Once again, a very beautiful Friday morning, a day that now ends the work week and starts the weekend on a special note for EWTN personnel for whom Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo celebrates weekly Mass at the altar of Pope St. John XXIII in St. Peter’s Basilica.

EWTN’s German bureau chief, Martin Rothweiler is in Rome and he did the reading today from the Book of Wisdom. Here are a few photos:

After Mass, Msgr. Anthony and I met up with Ben Crockett (who is helping us with some very special projects) in the atrium of the basilica. As soon as I saw these workmen preparing the tapestry for Monday’s Episcopal ordinations by the Holy Father in the basilica, I knew I had to take some “behind the scenes” photos and do a Facebook Live.

I hope the start of your Friday and end of your workweek was as beautiful as ours!

By the way, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all the Irish – and Irish wannabees! Special wishes and prayers to all the faithful of the new church for American and English-speaking Catholics in Rome – St. Patrick’s! Come see us Sunday on Via Boncompagni 31 and wear green!


My guest again this week on Vatican Insider is Chris Altieri, a former colleague at Vatican Radio. As I noted earlier, you are probably familiar with his name because you surely read Chris’ many stories on the webpages of (what was once) English Vatican Radio and heard his voice as he did wonderful commentaries for papal Masses and other events.

This weekend, in the second of two parts, we look at the reform of Vatican communications – what has happened so far, the low morale in the Vatican, what reform means for Vatican personnel in the communications area and what it means for people around the world who listen to a greatly changed Vatican radio – except we are not supposed to use that name anymore!

Don’t leave town just yet because at the end of next week you will hear the stunning conclusion to the odyssey of the reform of Vatican communications!

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 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: For VI archives:


An email I received today from the Sant’Egidio Community that Pope Francis visited last Sunday to mark its 50th anniversary, had a delightful surprise: It seems that on Tuesday, March 13, Pope Francis welcomed to the Santa Marta residence a group of refugees coming from the Horn of Africa and from Syria, arriving Italy through the Sant’Egidio Humanitarian Corridors. There were also some ill people who are being hosted by the community as well as community president, Marco Impagliazzo.

Pope Francis listened carefully to the different and sorrowful experiences refugees had to face before arriving safe in Italy, according to the email. Francis asked extensively about the operation mode of the Humanitarian Corridors. He remembered his personal intervention in aid of the refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos, and re-stated the urgency to develop this kind of corridor which has welcomed and integrated more than 1,000 in Italy and Europe.

During his recent visit to Santa Maria in Trastevere, Pope Francis said: “Today, more than ever, carry on audaciously on this path … Carry on opening new humanitarian corridors for the refugees of war and hunger. The poor are your treasure!”




I spent such a lovely and most unexpected morning in St. Peter’s Basilica and want to share some of the photos I took. I did not bring a camera so thank the Lord for phones!

My main intention was to attend the 10 am daily Mass at the St. Joseph Altar and to have my throat blessed afterwards as this is, as you know, the tradition on the February 3 feast of St. Blaise. There was no indication that the priest was going to bless throats following Mass and so I started to follow him on his way to the sacristy, asking in a soft voice where I could get the blessing. He smiled broadly and sent the young man accompanying him to the altar to get the double candles,

We chatted briefly in the meantime, and Father told me he did not start the blessing as he had the impression no one at Mass spoke Italian and thus would not understand his announcement about the blessing.

The young man returned and Father blessed me, reciting the prayer that is always said in this circumstance. I was quite happy and told him I did not even remember the last time I missed having my throat blessed on St. Blaise’s feast day.

Given that I was in the basilica, a place in which I always experience great peace, I decided to stroll around and eventually pray a bit at the chapel where St. John Paul is buried, and this was my second blessing!

I was delighted to see that the papal altar and confessio were still bedecked with the flowers from last night’s Mass for the World Day of Consecrated Life:

I then noticed some of the floor plaques on which I have reported a number of times…

The next time you walk down the main aisle of St. Peter’s Basilica – unless you are being escorted to your seat during a liturgy! – look down at the stunning marble floor and try to find some of the several dozen bronze inserts. With all the beauty and the gigantic size of the basilica, it is amazing that people even notice these plaques but they are important. To give the visitor some idea of the size of St. Peter’s Basilica relative to other major churches in the world – Catholic and non-Catholic alike – there are inscriptions in bronze that indicate the size of the world’s largest churches relative to St. Peter’s, the largest of all.

These bronze inscriptions are about a yard wide and 6 or more inches high. The name of each church and where it is located are in Latin – most are easy to understand – and the length of that church is inscribed beneath the name. The measurements are given in meters. A meter is 39 inches. St. Peter’s Basilica is 186 meters in length – or 611 feet!

St. Paul’s in London holds SECOND place at 158 meters or 518 feet long. THIRD place goes to Florence’s Duomo at 149 or 489 feet. FOURTH place: Sacred Heart of Jesus, Brussels, Belgium: 140.94 – FIFTH place: Washington’s Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at 456 feet.

Three of the final four out of the over 30 descriptions belong to U.S. churches;
Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston at 103 meters, Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles at 101.2 and St Patrick’s in New York at 101.1 meters.

As you can see, Santa Sophia in Istanbul is just a bit longer that Holy Cross in Boston.

This is for the Basilica of the Virgin Mary, Gdansk, Poland

St. Patrick’s,  New York City

This is not one of those plaques but simply one of the many marble floor designs in the basilica

As I entered the chapel where St. John Paul is buried, I noticed a sizeable group of people, all of whom were wearing mustard color scarves. I asked a man standing next to me who they were and he said they came from all parts of Italy and were members of a national antiusury group and they were touring the basilica before their noon audience with Pope Francis!

I stayed in the chapel for quite some time to pray before the tomb of my hero and, in so many ways, spiritual mentor. I often get requests from people to pray for their special intentions before St. John Paul and I did so today.

As I made my way out of the basilica, I noted the nativity scene was still up so I took some pictures and also posted a Facebook live video, whispering just a few words about where I was. For me, St. Peter’s is and always will be, first and foremost, a church.

In this scene, when day turns to night, those who are ‘working’ via animation stop working when the sky and stars appear. When it is morning, they resume their work.

I exited the basilica and walked along the south wall where there is a bookstore, post office, etc, before you actually reach the colonnade.

I don’t know how many of you know there are Stations of the Cross in St. Peter’s Square! The first seven are on this south wall and the final seven are on the opposite side of the square – the side you will be on after having gone through security to enter the basilica.

It was an unexpectedly wonderful morning for me – as I hope it is now for you as you read this column!


Monday, November 21, the Vatican will publish an Apostolic Letter by Pope Francis on the occasion of the closing of the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. The Letter’s title is “Mercy and Misery.”


This weekend, as the Church welcome 17 new cardinals, 13 of whom are under the age of 80 and will be among the 121 cardinal electors in a future conclave, I take you inside the College of Cardinals on “Vatican Insider.” What is a cardinal? How are they chosen? What are their duties? What does the College do as a whole? When was it founded? And so on….(photo: 2015 consistory)


In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live 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 9:00 am (Eastern time). 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 FOR YOUR TIME ZONE. Past shows are in VI archives:


As you know, Pope Francis will close the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica this Sunday, thus officially ending the Jubilee of Mercy that began last December 8th. This Holy Door is always the first to be opened and the last to be closed. This photo shows Francis opening that door last December:


St. Peter’s Holy Door was donated by Swiss Catholics to Pope Pius XII (1939-58) for the 1950 Holy Year. Designed by Siena artist Vico Consorti, and inaugurated on December 24, 1949, it has 16 panels, 15 of which depict scenes from the Old and New Testament. The last panel shows Pius XII opening this door.

Pilgrims entering the various Holy Doors are not really allowed ample time to explore the door itself, its symbolism and artistry or to touch part of it or even to say a prayer. Therefore, if you click here, you’ll be able to see those individual panels and read a brief explanation:

Here is a link to a piece by Vatican Radio’s Veronica Scarisbrick on the foundry that produced these panels. Veronica has just retired but Vatican Radio re-aired this story, noting that it was the grandson of the original foundry owner, Ferdinando Marinelli who invited her to visit the family foundry.

She met him in Florence, says the Vatican Radio account, at his window on the world, an enchanting gallery on the banks of the River Arno seething with a myriad of bronze statues from different eras. Among them the impressive ‘Giambologna Neptune’, who seems to greet you as you enter.

And it was by this towering statue that Ferdinando Marinelli greeted her, ready to drive across the Tuscan countryside to his foundry which lies on the way to Siena, Vico Consorti’s city.

She was eager to visit his foundry and aware it was not the one where the Holy Door was cast by his grandfather but another more recent one. She knew too that Ferdinando Marinelli was sure to treasure that age old rapport of his foundry with the Vatican despite the more modern outreach he now enjoys right across the world. No surprise as for centuries the Church and the world of art have enjoyed an extremely prolific love affair.

Click here to catch a glimpse of Veronica Scarisbrick’s tour at the foundry


Every so often my friend Trip McKinney in Hawaii sends me homilies or letters or other missives written by Fr. George W. Rutler, pastor of St. Michael’s Church in New York City, and a prolific author. Trip usually sends a small group of people beautiful weekly reflections on the upcoming Gospel, along with carefully selected art work that further explains or amplifies the Gospel message and, on occasion, Fr. Rutler’s words..

I was especially struck by Fr. Rutler’s message for today, November 6, as it focuses on both the restoration of an important, beautiful and historic crucifix in St. Peter’s Basilica and our election, and you will see how he links the two. In his email, Trip also included a link to the CNS story on the restoration and unveiling of this work of art and I offer that as well for your reflection.

If you do not know the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica, this is a must on your next visit. It is not on the “tourist” agenda for the basilica as it is a place reserved for quiet prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament that is exposed all day long, starting immediately after the 8:30 daily Mass. Heavy drapes are drawn across the doors to the chapel and only people intending to pray are allowed inside. Basilica staff sees to it that this carefully adhered to.

I might add here a piece of advice I give to visitors to Rome, advice that you can read in my book, “A Holy Year in Rome.” St. Peter’s opens in the morning at 7 am and is reserved for the next two hours for Masses in any and all of its chapels. If you want to see St. Peter’s Basilica before it is filled with throngs of tourists, go to the 8:30 Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and when you come out, you will see only the faithful who attended Mass, some priests as they exit the sacristy and altar servers as they end their morning and return to the Pius X School in the Vatican. The basilica is quiet and almost empty and very special – at least for a short while before the doors are opened to visitors at 9 am.


Today a long-forgotten crucifix will be placed once again in the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. It will hang in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel near Bernini’s great tabernacle. Bernini himself would have admired the work of the anonymous artist, for its mediaeval style anticipated the spirit of the more exuberant baroque.

The crucifix was carved seven hundred years ago and was the object of devotion in the original Constantinian basilica built in the fourth century. The torso and legs are seven feet long and are in one piece made from the trunk of a walnut tree. It was placed in the new basilica in 1626 and survived many vicissitudes, including the Sack of Rome when the invaders used the old basilica as a horse stable and mockingly vested the corpus in one of their uniforms.

Gradually, it was forgotten after it was removed to make room for Michelangelo’s Pietà and ended up in a remote and virtually unreachable chapel. High technology has restored it, as it suffered discoloration and termite damage. The sort of stereo microscopes used in microsurgery identified the many layers of paint and varnish before they were meticulously removed.

The outstretched arms are six-and-a-half-feet wide. Even if the Lord had not been nailed to the cross, his arms would be open to all who approach him, as they were when he ascended into glory. “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Our nation is weary, and the ennui is especially taxing and belabored by a long election campaign. Events have forced us to examine the condition of our culture, and how much we have ignored Christ’s call to come to him. The degradation of our institutions, reflected tellingly even in the way people dress and speak, is palpable and has taken its toll on our schools and governments and even our churches. This is a time, rarely matched in our national annals, for choosing between conversion and tragedy. To choose the tragic path is to mock our Lord, and our demoralized culture is already well on its way to masquerading Christ Crucified in comic vestments.

Two hundred and twenty-five years ago, to this very week, Bishop John Carroll penned a prayer for the new nation. As the first bishop in the United States, cousin of a signer of the Declaration of Independence and an esteemed friend of many Founding Fathers, he stood on a terrain high enough to survey the looming dangers and salutary prospects of the day, as he prayed for a government “encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality.” Our perspective is the same today, only with more souls both at risk and offered benevolent promise.

Here is the CNS story with photos on this restored crucifix:



Enjoy another moment of the ever surprising Roman Pontiff!

FYI: Pope Francis’ morning Masses in the Santa Marta residence will resume on February 22. Tomorrow, in St. Peter’s Basilica, he will celebrate Mass for Franciscans who came to Rome to venerate Saints Pio and Leopold.

I have a good story to tell about TSA. There have been negative ones about this DHS (Department of Homeland Security) agency, but I’d like to tell you the good news about what happened to me last week.

My January 30 Delta flight from Rome to NYC (then to Chicago, and on to Houston the following morning) was a bit late arriving at JFK and we could not get off the plane until the paramedics boarded and accompanied a passenger who was ill off the plane. We deplaned at 5:30 and my flight to Chicago was 6:30 – but I still had to go through passport control, get my luggage, pass customs and go through security! Passport and luggage went rather smoothly and fairly quickly. Security was on the first floor but the lines were so long we were redirected to fourth floor security.

So up several escalators, get in line, place things in the bins etc. It is now 6:10. I asked an attendant if I’d make my 6:30 flight and he put me in front of several people. I had to remove my shoes and a sweater (technically my last birthday qualified me for leaving shoes and jackets on). I went through, hurriedly retrieved everything and then had to board a minibus to be taken to my gate! I arrive at Gate 48B at 6:25, ran to Gate 43B and and was told the plane had closed its door! However, one staff member said that catering was late, so perhaps the door was still open. She called the pilot – the door was open! I was taken outside, across a small tarmac (accompanied by several people) and climbed the dozen or so steps to the small plane.

Breathless, I sat down, took off my coat and realized I had left my very beautiful sweater jacket in security! I described it for the flight attendant, wrote down my name and US cell number, the pilot called 4th floor security and they said they had an item that resembled mine and I should call TSA when I got to Chicago.

TSA offices were closed when I got to Chicago but officials there gave me a few numbers, which I called the next morning and was given an email address and told that was the best and fastest way to communicate. TSA has a great website and I wrote several emails and when I heard nothing (a watched pot never boils) I contacted TSA’s media office. That got a response! I got an email asking me to identify the object, which I did, adding that I had a pin in the shape of an angel with a pearl on the right lapel. That was the kicker to identify the sweater. I always have my guardian angel when I travel!

TSA will get your item back to you within 7 days: you either have to go to a physical address they give you or set up a Fedex account and send that acount number and other information – such as to whom should the item be sent – back to TSA.

Those with whom I corresponded were very pleasant and enormously helpful. I cannot even fathom how many items must be left in security that they have to get back to people! Special procedures have to be followed if the missing item is a computer, however.

Almost the end of the tale: Two nights ago I had dinner with my friend Vivianna at La Vittoria. She came with a friend, a Delta flight attendant, Anita. I told Anita my story and she said she’d bring the sweater to me in Rome next weekend – just have TSA send it to her home!

Shakespeare said it best: “All’s well that ends well” (Maybe I should write that when I have sweater in hand!)

Speaking of miracles….the real ones….


What an amazing weekend it was in Rome! Lots of news but the really big story was the arrival Friday in Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica of the relics – the actual remains – of Saints Padre Pio and Leopold Mandic, two Franciscans known for their extraordinary dedication to hearing confessions.

Saturday, before 80,000 faithful in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis greeted members of the numerous Padre Pio Prayer Groups that had come from throughout the world to venerate the relics of the revered Italian saint. In fact, a number of groups were on my flight back to Rome from Houston.


Saint Padre Pio was an Italian Capuchin friar and St. Leopold Mandic, also a tireless confessor, was from Croatia.

It was Padre Pio himself who, in the mid-20th century, founded these prayer groups that are now in every region of Italy as well as in many countries around the world. The Holy Father thanked those present in the square Saturday and had very beautiful words about man they love and venerate.

“We can say,” began Francis, “that Padre Pio was precisely a servant of mercy. He was full-time, serving sometimes to the point of exhaustion, ‘the apostleship of listening’. He became, through the ministry of Confession, the living caress of the Father, who heals the wounds of sin and revives the heart with peace. St. Padre Pio never tired of welcoming people and listening to them, spending time and energy in order to spread the perfume of the forgiveness of the Lord. He could do this because he was always connected to the source: he ceaselessly quenched his thirst with Jesus Crucified, and thus became a channel of mercy. He bore in his heart many people and many sufferings, uniting all to the love of Christ who gave himself ‘to the end’. He lived the great mystery of sorrow offered up for love. In this way his little drop became a great river of mercy, which brought water to the deserts of the heart and created oases of life in so many parts of the world.”


The Pope noted that St. Padre Pio called the prayer groups “’nurseries of the faith, cradles of love’; they were not just centers for happy gatherings of friends and for support, but cradles of divine love. This is what prayer groups are! Prayer, in fact, is a true and proper mission that bears the fire of love to the whole of humanity. Padre Pio said that prayer is a ‘force that moves the world’. Prayer is a force that moves the world! Do we believe this? Because it is! Try it! It spreads the smile and the blessing of God over every languor and weakness.”


There were no public engagements on Pope Francis’ agenda today but there are a number of interesting stories to report: a beautiful papal homily on the true meaning of love, a good news story from Egypt about Christians and a special moment for the British Ambassador to the Holy See and invited guests at a special wreath-laying ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica.


In this week’s interview segment, you will meet Msgr. Dan Mueggenborg, pastor since 2011 at Christ the King parish in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We became friends during the six years that he was in Rome at the North American College as vice rector and director of admissions. Over the years we broke bread together many times, at NAC and at my home and recently we met serendipitously at a favorite restaurant when he arrived in Rome for a visit. I asked Msgr. Dan about life in a parish and the conversation was riveting and I asked him to tell his story. So be sure to tune in this week for an inspiring conversation.


As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live 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 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives:


This morning, in his homily during morning Mass in the Santa Marta residence, Pope Francis focused on the Gospel reading from the letter of John the Apostle, and meditated on the different meanings of the word ‘love’ , emphasizing that the two most important commandments for a Christian are to love God and our neighbor.

Vatican Radio records the morning papal homilies and transcribves them for the website. Today’s was the second daily Mass since the end of the Christmas break on the January 6 feast of the Epiphany.

“This word ‘love’,” said the Holy Father, “is a word that is used so many times and when we use it we don’t know exactly what it means. What is love? Sometimes we can think of the love in the soap operas but that doesn’t appear to be love. Or else love can seem like having a crush on a person but then it fades away. Where does true love come from? Whoever loves has been created by God because God is love. Don’t say: ‘Every love is God,’ No, God is love.”

The Pope said the Apostle John underlines how God loves us first and there are many examples of this in the Gospel, such as during the multiplication of the loaves of bread by Jesus or in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

“When we have something on our mind and we want to ask God to forgive us, it’s He who is waiting for us – to forgive us.  This Jubilee Year of Mercy, to some extent, is also this: that we may know that our Lord is waiting for us, each one of us.  Why? To embrace us.  Nothing more.  To say to us: son, daughter, I love you. I let my Son be crucified for you: this is the price of my love, this is the gift of my love.”

Pope Francis went on to stress how “the Lord is waiting for me, the Lord wants me to open the door of my heart” and we must have this certainty that He will wait for us just as we are and not as we are told to be.

“We must go to the Lord and say: ‘You know, Lord, how much I love you.’ Or, if you don’t feel able to say it in that way: ‘You know, Lord, that I would like to love you but I am such a bad sinner.’ And He will do the same as he did with the prodigal son who squandered all his money on vices: he won’t let you finish your speech and with an embrace will silence you. The embrace of God’s love.”


The following is a story I read in the daily bulletin I receive via email from AINA, the Assyrian International News Agency. If you are an avid follower of events in the Middle East, as I am, this is a fascinating news site. Many stories are written by local journalists while others are written by members of the international media and carried by AINA.

Finally, a good news story from Egypt:

We Will Rebuild Your Torched Churches, Egyptian President Tells Christians – By Ruth Gledhill (


Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi greets Christians during Egypt’s Coptic Christmas eve mass led by Pope Tawadros II, the 118th Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, at St Mark’s Cathedral, in Cairo, Egypt.The president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has pledged to rebuild every single one of the dozens of churches, Christian institutions and homes destroyed during the last two years of anti-Christian violence in his troubled nation.

President al-Sisi, a Muslim who has spoken in the past of the need to “revolutionise” Islam, was addressing Christians during a Coptic Christmas Eve mass yesterday at St Mark’s Cathedral in Abbassiya. Mass was celebrated by the head of the church, Pope Tawadros II. Orthodox churches, which follow the traditional Julian calendar, mark Christmas two weeks later than the Western Christian churches which follow the Gregorian calendar.

Extremist Islamic groups are still influential in Egypt in spite of the defeat of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. Shortly after former President Morsi was ousted, there was an increase in violence against Coptic Christians and at least 65 churches, Christian bookshops, schools and convents were burned down, looted or destroyed, according to Open Doors.

President al-Sisi, who last year became the first Egyptian President to attend a Christmas mass, greeted the Coptic Christian community and, while emphasising the diversity of Egyptians, said that the way to overcome hardships was to remain united as a nation.

“On this occasion, I want to exhort you all, let no one come between us. Nothing can harm us, not our economic conditions or political conditions. Unless we diverge, we can overcome anything.”

He continued: “God Has created us different, in religion, manner, colour, language, habit, tradition, and no one can make us the all same.”

He admitted the government should have acted sooner to help the Christians.

“We have taken too long to fix and renovate churches that were burned. This year everything will be fixed. Please accept our apologies for what happened. God willing, by next year there won’t be a single church or house that is not restored.

“We will never forget the stance you and the Pope took during this period…thank you all. Merry Christmas.”


This afternoon, having received permission from Queen Elizabeth, the British Ambassador to the Holy See Nigel Baker laid a wreath at the tomb of James Francis Edward Stuart at St. Peter’s Basilica, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of his State funeral.


James Francis Edward Stuart was the son of King James II of England and Ireland, VII of Scotland and Queen Mary of Modena, explains a note from the British embassy. He was also known as “the Old Pretender” and claimed the throne as “James III of England and Ireland, VIII of Scotland.” He died in exile in Rome on January 1, 1766 and was given the unprecedented honor of a State funeral by the Pope on January 8 in St. Peter’s Basilica, where he lies. The Pope recognized him as King, but did not extend that title to his sons in tacit, and later explicit recognition of the Hanoverian succession.

James Francis Edward Stewart was the father of “Bonnie” Prince Charles Edward Stuart and Henry Benedict, Cardinal York. Born at St James’s Palace, London, on June 10, 1688, he was taken into exile in December 1688 following the deposition of James II. He lived in the Palazzo Muti in Rome from 1719 until his death.

The commemoration ceremony consisted of a simple wreath-laying by Ambassador Baker and the reading of the Rite of Commendation (in Latin) by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica, and the singing of the Antiphon In Paradisum Deducant Te Angeli.

The Stuart tomb at St. Peter’s was restored in the 1940’s, including with money donated by Queen Elizabeth (wife of George VI). In 2012, the Duke of Gloucester unveiled a restored coat of arms of Cardinal York at the Pontifical Scots College, and viewed the original Stuart gravestones which were transferred there in the 1940s.




(Vatican Radio) St Peter’s Basilica will go dark for one hour Saturday evening, joining once again the international “Earth Hour” effort to raise awareness about climate change.

The annual initiative, which began in 2007, invites cities around the world to turn off the lights on their national monuments and public buildings, as well as in offices, shops and homes, to help raise awareness about the need to adopt more environmentally sound practices.

Earth Hour is being observed 28 March in major cities across the world, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30, local time in each country. This year in Rome, the Great Synagogue and the Great Mosque will join the initiative for the first time.


The Los Angeles Times gives this background on Earth Hour:

Earth Hour 2015 will happen at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, when landmarks, hotels, universities, buildings and individuals shut off their lights to raise awareness of climate change. It’s an

The World Wildlife Fund organizes the annual event, which started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. The organization reports that 7,000 cities, 1,200 landmarks and 172 countries and territories will go dark this year.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and Times Square in New York City are among the landmarks that plan to participate. You can stay home and turn out the lights or go to these events and places.

Las Vegas: Casinos and hotels on the Strip will power down their exterior lighting and marquees, leaving one of the world’s most famous roadways in darkness.

Los Angeles: The blue glow of Staples Center, Pacific Park’s Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier and the colorful pylons at Los Angeles International Airport will go dark.

San Francisco: Ghirardelli Square is dousing the lights and throwing a #GoDark Earth Hour Party from 6 to 9:30 p.m. It’s a dark chocolate (get it?) tasting party too. The Golden Gate Bridge and Transamerica Pyramid building will cut the lights too.

Ritz-Carlton and Hilton hotels: Some hotels around the world will switch off non-essential lights at all properties and organize events too. The Ritz-Carlton says in a statement that its hotel in Dubai’s International Financial Center will host “Stories by Candlelight” for kids while guests at the Istanbul Ritz-Carlton will be treated to a traditional Turkish shadow play in the lobby.

Hilton hotels are participating too. The Conrad Macao, Cotai Central will turn off external lights, dim indoor lights in restaurants and lounges, and create a 280-candle display of the Earth Hour logo in the lobby.

UNESCO sites: Thirty UNESCO World Heritage Sites will go dark, including the Acropolis in Athens, Edinburgh Castle in Scotland and the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.

Info: Find an event or location near you at