To watch solemn vespers at the end of the January 18 to 25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls with Pope Francis, click here at 5:30 pm Rome time: Solemnity of the Conversion of Saint Paul – Celebration of Second Vespers – Activities of the Holy Father Pope Francis |


AT GENERAL AUDIENCE, POPE FRANCIS CONTINUES CATECHESES ON APOSTOLIC ZEAL. Pope Francis told the faithful that “each day is a time of grace” and “new opportunity” for those who follow Christ. He explored how Jesus himself chose to present His message, noting that, in the synagogue of Nazareth, at the very beginning of his public ministry, the Lord revealed that, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy, He came to proclaim Good News to the poor and a year of favor from the Lord. The Pope said Jesus communicated with certain essential elements, especially joy, freedom, light, healing and awe.  “One cannot speak of Jesus without joy, because faith is a wonderful love story to be shared…” “The Gospel of Jesus Christ is, as the prophet foretold, a saving message that brings contagious joy, authentic freedom, the promise of spiritual rebirth as God’s beloved sons and daughters, and definitive healing from the oppression of sin and death.” Pope at Audience: Every day is a time of grace – Vatican News

POPE THANKS FAMILIES HOSTING YOUTHS PARTICIPATING IN WYD 2023: Pope Francis sent a video message to Portuguese families who will welcome in their homes the thousands of youths expected at WYD Lisbon 2023, saying their generous hospitality also shows openness to other horizons. Following his video message addressed last week to young people preparing to participate in World Youth Day in Lisbon, Pope Francis has also thanked Portuguese families who will welcome them in their homes during the event. Over 400,000 young people from across the world have already registered to take part in the WYD on 1-6 August 2023. In a video message released Wednesday, the Pope remarked that by welcoming young people in their homes, families not only show generosity, but, most importantly, openness to people of other cultures and to new horizons. Pope thanks families hosting youths participating in WYD 2023 – Vatican News

POPE TO DELEGATION OF THE UKRAINIAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS. Pope Francis thanked members of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (UCCRO) for their work by describing their witness as a “concrete testimony of peace in a country suffering from war.” Addressing a UCCRO delegation before the general audience on Wednesday, the Pope upheld the collaboration of the member groups, whom he said, together support those in need, defend the rights of the faithful of all denominations and advocate for the respect of human rights. “I give thanks to God because this meeting enables me, in some way, to have close contact with the Ukrainian people, who have always been present in my prayers during these months.” Pope upholds Ukrainian interfaith efforts as concrete testimony of peace – Vatican News



Pope Francis has released a video message on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking, marked in the Catholic Church on the feast of St Josephine Bakhita,  February 8.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Pope Francis is urging all to join the fight against the scourge of trafficking in women and girls, saying in a video message for the 8th World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking, that it is violence, “a deep and open wound in the body of Christ and in the body of all humanity, which affects each one of us.”

The Catholic Church’s annual observance was first introduced by Pope Francis in 2015, when he invited the women religious of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) and the men religious of the Union of Superiors General (USG) to mark the day on 8 February, the liturgical memorial of St Josephine Bakhita.

The Sudanese-born Italian Canossian nun (1869 – 1947) was sold several times as a slave since she was 7 or 8, until she landed in Italy where she later became a Canossian religious sister.  Declared a saint in 2000, she is the patron saint of Sudan and of human trafficking survivors.

The theme of the 8th International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking is: “The power of care.”

In his message, the Pope says the theme “invites us to consider the condition of women and girls, subjected to multiple forms of exploitation, including forced marriages, domestic and labour slavery”. He stresses that the thousands of women and girls who are trafficked every year point to the dramatic consequences of relational models based on discrimination and submission.

Inequality in dignity and rights

Talitha Kum, the international Catholic network against human trafficking, cites some grim facts from United Nations data pointing to the inequality and injustice experienced by women.  They are conditions that make them more vulnerable to violence, trafficking and exploitation.

In his message, the Holy Father laments that the organization of societies around the world still continue to deny women the same dignity and rights of that of men.  Women are “doubly poor”, suffering “situations of exclusion, mistreatment and violence”, because they have fewer opportunities to defend their rights.

Domestic and sexual exploitation

The Holy Father points out that “trafficking in persons, through domestic and sexual exploitation, violently returns women and girls to their supposed role as subordinates to the provision of domestic and sexual services, to their role as providers of care and dispensers of pleasure, which re-proposes a pattern of relationships marked by the power of men over women”. This exists even today at a high level.

 “Human trafficking is violence! The violence suffered by every woman and every girl is an open wound in the body of Christ, in the body of all humanity, it is a deep wound that also affects each one of us.”

The transforming power of God’s care

Noting that there are many women who have the courage to rebel against violence, Pope Francis invites men to join the battle. “We men are also called to do so, to say no to all violence, including that against women and girls. And together we can and must fight to ensure that human rights are interpreted in a specific way, respecting diversity and recognizing the dignity of each person, with a special concern for those whose fundamental rights are violated.”

The way to this transformation, the Pope says, is shown by Saint Bakhita, whose life proves that  “change is possible when we allow ourselves to be transformed by the care that God has for each of us”.  “It is the care of mercy, it is the care of love that changes us in our depths and makes us capable of welcoming others as brothers and sisters.”

Human dignity

The Pope points out that recognizing the dignity of each person is the first act of care, which benefits everyone – those who give and those who receive. It generates reciprocity and is not a unidirectional action.

In this regard, he cites the case of Bakhita.  God took care of her, accompanying her in the process of healing the wounds caused by slavery until he made her heart, mind and inner-self capable of reconciliation, freedom and tenderness.

Commitment to transformation and care

The Pope thus encourages every woman and every girl who is committed to transformation and care, in school, in the family, in society. He also urges every man and every young person to join this process of transformation, holding out the example of the Good Samaritan who is “not ashamed to bend down over his brother and take care of him”.

This year’s observance of World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Trafficking, the Pope says, is to the call to men and women to care.  “Together we can grow an economy of care and oppose with all our strength every form of exploitation of trafficking in persons.”

Fighting money, power

Pope Francis concludes his video message thanking participants in the various initiatives of the annual observance worldwide and encouraging them in the fight against human trafficking and all forms of slavery and exploitation. He invites them to keep alive their indignation against human trafficking with determination in the face of violence, without giving to the corruption of money and power.

(To download the papal video message:



Pope Francis launches a powerful appeal for people to get vaccinated with approved Covid-19 vaccines, calling it “an act of love.”

By Devin Watkins

The Pope has joined his voice to those of Bishops across North and South America to urge people to get jabbed against Covid-19.

In a video message produced in conjunction with the Ad Council, Pope Francis praised the work of researchers and scientists in producing safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines.

Click here to see video: Pope Francis urges people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 – Vatican News

“Thanks to God’s grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from Covid-19,” he said in the video released on Wednesday.

He added that vaccines “bring hope to end the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we collaborate with one another.”

Vaccination is an act of love

Pope Francis went on to say that getting a Covid jab that is “authorized by the respective authorities” is an “act of love.”

Helping other do the same, he said, is also an act of love. “Love for oneself, love for our families and friends, and love for all peoples. Love is also social and political.”

The Pope noted that social and political love is built up through “small, individual gestures capable of transforming and improving societies.”

“Getting vaccinated is a simple yet profound way to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable,” he said.

Pope Francis then prayed to God that, “each one of us can make his or her own small gesture of love.”

“No matter how small, love is always grand. Small gestures for a better future.”

‘Strength of faith’

The Pope was joined in the video by several cardinals and archbishops from across the Americas.

Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the archbishop of Los Angeles, lamented the suffering and death the pandemic has wrought across the globe.

He prayed that God might “grant us the grace to face it with the strength of faith, ensuring that vaccines are available for all, so that we can all get immunized.”

Mexican Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes linked Covid-19 jabs to a better future for all.

“From North to South America, we support vaccinations for all,” said the cardinal.

Safe, effective vaccines

Honduran Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga said the world has much to learn from the coronavirus. “But one thing is certain: the authorized vaccines are effective, and are here to save lives. They are the key to a path of personal and universal healing.”

Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes praised the “heroic efforts” of health professionals in developing “safe and effective” jabs. He also repeated the Pope’s affirmation that “getting vaccinated is an act of love”.

Salvadorian Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez said vaccination helps protect the most vulnerable. “Our choice to get vaccinated affects others,” he said, adding that it is a moral responsibility.

Unity across the Americas

Peruvian Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos rounded out the testimonies contained in the video with an appeal to unity. “We are united—North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean—to promote and support vaccination for all,” he said, encouraging everyone to “act responsibly, as members of the great human family, seeking and protecting our integral health and universal vaccination.”




From the Holy See Press Office: As announced yesterday during the general audience, this evening at 9.00 pm the Holy Father, from the Santa Marta residence, will join the Rosary promoted by the Italian Bishops and introduce the prayer with a message in which he invites every family, every faithful, every religious community to ask the Lord to take care of every family in a special way, especially the sick and the people who are taking care of them: “This evening we pray together, entrusting ourselves to the intercession of St. Joseph, Custos, guardian, of the Holy Family, caretakers of all our families. The carpenter of Nazareth also experienced precariousness and bitterness, concern for tomorrow; but he was able to walk in the darkness of certain moments, always letting himself be guided unreservedly by the will of God. ”

(JFL: Because we are under embargo now, I will place Pope Francis’ full remarks on this site at 9 pm this evening, Rome time.

Place a candle or some form of light in one or more windows of your home as you recite the rosary. A suggestion could be the battery-run candles that flicker as if burning but there is no real flame. Ora pro nobis!)



On the eve of his visit to Morocco, Pope Francis, in a video message, says he is coming to the country as a pilgrim of peace and fraternity.

Pope Francis will travel to Morocco from March 30 to 31 where he will celebrate Mass, travel to a migrant centre, run by the charity Caritas, and visit the Mohammed VI institute, which oversees the training and formation of Imams.

Peace and fraternity
In his video message, the Pope said he was coming to Morocco as “a pilgrim of peace and fraternity, in a world that greatly needs it.”

Pope Francis remarked that both Christians and Muslims believe in God the merciful Creator “who created men and women, and placed them in the world so that they might live as brothers and sisters, respecting each other’s diversity and helping each other in their needs.”

God entrusted to them the earth, our common home, he added, “to guard it responsibly and preserve it for future generations.”

“It will be a joy for me to share these convictions directly with you at the meeting we will have in Rabat”, he said.

Gracious invitation
The Pope expressed his thanks to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his gracious invitation and to the Moroccan authorities for their considerate participation.

He also thanked the people of Morocco, from the bottom of his heart, for their prayers.

Christian community
Pope Francis underlined that this trip offered him “the precious opportunity to visit the Christian community in Morocco and to encourage its journey.”

The Pope also mentioned that he would be meeting with migrants, who, he said, “together embody an appeal to build a world of greater justice and solidarity.”  (vaticannews)



The Vatican today released a video message from Pope Francis for the XXXII World Youth Day to be held in the dioceses of the world on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017. The Pope’s written message was also released (see below). Following is the text in English of the video message:

Dear young people,

With the memory vividly in our minds of our meeting together at World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, we have set out towards the next goal that will be, God willing, Panama in 2019. These moments of encounter and conversation with you are very important to me. I want this journey to proceed in line with preparations for the next Synod of Bishops because it is dedicated to you young people.

We are accompanied on this journey by Our Mother the Virgin Mary. She encourages us with her faith, the same faith that she expressed in her song of praise. Mary said, “The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49). She knew how to give thanks to God who looked upon her littleness, and she recognised the great things that God was accomplishing in her life. So she set off to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was old and needed her to be close by. Mary did not stay at home because she was not a young couch potato who looks for comfort and safety where nobody can bother them. She was moved by faith because faith is at the heart of Our Mother’s entire life story.

Dear young people, God is also watching over you and calling you, and when God does so, he is looking at all the love you are able to offer. Like the young woman of Nazareth, you can improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history ‒ your history and that of many others. The Church and society need you. With your plans and with your courage, with your dreams and ideals, walls of stagnation fall and roads open up that lead us to a better, fairer, less cruel and more humane world.

As you follow this path, I encourage you to cultivate a relationship of familiarity and friendship with Our Lady. She is our Mother. Speak to her as you would to a Mother. Together with her, give thanks for the precious gift of faith that you have received from your elders, and entrust your whole life to her. She is a good Mother who listens to you and embraces you, who loves you and walks together with you. I assure you that if you do that, you will not regret it.

Have a good pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2019. May God bless you all.

For the video: Go to: and scroll down until you see VIDEO CHANNEL – click here to see Pope Francis who speaks in Spanish

Here is the link to Pope Francis’ written message for the 2017 diocesan level celebration of the XXXII World Youth Day, which takes place on Palm Sunday on the Marian theme: “The Mighty One has done great things for me,” taken from the Magnifcat. The Holy Father tells young people that the world “needs your courage, dreams and ideals.”


Following is a letter and some photos sent by Father Benedict Nivakoff, OSB, Prior with an update as they mark the transitus of St. Benedict:

Dear Friends, On this Feast, for several centuries, monks, clergy and citizens of Norcia have celebrated St. Benedict’s Transitus – his earthly death and birth into Heaven — in a packed basilica with local townspeople in medieval costume. In the crypt of that basilica, the saint (and his saintly sister) was born to life, while in the upper church his birth into heaven was remembered. Eight months after the great earthquake of 2016, the celebrations have a different character.

The Archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia offered the Mass at a portable altar in front of the statue of our great patron in the piazza with the ruins of the basilica and its still-standing facade covered in scaffolding in the background. Beloved traditions do not die easily and today’s solemnity is a timely reminder that “deep roots are not touched by the frost.”

The Feast comes in Lent and along with St. Joseph and the Annunciation, this week brings a sort of intermission to the monk’s Lenten routine. Many ask me about it. Here is a brief sketch. Our day still begins at the same time, 03:15 AM. Private Lectio, devotions, low Masses and classes punctuate the morning between vigils, lauds, prime and terce. The sung Conventual Mass is at 10:00 as usual then we go outside to work. The main difference to our schedule is that the one meal of the day is moved to 17:30. St. Benedict was keen that the monks not eat until after vespers, or near sunset. Afterward, there is a short meeting called collation, then compline and bed time. Each monk suggests to the Prior a little extra fasting, a little extra prayer and some almsgiving (within the house) and these are added to his daily schedule.

For one of our monks, Fr. Basil, this Lent has an added gift of service. He is spending the month of March with the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta, India. Last year, Br. Anthony was able to help the sisters there for a month and it proved an invaluable source of inspiration for his monastic vocation and for our community at home. While it is true that there are many ways we try to help people near us in the earthquake zone, the stark poverty that affects that region of India brings an added urgency and we are glad our monks can lend a hand.

One way we help locally is through our beer, and we are grateful to God to be able to announce that after moving some equipment and making minor repairs we will finally be reopening a part of the brewery next week for production. Most of the brewery is still badly damaged but a small part remains intact. Re-opening that part (with some modifications) will allow us to get Birra Nursia out — albeit in limited quantities — to more local shops trying to open again. I’ll have more information about that next week. May Nursia help to gladden hearts in Norcia and abroad and may God bless each of you for your continued support of lour many needs!


I never really thought of the cost of this video (which I posted last Friday), although that would have been a reasonable query. Here’s the answer from ChurchPOP:

A lot of people have been asking: How much did that Pope Francis video message to the Super Bowl cost the Vatican? Did they spend millions of dollars??

First, to clear up some confusion: ChurchPOP regrettably erroneously reported that the Pope’s video message would be shown on TV during the game. That was not true. The video was instead shown on the jumbotrons within the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas to the more than 70,000 people in attendance. So it was not like a normal Super Bowl commercial.

But companies would still normally pay for a video to be shown during the Super Bowl, even if only in the stadium. So how much did the Vatican pay for that?


“The message did not cost the Vatican anything,” Director of the Holy See Press Office Greg Burke confirmed to ChurchPOP. “Most people are happy to have a message from the Pope, and the Super Bowl is no exception.”

So if you were concerned that the Vatican spent millions of dollars on the video that could have gone somewhere else, don’t worry!

Here’s the historic video in case you missed it:

Here’s what Pope Francis said:

“Great sporting events like today’s Super Bowl are highly symbolic, showing that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace.

“By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self interest – and in a healthy way – we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules.

“May this year’s Super Bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity to the world.

“Thank you!”