Before I bring you two very significant news stories, I want to remind you to tune in this weekend to “Vatican Insider” for Part II of my conversation with Msgr. Keith Newton, ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
POPE FRANCIS, ORTHODOX PATRIARCH KIRILL TO HOLD HISTORIC ENCOUNTER IN CUBA
(Vatican Radio) It was announced on Friday that Pope Francis will hold a meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in Cuba on February 12th. It marks the first ever such meeting between a Roman Pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Here is the joint press release of the Holy See and of the Patriarchate of Moscow:
The Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow are pleased to announce that, by the grace of God, His Holiness Pope Francis and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will meet on February 12 next. Their meeting will take place in Cuba, where the Pope will make a stop on his way to Mexico, and where the Patriarch will be on an official visit. It will include a personal conversation at Havana’s José Martí International Airport, and will conclude with the signing of a joint declaration.
This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that it will also be a sign of hope for all people of good will. They invite all Christians to pray fervently for God to bless this meeting, that it may bear good fruits.
The communique was released in Italian, Russian, English, French and Spanish.
TWO FRANCISCAN SAINTS AND CONFESSORS ARRIVE IN VATICAN
(Vatican Radio) The relics of St. Pius of Pietralcina – Padre Pio, as he is popularly known around the world – and St. Leopold Mandic, made their way on Friday afternoon from the Church of San Salvatore in Lauro to St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
The relics of the two great saints – both of whom were Capuchin Franciscan friars and priests who were renowned as confessors – have come to Rome by the desire of Pope Francis in connection with the Jubilee Year of Mercy, as part of efforts to renew, rekindle and strengthen interest in and love for the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation.
Following a Mass in nearby San Salvatore, at which the principal celebrant was the Archbishop of Manfredonia – Vieste – San Giovanni Rotondo, Michele Castoro, the saints’ relics were carried in solemn procession through the streets of Rome, across the Tiber River and into St. Peter’s, where they were received by the Cardinal-Archpriest, Angelo Comastri, who, after a moment of prayer, accompanied them into the Basilica and saw them placed in the central nave before the Altar of the Confession for the faithful to venerate.
The relics will remain in St. Peter’s for veneration until the morning of February 11 when, after a Holy Mass of thanksgiving at 7:30 am at the Altar of the Chair, they will be returned to their places of repose.