Weekly Vatican newspaper in English:

Some day you WILL return to the Eternal City and chances are you will land at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport aka Fiumicino (FCO) The grand lady of airports turned 60 two days ago and there was a great story in the online edition of Wanted in Rome (see below)


Welcome to Vatican Insider as we come close to the end of summer, a time when you’re possibly on vacation or, if not vacation, spending a tranquil weekend, hopefully relaxing and enjoying family and friends and some down time. If you’ve decided to spend a brief moment with me on this weekend, I think I have a fun offering for you in what is normally the interview segment. I’ve called this segment “Inquiring minds want to know” because I’m going to bring you some trivia – some little known, and often unusual facts about the Vatican – some fun stories about bells and flags and basilica floors. But remember this might be trivia but it is not trivial!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on 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 ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


If there is something you wanted to know about the Vatican, Vatican City State, and the Roman Curia, there is one site that will take you to 83 websites for Vatican congregations, dicasteries, tribunals, councils, offices linked to the Vatican, the health care center, museums, Swiss Guards, synods, Pontifical Musical Chorus of the Sistine Chapel: Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Campo Santo Teutonic (Teutonic cemetery), Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and a ton more!

I started to explore this link and realized I needed some hours to do a good job of exploring each website individually. I did click on a fair number and found, as you will, that there is a great variety in the sites, especially with regard to languages. Some sites have 5 or 6 languages, some only Italian and others only Italian and English. The website about the Teutonic cemetery has, for example only German (unfortunately, I think). A site I would have thought would have 5 or 6 languages but only had Italian and English was the Dicastery for Communication.

Have fun!


From the joy of the Olympic Games to the trials of covid-19, the story of Rome’s main airport.

( Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport, better known as Fiumicino, celebrates its 60th birthday on 20 August 2020.

The airport, which was a symbol of restart during Italy’s post-war economic boom, opened to air traffic on 20 August 1960, five days before the start of Rome’s Olympic Games.

Designed to cope with increasing demand for flights to the capital, the new airport came about after two designs were merged: plans by Riccardo Morandi and Andrea Zavitteri were combined with those by Amedeo Luccichenti and Vincenzo Monaco.

The final project was approved in August 1958 and the construction works lasted 21 months, during which the remains of five ancient Roman ships were discovered.

During the Olympics, Fiumicino was used to help alleviate Rome’s other airport, Ciampino. Fiumicino did not become fully operational however until 15 January 1961, with the landing of the first airliner: the Twa Lockheed Constellation, from New York.

Located about 35 km southwest of the centre of Rome, Fiumicino consisted of just two runways in the 1960s, with a third one added in 1973 along with a new hangar to accommodate Boeing 747s.

In recent years the airport has won a string of awards, however its level of organisation and customer service was not always at the high level it enjoys today.

Over the past six decades the airport has also been affected by tragic events such as the terrorist attacks in 1973 (32 dead) and the second in 1985 (13 dead).

Fiumicino suffered a setback too with a fire on 7 May 2015, which spread to Terminal 3, causing major disruption but no serious injuries.

Fiumicino has recently undergone an extensive modernisation programme and has also been to the forefront in technological development, becoming the first Italian airport to install e-gates.

The airport has also achieved much success with awards, including among passengers, and in 2019 it welcomed around 44 million passengers.

2020 is perhaps Fiumicino’s most difficult year to date, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, however the airport has risen to the challenge by operating to strict regulations and carrying out covid-19 tests on passengers from ‘at risk’ countries.

Most recently the airport was recognised by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for its commitment to sustainability.



Tomorrow, July 18, marks the 150th anniversary of the promulgation of the Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus that defined the dogmas of the primacy of the Pope and that of papal infallibility in the First Vatican Council in 1870. If those topics are of interest to you and you also love Church history, then this article is for you:

To read this weekend’s L’Osservatore Romano in English, click here:


This weekend, in what is normally the interview segment of “Vatican Insider,” I present another of the Specials I have prepared for you in these months of Covid restrictions for in-person interviews but we are working on something to remedy that. This weekend I’m calling this Special “Inquiring Minds Want To Know” because I’m going to bring you some trivia – some little known, and often unusual facts about the Vatican – some fun stories about bells and flags and basilica floors. For example, flags – only two states in the world have officially square flags: Vatican City is one. What is the other? did you know that there is a German cemetery in Vatican City? Then listen to the great story about the mosaic of Mary on the façade of the Apostolic Palace. So stay tuned for “Inquiring Minds Want To Know”! I might even quiz you at the end!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on 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 ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


Pope Francis has donated 2500 Covid-19 tests to Gaza’s Ministry of Health through the Congregation for Oriental Churches. The test kits were delivered by Caritas Jerusalem and Fr. Gabriel Romanelli of the Sacred Family parish in Gaza. The donation is part of the initiative pro-
moted by the emergency fund established by Pope Francis to help the countries most impacted by the spread of the coronavirus. According to Fr. Romanelli, “the kits sent by the Pope will help to make more precise diagnoses and as soon as we received them we took them to the laboratory
at the Ministry of Health. In fact, there is only one machine in all of Gaza that is able to perform the analysis”.


FRIDAY 17THIS CONSIDERED AN UNLUCKY DATE IN ITALY. But that’s not the only strange Italian superstition you’ll need to be aware of. Particularly among the older generation, you’ll discover that Italians tend to take superstitions seriously, often doing things ‘per scaramanzia’ – to ward off bad luck. So if you want to ensure good fortune comes your way, here are some of the things to watch out for, according to Italian customs.   (You would not have a dinner party with 17 people)

First, the good news. Italy has its own date that you should be wary of: Friday the 17th. Just as some Western airlines avoid including the 13th row on planes, you might find number 17 omitted in Italian planes, street numbering, hotel floors and so on, so even if you’re not the superstitious type, it’s handy to be aware of. The reason for this is because in Roman numerals, the number 17 (XVII) is an anagram of the Latin word VIXI, meaning “I have lived” — the use of the past tense suggests death, and therefore bad luck. It’s less clear what’s so inauspicious about Friday.

Thought there was no point crying over spilled olive oil? Think again. In Italy, this is very bad luck indeed. And it’s not just because Italians don’t want to see their top quality oil wasted (though the tradition likely has its roots in a time when olive oil was a luxury), or because oil stains are tough to get out of clothes. The act of spilling the liquid is considered to bring ill fortune. (

VISIT THE COLOSSEUM UNDER THE STARS WITH GUIDED TOURS IN ENGLISH AND ITALIAN – Guided tours of the Colosseum will take place every Saturday night this summer, from 25 July to 29 August 2020, thanks to the return of the Luna sul Colosseo experience. The tours last about an hour and begin on the arena floor, with its views into the underground tunnels where gladiators and wild animals were held before combat, and also includes a visit to the first level of the ancient amphitheatre.

The tours, conducted in Italian and English, are designed for groups of up to 20 people, with visitor safety and social distancing guaranteed by Parco Colosseo. Tickets cost €24, and there is a family package costing €44 (two adults plus up to three children under the age of 18). Visitors must wear masks and maintain social distancing. Booking must be made online, by selecting the day and time of visit, via the Colosseum website or Coopculture website. (source: WantedinRome)

‘A LITTLE CORNER OF ENGLAND IN NAPLES’: THE SECRETS OF A FAMED ITALIAN TIE SHOP – Film stars, British royalty and local Naples residents all buy handmade ties from one shop so famous for its artisanal finery that some customers boast collections of thousands. The painstaking needlework cannot be rushed, despite demand for E. Marinella ties usually far outstripping production. In Naples, the tiny shop near the sea remains much as it was when it opened in 1914, with its wood-framed windows, chandelier, and counter where the red, blue, polka dot or diamond-patterned ties are displayed.

Maurizio Marinella, 64, who is the third generation to head up the company, says his family’s success in the southern Italian city, which struggles with poverty and unemployment, was “a kind of miracle”.  “It all started in 20 square metres in Naples, where everything is a little  more difficult than elsewhere,” he told AFP.




In addition to the six reported cases, the positivity of an additional Holy See employee, already in isolation since mid-March because of his wife who had tested positive at Covid-19 after serving in the Italian hospital where she works, was added. On this occasion it is useful to clarify that, like all institutional realities, the various entities and departments of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State continue only in essential, mandatory and non-deferrable activities, clearly adopting, to the maximum extent possible, the appropriate measures that have already been communicated, which include remote work and criteria regarding duty shifts, in order to safeguard staff health.

The Holy Father Francis, in the audience granted to His Excellency Msgr. Edgar Peña Parra, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State on March 31, 2020, agreed to extend the term and the legal effects referred to in the previous Rescriptum ex audientia SS.mi dated March 18, 2020 containing extraordinary and urgent measures to counter the epidemiological emergency from Covid-19 and to contain the negative effects on the conduct of the judicial activity. This term, initially set for April 3, 2020, is extended to May 4, 2020. The Holy Father has ordered that this rescript be promulgated by publication in L’Osservatore Romano, coming into force immediately, and then published in the official commentary of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.


During morning Mass on Thursday, Pope Francis turned his thoughts to those who are living this time of sorrow and fear, hidden in the cracks of society. (playback included – see link below)
By Vatican News

In his opening words at Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said, “these days of sorrow and sadness highlight so many hidden problems.”

He mentioned a photograph featured in a daily paper that, he said, touches the heart: “So many homeless people in a city, huddling in a parking lot… there are so many homeless people today.” (photo: Las Vegas Review)

He invited the faithful to ask St. Teresa of Calcutta to awaken in us a sense of closeness to those who live, hidden, in the cracks of society, like the homeless whose plight is particularly evident in this moment of crisis.

We have been chosen by God
In his homily, the Pope explained that Christians must be conscious of having been chosen by God, joyful as they tread the path of salvation, and faithful to the Covenant.

Commenting on the readings of the Day, from the Book of Genesis and from the Gospel according to John, the Pope noted they both focus on the figure of Abraham, on the Covenant with God and on how Jesus comes to “remake” creation by forgiving our sins.



Greetings from the Big Apple!

Yes, I am in New York – arrived a few hours ago – but right now I simply want to greet the huge numbers of you – especially family, my sister, nieces, cousins, and my many friends in the U.S. – who have sent me emails, text messages, phone messages, notes on Facebook, etc. asking how I am, how things are in Rome and how are we all getting along. You will never know what your messages and your love and friendship mean to me! I know more than ever how blessed I am!

I will try to go into more detail tomorrow about why I am here and how things are in Italy but right now I wanted to say HI! I am well and happy and had a lovely trip (details tomorrow) and am in a city, notwithstanding some coronavirus cases, that is bustling with life and activity and traffic and people running errands, shopping, sitting in parks and chatting with friends, and so on. I pray it remains that way for New Yorkers!

Read on for an update on some Vatican news…..


Statement from the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples: “The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, owners of the management of buildings belonging to the Holy See, are available to accept requests for temporary reduction of commercial lease payments. The decision was taken into consideration of the situations of particular economic suffering that the business owners face, as a consequence of the measures issued by the Italian authorities to stem the spread of Covid-19.

“This morning, as he started the Eucharistic Celebration in the Santa Marta residence, Pope Francis addressed a prayer to the Lord for the priests that they may have the courage to go out and minister to the sick, bringing them the strength of the Word of God and the Eucharist, clearly in compliance with the health measures established by the Italian authorities.”

From Holy See Press Office: Starting tomorrow, Wednesday 11 March 2020, at 12.00 noon and throughout the week, except for Sunday, the Vicar General of His Holiness for the Vatican City, Cardinal Angelo Comastri will lead the Angelus prayer, followed by the Lauretan Litanies and the Salve Regina. Faithful can join the Marian prayer in live streaming on Vatican News.

On the occasion of the Holy Mass to be celebrated March 11 presided over by Cardinal Vicar Angelo De Donatis in the absence of the faithful at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love for the Day of prayer and fasting, Pope Francis has sent a video message in which he addresses his prayer to the Virgin. In these days of medical emergency, the Holy Father entrusts the city, Italy and the world to the protection of the Mother of God, as a sign of salvation and hope.

FROM A CNS STORY: Based on precautions and protocols consistent with Italian government health standards, the Vatican issued a large number of recommendations and measures for all offices and entities that are part of the Roman Curia, the Holy See and Vatican City State. The Vatican released copies of the provisions March 8.

In addition to all previous health protocols already issued, the Vatican health and hygiene department recommended people: not congregate in common areas; avoid using elevators unless physically impaired; stay a yard apart from others in closed areas; frequently disinfect areas and objects; avoid having outside visitors; notify management in case of travel to high-risk areas; and contact medical professionals by telephone if displaying flu-like symptoms.

The Vatican also urged those in charge of Vatican offices to consider the impact emergency measures were having on employees and to consider offering their staff the following options where appropriate or possible: avoid having staff work overtime or calling in volunteers or outside help; suspend hiring new personnel unless absolutely necessary; promote flexibility in scheduling for employees who have children so they can spend more time with their families; promote working from home for employees where possible; allow extra family leave provisions for employees who request



As you may know by now, the diocese of Rome announced Sunday evening March 8 that no public Masses will be allowed throughout the diocese until April 3. A letter from Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of Rome, stated, in part: “The Church of Rome … assumes an attitude of full responsibility towards the community in the awareness that protection from contagion requires even drastic measures, especially in interpersonal contact. Therefore, until the same date of April 3, the communal liturgical celebrations are suspended.”

The cardinal will pray at the Rome Shrine of Divine Love on March 11, which will be a day of prayer and fasting. Priests in Vatican City and Rome may celebrate Mass in private.

As a number of people remarked to me today, they believe this is the first time in the two millennia history of the Church that Masses have been cancelled, including during wars, during the plague and other similar, threatening and dangerous times. I’ll have to research that!

No access to the Eucharist boggles my mind and breaks my heart! Hopefully viaticum will always be available to the sick and dying! From what I have seen, at least in and around the Vatican and part of central Rome, churches are open for prayer, but not for Mass. You can say the rosary before the tabernacle but not receive the Eucharist. My first thought was: Christ has been quarantined!

What is very interesting is that today, as I crossed St. Peter’s Square to film some segments for EWTN, I saw a huge line of people waiting to enter the basilica. It must have circled three-fourths of the perimeter!

And here is what I read in Italian and English on the megascreens in the square: “In conformity with measures taken to combat the coronavirus, a safe distance of one meter (3 feet) will be kept between persons.”

In some of the newer busses in Rome, the driver is seated in his own little cubicle, enclosed by clear plexiglass, with no contact with the public as they enter the bus from the front door. On the slightly older busses, there is no wall creating a separate area and now, on those busses, passengers may not enter or exit from the front door.

All we can say is…. pray and stay tuned!


Following is a link to yesterday’s Angelus with Pope Francis. It is interesting to see how many news outlets, in their first report, said the Pope had skipped his usual Sunday appearance. They had no idea that the Pope had indeed surprised pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square by appearing at his study window for a brief wave of greeting after reciting the Marian prayer in the Apostolic Palace that was carried live on Vatican and other media.

Daily papal Mass at Santa Marta residence: The Mass celebrated in private form by Pope Francis in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence will be transmitted live every day from Tuesday, March 10 to Saturday, March 14 from 7.00 am to 7.30 am approximately.

The Wednesday general audience will be streamed live on Vatican media starting at 9:30 am.

Wednesday, March 11 marks the 62nd anniversary of Pope Francis’ religious life in the Society of Jesus. He entered the Jesuits on March 11, 1958.

In an interview with Vatican News, the Deputy Director of the Directorate of Health and Hygiene for Vatican City State gives details of the measures being taken inside Vatican City to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus:



SUNDAY, MARCH 8: Answering questions from journalists, Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni, said: “In relation to the particular situation due to the risk of spread of Covid-19, the Holy Father has ordered that the Masses celebrated by him privately in Santa Marta in the coming days will be transmitted live through the Vatican News player, and distributed by Vatican Media to connected media and to those who request it, to allow those who wish to follow the celebrations in union of prayer with the Bishop of Rome.”

The papal Masses will be transmitted from 7 to 8 am, Rome time.

SUNDAY, MARCH 8: In coordination with measures launched by Italian Authorities, some measures have been taken today to avoid the spread of Covid-19 to be observed in the dicasteries and other entities of the Holy See or connected to it and in the Governorate of Vatican City State. These measures include the precautionary closure, until April 3, 2020, of the Vatican Museums, the Excavation Office (scavi), the Museum of the Pontifical Villas and the museum centers of the pontifical basilicas. On this occasion, it is reiterated that to date a single positive case of Covid-19 has been confirmed by an external person who had gone to the Health and Hygiene center for a pre-employment medical examination and that the 5 people who had had close contact with them are in precautionary quarantine.



An interesting note on the weekly calendar sent out by the Vatican’s Communication Dicastery to media who are accredited to the Holy See Press Office:

November 5 marks the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Vatican City on this date in 1943. The attack took place at 8.05 pm when an unknown plane dropped four shattering bombs of medium size on the side of the Vatican gardens looking towards the Janiculum hill. The bombs struck the Vatican railway station, the mosaic workshop and then, finally, strafed the back of the Governorate’s Palace, used at the time not only for offices but also for private homes.




A top Vatican official welcomed the UK-commissioned Persecuted Christians Review at an event in Rome, and says Christians in certain countries risk being completely purged, while in some democracies they face discrimination for standing up for their beliefs regarding life, marriage, and the family.
By Devin Watkins (Vaticannews)

Released on Monday, the Persecuted Christians Review details a recent surge in violence against adherents to the faith around the world.

The report was commissioned by the UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and prepared by Anglican Bishop Philip Mounstephen, of Truro.

Around 215 million Christians faced persecution in 2018 and an average of 250 Christians were killed every month, according to the Foreign Office. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to forms of sexual violence.

Indifference and impunity
The Vatican’s Under-Secretary for Relations with States, Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, spoke at the Rome Launch of the Review, held at the Basilica of St. Bartholomew.

Quoting Pope Francis with language also used in the report, Msgr. Camilleri called persecution against Christians a “sort of genocide caused by general and collective indifference.”

He lamented the impunity surrounding crimes committed on the basis of religion and the limited attention the media gives such discrimination.

“We have witnessed attacks upon individuals and groups of various religious backgrounds by terrorists, extremist groups and religious fanatics who have no respect for the lives of those who have beliefs different from their own,” he said.

Msgr. Camilleri said religious persecution against Christians should worry adherents of other faiths as well, since it hits at the most fundamental human freedom, which is to choose freely a religion.

Occurs in established democracies
The Review focuses mainly on persecution that occurs in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

But Msgr. Camilleri expanded the scope to include other forms of discrimination and persecution that are carried out “even in established democracies”.

There is a growing tendency, he said, “to criminalize or penalize religious leaders for presenting the basic tenets of their faith, especially regarding the areas of life, marriage, and the family.”

He called this type of discrimination “less radical on the level of physical persecution” but “nevertheless detrimental to the full enjoyment of freedom of religion and the practice or expression of that conviction whether in private or public.”

Right to religious freedom
Religion, said Msgr. Camilleri, can help unify societies and promote peace in its quest for the common good.

“The right to religious freedom is rooted in the very dignity of the human person,” he said, “and it is not only an achievement of a sound political and juridical culture but also a condition for the pursuit of truth that does not impose itself by force.”


Vatican City has its own system of collecting and recycling its sorted waste, much of which goes into making compost.

By Robin Gomes (Vaticannews)

The Vatican is growing greener, making strides in heeding to Pope Francis’ call to creating a more environment-friendly world. The smallest state in the world is now ready to do away completely with the sale of single-use plastics, or disposable plastic, according to Rafael Ignacio Tornini, the head of the garden and cleaning services of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

Recycling waste
The Vatican is also moving fast along Europe’s stringent standards with regard to collection and disposal of sorted waste, he told Ansa news agency.

He explained that a dumping center was created in 2016 for special waste disposal inside the Vatican, called “eco-center”. It was restructured and enhanced in 2018 and can now handle about 85 items of the European Waste Codes (EWC) list.

In the first 6 months of this year, the center collected 2% of unsorted waste, or 98% of sorted waste. The target is to reach point zero percent in 2010, Tornini said.

As regards urban waste, he said, the Vatican started with 35% of sorted waste in 2016. Today this stands at 55%. In the next 2 or 3 years, they expect to reach 70-75%.

Vatican City’s garbage, to the tune of some 1000 tons, is collected largely from bins, very little from door to door, such as with cooking oil and kitchen waste.

Five months ago, with the collection of organic waste, the Vatican kicked off what Tornini described as the “circular economy chain”. This consists of recycling organic waste mixed with a large part of pruning, cuttings and mowed grass from the Vatican, which amounts to as much as 400 tons, to make compost soil.

Tornini said they try to minimize as much as possible the amount of waste disposed of in Italy. They are trying to recycle much of the Vatican’s waste possible into good fertilizer for use in the Vatican or at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. Tornini said that other wastes are disposed of through a private company keeping to regulations as much as possible.

The head of the Vatican’s garden and cleaning services said the problem of plastic is real. They are trying to collect plastics separately and the Vatican has limited its sale of single-use plastics and soon it will be completely stopped.

Unsorted waste collection is a problem particularly in St. Peter’s Square that is open to vast numbers pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. Tornini and his team have set up bins for plastics in the colonnade that collects some 10 kilograms per day.

Tornini and four others in the department said it was a real task to change the mentality in the Vatican, even providing courses to people handling special waste. He said they have taken to heart very much the call of Pope Francis in his 2015 environmental encyclical “Laudato Sii”, to safeguard our common home.

Before Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor St. Pope John Paul II had also a given boost to the Vatican’s green effort. Both of them have made appeals for the protection of the environment.

A major step in this line came in 2008, under Pope Benedict, when the Vatican switched on its massive solar power plant on the roof of the Paul VI audience hall. The system’s 2,400 photovoltaic panels covering the 5,000-square meter roof provide clean energy for the needs of the hall and several adjoining buildings.

In January, a new environment-friendly and cost-effective LED lighting system in the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica was inaugurated. The German light company OSRAM behind the project, had earlier installed similar lighting system in the Sistine Chapel and in St. Peter’s Square.

Efforts are on to expand into other renewable sources of energy in the Vatican. (Source: ANSA)



Statement from Holy See Press Office interim Director Alessandro Gisotti:

“The Office of the Promoter of Justice of the Vatican City State Court, in the persons of the Promoter Professor Gian Piero Milano and his deputy, Professor Alessandro Diddi, by a decree of June 27, 2019, has ordered the opening of two tombs present in the Teutonic Cemetery. The decision is part of one of the files opened following a complaint by the family of Emanuela Orlandi who, as is known, in recent months has, among other things, reported the possible concealment of her body in the small cemetery located within the territory of the Vatican State.

“The operation will take place next July 11 in the presence of the lawyers of the parties (as well as the relatives of Emanuela Orlandi and relatives of the people buried in the graves concerned), with the technical assistance of Professor. Giovanni Arcudi, of the Commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani, and of the staff of the Gendarmerie. The judicial provision foresees a complex organization of men and means (workers from the Fabbrica di San Pietro and personnel from the COS, the Operative Security Center of the Vatican Gendarmerie, for the operations of demolition and restoration of the stone slabs and for the documentation of the operations are involved)

“The decision comes after a phase of investigations during which the Office of the Promoter – with the help of the Gendarmerie Corps – carried out investigations aimed at reconstructing the main judicial stages of this long and painful and complex case. It should be remembered that for legal reasons the Vatican investigating authority has no jurisdiction to investigate Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance in Italy; investigations which, moreover, have been conducted by Italian investigators – from the earliest stages – with scrupulosity and professional rigor. Therefore, the Vatican initiative concerns only the ascertainment of the possible burial of the body of Emanuela Orlandi in the territory of the Vatican State.

“In any case, the complex expert appraisals set for July 11th are only the first phase of a series of pre-planned investigations which, after the opening of the tombs and the collection and cataloging of the remains, will lead to the expert reports to establish the dating of the findings and for DNA comparison.”



Pope Francis during Mass on Palm Sunday told the faithful, “there is no negotiating with the cross: one either embraces it or rejects it. By his self-abasement, Jesus wanted to open up to us the path of faith and to precede us on that path.”

By Lydia O’Kane (vaticannews)

Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square for the celebration of Palm Sunday that marks the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday also marks diocesan World Youth Day and young people could be seen waving palms and olive branches as the sun beamed down.

As the “Hosanna” rang out a solemn procession saw cardinals, priests and ordinary men and women making their way around the square. Following the Gospel, which was read by three deacons and recounts Christ’s Passion, Pope Francis in his homily recalled how Jesus in his entry into Jerusalem shows us the way with his humility in the face of triumphalism. (photos by Daniel Ibáñez of EWTN/ACI)

Abandonment and obedience
With this entrance into Holy Week, the Pope explained, “Jesus shows us how to face moments of difficulty and the most insidious of temptations by preserving in our hearts a peace that is neither detachment nor superhuman impassivity, but confident abandonment to the Father and to his saving will, which bestows life and mercy.”

“He shows us this kind of abandonment,” Pope Francis said, “by spurning, at every point in his earthly ministry, the temptation to do things his way and not in complete obedience to the Father.”

Humility over triumphalism
Today, too, remarked the Pontiff, “by his entrance into Jerusalem, he shows us the way. For in that event, the evil one, the prince of this world, had a card up his sleeve: the card of triumphalism. Yet, the Lord responded by holding fast to his own way, the way of humility.”

The Pope emphasized that “triumphalism tries to make it to the goal by shortcuts and false compromises… It lives off gestures and words that are not forged in the crucible of the cross; Jesus destroyed triumphalism by his Passion.” “One subtle form of triumphalism is spiritual worldliness, which represents the greatest danger, the most treacherous temptation threatening the Church”, he said, quoting from French Cardinal and Theologian Henri De Lubac.

The power of silence
Pope Francis remarked, that Jesus “knows that true triumph involves making room for God and that the only way to do that is by stripping oneself, by self-emptying. “There is no negotiating with the cross: one either embraces it or rejects it,” said the Pope. By his self-abasement, Jesus wanted to open up to us the path of faith and to precede us on that path.”

Addressing the young people present for this diocesan World Youth Day, the Pontiff told them not to be ashamed to show their enthusiasm for Jesus, to shout out that he is alive and that he is in their lives.

During his homily, Pope Francis also noted the “profoundly impressive” silence of Jesus throughout his Passion.

The Pope added that, “he also overcomes the temptation to answer back, to act like a “superstar.” Francis said that, “in moments of darkness and great tribulation, we need to keep silent, to find the courage not to speak, as long as our silence is meek and not full of anger.” The Pope stressed that, “at the hour that God comes forth to fight, we have to let him take over. Our place of safety will be beneath the mantle of the holy Mother of God.”