POPE FRANCIS SAYS MASS, DINES AT U.S. SEMINARY IN ROME – AND POPE FRANCIS ALSO DID THIS…..

The Holy Father’s universal prayer intention for May is: “That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.”

His intention for evangelization is: “That Mary’s intercession may help Christians in secularised cultures be open to proclaiming Jesus.”

ARE YOU GOING TO TURIN TO SEE THE CELEBRATED SHROUD?  WILL YOU BE TAKING PART IN THE JUBILEE OF MERCY?

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or both of these questions, then I have some good news:

There’s a terrific app to see the Shroud of Turin VERY up close and personal – Shroud 2.0 – a MUST have app, especially if you plan on going to Turin for the 2015 exposition of Shroud! It is available free at App Store/iTunes. I’ve downloaded it on my iPad but so far have not located app for Android. DOWNLOAD HERE: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shroud-2.0/id614248391?mt=8

We will all take part, at some time or another, in the Jubilee Year of Mercy that opens December 8, 2015 and closes on the feast of Christ the King in November 2016. The Jubilee will be celebrated in Rome, as you know, and in dioceses throughout the world. For all the news and updates about the Holy Year, go to this dedicated website (in 7 languages!) set up by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization: http://www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va/content/gdm/en.html

POPE FRANCIS SAYS MASS, DINES AT U.S. SEMINARY IN ROME

Saturday, I posted some news on Facebook of the visit that day by Pope Francis to the North American College where he presided at Mass in the seminary’s beautiful chapel and then broke bread with cardinals, bishops, priests, seminarians, faculty and staff in the college dining room. NAC rector, Msgr. James Checchio and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the USCCB were joined by four U.S. cardinals and a number of bishops, including Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who had presided at the day of reflection that preceded the papal Mass.

The North American College, in fact, dedicated Saturday to a day of reflection on Blessed Junipero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan who created a series of missions throughout California and Baja California whom Pope Francis will canonize in Washington, D.C. during his late September trip to the U.S.

Click here to see a carousel of photos from the celebration on Saturday. This was the first visit by a Pope to the American seminary in 35 years. As you can see from the photos, “a good time was had by all”: http://www.lastampa.it/2015/05/02/multimedia/esteri/vatican-insider/en/pope-francis-visit-to-the-pontifical-north-american-college-ONdRYlBEvihH0yryyeeflK/pagina.html

The Holy Father, in typical Jesuitical fashion, discussed three aspects of the life of Blessed Junipero – his missionary zeal, his Marian devotion, and his witness of holiness.

“First of all,” explained Francis in his homily, “he was a tireless missionary. What made Friar Junípero leave his home and country, his family, university chair and Franciscan community in Mallorca to go to the ends of the earth?  Certainly, it was the desire to proclaim the Gospel ad gentes, that heartfelt impulse which seeks to share with those farthest away the gift of encountering Christ: a gift that he had first received and experienced in all its truth and beauty.  Like Paul and Barnabas, like the disciples in Antioch and in all of Judea, he was filled with joy and the Holy Spirit in spreading the word of the Lord.”

“Secondly,” continued the Holy Father, “Friar Junípero entrusted his missionary activity to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We know that before leaving for California, he wanted to consecrate his life to Our Lady of Guadalupe and to ask her for the grace to open the hearts of the colonizers and indigenous peoples, for the mission he was about to begin.”

“And thirdly, brothers and sisters,” the Pope explained, “let us contemplate the witness of holiness given by Friar Junípero.  He was one of the founding fathers of the United States, a saintly example of the Church’s universality and special patron of the Hispanic people of the country.  In this way may all Americans rediscover their own dignity, and unite themselves ever more closely to Christ and his Church.”

Pope Francis then went on to give a sort of litany of American saints and holy people, saying, “with the universal communion of saints and, in particular, with the assembly of American saints, may Friar Junípero Serra accompany us and intercede for us, along with the many other holy men and women who have distinguished themselves through their various charisms:

  • contemplatives like Rose of Lima, Mariana of Quito and Teresita de los Andes;
  • pastors who bear the scent of Christ and of his sheep, such as Toribio de Mogrovejo, Francois de Laval, and Rafael Guizar Valencia;
  • humble workers in the vineyard of the Lord, like Juan Diego and Kateri Tekakwitha;
  • servants of the suffering and the marginalized, like Peter Claver, Martín de Porres, Damian of Molokai, Alberto Hurtado and Rose Philippine Duchesne;
  • founders of communities consecrated to the service of God and of the poorest, like Frances Cabrini, Elizabeth Ann Seton and Katharine Drexel;
  • tireless missionaries, such as Friar Francisco Solano, José de Anchieta, Alonso de Barzana, Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa and Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero;
  • martyrs like Roque Gonzalez, Miguel Pro and Oscar Arnulfo Romero; and so many other saints and martyrs, whom I do not mention here, but who pray before the Lord for their brothers and sisters who are still pilgrims in those lands.”

AND POPE FRANCIS ALSO DID THIS …..

ON SUNDAY HE RECITED THE REGINA COELI with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. Before the Marian prayer he reflected on the day’s Gospel about Jesus’ parable of the vine and the branches – Jesus is the true vine, and we are the branches, dependent on Him. Through this parable, “Jesus wants us to understand the importance of remaining united to Him.” “Jesus is the vine,” Pope Francis continued, “and through Him, the very love of God passes” to us “the branches”. Following the prayer, the Holy Father had a special greeting for the Méter Association on the Day for Child Victims of Violence, thanking them for their “commitment to preventing these crimes. We must all commit ourselves so that every human person, and especially children, might always be defended and protected.”

SUNDAY AFTERNOON, THE POPE celebrated Mass at the Roman parish of Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace) in the seaside suburb of Ostia. Before Mass, the Holy Father met with members of the parish, including they elderly and the sick. He spoke about their wisdom of life, which comes from experience – an experience the has the wisdom of sorrows, and of patience. “It is a wisdom we often forget,” he said. But the elderly have an experience of life that they hand down to their children, giving them “the memory of our people, the memory of our family.” The sick, he said, are similar to Jesus in their suffering: they suffer with Him, and bear the Cross as Jesus did. In that sense, they are privileged. Pope Francis spoke, too, about the children of the parish, who will carry life forward – with the wisdom, the patience, the constancy of those who go before them. As he concluded his visit with the sick and elderly, the Pope asked for prayers for himself, noting that he too “is a little old, a little sick,” but “not too much!” he said, laughing.

MONDAY, FRANCIS RECEIVED BISHOPS from the Republic of Congo and encouraged them to continue in their efforts of cooperation with other faiths because “unity in diversity is a feature of the Church’s requirements.” The bishopd are in Rome for their Ad Limina visit. The Holy Father also expressed his joy before the “young and dynamic Christian communities seeking to take root in the love of the Lord.” He said the recent creation of three new dioceses shows the vitality of the Catholic Church in Congo, and the zeal of its pastors in their push for evangelization.

MONDAY MORNING, THE POPE RECEIVED Antje Jackelén, the head of the Church of Sweden and Archbishop of Uppsala. Originally from Germany, Archbishop Jackelén is Sweden’s first foreign-born archbishop since the 12th century and the first female head of the Church there. Lutheran-Catholic dialogue was at the heart of their conversation.

ALSO MONDAY, POPE FRANCIS sent a message to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, on the occasion of a celebration held at the Italian Senate on Monday morning marking the 750th anniversary of the birth of the poet Dante Alighieri. In the message, the Pope said that he joined “the chorus of those who believe Dante Alighieri is an artist of the highest universal value, who still has much to say and to give, through his immortal works, to all those who are willing to walk the path of true knowledge.”

FRANCIS MET WITH SWISS GUARDS and their families on Monday, ahead of the annual May 6th swearing-in ceremony for new Guards. He said the meeting was an opportunity to “strengthen a [significant] friendship,” noting the words of Christ who said “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

POPE - SWISS GUARDs

Pope Francis said a Swiss Guard is “a person who truly seeks to follow the Lord Jesus and who loves in a particular way the Church; [he] is a Christian with a genuine faith.” He underscored how prayer and an active sacramental life will help them in their service. “So when you meet the people, the pilgrims, you convey – with your kindness and competence – this ‘greater love’ that comes from friendship with Christ,” Pope Francis said. “In effect, Swiss Guards are a ‘billboard’ of the Holy See!”  (added source: Vatican Radio)

 

SWISS GUARDS HAVE NEW COMMANDER – POPE FRANCIS PAYS SURPRISE VISIT TO MIGRANT CAMP – POPE FRANCIS, IN HOMILY, SAYS DEVIL IS “FATHER OF HATE, OF LIES,” WHO SEEKS DISUNITY – VATICAN COMPLETES WORK ON SHOWERS FOR HOMELESS

From Fr. Tom Rosica, English-language assistant to Fr. Federico Lombardi, head of the Holy See Press Office:  Prayers for Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, RSM

After a nearly 30-year career as a journalist in Washington, D.C. and Rome, working with Catholic News Service, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and most recently AMERICA Magazine, Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, who is 67, has returned to the Sisters of Mercy convent in Albany, New York, to live out her final days with metastatic breast cancer.  Kindly remember this wonderful woman and communicator in your prayers. Click here for a Sisters of Mercy profile of Mary Ann, friend to all of us accredited at the Holy See Press Office, and countless more in the U.S.: http://www.sistersofmercy.org/blog/2015/02/06/facing-terminal-illness-with-mercy-part-ii/?utm_source=t&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=cwm

This is a big week for “red hats” here in Rome, starting today with the eighth meeting of the Council of 9 Cardinals with the Pope at the Santa Marta residence. The meeting will  go to Wednesday, February 11, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of the Sick. The following two days – February 12 and 13 – the College of Cardinals will hold their consistory in the Synod Hall and will discuss the reform of the Roman Curia being studied by Francis and C9 Council.

This coming weekend, new members will be joining the College of Cardinals as the Holy Father creates 20 new cardinals on Saturday, February 14 (15 of whom are under age 80 and therefore cardinal electors). That afternoon, the new cardinals will greet friends and relatives in both the Paul VI Hall and rooms of the Apostolic Palace. Sunday, the Pope and new eminences will concelebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

And now, some of the stories from this weekend, especially Pope Francis’ unscripted stop Sunday at a migrant camp on his way to say Mass in a Roman parish!

SWISS GUARDS HAVE NEW COMMANDER

The Vatican announced that Pope Francis has appointed Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Graf as the new commander of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Graf, who joined the guards in 1987, succeeds Colonel Daniel Anrig, who retired last month and had been commander since 2008. The Swiss Guards were formed in 1506 by Pope Julius II to protect the person of the Pope and the security of the Apostolic Palace.

Cardinal Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, the Philippines, is in Rome for the events this week with the College of Cardinals. He presided at Mass Sunday morning for the new commander and fellow guards in the Swiss Guard Chapel. Click on the Swiss Guards Facebook page to see some photos: https://www.facebook.com/gsp1506

POPE FRANCIS PAYS SURPRISE VISIT TO MIGRANT CAMP

Late afternoon Sunday, on his way to the Roman parish San Michele Arcangelo in the Roman Pietralata neighborhood to say Mass, Pope Francis – no surprise! – made an impromptu visit to a migrant shantytown. The papal car stopped and the Pope got out, accompanied by the papal photographer and head of security and just walke through a gate, unannounced. The camp is called Campo Arcobaleno or Camp Rainbow and is only about 300 yards from the parish.

POPE FRANCIS - SHANTYTOWN

According to a report by Vatican Radio, “he got out of the car and people were shocked when they saw him in front of their shacks,” said Father Aristide Sana, the pastor of the parish who quickly traveled to the camp when he got word of the visit. Pope Francis received a boisterous welcome.

“Viva il Papa!” the crowd shouted, engulfing the Pope, chanting and shaking his hand.  Pope Francis asked how many spoke Spanish, and the crowd shouted out “All of us!” Actually, though many of the residents are from Peru and Ecuador, many others were from Eritrea, Ukraine, Russia, and other parts of the world. However. In what ever language, they joined the Pope in his request to pray the Our Father together in Spanish.

It was only a ten-minute visit, one the migrants will never forget, and Pope Francis seemed totally delighted at the occasion.

To enjoy that encounter with the Pope, here is a video I also posted on my Facebook page: http://www.romereports.com/pg160276-a-look-at-the-pope-s-powerful-visit-to-an-immigrant-shantytown-en

POPE FRANCIS, IN HOMILY, SAYS DEVIL IS “FATHER OF HATE, OF LIES,” WHO SEEKS DISUNITY

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday evening visited the parish of San Michele Arcangelo in the eastern Roman district of Pietralata, on the periphery of Rome and home to 8,000 families. After arriving at the parish hall, Pope Francis’ first stop was to meet with a group of homeless people who are cared for by the Sant’Egidio Community.

“The fact that people do not know your name, and call you ‘homeless’ and you carry this: It is your cross, and your patience,” said Pope Francis. “But there is something in the heart of all of you – of this, please be assured – there is the Holy Spirit.”

He then held a meeting with parents whose children had been baptized in the previous year, and he asked them to teach the Faith well, lamenting that there are “Christian children who cannot make the sign of the cross.”

In his meeting with older children, many of whom were part of the Scouting movement, Pope Francis pointed out that wars are not only those – and he asked them to make a list – that kill children in Iraq, Ukraine, and Africa. Wars are come about much earlier in people who do not possess God.

“Who is the father of war?” Pope Francis asked. “The devil!” the children answered.

Pope Francis said the devil is the “father of hate,” “the father of lies,” who seeks disunity.

“But God wants unity,” Pope Francis said. “If in your heart you feel jealousy, this is the beginning of war. Jealousies are not of God.”

And this is the theme Pope Francis continued during his homily at Mass.

“It is sad when in a family, brothers do not speak because of something stupid,” Pope Francis said.

“Because the devil takes stupidity and makes a world,” he continued. “Then these enmities continue and multiply for years.  It destroys the family: Parents suffer because their children do not speak to each other, or with the wife of a son…And so this jealousy and envy, it is sowed by the devil. And the only one who can drive out demons is Jesus.  The only one who can heal these things is Jesus. So to each of you: Have yourself healed by Jesus.”

As he often does during parish visits, he urged the congregation to listen to Jesus in the Gospel, to read a passage and ask themselves, what does it say to me?

“Have this daily contact with the Gospel,” Pope Francis said.  “Pray with the Gospel.”

VATICAN COMPLETES WORK ON SHOWERS FOR HOMELESS

(Vatican Radio) Work has now been completed on the building of three showers and a barber’s booth for the homeless under the colonnades of St Peter’s Square. The shower unit was commissioned by Pope Francis after learning from his Almoner that homeless people in Rome lacked places where to wash themselves or have their hair cut. (AP/L’Osservatore Romano pool photos)

HOMELESS SHOWERS - AP Photo(L'Osservatore Romano pool

The 3 showers and the barber’s booth have been installed in an existing lavatory block used by pilgrims and tourists visiting the Vatican area that was completely refurbished for this purpose. The showers will be available every day, except on Wednesday during the Pope’s general audience and when celebrations take place, either in St Peter’s Basilica or in the Square.

HOMELESS SHOWERS  -  2

The barber service will be available on Monday between 9am and 3pm.  A number of barbers in Rome have volunteered to offer their services as well as final-year students from a hairdressing school in Rome.  Sisters from Mother’s Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity Order will be among those helping to welcome the homeless who come to use the showers.

Each of the homeless people using the shower units will receive two free kits, a complete change of underwear and a kit containing towel, soap, toothpaste and brush, deodorant plus razor and shaving cream for the men. Many of the articles have been offered free of charge by various firms and private individuals who have wanted to show their solidarity with this project. The Pope’s Almoner will be responsible for purchasing, as needed, future supplies using money raised from the selling of parchments with a Papal Blessing.

The Vatican has called for ten nearby parishes to install showers as well. The bill will be paid with money from the Pope’s charity fund.