VATICAN INSIDER: MSGR TOM POWERS, RECTOR, NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGE (PART II)- POPE FRANCIS EXPRESSES CLOSENESS TO ARGENTINE VICE PRESIDENT

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

VATICAN INSIDER:   MSGR TOM POWERS, RECTOR, NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGE (PART II)

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

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

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

POPE FRANCIS EXPRESSES CLOSENESS TO ARGENTINE VICE PRESIDENT

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

By Benedict Mayaki, SJ (vaticannews)

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

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

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

Assassination attempt

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

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

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

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

 

VATICAN INSIDER: MSGR. TOM POWERS, NEW RECTOR AT NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGE – POPE ON L’AQUILA VISIT: “FORGIVENESS ONLY WEAPON AGAINST WAR” – POPE ASKS NORTH KOREA REGIME FOR INVITATION TO VISIT

VATICAN INSIDER:   MSGR. TOM POWERS, NEW RECTOR AT NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGE

Welcome to Vatican Insider on this final weekend of August and what a weekend it promises to be in Rome! My guest this week in the interview segment is Msgr. Tom Powers, the new rector of the Pontifical North American College and a wonderful friend of many years! In Part I of our talk, he tells how he was invited to be rector, looks back a bit at his own years in Rome as a seminarian under two rectors, now Cardinals, Edwin O’Brien and Timothy Dolan and explains exactly what the duties of a rector are.

The new seminarians had just arrived and Msgr. Powers spoke about how they all met and exchanged inspirational vocation stories. He spoke of the vocation stories as “moments of God’s grace.” He said “my work here, our work here, is to form men to the heart of Christ.” Among his powerful remarks were his words on answering the call this past spring to become the rector, saying: “My priesthood has been one of saying yes to the Church.”

Photo taken in rectory where he was pastor before coming to Rome:

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

POPE ON L’AQUILA VISIT: “FORGIVENESS ONLY WEAPON AGAINST WAR”

Pope Francis speaks to a local news publication of L’Aquila ahead of his pastoral visit on Sunday, and says it is harder to forgive than to make war, in reference to the Celestinian Pardon that he will inaugurate while in the central Italian city.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

“It takes more strength to forgive than to wage war… Forgiveness is the only possible weapon against all war.”

Pope Francis offered that message on Friday in an interview with “Il Centro”, a local news publication in L’Aquila.

He is scheduled to make a pastoral visit to the central Italian city in the Abruzzo region on Sunday morning, where he will open the holy door of the annual Celestinian Pardon.

Overcoming evil with good

Referring to the war in Ukraine and other conflicts, the Pope recalled that “evil is never overcome by evil, but only with good.”

Forgiveness, he said, requires great interior and cultural maturity, as well as a culture of peace.

“Without this effort,” said the Pope, “we will remain stuck in the logic of evil, which is beholden to the promotion of the self-interests of those who take advantage of conflicts to enrich themselves.”

Pope Celestine V, who instituted the Celestinian Pardon in 1294, “knew how to promote humility and love for the poor,” he said, adding that our contemporary society can learn much from these attitudes.

Mystery of suffering

Asked about the devastating earthquake of 2009 that killed 309 people, Pope Francis recalled that, “pain and suffering are always a mystery.”

“Jesus Himself experienced this darkness of feeling alone and defeated. But at the same time, he taught us that it is precisely in these moments when everything seems lost that we can make an unexpected gesture: entrust ourselves to the Lord!”

The Pope added that there can be no rebirth in the wake of destruction without the act of entrusting ourselves to the Lord.

However, he said, our interior certitude in God’s mercy is a gift which must be requested and “protected from everything that would seek to snuff it out.”

Praising a Church close to the poor

Pope Francis then praised the many ways in which the local Church in L’Aquila has reached out to support the poor and those who have suffered due to the earthquake.

Many houses and buildings still need to be rebuilt in the city, including the Catholic Cathedral.

“I thank the city’s pastors,” said the Pope. “And I especially thank all priests and men and women religious who, along with lay people, have sought to rebuild, an effort which involves not only homes but also the soul itself of the people.”

“We cannot go very far if we walk alone. Unity alone can allow us to make truly difficult changes. We must leave behind all those things which divide us and hold up instead everything which unites us.”

Encouragement in the faith

Pope Francis concluded the interview with “Il Centro” by saying that he comes to encourage the people of L’Aquila in their faith.

“Humility, love, closeness, forgiveness, and mercy truly are the best way to proclaim the Gospel to the men and women of today and of all times.”

POPE WILLING TO GO TO NORTH KOREA IF INVITED

Pope Francis has expressed willingness to visit North Korea, asking the regime to invite him to the country.

In an interview with KBS at the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall on Wednesday, the pontiff said he is willing to travel to North Korea upon receiving the invitation, which he will not reject.

Pope Francis, the 266th head of the Roman Catholic Church, has repeatedly indicated that he is willing to visit North Korea, but it is rather unusual that he has requested an invitation from North Korea using such direct and strong rhetoric.

The pope devoted a considerable part of the 30-minute interview to the subject of war and peace, while citing weapons production a major concern.

He prayed that God will be with all people, both in South and North Korea. He asked South Koreans, in particular, to work for peace as they are well aware of what a war is like, having experienced the pain of armed conflict.

The interview will air on KBS 1 TV at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and at 10 p.m. on September 1. (source: Pope Francis Asks for Invitation to Visit N. Korea l KBS WORLD)

A LANDMARK EWTN TRANSMISSION – POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR ALABAMA TORNADO VICTIMS – POPE AT AUDIENCE URGES CHRISTIANS TO OPEN THEIR HEARTS

As I write Pope Francis is at Santa Sabina Church to preside at Ash Wednesday Mass and to receive ashes from Cardinal Josef Tomko. The cardinal, former prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples is 94 and has imposed ashes on three popes.

It is very interesting to receive ashes here in Italy as they are generally imposed on one’s head, not the forehead. This could be related to the day’s Gospel: “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

In the case of Mass today with the North American College, as you will see in the video below, ashes are quite in evidence on the forehead!

A LANDMARK EWTN TRANSMISSION

EWTN transmitted via Facebook and social media the Mass that was celebrated at 6:45 this morning at the first Lenten Station in Rome, Santa Sabina, with the Pontifical North American College. Here’s the link:

It is also on the Facebook page of the seminary: https://www.facebook.com/PontificalNorthAmericanCollege/

At the end of Mass there were up to 4000 views. It was broadcast by EWTN live on twitter and YouTube as well.

POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR ALABAMA TORNADO VICTIMS

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, sent a telegram of condolences in Pope Francis’ name to Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile, Alabama for the victims of the devastating tornades in recent days:

The Most Reverend Thomas J. Rodi Archbishop of Mobile

Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life and the injuries caused by the tornado which struck Alabama in recent days, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses heartfelt solidarity with all affected by this natural disaster. He prays that Almighty God may grant eternal rest to the dead, especially the children, and healing and consolation to the injured and those who grieve. Upon all who are suffering the effects of this calamity, the Holy Father invokes the Lord’s blessings of peace and strength.

POPE AT AUDIENCE URGES CHRISTIANS TO OPEN THEIR HEARTS

During the weekly general audience Pope Francis continued his catechesis dedicated to the “Our Father”.
By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Christians to open their hearts pointing out that Christ’s victory has not yet been fully achieved.

To the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the general audience, the Pope said Jesus has come, and there are multiple signs of the kingdom, yet the world is still marked by sin and the hearts of many remain closed, which compels us to implore the Lord: “Your kingdom come!”

The world, he said, continues to be populated by so many people who suffer, by people who do not reconcile and do not forgive, by wars and by many forms of exploitation: “Let’s think, for example of the trafficking of children.” All of these facts are proof that many men and women still live with their hearts closed.

“Father: we need you!”
It is above all in these situations, said Francis, that we turn to the second invocation of Our Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come!” with which we say, ‘Father, we need you, Jesus, we need you everywhere” and “forever Lord, be among us!”

Recalling Christ’s words when he began his preaching in Galilee and proclaimed: “This is the time of fulfilment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” The Pope explained that these words do not contain a threat; to the contrary, they are an announcement and a message of joy.

Jesus, he said, does not want to push people to conversion by sowing the fear of God’s impending judgment, nor, he said, does he proselytize.

He announces, the Pope continued, that the signs of the coming of His Kingdom are manifest and they are all positive. In fact, he said, Jesus begins his ministry by taking care of the sick – both in body and in spirit – of those who lived a life of social exclusion, such as lepers, of sinners.

God is patient and gentle
Sometimes we may ask, he said, why does our petition, “your kingdom come” emerge so slowly?

It’s because God is not like us, he explained: “God is patient!” And he wants to establish his kingdom not with violence but with gentleness, “like a grain of mustard seed, which, though tiny, grows into a mighty tree.”

Pope Francis concluded his catechesis urging Christians to pray the Our Father and to sow the words that implore the coming of His Kingdom in the midst of our sins and failures.

Let’s give these words, he said, “to those who are defeated and bent by life, to those who have tasted more hatred than love, to those who have lived useless days without ever understanding why. Let’s give them to those who have fought for justice, to all the martyrs of history.”

Let’s give these words, he appealed, “to those who have come to the conclusion they have fought in vain and that evil dominates this world.”

VATICAN INSIDER AND FR. REGGIE, A PAPAL LATINIST FOR 40 YEARS – NORTH AMERICAN MARTYRS TO VIE FOR CLERICUS CUP TROPHY

VATICAN INSIDER AND FR. REGGIE, A PAPAL LATINIST FOR 40 YEARS

Tune in to “Vatican Insider” this weekend for Part II of my conversation with a man who made some history at the Vatican – Discalced Carmelite Fr. Reginald Foster, the papal Latinist for 40 years! Considered a living legend, he likes to be called Fr. Reggie – or even by his name in Latin, Reginaldus! He worked for 40 years at the Vatican in the Secretariat of State office for Latin translations – from 1969 to 2009 – and for 30 plus years taught Latin at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome. A prodigious producer and translator of documents for Popes, Father Reggie was known as the Papal Latinist.

By the way, he designed this: https://twitter.com/pontifex_ln?lang=en

So, if you want to learn Latin, go to the papal twitter site in your language, read the last tweet posted and then go to the Latin twitter site for the translation.

Fr. Reggie comes from generations of family plumbers and, now in retirement and even in Rome on occasion, he was always more comfortable wearing the “family uniform” – as you see in the photo!

Now semi-retired, Fr. Reggie lives in his native Milwaukee but still teaches Latin several days a week, and students come from around the world for his summer courses! He converses as easily in Latin as you and I do in our native tongue. Listen carefully for my concluding remarks in Latin during our meeting!

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 http://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=

NORTH AMERICAN MARTYRS TO VIE FOR CLERICUS CUP TROPHY

The North American Martyrs, the soccer team of the Pontifical North American College, plays the Pontificio Collegio Urbano for the Clericus Cup soccer trophy on Saturday, May 26 at 10:30 in the morning.

This is the 12th annual edition of the Clericus Cup, started in 2007 by CSI, the Italian Sporting Center. The cup was based on an idea by then Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a huge soccer fan who, when archbishop of Genoa, actually announced matches for local radio.

Seminarians and priests studying in Rome at their national seminaries compete each year in the Clericus Cup.

The Clericus Cup group was greeted by Pope Francis at last Wednesday’s general audience.

Previous wins for the North American Martyrs took place in 2012 against the Gregorian University and 2013 against Mater Ecclesiae. They came in second in 2009 and 2010 and placed 4th in 2008 and 2011.

The Collegio Urbano, which trains missionaries for Africa and Asia, has won 3 of the last 4 trophies.

Here’s the North American Martyrs FB page:
https://www.facebook.com/North-American-College-Martyrs-305014799526/

POPE FRANCIS SAYS MASS, DINES AT U.S. SEMINARY IN ROME – AND POPE FRANCIS ALSO DID THIS…..

The Holy Father’s universal prayer intention for May is: “That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.”

His intention for evangelization is: “That Mary’s intercession may help Christians in secularised cultures be open to proclaiming Jesus.”

ARE YOU GOING TO TURIN TO SEE THE CELEBRATED SHROUD?  WILL YOU BE TAKING PART IN THE JUBILEE OF MERCY?

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or both of these questions, then I have some good news:

There’s a terrific app to see the Shroud of Turin VERY up close and personal – Shroud 2.0 – a MUST have app, especially if you plan on going to Turin for the 2015 exposition of Shroud! It is available free at App Store/iTunes. I’ve downloaded it on my iPad but so far have not located app for Android. DOWNLOAD HERE: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shroud-2.0/id614248391?mt=8

We will all take part, at some time or another, in the Jubilee Year of Mercy that opens December 8, 2015 and closes on the feast of Christ the King in November 2016. The Jubilee will be celebrated in Rome, as you know, and in dioceses throughout the world. For all the news and updates about the Holy Year, go to this dedicated website (in 7 languages!) set up by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization: http://www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va/content/gdm/en.html

POPE FRANCIS SAYS MASS, DINES AT U.S. SEMINARY IN ROME

Saturday, I posted some news on Facebook of the visit that day by Pope Francis to the North American College where he presided at Mass in the seminary’s beautiful chapel and then broke bread with cardinals, bishops, priests, seminarians, faculty and staff in the college dining room. NAC rector, Msgr. James Checchio and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the USCCB were joined by four U.S. cardinals and a number of bishops, including Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who had presided at the day of reflection that preceded the papal Mass.

The North American College, in fact, dedicated Saturday to a day of reflection on Blessed Junipero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan who created a series of missions throughout California and Baja California whom Pope Francis will canonize in Washington, D.C. during his late September trip to the U.S.

Click here to see a carousel of photos from the celebration on Saturday. This was the first visit by a Pope to the American seminary in 35 years. As you can see from the photos, “a good time was had by all”: http://www.lastampa.it/2015/05/02/multimedia/esteri/vatican-insider/en/pope-francis-visit-to-the-pontifical-north-american-college-ONdRYlBEvihH0yryyeeflK/pagina.html

The Holy Father, in typical Jesuitical fashion, discussed three aspects of the life of Blessed Junipero – his missionary zeal, his Marian devotion, and his witness of holiness.

“First of all,” explained Francis in his homily, “he was a tireless missionary. What made Friar Junípero leave his home and country, his family, university chair and Franciscan community in Mallorca to go to the ends of the earth?  Certainly, it was the desire to proclaim the Gospel ad gentes, that heartfelt impulse which seeks to share with those farthest away the gift of encountering Christ: a gift that he had first received and experienced in all its truth and beauty.  Like Paul and Barnabas, like the disciples in Antioch and in all of Judea, he was filled with joy and the Holy Spirit in spreading the word of the Lord.”

“Secondly,” continued the Holy Father, “Friar Junípero entrusted his missionary activity to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We know that before leaving for California, he wanted to consecrate his life to Our Lady of Guadalupe and to ask her for the grace to open the hearts of the colonizers and indigenous peoples, for the mission he was about to begin.”

“And thirdly, brothers and sisters,” the Pope explained, “let us contemplate the witness of holiness given by Friar Junípero.  He was one of the founding fathers of the United States, a saintly example of the Church’s universality and special patron of the Hispanic people of the country.  In this way may all Americans rediscover their own dignity, and unite themselves ever more closely to Christ and his Church.”

Pope Francis then went on to give a sort of litany of American saints and holy people, saying, “with the universal communion of saints and, in particular, with the assembly of American saints, may Friar Junípero Serra accompany us and intercede for us, along with the many other holy men and women who have distinguished themselves through their various charisms:

  • contemplatives like Rose of Lima, Mariana of Quito and Teresita de los Andes;
  • pastors who bear the scent of Christ and of his sheep, such as Toribio de Mogrovejo, Francois de Laval, and Rafael Guizar Valencia;
  • humble workers in the vineyard of the Lord, like Juan Diego and Kateri Tekakwitha;
  • servants of the suffering and the marginalized, like Peter Claver, Martín de Porres, Damian of Molokai, Alberto Hurtado and Rose Philippine Duchesne;
  • founders of communities consecrated to the service of God and of the poorest, like Frances Cabrini, Elizabeth Ann Seton and Katharine Drexel;
  • tireless missionaries, such as Friar Francisco Solano, José de Anchieta, Alonso de Barzana, Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa and Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero;
  • martyrs like Roque Gonzalez, Miguel Pro and Oscar Arnulfo Romero; and so many other saints and martyrs, whom I do not mention here, but who pray before the Lord for their brothers and sisters who are still pilgrims in those lands.”

AND POPE FRANCIS ALSO DID THIS …..

ON SUNDAY HE RECITED THE REGINA COELI with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. Before the Marian prayer he reflected on the day’s Gospel about Jesus’ parable of the vine and the branches – Jesus is the true vine, and we are the branches, dependent on Him. Through this parable, “Jesus wants us to understand the importance of remaining united to Him.” “Jesus is the vine,” Pope Francis continued, “and through Him, the very love of God passes” to us “the branches”. Following the prayer, the Holy Father had a special greeting for the Méter Association on the Day for Child Victims of Violence, thanking them for their “commitment to preventing these crimes. We must all commit ourselves so that every human person, and especially children, might always be defended and protected.”

SUNDAY AFTERNOON, THE POPE celebrated Mass at the Roman parish of Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace) in the seaside suburb of Ostia. Before Mass, the Holy Father met with members of the parish, including they elderly and the sick. He spoke about their wisdom of life, which comes from experience – an experience the has the wisdom of sorrows, and of patience. “It is a wisdom we often forget,” he said. But the elderly have an experience of life that they hand down to their children, giving them “the memory of our people, the memory of our family.” The sick, he said, are similar to Jesus in their suffering: they suffer with Him, and bear the Cross as Jesus did. In that sense, they are privileged. Pope Francis spoke, too, about the children of the parish, who will carry life forward – with the wisdom, the patience, the constancy of those who go before them. As he concluded his visit with the sick and elderly, the Pope asked for prayers for himself, noting that he too “is a little old, a little sick,” but “not too much!” he said, laughing.

MONDAY, FRANCIS RECEIVED BISHOPS from the Republic of Congo and encouraged them to continue in their efforts of cooperation with other faiths because “unity in diversity is a feature of the Church’s requirements.” The bishopd are in Rome for their Ad Limina visit. The Holy Father also expressed his joy before the “young and dynamic Christian communities seeking to take root in the love of the Lord.” He said the recent creation of three new dioceses shows the vitality of the Catholic Church in Congo, and the zeal of its pastors in their push for evangelization.

MONDAY MORNING, THE POPE RECEIVED Antje Jackelén, the head of the Church of Sweden and Archbishop of Uppsala. Originally from Germany, Archbishop Jackelén is Sweden’s first foreign-born archbishop since the 12th century and the first female head of the Church there. Lutheran-Catholic dialogue was at the heart of their conversation.

ALSO MONDAY, POPE FRANCIS sent a message to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, on the occasion of a celebration held at the Italian Senate on Monday morning marking the 750th anniversary of the birth of the poet Dante Alighieri. In the message, the Pope said that he joined “the chorus of those who believe Dante Alighieri is an artist of the highest universal value, who still has much to say and to give, through his immortal works, to all those who are willing to walk the path of true knowledge.”

FRANCIS MET WITH SWISS GUARDS and their families on Monday, ahead of the annual May 6th swearing-in ceremony for new Guards. He said the meeting was an opportunity to “strengthen a [significant] friendship,” noting the words of Christ who said “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

POPE - SWISS GUARDs

Pope Francis said a Swiss Guard is “a person who truly seeks to follow the Lord Jesus and who loves in a particular way the Church; [he] is a Christian with a genuine faith.” He underscored how prayer and an active sacramental life will help them in their service. “So when you meet the people, the pilgrims, you convey – with your kindness and competence – this ‘greater love’ that comes from friendship with Christ,” Pope Francis said. “In effect, Swiss Guards are a ‘billboard’ of the Holy See!”  (added source: Vatican Radio)