FRANCIS PRAYS AT ST MARY MAJOR FOR TRIP TO KAZAKHSTAN – CARDINAL PAROLIN: WAR IS NEVER INEVITABLE

FRANCIS PRAYS AT ST MARY MAJOR FOR TRIP TO KAZAKHSTAN

As is his custom both before and after making an apostolic journey, Pope Francis today prayed before the beloved Roman image of Salus populi romani in the basilica of St. Mary Major.

The Holy Father departs tomorrow for Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, to attend and address the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions that will be held here on September 14 and 15. This is his 38th apostolic trip abroad and the 57th country he will have visited.

St. John Paul II was the first pontiff to visit this central European nation, arriving shortly after the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001. At the time, he applauded the peaceful coexistence of religions and ethnicities, such as Kazakh, Russian, Ukrainian, and many others, within the country. (Vatican media photo)

CARDINAL PAROLIN: WAR IS NEVER INEVITABLE

On the eve of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Kazakhstan, the Vatican Secretary of State looks at the war in Ukraine with hopes that the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which the Pope will attend, might become an opportunity for encounter and dialogue, and underscores the fruitful diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Kazakhstan.

By Massimiliano Menichetti (vaticannews)

Everything is ready on the eve of Pope Francis’ 38th Apostolic Journey outside Italy. The destination is Kazakhstan and participation in the VII Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. The international background of the event includes the ongoing, tragic war in Ukraine and many other conflicts around the world.

Once again, Pope Francis at Sunday’s Angelus in St. Peter’s Square asked for everyone to continue praying the people suffering from the war in Ukraine. He also thanked those involved in the journey’s preparations who made possible this trip to the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, where the focus will be on the capital, Nur-Sultan.

The predominantly Muslim country is home to a small Catholic community that awaits the arrival of the Pope with hope. The busy program is condensed into three days with five addresses he will give.

Ahead of the Pope’s departure on Tuesday, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin sat down with Vatican Media to explore various themes of the Journey.

For full interview: Cardinal Parolin ahead of Pope’s Kazakhstan visit: ‘War is never inevitable’ – Vatican News

 

VATICAN INSIDER: THE “BEST OF” – OUR LADY AND THE AUGUST SNOWFALL IN ROME

VATICAN INSIDER: THE “BEST OF”

Tune in for a surprise this weekend when we offer a “best of” Vatican Insider: one of my stories on the Vatican Observatory (1st segment of the show) and A Visit to Rome (second segment), a conversation with the postulator of Saint Mother Teresa’s cause for canonization. No news summary or Q&A this week!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at 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 the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

OUR LADY AND THE AUGUST SNOWFALL IN ROME

Right now, if snow were to really fall on the Eternal City, you’d have a few million happy people who have been suffering extremely hot temperatures for almost three months. Of course, we’d have to rush for sweaters and coats but that would be welcome clothing – and we’d probably want sunshine again tomorrow!

Snow is falling in Rome as I write, falling from the ceiling of one of the four papal basilicas in Rome, Our Lady of the Snows, aka St. Mary Major.

It was just too hot today to stand in line for security and then stand in a jam-packed church for some time so I offer some photos I took a few years ago (I now have far better camera!).

The other three papal basilicas, by the way, are St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and St. John Lateran. By the way, these four basilicas, with three others, constitute the 7 must-visit pilgrim churches in Rome. The remaining three: St. Sebastian, Holy Cross in Jerusalem (with relics of the crucifixion) and St. Lawrence – San Lorenzo al Verano.

Now about the annual snowfall:

The year was 358 A.D. John, a Roman patrician, and his wife, unable to have children, had been praying faithfully to the Virgin, asking her to give them a sign as to whom they should leave their enormous patrimony. The night of August 4-5, one of the hottest of the year, Mary appeared to the couple in a dream and requested that they build a church in her honor where snow would fall that night.

John and his wife went to tell their friend Pope Liberius of their dream and to their amazement discovered that the pontiff had had the same dream. That morning, August 5, one of Rome’s seven fabled hills, the Esquiline, was covered in snow, as witnessed by John, his wife, the Pope and his entourage, and a throng of Romans.

Pope Liberius took a stick and traced the sign of the future basilica in the snow, a basilica that would be forever known as Our Lady of the Snows, in addition to the name it bears today, St. Mary Major, the greatest – and the oldest – Marian church.

The feast of Our Lady of the Snows was introduced that year and has been commemorated ever since on August 5. Each year, there are two celebrations on that day. In late afternoon during a liturgy, usually vespers, thousands of white flower petals, symbolizing the miraculous snowfall, are released through one of the square panels of the basilica’s glorious gilt ceiling. In the evening, about 9 pm, outside the basilica, white flower petals are showered down on the faithful who have gathered to commemorate that event.

The snowfall:

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The basilica:

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If you are ever in Rome on August 5 go to St. Mary Major in mid-afternoon or about 9 at night to witness the snowfall and participate in a liturgy (put that on your calendar for next year!)

I did a brief video on my very first trip years ago (see following link) but want to return next year with my now far superior phone camera (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9LTZk-k2k8).

POPE TO LEAD ROSARY FOR PEACE ON MAY 31

Courtesy of The Pillar: Click here for a list of U.S. Bishops who agree with San Francisco Abp. Salvatore Cordileone on his decision to bar Speaker Nancy Pelosi from communion for her pro-abortion stand and who will also ban her from communion in their dioceses: US bishops respond to Pelosi being barred from the Eucharist (pillarcatholic.com), Add Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Va., to this list. I am sure this will be updated over time. Thank you, Ed and JD!

The following story is interesting because, the traditional end of May event at the Vatican is a candlelit procession with faithful praying the rosary in the Vatican Gardens, often with the Pope appearing at the end at the Grotto of Lourdes to address the faithful. May 31 is the feast of the Visitation.

POPE TO LEAD ROSARY FOR PEACE ON MAY 31

Pope Francis, in connection with international shrines worldwide, will lead a Rosary for peace from the Basilica of St. Mary Major on 31 May for those suffering the ongoing war in Ukraine and other wars around the world.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov (vaticannews)

Pope Francis will lead a Rosary for peace as a sign of hope for those suffering from the ongoing war in Ukraine and wars around the world. The news was announced on Ascension Thursday in a statement from the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

“At the conclusion of the Marian month, Pope Francis wishes to offer a sign of hope to the world, suffering from the conflict in Ukraine and deeply wounded by the violence of the many wars still active.”

On Tuesday, 31 May, at 6pm, the Pope will pray the Rosary before the statue of Mary Regina Pacis in Rome’s Marian Basilica. (catholicforum.com photo)

“All the faithful in every part of the world are invited to support Pope Francis in his prayer to the Queen of Peace,” the statement encouraged.

Benedict XV commissioned image to implore end to First World War

This statue of Maria Regina Pacis, or “Queen of Peace”, located in the left aisle of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, has a particular history. It was commissioned by Pope Benedict XV and made by sculptor Guido Galli, at the time the deputy director of the Vatican Museums, to implore the Virgin Mary for an end to the First World War in 1918.

The Madonna is depicted with her left arm raised as a sign to order the end of the war, while with her right she holds the Baby Jesus, ready to drop the olive branch symbolising peace. Flowers are sculpted on the base, symbolising the blossoming of life with the return of peace. It is traditional for the faithful to lay small handwritten notes with prayer intentions at the feet of the Virgin.

The Pope will lay a wreath of flowers at the feet of the image before addressing his prayer to Our Lady and leaving his particular intention.

St. Mary Major on 31 May

Various categories of people representing the faithful will be present to support the Pope’s prayer. There will be boys and girls who have received their First Communion and Confirmation in recent weeks, Scouts, families from the Ukrainian Community of Rome, representatives of the Marian Ardent Youth (GAM), members of the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps and the Pontifical Swiss Guard, and the three parishes in Rome named after the Virgin Mary Queen of Peace, along with members of the Roman Curia.

As a sign of closeness to those most involved in the dynamics of these tragic events, a Ukrainian family, people related to war victims, and a group of military chaplains with their respective corps were invited to pray the decades of the Rosary.

Joining together with international shrines

Another important sign is the involvement of international shrines from all over the world, together with some shrines located in countries still affected by war or with strong political instability within them, which are the cause of many episodes of violence.

These shrines will pray the Rosary at the same time as the Holy Father, and will be connected via streaming to the live broadcast from Rome.

Those shrines that will be in connection with the Pope include: Shrine of the Mother of God in Ukraine; Cathedral of Sayidat al-Najat (Our Lady of Salvation) in Iraq; Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Syria; Cathedral of Mary Queen of Arabia in Bahrain. Alongside these are the International Shrines: Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage; International Shrine of Jesus Saviour and Mother Mary; Shrine of Jasna Góra; International Shrine of the Korean Martyrs; Holy House of Loreto; Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary; International Shrine Our Lady of Knock; Blessed Virgin of the Rosary; Our Lady Queen of Peace; Our Lady of Guadalupe; Our Lady of Lourdes.

On the feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, Pope Francis consecrated all humanity—especially Russia and Ukraine—to the Immaculate Heart of Mary toward the end of the liturgy during the annual “24 Hours for the Lord” Lenten penitential service in St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

THE AUGUST SNOWFALL IN ROME

THE AUGUST SNOWFALL IN ROME

Every so often people write me to tell me they’ve read stories of a snowfall in Rome in August, traditionally the hottest month of the year, although in a continuous battle with July for that title! The snowfall they read about has nothing to do with needing warm clothes when you visit Rome in August but has everything to do with one of the four papal basilicas in Rome, Our Lady of the Snows aka St. Mary Major.

The other three papal basilicas are St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and St. John Lateran. By the way, these four basilicas, with three others, constitute the 7 must-visit pilgrim churches in Rome. The remaining three: St. Sebastian, Holy Cross in Jerusalem (with relics of the crucifixion) and St. Lawrence – San Lorenzo al Verano.

Now about the snowfall:

The year was 358 A.D. John, a Roman patrician, and his wife, unable to have children, had been praying faithfully to the Virgin, asking her to give them a sign as to whom they should leave their enormous patrimony. The night of August 4-5, one of the hottest of the year, Mary appeared to the couple in a dream and requested that they build a church in her honor where snow would fall that night.

John and his wife went to tell their friend Pope Liberius of their dream and to their amazement discovered that the pontiff had had the same dream. That morning, August 5, one of Rome’s seven fabled hills, the Esquiline, was covered in snow, as witnessed by John, his wife, the Pope and his entourage, and a throng of Romans. Pope Liberius took a stick and traced the sign of the future basilica in the snow, a basilica that would be forever known as Our Lady of the Snows, in addition to the name it bears today, St. Mary Major, the greatest – and the oldest – Marian church.

The feast of Our Lady of the Snows was introduced that year and has been commemorated ever since on August 5. Each year, there are two celebrations on that day. In late afternoon during a liturgy, usually vespers, thousands of white flower petals, symbolizing the miraculous snowfall, are released through one of the square panels of the basilica’s glorious gilt ceiling. In the evening, about 9 pm, outside the basilica, white flower petals are showered down on the faithful who have gathered to commemorate that event.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you are ever in Rome on August 5 go to St. Mary Major in mid-afternoon or about 9 at night to witness the snowfall and participate in a liturgy.

Here’s a brief Youtube video I did on one of my visits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9LTZk-k2k8

 

FEAST OF DEDICATION OF ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA – CDF: BAPTISMS CONFERRED WITH ARBITRARILY MODIFIED FORMULAS ARE NOT VALID

Today, August 6 is the feast of the Transfiguration and on this day in 1978, Pope Paul VI died at the summer papal residence of Castelgandolfo. In what was to known as the Year of Three Popes, Paul VI’s successor, Cardinal Albino Luciani of Venice was elected August 26 and took the name of John Paul. Known as the “smiling Pope,” Luciani was the first Pope to be born in the 20th century. He died sometime during the night of September 28 and 29, 1978 after a very brief pontificate.

In the second conclave of that year, Luciani’s successor, Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow was elected to the papacy on October 16, 1978. Only when he took the name of John Paul II did his predecessor Luciani become John Paul I. Just as today, it is Pope Francis. He would become Pope Francis I if someday there were to be a Pope Francis II.

FEAST OF DEDICATION OF ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA

The year was 358 A.D. John, a Roman patrician, and his wife, unable to have children, had been praying faithfully to the Virgin, asking her to give them a sign as to whom they should leave their enormous patrimony. The night of August 4-5, one of the hottest of the year, Mary appeared to the couple in a dream and requested that they build a church in her honor where snow would fall that night.

John and his wife went to tell Pope Liberius of their dream and to their amazement discovered that the pontiff had had the same dream. The next morning, August 5, the highest of Rome’s seven fabled hills, the Esquiline, was covered in snow, as witnessed by John, his wife, the Pope and his entourage, and a throng of Romans. Pope Liberius took a stick and traced a design of the future basilica in the snow, a basilica that would be forever known as Our Lady of the Snows, in addition to the name it bears today, St. Mary Major, the greatest – and the oldest – Marian church.

The feast of Our Lady of the Snows was introduced that year and has been commemorated ever since on August 5. Each year, during a solemn high Mass, thousands of white flower petals, symbolizing the miraculous snowfall, are released from the basilica’s rooftop, both inside and outside, showering the faithful who have gathered to commemorate that event.

Here’s a video I did on one of several occasions I’ve been to the August 5 “snowfall”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9LTZk-k2k8  .

St. Mary Major, one of the seven major basilicas of Rome, is also one of the four papal basilicas that must be visited by pilgrims in a Holy Year to obtain an indulgence. You will recall that there are five papal basilicas in Rome: visits to four of them – St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls – are obligatory to obtain an indulgence.

August 5 traditionally marks the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, also known as Our Lady of the Snows. Pope Francis, who has a special dedication to Rome’s celebrated Salus Populi Romani icon, housed here in a chapel, paid a visit yesterday, August 5. The Pope usually prays here briefly at the start of an apostolic trip and he again visits on his arrival back in Rome at the end of a trip. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-08/pope-visits-basilica-of-saint-mary-major-on-feast-of-dedication.html

CDF: BAPTISMS CONFERRED WITH ARBITRARILY MODIFIED FORMULAS ARE NOT VALID

(Following is a Doctrinal Note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about valid and invalid baptisms. I have left it in its lengthy form especially for pastors who will want to know and understand the doctrinal reasons behind this congregation document.)

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) affirms that Baptisms administered with modified formulas are invalid, including: “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

By Vatican News

The Sacrament of Baptism administered with an arbitrarily modified formula is not valid, and those for whom “baptism” was celebrated in this way must be baptized “in forma absoluta” — that is unconditionally — by repeating the rite according to the liturgical norms stipulated by the Church.

That is what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirmed in response to two questions regarding the validity of Baptism conferred with the formula, “In the name of the father and of the mother, of the godfather and of the godmother, of the grandparents, of the family members, of the friends, in the name of the community we baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. The responses from the CDF were confirmed by Pope Francis at the end of June and published on Thursday.

It is Christ who baptises
In an explanatory Doctrinal Note accompanying the responses, the CDF says that “the deliberate modification of the sacramental formula was introduced to emphasize the communitarian significance of Baptism, in order to express the participation of the family and of those present, and to avoid the idea of the concentration of a sacred power in the priest to the detriment of the parents and the community that the formula in the Rituale Romano might seem to imply”.

On the contrary, the note says, quoting Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium, “when one baptizes it is really Christ himself who baptizes… the Lord has the principal role in the event being celebrated.”

The Doctrinal Note recognizes that “the parents, godparents and the entire community are called to play an active role, a true liturgical office” — but this, according to the conciliar text, requires that “each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 28).

A wound inflicted on the ecclesial communion
“With debatable pastoral motives,” the note continues, “here resurfaces the ancient temptation to substitute for the formula handed down by Tradition with other texts judged more suitable.” However, “the recourse to pastoral motivation, even unconsciously, masks a subjective deviation and a manipulative will,” the note affirms.

The Second Vatican Council, in continuity with the teaching of the Council of Trent, declared it did not have “the authority to subject the seven sacraments to the action of the Church,” and declared definitively that no one “even if he be a priest may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.”

In fact, the Congregation asserts, “modifying on one’s own initiative the form of the celebration of a Sacrament does not constitute simply a liturgical abuse, like the transgression of a positive norm, but a vulnus [wound] inflicted upon the ecclesial communion and the identifiability of Christ’s action, and in the most grave cases rendering invalid the Sacrament itself, because the nature of the ministerial action requires the transmission with fidelity of that which has been received”.

The nature of ecclesial ministry
In the celebration of the Sacraments – explains the Doctrinal Note – the assembly does not act “collegially” but “ministerially”; and the minister, when pronouncing the sacramental formula, “does not speak as a functionary who carries out a role entrusted to him, but he enacts ministerially the sign-presence of Christ, who acts in His Body to give His grace.”

The note continues, “In this light must be understood the tridentine injunction concerning the necessity of the minister to at least have the intention to do that which the Church does.” That intention, it goes on to say, cannot remain “only at the interior level”, with the risk of subjectivism, but must also be expressed in an “exterior action” carried out not in one’s own name, “but in the person of Christ.”

The note concludes by saying that modifying “the sacramental formula implies a lack of an understanding of the very nature of the ecclesial ministry that is always at the service of God and His people and not the exercise of a power that goes so far as to manipulate what has been entrusted to the Church in an act that pertains to the Tradition.” Therefore, it says, “in every minister of Baptism, there must not only be a deeply rooted knowledge of the obligation to act in ecclesial communion, but also the same conviction that Saint Augustine attributes to the Precursor, which ‘was to be a certain peculiarity in Christ, such that, although many ministers, be they righteous or unrighteous, should baptize, the virtue of Baptism would be attributed to Him alone on whom the dove descended, and of Whom it was said: It is He Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit’” (Jn 1:33).

Earlier responses
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has previously answered questions about the validity of Baptisms confirmed with the formulas: “I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier” and “I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer”.

The answer then was the same as the answer given on Thursday: Such “baptisms” are not valid, and those who undergo a ceremony using those formulas must be unconditionally baptized.

PAPAL PRAYER INTENTIONS AT DAILY MASS – VATICAN INSIDER TOURS ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA – MASSES TO RESUME IN ITALY ON MAY 18

As Pope Francis noted at the Wednesday general audience, “Friday, May 8 the intense prayer of the ‘Supplication to Our Lady of the Rosary’ will rise at the Shrine of Pompeii. I urge everyone to join spiritually in this popular act of faith and devotion, so that through the intercession of the Holy Virgin, the Lord may grant mercy and peace to the Church and to the whole world.” Here is a link from the shrine website to the “supplica” in English: http://www.santuario.it/images/stories/supplica/SupplicaInglese.pdf

VATICAN INSIDER TOURS ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA

As you know, because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Italian restrictions for movement in one’s neighborhood or town, I have been unable for the past two months to go out and interview people for what is normally the interview segment. In that period, I’ve offered a number of specials until I can resume in person interviews.

This weekend we will visit St. Mary Major Basilica, a church that, as you know, Pope Francis visits often to pray before the image of Mary so loved by Romans called Salus populi romani – salvation of the Roman people.

Be a tourist once again! Come back to Rome! Enjoy the visit!

Here are some photos I took one August 5, the day of the famous snowfall on Rome’s Esquiline Hill that marked the founding of this basilica dedicated to Mary. Listen to the Special to learn the whole story!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at 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 the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

PAPAL PRAYER INTENTIONS AT DAILY MASS

Pope Francis continues saying daily Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence, Masses that have been televised and online for months now. He has a special prayer intention every day and announces it at the start of Mass.

On Sunday, May 3, Good Shepherd Sunday, the Pope prayed for doctors and priests, likening them to the Good Shepherd laying down their lives serving the flock.

Monday, May 4, he prayed for families closed up in their homes because of the pandemic, acknowledging that they are trying to do many things they have never done before. He mentioned the reality of domestic violence, and said: “Let us pray for families, that they might persevere in peace with creativity and patience during this quarantine.”

Tuesday, May 5, Francis prayed for those who have died because of the pandemic. “They have died alone, without the caresses of their loved ones. So many did not even have a funeral. May the Lord welcome them in His glory.”

Wednesday, May 6, the Holy Father prayed for the men and women who work in the media: “In this time of pandemic they risk a lot and work a lot. May the Lord help them to always transmit the truth.”

Thursday, May 7, Pope Francis prayed for artists: “I would like to ask the Lord to bless them because through artists we understand beauty, and without beauty we cannot understand the Gospel.”

Friday, May 8, “Today is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day,” said the Pope. “Let us pray for the people who work in these meritorious institutions. May the Lord bless their work that does so much good.”

MASSES TO RESUME IN ITALY ON MAY 18

(CNA) – Dioceses in Italy can resume the celebration of public Masses beginning Monday, May 18, under conditions issued Thursday by the head of Italy’s bishops and by government officials.

The protocol for Mass and other liturgical celebrations states that churches must limit the number of people present – ensuring a one-meter (three feet) distance – and congregants must wear face masks. The church must also be cleaned and disinfected between celebrations.

For the distribution of the Eucharist, priests and other ministers of Holy Communion are asked to wear gloves and masks covering both the nose and mouth and to avoid contact with communicants’ hands.

The Diocese of Rome suspended public Masses March 8 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Several dioceses in hard-hit northern Italy, including Milan and Venice, had suspended public liturgies as early as the last week of February.

All public religious celebrations, including baptisms, funerals, and weddings, were prohibited during the Italian government’s lockdown, which went into effect March 9.

Funerals were allowed again beginning May 4. Public baptisms and weddings may now also resume in Italy starting May 18.

The protocol issued May 7 lays out the genera l directions for complying with health measures, such as the indication of a maximum capacity in a church based on maintaining at least one-meter distance between people.

Access to the church must be regulated to control the number present, it says, and the number of Masses can be increased to ensure social distancing.

The church should be cleaned and disinfected after every celebration and the use of worship aids such as hymnals is discouraged.

Church doors should be propped open before and after Mass to aid traffic flow and hand sanitizer must be available at entrances.

Among other suggestions, the Sign of Peace should be omitted, and holy water fonts kept empty, the protocol states.

The protocol was signed by Italian bishops’ conference president Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Prime Minister and President of the Council Giuseppe Conte, and the Minister of the Interior Luciana Lamorgese.

A note says the protocol was prepared by the Italian bishops’ conference and examined and approved by the government’s Technical-Scientific Committee for COVID-19.

April 26 Italy’s bishops had criticized Conte for failing to lift the ban on public Masses.

In a statement, the bishops’ conference denounced Conte’s decree on “phase 2” of Italy’s coronavirus restrictions, which it said, “arbitrarily excludes the possibility of celebrating Mass with the people.”

The prime minister’s office responded later the same night indicating that a protocol would be studied to allow “the faithful to participate in liturgical celebrations as soon as possible in conditions of maximum security.”

The Italian bishops issued a statement May 7 stating that the protocol for restarting public Masses “concludes a path that has seen collaboration between the Italian Episcopal Conference, the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Interior.”

 

 

THE AUGUST SNOWFALL IN ROME

THE AUGUST SNOWFALL IN ROME

Every so often people write me to tell me they’ve read stories of snowfall in Rome in August, traditionally the hottest month of the year. although in a continuous battle with July for that title! The snowfall they read about has nothing to do with needing warm clothes when you visit Rome in August but has everything to do with one of the four papal basilicas in Rome, Our Lady of the Snows aka St. Mary Major.

The other three papal basilicas are St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and St. John Lateran. By the way, these four basilicas, with three others, constitute the 7 must-visit pilgrim churches in Rome. The remaining three: St. Sebastian, Holy Cross in Jerusalem (with relics of the crucifixion) and St. Lawrence – San Lorenzo al Verano.

Now about the snowfall:

The year was 358 A.D. John, a Roman patrician, and his wife, unable to have children, had been praying faithfully to the Virgin, asking her to give them a sign as to whom they should leave their enormous patrimony. The night of August 4-5, one of the hottest of the year, Mary appeared to the couple in a dream and requested that they build a church in her honor where snow would fall that night.

John and his wife went to tell their friend Pope Liberius of their dream and to their amazement discovered that the pontiff had had the same dream. That morning, August 5, one of Rome’s seven fabled hills, the Esquiline, was covered in snow, as witnessed by John, his wife, the Pope and his entourage, and a throng of Romans. Pope Liberius took a stick and traced the sign of the future basilica in the snow, a basilica that would be forever known as Our Lady of the Snows, in addition to the name it bears today, St. Mary Major, the greatest – and the oldest – Marian church.

The feast of Our Lady of the Snows was introduced that year and has been commemorated ever since on August 5. Each year, there are two celebrations on that day. In late afternoon during a liturgy, usually vespers, thousands of white flower petals, symbolizing the miraculous snowfall, are released through one of the square panels of the basilica’s glorious gilt ceiling. In the evening, about 9 pm, outside the basilica, white flower petals are showered down on the faithful who have gathered to commemorate that event.

If you are ever in Rome on August 5 go to St. Mary Major in mid-afternoon or about 9 at night to witness the snowfall and participate in a liturgy.

Here’s a brief Youtube video I did on my first visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9LTZk-k2k8

THE AUGUST SNOWFALL IN ROME – 30,000 ITALIAN YOUTH ON WALKING PILGRIMAGE TO ROME

August 6 is the feast of the Transfiguration and this year marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Pope Paul VI who will be canonized in October. Pope Francis spoke of this at the Sunday Angelus, saying, “Forty years ago Blessed Pope Paul VI – the Pope of modernity – was living his last hours on this earth. He died in the evening of August 6, 1978. We remember him with great veneration and gratitude. From heaven, may he intercede for the Church and for peace in the world.”

This column might be Joan’s Rome lite tomorrow as I will be travelling much of the day. I’ll bring you what I can – if I can!

THE AUGUST SNOWFALL IN ROME

Every so often people write me to tell me they’ve read stories of snowfall in Rome in August, traditionally the hottest month of the year – perhaps together with July! The snowfall they read about has nothing to do with needing warm clothes when you visit Rome in August but has everything to do with one of the four papal basilicas in Rome, Our Lady of the Snows aka St. Mary Major.

The other three papal basilicas are St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and St. John Lateran. By the way, these four basilicas, with three others, constitute the 7 must-visit pilgrim churches in Rome. The remaining three: St. Sebastian, Holy Cross in Jerusalem (with relics of the crucifixion) and St. Lawrence – San Lorenzo al Verano.

Now about the snowfall:

The year was 358 A.D. John, a Roman patrician, and his wife, unable to have children, had been praying faithfully to the Virgin, asking her to give them a sign as to whom they should leave their enormous patrimony. The night of August 4-5, one of the hottest of the year, Mary appeared to the couple in a dream and requested that they build a church in her honor where snow would fall that night.

John and his wife went to tell their friend Pope Liberius of their dream and to their amazement discovered that the pontiff had had the same dream. That morning, August 5, one of Rome’s seven fabled hills, the Esquiline, was covered in snow, as witnessed by John, his wife, the Pope and his entourage, and a throng of Romans. Pope Liberius took a stick and traced the sign of the future basilica in the snow, a basilica which would be forever known as Our Lady of the Snows, in addition to the name it bears today, St. Mary Major, the greatest – and the oldest – Marian church.

The feast of Our Lady of the Snows was introduced that year and has been commemorated ever since on August 5. Each year, there are two celebrations on that day. In late afternoon during a liturgy, usually vespers, thousands of white flower petals, symbolizing the miraculous snowfall, are released through one of the square panels of the basilica’s glorious gilt ceiling. In the evening, about 9 pm, outside the basilica, white flower petals are showered down on the faithful who have gathered to commemorate that event.

If you are ever in Rome on August 5 go to St. Mary Major in mid-afternoon or about 9 at night to witness the snowfall and participate in a liturgy.

Here’s a brief Youtube video I did on my first visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9LTZk-k2k8

30,000 ITALIAN YOUTH ON WALKING PILGRIMAGE TO ROME

The initiative organized by the Italian bishops conference is in preparation for the Synod on young people in the Vatican in October and the World Youth Day in Panama in January.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews.va)

More than 30,000 young people of some 200 Italian dioceses set out in groups Friday morning on a weeklong walking pilgrimage in the territories of their respective dioceses, an experience that will conclude in a mega rally in Rome next weekend with meetings with Pope Francis.

The National Service for Youth Ministry of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) has organized the initiative in view of the Synod of Bishops on young people scheduled for October in the Vatican.

Father Michele Falabretti who heads the Youth Ministry office explained that they wanted to add a special experience to their meeting with the Pope, hence the initiative called, “Per Mille Strade” (Through a thousand roads), a pilgrimage involving young people and those accompanying them and “Siamo Qui” (We Are Here), the encounter with Pope Francis on the last two days in Rome, August 11 and 12.

Pilgrimage through the world

To be able to make the most of the walking pilgrimage, each participant has been provided with a pilgrim’s kit containing both practical and spiritual items. This includes a pilgrim’s shoulder bag with items such as a headlamp for use at night, a hat, a portable water bag, a diary, a Gospel, a cross, a commentary booklet on the encounter between Jesus and the disciples, a small canvas with the image of the holy shroud, a map and an identification badge.

The young pilgrims have also been furnished with a log, where they will post their experiences as they pass through the various stages of their journey.

Fr. Falabretti said the purpose of the pilgrimage is to help young people step out of the beaten path, slow down and keep their eyes open to the testimonies of life and faith that they come across and to know about the stories of today’s man and his difficulties and hopes. This journey is to make the children think and feel as part of the Church, he said.

Rally with the Pope in Rome

After the pilgrimage across their respective dioceses, the youngsters will board buses, trains or other means to converge on Rome on Saturday, August 11, where they will hold an evening prayer vigil at Circus Maximus with the participation of the Holy Father.

The following day, Sunday, they will attend a Mass in St. Peter’s Square, at the end of which the Pope will hand them a missionary mandate and bless the Crucifix of St. Damien and Our Lady of Loreto which they will carry to the World Youth Day in Panama, next year.

The young people have been encouraged to remain connected by posting their experiences online on the social media that will be shared with all in real time as the pilgrimage progresses.

POPE FRANCIS TO VISIT RESTORED MARIAN ICON SUNDAY

POPE FRANCIS TO VISIT RESTORED MARIAN ICON SUNDAY

On Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 9 am, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major on the occasion of the feast of the Translation of the Salus Populi Romani icon that depicts the Madonna with the Child Jesus in her arms in a blessing position.

This solemnity, that takes place every year on the last Sunday of January, hopes to be a choral thanksgiving for the presence of the centuries-old sacred image in the Liberian Basilica, says a communiqué from the papal basilica.

Salus Populi Romani is among the most famous and venerated Marian icons and, as is well-expressed by its very name, is particularly venerated by Romans who, with trust invoke her protection in various moments of daily life and in especially critical moments.

Pope Francis is particularly devoted to her and, as happened immediately after his election to the papacy when he came to pay homage to her, he does so now on every one of his international trips.

The liturgical celebration will coincide with the exposition of the icon that has been restored following a delicate and challenging intervention done by the restoration laboratories of the Vatican museums and coordinated by Museum director, Dr. Barbara Jatta, with the supervision of a commission presided over by the archpriest of the Liberian Basilica, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko.

The sophisticated technology of the research undertaken before the restoration and the extraordinary expertise of the Vatican restorers allowed for the recovery of the original beauty and the historical reality of this work that had been hidden by centuries of varnish, repainting and the effects from devotional use.

Thus, says the communiqué, the intimate conversation of souls is able to re-emerge without barriers in the intense look on the face of the Mother of God and our Mother.

VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO EXPERT IN MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES – SPANISH ROYALS TO INAUGURATE NEW LIGHTING FOR ST. MARY MAJOR – THE 3 PROPHESIES OF POPE PAUL VI THAT ARE BEING FULFILLED IN OUR WORLD RIGHT NOW

FYI: See Press Office Director Greg Burke said in a statement today, January 12, that Pope Francis has accepted an invitation from His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Archbishop Major of Kyiv-Halyč of the Ukrainians and, on Sunday, January 28 at 4 pm, will visit the Basilica of Santa Sofia in Rome and meet with the Ukrainian Greek/Catholic community.

VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO EXPERT IN MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES

I welcome you to Vatican Insider on a weekend –specifically on the second Sunday after the Epiphany – when the Church celebrates the World day of Migrants and Refugees. Because of this world day and the growing numbers of both migrants and refugees throughout the world and related issues for governments, you will absolutely want to tune in to Part II of my conversation with Msgr. Robert Vitillo, secretary general of ICMI – International Catholic Migration Commission.

He is an affable, capable, multi-lingual trained social worker with a broad expertise in migration and refugee services, child protection, social services, human rights, HIV/AIDS and global health. From 2005 to 2016, he served as Head of Delegation of Caritas Internationalis in Geneva and as Special Advisor on HIV and AIDS. As we spoke in Rome, I learned so much about the Church’s work in this area and it was absolutely fascinating. This is a front page issue today so do not miss our conversation!

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. 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.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

SPANISH ROYALS TO INAUGURATE NEW LIGHTING FOR ST. MARY MAJOR

Friday, January 19, at 5 pm, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia will inaugurate the new illumination of Saint Mary Major Basilica. The LED illumination links advanced technology with respect for the environment and will allow an 80% savings, according to a Vatican communiqué.

Last April 19, an agreement to collaborate on the joint development of the lighting project was signed between the basilica, the archpriest of the papal basilica, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, the governorate of Vatican City State and the Fundacion Endesa within the framework of its program of artistic illumination to preserve cultural and artistic patrimony.

Work began last June under the direction of the technical services of Vatican City State.

As I noted in my book, “A Holy Year in Rome,” all who visit this papal basilica
are drawn to the arrestingly beautiful ceiling, commissioned by Pope Alexander VI for the Holy Year 1500 and designed by Giuliano da Sangallo. The 105 wood-carved panels, each a meter square, were placed over the original trussed ceiling and then gilded with some of the gold brought from the newly discovered Americas by Columbus and given to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The Peruvian gold was then donated by the Spanish Royals to Pope Alexander VI, also a Spaniard. This added magnificence induced Romans to call this “the golden basilica.”

The basilica has been under the patronage of Spanish kings since that time and even today the Spanish monarch is a canon of St. Mary Major. In theory the king should visit the basilica once a year. If he cannot do so, he names a delegate, usually the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See. Once every year there is a Mass in the basilica for Spain and the Spanish people.

Twenty-four canons, named by the Holy Father, are responsible for the basilica – for its administration, repairs and the day-to-day tasks of overseeing visitors and preparing liturgical services.

I took these photos of the ceiling several years ago during the legendary August 5 “snowfall.”

Here’s the story:

The year was 358 A.D. John, a Roman patrician, and his wife, unable to have children, had been praying faithfully to the Virgin, asking her to give them a sign as to whom they should leave their enormous patrimony. The night of August 4-5, one of the hottest of the year, Mary appeared to the couple in a dream and requested that they build a church in her honor where snow would fall that night.

John and his wife went to tell Pope Liberius of their dream and to their amazement discovered that the pontiff had had the same dream. The next morning, August 5, the highest of Rome’s seven fabled hills, the Esquiline, was covered in snow, as witnessed by John, his wife, the Pope and his entourage, and a throng of Romans. Pope Liberius took a stick and traced the sign of the future basilica in the snow, a basilica which would be forever known as Our Lady of the Snows, in addition to the name it bears today, St. Mary Major, the greatest – and the oldest – Marian church.

The feast of Our Lady of the Snows was introduced that year and has been commemorated ever since on August 5. Each year, during a solemn high Mass, thousands of white flower petals, symbolizing the miraculous snowfall, are released from the basilica’s rooftop, both inside and outside, showering the faithful who have gathered to commemorate that event.

THE 3 PROPHESIES OF POPE PAUL VI THAT ARE BEING FULFILLED IN OUR WORLD RIGHT NOW

(ChurchPOP) – This year, 2018, is the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Blessed Pope Paul VI’s controversial encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s traditional teaching against the use of contraception.

For Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, Paul VI was much more than just a great moral teacher – he was a prophet.

“That section of the encyclical,” Bp. Barron explains, referring to section 17 in which Paul VI predicts the social consequences of contraception, “I will confess to you, jumped out at me as I reread it, because I thought ‘Wow, 1968, but this man was looking very clearly into our time.’”

He then goes through Paul IV’s three big predictions about what a world that widely accepts contraception would look like: (1) more marital infidelity and lower moral standards for young people, (2) men feeling more free to objectify women, and (3) governments imposing contraception on their citizens.

Today, 50 years since the sexual revolution, it’s clear all of these have come true: sexual morality and marriage has collapsed, women are widely viewed as mere sex objects by men, and the Little Sisters of the Poor and others in the US have suffered from the HHS mandate, not to mention the much more severe population control policies in places like China.

Looking at our world today, it’s amazing how accurate Paul VI was. Which makes it all the more tragic that so many people, both within and without the Church, haven’t more closely heeded his warnings.

Click here to view Bishop Barron’s video at end of article: Https://churchpop.com/2018/01/11/bishop-barron-explains-why-pope-paul-vi-was-a-prophet-with-humanae-vitae/