POPE FRANCIS TODAY MARKS 53 YEARS OF PRIESTHOOD! He entered the Jesuits in March of 1958 and was ordained a priest on this day in 1969. On December 17, the Holy Father turns 86! So double congratulations and prayerful best wishes are in order!

THERE IS A PATRON SAINT FOR PEOPLE WITH EYE PROBLEMS? Well, today is the feast of St. Lucy, patron of those with eye issues. I’ve had some serious eye issues for 20 years and, a few years ago, on a visit to Venice where she is buried, I prayed before her resting place and visited a small relic room in the church. Here are few photos I took:

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For her story: Saint Lucy – Sanctuary of Lucy (santuariodilucia.it), For a history of this church and her tomb: The Sanctuary – Sanctuary of Lucy (santuariodilucia.it)

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE IS WOMAN OF THE EUCHARIST: I hope you enjoy this Knights of Columbus video on Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose feast the Church celebrated yesterday, including Mass last evening in St. Peter’s Basilica presided over by Pope Francis. The video is part in Spanish with English subtitles and part in English. (10) Our Lady of Guadalupe: Woman of the Eucharist – YouTube


(CNA) The highest-ranking woman in the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has said that the ordination of women as Catholic priests is “not an open question” at this time.

Sister Nathalie Becquart, who serves as an undersecretary for the Church’s ongoing Synod on Synodality, was recently named on the BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women around the world.

Sister Nathalie Becquart, who serves as an undersecretary for the Church’s ongoing Synod on Synodality, was recently named on the BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women around the world. | Daniel Ibañez/CNA

In an article published Dec. 13, the French religious sister said that there are many ways for women to serve the Church, but ordination is not an option.

“For the Catholic Church at this moment, from an official point of view, it’s not an open question,” Becquart told the BBC.

Becquart was quoted in a news report that featured the stories of invalid ordinations in the U.S. of Catholic women dressed in liturgical vestments in which one woman reflected: “Excommunication was just part of the journey.”

In response to the subject of the article, Becquart said: “It’s not just a matter of you feeling you are called to priesthood, it’s always a recognition that the Church will call you to be a priest. So your personal feeling or decision is not enough.”

She said: “I think we need to broaden our vision of the Church. There are many, many ways for women to serve the Church.”

The most recent working document for the Synod on Synodality published in October said that many reports submitted to synod organizers asked for discernment on “the possibility for women with adequate training to preach in parish settings and a female diaconate.”

“Much greater diversity of opinion was expressed on the subject of priestly ordination for women, which some reports call for, while others consider a closed issue,” the working document for the Continental Phase of the synod said.

Pope Francis has also addressed the subject of women’s ordination recently in an interview with America Magazine.

When the pope was asked for his response to a woman who feels called to be a priest, Pope Francis replied decisively: “And why can a woman not enter ordained ministry? It is because the Petrine principle has no place for that.”

“The ministerial dimension, we can say, is that of the Petrine church. I am using a category of theologians. The Petrine principle is that of ministry,” the pope said.

Pope Francis added that he believes that the Church should give more space to women in an “administrative” role, noting the appointments he has already made in the governance of the Vatican and the Council for the Economy.

“When a woman enters politics or manages things, generally she does better. Many economists are women, and they are renewing the economy in a constructive way,” the pope added.

Becquart is an example of female administrative leadership within the Church. The French religious sister is the first woman to hold a position at such a high level within the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

Before this, the 53-year-old sister with the Congregation of Xavières was a general coordinator of a pre-synod meeting for the 2018 Synod of Bishops and served as the first female director of the French bishops’ national service for the evangelization of young people and for vocations.



Today is the 52nd anniversary of the priestly ordination of Pope Francis, ordained in Argentina on December 13, 1969. Many best wishes, Holy Father!

Pope Francis will also mark another big day this week – his 85th birthday on December 17!   Tanti auguri, Papa Francesco!


Today, December 13, is also the feast of St. Lucy, patron saint of the blind and is also invoked against hemorraghes, diseases of the eye, and throat infections.

painting by Francesco del Cossa

I visited the church in Venice where she is buried and and only find two of my photos at the moment.

The church’s website states: According to tradition, the remains of Saint Lucy were taken from Constantinople in 1204 by the Venetian doge Enrico Dandolo, along with those of Sant’Agata during the Fourth Crusade. Lucy’s remains were first laid to rest in the church of San Giorgio Maggiore.  After a tragic accident on Saint Lucy’s day in 1279, where pilgrims were drowned partly because of the numbers visiting Lucy, the Senate decided that the relics should be transferred to a city church, to allow better access. So, on 18 January 1280, led by a solemn procession, the body was brought to the church of Santa Maria Annunziata (or the «Nunciata») in the sestiere of Cannaregio.(the website: https://www.santuariodilucia.it/en/project/saint-lucy/)

She is one of my favorite saints and has brought me through many eye surgeries. For the very first one in December 2011, a detached retina in one eye and laser surgeries in the other, I entered the eye hospital precisely on her feast day, December 13, and remained for 9 days.

Here’s a great story on how she is celebrated in Italy:  How and why Italy celebrates Santa Lucia on December 13th (thelocal.it)


The Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments says “the publication of the Rite of Institution of Catechists offers a further opportunity for reflection on the theology of ministries in order to arrive at an organic vision of the distinct ministerial realities.”

By Salvatore Cernuzio

Accipe hoc fídei nostræ signum, cáthedram veritátis et caritátis Christi, eúmque vita, móribus et verbo annúntia – “Receive this sign of our faith, cathedra of the truth and love of Christ, and proclaim it with your life, your conduct and your word.”

Beginning on 1 January 2022, this will be one of the Latin formulas with which laymen and laywomen “of profound faith and human maturity” will be instituted as catechists by their bishop during a liturgical celebration.

The new Rite

After formally instituting the ministry of the catechist with the motu proprio Antiquum ministerium, Pope Francis has approved and published an Editio typica [typical edition] that introduces a specific Rite of Institution of Catechists. This is the base text that will then be translated and adapted by the various Bishops’ Conferences around the world.

The conferences will have the task of clarifying the profile and role of catechists, offering them suitable formation and helping the various communities grasp the meaning of the ministry, so that it will not be confused with other roles in the Church.

The Rite of Institution can take place during a Mass or a celebration of the Word of God; the Editio also indicates the readings from the Old and New Testaments to be used in the celebration. The Rite will follow a precise format, beginning with an exhortation to the candidate, followed by an invitation to prayer, a blessing, and the handing over of the crucifix.

A further step

The introduction of a Rite of Institution of Catechists marks a further step in the general reflection on ecclesial ministries, following up on the motu proprio Spiritus Domini, issued on 10 January 2021, which modified Canon Law on women’s access to the ministries of lector and acolyte; and the aforementioned Antiquum ministerium, issued on 10 May 2021.

In a letter accompanying the publication of the Editio typica, Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, emphasizes that the new Rite “offers a further opportunity for reflection on the theology of ministries in order to arrive at an organic vision of the distinct ministerial realities.”

The letter, addressed to the presidents of the various bishops’ conferences, proposes some indications concerning the ministry of catechist.

Nature of the ministry

First of all, the letter clarifies the nature of this ministry, quoting Pope Francis’ description of it as “a stable form service rendered to the local Church.” It is above all a “lay ministry based on the common baptismal state” and therefore “essentially distinct” from the ordained ministry.

Archbishop Roche explains that, “catechists, by virtue of their Baptism, are called to be co-responsible in the local Church for the proclamation and transmission of the faith, carrying out this role in collaboration with the ordained ministers and under their guidance.”

To avoid misunderstandings, the Prefect of Divine Worship clarifies that the term “catechist” indicates different realities in relation to the ecclesial context: “Catechists in mission territories,” for instance, “differ from those working in churches of long-standing tradition.”

In the great variety of forms, however, one can distinguish – “though not rigidly” – two main types: catechists with the specific task of catechesis, and others who participate in the different forms of the apostolate, such as leading community prayer; assisting the sick; celebrating funerals; training other catechists; coordinating pastoral initiatives; and helping the poor.

Ministry of catechist and other ecclesial roles

In his letter, Archbishop Roche says that since this ministry has “a definite vocational aspect” which requires “due discernment” by the bishops, not all those who are called “catechists” or who carry out a service of pastoral collaboration should be formally instituted in the ministry of catechists.

In particular, he says, “it is preferable” that certain classes of people not be instituted as such. These include: candidates for the diaconate and the priesthood; men and women religious, regardless of whether they belong to Institutes whose charism is catechesis; teachers of religion in schools; and those who perform a service aimed exclusively at members of an ecclesial movement, to whom this “precious” function is entrusted by the leaders of the movements and not by the bishop.

As for those who accompany the initiation of children and adults, they too do not necessarily have to be instituted in the specific ministry, but should receive at the beginning of each catechetical year “a public ecclesial mandate entrusting them with this important function.” However, this does not detract from the fact that some of them may be instituted as Lectors or Catechists, on the basis of their pastoral abilities and needs.

Defining the roles of catechists

The letter then specifies that it is the task of the individual Bishops’ Conferences to clarify the profile, role, and the most coherent forms for the exercise of the ministry of catechists. The Conferences are also called to define suitable formation programmes for candidates, and to prepare their communities to understand the meaning of this ministry.

Archbishop Roche notes that canon law provides for the possibility of entrusting to a lay person “a share in the exercise of pastoral care in a parish,” but says it is necessary “to form the community so that it does not see the Catechist as a substitute for the Priest or Deacon, but as a member of the lay faithful who lives their baptism in fruitful collaboration and shared responsibility with the ordained ministers, so that their pastoral care may reach everyone.”

The Prefect also explains the requirements for catechists, referencing Antiquum ministerium.

The ministry of catechist is open to men and women “of profound faith and human maturity active participants in the life of the Christian community, capable of welcoming others, being generous and living a life of fraternal communion,” with “suitable biblical, theological, pastoral and pedagogical formation,” who have received the sacraments of Christian initiation. Each candidate must first present his or her bishop with a “freely written and signed” petition seeking institution as a catechist.