This page may be quiet in coming days as EWTN employees have some time off on Holy Thursday and Good Friday to participate in or attend Triduum liturgies. Urgent or breaking news will always be reported, in any case – here or on facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420.

I want to wish all of you – my listeners, readers and TV viewers – a meaningful Holy Week and a blessed Easter of the Resurrection. I will remember you in prayer during the rest of Holy Week.

And now, a heads up for VATICAN INSIDER, my weekend radio program. In particular, after the news segment, stay tuned for Part II of my conversation with a longtime friend and a colleague when we both worked at Vatican Radio for many years – Tracey McClure. Tracey and a few others made some history not long ago by founding D.Va – Donne in Vaticano – Women in the Vatican – the first ever women’s association approved by the Vatican! I am a member of D.VA (pronounced diva) and have participated in many activities but I wanted Tracey to give you the behind the scenes input. So stay tuned to learn more about Women in the Vatican!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://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 another note altogether – a note about a truly remarkable woman – I hope everyone has a chance to follow the Way of the Cross, the Via Crucis that will take place Good Friday evening at the Colosseum with Pope Francis, This year’s meditations were written by Consolata Sister Eugenia Bonetti – chosen by Pope Francis – who has dedicated a great part of her 80 years to ridding the world of trafficking in persons, especially trafficking in women.

She spoke passionately about her life and her work at a briefing today in the Holy See Press Office, explaining her work with 12 sisters from 12 different religious Orders and 12 different countries, as “women for women.”

Sister Eugenia said that she hoped the “Colosseum would again become the place that represents the many kinds of suffering today as it was in the past. It will represent the Passion of today, of Christ who dies in our streets.”

“We still have the crucified today,” she noted, highlighting cases where girls who do not submit to prostitution are burned alive.

She added that, “there are, however, many Veronicas out there today, those who still help to dry tears.”


Pope Francis says his thoughts remain close to Parisians and the people of France, as donations for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral pour in from around the world.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

Speaking to French pilgrims present at the Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis thanked the many people who risked their lives to salvage Notre Dame as fire tore through the Paris Cathedral. “The gratitude of the whole Church goes to those who did everything they could, even risking their lives, to save the Basilica,” he said.

The Holy Father said he felt a great sense of sorrow for the damage caused by the devastating blaze.

Extensive damage
Fire broke out on Monday evening in Notre Dame’s rafters, where workmen had been carrying out renovations. The spire of the 12th-century cathedral collapsed, along with the entire roof. Courageous firefighters saved the Blessed Sacrament and several relics, including the Crown of Thorns and the tunic of St. Louis. Much of the artwork was also rescued.

Authorities consider the fire an accident.

Phone call with Macron
Pope Francis spoke by phone with President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, personally expressing his solidarity with the people of France.
He repeated the feeling again on Wednesday, telling the nation: “I feel very close to all of you. May the Virgin Mary bless you and support the work of reconstruction. May it be a harmonious work of praise and glory to God.”

Support pours in
Donations are pouring in to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral. Nearly $1 billion has already been raised. The French government, which owns the Cathedral, is setting up an office to gather donations. France’s cultural heritage envoy, Stephane Bern, said contributions came from both ordinary Catholic faithful and wealthy donors.

Barbara Jatta, the head of the Vatican Museums, told Reuters that her staff of art historians and restorers “are willing to do anything we can to help.”

Daring the odds, President Macron has pledged to restore Notre Dame Cathedral to her former glory in 5 years, just in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics.


Before Jesus celebrated the Passover, a “spy” went out to betray him.
As the days of Holy Week move forward, various events occur that directly lead to what will take place on Good Friday. Among these events was the fateful betrayal of Jesus by one of his own disciples:

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. (Matthew 26:14-16)

This action by Judas earned him the title of “spy” by medieval Christians, in accord with the traditional definition of the English word, “one who keeps secret watch on a person or thing to obtain information.”

From Wednesday onward, Judas secretly watched for a chance to turn Jesus over to the chief priests, and so many Christians labeled this day as “Spy Wednesday.”

In the same vein various cultures reflected the somber mood of this day by calling it “Black Wednesday” or “Wednesday of Shadows,” which also corresponds to the liturgical rite of Tenebrae that is celebrated on this day.

It is also called “Silent Wednesday,” as the Gospels do not record any activities in the life of Jesus. The only event is the secret meeting of Judas with the chief priests.

Wednesday’s events usher in the final days of Jesus’ life on earth and directly lead to the sacrifice of Jesus on Good Friday. (https://aleteia.org/2018/03/28/what-is-spy-wednesday/)