KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS MARK CENTENARY IN ROME – POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO MALTA MAY 31

It all depends on how you look at it – and this is fairly typical for a visit by a head of State or government to the Pope. These stories refer to the visit Saturday by Ukraine’s president who met the Pope and then Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and Abp. Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

Vatican press office communiqué:
Talks in the Secretariat of State were mainly devoted to the humanitarian situation and to the search for peace in the context of the conflict that, since 2014, is still plaguing Ukraine. In this regard, the hope was shared that all parties involved show maximum sensitivity towards the needs of the population, the first victims of violence, as well as commitment and consistency in dialogue. Issues related to bilateral cooperation and the contribution of the Catholic Church, present in the country in various rites, were also examined.

Secular news media:
(Breitbart) – ROME — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Pope Francis in the Vatican Saturday, during which Zelensky asked the pope to intervene to secure the release of Ukrainian prisoners of war. While an official Vatican communiqué said that discussions between the Ukrainian leader and Vatican officials focused on “the humanitarian situation and the quest for peace,” President Volodymyr Zelensky became much more specific in a tweet he sent out to followers in both Ukrainian and Italian.

(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked Pope Francis on Saturday for help to win the release of prisoners of war held by Russia and Russian-backed separatists. “(The pope) does everything possible to achieve peace and harmony throughout the world,” Zelenskiy said in a tweet after their meeting at the Vatican. “I asked for help with the release of Ukrainians captured in Donbass, Crimea and Russia.” Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its subsequent support for separatists in a conflict in eastern Ukraine.)

Interestingly enough, if you go to the Vatican site http://www.vatican.va, (the original portal) and go to the News summaries, the same stories do not appear on all language sites. For February 8, English had only two papal addresses and no mention of the visit by the president of Ukraine. The press office communique on the visit was in Italian and appeared only on the Italian language site.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS MARK CENTENARY IN ROME

Pope Francis this morning received members of the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus, led by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and noted, they are in Rome on a pilgrimage to “mark the centennial of the charitable activity of the Knights of Columbus in this city.”

“In fact, it was one hundred years ago,” said Francis, “that my predecessor Pope Benedict XV invited the Knights of Columbus to provide humanitarian aid to young people and others in Rome following the terrible conflict of the First World War. The Knights responded generously, establishing sports centers for youth that quickly became places for education, catechesis and the distribution of food and other essentials so needed at that time.

The Holy Father pointed out that, “in this way, your Order proved faithful to the vision of your founder, Venerable Michael McGivney, who was inspired by the principles of Christian charity and fraternity to assist those most in need.”

He underscored the work of the knights today, “in particular, your faithful witness to the sacredness and dignity of human life, evident at both the local and national levels. This conviction has also led the Knights of Columbus to aid, both materially and spiritually, those Christian communities in the Middle East that are suffering the effects of violence, war and poverty. I thank all the members of your Order for seeing in our persecuted and displaced brothers and sisters of that region neighbours for whom you are a sign of God’s infinite love.

He also noted the Order’s “unswerving devotion to the Successor of Peter. The establishment of the Vicarius Christi Fund is a testimony to this devotion, as well as to the desire of the Knights to share in the Pope’s solicitude for all the Churches and in his universal mission of charity. In our world, marked by divisions and inequalities, the generous commitment of your Order to serve all in need offers, especially to young people, an important inspiration to overcome a globalization of indifference and build together a more just and inclusive society.”

The knights are in Rome from February 7 to 13.

POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO MALTA MAY 31

The Holy See Press Office announced this morning that Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Journey to Malta and Gozo on May 31. He has accepted invitations from Malta’s president and civil and religious authorities.

The Vatican will publish the itinerary at a later date but today did reveal the logo and the motto: “They showed us unusual kindness” Acts 28, 2 (vaticannews photo. Church of St. Paul)

The logo of the visit shows hands pointing towards the Cross, coming from a ship at the mercy of the waves. The hands represent a sign of the Christian’s welcome towards his neighbor and assistance to those who are in difficulty, abandoned to their destiny. The boat recalls the dramatic story of the shipwreck of the Apostle Paul on the island of Malta (see Acts 27.27-44) and the welcome given by the Maltese to the Apostle and shipwrecked (see Acts 28.1-10).

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS VICE POSTULATOR FOR VENERABLE FULTON SHEEN – POPE FRANCIS SUMMARIZES ASIA JOURNEY AT GENERAL AUDIENCE – TRANSCIPT OF PAPAL PRESSER ON TOKYO-ROME FLIGHT

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS VICE POSTULATOR FOR VENERABLE FULTON SHEEN

As I mentioned last week in this same spot, you all know by now that the Vatican has approved a miracle through the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and the diocese of Peoria in Illinois where he is buried announced on Monday, November 18 that Sheen will be beatified in Peoria on December 21st.

Given that great news, last weekend I re-aired Part I of a conversation I had some time ago with Msgr. Richard Soseman, a pastor in the diocese of Peoria and also the vice postulator of the cause for sainthood of Archbishop Sheen. This weekend, I will re-air Part II of that conversation.

We talk about Msgr’s priestly life, his time studying in Rome and then working at Congregation for clergy, how his life and priesthood was impacted by Sheen, how he was assigned to the cause for sainthood, the role of a vice postulator and the miracle that led to Sheen’s beatification. A second miracle, by the way, is needed for canonization.

So stay tuned after the News and Q&A for Part II of that conversation.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

Here is Part I of my interview with Msgr. Soseman about Venerable Fulton Sheen – soon to be Blessed Fulton Sheen – that aired last weekend: https://soundcloud.com/ewtn-radio/vatican-insider-112319-archbishop-fulton-j-sheen

POPE FRANCIS SUMMARIZES ASIA JOURNEY AT GENERAL AUDIENCE

Though he had to be exhausted after his long and grueling trip to Asia, Pope Francis presided at the Wednesday general audience Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square. As is customary after an apostolic visit, Francis focused the general audience catechesis on his just-completed trip to Thailand and Japan. He began by thanking civil and religious authorities and all those responsible for preparing the visit.

“In Thailand,” said the Pope, “I met with the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch as a sign of esteem and of the importance of promoting respect and cooperation between the religions, and I encouraged the local Church’s support of the sick and poor at Saint Louis hospital. Among the highlights of my visit were the meetings with priests, consecrated men and women, the bishops and finally a group of young people. In the two celebrations of Mass we saw clearly how the Gospel is being inculturated among the Thai people.

“In Japan,” said the Pope, “the motto for my visit was ‘Protect All Life’: a vital theme for a county that experienced the devastation of the atom bomb and more recent disasters. I was able to spend time in prayer at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where I met with survivors and their families, and I repeated my appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In my meeting with young people, I encouraged them to face the future without fear by opening their hearts to God’s love in prayer and in service of others. I ask you to join me in entrusting the people of Thailand and Japan to God’s loving providence. May he bless them with prosperity and peace.”

During his audience, the Holy Father announced that on Sunday, December 1, he will go to Greccio in Italy’s Lazio region to pray at the site of the first living nativity scene set up here by St. Francis in 1223. It is said that Francis wished to attract pilgrims to the presepe or nativity scene in Greccio and to discourage them from going to the real first Nativity scene in Bethlehem because of the dangers to traveling pilgrims as the Holy Land was then under control of Muslims. Since 1223 there has been a living nativity scene here every Christmas season.

Francis previously visited Greccio on January 4, 2016.

Addressing Italian pilgrims, Pope Francis spoke of Albania and its people who have suffered greatly as a result of an earthquake that struck on Tuesday. The Pope said he was praying for the dead, the injured and their families and was close to all the Albanian people. He also noted that Albania was the first country in Europe that he wanted to visit.

TRANSCIPT OF PAPAL PRESSER ON TOKYO-ROME FLIGHT

Following is the transcript in English of the press conference held aboard the papal flight from Tokyo to Rome yesterday, November 26. As you will read at the end, “This unofficial transcript and translation is a collabortion of journalists at CNA, and its Italian and Spanish language news partners. Every effort is made for accuracy and clarity.”

I will go into detail in a separate post about the Pope’s remarks on Vatican finances, questionable transactions, possible corruption and the use of Peter’s Pence funds for investments such as buying real estate.

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-pope-francis-in-flight-press-conference-from-japan-36598

POPE FRANCIS’ FINAL DAY IN JAPAN – THERE’S ALSO THIS….

POPE FRANCIS’ FINAL DAY IN JAPAN

Pope at Sophia University in Japan: Seek, find, and spread Divine Wisdom
Pope Francis visits Sophia University in Tokyo at the conclusion of his Apostolic Visit to Japan, and affirms that “quality education should not be the privilege of a few.” (+ VIDEO) https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-at-sophia-university-seek-find-and-spread-divine-wisdom.html

Social media takes on personal face as Pope visits Sophia University
As Pope Francis concludes his Apostolic Journey to Japan, students and staff at Sophia University wonder at how they came to greet him in person. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-11/tokyo-japan-sophia-university-welcomes-pope-francis.html

Pope bids farewell to Japan, leaves hearts overflowing with gratitude
Pope Francis concludes his Apostolic Journey to Japan, fulfilling his dream to be a missionary to the country and spurring the Japanese Church to protect all life. It was a bittersweet farewell that Pope Francis bade to the people of Japan on Tuesday, as he boarded the papal plane at Tokyo-Haneda airport. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-departs-japan-journey-overview.html

THERE’S ALSO THIS….
The Holy Father has named Msgr. Robert J. McClory of the clergy of the archdiocese of Detroit and rector of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Michigan as bishop of Gary in Indiana. His Vatican bio notes that in addition to his native English, he speaks, Italian, Spanish and knows sign language.

A longer biography can be read here: https://www.shrinechurch.com/monsignor-robert-j-mcclory-bio/

In part: Monsignor Robert J. McClory is the Pastor and Rector of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Michigan. He was appointed by Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron on July 1, 2017. As a newly ordained priest he offered his first Mass at Shrine on May 23, 1999.

He currently serves on the Archdiocese of Detroit Episcopal Council, College of Consultors, Priest Assignment Board, and New Evangelization Council. He is a leadership consultant with the Catholic Leadership Institute, offering leadership training to priests, deacons, seminarians, parish and diocesan leaders. He serves as the spiritual advisor to Detroit Team Eight for Teams of Our Lady, a marriage enrichment apostolate.

He has earned degrees at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and completed his license in canon law at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He is a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a third degree Knight of Columbus.

ROMAN CURIA NEWS: In the event you want to occasionally follow news from a few of the congregations, councils, dicasteries and other offices in the Roman Curia, here are some interesting links:

Click to access newsletter27.pdf

http://www.laityfamilylife.va/content/laityfamilylife/en.html

This was the highlight piece of news from Laity, Family and Life: On the Feast of Christ the King, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life is happy to announce the establishment of an International Youth Advisory Body made up of 20 young people from different regions of the world and some international movements, associations and communities. A specific request was made in the Final Document of the 2018 Synod for the creation of an entity like this in order to reinforce the work being done by the Youth Office of the Dicastery (cf. no. 123).

POPE FRANCIS IN JAPAN – AMERICAN BISHOPS CONTINUE AD LIMINA VISITS TO ROME

POPE FRANCIS IN JAPAN

The Holy Father has had an amazing trip to Asia, first in Thailand as you saw from the colorful photos and videos and media reports, and now in Japan where he arrived late afternoon on Saturday, November 23. He is due back in Rome tomorrow, November 26, when he will surely visit Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) and the image he so loves and that is so dear to Romans, Salus Populi Romani (Protectress or salvation of the Roman people).

Pope Francis’ final day in Japan is tomorrow, November 26. His schedule includes Mass with Jesuits in the chapel of Sophia University, followed by breakfast and a private meeting with the Collegium Maximum and a visit of the university. After a ceremony at Tokyo-Haneda airport, the papal plane departs for Rome at 11:35 local time, arriving back in Rome at 5:15 pm Rome time. There is an 8-hour time difference between Tokyo and Rome. The flight to Rome is estimated to take over 12 and a half hours.

Following are links to Vatican news reports of the various stops, visits and events of Pope Francis in Japan (Several have videos). The last Pope to visit Japan was Pope St. John Paul in 1981. The photo slideshow is from vaticannews.va

NOVEMBER 23

Pope to Japanese bishops: witness to the Gospel and protect life
In his first meeting in Japan, Pope Francis encourages Japan’s tiny Catholic community to witness daily to the Lord by protecting life and proclaiming the Gospel of compassion and mercy. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-visit-japan-bishops-message.html

NOVEMBER 24
Pope in Nagasaki urges commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons – News Video
Visiting the Peace Memorial in Nagasaki on Sunday morning, Pope Francis confirms that peace and security cannot be guaranteed through false security based on fear and mutual mistrust. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/news-video-pope-nagasaki-urges-nuclear-free-world.html

The Pope’s day in Nagasaki and Hiroshima
A sixty-second video sums up Pope Francis’ poignant day in two Japanese cities that symbolise the tragedy of nuclear warfare: Nagasaki and Hiroshima. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-apostolic-visit-japan-nagasaki-hiroshima-video.html

Pope in Hiroshima: Use and possession of atomic energy for war is immoral
On his first full day in Japan, Pope Francis visits the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and describes it as a place where death and life, loss and rebirth, suffering and compassion have met. He reaffirms that the use and possesson of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-in-hiroshima-use-and-possession-of-atomic-energy-for-war-i.html

NOVEMBER 25
Pope to victims of Japan’s “triple disaster”: We are part of one another
Pope Francis meets with victims of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident that struck the Japanese city of Fukushima in 2011. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-to-victims-of-triple-disaster-we-are-part-of-one-another.html

Pope Francis meets victims of Japan’s “triple disaster” – News Video
On his third day in Japan, Pope Francis meets the victims of the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident of 2011. He reminds us we are all members of one family, and that if one member suffers, we all do. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-meets-victims-of-japan-s-triple-disaster.html

Pope Francis meets with Japan’s Emperor Naruhito
Pope Francis meets with the Emperor of Japan, Naruhito, at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on Monday. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-private-meeting-japan-emperor.html

Pope to young people in Tokyo: ‘Japan needs you, the world needs you!’
One rendezvous Pope Francis never misses during an Apostolic Visit abroad is meeting with young people, “the builders of tomorrow’s society”. That meeting took place on the penultimate day of his visit to Japan, when he took time to meet with the youth in Tokyo. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-tokyo-japan-meeting-young-people.html

Pope at Mass in Tokyo: Gospel of life urges us to be a “field hospital”
Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Monday afternoon at the Tokyo Dome stadium. In his homily, the Pope says we need to get our priorities right, in line with the life of Jesus. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-journey-japan-mass-tokyo0.html

Pope to authorities: your heritage is precious, your morals high
Pope Francis addresses members of civil society and the diplomatic corps, in Japan, and urges them to cherish their precious cultural heritage, maintaining solidarity with all members of our human family. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-address-authorities-civil-society-japan.html

Pope receives Scholas Occurrentes on its launch in Japan
On the penultimate day of his November 19-26 Apostolic Journey in Thailand and Japan, Pope Francis met representatives of the Scholas Occurrentes at the Apostolic Nunciature in Japan. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apsotolic-journey-japan-sholas-occurrentes-inaugura.html

AMERICAN BISHOPS CONTINUE AD LIMINA VISITS TO ROME

American bishops from New Jersey and Pennsylvania are in Rome for their ad limina visit. The last time that U.S. prelates were in Rome for an ad limina (they are normally held every five years, the mandatory quinquennial ad limina apostolorum (to the threshold of the Apostles) was in 2011 with Pope Benedict.

New Jersey has 5 Latin rite dioceses and 2 Eastern rite dioceses, Pennsylvania has 8 Latin rite dioceses and 2 Eastern rite. Only Latin Rite bishops are in Rome for this 2019-2020 series of ad limina visits that end in January. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have a total of 32 bishops, including auxiliaries and emeritus bishops.

The bishops will be visiting various congregations, pontifical councils, dicasteries and other Roman Curial offices during the week and will have an audience with Pope Francis on Friday. They are scheduled to be at the Thanksgiving Day festivities on November 28 at the North American College that include a late afternoon Mass to be celebrated by Bishop James Chechhio of Metuchen, New Jersey, former rector of NAC. An abundant turkey dinner for invited guests will follow Mass.

VATICAN INSIDER: VICE POSTULATOR SPEAKS ABOUT ARCHBISHOP SHEEN – THE HOLY FATHER IN THAILAND

VATICAN INSIDER: VICE POSTULATOR SPEAKS ABOUT ARCHBISHOP SHEEN

You must all know by now that the Vatican has approved a miracle through the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen and that on Monday, November 18, the diocese of Peoria in Illinois where he is buried announced that Sheen will be beatified in Peoria on December 21st. Given that great news, this weekend and next in the interview segment of Vatican Insider, we are re-airing a conversation I had with Msgr. Richard Soseman, a pastor in the diocese of Peoria and also the vice postulator of the cause for sainthood of Archbishop Sheen.

We talk about Msgr. Soseman’s priestly life, his time studying in Rome and then working at Congregation for clergy, how his life and priesthood was impacted by Sheen, how he was assigned to the cause for sainthood, the role of a vice postulator and the miracle that led to Sheen’s beatification. A second miracle, by the way, is needed for canonization. So stay tuned after the news highlights and a Q&A for Part I of that conversation.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

THE HOLY FATHER IN THAILAND

What it means to be a Christian
Pope Francis meets with priests, religious, consecrated men and women, seminarians and catechists in Bangkok, and shares guidelines on how to achieve apostolic fruitfulness, and on what it means to be a Christian. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-in-thailand-what-it-means-to-be-a-christian.html

Pope to Bishops: Holy Spirit is the protagonist of mission
Pope Francis addresses the Bishops of Thailand and of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) at the Shrine of Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung in Bangkok. The Pope began his discourse to the Bishops by placing their meeting under the “watchful gaze” of Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd, “so that his example may inspire us with a great zeal for evangelization in all the local Churches of Asia.” https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-to-bishops-in-thailand-be-servants-not-managers.html

Encounter and mutual dialogue needed in a challenging world
Pope Francis meets Christian leaders and leaders of other religions at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, telling them co-operation and mutual respect are needed more than ever in a world filled with complex challenges. In 1897, Thailand’s King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) visited Rome and met Pope Leo XIII, the first time that a non-Christian Head of State was received in the Vatican. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-encounter-mutual-dialogue-needed-in-a-challenging-world.html

Pope to youth in Thailand: rooted in faith through friendship with Jesus
Pope Francis celebrates Mass for young people Friday evening in Bangkok’s Cathedral. A strong faith based on a deep friendship with Jesus, he says, will see them through life’s difficulties, as their elders testify. Pope Francis is asking the young people of Thailand to be deeply rooted and anchored in their faith by cultivating a friendship with Jesus, saying it will provide them with the oil needed to light up the path of their life and those of others around them. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-journey-thailand-mass-youth.html

POPE FRANCIS’ APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THAILAND

Update on papal trip to Thailand from Vaticannews.va:

POPE FRANCIS’ APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THAILAND

The King and the Pope
On his first full day in Bangkok, Pope Francis meets privately with King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the official protector of Buddhism in Thailand. One event of his 32nd Apostolic Visit abroad that took place far from the public eye was Pope Francis’ private meeting with the King of Thailand. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-thailand-king-vajiralongkorn.html

Pope hospital visit: Jesus close to us in our frailty and in our wounds
Pope Francis visits the patients and staff of the St. Louis Hospital in Bangkok, which this year is celebrating the 120th anniversary of its foundation. The St. Louis Hospital in Bangkok was founded in 1898 by the Apostolic Victor of Siam, Archbishop Louis Vey. Its mission is based on the motto “Where love is, there God is.” Today the hospital is run by a team of doctors, nurses and researchers with the help of state of the art medical equipment. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-hospital-visit-jesus-close-to-us-in-our-frailty-and-in-our.html

Pope in Thailand: Catholics and Buddhists can live as “good neighbours”
On his first full day in Thailand, Pope Francis meets the Buddhist Supreme Patriarch and confirms the Church’s commitment to open and respectful dialogue in the service of peace. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-in-thailand-catholics-and-buddhists-can-live-together.html

Pope in Thailand: the commitment to live in justice, solidarity and harmony
Pope Francis delivers his first official discourse in Thailand to members of government, civil and religious leaders, and the diplomatic corps. Among other things, he reminds them that being at the service of the common good is one of the noblest tasks anyone can undertake. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-in-thailand-the-commitment-to-live-in-justice-solidarity.html

Pope urges Thailand’s Catholics to be missionary disciples
Pope Francis celebrates his first public Mass on Thai soil Thursday evening at Bangkok’s National Stadium. Reflecting on the Gospel of the memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he speaks about what missionary discipleship consists in. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-visit-thailand-mass-bangkok.html

Pope’s first Mass in Thailand – photo gallery
Celebrating his first public Mass at the National Stadium in the Thai capital, Bangkok, the Pope speaks about what missionary discipleship consists in. Pope Francis is in Thailand to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam in 1669 that formally marked the beginning of the Church in the country. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-visit-thailand-mass-bangkok-photogallery.html

DECKING-OUT PAPAL VENUES IN THAILAND (+ VIDEO) – POPE ON BOARD TO JOURNALISTS: MAKE KNOWN THESE CULTURES FAR FROM THE WEST – POPE ARRIVES IN THAILAND AT THE START OF 32ND APOSTOLIC JOURNEY

DECKING-OUT PAPAL VENUES IN THAILAND (+ VIDEO)

Let’s take a glimpse of some of the places Pope Francis will be visiting during his three-day visit to Thailand.

Pope Francis is on a seven-day apostolic journey to Asia. His first stopover is in Thailand, where Catholics number around 300,000. The Pope will focus on confirming the faith of this small Catholic community, promoting interreligious dialogue and paving the way for peace and understanding in a predominantly Buddhist country. In a video message sent to the people of Thailand, the Pope expressed his hope that his visit will “strengthen the bonds of friendship with many Buddhist brothers and sisters.”

Enjoy the video! https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-apostolic-visit-thailand.html

POPE ON BOARD TO JOURNALISTS: MAKE KNOWN THESE CULTURES FAR FROM THE WEST

On board the flight that took Pope Francis to Thailand, the first stop of his 32nd apostolic journey, he greeted journalists and thanked them for their work. Before leaving Rome, he met with some elderly people in the Casa Santa Marta.


Alessandro Di Bussolo – Vatican City

On the flight to Thailand, the first stage of his 32nd apostolic journey and the fourth to East Asia, the Pope greeted journalists on board saying, “Good evening, thank you for accompanying me on this journey, thank you for your work, it is so good for people to be informed, to know these cultures that are far from the West”.

“Make known these cultures far from the West”
At Fiumicino airport and before boarding the Alitalia plane, the Pope greeted civil and religious authorities. Then, as usual, with his briefcase in his left hand, he climbed the steps to reach the aircraft entrance door. From here, shortly before taking his seat, he briefly stopped to greet the 58 year-old Captain Alberto Colautti, who has 15,000 hours of flight time to his credit. He also greeted the three co-pilots and the six flight attendants who were waiting for him.

On Tuesday evening at 6 p.m, before leaving the Casa Santa Marta for Fiumicino airport, Pope Francis met with a dozen elderly people hosted by the Little Sisters of the Poor in San Pietro in Vincoli. The group was accompanied by the Papal Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.

Click here for photos: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-on-board-to-journalists-make-known-these-cultures-far-from.html

POPE ARRIVES IN THAILAND AT THE START OF 32ND APOSTOLIC JOURNEY

Pope Francis arrives at Bangkok Airport after an eleven-hour flight from Rome. Thailand is the first stop on a seven day Apostolic Journey to Asia taking him to Thailand and Japan.

The plane carrying the Pope, his entourage and around 70 journalists and media professionals, arrived in Bangkok just after noon, local time, on Wednesday.

This is Pope Francis’ 32nd Apostolic Journey, taking him to Thailand until 23 November and then Japan until 26 November. Confirming these nation’s small Catholic communities in the faith, promoting interreligious dialogue, defending life and the environment: these are just some of the themes underlining the visit.

Arrival ceremony in Bangkok
A representative of the Royal Council of Thailand, and another six authorities representing the Thai government, met the Pope on his arrival, together with members of the Thai Bishops’ Conference. There were also 11 children representing the dioceses of Thailand where Catholics number around 300,000.

The Pope’s motorcade then left immediately for the nunciature where Pope Francis is expected to rest before the first full day of the visit begins on Thursday.

The first papal appointments
The Pope’s first appointment on Thursday is at Government House where the official welcome ceremony will take place. Pope Francis will meet privately with Thai Prime Minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, before addressing authorities, members of civil society and the diplomatic corps. Immediately afterwards, he will visit the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch, Somdej Phra Maha Muneewong, at the Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram Temple.

Before lunch, Pope Francis will meet medical staff and a group of patients at the St. Louis Hospital in Bangkok. This important healthcare facility was founded by Catholics in 1898. In the afternoon, the Pope will pay a private visit to the King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn Rama X, at the Amphorn Royal Palace.

The Pope’s first full day of events will conclude with the celebration of a Mass with young people in the National Stadium of Bangkok.

PAPAL TRIP TO THAILAND AND JAPAN STARTS THIS EVENING – CARDINAL PAROLIN: POPE TRAVELS TO THAILAND, JAPAN TO PROMOTE LIFE AND PEACE – TUESDAY IN THE VATICAN

I get an email daily from http://www.FranciscanMedia.org about the saint of the day and today I thought that perhaps you’d be interested in a saint from Assisi with whom you might not be that familiar – St. Agnes! Here is her story….

Born Caterina Offreducia, Agnes was the younger sister of Saint Clare, and her first follower. When Caterina left home two weeks after Clare’s departure, their family attempted to bring her back by force. They tried to drag her out of the monastery, but her body suddenly became so heavy that several knights could not budge it. Her uncle Monaldo tried to strike her but was temporarily paralyzed. The knights then left Caterina and Clare in peace. Saint Francis himself gave Clare’s sister the name Agnes, because she was gentle like a young lamb.

Agnes matched her sister in devotion to prayer and in willingness to endure the strict penances that characterized the Poor Ladies’ lives at San Damiano. In 1221, a group of Benedictine nuns in Monticelli near Florence asked to become Poor Ladies. Saint Clare sent Agnes to become abbess of that monastery. Agnes soon wrote a rather sad letter about how much she missed Clare and the other nuns at San Damiano. After establishing other monasteries of Poor Ladies in northern Italy, Agnes was recalled to San Damiano in 1253, as Clare lay dying.

Three months later Agnes followed Clare in death, and was canonized in 1753.

Reflection: God must love irony; the world is so full of it. In 1212, many in Assisi surely felt that Clare and Agnes were wasting their lives and were turning their backs on the world. In reality, their lives were tremendously life-giving, and the world has been enriched by the example of these poor contemplatives.

PAPAL TRIP TO THAILAND AND JAPAN STARTS THIS EVENING

Pope Francis is expected to start his 32nd foreign apostolic trip today when he departs the Santa Marta residence this evening about 6:20 for Rome’s Fiumicino Airport for his flight to Bangkok, Thailand, the first leg of his trip to Asia. He will also visit Japan before returning to Rome.

The papal plane is scheduled to leave at 7 pm, Rome time, arriving Wednesday, November 20 at 12:30 local time at Bangkok’s Military Air Terminal 2 where there will be an official welcome ceremony. Interestingly, it seem that no Thai media will be on the papal plane but Japan is present with nine media representatives out of an estimated 70 press people aboard the plane.

No events are planned for the Pope and his entourage on Wednesday. On Thursday, however, his Thai visit starts with a welcome ceremony at 9 am local time at the Government House where he will meet the prime minister and then a greeting and speech to civil authorities and members of the diplomatic corps.

CARDINAL PAROLIN: POPE TRAVELS TO THAILAND, JAPAN TO PROMOTE LIFE AND PEACE

In the run-up to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Thailand and Japan, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin says the Pope will highlight the themes of mission, environmental protection, and peace.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews.va)

Pope Francis travels to Thailand from 19-23 November, and to Japan from 23-26, as part of his 32nd Apostolic Journey.

In an interview with Vatican News’ Massimiliano Menichetti on Monday, the Vatican Secretary of State gave some indication about the Pope’s hopes and the themes he intends to highlight.

Centered on the human person
Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the world has undergone vast changes since Pope St. John Paul II visited Thailand in May 1984 and Japan in February 1981. Globalization, he said, has made it much smaller, allowing people to speak face-to-face despite stunning physical distances.

But, he added, Pope Francis wants to travel to far-flung places in order to encounter people in the flesh, because, “the human person lies at the heart of the Church’s attention.” The Church must proclaim the Gospel to each and every person, the Cardinal said, to help them answer life’s difficult questions and to help them find meaning.

Thailand: Missionary disciples
Asked about the visit to Thailand, Cardinal Parolin said Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of the Jesuit missionaries who first proclaimed the Gospel there 350 years ago. Thus, he said, an important part of the Pope’s message will regard the Christian call to be missionary disciples.

Cardinal Parolin said the Pope will likely encourage the estimated 400,000 Catholics in Thailand to open themselves to the Holy Spirit, “the true protagonist” of the mission. Mission, he said, “is fulfilled in a fullness that transforms itself into attraction and witness.”

Japan: Denuclearization and peace
Cardinal Parolin then turned to the second part of the Pope’s visit.

“The Japan leg of the journey will be particularly important,” he said, adding that the Pope will likely encourage efforts toward denuclearization.

The Cardinal called Japan “a complex nation” that has “suffered greatly” due to the two nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, though it has made a magnificent recovery. He said the nation finds itself “between tradition and innovation,” as it searches for responses to global problems.

While in Japan, he said, the Pope will touch on “care for our common home, the pursuit of peace, and disarmament as a requisite for peace.”

Pope hopes to share people’s lives
Finally, the Cardinal Secretary of State said Pope Francis travels to Asia to be “close the people entrusted to him, desiring to share their joys, expectations, and hopes, as well as their sorrows, sufferings, and contradictions.”

As the Pope meets with the local Catholic communities, Cardinal Parolin said, he will also proclaim several messages that are “valid for the whole world and the entire Church.”

These, he concluded, include the message of the mission as a foundational element of the Christian experience, the protection of creation, and the promotion of peace in a fragmented and conflictual world.

TUESDAY IN THE VATICAN

The Pope prays at Saint Mary Major for his trip to Asia
Pope Francis entrusts the Virgin Mary with his apostolic journey that from Tuesday until 26th November will take him to Thailand and Japan. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/the-pope-prays-at-saint-mary-major-for-his-trip-to-asia.html

The Holy See ratifies the Addis Ababa Convention on Higher Education
The Convention, already adopted on 12 December 2014, will enter into force on 15 December 2020 and represents a legal recognition also to Catholic universities that will allow students to finish their studies abroad and to find a job in another country, in this case in Africa. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-11/the-holy-see-ratifies-the-addis-ababa-convention-on-higher-educa.html

Pope’s interpreter in Japan is his former student from Argentina
As Japan prepares to welcome Pope Francis on Saturday, Fr Renzo De Luca, SJ, recalls his friendly relationship with the Pope, their time together in Argentina, and what it will be like to act as his interpreter into Japanese. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-11/pope-francis-japan-translator-former-argentine-student.html

‘Work takes priority over religion in Japan’, says Oblate priest ahead of Pope’s visit
Ahead of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Japan, an OMI missionary priest explores how the face of the local Catholic Church is changing and the challenges of preaching the Gospel where people give priority to work, not religion. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-11/omi-missionaries-japan-rozairo-mission-to-migrants.html

MONDAY IN THE VATICAN – INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY IN THE AMERICAS

If you want to experience the sheer joy of the beauty and solemnity of the Latin Mass in the splendid setting of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. I offer you the spectacular video of the Mass of the Americas celebrated Saturday morning in the shrine in Washington, D.C. by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. There are two links to the EWTN video – one in the moving article by Robert Royal (see below) and a link following that article.

I became so riveted as I opened the video a short while ago that everything else was moved to the back of the burner – work, this column, emails etc. I had to tear myself away from the video – but not the audio – as I proceeded with other work so that I would be done in time for a later appointment.

I had a great reunion with Abp.Cordileone Friday night in Washington as we both attended a book presentation for Kathryn Jean Lopez and her latest work, A Year with the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living.

The archbishop and I had worked many of the same years in the 90s in the Vatican under Pope John Paul. I had not seen him in a while, the last time was probably some encounter at NAC, so it was good to touch bases and talk about a few current topics. Had I only known about the Mass, however! I was scheduled to fly back to Rome on the day of the Mass but believe I could have attended the Mass and made my flight. This Mass will be celebrated again in various U.S. cities so I have hope. What a joy it would be to have it sung in St. Peter’s!

MONDAY IN THE VATICAN

Pope urges support for WFP’s campaign to eliminate food waste
Pope Francis sent a message to the World Food Programme on Monday, calling on all to support the UN agency’s global campaign to eliminate food waste through a change in lifestyle. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-wfp-food-waste-hunger-malnutrition-rights.html

Pope asks people of Japan to protect life, ahead of Apostolic Journey
Pope Francis sends a video message to the people of Japan, and urges them to protect all life – symbolized there by cherry blossoms – and to pray for his upcoming Apostolic Journey. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-francis-video-message-japan-prayer-nuclear-arms.html

Pope meets Argentine Interreligious Dialogue Institute
Pope Francis receives members of the Instituto de Diálogo Interreligioso (I.D.I.) of Buenos Aires, who are meeting to discuss the Document “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/pope-argentine-interreligious-dialogue-institute.html

Pope appoints new President of Vatican Financial Authority
A Holy See Press Office communiqué says Pope Francis has chosen a successor to the current President of the Vatican Financial Authority, René Brüelhart, as his mandate ends. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-11/vatican-financial-authority-pope-rene-bruelhart-new-appointment.html

INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY IN THE AMERICAS

Robert Royal
By Robert Royal (TCT – The Catholic Thing)

Intimations of eternity are rare in this life. I had one, about this time of the year, when I was in high school. I’m enough of a modern man to know how unreal the claim seems. But it’s true. I was walking with a few friends under autumn leaves. We’d just been reading Virgil together in Latin, during last period. From somewhere, there welled up in me an overwhelming sense of both geologic ages and the immense extent of human life. And something beyond even those. Years later, I came upon an Italian poem – L’infinito – that captures the experience.

I had a similar experience this past Saturday morning. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco celebrated an Extraordinary Form Latin “Mass of the Americas” at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, accompanied by the music of Frank La Rocca, whom the archbishop had commissioned for that purpose. You can watch it by clicking here.

But listening to the recording and even watching the video can’t even begin to convey what the Mass was like in the Basilica. To underscore just one element, Archbishop Cordileone celebrated the Mass on the main altar under the baldacchino, way at the back of the church (instead of the new altar closer to the congregation). That had a marvelous effect. At least for me.

When he and the concelebrants processed to the far altar, near the imposing mosaic of Jesus as Pantocrator (“Ruler of All”), it was as if they were going deep into the divine mysteries. And later, when the priests came forward to distribute Communion, it was as if they were bringing the Body and Blood to the congregation from the depths of God Himself.

Image: The Christ Pantocrator mosaic by Jan Henryk de Rosen, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.

Call this romantic illusion, if you will – though I don’t consider myself prone to that sort of thing. But that’s what the Mass of the Americas conveyed to, I think, more than one person Saturday. Liturgical formality, noble music, serene worship, and the basilica’s very architecture combined to produce that rare experience.

We used to have a lot of that in the liturgy. The Mass, consequently, often impressed non-Catholics, even anti-Catholics. In 1774, John Adams (both non- and anti-) famously wrote to his wife, Abigail, about a Mass at Philadelphia’s Old St. Mary’s: “Here is every Thing which can lay hold of the Eye, Ear and Imagination. Every Thing which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.”

Adams wouldn’t have been so quick to reach for the old anti-Catholic slur about “the simple and ignorant” if he had been in the Basilica Saturday. And he wouldn’t have been so sure that the Protestant Reformation – now ailing and seemingly in terminal decline – had done away with real Catholicism.

Archbishop Cordileone had a brilliant insight in developing this Mass of the Americas (plural). He wanted an instance of real liturgical beauty. As he said in the homily, Catholicism teaches the Three Transcendentals: the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Naturally, we seek to follow and extend the Good in various forms; we cannot do so properly, though, unless we know the Truth; and for most people the Truth has to be manifested, primarily through Beauty.

Archbishop Cordileone also wanted a Mass that would be rooted in both Americas, North and South. And that meant incorporating elements of the two great Marian traditions: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of Latin America, and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States.

There has been a lot of discussion in the Church recently about the old notion of “inculturation.” By the end of Amazon Synod last month, it had become a contentious term, primarily because the Vatican seemed to have chosen to promote a kind of inculturation that bent the Church in the direction of “indigenous spiritualities” more than drawing those indigenous beliefs into the fullness of Catholic truth and practice.

Frank La Rocca’s music struck a much better note of inculturation. The Mass was in Latin, Extraordinary Form, so the music drew appropriately from Church traditions of chant and polyphony, but also spoke a fluid and, above all, contemplative modern musical idiom.

One of the temptations of composers writing modern Masses is to draw attention to the music – and themselves. As Joseph Ratzinger often said, both before and after becoming pope, some sacred music seems more an opera or a concert than a Mass. La Rocca’s lovely work never gives into such temptations. Rather, it serves the spirit of the liturgy at every point.

There were Spanish and Indian motifs, particularly the melody of a popular hymn La Guadalupana woven into traditional musical forms, but never in a way that was intrusive or out of balance. While the archbishop was vesting publicly – quite something to witness in a pontifical Mass – the choir sang La Rocca’s beautiful arrangement of El Cantico del Alba (“The Song of the Dawn”), which contains the line: “Hell trembles three times at the sound of ‘Ave Maria.’”

At the de-vesting after Mass, a soprano sang the equally lovely Aue Maria (sic) – in Nahuatl, the native language in which Our Lady of Guadalupe addressed St. Juan Diego in her appearances on the hill of Tepeyac.

And it all ended with the familiar melody of the Salve Regina, sung in Latin but with La Rocca’s exquisite arrangement surrounding and advancing it.

The Mass of the Americas will be celebrated in other places here in the United States as well as in Mexico. If you have the chance, do yourself – your spiritual life – a great favor: make the effort to attend. Or see if you can bring it to your local cathedral.

My hope is not only that it will be repeated many times in the future, but that some of the aesthetic and spiritual possibilities it has opened up will also find their way into parish Masses – which desperately need fresh inspiration – all over our Hemisphere, and beyond.

VATICAN INSIDER: WILL HAWAII HAVE A THIRD SAINT? – POPE FRANCIS TO VISIT THAILAND AND JAPAN IN NOVEMBER

VATICAN INSIDER: WILL HAWAII HAVE A THIRD SAINT?

This week I have prepared what I hope is a fascinating and informative special for what is normally the interview segment of Vatican Insider. I think you all know my love, my passion actually, for the magnificent land that is our 50th state, Hawaii. I have developed a true Hawaiian “ohana,” a family, on my ten trips to this paradise and we all have one thing in common – our love for Hawaii’s two saints, Fr. Damien and Mother Marianne Cope, and our hopes for a possible third saint.

I note that, since 2008 and my first visit to Hawaii, I have spent years researching the lives and works of Saints Damien and Marianne, including covering their canonizations in Rome, respectively 2009 and 2012. And Hawaii may well have a third saint – Brother Joseph Dutton. He was not a religious brother but rather received that name from Fr. Damien himself who told Joseph one day as they worked together on Kalaupapa, “You are like a brother to everyone here.” (images: Hawaii Catholic Herald)

On June 23, 2015, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu approved the statutes of the Joseph Dutton Guild, identified in church terms as a “Private Association of the Faithful with Juridic Personality,” with the mission of spreading knowledge of and devotion to Ira “Brother Joseph” Dutton, as well as addressing the financial and logistical needs for his cause for sainthood.

With my interest in and enthusiasm for the story of Joseph Dutton, I was asked to be a member of that guild. I attend one of the four annual meetings in person, and the other three gatherings via conference call. I was in Honolulu for the Guild’s August 28 meeting.

Here is the Dutton Prayer (Inspired by the Teaching of Pope Francis): God our Father, by the grace of conversion you raised your servant, Joseph Dutton, from the darkness of war, betrayal, addiction, and despair to the liberating joy of charity in the service of the abandoned and isolated chronically ill. Therefore we humbly ask you to allow him to intercede today for all who suffer on the periphery of human existence. May he pray especially for us in our urgent need for __________________________. In doing so may he be listed among your saints in heaven, if it is for your glory and the building up of your kingdom on earth. Amen
With ecclesiastical approval by Bishop Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu


IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

POPE FRANCIS TO VISIT THAILAND AND JAPAN IN NOVEMBER

The Holy See Press Office today announced Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Thailand and Japan from 19 to 26 November. He will be the second Pope to visit these two Asian countries, after Pope John Paul II.

By Isabella Piro (vaticannews)

The Pope’s next Apostolic Journey will see him visiting two Asian countries: the Kingdom of Thailand, from 20 to 23 November, and then Japan from 23 to 26 November, where he will visit Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima. A detailed program of the visit will be announced later.

Thailand
The motto of the first stage of the Apostolic Journey is “Disciples of Christ, Missionary Disciples”, and is a reference to an important anniversary. 2019 marks the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam, erected in 1669. (Logos from Vatican media)

This event is represented in the logo prepared for the visit. Beneath a smiling Pope Francis is a boat that symbolizes evangelization. Its three sails recall the Trinity. The stylized representation of Our Lady’s hand supports the vessel. Finally, a golden cross invites the whole Thai Catholic Church to be a witness to the Good News.

The Asian Continent
In January this year, Pope Francis sent a message to the meeting of Presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions of the Bishops’ Conferences of Asia, and a delegation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in Bangkok. He wrote: “You are gathered in Asia, a vast and multiform continent, marked by religious, linguistic and cultural diversity, in order to reaffirm our common responsibility for the unity and integrity of the Catholic faith, as well as to explore new means and methods of witnessing to the Gospel in the midst of the challenges of our contemporary world.”

Japan
The theme of the Apostolic Journey to Japan focuses on the protection of life and Creation, and is quoted from a phase in “A prayer for our earth” at the end of the Pope’s Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ on caring for our common home.

In that document, the Pope encourages us to respect both the dignity of each person, but also the environment. This is particularly poignant in a country like Japan where the nuclear threat, as we read in the description of the motto, “remains a persistent problem.”

Three flames of three different colors characterize the logo: a red flame recalling the martyrs, the foundation of the Church in Japan, a blue flame representing the Blessed Virgin Mary who embraces all humanity as her children, and a green flame symbolizing both the nature of Japan, and the mission to proclaim the Gospel of hope. A red circle, like a sun, embraces all life, and symbolizes love.