Thursday, March 2, 2023


In this month dedicated to one of the world’s favorite saints, St. Joseph, there are a number of ways to get to know him better, honor him and to be in touch with him through prayer. I offer two of those ways in this column, the St. Joseph Rosary and the St. Joseph Novena. So much to learn about a man who is the foster father of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, yet we have not one word from him in the Bible.

                        ROSARY TO ST. JOSEPH

On the crucifix

O Lord, in order to honor St. Joseph as he deserves, Thou hast taken him body and soul to Heaven to Crown him with glory, thus signifying to the world, both visible and invisible, that Thou hast made Joseph Thy foster-father, the supreme steward of all Thy possessions.

Large beads

We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may find aid in the merits of the Spouse of Thy Most Holy Mother, so that what we cannot obtain by ourselves may be given us through his intercession, who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Each decade

For each decade, it is customary to meditate on events in the life of Joseph:

Betrothal to Mary (Mt 1:18) –

Annunciation to Joseph (Mt 1:19-21) –

Birth and Naming of Jesus (Mt 1:22-25). –

Flight into Egypt (Mt 2:13-15). –

Hidden Life at Nazareth (Mt 2:23; Lk 2:51-52).

ALSO: Finding of Jesus in the Temple,”  ~ “Death of St. Joseph” –    “Coronation of St. Joseph in Heaven.”

Small beads:

Hail Joseph, Son of David, thou whose holiness surpasses that of all Angels and Saints, blessed art thou amongst men, thou who wert chosen to be the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary of whom was born Jesus.

Glorious Saint Joseph, now reigning body and soul in Heaven, protector of the Universal Church, pray for us poor sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

                      NOVENA TO ST. JOSEPH

There is also a wonderful NOVENA to St. Joseph. I find that the daily meditations could well be part of rosary reflections as well. Click here for full Novena or the day by day prayers: Novena to St. Joseph | EWTN

St. Joseph, Guardian of Two Hearts, pray for us! Make me your Third Heart!



When I first saw the title and sub-title of the piece in The Atlantic, “How Extremist Gun Culture Is Trying to Co-opt the Rosary: Why are sacramental beads suddenly showing up next to AR-15s online?” I thought someone was trying to win a prize for goofball satire.

Then I heard this mentioned on TV news shows and saw some initial comments on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, comments by celebrated writers, by the known and the unknown, and realized this was intended to be a serious piece.

And that was scary!

Then I read the first paragraph:  “Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or “rad trad”) Catholics. On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture. These armed radical traditionalists have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal.”

And it was a hallucinogenic trip downhill from there on!

‘Unbalanced’, ‘hysterical,’ and ‘unforgiving’ are just a few of the adjectives that immediately come to mind. The hubris-filled statements had little or no relation to any reality, historical or otherwise.

The title alone -“How Extremist Gun Culture Is Trying to Co-opt the Rosary” – makes you wonder what the author was smoking.

I feel that the author of this insane piece on the rosary is, in some way, unbalanced. As is the Atlantic magazine for publishing such idiocy.

But they woke a sleeping giant…the rosary prayer warriors! They roused the tens of millions … dare I say hundreds of millions!… who pray the rosary with joy, who always have one in a pocket or purse and several lying around the house, maybe one in their car.

Prayer warriors wrote back. They posted photos of rosary-wielding priests and nuns and lay people. They posted the Hail Mary. They wrote prayers. They expressed their own, personal deep feelings about all kinds of prayer, but the rosary in particular. On yesterday’s solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, all believers were asked to pray the rosary, even just one decade.

What we want the author and the Atlantic to know is that yes, we do see the rosary – even the mere act of making the sign of the cross – as the ultimate weapon against evil, against Satan, against the Devil.

However, it is not a weapon that kills or harms or maims or takes a life like abortion does. It is a small object we hold in our hands when we pray in a prayer group or perhaps alone in the silence of a room in our home, the quiet of a church or chapel, or perhaps even sitting on a park bench, enjoying God’s creation

The five decades of the rosary offer us moments to peacefully reflect on the life of Jesus and his Mother Mary, of the Holy Family, throughout the Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous and Glorious mysteries. We reflect on Jesus, the person whom we are asked as baptized Christians, to follow and live as He did.

As we reflect, we pray. We pray for peace, for health, for special intentions, for requests that family and friends send us. We pray for people with special needs. We pray for people who suffer violence, war, hatred, poverty, or some form of marginalization. We pray for our leaders, civilian and religious. We pray for justice. We pray that the ill be healed. So many prayers are needed!

We even pray for those who are unbalanced!

Some of the amazing rosaries I own: rosaries give me by Popes John Paul, Benedict and Francis, a rosary I bought on my first trip to the Holy Land with the celebrated Jerusalem cross on the Hail Mary beads , a crystal rosary made for me decades ago by my cousin Ruth when we were both in our teens, my handmade Hawaiian Kukui cross rosary with stones native to the islands, a miniature rosary from Guatemala and the oversized rosary made from kukui nuts.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s the link to the Atlantic: The Extremist Gun Culture Trying to Co-opt the Rosary – The Atlantic


Courtesy of The Pillar: Click here for a list of U.S. Bishops who agree with San Francisco Abp. Salvatore Cordileone on his decision to bar Speaker Nancy Pelosi from communion for her pro-abortion stand and who will also ban her from communion in their dioceses: US bishops respond to Pelosi being barred from the Eucharist (pillarcatholic.com), Add Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Va., to this list. I am sure this will be updated over time. Thank you, Ed and JD!

The following story is interesting because, the traditional end of May event at the Vatican is a candlelit procession with faithful praying the rosary in the Vatican Gardens, often with the Pope appearing at the end at the Grotto of Lourdes to address the faithful. May 31 is the feast of the Visitation.


Pope Francis, in connection with international shrines worldwide, will lead a Rosary for peace from the Basilica of St. Mary Major on 31 May for those suffering the ongoing war in Ukraine and other wars around the world.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov (vaticannews)

Pope Francis will lead a Rosary for peace as a sign of hope for those suffering from the ongoing war in Ukraine and wars around the world. The news was announced on Ascension Thursday in a statement from the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

“At the conclusion of the Marian month, Pope Francis wishes to offer a sign of hope to the world, suffering from the conflict in Ukraine and deeply wounded by the violence of the many wars still active.”

On Tuesday, 31 May, at 6pm, the Pope will pray the Rosary before the statue of Mary Regina Pacis in Rome’s Marian Basilica. (catholicforum.com photo)

“All the faithful in every part of the world are invited to support Pope Francis in his prayer to the Queen of Peace,” the statement encouraged.

Benedict XV commissioned image to implore end to First World War

This statue of Maria Regina Pacis, or “Queen of Peace”, located in the left aisle of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, has a particular history. It was commissioned by Pope Benedict XV and made by sculptor Guido Galli, at the time the deputy director of the Vatican Museums, to implore the Virgin Mary for an end to the First World War in 1918.

The Madonna is depicted with her left arm raised as a sign to order the end of the war, while with her right she holds the Baby Jesus, ready to drop the olive branch symbolising peace. Flowers are sculpted on the base, symbolising the blossoming of life with the return of peace. It is traditional for the faithful to lay small handwritten notes with prayer intentions at the feet of the Virgin.

The Pope will lay a wreath of flowers at the feet of the image before addressing his prayer to Our Lady and leaving his particular intention.

St. Mary Major on 31 May

Various categories of people representing the faithful will be present to support the Pope’s prayer. There will be boys and girls who have received their First Communion and Confirmation in recent weeks, Scouts, families from the Ukrainian Community of Rome, representatives of the Marian Ardent Youth (GAM), members of the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps and the Pontifical Swiss Guard, and the three parishes in Rome named after the Virgin Mary Queen of Peace, along with members of the Roman Curia.

As a sign of closeness to those most involved in the dynamics of these tragic events, a Ukrainian family, people related to war victims, and a group of military chaplains with their respective corps were invited to pray the decades of the Rosary.

Joining together with international shrines

Another important sign is the involvement of international shrines from all over the world, together with some shrines located in countries still affected by war or with strong political instability within them, which are the cause of many episodes of violence.

These shrines will pray the Rosary at the same time as the Holy Father, and will be connected via streaming to the live broadcast from Rome.

Those shrines that will be in connection with the Pope include: Shrine of the Mother of God in Ukraine; Cathedral of Sayidat al-Najat (Our Lady of Salvation) in Iraq; Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Syria; Cathedral of Mary Queen of Arabia in Bahrain. Alongside these are the International Shrines: Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage; International Shrine of Jesus Saviour and Mother Mary; Shrine of Jasna Góra; International Shrine of the Korean Martyrs; Holy House of Loreto; Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary; International Shrine Our Lady of Knock; Blessed Virgin of the Rosary; Our Lady Queen of Peace; Our Lady of Guadalupe; Our Lady of Lourdes.

On the feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, Pope Francis consecrated all humanity—especially Russia and Ukraine—to the Immaculate Heart of Mary toward the end of the liturgy during the annual “24 Hours for the Lord” Lenten penitential service in St. Peter’s Basilica.



After having been forced to close for a while dictated by the coronavirus pandemic, the Vatican Apostolic Library and Archive will reopen to sccholars as of June 1st. Admission will be made only by booking online and with specific regulations and health safety rules.

REMEMBER: Tomorrow, Saturday, May 30 at 5:30 pm ROME TIME, Pope Francis will preside over the prayer of the Holy Rosary from the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens. This will be done “united in prayer to invoke the help and assistance of Our Lady in the pandemic, and to entrust the whole of humanity to the Lord.” It will be televised worldwide, language translations will be available and Rome will be linked to some of the major Marian shrines in the world.


Just a brief word about the Special I have prepared for what is normally the interview segment of Vatican Insider. As soon as I can return to personally interviewing people here in Rome and inside the Vatican, I’ll bring you some great conversations. In the meantime, this weekend I offer Part II of my special on St. Peter’s Basilica, the last of the four papal basilicas that we visit. We’ve already been to St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major.

Until you can return to this magnificent country and remarkable Eternal City, and visit these churches in person, you’ll have these Vatican Insider podcasts to accompany you! And they will be one of your best friends when you do come to Rome!

So this week, be a tourist for a few minutes! Come to Rome! You know that’s where you want to be!

And this is my view when I enter Vatican City at the Perugino Gate –

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)


The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, in a communiqué announced that the Vatican is making available a free eBook with the proceedings of the 2019 international conference “Yes to Life! Take care of the precious gift of life in its fragility.” The book comes one year after the event at the Patristic InstituteAugustinianum in Rome that brought together about 400 people from 70 countries, involving doctors, perinatal care experts and family psychologists. It is available on the website of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life and the Vatican Publishing House: (https://www.vaticannews.va/it/lev.html).

The communique notes that dicastery secretary, Father Alexandre Awi Mello, wrote in the presentation of the ebook that the intent was to offer “an intense moment of formation and scientific and pastoral information for the accompaniment of couples and families who live the experience of the birth of a child with congenital diseases, presenting clear concrete alternatives to abortion.”

The eBook opens with the speech that Pope Francis addressed to the participants in the conference whom he had received in audience, This is followed by the introduction of the prefect of the dicastery, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, and all the speeches and testimonies in the language in which they were pronounced.

The dicastery has also prepared a video (https://youtu.be/J24jocCE9Ug), according to the communique. Dicastery under-secretary Gabriella Gambino explains that the video allows one to relive the salient parts of the initiative that “continues to have resonance in different parts of the world through similar training but also through the activation of new perinatal comfort care centers.”




Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said in a statement this morning that, “a further confirmation of positivity to Covid-19 among the employees of the Holy See arrived today. He is a person who has had symptoms since the first half of March and was therefore in solitary confinement at home. Before returning to work as a precaution, the employee was tested and tested positive for the disease. He is now again in quarantine at his home.”

Click here to access this week’s English language edition of L’Osservatore Romano: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/osservatoreromano/pdfreader.html/ing/2020/05/ING_2020_018_0105.pdf.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewsletterOR-EN


A statement released by the Holy See Press Office on Thursday said, in part, “The proceeding relative to the alleged entombment of Emanuela Orlandi’s remains in the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery has been closed by the Single Judge of Vatican City State who had received the request from the Office of the Promoter of Justice.”

The statement also included information regarding the human remains found in the ossuaries adjacent to the two tombs that were opened in July 2019 that revealed they dated further back in time before Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance. Emanuela was the daughter of a Holy See employee whose family lived in Vatican City. She never returned home from a music lesson on June 22, 1983, and no indication of her whereabouts, alive or dead, has ever been found.

The statement concluded: “The order filed allows the Orlandi family to proceed privately with any further investigations on the same fragments already found, which are kept sealed in containers in the offices of the Vatican Gendarmerie.”


I was once asked in the Q&A portion of my EWTN weekend radio show, Vatican Insider, “Why do Popes wear white?”

I knew that for the first centuries, there was no set “institutional” wear for Popes but did not know when or why wearing white became the tradition so I did some research and the answer is related to today’s saint, St. Pius V!

You see, Pius V was the first Dominican ever to be elected to the papacy and he said that, since the day he first wore the white Dominican habit, he had never worn anything else and, as Pope, would continue to wear it. At first there was consternation but then people realized the Pope would be a standout among prelates and easier for the faithful to see in crowds!

Born Antonio Ghislieri in January 1504, he took the name Michele Ghislieri when he became a Dominican. He was elected to the papacy on January 8, 1566 and took the name Pius V. As Pope he was also ruler of the Papal States until his death on May 1, 1572. Buried in St. Mary Major, he was beatified by Clement X in 1672, and canonized by Clement XI in 1712.

Here’s a great rosary story linked to Pius V courtesy of CNA:

“(Pius) worked hard to unite the Christian armies against the Turks, and perhaps the most famous success of his papacy was the miraculous victory of the Christian fleet in the battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. The island of Malta was attacked by the Turkish fleet and nearly every man defending the fortress was killed in battle. The Pope sent out a fleet to meet the enemy, requesting that each man on board pray the Rosary and receive communion. Meanwhile, he called on all of Europe to recite the Rosary and ordered a 40-hour devotion in Rome during which time the battle took place. The Christian fleet, vastly outnumbered by the Turks, inflicted an impossible defeat on the Turkish navy, demolishing the entire fleet.

“In memory of the triumph, he declared the day the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary because of her intercession in answering the mass recitation of the Rosary and obtaining the victory. He has also been called ‘the Pope of the Rosary’ for this reason.”

I subscribe to Franciscan Media for their Saint of the Day emails that arrive with both a print and audio story. Click here for a brief story of Pius VI: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SODApr30.mp3

For CNA story: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint/st-pius-v-pope-452

(And just a reminder, speaking of the rosary: Tomorrow, May 1, Pope Francis has asked us, if we do not do so already, to pray the rosary daily, be it alone or with family members. In addition, tomorrow May 1, the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to renew the consecration of the two nations to the care of our Blessed Mother. The re-consecration will take place at 12 noon, California time (3 p.m. ET) ive from Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles with Archbishop Jose Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, celebrating.



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.



Dear brothers and sisters, I join in the prayer that the Episcopal Conference wanted to promote, as a sign of unity for the whole country. In this unprecedented situation, in which everything seems to falter, let us help ourselves to remain firm in what really matters. It is an indication of the path that I find in many letters from your Pastors who, in sharing such a dramatic moment, try to support your hope and your faith with their word.

The prayer of the Rosary is the prayer of the humble and of the saints who, in its mysteries, contemplate with Mary the life of Jesus, the merciful face of the Father. And how much need we all have to be truly consoled, to feel enveloped by his presence of love! The truth of this experience is measured in the relationship with others, who at this moment coincide with the closest family members: let’s get close to each other, exercising first of all charity, understanding, patience, forgiveness.

By necessity our spaces may have shrunk to the walls of the house, but have a bigger heart, where the other can always find availability and welcome.

Tonight we pray together, entrusting ourselves to the intercession of St. Joseph, Custos, Guardian, of the Holy Family, Custos of each of our families. The carpenter of Nazareth also experienced precariousness and bitterness, concern for tomorrow; but he was able to walk in the darkness of certain moments, always letting himself be guided unreservedly by the will of God.

Protect, Holy Guardian, this country of ours.

Enlighten those responsible for the common good, so that they – like you – can take care of the people entrusted to their responsibility.

Give the intelligence of science to those who seek adequate means for the health and physical well-being of the brothers.

Support those who spend themselves on the needy: the volunteers, nurses, doctors, who are at the forefront of treating the sick, even at the cost of their own safety.

Bless the Church, St. Joseph, starting with her ministers, make her a sign and instrument of your light and your goodness. Accompany families, St. Joseph, with your prayerful silence, build harmony between parents and children, especially the little ones.

Preserve the elderly from loneliness: ensure that no one is left in despair of abandonment and discouragement.

Comfort those who are most fragile, encourage those who vacillate, intercede for the poor.

With the Virgin Mother, beg the Lord to free the world from any form of pandemic. Amen.





From the Holy See Press Office: As announced yesterday during the general audience, this evening at 9.00 pm the Holy Father, from the Santa Marta residence, will join the Rosary promoted by the Italian Bishops and introduce the prayer with a message in which he invites every family, every faithful, every religious community to ask the Lord to take care of every family in a special way, especially the sick and the people who are taking care of them: “This evening we pray together, entrusting ourselves to the intercession of St. Joseph, Custos, guardian, of the Holy Family, caretakers of all our families. The carpenter of Nazareth also experienced precariousness and bitterness, concern for tomorrow; but he was able to walk in the darkness of certain moments, always letting himself be guided unreservedly by the will of God. ”

(JFL: Because we are under embargo now, I will place Pope Francis’ full remarks on this site at 9 pm this evening, Rome time.

Place a candle or some form of light in one or more windows of your home as you recite the rosary. A suggestion could be the battery-run candles that flicker as if burning but there is no real flame. Ora pro nobis!)