The main news story of the weekend was the Vatican’s confirmation that Pope Francis will make an apostolic trip to Egypt on April 28 and 29 in response to invitations from Egypt’s president, the Catholic bishops, Coptic Pope Tawadros II and the Grand Imam of the Mosque of Al Azhar. He will visit the city of Cairo on this, his 18th foreign pastoral visit.
Weekend papal tweets:
SATURDAY: I invite you not to build walls but bridges, to conquer evil with good, offence with forgiveness, to live in peace with everyone.
SUNDAY: May St Joseph, Spouse of Mary and Patron of the Universal Church, bless you and watch over you. And best wishes to fathers!
MARKING THE SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOSEPH
Yesterday was, of course, March 19, a day normally marking the solemnity of St. Joseph and a big day in Italy because this feast also marks Father’s Day. However, because it fell on a Sunday in Lent, the solemnity of St Joseph and Father’s Day were transferred to today. However, I’m willing to bet that many Italian families got together Sunday to mark La Festa del Papà, Father’s Day!
If your name in Italy is Giuseppe (Joseph) or Giuseppina, March 19th if your name day, your onomastico. There are Italians for whom the onomastico is more important than the birthday. Many best wishes were sent out yesterday to Pope emeritus Benedict as he was born Joseph Ratzinger. By the way, on this solemnity churches and schools that bear the saint’s name hold festive celebrations.
March 19 was dedicated to Saint Joseph on a number of calendars as early as the 10th century, and it seems this became tradition in Rome in Rome by 1479.
Pope Francis on Sunday at the Angelus recalled the beatification the previous day in Bolzano, Italy of Joseph Mayr-Nusser. He said: “Because of his great moral and spiritual stature, Blessed Joseph is a model for the lay faithful, especially for fathers, whom we remember with great affection today.”
The new Blessed was a married layman and head of a family and big supporter of Catholic Action. However, when he was conscripted into the German army in 1944, he refused to take the so-called “Hitler oath,” was sentenced to death, and died on the way to Dachau concentration camp.
POPE ENCOURAGES RECONCILATION, SOLIDARITY, PEACE IN RWANDA
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, in a private audience at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Monday.
President Kagame and his entourage subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
A communique from the Holy See Press Office said their discussions were cordial:
“During the cordial exchanges, the good relations that exist between the Holy See and Rwanda were recalled. Appreciation was expressed for the notable path of recovery towards the social, political and economic stabilization of the country. Likewise noted was the collaboration between the State and the local Church in the work of national reconciliation and in the consolidation of peace, for the benefit of the whole Nation.”
Pope Francis, it went on, “conveyed his profound sadness, and that of the Holy See and of the Church, for the genocide against the Tutsi. He expressed his solidarity with the victims and with those who continue to suffer the consequences of those tragic events and, evoking the gesture of Pope St John Paul II during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, he implored anew God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings of the Church and its members, among whom priests, and religious men and women who succumbed to hatred and violence, betraying their own evangelical mission.”
“In light of the recent Holy Year of Mercy and of the Statement published by the Rwandan Bishops at its conclusion, the Pope also expressed the desire that this humble recognition of the failings of that period, which, unfortunately, disfigured the face of the Church, may contribute to a ‘purification of memory’ and may promote, in hope and renewed trust, a future of peace, witnessing to the concrete possibility of living and working together, once the dignity of the human person and the common good are put at the centre.”
The Pope and the President then exchanged views “about the political, social and regional situation, with attention to those places that are suffering conflicts and natural calamities. A particular concern was expressed for the large number of refugees and migrants in need of help and support from the international community and from regional structures.”
FRANCIS WELCOMES EL SALVADOR BISHOPS ON AD LIMINA VISIT
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday received the prelates of El Salvador, who are in Rome for their ‘ad Limina Apostolorum’ visit.
Their visit takes place ahead of the March 24th feast day of the former Archbishop of San Salvador, Blessed Oscar Romero, and the 37th anniversary of his assassination by hired gunmen at the height of El Salvador’s civil war.
El Salvador, a Latin American Republic, has a population of around 6.5 million people, nearly 80 percent of whom are Catholic.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop José Luis Escobar’Alas of San Salvador and president of the Episcopal Conference said the primary pastoral challenges in El Salvador are “the defense of life, understood in its full sense as justice, truth and peace in a society marked by violence.”
He said the bishops are “working to recover family values, that is, of a solid and responsible family, which can save the whole of society.”
VATICAN PUBLISHES ITINERARY FOR PAPAL TRIP TO FATIMA
The Vatican today published the schedule of Pope Francis’ apostolic journey to Fatima, Portugal on May 12 and 13. (photo: news.va)
The Holy Father is scheduled to arrive at Monte Real air base on Saturday afternoon, May 12 where he will be welcomed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Afterwards he will be taken by helicopter to Fatima’s stadium of Fatima before travelling by car to the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima where he will pray in the Chapel of the Apparitions, greet pilgrims present, and recite the Holy Rosary with them.
On Sunday, Pope Francis’ will meet with Prime Minister António Costa at the “Nossa Senhora do Carmo” House, following which he will celebrate Mass in the square of the Basilica of “Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fatima.”
His final stop is a lunch with the bishops of Portugal at the “Nossa Senhora do Carmo” House. Pope Francis will then return to Rome via Rome’s Ciampino Airport.
Here is the papal itinerary:
Friday May 12, 2017
14:00 Departure by air from Rome Fiumicino airport for Monte Real.
16:20 Arrival at the air base of Monte Real: Welcome ceremony.
16:35 Private meeting with the President of the Republic in the Monte Real air base.
16:55 Visit to the air base chapel.
17:15 Transfer by helicopter to the stadium of Fatima.
17:35 Arrival at the Fatima stadium and transfer by open vehicle to the Shrine.
18:15 Visit to the Chapel of the Apparitions: Prayer of the Holy Father.
21:30 Blessing of the Candles from the Chapel of the Apparitions: Greetings from the Holy Father & Recital of the Holy Rosary.
Saturday May 13, 2017
09:10 Meeting with the Prime Minister at the “Nossa Senhora do Carmo” House.
09:40 Visit to the Basilica of “Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fatima”.
10:00 Holy Mass at the churchyard of the Shrine: Holy Father’s homily & Holy Father’s greetings to the sick.
12:30 Lunch with bishops of Portugal at the “Nossa Senhora do Carmo” House.
14:45 Farewell ceremony in the Monte Real air base.
15:00 Departure by air from the Monte Real air base, destined for Rome.
19:05 Arrival at Rome Ciampino airport.