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 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)


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.



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!


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


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,


Vatican media file photo



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.


(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



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


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.



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!




If I could have been in two places today, one of them would have been Poland, spending time in Krakow and then in Wadowice where Karol Wojtyla – the future Pope John Paul II, was born on this very day 100 years ago.

The place I was actually in was, of course, Rome – you can read about that in my next column today! (So I guess that is actually 3 places)

Below are several of the vaticannews.va stories published today about St. John Paul. I wonder how many people around the world are reading these stories and others about John Paul in the various languages of this website. I wonder how many people are savoring their memories of this saintly pontiff, truly a man for all seasons.

I have no idea of the number of people who met or saw or were somehow in the presence of this Pope – in Rome or during his many unforgettable travels – in just the 26 and a half years he was Pope. I have no idea how many more lives he touched before 1978 as a pastor, bishop and the cardinal archbishop of Krakow before being elected to the papacy on October 16, 1978 when he took the names of his two predecessors, John and Paul. That number is absolutely in the millions and more likely in the tens of million if not more!

How many of them – of us – are both entranced and also prayerful at those memories, of how blessed we were to have this man, this Pope, in our lives. Of how sad we feel at knowing there are people who did not know, see, meet or be touched by St. John Paul.


Celebrating Mass on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Karol Wojtyla, the future St. John Paul II, Pope Francis described his predecessor as a man of prayer, closeness, and justice.

By Christopher Wells

Pope Francis celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of St John Paul II by offering Holy Mass at the altar where the Polish Pope is buried in St Peter’s Basilica.

Joined by a very limited number of the faithful, the liturgy on Monday morning was the first Mass open to the public after almost two months of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lord has visited His People
Pope Francis began his homily by reminding us that God loves His People, and in times of difficulty “visits” them by sending a holy man or a prophet.

In the life of Pope John Paul II, we can see a man sent by God, prepared by Him, and made Bishop and Pope to guide God’s Church. “Today, we can say that the Lord visited His people”.

A man of prayer
Pope Francis focused on three particular traits that marked the life of John Paul II: prayer, closeness, and mercy.

Despite his many duties as Pope, John Paul II always found time to pray. “He knew well that the first task of the bishop is to pray”, Pope Francis said, noting that this is the teaching of St Peter in the Acts of the Apostles. “The first task of the bishop is to pray”, the Pope repeated. John Paul “knew this, and did it”.

Close to the people
St John Paul II was also close to the people, not detached or separated from them, but travelling the whole world to seek them out. Already in the Old Testament, we can see how God was uniquely close to His People.

This closeness culminated in the Incarnation, when Jesus Himself dwelt among His people.

John Paul followed the example of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, drawing near to both the great and the small, to those close by and those physically far away.

Merciful justice
Finally, Pope Francis said, St John Paul II was remarkable for his love of justice. But his love for justice was a desire for justice completed by mercy. And so John Paul was also a man of mercy, “because justice and mercy go together”. John Paul, who did so much to promote the Divine Mercy devotion, believed that God’s justice “had this face of mercy, this attitude of mercy.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily with the prayer that the Lord might grant to all of us, and especially to pastors, the grace of prayer, of closeness, and the grace of justice in mercy, and merciful justice.

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/2020-05/pope-celebrates-mass-for-anniversary-of-birth-of-john-paul-ii.html


As the world marks 100 years since the birth of Karol Wojtyla, the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome inaugurates a Saint John Paul II Institute of Culture within the Faculty of Philosophy in John Paul II’s name.

By Devin Watkins

Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope, studied philosophy at the Angelicum from 1946 until 1948. The new institute is supported by two Polish foundations, Futura Iuventa and Saint Nicholas.

John Paul II: Inspiration and architect
To commemorate the new cultural institute, Pope Francis sent a letter on Monday to the Angelicum’s Rector, Fr. Michał Paluch, O.P., who hails from Poland.

The Pope said John Paul II is both “the inspiration behind this project and its first and most important architect.” He added that the Polish Pope left the Church a “rich and multifaceted heritage” due to “the example of his open and contemplative spirit, his passion for God and man, for creation, history and art.”

Deep esteem for humanity
Pope Francis wrote that John Paul II always sought to interpret historical events and personal sufferings in the light of the Holy Spirit. This attitude, said the Pope, led him to reflect deeply on man and his culture roots “as an essential reference point for every proclamation of the Gospel.”

He recalled that John Paul II, in his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis, wrote that the “missionary attitude always begins with a feeling of deep esteem for ‘what is in man’, for what man has himself worked out in the depths of his spirit concerning the most profound and important problems.”

“We need to keep this approach alive,” said Pope Francis, “if we wish to be an outward-looking Church, not satisfied with preserving and administering what already exists but seeking to be faithful to our mission.”

Interpreting today’s cultural challenges
The Pope expressed his appreciation that the JPII Institute of Culture is part of the Angelicum University. “The Angelicum,” he wrote, “houses an academic community comprising professors and students from throughout the world and is a fitting place for interpreting the important challenges of today’s cultures.”

He said the Dominican tradition – which guides the university – will certainly favor the project, “so that it will be characterized by the courage of the truth, freedom of spirit and intellectual honesty.”

In conclusion, Pope Francis expressed his best wishes for the St. John Paul II Institute of Culture, and imparted his Apostolic Blessing upon all those involved.


Pope Francis makes the feast of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska an optional memorial for the universal Church, to be celebrated on October 5.

By Vatican News

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued a decree on Monday, 18 May, inscribing the celebration of Saint Maria Faustina (Helena) Kowalska, virgin, in the General Roman Calendar.

The decree – issued on behalf of Pope Francis – came on the same day as the Church marks 100 years since the birth of Karol Wojtyla. The future Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Faustina in the year 2000. Her optional memorial will be celebrated around the world on 5 October.

Below is the official English-language translation of the decree:

“His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Lk 1: 50). What the Virgin Mary sang in the Magnificat, contemplating the salvific work of God in favour of every human generation, found an echo in the spiritual encounters of Saint Faustina Kowalska who, through a heavenly gift, saw in the Lord Jesus Christ the merciful face of the Father and became its herald.

Born in the village of Głogowiec, near Łódź, in Poland in 1905, and dying in Krakow in 1938, Saint Faustina spent her short life amongst the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, generously conforming herself to the vocation she received from God and developing an intense spiritual life, rich in spiritual gifts and in faithful harmony with them. In the Diary of her soul, the sanctuary of her encounter with the Lord Jesus, she herself recounts what the Lord worked in her for the benefit of all: listening to Him who is Love and Mercy she understood that no human wretchedness could measure itself against the mercy which ceaselessly pours from the heart of Christ. Thus she became the inspiration for a movement dedicated to proclaiming and imploring Divine Mercy throughout the whole world. Canonized in the year 2000 by Saint John Paul II, the name of Faustina quickly became known around the world, thereby promoting in all the parts of the People of God, Pastors and lay faithful alike, the invocation of Divine Mercy and its credible witness in the conduct of the lives of believers.

Therefore the Supreme Pontiff Francis, accepting the petitions and wishes of Pastors, religious women and men, as well as associations of the faithful and having considered the influence exercised by the spirituality of Saint Faustina in different parts of the world, has decreed that the name of Saint Maria Faustina (Helena) Kowalska, virgin, be inscribed in the General Roman Calendar and that her optional memorial be celebrated by all on 5 October.

This new memorial shall be inserted into all the Calendars and liturgical books for the celebration of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, adopting the liturgical texts attached to this decree which must be translated, approved and, after confirmation by this Dicastery, published by the Episcopal Conferences.

Anything to the contrary notwithstanding

From the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 18 May 2020.

Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect

Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary


In an interview, Polish Cardinal and personal secretary to Pope Saint John Paul II, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, speaks on the personality of the saint.

By Vatican News

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Karol Wojtyła, the future Pope Saint John Paul II. Pope Francis, on Monday morning, celebrated Mass at the altar where the saint is entombed in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Saint John Paul II was elected Pope by the second papal conclave of 1978 that was called after the death of Pope John Paul I who died after a brief pontificate. Saint John Paul II’s papacy lasted from 1978 to 2005.

In an interview with Vatican News, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, personal secretary to Pope Saint John Paul II, and Archbishop Emeritus of Krakow, Poland, speaks about his experience of living and working with the saint.

A man of prayer
Cardinal Dziwisz recalled that he lived with the saint after he had been appointed a Cardinal by Paul VI in 1967 and continued after Wojtyla became Pope. “The secret of his person is the depth of his spiritual life,” Dziwisz said. “He always prayed, he learnt the value of prayer as a boy and this aspect deepened afterwards.”

A man of kindness and love
“We must not forget his extraordinary personality,” stressed Dziwisz. He notes that Saint John Paul II treated everyone with great respect and love even if they were poor, weak or sick.

The Cardinal gave the example of a child sick with AIDS that the saint met during his visit to San Francisco in the United States. He recalled that the saint “took the child’s hands, kissed them, blessed them and then gave the child back to his family.” This gesture, said Dziwisz, “was truly more important than a sermon, especially at that time.”

The Polish Cardinal also pointed out that Saint John Paul II created the atmosphere of a family with those he lived with in the pontifical apartments. He remarked that the great simplicity and goodness of the saint moved everyone to become more dedicated to their work.

“He left a great legacy that is important not only for yesterday and today, but for the future.”



I don’t know when it began and why I have not noticed it before today but the Vatican news portal now is asking for donations to support its work. There is a ribbon/banner to this effect at the end of every article. I suppose the Vatican had to come to this. Perhaps you saw the story I posted yesterday about Vatican finances.

Relative to the papal news about Lebanon: Following are some photos I took on a visit to Lebanon and to the shrine of Our Lady of Harissa. You will see Our Lady atop a huge structure, some photos I took of the Lebanese photo from near the top of that structure and of a young Lebanese man, Eifad, and his mother. Harissa is a shrine very dear to Muslims as well as Christians. As I was climbing the steps to get to the statue, I leaned over to take one particular photo (you can guess which one! ) and I think the young man thought I was about to go over the railing because he leaned over to help me. We struck up a conversation and I learned that his mother had tried for years to have a child. She visited the shrine and within a month found she was pregnant. I have always loved that story and love this photo whenever I see it.

One of the photos shows the apostolic nunciature and its gardens as seen from the shrine. In fact, I had just come to the shrine from the nunciature where I visited a good friend. Abp. Gabriele Caccia who was nuncio at the time – he is now the Holy See envoy to the United Nations.

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An extraordinary intervention by Pope Francis intends to support the education of young people in Lebanon, which has been hit by “a serious crisis that is causing suffering and poverty” and risks robbing future generations of hope.

By Vatican News

On Thursday, the Holy See Press Office announced that Pope Francis has sent a donation of $200,000 to support 400 scholarships in Lebanon.

The donation was made “in the hope of achieving a gesture of solidarity and with the desire that all involved at national and international levels will responsibly pursue the search for the common good, overcoming every division and partisan issue”.

In a communiqué announcing the gift, the Press Office notes that,“Pope Francis with fatherly concern has continued to follow in recent months the situation of beloved Lebanon… that has always been an example of the coexistence and fraternity that the Document on Human Fraternity wished to offer to the whole world”.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the State of Greater Lebanon, the predecessor of the modern nation. Yet, the communique notes, “the Land of the Cedars … is experiencing a severe crisis that is causing suffering and poverty, and that risks ‘robbing of hope’ especially younger generations who see their present as arduous and their future as uncertain”.

The ongoing crisis has made it difficult to ensure that young people in the country have access to education, which in many places, and especially smaller areas, has been provided by ecclesiastical institutions. The Holy Father’s gift is intended to help meet that need.

According the Press Office, the donation was made through the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. “The intervention is in addition to the contribution that the Emergency Fund of the CEC (Congregation for the Eastern Churches) has made in recent days to deal with the emergency linked to the Covid-19 pandemic”, the communiqué states.

The Pope’s donation is accompanied by the prayer that Our Lady of Lebanon, “the Mother of God who watches over Lebanon from Harissa Mountain” together with all the saints of Lebanon, “might protect the Lebanese people”.


As Pope Francis noted at the Wednesday general audience, “Friday, May 8 the intense prayer of the ‘Supplication to Our Lady of the Rosary’ will rise at the Shrine of Pompeii. I urge everyone to join spiritually in this popular act of faith and devotion, so that through the intercession of the Holy Virgin, the Lord may grant mercy and peace to the Church and to the whole world.” Here is a link from the shrine website to the “supplica” in English: http://www.santuario.it/images/stories/supplica/SupplicaInglese.pdf


As you know, because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Italian restrictions for movement in one’s neighborhood or town, I have been unable for the past two months to go out and interview people for what is normally the interview segment. In that period, I’ve offered a number of specials until I can resume in person interviews.

This weekend we will visit St. Mary Major Basilica, a church that, as you know, Pope Francis visits often to pray before the image of Mary so loved by Romans called Salus populi romani – salvation of the Roman people.

Be a tourist once again! Come back to Rome! Enjoy the visit!

Here are some photos I took one August 5, the day of the famous snowfall on Rome’s Esquiline Hill that marked the founding of this basilica dedicated to Mary. Listen to the Special to learn the whole story!

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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: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


Pope Francis continues saying daily Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence, Masses that have been televised and online for months now. He has a special prayer intention every day and announces it at the start of Mass.

On Sunday, May 3, Good Shepherd Sunday, the Pope prayed for doctors and priests, likening them to the Good Shepherd laying down their lives serving the flock.

Monday, May 4, he prayed for families closed up in their homes because of the pandemic, acknowledging that they are trying to do many things they have never done before. He mentioned the reality of domestic violence, and said: “Let us pray for families, that they might persevere in peace with creativity and patience during this quarantine.”

Tuesday, May 5, Francis prayed for those who have died because of the pandemic. “They have died alone, without the caresses of their loved ones. So many did not even have a funeral. May the Lord welcome them in His glory.”

Wednesday, May 6, the Holy Father prayed for the men and women who work in the media: “In this time of pandemic they risk a lot and work a lot. May the Lord help them to always transmit the truth.”

Thursday, May 7, Pope Francis prayed for artists: “I would like to ask the Lord to bless them because through artists we understand beauty, and without beauty we cannot understand the Gospel.”

Friday, May 8, “Today is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day,” said the Pope. “Let us pray for the people who work in these meritorious institutions. May the Lord bless their work that does so much good.”


(CNA) – Dioceses in Italy can resume the celebration of public Masses beginning Monday, May 18, under conditions issued Thursday by the head of Italy’s bishops and by government officials.

The protocol for Mass and other liturgical celebrations states that churches must limit the number of people present – ensuring a one-meter (three feet) distance – and congregants must wear face masks. The church must also be cleaned and disinfected between celebrations.

For the distribution of the Eucharist, priests and other ministers of Holy Communion are asked to wear gloves and masks covering both the nose and mouth and to avoid contact with communicants’ hands.

The Diocese of Rome suspended public Masses March 8 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Several dioceses in hard-hit northern Italy, including Milan and Venice, had suspended public liturgies as early as the last week of February.

All public religious celebrations, including baptisms, funerals, and weddings, were prohibited during the Italian government’s lockdown, which went into effect March 9.

Funerals were allowed again beginning May 4. Public baptisms and weddings may now also resume in Italy starting May 18.

The protocol issued May 7 lays out the genera l directions for complying with health measures, such as the indication of a maximum capacity in a church based on maintaining at least one-meter distance between people.

Access to the church must be regulated to control the number present, it says, and the number of Masses can be increased to ensure social distancing.

The church should be cleaned and disinfected after every celebration and the use of worship aids such as hymnals is discouraged.

Church doors should be propped open before and after Mass to aid traffic flow and hand sanitizer must be available at entrances.

Among other suggestions, the Sign of Peace should be omitted, and holy water fonts kept empty, the protocol states.

The protocol was signed by Italian bishops’ conference president Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Prime Minister and President of the Council Giuseppe Conte, and the Minister of the Interior Luciana Lamorgese.

A note says the protocol was prepared by the Italian bishops’ conference and examined and approved by the government’s Technical-Scientific Committee for COVID-19.

April 26 Italy’s bishops had criticized Conte for failing to lift the ban on public Masses.

In a statement, the bishops’ conference denounced Conte’s decree on “phase 2” of Italy’s coronavirus restrictions, which it said, “arbitrarily excludes the possibility of celebrating Mass with the people.”

The prime minister’s office responded later the same night indicating that a protocol would be studied to allow “the faithful to participate in liturgical celebrations as soon as possible in conditions of maximum security.”

The Italian bishops issued a statement May 7 stating that the protocol for restarting public Masses “concludes a path that has seen collaboration between the Italian Episcopal Conference, the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Interior.”





At the end of his letter encouraging the faithful to pray the rosary during the month of May, either alone or in a family setting, Pope Francis wrote: “I am also providing two prayers to Our Lady that you can recite at the end of the Rosary, and that I myself will pray in the month of May, in spiritual union with all of you. I include them with this letter so that they are available to everyone.”

That letter was signed “Rome, Saint John Lateran, 25 April 2020 Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist”

Here are those prayers:


O Mary, You shine continuously on our journey

as a sign of salvation and hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,

who, at the foot of the cross, was united with Jesus’ suffering,

and persevered in your faith.


“Protectress of the Roman people”,

you know our needs,

and we know that you will provide,

so that, as at Cana in Galilee,

joy and celebration may return after this time of trial.


Help us, Mother of Divine Love,

to conform ourselves to the will of the Father

and to do what Jesus tells us.

For he took upon himself our suffering,

and burdened himself with our sorrows

to bring us, through the cross,

to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.


We fly to your protection,

O Holy Mother of God;

Do not despise our petitions

in our necessities, but deliver us always

from every danger,

O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.


“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.

In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.

Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.

Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.

Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.


Pope Francis’ morning weekday Masses at the Santa Marta residence will continue to be transmitted live at 7am next week on Vatican media, including vaticannews.va


This year, the 20th anniversary of the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska and the institution of Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis will preside at Mass on Sunday, April 19, Divine Mercy Sunday 2020, in the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, the place of particular devotion to Divine Mercy.

Mass will be celebrated in private form and, at the end, the Pope will lead the recitation of the Regina Coeli from the same church.

The Holy Mass and recitation of the Regina Coeli on Sunday 19 April will be broadcast live on television by Vatican Media and streamed on the Vatican News website with comments in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. The images of the event will be distributed by Vatican Media to the media who request them, in order to reach the faithful from all over the world.