“TERRAFUTURA”: A NEW BOOK EXPLORES POPE FRANCIS’ VISION OF INTEGRAL ECOLOGY – PORTUGAL: PREPARATIONS FOR WYD 2023 RESUME

I hope everyone had a pleasant and peaceful Labor Day. Mine was just that as I did not labor at all, just enjoyed life in what I call “my corner of heaven,” Sorrento!   Maybe you saw the Facebook Live video I posted yesterday as well as the photo that Villa Elisa (my home here for 2 weeks) posted on their Facebook page!

Today is back-to-work day but being in a different venue is a definite picker-upper! I’ll keep you posted on all things papal and Vatican this week and next and I’ll be joining Teresa Tomeo as usual tomorrow on EWTN radio with Catholic Connection and this coming weekend you’ll be able to listen to another, new edition of Vatican Insider. So life goes on!

“TERRAFUTURA”: A NEW BOOK EXPLORES POPE FRANCIS’ VISION OF INTEGRAL ECOLOGY

Three conversations between the author of “TerraFutura” and Pope Francis set the tone of a new book by “Slow Food” founder and environmental activist, Carlo Petrini.

By Vatican News

The working translation of the title of the Italian book on the shelves from 9 September is “TerraFutura. Conversations with Pope Francis on integral ecology”.

The author, Carlo Petrini, is the founder of the global “Slow Food” movement, which was established in the 1980s to safeguard regional traditions in the face of a spiralling “fast food” consumeristic cultural and economic trend. It has since evolved to embrace a comprehensive approach to food and lifestyle that recognizes the strong connection between behaviour, food production and consumption, economics and the planet.

This latest book by Petrini stems from his desire to uphold and encourage Pope Francis’ invitation to tackle and change a destructive pattern that has led to widespread social and environmental injustice and take action to “Care for our Common Home”, as the Pope writes in his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Sí”.

Based on the concept of “integral ecology”, the book is based on three “frank and friendly” personal conversations between Petrini and the Pope, who discuss their shared commitment to “cultivate and preserve” the goods of the planet, with respect and attention for the lives and livelihoods of all of its inhabitants, in an atmosphere of mutual solidarity.

The three conversations in question all took place in poignant and significant moments of modern history: the first in 2018 in the wake of a disastrous earthquake in central Italy; the second in 2019 just before the opening of the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon; and the third in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The volume is organized according to five different themes: biodiversity, economy, migration, education and community, all seen through a concrete and a spiritual perspective. It is an urgent invitation to “reconnect” with the planet and its peoples in line with the Pope’s teaching.

PORTUGAL: PREPARATIONS FOR WYD 2023 RESUME

The Bishops of Portugal hold their first meeting of the pastoral year, bringing together a team that is working “behind-the-scenes” on the organisation of World Youth Day 2023.

By Vatican News

Preparations for World Youth Day in Lisbon resumed on Saturday, marking the beginning of the new pastoral year. According to Archbishop Américo Aguiar, auxiliary bishop of Lisbon and president of the “WYD Lisbon 2023 Foundation”, Pope Francis is following the preparations for World Youth Day “quietly” and with “excitement”.

Last Wednesday, September 2, Archbishop Aguiar participated in the first General Audience held by the Pope with participation of the faithful, after they had been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Pope is very happy, but he is also calm,” said Archbishop Aguiar, explaining that this is because “he is aware that the preparatory work for WYD is progressing.”

“He also asked us not to forget the dimension of solidarity,” added the Archbishop.

The organisation of WYD 2023 has been “behind-the-scenes” because the priority has been solidarity, explains the president of the WYD Lisbon 2023 Foundation.

World Youth Day in Lisbon was initially due to take place in 2022 but was postponed by one year due to the health emergency triggered by the Covid-19 crisis. The delivery of the symbols of WYD – the Marian Cross and Icon – to the young people of Portugal was also postponed.

Usually on Palm Sunday, which is Diocesan Youth Day, a delegation of young people from the country that hosted the most recent WYD deliver the two symbols to their peers of the nation that will host the following World Youth Day, in St. Peter’s Square.

This time it would have been Panama, where WYD 2019 was held, passing the cross and the Marian icon to Portugal. This year, however, the pandemic prevented the handover.

In the true spirit of WYD

At the moment, the handing over ceremony is scheduled for 22 November, the Feast of Christ the King. However, Archbishop Aguiar stressed that everything will depend on the health situation, because “the health and life of the participants” at WYD must be taken into account.

Archbishop Aguiar expressed his hope that the event in Lisbon be truly “in tune with the lifestyle, the way of feeling and the language of the young people”, so that they may be the real protagonists of the event.

POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT NOW OLDEST PONTIFF IN HISTORY – POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF CARDINAL SIMONIS – SEPTEMBER 3, FEAST OF ST. GREGORY THE GREAT

POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT NOW OLDEST PONTIFF IN HISTORY

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI yesterday, September 2, became the oldest pontiff in history, surpassing Pope Leo XIII who lived to be 93 years and 140 days. Leo was born on March 2, 1810 and died July 20, 1903. Benedict XVI was born April 16, 1927. One Rome newspaper calculated that yesterday was, in fact, the 34,109th day of his life.

POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF CARDINAL SIMONIS

In a telegram addressed to the current Archbishop of Utrecht, Pope Francis offers his condolences on the death of Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis has sent condolences to Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, the current Archbishop of Utrecht, in the Netherlands on the death of his predecessor, Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis. “Commending his soul to the loving mercy of Jesus the Good Shepherd,” the Pope said, “I join you in giving thanks to Almighty God for the late Cardinal’s faithful witness to the Gospel, his years of devoted episcopal ministry to the Churches of Rotterdam and Utrecht, and his valued efforts in the service of ecclesial communion.”

The Holy Father then extended his Apostolic Blessing “to all who mourn Cardinal Simonis in the sure hope of the Resurrection… as a pledge of consolation and peace in the risen Lord.”

Cardinal Simonis served from 1970 to 1983 as Bishop of Rotterdam and as Archbishop of Utrecht from 1983 to 2007. He was created Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1985.

Cardinal Simonis died on September 2 at a care centre in the Netherlands. He was 88 years old.

With the death of Cardinal Simonis, there are currently 220 living Cardinals, of whom 122 are under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave.

SEPTEMBER 3, FEAST OF ST. GREGORY THE GREAT

SAINT GREGORY THE GREAT’S STORY

(franciscanmedia.org) – Gregory was the prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate, and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome.

Ordained a priest, Gregory became one of the pope’s seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, but at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome.

Gregory was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, and for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of “Gregorian” chant is disputed.

Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king.

His book, Pastoral Care, on the duties and qualities of a bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily Gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called “the Great,” Gregory has been given a place with Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.

An Anglican historian has written: “It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great.”

REFLECTION
Gregory was content to be a monk, but he willingly served the Church in other ways when asked. He sacrificed his own preferences in many ways, especially when he was called to be Bishop of Rome. Once he was called to public service, Gregory gave his considerable energies completely to this work. Gregory’s description of bishops as physicians fits in well with Pope Francis’ description of the Church as a “field hospital.”

POPE FRANCIS: FREE THE FIGURE OF MARY FROM THE INFLUENCE OF THE MAFIA

POPE FRANCIS: FREE THE FIGURE OF MARY FROM THE INFLUENCE OF THE MAFIA 

The Italian language site of Vatican News posted a story today about a letter Pope Francis wrote to the International Pontifical Marian Academy in which he addresses the issue of freeing the figure of Mary from the influence of the mafia. The Holy Father stressed that, “Marian devotion is a religious-cultural heritage to be safeguarded in its original purity, freeing it from superstructures, powers or conditioning that do not meet the evangelical criteria of justice, freedom, honesty and solidarity”.

The Pontiff noted that the Department of analysis and study of criminal and mafia phenomena was created within this papal academy “to free the figure of the Madonna from the influence of criminal organizations.” Examples of this distorted spirituality include the “bowing down” before statues of Mary in front of the homes of mafia bosses during processions.

In his letter, Pope Francis greeted the promoters, speakers and participants in the study day scheduled for September 18 that has been organized by the International Pontifical Marian Academy in collaboration with ecclesiastical authorities and public institutions. The aim of the initiative is to identify “effective responses” for a necessary “cultural awareness raising operation.”

Francis expressed the hope that Marian shrines will become more and more “citadels of prayer, centers of action of the Gospel, places of conversions, cornerstones of Marian piety.”

Fr. Cecchin gave an interview in Italian to Vatican News: https://www.vaticannews.va/it/papa/news/2020-08/papa-francesco-lettera-accademia-mariana-intervista-cecchin.html

POPE VISITS YOUTH PARTICIPATING IN “SUMMER YOUTH IN THE VATICAN”

POPE VISITS YOUTH PARTICIPATING IN “SUMMER YOUTH IN THE VATICAN”

From Holy See Press Office director, Matteo Bruni:

“This morning, shortly after 9.00 am, the Holy Father visited the children and young people participating in the Summer Youth in the Vatican that is taking place these days. He met them as they were having breakfast in the atrium of the Paul VI Hall. After visiting the different tables, the Pope went to the spaces set up in the hall for games and talked with the participants.

Later, sitting with the children, he encouraged them to make new friends: ‘people who only know how to have fun alone are selfish, to have fun you have to be together, with friends!’

Before returning to Santa Marta around 10 am, Pope Francis greeted the animators and organizers individually and thanked them for their work.

POPE FRANCIS DONATES VENTILATOR TO BRAZIL HOSPITAL

Not much news here at the Vatican today as Pope Francis is at about the mid-point of his July working vacation, a period of time when general audiences, most private audiences and most all public events are taken off his agenda, with the exception of the Sunday Angelus. How does he spend his time? Well, it’s a safe bet to say he reads reports and news from and about the Church around the world, from officials at offices of the Roman Curia and personal correspondence from friends and colleagues.

The Holy Father and his cardinal advisors and others have been working for years on reform of the offices of Vatican City and, principally, those of the Roman Curia, and we seem to be close to seeing the result of that work – the publication of the Apostolic Constitution that will replace Pope Saint John Paul’s 1988 constitution, “Pastor Bonus” that instituted reforms in the central government of the Catholic Church.

What Pastor Bonus did essentially was to lay out in great detail the organization of the Roman Curia, specifying the names, duties, norms and jurisdiction of each particular office, who oversees what and so on.

And that is what most people expect from Pope Francis, although some early signs point to epochal changes in the administrative structure of the Roman Curia.

Drafts of the constitution have been sent to the world’s bishops, to heads of Roman Curia offices and to heads of religious orders and congregations around the world, among others. Once finalized and signed by the Pope (seems that has been done), the constitution must then be translated into the Church’s major languages.

Will there be a summer surprise?

POPE FRANCIS DONATES VENTILATOR TO BRAZIL HOSPITAL

By Vatican News

Pope Francis donated a ventilator to the Campanha de Maraba Hospital in Brazil as the number of infections and deaths due to the Covid-19 virus continues to increase in the South American country.

Expressing his gratitude in a video, Bishop Vital Corbellini of Marabá said that, “it was a beautiful charitable action of Pope Francis through the Apostolic Nunciature” which will be used to “save as many lives as possible.”

“We ask that it be used especially for the Indigenous Peoples, because they are the most in need,” Bishop Corbellini told Vatican News.

The Pope’s gift
The respirator, one of four sent by the Holy Father to Brazil, along with a temperature monitor, arrived in Marabá on Sunday. Bishop Corbellini, in turn, presented them to the health facility’s coordinator during a small ceremony on Monday, July 13.

The hospital, situated in Pará, has ten beds reserved for indigenous patients who have contracted Covid-19, two of which are currently occupied.

Pope Francis’ closeness
“The Pope cares about Indigenous Peoples whose rights are often violated,” said the Bishop, adding that the government does not pay much attention to them.

“Their lands, forests and rivers are occupied, so it is necessary to look after them with affection and help them live well,” he stated. “Now we have this device that can help save lives. That is why we are delivering it here – to this very important hospital of Marabá,” Bishop Corbellini added.

According to the Department of Health of the State of Amapá, 91 percent of the beds in intensive care are occupied.

 

POPE: SEEK THE FACE OF GOD IN THE POOR, SICK, ABANDONED AND FOREIGNERS – LOURDES: CARDINAL PAROLIN TO CELEBRATE MASS ON 15 AUGUST

Because he is on a “working” holiday in the Vatican in July, for the second consecutive Wednesday, Pope Francis did not preside at a general audience. He did say a special Mass in the residence chapel as you will see.

POPE: SEEK THE FACE OF GOD IN THE POOR, SICK, ABANDONED AND FOREIGNERS

Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Christians to discover the face of Jesus in the migrants, refugees and the displaced who are forced to flee because of the many injustices that still afflict our world today.

By Vatican News

Celebrating a Mass in the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta chapel, to commemorate the 7th anniversary of his visit to the migrants in the Italian island of Lampedusa, the Pope recalled the words of Jesus: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”.  He said this warning, for better or for worse, is a burning issue today.

The July 8, 2013 visit of the Pope to the Mediterranean island was the first of his pontificate after his election on March 13 of the same year.  During the visit, he threw a floral wreath in the sea in memory of some 20,000 migrants who died while trying to cross the Mediterranean.  He briefly met and spoke to some young African migrants before celebrating an open-air Mass. (July 2013 – vaticanmedia)

The visit is highly symbolic of the pontificate of the Argentine Pope who wants the Church to be an inclusive one that goes forth to the peripheries, to include all, leaving no one out.

Seeking God’s face in others
Noting that the day’s psalm speaks about seeking the face of God, the Pope said that this fundamental attitude is the ultimate goal of all the faithful.

In this regard, the Prophet Hosea in the first reading, speaks about how the people of Israel had drifted away from the Lord because of abundance, prosperity and riches which filled their heart with falsehood and injustice, “a sin, from which even we, modern Christians, are not immune.”

Globalization of indifference
Recalling his homily of 7 years ago in Lampedusa, the Pope said that the “culture of comfort, makes us think only of ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of other people.”  It creates a fleeting and empty illusion, leading to indifference to others, even to the globalization of indifference.  “We have become used to the suffering of others: it doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t concern me; it’s none of my business!” the Pope said.

“Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety,” the Pope said echoing the call of Hosea to conversion.

Personal encounter entails mission
Seeking the face of the Lord, the Holy Father said, entails the desire for a personal encounter with the Lord, just as it happened with the twelve apostles, as narrated in the day’s Gospel.  This personal encounter with the Lord, which is a time of grace and salvation, “immediately entails a mission” – to proclaim that, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  “Encounter and mission,” he stressed, “cannot be separated.”

“Whatever you did… you did for me”
This mission, the Pope said, is also for the disciples of the third millennium.  “As we undertake to seek the face of the Lord, we may recognize Him in the face of the poor, the sick, the abandoned, and the foreigners whom God places on our way.”

Recalling the words of Jesus, “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,” the Pope said, “the encounter with the other is also an encounter with Christ.” “It is He who knocks on our door, hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned, seeking an encounter with us and requesting our assistance.”

Pope Francis urged Christians to use the words of Jesus as a fundamental element to examine our conscience on a daily basis.  In this regard, he thought of the detention camps in Libya, “the abuses and violence that migrants are victims of, journeys of hope, rescue operations, and push-backs.”

“Distilled” version
The Holy Father remembered meeting a migrant during his visit to Lampedusa, who narrated at length the “terrible things” they suffered to get there, but the interpreter was very brief.  When the Pope got back home that afternoon, the lady receptionist, a daughter of Ethiopian parents who followed the conversation on television, said the Ethiopian interpreter didn’t even convey a fourth of the torture and suffering the migrants went through.  What was interpreted, the Pope remarked, was a “distilled” version of the real story.

This is what is happening with Libya today, the Holy Father said.  “They give us a ‘distilled’ version. “We know the war is bad but you can’t imagine the hell that one goes through there, in those detention camps.” The Pope said, “these people were only coming with the hope and crossing the sea.”

The Pope concluded, urging the Virgin Mary, under the title, “Solace or Comfort of Migrants,” to help Christians to “discover the face of Her Son in all our brothers and sisters who are forced to flee from their homeland because of the many injustices that still afflict our world today.”

(The press office released the Pope’s homily in the original Italian as well as English, French and Spanish: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/07/08/0377/00867.html)

LOURDES: CARDINAL PAROLIN TO CELEBRATE MASS ON 15 AUGUST

At the invitation of the organizers of the national pilgrimage, Cardinal Pietro Parolin will travel to the shrine at Lourdes, France to preside over Mass for the Feast of the Assumption on August 15.

By Vatican News

The cardinal had been invited to the shrine before the coronavirus outbreak, and his attendance was confirmed on Monday.

Due to restrictions related to the pandemic, this year’s national pilgrimage will take place without the presence of the faithful who are sick. They are, however, being invited to unite spiritually with the event and to follow the Mass online.

In spite of the altered programme, the Vatican Secretary of State is making the trip to support the Marian Shrine, which has been particularly affected by the current health crisis.

It will also be the first official visit outside Italy by a senior member of the Curia since the pandemic began. Before arriving at Lourdes, Cardinal Parolin is expected to make a stop at the city of Ars, the town of the Cure d’Ars, St. Jean Vianney.

This is the Cardinal’s third visit to Lourdes since becoming Vatican Secretary of State. In 2017 he visited the shrine as Pope Francis’ representative for the World Day of the Sick and in 2018 for the St. Francis de Sales Days.

 

VATICAN INSIDER GOES UNDERGROUND – FRANCIS EXPRESSES SYMPATHY AND CLOSENESS TO BENEDICT XVI ON LOSS OF BROTHER

There will probably be little news from or about Pope Francis this month as he traditionally reduces his working schedule, including the weekly general audiences and private encounters, during July. He is scheduled to appear at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace on Sundays for the Angelus as part of his working vacation.

EWTN employees have been given Friday, July 3 and Monday, July 6 as holidays so these pages might be quiet. I’ll stay on top of news stories and may pop in if something extraordinary develops (which we really do not want to happen in such hot weather). Often I repost stories I see on Facebook so you may find some news there (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420).

In any case, I wish each and every one of you a blessed, happy, peaceful, healthy and patriotic July 4th! Our nation truly needs prayers and that would be the best gift to our country on this 244th anniversary!

VATICAN INSIDER GOES UNDERGROUND

This weekend on “Vatican Insider,” I’ll take you on a tour of the Vatican’s famed “scavi” – Italian for excavations – the celebrated pre-Constantine necropolis (‘city of the dead’) that lies under the basilica named for the first Pope, Peter, who is buried in this necropolis. In fact, one of the most special visits you will make in the Eternal City, and possibly all of Italy, is to the scavi.

I mention Constantine as he became the Western emperor in 312 and the sole Roman emperor in 324. Constantine was also the first emperor to adhere to Christianity. He issued an edict in February 313 that protected Christians in the empire and converted to Christianity on his deathbed in 337.

Because of the extremely limited number of people allowed into the scavi on a daily basis, reservations are given out on a first come – first served basis. I absolutely recommend that you contact the scavi office for tickets between three and four months prior to your arrival in Rome. YES, 3 or 4 months before you arrive!

I do not know all the rules and regulations regarding tours in a coronavirus era but here’s a link to the website. I just spoke to the scavi office and learned they will re-open Monday, July 6: http://www.scavi.va/content/scavi/en/ufficio-scavi.html

FRANCIS EXPRESSES SYMPATHY AND CLOSENESS TO BENEDICT XVI ON LOSS OF BROTHER

The Vatican today published Pope Francis’ letter to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI whose older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, 96, died in Regensburg, Germany Wednesday morning, July 1. On June 29th the brothers marked the 69th anniversary of priestly ordination.

Addressed to “His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope emeritus,” Francis wrote: “You had the sensitivity to be the first to inform me of the news of the death of your beloved brother, Monsignor Georg. I wish to renew my deepest sympathy and spiritual closeness to you in this moment of sorrow.  I assure you of my prayers for the repose of the soul of the late and lamented, that the Lord of life, in His merciful goodness, may welcome him into heaven and grant him the reward prepared for faithful servants of the Gospel. I pray also for you, Your Holiness, invoking the Father, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the support of Christian hope and tender divine consolation.

Always united in faith in the Risen Christ, the source of hope and peace,

Filially and fraternally,

Francis

Vatican media file photo

COVID-19: POPE CALLS BRAZILIAN ARCHBISHOP TO EXPRESS SOLIDARITY – UPDATES COVID-19 ITALY

COVID-19: POPE CALLS BRAZILIAN ARCHBISHOP TO EXPRESS SOLIDARITY

Pope Francis expressed his nearness to the people of Brazil in a telephone call to the Archbishop of Aparecida on Wednesday.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews.va)

As the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic shifts to Latin America, Pope Francis made a personal phone call as a sign of his pastoral care for all Brazilians.

The Pope telephoned Archbishop Orlando Brandes of Aparecida on Wednesday. According to the archbishop, the Pope asked him to assure everyone of his prayers.

“I am always near to you, as my heart reaches out to all Brazilians,” the Pope said.

Pope Francis also extended his affection and prayers to the nation as a whole, and not merely to Christians, said Archbishop Brandes.

The Pope’s call came at a difficult time for Brazil. As of Thursday, over 772,000 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in the Latin American nation. Nearly 40,000 people have died with the novel coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Those numbers put Brazil in second place regarding confirmed cases, after the United States

At this difficult time, Pope Francis invited Brazilians to place themselves in the lap of Our Lady of Aparecida, the Patroness of Brazil.

Her image was enthroned in the Vatican Gardens in September 2016.

According to Archbishop Brandes, the Pope said, “I recall that I took the image of Our Lady of Aparecida in my lap – the Madonnina, which means ‘little mother’. I urge you all to rest in her arms.”

Pope Francis then blessed the people of Brazil, and concluded the phone call with a word of encouragement.

“Have courage and hope,” he said. “We are people of faith.”

This is the third call the Pope has made to Brazil since the pandemic began. He spoke first with Archbishop Leonard Steiner of Manaus on 25 April, and with Cardinal Odilo Scherer, the Archbishop of São Paulo, on 9 May.

Pope Francis made his first Apostolic Journey to Brazil for the 2013 World Youth Day. During that trip, he paid a special visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida. There he entrusted his pontificate to her maternal care.

UPDATES COVID-19 ITALY

(ANSA) – Rome, June 11 – The turnover of Italy’s bar and restaurants is still over 50% down three weeks after emerging from lockdown, catering category association FIPE said Thursday. Staff has returned to pre-crisis levels in only a third of establishments, it said.

(ANSA) – Venice, June 11 – St Mark’s Basilica in Venice on Thursday reopened to visitors.   Only 150 people will be allowed into the iconic building every hour, authorities said. Authorities called for action to protect St Mark’s from acqua alta high tides after it suffered damage earlier this year.

View of the Basilica of Saint Marco on sunset during the lockdown emergency period aimed at stopping the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Although the lockdown and full absence of people, the scenery of the Italian squares and monuments remain fascinating, Venice, Italy, 28 April 2020. (ANSA foto Fabio Muzzi)

(ANSA) – Rome, June 11 – Obesity rose sharply during Italy’s recent coronavirus lockdown, according to a new Italian report. It said cardiologists and other medical professions “should get ready” for a “significant” rise in obesity levels.They should encourage people who are overweight and obese to return to a healthy diet and get regular exercise to shed the pounds gained during the lockdown, said the report, The Pandemic Effect, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. It said anxiety and stress, as well as fear of getting enough food, led people to eat poorly and lead sedentary lives during the almost three-month confinement.

(TheLocal.it) – Italy lifts its lockdown and presto! The forlorn sunbeds of a hotel on the Venetian coast fill up once more with German and Austrian tourists. Much of Italy is still waiting for visitors to return after the government imposed an economically crippling shutdown to halt the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 34,000 people, mostly in the country’s north. But at the Cavalieri Palace in the resort town of Jesolo on Venice’s Adriatic coast, families play frisbee on the sand, sunbathe on deck chairs or order lunch at the hotel’s poolside bar. The four-star hotel is among the first to open its doors to international tourists.”As soon as the borders opened on June 3rd, we had the pleasant surprise of finding four to five German families and an Austrian one having breakfast in our restaurant,” the hotel’s owner Antonio Vigolo said with a smile. (https://www.thelocal.it/20200611/we-really-feel-safe-in-this-hotel-german-tourists-revive-pandemic-hit-italian-coast)

(WantedinRome.com) – June in Rome normally sees the capital’s many outdoor festivals kick off for the summer. Sadly this is not the case in 2020, due to covid-19, however June does mark the reopening of the city’s museums and several major exhibitions. We list here some of the best things to do and places to go in June as the Eternal City begins its road to recovery, with a tip for each day of the month. (https://www.wantedinrome.com/whatson/what-to-do-in-rome-in-june-2020.html)

(WantedinRome.com) – Greece and Austria prepare to lift restrictions for Italian tourists. Austria will reopen its border with Italy from 16 June as the country relaxes its coronavirus restrictions, reports Italian news agency ANSA. The news was announced by Austrian foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg who said that a travel warning would remain in place for Lombardy, the north Italian region hardest-hit by the covid-19 crisis. Schallenberg also invited Austrians to “not forget common sense when packing” for their summer holidays abroad. Separately, Greece is to gradually lift all restrictions on Italian tourists entering the country by the end of this month, reports ANSA. (https://www.wantedinrome.com/news/austria-and-greece-to-reopen-borders-with-italy.html

POPE ESTABLISHES FUND TO HELP STRUGGLING FAMILIES IN ROME – SANT EGIDIO’S YOUTH FOR PEACE TO GATHER IN ROME

POPE ESTABLISHES FUND TO HELP STRUGGLING FAMILIES IN ROME

The Jesus the Divine Worker Fund aims to help families and individuals of the Rome Diocese who have lost their livelihoods and are in economic difficulty due to the Covid-19 crisis.
By Vatican News

“As bishop of Rome I have decided to establish the ‘Jesus the Divine Worker Fund’ to reaffirm the dignity of work, with an initial allocation of one million euros”, writes Pope Francis in a letter to the Vicariate of Rome.

In the letter — dated 9 June and addressed to Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome — the Pope explains the Fund aims to support those who have lost their jobs and their livelihoods because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In particular, the Pope says, it is for “those who risk being excluded from institutional protection and who need support until they can walk again unaccompanied.”

He says his thoughts go “to the great number of daily and occasional workers, to those with fixed-term contracts that have not been renewed, to those who are paid by the hour, to interns, domestic workers, small entrepreneurs, self-employed workers, especially those in sectors most affected [by the pandemic] and their related industries.”

“Many are fathers and mothers who struggle to set the table for their children and make sure they receive the bare minimum,” he says.

FOR MORE: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-06/pope-francis-jesus-divine-worker-fund-pandemic-poor.html

SANT EGIDIO’S YOUTH FOR PEACE TO GATHER IN ROME

Youth for Peace organizes a flash mob on Rome’s Tiber Island against discrimination and violence, and the Canadian Bishops issue a statement expressing solidarity with all who have suffered from racism.
By Vatican News

The tragic death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American killed by a Minneapolis police officer on 25 May, has led to protests and public outcry against discrimination and police brutality, not only in the United States but in several other countries.

In a gesture of solidarity, Youth for Peace, a movement of teens and young people affiliated with the Saint Egidio Community, is organizing a flash mob against all forms of racism, social discrimination and violence on Tuesday at 9:00 pm (Italian time) on the Tiber Island. (photo-vatican media)


The event will be preceded by a prayer for peaceful coexistence in the world. Young people will also display a banner on the façade of the Basilica of San Bartolomeo located on the Tiber Island, and illuminate the surrounding square with hundreds of candles.

“We must learn to live together,” reads the statement released on the website of the movement. Inspired by these words, the young people hope to reiterate the message of the Black Lives Matter movement.

(JFL: For more on this event and the life and work of the Sant’Egidio community: https://www.santegidio.org/pageID/30284/langID/en/itemID/36328/Floyd-flashmob-against-all-racism-by-Youth-for-Peace.html)

Canadian Bishops lament suffering caused by racism
Separately, the Bishops of Canada have also lent their voices saying that George Floyd’s death is “profoundly troubling and entirely unacceptable”.

In a statement released on Monday on the website of the Canadian Bishops’ Conference, the Bishops expressed their strong objection to the “disregard of human rights and dignity” and the “ongoing presence of racism and discrimination in our societies.”

“The denigration of humankind, the denial of God-given rights and of human responsibilities that flow from them, lack of love for one’s neighbour, and the failure to show respect toward others are wholly intolerable; these must always be condemned in the strongest of terms,” said the Bishops.

Reiterating Pope Francis’s words during last week’s General Audience, the Bishops lament the loss of lives caused by “exclusion, racism and violence which are antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” They insisted that “every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and is precious in His eyes.”

The Bishops encouraged all to pray for all those who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism, and invited everyone to work for reconciliation and healing, as well as peace and justice in the world.

Memorial services, funeral for George Floyd
Meanwhile, thousands of mourners gathered on Monday to pay tribute to George Floyd in his hometown of Houston, Texas, during a public visitation ahead of his funeral. Similar memorial services were held in Minneapolis on Thursday, and in Raeford, North Carolina – the city of George Floyd’s birth – on Saturday.

The six-hour wake, which took place at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, saw more than 6,000 people in attendance. Since the occasion was open to the public, visitors were required to put on a mask and gloves in compliance with coronavirus-related guidelines.

The funeral will be held at the same venue at 11:00am on Tuesday.
George Floyd will be interred at the Houston Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Pearland, a suburb of Houston, next to his mother’s grave.

ASCENSION SUNDAY: POPE FRANCIS BLESSES FAITHFUL IN ST. PETER’ SQUARE!

ASCENSION SUNDAY: POPE FRANCIS BLESSES FAITHFUL IN ST. PETER’ SQUARE!

Faithful allowed in square for the first time in months! The Holy Father appears at his study window at 17:38 and you will hear the glorious bells of St. Peter’s basilica!

https://youtu.be/OBzIff9A8CI