I get frequent requests from people asking how they can obtain a papal blessing for a specific person or couple or family on a specific occasion (birthday, anniversary, etc.) To be honest, if you go to Google and type “papal blessing,” before you even finish the word blessing, you will be brought to this site – all the info you need on how to order, what occasions may be used for a blessings, how to pay, etc.  Help me to help others by passing this info on to people you know who want papal blessings, and be sure to put it on your own web page or Facebook page!

I am also asked – even more frequently! – for help in planning trips. I just can’t plan your trip for you but I can give suggestions on how to visit the Vatican as you can see by the link below (it is always on my blog page). Visiting Rome is a whole other category and I simply do not have the time to assist in planning itineraries, churches to visit, etc. The Internet has very valuable information and I’m sure that some surfing will yield wonderful results. In any case, one of the real fun parts of any trip is discovering places and monuments and churches and restaurants on your own! CLICK HERE FOR PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON VISITING THE VATICAN

Today is officially an EWTN holiday and a day off  but I have some work to attend to, including posting some news. There was a plethora of news and events in the Vatican this weekend – Pentecost Sunday and the birth of our beloved Church being at the top of that list! I am sure you are busy on Memorial Day – and I hope it is a day of rest and families being together and celebrating the reason for this important American holiday. Hopefully you’ll be so busy with family and friends that you won’t have a lot of time for reading but you can pick and choose what stories you want to follow by visiting:

The biggest Vatican story of the day is the one that follows about the Vatican bank!  Very heady stuff, as you will see!

Just one favor today: I ask that you keep my twin cousins, Dotty and Debby, in your prayers. Deb wrote me while I was in Turin that Dot was admitted to the hospital a week ago with pneumonia and some complications arose (not pneumonia related) and she is going down hill very rapidly. They are three months younger than me and we have always been very close. And no one can imagine (unless you are a twin) what that very special bond is like! Deb and her other sister Diane and I are in daily touch and I’ll keep you posted.


The IOR, the Institute for Works of Religion, known more informally as the Vatican bank, released its Annual Report for 2014 on Monday. The year 2014 was an eminently positive year for the IOR, as it showed a net profit of 69.3 million Euros, a substantial increase from the 2.9 million reported in 2013. (JFL: as of today, May 25, 2015, $1 = 0.9116 Euro).(photo: Salt and Light)
IOR - 2 salt and light

Below are excerpts from that report, presented in Italian and English.

About the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR):

The “Istituto per le Opere di Religione” (IOR) is an institute founded on 27 June 1942 by Papal Decree. Its origins date back to the “Commissione ad Pias Causas” established in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII. The mission of the IOR is to serve the global mission of the Catholic Church by providing for the custody and administration of its customers’ assets, and rendering dedicated worldwide payment services to its customers. The Institute’s mission was confirmed by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on 7 April 2014. The IOR operates from a single location – its headquarters in the Vatican City State – and is regulated by the “Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria” (AIF), the financial supervisory body for the Vatican City State.

IOR releases Annual Report 2014

  • Transformation of IOR on track, including reorganization and adjustment to Vatican regulatory standard with regard to transparency, supervision and financial information
  • Strategic, long-term plan for the Institute far advanced
  • 2014 results show positive effect of financial market developments on securities portfolio

Further strengthening of compliance, risk and control monitoring systems and audit functions well advanced under supervision of Vatican regulator AIF

As of December 31, 2014, the IOR’s equity was EUR 695m (2013: EUR 720m).

The total value of assets entrusted by customers to the IOR rose marginally to EUR 6bn in 2014 (2013: 5.9bn). (JFL: the client base approved by the bank’s board include religious orders, Catholic institutions, clergy, employees or former employees of the Vatican, and embassies and diplomats accredited to the Holy See.)

On December 31, 2014, the IOR served 15,181 customers. From May 2013 through December 2014 the IOR closed 4,614 accounts with its customers, of which 2,600 were “dormant” or inactive or small balance accounts. Another 554 accounts were closed which did not fit in the categories of authorized client accounts and a further 1,460 were terminated for natural attrition. Another 274 accounts are in the process of termination. (CNA photo)

IOR - 1

Past Abuses Reported. Cases, where the IOR was subjected to abuse in the past, have been reported to the competent Vatican authorities.

Strategic, long-term plan for the Institute far advanced.

“The long-term, strategic plan of the Institute revolves around two key objectives: putting the interests of the clients first by offering appropriate and improved services and by de-risking the activities of the Institute”, said Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, President of the Board of Superintendence since July 2014. He added “all this is done within the strong regulatory framework now in place in the Vatican and in close cooperation with AIF, the Holy See regulator.”

The strategic plan builds on the work of the Pontifical Referring Commission to the IOR (CRIOR), and the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic- Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA).


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says that being with people does him good.

In a long and very personal interview with Juan Beretta, a reporter from the Argentinean newspaper “La Voz Del Pueblo”, the Pope speaks of his feelings of when he was elected Pope, of how he misses walking the streets, using public transport and sitting down for a pizza, of how he feels moved and sad when he meets sick children, prison inmates and people who’ve had no opportunities in life, of how he would like to be remembered “as someone who did some good”.

The interview, conducted in the privacy of his residence at Casa Santa Marta, offers some insights into the everyday life of Francis who says that never would he have expected to be elected as the Successor of Peter, but of how the life of a religious, “a Jesuit, undergoes change according to necessity.”