FYI: If you want to get a head start on knowing what will happen in Japan when the Pope makes a trip there in November (he’ll also visit Thailand), the official website has just gone up:


Continuing his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, Pope Francis today spoke about the first martyr of the Church, Saint Stephen.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” began the Pope, “In our catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we continue to follow the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. In the early Christian community some complained that their widows were being neglected in the distribution of bread.

Francis explained that, “the Apostles, aware of their principal calling to preach the Word of God, discerned a solution to maintain the harmony between the service of the Word and service to the poor. They instituted seven men, on whom they imposed hands, to carry out works of charity.

“One of these seven deacons, Stephen, proclaimed Christ’s Paschal Mystery as the key to the whole history of the covenant, but his words met with resistance. Yet, even when condemned to death, Stephen entrusted his life into the Lord’s hands and forgave his adversaries.

Pope Francis noted that, “the actions of this first martyr teach us that our identity as God’s children consists in abandoning ourselves to the Father and forgiving those who offend us. Let us ask the Lord that, by contemplating the martyrs of the past and present, we may live a full life, accepting the martyrdom of daily fidelity to the Gospel and conformity to Christ.”

Following the audience catechesis, Francis said, “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially the groups from England, Scotland, Denmark, Malta, Norway, Kenya, Australia, Mariana Islands, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the United States of America. In a particular way my greeting goes to the new seminarians of the Venerable English College as they begin their priestly formation here in Rome. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!


Here’s a brief look at the upcoming calendar of events in the Vatican for just one week:

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 – A ticket only event is the Mass to be celebrated this Saturday, September 28 by Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments to mark the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. The cardinal will celebrate Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica and will meet guests afterwards in the Paul VI Hall.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 – Pope Francis will preside at Mass at 10:30 am in St. Peter’s Square to mark the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1 – Memory of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus – At 6 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis will preside at Vespers on the occasion of the start of the month dedicated to the Mission and Missionaries.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3 – The Pontifical North American College will celebrate the ordination to the diaconate of 34 young men at Mass at 9:30 am at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland in Maine will preside.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5 – Pope Francis will hold a consistory to create 13 new cardinals, 10 of whom are under the age of 80 and will be electors in a conclave. He named them at the September 1 Angelus. As of September 4, there were 213 cardinals, 118 of whom are cardinal electors. Electors will increase to 128 on Oct. 5. As of today, there are 86 countries that have cardinals, 63 of which have cardinal electors. Among the cardinal electors, the countries with the greatest percentages are Italy with 22 electors, the United States with 9 and Spain with 5.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6 – The Holy Father Pope Francis will preside at Mass in St. Peter’s Square to mark the opening of the October 6 – 27 synod on the Amazon.