I wish all of you, my faithful readers, many of whom are also good friends, a very beautiful, blessed, happy and, above all, healthy New Year! May the Lord bless you abundantly in 2022.
As I prepare this last column of 2021, we await word from the Vatican on why Pope Francis, scheduled to preside at the traditional December 31st Vespers and the Te Deum in St. Peter’s Basilica, did not preside. Rather, he remained seated in front of the papal altar where Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re presided the celebrations but he did stand to deliver the homily and recite the Our Father. Upon both entering and leaving the sanctuary by what is known as the Prayer Door, Francis greeted the new mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri.
I did see part of the liturgy via streaming but not the beginning. I am trying to understand what the procedure is for a cardinal to preside a liturgy but the Pope to give the homily. The media in attendance and watching online and on TV await word from the Holy See Press Office. The Holy Father seemed to walk without great difficulty, as he often has with sciatica, and his voice sounded normal so we await word.
UPDATE: It seems quite simply that Pope Francis wanted Cardinal Re to preside while he, the Pope, gave the homily. If there was a reason behind that decision, we will probably never know. Aside from great Covid restrictions and changes in liturgies last year, I do not recall a cardinal celebrating and a Pope giving the homily in a liturgy. I’ve not had time to research that history right now.
By the way, apologies for no column yesterday. I was trying to work around an Internet outage that caused no few problems. I was able to write and record the interview and news segments of my weekend radio program, Vatican Insider, and uploaded them when wifi came back.
To answer some questions about this weekend’s liturgies: Tomorrow, January 1 is the beautiful solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It is a holy day of obligation, therefore Mass. Sunday always requires Mass attendance. So two holy days, two Masses.
The following are holy days of obligation in the U.S. for 2022: Solemnity of Mary, January 1; Ascension of Jesus, May 13 ( Celebrated on the sixth Thursday after Easter Sunday); Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15; Solemnity of All Saints, November 1; Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8.
VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE PONTIFICAL BEDA COLLEGE
Welcome to Vatican Insider on this first weekend, the very first days of the New Year 2022. I know we are all praying for the very same thing in these days – for a healthy happy New Year and one in which we can say goodbye to the global menace of Covid!
My guest this week in the interview segment is Canon Philip Gillespie, rector of the Beda College in Rome, a seminary under the auspices of the Bishops of England and Wales. Our conversation in Part I touches on many topics – the history of the seminary, what its name represents, what is special about the men who come to the Beda and the moving story behind the Cause for Beatification of former student Fr. Thomas Byles.
Here are some photos of the seminary premises: The college is a stone’s throw from the basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.
The main chapel: The stained glass windows depict the 7 days of creation:
More photos next week when I return with Part II of my conversation with Fr. Gillespie who, by the way, explains the difference between the titles Canon and Father.
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