Tune in to EWTN this Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, because Pope Francis will be saying Mass in a private fashion in the church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, – Holy Spirit Church – just a few blocks from Vatican City. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the canonization of St. Faustyna on April 30, 2000, and Pope John Paul’s designation of the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. Check> for time.

On January 1, 1994, Saint John Paul II named Santo Spirito as the Rome center for Divine Mercy Spirituality. The church itself has a long history and today features beautiful images of Divine Mercy, St. Faustyna Kowalska, called the Apostle of Divine Mercy, and Pope John Paul.

Interestingly enough, John Paul II died on April 2, 2005, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, was beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011, and was canonized with Pope John XXIII on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, 2014 by Pope Francis.


Welcome to a new edition of Vatican Insider on this special Easter season weekend of Divine Mercy Sunday! As you know, given that under the coronavirus quarantine rules I cannot go out to interview people, until those restrictions are lifted, I’m presenting a number of Specials I’ve prepared in the interview segment. This weekend, stay tuned after the news for Part II of my special on the Shroud of Turin, the burial cloth believed by many to have enveloped Christ’s body in the tomb. What do scientists say about the cloth, its provenance and dates, the stains on it – and much more.

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On Thursday afternoon, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, brought Pope Francis’ greetings, along with food and hygiene products to Rome’s homeless.

Cardinal Krajewski and a handful of volunteers were out on the streets of Rome on Thursday afternoon. (photo: vaticannews)

They brought Pope Francis’s greetings, some food, and hygiene products to several homeless people living near Rome’s Termini train station.

“They were saying hi and thanking us,” said Daniele, one of the volunteers, “for what we had brought them: sleeping bags, food, soap, and some masks they weren’t expecting. But like always,” added Daniele, “we received more than we gave.”


Caritas Internationalis launches a new “Covid-19 Response Fund” to help support the efforts of local Churches as they assist those suffering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

Pope Francis recently set up a Commission to manifest the Church’s care for people around the world affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Caritas Internationalis plays a key role in the Vatican task force, due to its vast network of aid agencies spread out in local dioceses in 160 nations.

The Catholic Church’s human development arm released a communiqué on Thursday launching a new fundraising initiative called the “Covid-19 Response Fund”.

Aloysius John, the Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, spoke to Vatican Radio about the Church’s role in helping those suffering during the ongoing pandemic.

“Pope Francis is very much preoccupied with Covid-19, and he wants the Church to express solidarity with the local Churches and help them at this moment as a gesture of witnessing the universal love and care of the universal Church for the local Church,” said Mr. John.

The commission that the Pope set up consists of five working groups. Caritas Internationalis belongs to the first working group, which is dedicated to listening and supporting local Churches.

“We have lots of experience in the areas of health and micro-development, and we are present down to the parish-level in a very capillary way in service of the Church,” said Mr. John.

Caritas has already sent out a survey and received responses from 140 Bishops’ Conferences.

Therefore, Caritas already has a wealth of information that can be used to better distribute aid in case of a local outbreak of Covid-19.

Mr. John said the solidarity fund will be used to provide healthcare services in the areas of prevention and control of infections, access to clean water and sanitation, and procurement of personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc).

Food security is one area that Caritas is most concerned about. Some poor people in developing nations consider Covid-19 to be the lesser of two evils. They prefer to defy social-distancing measures to go out in search of work.

“How are we going to help them? If they don’t have food, then they have to go out to search for food and expose themselves, and others, to the contagious effects of the disease,” Mr. John points out.

He said that Caritas is most concerned about parts of Africa and the Middle East where wars and internal conflicts have left many people poor and vulnerable.

Caritas Jerusalem’s staff in Palestine is already running out of money and may be forced to stop offering food and hygiene kits to 500 families in need.

With local agencies’ needs increasing as the coronavirus spreads, Caritas Internationalis has set up the Covid-19 Response Fund to raise money to send to local Churches.

“The coronavirus solidarity fund is a means to assist small projects which will allow Caritas to help the people who are confined,” Mr. John said.

One project is Caritas Philippines’ “Kindness Centers” set up at parishes. People wanting to help can bring their excess food supplies to the centers. They are then distributed to local families in need.

“We are there to help them create solidarity,” Mr. John said. “We are all in solidarity before the virus, but I think we also have to be in solidarity with people to help them live with dignity.”

The Covid-19 Response Fund offers people around the world a chance to help those in need, even from the confines of their own homes.

“Let us join hands in helping us to help the poor, the needy, and the most vulnerable,” said Mr. John. “Pope Francis wants us to be ‘educators of solidarity’ and, at the same time, actors in the field of solidarity.”

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the Covid-19 Response Fundcan do so through Caritas Internationalis’s website.

A Bank Account has been opened specifically for this fund at the Vatican Bank (Institute for the Works of Religion). Funds can be wired using the IBAN: VA29001000000020179007



Today I went to see the replica of the Holy Face of Manoppello during its presence this weekend in the Rome church of Santo Spirito, Holy Spirit. This church, just blocks from St. Peter’s Basilica, is principally dedicated to Divine Mercy and is crowded just about every day of the week, often at the 3 pm time of the Hour of Divine Mercy.




I got to the church exactly at 4 pm (not that I had planned such a precise arrival) and I discovered that a Mass for Polish pilgrims had just begun. I was a lector at Mass last evening with the Santa Susanna community so this second Sunday Mass was a special joy, especially given the presence of the Holy Face (about which I wrote in my Friday, January 15 column).

Polish pilgrims come often to Santo Spirito because, as you know it was a Polish nun, St. Faustina Kowalska, who spread the devotion to Divine Mercy and a Polish Pope, John Paul II, who instituted Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter.

The altar dedicated to Divine Mercy and St. Faustina:20160117_164409


A reliquary near the Divine Mercy altar:


The altar dedicated to St. John Paul:


A reliquary with relics of John Paul:


I took these photos after Mass as hundreds gathered to pray before the replica of the Manoppello icon, before the altar dedicated to St. John Paul and before the altar dedicated to Divine Mercy.