Saturday I did the TV commentary for EWTN’s presentation of the annual Ratzinger Prize, offered by the Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation. We met the two recipients, theologian Marianne Schlosser and architect Mario Botta, and heard the Holy Father address the Foundation.

It was a lot of fun to do but there is always a lot of research and preparation that goes into these commentaries, as you can imagine. The commentaries are done from our better-than-well-equipped audio studio that is just off the terrace that is one floor above the EWTN offices. We’re about 300 feet from St. Peter’s Square, Ben Crockett was in studio with me to do the Facebook live streaming and another colleague, Gianluca Teseo took these photos.


Sunday was a big day at the Vatican – it was the World Day of the Poor and was celebrated in a number of ways, starting with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica presided over by Pope Francis in the presence of many poor, accompanied by members of parish groups and associations.

At Mass, Francis urged believers to “heed the cry of the poor – the cry of the poor daily becomes stronger but heard less, drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich.”

After Mass and the Angelus, the Pope shared lunch with 1,500 poor and 70 volunteers in the Paul VI Hall. He thanked those who prepared and served the lunch and prayed for the Lord’s blessing for all those present. The menu included lasagna, chicken morsels, mashed potatoes and tiramisu.

Earlier, at the angelus, Pope Francis asked for prayers for victims of the massacre that took place two days ago on a Catholic mission sheltering 20,000 refugees.
in which two priests were also killed. A number of people were burned alive. UN officials said more than 40 people were killed and dozens wounded in the attack. “Let us pray for the dead and for the wounded,” he said, “and let us pray that the violence will cease in that beloved country that is in great need of peace.”

The Holy Father then spoke of the devastating fires in California:. “My special prayer also goes to those affected by the fires that are plaguing California, and to the victims of the frost on the east coast of the United States” he said. The disaster in California has killed at least 76 people with hundreds missing. “May the Lord receive the dead in His peace, comfort their families and support those who are engaged in rescue efforts”

Here are some great photos of the papal lunch for the poor taken by my colleague Daniel (Daniel Ibáñez/CNA&EWTN) –

Note the silver butler’s cover for each individual plate –