Asia and the Middle East. I felt the two pieces I offer below were newsworthy because of the papal trip, of course, but also because of the historical role of Egypt in the Middle East and on the world scene.

You can follow the various moments of Pope Francis’ 27-hour visit to Cairo via EWTN television, radio reports and on www.ewtn.com

When I was a member of the Holy See delegation to the 1994 UN conference on population in Cairo, we had dinner one night at the residence of the nuncio to Egypt, where Pope Francis will spend the night tonight. I remember it as a large, older home with some lovely gardens, a very private and tranquil setting in a bustling city of so many millions. If I find my photos (no digital cameras then!) I’ll post them.

VATICAN INSIDER, A TRIBUTE TO MOTHER ANGELICA

Just a brief programming note as I am dedicating most of today’s column and various additional posts on Facebook to Pope Francis’ apostolic trip to Egypt. My “guest” this weekend, so to speak, is Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization who, on March 27 celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the first anniversary of Mother Angelica’s passing. I offer his reflections in his homily as well as a brief  interview we did with him after Mass.

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

EGYPT, IN FESTIVE MODE, ON FULL ALERT, READY TO WELCOME POPE FRANCIS

by Loula Lahham

The President of the Republic al-Sisi personally supervising the security apparatus. Cairo wants to show itself as a tolerant, fraternal and welcoming country. Today, the intervention at al-Azhar peace conference. Over 35,000 people (accredited) for tomorrow’s Mass at the aeronautics academy. More extremist threats against Christians in Minya.

Cairo (AsiaNews) – Today, Friday, April 28, an Alitalia plane will land at Cairo International Airport, with His Holiness Pope Francis, and dozens of cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, interpreters and assistants.

For some days, security preparations have been at the highest level and are directly under the personal supervision of the President of the Republic. The goal is to show the world an Egypt characterized by tolerance, fraternity, solidarity, terms that run counter to those of all who perpetuate conspiracies and want to erode the nation, drowning it in religious obscurantism.

This goal has united everyone: the presidency, the army, the interior ministry and the local authorities. The streets that will be crossed by the papal cavalcade have been washed, the trees watered, parking banned in the neighborhood where the apostolic nunciature is located, which will host the Pope during his stay in Egypt. Tension is visibly growing. No mistakes will be allowed. Official Egypt wants to prove that it is up to an event of this magnitude.

Yesterday morning, the international peace conference, organized by al-Azhar, the highest instance in the Sunni Islamic world, began, in the presence of, among others, the spiritual leaders of the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Churches.

Al-Azhar –

The main theme of the conference will be the challenges and dangers that today pose a threat to world peace. And also, and above all, the “false interpretation of religious texts,” as the great imam of al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayeb has pointed out. Pope Frances speech is scheduled for this afternoon at the closing of the meeting.

Moreover, the spiritual leader of the Coptic orthodox expressed his joy in receiving the Holy Father for a very fraternal dialogue between “Catholics” and “Orthodox”. And at the end of this first day, Pope Francis will pronounce a special ecumenical prayer for the memory of all the victims who have died from terrorism of a religious matrix in Egypt.

On Saturday morning, April 29, at 10 am local time solemn mass will be celebrated at the Cairo military aeronautics stadium in the eastern suburbs of the Egyptian capital, which can hold up to 35,000 people. Priests have been called to participate in the liturgy and for the distribution of communion to the faithful; They will wear a stole bearing the official logo of the papal visit, with the slogan in English and Arabic: “The Pope of Peace visits an Egypt of Peace”.

The choirs of the six oriental Catholic rites (Coptic, Greek, Syro, Armenian, Maronite, Chaldean) have finished their preparations and the attendance of the faithful will only be admissible upon special invitations sent to some 237 Catholic churches as well as schools and religious institutes . There is a central altar dedicated to the Pope; the stadium stands are decorated with flags of the Vatican and Egypt. All or almost all preparations have been carried out by the Office of Religious Affairs and the Department of Egyptian Army Engineering. Several local and international television broadcasters will broadcast the event live.

The Pope will arrive half an hour before the scheduled start time for Mass and greet the crowd of the faithful who will have come from the four corners of the country from an open golf car. The Mass will last about 90 minutes and will be preceded by several documentaries on the Vatican and the Pope.

In an exclusive statement issued at the last moment, Msgr. Emmanuel Ayad, bishop of Luxor and head of the Egyptian organizing committee, said: “Everything is fine and the preparations are almost over. I am proud to see the participation of all the official bodies of Egypt in the context of this great event. Everyone is doing their best. The President of the Republic and the army did much more than we could have ever imagined. Moreover, we are faced with a visit not only to the local Church, but  one that has taken on a greater magnitude that embraces the entire Egyptian nation. The Pope is expected with great joy and excitment by all, all of Egypt loves him and sees in him a great builder of peace. ”

We should remember that while Egypt wants to portray a welcoming and tolerant image, yesterday the Christians in a village of the governorate of Minya (about 245 km south of Cairo) called Kom Al-loufi, could not pray in their church because of extremist threats.

THE MODERN DAY PLAGUES OF EGYPT

by Guy Djandji*

The country that Pope Francis will visit is afflicted by a failed economy, overpopulation, corruption, pollution, terrorism and fatalism. But it is home to a much bigger treasure than its millennial history: the joyous heart of its people.

Cairo (AsiaNews) – In the Book of Exodus, in the Old Testament, God deals with Egypt with ten punishments to punish the Pharaoh who prevented the Jews from leaving the country and persuading him to let them go. Among the calamities that Yahweh inflicted upon the Egyptians, we notice the most extreme: the water of the Nile turn into a river of blood; a plague of locusts swarm all over the earth; The country falls into darkness and, in the end, the most terrible, the death of the firstborn of Egypt. The rigor of these harsh punishments are striking. Today, Egypt is facing scourges that are equally devastating and which leave those who visit her with a sense of sadness mixed with impotence.

Why is the Egyptian people afflicted by such plagues? Will she ever heal and recover her good health?

Demographics: no doubt one of the major sources of poverty and instability in the country. The population is close to one hundred million and has a growth rate of more than 2.5%. Cairo, the megalopolis whose population is estimated at between 20 and 23 million, attracts hundreds of thousands of new arrivals from rural areas every year. Alexandria, the second largest city, is crumbling under the weight of a population of nearly seven million, which has tripled in 50 years. Egypt is crushed everywhere, its infrastructures cannot meet the demand. Large families are still considered a blessing and their prosperity is measured by the number of children. Religious and cultural factors are difficult to change.

BRIEFING ON PAPAL TRIP TO EGYPT APRIL 28-29 – ITINERARY FOR HOLY FATHER’S TRIP TO EGYPT – THE LOGO – EXPECTATIONS FOR THE PAPAL VISIT – ARCHBISHOP AUZA AT U.N.: HOLY SEE CONCERNED FOR MIDDLE EAST

Pope Francis leaves tomorrow on a two day apostolic visit to Egypt that is fraught with both perils and promises. EWTN television will cover all live events in collaboration with CTV (Vatican Television Center) and media coverage in general is expected to be massive and intense. Below are some reports on this papal pilgrimage  – a press briefing, thje itinerary and the hopes and expectations.

BRIEFING ON PAPAL TRIP TO EGYPT APRIL 28-29

(CNS) — Despite the ongoing risk of terrorism, Pope Francis plans to travel to Egypt as a sign of being close to the people there, said Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman.

Heightened security is part of the “new normal” in many countries, but even in the wake of the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt, it is the pope’s desire “to go ahead, to also be a sign of his closeness” to those affected by violence and all the people of Egypt, Burke told journalists April 24.

At a Vatican briefing outlining some details of the pope’s trip to Cairo April 28-29, a reporter asked if there were any worries or concerns about the pope’s security.

Burke, speaking in Italian, said he wouldn’t use the word “worries” or concerns, but would say that, “we live in a world where it is now something that is part of life.” He added, “However, we move ahead with serenity.”

The pope has requested that a “normal car” — not an armored vehicle — be used when he is driven from one venue to another, Burke said. It will not be an open-topped vehicle, he added.

The pope will use a “golf cart,” however, rather than the open-air popemobile when he makes the rounds through the crowds at the air defense stadium, where Mass will be celebrated April 29.

He also will use the golf cart for circulating among the more than 1,000 seminarians, religious and clergy expected to attend an outdoor prayer service at the Coptic Catholic Church’s St. Leo’s Patriarchal Seminary in the Cairo suburb of Maadi April 28.

Burke said that after Pope Francis’ private meeting with Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, at the patriarch’s residence April 28, the two leaders will go together to the nearby church of Sts. Peter and Paul, which had been bombed during a Sunday Mass in December 2016, killing 24 people and injuring at least 45 others.

They will pray “for all the victims from these past years and months, pray for Christians killed,” Burke said.

The two will leave flowers outside the church, light a candle and then have a moment of prayer for the victims from the December attack, the Vatican spokesman said.

Soon afterward, the pope will go to the apostolic nunciature, where he will be staying, and will greet a group of children who attend a Comboni-run school in Cairo and later will greet more than 300 young people who made a pilgrimage to Cairo to see the pope, he added.

ITINERARY FOR HOLY FATHER’S TRIP TO EGYPT

(CNS) Here is the pope’s schedule as released by the Vatican. Times listed are local, with Eastern Daylight Time in parentheses. Friday, April 28 (Rome, Cairo) — 10:45 a.m. (4:45 a.m.), Departure from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport for Cairo. — 2 p.m. (8 a.m.), Arrival at Cairo airport. Official welcoming ceremony at the Heliopolis presidential palace. Courtesy visits with el-Sissi and Sheik el-Tayeb. Speeches by the grand imam and the pope to participants in an international conference on peace. — 4:40 p.m. (10:40 a.m.), Meeting with local authorities. Speeches by el-Sissi and Pope Francis. Courtesy visit to Pope Tawadros. Speeches by Pope Tawadros and Pope Francis. Saturday, April 29 (Cairo, Rome) — 10:00 a.m. (4:00 a.m.), Mass in Cairo. Homily by pope. — 12:15 p.m. (6:15 a.m.), Lunch with Egypt’s bishops and the papal entourage. — 3:15 p.m. (9:15 a.m.), Prayer gathering with clergy, men and women religious, and seminarians. Speech by pope. Farewell ceremony. — 5 p.m. (11 a.m.), Departure from Cairo airport for Rome. — 8:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m.), Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport.

THE LOGO

(Vatican Radio)  The logo for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Egypt, which takes place April 28-29, has been released by the Egyptian Catholic Church.

The three main elements present in the logo are Egypt, Pope Francis, and Peace.

“Pope of Peace in Egypt of Peace” are the words in Arabic and English at the base of the logo.

Egypt is represented by the Nile River – a symbol of life – as well as by the pyramids and the Sphinx, which highlight the long history of civilization in this African country.

The Cross and Crescent Moon at the center of the logo represent the coexistence between the various components of the Egyptian people.

A white dove signifies peace, which is both the highest gift to which every human being can aspire and the greeting of monotheistic religions.

Finally, the dove precedes Pope Francis to announce his arrival as the Pope of Peace in a country of peace.

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE PAPAL VISIT

(Vatican Radio) Preparations are in full swing for Pope Francis’ upcoming apostolic visit to Egypt.

The Pope is scheduled to fly to Cairo on Friday 28th for a 2-day pastoral journey during which he will celebrate Mass, participate in a Conference for peace, meet with clergy, encourage the small Egyptian Christian community in their faith and of course promote and deepen inter-religious dialogue in the predominantly Muslim nation.

One of the highlights of the visit is his meeting with the Orthodox Coptic Patriarch, Tawadros II.

The Pope’s presence in Egypt is seen as particularly poignant in the wake of the Palm Sunday attacks on the Orthodox Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria.

Vatican Radio’s Stefano Leszjinsky spoke to missionary Sister Angela Colombi, Provincial of the Comboni Order in Egypt about her expectations for the Pope’s visit:

Sister Angela Colombi says all Egyptians are awaiting the Pope – not only the Christians!

“The Christians of course see in him not only a religious leader, but also a man of peace; the logo of the journey in fact says ‘The Pope of peace for Egypt – Egypt for peace’ – people see in him a person who is trying to tell the world we are children of the same God so why not live in peace?” she said.

Many of Sister Angela’s students will be present for the welcome ceremony for Pope Francis together with other school children and students from across Cairo.

She says they have been asked to wear their school uniforms and bring posters with the name of the school as well as Egyptian and Vatican flags.

“For me, she says, this will also teach the children to welcome – not only the Pope – but to have an attitude of welcome and to create an atmosphere of tolerance and welcome”.

ARCHBISHOP AUZA AT U.N.: HOLY SEE CONCERNED FOR MIDDLE EAST

(Vatican Radio)  The Holy See has expressed deep concern over the current situation in the Middle East and reiterated its support for a two-state solution in Palestine.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, made the comments in an address to the Security Council.

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Citing the “recent use of chemical agents in Syria” and the “Palm Sunday terrorist bombings in Egypt”, Archbishop Auza said, “The Holy See is deeply concerned with the current situation in the Middle East.”

He lauded Lebanon for “heroically” hosting millions of refugees from neighboring countries and territories in conflict.

In addition to this burden, he said Lebanon is also facing the threat of militias and armed groups operating within its territories.

Turning to the situation in Palestine, Archbishop Auza said, “Since 1947, the Holy See has constantly supported the two-state solution for the State of Israel and a Palestinian State to exist side by side in peace. The Holy See wishes to reiterate its belief that the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians can move forward only if it is directly negotiated between the Parties, with the strong and effective support of the international community.”

He warned against “unilateral decisions, acts of violence and inflammatory rhetoric” and said, “Pope Francis calls on both parties to listen to the voices of dialogue, show goodwill and extend gestures of encounter to give their peoples that peace for which their hearts deeply long.”

Click here for the full text of Archbishop Auza’s address: http://www.news.va/en/news/holy-see-deeply-concerned-over-middle-east-situati

HOPES FOR HOLY FAMILY WAY PILGRIMAGES IN EGYPT

AFRICA/EGYPT – There are hopes that Pope Francis’ visit to Egypt may boost plans for ‘Holy Family Way’ pilgrimages

Cairo – Pope Francis’ imminent visit to Egypt could be an opportunity for this important north African country to become a centre of pilgrimage for Christians the world over in the footsteps of the Holy Family who, according to the Gospels, took refuge here to save the life of the Infant Jesus threatened by King Herod. This is the opinion of Egyptian tourism experts who have for some time tried to fit Egypt into the circuit of Christian religious tourism, as a means to counterbalance, at least in part, the enormous losses suffered by Egypt’s tourist industry due terrorism and the general situation of instability in the region.

The most recent to view in this key the forthcoming visit of Pope Francis is Nader Guirguis, a member of the departmental Commission for promoting the Holy Family Way, who, referring to historical references based on the Gospel account, affirmed that ‘Flight into Egypt’ of Jesus and the Holy Family could possibly have lasted several years. Attacks on churches have obviously not affected the intention to propose Egypt as a land of pilgrimage for Christians all over the world, to visit places connected with Jesus and the Holy Family, preaching in the time of the Apostles and the earliest centres of Christian monasticism.

How to promote the “the Holy Family Way” – a pilgrim itinerary in places which according millenary traditions were visited by the Holy Family in Egypt – has for some time been a central issue for politicians and Egyptian tourist operators. At the beginning of 2017 Al Abdel Aal, speaker of the House of Representatives, during a visit to the Copt Patriarch offices, said the valorisation of the tourist project for an itinerary according to the path followed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph, was of interest and importance for all Egyptians, not only Christians .

The first proposals to promote also in a touristic key a Holy Family Way were made twenty years ago. At the end of 2016 – local sources told Fides – a Commission to promote the Holy Family Way chaired by Hisham el Demeiri was constituted at Egypt’s Tourism Ministry. More than two years ago an itinerary was born in the footsteps of the Holy Family in Egypt, which would start at Al-Arish – largest city of the Egyptian governorate of North Sinai and the scene of recent Jihadist violence against Copt Christians – and continue on to the Wadi Natrun delta, and reach the Asyut Holy Mary Virgin Monastery, known as Deir Al-Muharraq.

MARKING THE SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOSEPH – POPE ENCOURAGES RECONCILATION, SOLIDARITY, PEACE IN RWANDA – FRANCIS WELCOMES EL SALVADOR BISHOPS ON AD LIMINA VISIT – VATICAN PUBLISHES ITINERARY FOR PAPAL TRIP TO FATIMA

The main news story of the weekend was the Vatican’s confirmation that Pope Francis will make an apostolic trip to Egypt on April 28 and 29 in response to invitations from Egypt’s president, the Catholic bishops, Coptic Pope Tawadros II and the Grand Imam of the Mosque of Al Azhar. He will visit the city of Cairo on this, his 18th foreign pastoral visit.

Weekend papal tweets:

SATURDAY: I invite you not to build walls but bridges, to conquer evil with good, offence with forgiveness, to live in peace with everyone.

SUNDAY: May St Joseph, Spouse of Mary and Patron of the Universal Church, bless you and watch over you. And best wishes to fathers!

MARKING THE SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOSEPH

Yesterday was, of course, March 19, a day normally marking the solemnity of St. Joseph and a big day in Italy because this feast also marks Father’s Day. However, because it fell on a Sunday in Lent, the solemnity of St Joseph and Father’s Day were transferred to today. However, I’m willing to bet that many Italian families got together Sunday to mark La Festa del Papà, Father’s Day!

If your name in Italy is Giuseppe (Joseph) or Giuseppina, March 19th if your name day, your onomastico. There are Italians for whom the onomastico is more important than the birthday. Many best wishes were sent out yesterday to Pope emeritus Benedict as he was born Joseph Ratzinger. By the way, on this solemnity churches and schools that bear the saint’s name hold festive celebrations.

March 19 was dedicated to Saint Joseph on a number of calendars as early as the 10th century, and it seems this became tradition in Rome in Rome by 1479.

Pope Francis on Sunday at the Angelus recalled the beatification the previous day in Bolzano, Italy of Joseph Mayr-Nusser. He said: “Because of his great moral and spiritual stature, Blessed Joseph is a model for the lay faithful, especially for fathers, whom we remember with great affection today.”

The new Blessed was a married layman and head of a family and big supporter of Catholic Action. However, when he was conscripted into the German army in 1944, he refused to take the so-called “Hitler oath,” was sentenced to death, and died on the way to Dachau concentration camp.

POPE ENCOURAGES RECONCILATION, SOLIDARITY, PEACE IN RWANDA

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis received the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, in a private audience at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Monday.

President Kagame and his entourage subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

A communique from the Holy See Press Office said their discussions were cordial:

“During the cordial exchanges, the good relations that exist between the Holy See and Rwanda were recalled. Appreciation was expressed for the notable path of recovery towards the social, political and economic stabilization of the country. Likewise noted was the collaboration between the State and the local Church in the work of national reconciliation and in the consolidation of peace, for the benefit of the whole Nation.”

Pope Francis, it went on, “conveyed his profound sadness, and that of the Holy See and of the Church, for the genocide against the Tutsi. He expressed his solidarity with the victims and with those who continue to suffer the consequences of those tragic events and, evoking the gesture of Pope St John Paul II during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, he implored anew God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings of the Church and its members, among whom priests, and religious men and women who succumbed to hatred and violence, betraying their own evangelical mission.”

“In light of the recent Holy Year of Mercy and of the Statement published by the Rwandan Bishops at its conclusion, the Pope also expressed the desire that this humble recognition of the failings of that period, which, unfortunately, disfigured the face of the Church, may contribute to a ‘purification of memory’ and may promote, in hope and renewed trust, a future of peace, witnessing to the concrete possibility of living and working together, once the dignity of the human person and the common good are put at the centre.”

The Pope and the President then exchanged views “about the political, social and regional situation, with attention to those places that are suffering conflicts and natural calamities. A particular concern was expressed for the large number of refugees and migrants in need of help and support from the international community and from regional structures.”

FRANCIS WELCOMES EL SALVADOR BISHOPS ON AD LIMINA VISIT

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday received the prelates of El Salvador, who are in Rome for their ‘ad Limina Apostolorum’ visit.

Their visit takes place ahead of the March 24th feast day of the former Archbishop of San Salvador, Blessed Oscar Romero, and the 37th anniversary of his assassination by hired gunmen at the height of El Salvador’s civil war.

El Salvador, a Latin American Republic, has a population of around 6.5 million people, nearly 80 percent of whom are Catholic.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop José Luis Escobar’Alas of San Salvador and president of the Episcopal Conference said the primary pastoral challenges in El Salvador are “the defense of life, understood in its full sense as justice, truth and peace in a society marked by violence.”

He said the bishops are “working to recover family values, that is, of a solid and responsible family, which can save the whole of society.”

VATICAN PUBLISHES ITINERARY FOR PAPAL TRIP TO FATIMA

The Vatican today published the schedule of Pope Francis’ apostolic journey to Fatima, Portugal on May 12 and 13. (photo: news.va)

The Holy Father is scheduled to arrive at Monte Real air base on Saturday afternoon, May 12 where he will be welcomed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Afterwards he will be taken by helicopter to Fatima’s stadium of Fatima before travelling by car to the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima where he will pray in the Chapel of the Apparitions, greet pilgrims present, and recite the Holy Rosary with them.

On Sunday, Pope Francis’ will meet with Prime Minister António Costa at the “Nossa Senhora do Carmo” House, following which he will celebrate Mass in the square of the Basilica of “Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fatima.”

His final stop is a lunch with the bishops of Portugal at the “Nossa Senhora do Carmo” House. Pope Francis will then return to Rome via Rome’s Ciampino Airport.

Here is the papal itinerary:

Friday May 12, 2017

14:00     Departure by air from Rome Fiumicino airport for Monte Real.

16:20     Arrival at the air base of Monte Real:  Welcome ceremony.

16:35     Private meeting with the President of the Republic in the Monte Real air base.

16:55     Visit to the air base chapel.

17:15     Transfer by helicopter to the stadium of Fatima.

17:35     Arrival at the Fatima stadium and transfer by open vehicle to the Shrine.

18:15     Visit to the Chapel of the Apparitions:  Prayer of the Holy Father.

21:30     Blessing of the Candles from the Chapel of the Apparitions:  Greetings from the Holy Father & Recital of the Holy Rosary.

Saturday May 13, 2017

09:10     Meeting with the Prime Minister at the “Nossa Senhora do Carmo” House.

09:40     Visit to the Basilica of “Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fatima”.

10:00     Holy Mass at the churchyard of the Shrine:  Holy Father’s homily & Holy Father’s greetings to the sick.

12:30     Lunch with bishops of Portugal at the “Nossa Senhora do Carmo” House.

14:45     Farewell ceremony in the Monte Real air base.

15:00     Departure by air from the Monte Real air base, destined for Rome.

19:05     Arrival at Rome Ciampino airport.