Following is an interesting read from the New York Times that explains how residents of 11 countries that normally have huge numbers of tourists experience life in a non-tourist environment. As the Times writes: “We asked people in 11 of the most overtouristed places around the world what it’s like” now, in a coronavirus world. Places from Rome to Bali, Croatia to Barcelona, Amsterdam to Iceland. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/19/travel/coronavirus-travel-restrictions-tourist-attractions.html?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20200520&instance_id=18629&nl=the-morning®i_id=84973144&segment_id=28532&te=1&user_id=248d4496ef882f1f1c056200ea9c8351
Opening up in Rome has meant that I had a hair trim Monday morning, went to confession, Mass and received communion that same afternoon and am going to my favorite restaurant tonight for the first time since March 8!
As a popular brand says, LG! Life is good!
PRAYER AND THE MYSTERY OF CREATION
At today’s weekly general audience, streamed live from the library of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis began by saying, “In our continuing catechesis on prayer, we now consider the mystery of creation.”
It was noteworthy that the general audience was bring held in Laudato Si’ Week, a week established by the Vatican to mark the fifth anniversary of the publication of Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si’ On the Care for our Common Home” on May 24, 2015. In addition, the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development that is behind this week also announced the celebration of a special Laudato Si’ anniversary year that will run from May 24, 2020 to May 24, 2021.
“The first pages of the Bible,” said Francis in his catechesis, “resemble a great hymn of thanksgiving for the goodness and beauty of creation, whose grandeur awakens a sense of wonder within the human heart and a desire to pray. The awe-inspiring immensity of creation stirs us to contemplate the mystery of our own being. Though we may experience the weight of our insignificance, we are not nothing. Prayer assures us that things do not exist merely by chance, and that our relationship with God is the source of our nobility. (vaticannews photo)
The Pope went on to explain that, “Men and women, by nature, may be almost nothing; yet by vocation, they are children of a great King! Amidst the difficulties and trials of life, prayer sustains our appreciation and gratitude, for it gives vigor to our hope. The hope of those who pray can in turn help others to realize that life is a gift from God; that hope is stronger than despair; that love is stronger than death.”
“For the simple joy of being alive,” concluded Francis, “let us offer praise and thanks to our heavenly Father.”
At the end of the catechesis, monsignori from the Secretariat of State read summaries in various languages and transmitted papal greetings to the faithful.
Francis had “cordial greetings for all Polish people” tuning in for the online general audience, noting that, “In these days we celebrate the centenary of the birth of Saint John Paul II. A Shepherd of great faith, he loved to entrust the Church and all humanity to God in prayer. Choosing the episcopal motto “Totus Tuus,” (‘all yours’) , he also showed that in difficult times we must turn to the Mother of God, who can help us and intercede for us. His life, built on deep, intense and confident prayer is an example for today’s Christians. I bless you from my heart.
In greetings to Italian-speaking faithful, the Pope highlighted “the approaching feast of the Ascension of the Lord (that) offers me the opportunity to urge everyone to be generous witnesses of the Risen Christ, knowing full well that He is always with us and supports us along the way.”
At the start of the general audience, Psalm 8 was read by each monsignor in their own language (French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Polish):
LORD, our Lord,
How awesome is your name through all the earth!
I will sing of your majesty above the heavens
with the mouths of babes and infants.
You have established a bulwark against your foes,
to silence enemy and avenger.
When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you set in place—
What is man that you are mindful of him,
and a son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him little less than a god,
crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
put all things at his feet:
All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
POPE TRANSFERS VATICAN’S DATA PROCESSING CENTRE TO SECRETARIAT FOR THE ECONOMY
With a Rescript promulgated on Wednesday, Pope Francis transferred the Data Processing Centre (CED) from the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) to the Secretariat for the Economy (SPE).
By Vatican News
Pope Francis has made a shuffle in the Roman Curia. He has issued a Rescript transferring the Data Processing Centre, previously managed by the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) to the Secretary for the Economy (SPE). It was made public on Wednesday by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, with a statement dated May 11.
It said that Pope Francis considers the transfer is needed “to guarantee a more rational organization of the Holy See’s economic and financial information.” Another reason cited is the eventual computerization of all its activities “so as to guarantee the simplification of activities and the effectiveness of controls, as they are fundamental for the correct functioning of the Entities of the Roman Curia.”
The transfer of the Data Processing Centre will proceed according to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between APSA President Bishop Nunzio Galantino and the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves.
Officials and personnel of the CED will move under the responsibility of the SPE, except those who, by common agreement and for better convenience, continue to be employed by the APSA.
The Prefect of the SPE will re-organize the services offered by the CED, guaranteeing what is necessary for the performance of the APSA’s institutional tasks.
Promulgated on Wednesday, the new measure of Pope Francis will come into effect on June 1, 2020.
PLO INFORMS VATICAN OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
From the Holy See Press Office:
“Today, H.E. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, was contacted by telephone by H.E. Saeb Erekat, Chief negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The latter wished to inform the Holy See about recent developments in the Palestinian territories and of the possibility of Israeli applying its sovereignty unilaterally to part of those territories, further jeopardizing the peace process.
“The Holy See reiterates that respect for international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions, is an indispensable element for the two peoples to live side by side in two States, within the borders internationally recognized before 1967.
“The Holy See is following the situation closely, and expresses concern about any future actions that could further compromise dialogue, while also expressing its hope that Israelis and Palestinians will be soon able to find once again the possibility for directly negotiating an agreement, with the help of the International Community, so that peace may finally reign in the Holy Land, so beloved by Jews and Christians and Muslims.”