POPE FRANCIS NAMES CARDINAL KEVIN FARRELL ‘CAMERLENGO’ – POPE TO IFAD STAFF: LOOK FOR FACES, NOT CASE STUDIES

I hope that, wherever you are celebrating St. Valentine’s Day, you are having a blessed day. Hopefully the link to this Jacquie Lawson greeting card will work as there is a message for each one of you – my faithful readers, radio listeners and TV viewers – on the Valentine tree. (Jacquie Lawson cards are marvelous, by the way, for many occasions)

https://www.jacquielawson.com/sendcard/preview?cont=1&hdn=0&fldCard=3478770&path=105741&pmode=init

As I watched this e-card play out, I thought of my own childhood and how we celebrated Valentine’s Day. One year, Mom took a shoebox, decorated it with red, white and pink paper and hearts, cut a slit on the middle and put it in the center of our dinner table every February 14. Even as young kids, we bought small greeting cards with our allowance, wrote a message and then addressed the cards to Mom, to Dad and to our siblings, and slipped them in the shoebox. Cards were distributed at dessert time!

As we grew, Mom started a tradition of creating a box for each of us – this time a much bigger box – into which she put our baby books, perhaps a lock of hair, report cards and every single card we gave, whatever our age, to her and my Dad on birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and so on. I still have “Joan’s Box”!

PS – Did you know that St. Valentine’s skull is in a reliquary in Rome’s Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin!

POPE FRANCIS NAMES CARDINAL KEVIN FARRELL ‘CAMERLENGO’

Vatican City, Feb 14, 2019 / 05:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis Thursday nominated a new camerlengo, Irish-American Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, and a former bishop of Dallas.

The responsibilities of camerlengo include overseeing the preparations for a papal conclave and managing the administration of the Holy See in the period between a pope’s death or renunciation and the election of a new pope.

Farrell was one of several bishops about whom questions were raised last summer regarding prior knowledge of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s misdeeds in the dioceses of Metuchen and Newark.

Farrell had served as an auxilary bishop under the former cardinal in Washington, DC, as well as moderator of the curia and vicar general, a chief advisory role to the disgraced archbishop.
Farrell lived together with McCarrick in a renovated parish building in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood for six years, and many have characterized McCarrick as a mentor to the cardinal.
Last July, Farrell denied having any knowledge of accusations of sexual abuse or harassment against McCarrick.

A former member of the Legion of Christ, Farrell had also previously denied having prior knowledge of sexual abuse on the part of the Legion of Christ’s founder and former general director, Marcial Maciel.

Farrell also caused controversy last summer after he suggested in an interview with the Irish Catholic magazine Intercom that priests lack the necessary experience to provide adequate marriage preparation to engaged couples, saying, “priests are not the best people to train others for marriage.” The comment echoed a statement of his from September 2017, that priests have “no credibility when it comes to living the reality of marriage.”

The office of camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, which is situated within the pontifical household, has been vacant since the death of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran last July.

To take office, Farrell, 71, will take an oath before Pope Francis, who will give him a scepter, a symbol of the authority of the camerlengo. The current scepter, covered in red velvet, dates to the papacy of Benedict XV.

Born in Ireland and ordained a priest in 1978 as a member of the Legion of Christ, Farrell eventually relocated to Washington, DC, serving as director of Washington’s Spanish Catholic Center, before becoming the archdiocese’s finance officer in 1989.

In 2002, he became an auxiliary bishop of Washington, serving as moderator of the curia and vicar general, a chief advisory role, to then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

He was named Bishop of Dallas in 2007, where he served until his appointment as the first prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life in August 2016, which put him in charge of the planning of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018 and World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019.

Farrell became a cardinal in November 2016.

The camerlengo is one of two head officials of the Roman Curia who do not lose their office while the papacy is vacant. The position of camerlengo, which is regulated by the apostolic constitutions Pastor bonus and Universi dominici gregis, administers Church finances and property during the interregnum.

Paragraph 17 of Universi dominici gregis establishes that “the Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church must officially ascertain the Pope’s death” and “must also place seals on the Pope’s study and bedroom,” and later “the entire papal apartment.”

The camerlengo is also responsible for notifying the cardinal vicar for Rome of the pope’s death, who then notifies the people of Rome by special announcement. He takes possession of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican and Palaces of the Lateran and of Castel Gandolfo and manages their administration.

“During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church has the duty of safeguarding and administering the goods and temporal rights of the Holy See, with the help of the three Cardinal Assistants, having sought the views of the College of Cardinals, once only for less important matters, and on each occasion when more serious matters arise,” the constitution states.

Only the pope may choose the cardinal to fill the position of camerlengo, though he may also leave it vacant, in which case, the College of Cardinals would hold an election to fill the office at the start of a sede vacante.

POPE TO IFAD STAFF: LOOK FOR FACES, NOT CASE STUDIES

Pope Francis tells staff of the International Fund for Agricultural Development that God appreciates their work to eradicate poverty and hunger in rural areas of the world.
By Vatican News
Seventy-five percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas of developing countries. Addressing the 42nd annual Governing Council meeting of IFAD in Rome, on Thursday, Pope Francis pointed out how paradoxical it is that “a good part of the more than 820 million people who suffer hunger and malnutrition in the world, live in rural areas, are dedicated to food production, and are farmers”.


Going against the flow
Following that address, the Pope met with IFAD staff members and thanked them for their work “in the service of such a noble cause as the fight against hunger and poverty in the world”. He also thanked them “for going against the flow”.

“Today’s trend sees a slowdown in the reduction of extreme poverty and an increase in the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few”, he said. “Few have too much and too many have too little”. The Pope described what he called “this perverse current of inequality” as being “disastrous for the future of humanity”.

Competence and sensitivity
Pope Francis acknowledged how “many needy and disadvantaged people, who survive with so much suffering on the peripheries of the world, benefit from your work”. These beneficiaries include disadvantaged children, women, and entire families.

He went on to tell IFAD staff how, “in order to perform this type of service well, it is necessary to combine competence with a particular human sensitivity”. It is important to “cultivate the inner life”, he told them, “the feelings that open the heart and ennoble others”.

Putting God in everything
Pope Francis encouraged everyone working at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, not to lose hope, not to give in to resignation, “thinking that it is only a drop in the ocean”. We can inject enthusiasm into everything we do, “day by day, even in small things”, he said. This means “putting God in what we do”, added Pope Francis: “because God never tires of doing good, of starting again. He never tires of giving hope”.

Looking for faces
Finally, the Pope urged IFAD staff always “to look for a face”, the faces of the people behind the case studies. “It is important not to stay on the surface”, he said, “but to enter into reality, to see the faces”.

The question to be asked, suggested Pope Francis, is “how much love do I put into the things I do now”? Those who love, he concluded, use their imagination: they can see solutions “where others see only problems”.

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POPE FRANCIS: THERE IS A SPIRITUAL RIGHT TO WORD OF GOD – VALENTINE’S DAY: A BAN FOR MUSLIMS, DIVISIONS AMONG CHRISTIANS

Last year on February 14, I visited the church where the head of St. Valentine can be seen, and I posted the following blog with some photos – hope you can enjoy those photos again. https://joansrome.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/irish-bishop-blesses-engaged-couple-at-shrine-of-st-valentine/

As I write Pope Francis is about to start the traditional Ash Wednesday procession from the basilica of Sant’Anselmo to the basilica of Santa Sabina where he will celebrate Mass, receive ashes and deliver a homily. There is an embargo for that homily – it may be published the moment he gives it and not before.

Given that I’ll be gone when the Holy Father gives his homily, I will post that story when I return home from the evening Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Patrick’s church in downtown Rome, followed by a meeting of the Parish Council’s Finance Committee..

POPE FRANCIS: THERE IS A SPIRITUAL RIGHT TO WORD OF GOD

Today’s general audience took place in a rainy and very cold St. Peter’s Square but precisely because of that bad weather, Pope Francis first went to the Paul VI Hall where a group of sick people was waiting for his greeting and a blessing.

The Holy Father was in the square outside by about 9:45 and he did comment on the weather, saying “it is ugly.”

It seems that the Pope, however, did brighten up the day for two youngsters, giving them a lift in the papal vehicle –

Christopher Wells of Vatican Radio did this report for Vatican News:

“If the soul is always joyful, it is a good day.” The weather was “a little ugly,” as Pope Francis said Wednesday, but the Holy Father found a way to brighten everyone’s spirit at the weekly General Audience in St Peter’s Square.

He began his audience with a small group of sick people gathered in the Paul VI Hall, and then ventured out into the wind and rain, where he delivered his catechesis to a small crowd of pilgrims who braved the inclement Roman winter weather.

The teaching at Wednesday’s general audience was focused once again on the Mass, as Pope Francis reflected on the end of the Liturgy of the Word.

Hearing the Word of God, with the explanation in the homily that follows, is a right, “the spiritual right of the people of God to receive the treasure of the Word of God in abundance.” Everyone who goes to Mass, said the Pope, “has the right to receive abundantly the Word of God, read well, proclaimed well, and then explained well in the homily. It’s a right!”

After the homily, the Pope spoke about the moment of silence, which gives people time to reflect on what they have heard.

Pope Francis then spoke about the communal recitation of the Creed at the Mass, saying it “manifests the common response to what was heard by the community in the Word of God. He emphasized the “vital connection” between hearing and faith, recalling the words of Saint Paul, that is, “faith comes from hearing.” Faith then leads to the Sacrament, so that the Creed becomes a link between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. After the Creed, the Mass continues with the Prayer of the Faithful, or the Universal Prayer – so called, the Pope said, because it embraces all of the needs of the Church and of the world. The Prayer of the Faithful, he said, echoing the General Instruction of the Missal, is an exercise of their baptismal priesthood by the People of God.

Reflecting on the words of Jesus – “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you” – Pope Francis said we don’t believe this, “because we have little faith.” He encouraged us to have great faith when we pray together during the Mass.

“The intention for which the faithful are invited to pray should give voice to the concrete needs of the ecclesial community and of the world, avoiding having recourse to conventional and short-sighted formulas,” he said. “The Universal Prayer, which concludes the Liturgy of the Word, exhorts us to make our own the loving gaze of God, who cares for all His children.”

VALENTINE’S DAY: A BAN FOR MUSLIMS, DIVISIONS AMONG CHRISTIANS

A story to help you appreciate the freedoms we have:

Lahore (AsiaNews) – The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has banned TV channels from promoting Valentine’s Day-related activities, which falls tomorrow.

For most practising Muslims, the event known all over the world as the festival of romantic love is contrary to Islamic doctrine. Speaking to AsiaNews, Church leaders expressed conflicting opinions on the matter.

According to Rev Irfan Jamil, Anglican bishop of Lahore, the anniversary has no connection to Christianity. “The ban doesn’t matter. Love should not be celebrated one day a year only.”

Fr Nasir Williams, director of the Social Communications Commission of the diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, has other ideas. “The ban is the ultimate [form of] of ignorance. Freedom of thought is already limited in our country.”
“What is next?” he wonders, “Confiscating mobile phones or banning TV dramas based on love stories? Nobody is forcing people to buy these gifts. The attempts to control people or blackout one part of media will make no difference,” he said.

Valentine’s Day is named after a Christian martyr of the 3rd century. The celebration has proven divisive among Muslims. Every year, groups of Islamic radicals organise protests and hand out leaflets urging people not to celebrate the day.

This is the second year of a ban imposed on social media as well as online and print media. Last year, the Islamabad High Court ruled that “No event shall be held at official level and at any public place.”

PEMRA General Manager Operations Muhammad Tahir PEMRA said that all broadcast media and distribution services must “desist from promoting Valentine’s Day through their respective channels and networks.”

Yet, despite the ban, it is still very common to find stands in malls and shops selling heart-shaped stuffed toys and teddy bears, balloons and other red-coloured gadgets

This year, the Pauline Books and Media communications centre in Lahore is not selling Valentine’s Day greeting cards. “The tradition of exchanging cards is dead,” said Sister Irshad Maqsood. “Usually we order stock, but now people have turned to digital media.”

IRISH BISHOP BLESSES ENGAGED COUPLE AT SHRINE OF ST. VALENTINE

I posted a musical animated Valentine Day card on my FB page but don’t know how to place it in this column so you’ll just have to go to Facebook (com/joan.lewis.10420) and click on the image – here’s the wish I made with that card: It’s a piece of cake to wish my family, friends and many fans around the world a very sweet Valentine’s Day! Many heartfelt wishes for a splendid day! Thank you for being part of my life!

As I read Bishop Nulty’s letter (below) I realized I did not know that St. Valentine’s skull was preserved in Santa Maria in Cosmedin so I decided on a whim to visit that church this afternoon and take some photos. Although I did not know it when I boarded a bus to get to Santa Maria, there was an improvised demonstration near Pza. Navona today and that tied up traffic for quite a while a while. I waited things out and eventually got to the church, although I probably could have gone to Florence and back by train in the same time frame!

My visit to this ancient jewel of a church was the absolute highlight of my day! And it was a truly splendid day in Rome, weather-wise! Made for walking and sightseeing and eating gelato and dining al fresco and enjoying Roman parks and monuments and fountains. By now, you may have even seen the Facebook Live of this chapel and church that I did on a whim – beautiful moments! Tonight I’ll post only the photos of the St. Valentine chapel and relics ….more to come tomorrow.

Santa Maria in Cosmedin – St. Valentine Chapel

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 I have great childhood memories of Valentine’s Day, and I have the feeling that countless numbers of you had the same school experiences that we had as youngsters, namely, you brought a card for each member of your class on which you wrote you very best friend’s name – and you had dozens of BFFs –and these were all exchanged in a brief moment of free time during the school day. The local five and dime sold boxes of 50 or more cards for perhaps a dollar and your Mother bought a good number of boxes so that each member of the family had the several dozen cards needed for their respective class.

In many cases, there were no envelopes: the cards were simple – a design on one side, words of endearment on the other and it was on that side that you wrote your classmate’s name and signed the card.

If there were cards left over, we gave them to family members, though most of the time Mom and Dad merited a separate, individual card, usually handmade. If we received an allowance, chances are such cards were store bought.

At dinner on February 14, in addition to red flowers or some other decoration on the table, Mom always placed a decorated shoe box with a big slit on the middle into which we would put all the cards for our family, cards we made after having spent hours in our bedrooms, with doors closed so our stunning handicraft would be a surprise! Mom opened the box and then called out individual names as she read the cards. We all pretended to be surprised at receiving so many cards! Another natural part of a Valentine Day dinner was a heart-shaped dessert and dozens of those small hard candies with romantic sayings stamped on them.

In our family, as we grew up, each of us had what we called our “box of things,” boxes filled with Valentine cards, school mementoes, birthday and Christmas cards, letters from boy- or girl friends (I even had a pen pal in Italy and have not been able to locate her!), dance cards, etc.” As my siblings and I went through my Dad’s “boxes of things” after he died, we found dozens of his gorgeous Valentine cards to my Mom. And we found more, years later, when Mom died – her letters to him. I still have a number of those!

As I wish each of you a Happy Valentine’s Day, my hope is that you have similar wonderful memories that you can put into your “box of things.”

IRISH BISHOP BLESSES ENGAGED COUPLE AT SHRINE OF ST. VALENTINE

A lovely St. Valentine’s Day story from Ireland where Bishop Denis Nulty presided at the blessing of an engaged couple at the Shrine of Saint Valentine in the historic Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the heart of Dublin city.

Bishop Nulty began his remarks by noting that in late January, he and his brother bishops from Ireland were in Rome on their ad limina visit.

He noted that, “Two particular memories from those most memorable days in Rome, have a direct connection to what we are about here at the Shrine containing the holy relics of Saint Valentine in the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  The first one relates to a question asked by Cardinal Kevin Farrell at a meeting we attended with the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.  The second involved a per chance visit to the eighth century Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.”

Bishop Nulty explained that, “Cardinal Kevin Farrell heads the new dicastery which holds within its brief the World Meeting of Families, and this pastoral celebration will be hosted in Dublin from 22 – 26 August 2018.  The Cardinal, a native of Dublin, was keen to hear what kind of preparation courses or programmes couples undertake as they approach the sacrament of marriage here in Ireland.  His question allowed me, as President of ACCORD, Catholic Marriage Care Service, to speak of the great work done throughout the country by the ACCORD family, work that includes the marriage counselling and marriage preparation work; but work that encompasses an ever increasing demand for our Schools Programme.”

He then recounted his Rome experience: “And now to that per chance visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, my visit was on the final afternoon of our Ad Limina visit.  On the left side of the Basilica I found an altar with a glass reliquary containing the skull of Saint Valentine.  While the Carmelite Father John Spratt was richly rewarded for his preaching in the famous ‘Gesu’ in Rome by Pope Gregory XVI by receiving the gift of the relic containing the sacred body of Saint Valentine and a small vessel tinged with his blood; his skull obviously remained in Rome!  His head may be in Rome, but his heart is here in Dublin!  As I stood and prayed at the Shrine, just like here in Whitefriar Street Church, I noticed many young couples calling in, holding hands, lighting a candle or offering a prayer.

The bishop said that, “In The Joy of Love, Pope Francis urges the universal Church to make more of Saint Valentine’s Day: “In some countries, commercial interests are quicker to see the potential of this celebration than we in the Church” (par 208).  In this respect I am delighted to refer to the initiative offered for Saint Valentine’s Day this year by the team behind the preparations for next year’s World Meeting of Families, and these are the six gift tokens which can be given to your loved one this very day.  The tokens suggest a technology free evening; setting aside time for prayer; going for a hand-in-hand walk together; a special dinner cooked by one of the couple; loads of tender hugs and a journey down memory lane to remember how the couple met and how their love has grown.  The tokens are free and are available from every ACCORD centre, as well as in cathedrals, Veritas stores and at Knock Shrine.  A novel and romantic idea!”

Bishop Nulty pointed out how, in today’s world, “sadly, technology can cause huge damage to relationships.  Years ago the text, the tweet, the Snapchat app, Instagram, Whatsapp were not even considerations in counselling, but today they contribute hugely to the fractured narrative that unfolds in many counselling sessions.  What was said in that tweet; the picture that was shared on social media; the reactive immediate response on snapchat can do enormous damage to a relationship, to trust and to the individual themselves.

“On behalf of ACCORD, I wish every blessing on Carol and Tim whose engagement rings I blessed a short time ago at the Shrine of Saint Valentine.  I include a blessing and best wishes on all couples preparing for marriage presently and a special prayer and thought for those availing of our counselling services.  This annual blessing ceremony allows us in ACCORD to reflect on the valuable contribution marriage and stable families offer the wider society.”

Together with Saint Valentine we pray:

O glorious advocate and protector Saint Valentine,

Look with pity upon our wants,

Hear our requests,

Attend to our prayers.

Relieve by your intercession the miseries under which we labour,

And obtain for us the divine blessing,

That we may be found worthy to join you

In praising the Almighty for all eternity,

Through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.