VATICAN INSIDER: THE JOB OF AN INTERN AT THE U.S. EMBASSY – POPE ASKS PARDON OF ROHINGYA AT ECUMENICAL MEETING

Here we are, the first weekend of December and the start of Advent – seems like just a few months ago we were putting away Christmas gifts, taking the tree down, etc.

This weekend the American Catholic community of St. Patrick’s celebrates its annual gala dinner for charity, the Saint Nicholas Serata. As I write, a big crew of dedicated and loving parishioners is at Marymount International School, hard at work to transform the student dining room into a ritzy, glittering holiday scene where lucky ticket holders will experience a gourmet meal, enjoy the strains of Christmas music and dance to a live band and then partake in a live auction, a silent auction and the drawing of raffle tickets.

The proceeds from the evening go to benefit six Roman charities – something we at St. Patrick’s (formerly the Santa Susanna Catholic American community) have done for decades. Here’s the website, by the way: https://www.stnicholasserata.org/

Friends and colleagues bought some raffle tickets and, late Saturday evening, we will know who won the iPhone 8Plus, a weekend for two in Venice and a weekend for two in Matera!

VATICAN INSIDER: THE JOB OF AN INTERN AT THE U.S. EMBASSY

I have two truly remarkable guests in the interview segment of Vatican Insider this weekend – Bridget Rickard and Bryant King! This summer they were interns in the political and economic section of the US embassy to the Holy See. One of their many tasks was preparing the Briefing Book for the incoming U.S. ambassador. Ambassador Gingrich is now in Rome and Bridget and Bryant were able to meet her in November when they returned to Rome to attend a Vatican sponsored conference on a world without nuclear weapons.

Bridget is a senior at Notre Dame and Bryant a senior at Georgetown. Listen to these two extraordinary young people – intelligent, articulate and passionate -, as they talk about their time in Rome and their dreams. This is a do-not-miss conversation. I am sure you will feel that, if their college peers were anywhere near as intelligent and well spoken as Bridget and Bryant, our nation’s future would be in very good hands!

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE ASKS PARDON OF ROHINGYA AT ECUMENICAL MEETING

Pope Francis on Friday in Bangladesh did something he could not do in Myanmar – say the word Rohingya.

Here’s why….

Sunday night Pope Francis left Rome for Myanmar and Bangladesh on his 21st apostolic journey abroad, arriving Monday in Yangon, Myanmar. This is the first ever papal visit to the nation, formerly known as Burma, which suffered over half a century of oppressive military rule until elections in 2015, won by the National League for Democracy. Cardinal Charles Bo, archbishop of Yangon, told Vatican Radio before the papal trip that in the past the country’s ruling party was made up exclusively of Burmese Buddhists, but now the party includes other ethnic groups, and “not only the Buddhists, but also the Christians and other religions. That’s big progress.”

There are 400,000 Catholics in Bangladesh out of a population of 163 million, while in Myanmar there are 700,000 Catholics in a population of 53 million.

Cardinal Bo told Pope Francis he should not to say Rohingya while in Myanmar: “It is a very contested term, and the military and government and the public would not like him to express it.”

The Rohingya are persecuted and stateless Muslims in western Myanmar who are — according to the United Nations, the United States and much of the global community – the victims of ethnic cleansing, mass murder and systematic rape at the hands of the Myanmar military and extremist monks. Pope Francis has in the past, denounced the “persecution of our Rohingya brothers, saying they were being “tortured and killed, simply because they uphold their Muslim faith.”

Looking back at the Holy Father’s three-day stay in Myanmar, a summary can be made of his speeches and homilies but the impact of his trip on political, military and religious leaders will only be told with the passage of time. Francis walked a fine and very delicate line as he addressed hot button issues in Myanmar, especially the plight of the Rohingya people, avoiding the word Rohingya but speaking to the bigger issue — the cycles of violence by ethnic militant groups and the Myanmar military.

On October 22 this year, the United Nations reported that an estimated 603,000 refugees from Rakhine, Myanmar had crossed the border into Bangladesh since August 25, 2017. There are about 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

Friday, the Holy Father put the Rohingya on the front page of the news. Here are the words (in my translation) that he spoke to a group of Rohingya refugees at the end of this afternoon’s inter-religious and ecumenical meeting at the home of the archbishop:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, all of us are close to you. And there is so little we can do because your tragedy is so great. But we can make room in our hearts. In the name of everyone, of those who persecute you, of those who have done harm, above all for the world’s indifference, I ask your pardon. Pardon! All of you have told me of the great heart of Bangladesh that has received you. Now I appeal to your great heart – may it be capable of giving pardon to those of us who ask.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, the Hebrew-Christian account of creation tells us that the Lord God created man in his image and likeness. All of us have this image. Even these brothers and sisters. They too are the image of the living God. A tradition in your religion says that God, in the beginning, took some salt and threw it in water and this was the soul of all men; and each of us carries within us a little of the divine salt. These brothers and sister carry within them the salt of God.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, only let us show the world what the world’s egoism does with the image of God. Let us continue to do good to (these people), to help them; let us continue to move so that their rights are recognized. Let’s not close our hearts, let’s not look the other way. The presence of God today is also called Rohingya, May each of us give our own answer.

Two more photos from today in Bangladesh –

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VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO CARDINAL MAFI OF TONGA – SUNDAY IS THE 1ST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR

Our pilgrimage began with a very early wakeup call this morning to attend 6:45am Mass offered by Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo, who had joined the women of WINE yesterday afternoon at the Hotel Cenacolo (the Cenacle). He celebrated his first Mass for us about 7:30 yesterday evening, immediately after our arrival from a full day on the road – driving to and then visiting Siena, followed by a mid-afternoon visit to the Banfi winery (hopefully you saw my Facebook Live videos – I did 5 yesterday – no time to write a colum so videos had to suffice).

After a very rapid breakfast (!), we departed for Rome at 7:45 for a special event Msgr. Anthony had prepared for the group this morning with the Sisters of St. Teresa of Calcutta, including the women being blessed by and prayed over with a relic of St. Teresa! I missed that as I had to go to Vatican radio to record my weekly program, “Joan Knows,” but I’ve been promised my own visit and blessing at their house.

I’ll try to post some of the photos I took in Tuscany in coming days. If you know this region of Italy, you know it is a special place in God’s beautiful universe!

VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO CARDINAL MAFI OF TONGA

Tune in this weekend to Vatican Insider for Part II of my conversation with Cardinal Soane Patita Mafi of Tonga. He was the guest of honor at the October Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, which I also attended. Cardinal Mafi is the fourth Roman Catholic Bishop of Tonga. His first names, by the way, Soane Patita, mean John the Baptist. He was named a cardinal by Pope Francis on February 14, 2015.

Listen as he continues his story about life in Tonga, the Catholic Church in Tonga, his ministry as a bishop and now a cardinal – all that and much more. As I wrote last week, at times his words about the Church are like a beautiful homily – you won’t want to miss a minute!

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

SUNDAY IS THE 1ST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR

Pope Francis surpised not a few people Thursday afternoon when he arrived, unannounced, at a small “field hospital” set up in front of St. Peter’s Square to provide medical care for Rome’s poor. He greeted volunteers and poor people waiting to receive care ahead of the 1st World Day of the Poor on Sunday, November 19.

The field hospital was part of the initiatives linked to this world day of the poor, called for by Pope Francis at the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

The Holy See Press Office noted Thursday that the tent hospital is run by the Italian Red Cross and offers free medical visits for the poor and needy throughout the week from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

In a recent story, Vatican Radio noted that on Sunday, parishes in Rome and around the world will mark the first World Day of the Poor, a fruit of the Jubilee of Mercy. The Pontifical Council for the Promotion for the New Evangelization has been tasked with the organization of the initiative called by Pope Francis.

Msgr. Geno Sylva, a council official, told the radio that, “The Holy Father announced this initiative, this occasion, this opportunity for grace during the Jubilee when he reached out to those who are socially marginalized and so this is an opportunity for the Church around the world to not only celebrate and assist and be with those who are poor, but also to change our attitudes about poverty.”

He pointed out that, “this World Day of the Poor is so beautiful because it’s nothing about power, it’s nothing about anything else but reciprocity, giving and receiving. …We are all poor in some way and everyone’s got something to offer, and this day can serve to open our minds and hearts, our attitudes towards the poverty that exists every day of the year.”

He explained that Pope Francis, “continues to focus the attention of the Church on how we respond to poverty institutionally, but also to people individually.”

The World Day of the Poor is being marked not only in Rome, the Pope’s diocese, but also in parishes around the world. For this reason, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion for the New Evangelization has published information on its website in six languages as a pastoral aid for dioceses and parishes worldwide who wish to take part in this initiative

Some of the events organized in Rome include a prayer vigil in the church of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls on Saturday.November 18 at 8pm. Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass Sunday morning, November 19, in which an estimated 4,000 needy people will take part, followed by a lunch in the Paul VI hall.

VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO CARDINAL MAFI OF TONGA – NUCLEAR WEAPONS EXIST “IN SERVICE Of A MENTALITY OF FEAR”

I am really excited to tell you about my guest in the interview segment this weekend – Cardinal Soane Patita Mafi of Tonga. He was the guest of honor at the recent Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii which I also attended. Cardinal Mafi is the fourth Roman Catholic bishop of Tonga. His first names, by the way, Soane Patita, mean John the Baptist. He was named a cardinal by Pope Francis on February 14, 2015.

Listen as he tells us how he learned he’d been named a cardinal, life in Tonga, the Catholic Church in Tonga, his ministry as a bishop and now a cardinal – all that and much more. At times his words about the Church are like a beautiful homily – you won’t want to miss a minute!

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

NUCLEAR WEAPONS EXIST “IN SERVICE Of A MENTALITY OF FEAR”

“The threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned”

Friday was the first day of a two-day Vatican high-level international symposium on a nuclear-weapons-free world entitled “Prospects for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament,”‎ It was organized by the Vatican’’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

In a press release from the Vatican Secretariat of State announcing the symposium, Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the dicastery, explained that, “this event responds to the priorities of Pope Francis to take action for world peace, to use the resources of creation for a sustainable development and to improve the quality of life for all, individuals and countries, without discrimination.”

Among those present to explore the possibilities for achieving disarmament in the 21st century were 11 Nobel Peace laureates, top United Nations and NATO officials, ‎heads of  major foundations and civil society organizations, as well representatives of bishops conferences, Christian denominations and other faiths.

The Nobel laureates:

S.S. Francesco -Sala Clementina: Simposio Internazionale sul Disarmo 10-11-2017

Friday, Pope Francis received the participants, and addressed them in English, expressing his “deep gratitude for your presence here and your work in the service of the common good. I thank Cardinal Turkson for his greeting and introduction.”

He began by noting that the symposium is addressing “issues that are critical both in themselves and in the light of the complex political challenges of the current international scene, marked as it is by a climate of instability and conflict. A certain pessimism might make us think that ‘prospects for a world free from nuclear arms and for integral disarmament’, the theme of your meeting, appear increasingly remote.”

“Indeed,” said Francis, “the escalation of the arms race continues unabated and the price of modernizing and developing weaponry, not only nuclear weapons, represents a considerable expense for nations. As a result, the real priorities facing our human family, such as the fight against poverty, the promotion of peace, the undertaking of educational, ecological and healthcare projects, and the development of human rights, are relegated to second place.”

The Holy Father highlighted “the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices. If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned. For they exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race. International relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms. Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity.”

Francis said, “Essential in this regard is the witness given by the Hibakusha, the survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, together with other victims of nuclear arms testing. May their prophetic voice serve as a warning, above all for coming generations!”

“Furthermore,” emphasized the Pope, “weapons that result in the destruction of the human race are senseless even from a tactical standpoint. For that matter, while true science is always at the service of humanity, in our time we are increasingly troubled by the misuse of certain projects originally conceived for a good cause. Suffice it to note that nuclear technologies are now spreading, also through digital communications, and that the instruments of international law have not prevented new states from joining those already in possession of nuclear weapons. The resulting scenarios are deeply disturbing if we consider the challenges of contemporary geopolitics, like terrorism or asymmetric warfare.”

Yet, said Francis, on a more optimistic note, “At the same time, a healthy realism continues to shine a light of hope on our unruly world. Recently, for example, in a historic vote at the United Nations, the majority of the members of the international community determined that nuclear weapons are not only immoral, but must also be considered an illegal means of warfare. This decision filled a significant juridical lacuna, inasmuch as chemical weapons, biological weapons, anti-human mines and cluster bombs are all expressly prohibited by international conventions.”

Highlighting the “’humanitarian initiative’ sponsored by a significant alliance between civil society, states, international organizations, churches, academies and groups of experts,” Pope Francis addressed the Nobel laureates: “The document that you, distinguished recipients of the Nobel Prize, have consigned to me is a part of this, and I express my gratitude and appreciation for it.”

He also underscored that, “this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio of Pope Paul VI. That Encyclical, in developing the Christian concept of the person, set forth the notion of integral human development and proposed it as ‘the new name of peace’. In this memorable and still timely document, the Pope stated succinctly that ‘development cannot be restricted to economic growth alone. To be authentic, it must be integral; it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man’.

“We need, then, to reject the culture of waste and to care for individuals and peoples labouring under painful disparities through patient efforts to favour processes of solidarity over selfish and contingent interests. …. Lastly, there is a need to promote human beings in the indissoluble unity of soul and body, of contemplation and action.

“In this way,” concluded Pope Francis, “progress that is both effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression, contrary to the criticism of those who consider idealistic any process of dismantling arsenals.” He quoted St. John XXIII: “Unless this process of disarmament be thoroughgoing and complete, and reach men’s very souls, it is impossible to stop the arms race, or to reduce armaments, or – and this is the main thing – ultimately to abolish them entirely.

“The Church does not tire of offering the world this wisdom and the actions it inspires, conscious that integral development is the beneficial path that the human family is called to travel.I encourage you to carry forward this activity with patience and constancy, in the trust that the Lord is ever at our side. May he bless each of you and your efforts in the service of justice and peace.”

 

VATICAN INSIDER: CONVERSATION WITH A MIRACOLATA – POPE REFLECTS ON PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE – PAPAL PRAYER INTENTION FOR NOVEMBER: WITNESSING THE GOSPEL IN ASIA

Pope Francis tweeted today: When we pray, we need to have the courage of faith. Have trust that the Lord hears us!

VATICAN INSIDER: CONVERSATION WITH A MIRACOLATA

My special guest this week on Vatican Insider is Audrey Toguchi of Honolulu. It was her miraculous cure from cancer that led to the canonization in 2009 of Blessed Damien of Molokai, and Audrey tells us her story. The Italian word for the person undergoing what has been recognized as a miraculous cure is “miracolata.”

Last week you met Kate Mahony whose miraculous cure from a total organ shutdown through the intercession of Mother Marianne Cope of Molokai led to her beatification in 2005. Years before meeting Kate, however, I met another woman, Audrey and heard her story.

Two women, two miracolata….

I saw both of them at the recent Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference in Honolulu, and that is where I interviewed Kate. I saw Audrey a number of times in that period and listened to her story – not the first time I had heard it. That was in 2008, my first trip to Hawaii when I met Audrey and her husband Yuki.

We met again when they came to Rome with a Hawaii delegation for Damien’s canonization in 2009. I interviewed Audrey at that time and that is the conversation you will hear today.

Audrey and I had quality time together in Honolulu on my recent visit but our conference schedule was so busy that I did not have time to interview her. However her story, be it 2009 or today, is the same. So stay tuned as Audrey and I talk in Rome in 2009 right after Fr. Damien’s canonization. Hear how she became aware of Fr. Damien at the age of 8 when the ship bearing his remains came into Honolulu harbor on a trip that would return Damien to his native Belgium…..that and much more.

This was taken at a farewell dinner given for me by my friends Trip and Jan McKinney just hours before my departure for Rome. Audrey and her husband could not stay for dinner. Audrey is seated between Jan and me, and Yuki is standing next to Trip

In the second photo you see Kate Mahoney, her mother Mary and a priest from the diocese of Syracuse, early home to St. Marianne and home of her Franciscan sisters. Fr. Andrew Baranski. The sun had set, as you can tell! This lanai overlooks Pearl Harbor, gorgeous at night!

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE REFLECTS ON PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for all those cardinals and bishops who have died over the past year. During his homily the Pope reflected on the reality of death, but he also reminded us of the promise of eternal life which is grounded in our union with the risen Christ. Linda Bordoni reports for Vatican Radio:

“Today’s celebration,” Pope Francis said, “once more sets before us the reality of death.  It renews our sorrow for the loss of those who were dear and good to us.” But more importantly, reflecting on the liturgical reading of the day, he said it increases our hope for them and for ourselves, as it expresses speaks of the  resurrection of the just.

The resurrection of the just

“They are the multitude,” Franicis continued, “that, thanks to the goodness and mercy of God, can experience the life that does not pass away, the complete victory over death brought by the resurrection”. And recalling Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross the Pope said that “by His love, He shattered the yoke of death and opened to us the doors of life”.

Our faith in the resurrection opens the doors to eternal life

The faith we profess in the resurrection, Pope Francis explained, makes us men and woman of hope, not despair, men and women of life, not death, for we are comforted by the promise of eternal life, grounded in our union with the risen Christ. He urged the faithful to be trusting in the face of death as Jesus has shown us that death is not the last word. Our souls, he said, thirst for the living God whose beauty, happiness, and wisdom has been impressed on the souls of our brother cardinals and bishops whom we remember today.

Hope does not disappoint

Pope Francis concluded giving thanks for their generous service to the gospel and the Church and reminding those present that Hope never disappoints.

PAPAL PRAYER INTENTION FOR NOVEMBER: WITNESSING THE GOSPEL IN ASIA

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has released a video message accompanying his monthly prayer intention for November 2017.

This month’s intention is for Evangelization: To Witness to the Gospel in Asia. That Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed, may promote dialogue, peace, and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions

The text of the video message reads:

The most striking feature of Asia is the variety of its peoples who ar  heirs of ancient cultures, religions and traditions.On this continent where the Church is a minority, the challenges are intense. We must promote dialogue among religions and cultures.
Let us pray that Christians in Asia may promote dialogue, that peace and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions
.

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed the “Pope Video” initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity.

 

VATICAN INSIDER: KATE MAHONEY, HER MIRACULOUS CURE AND A BEATIFICATION – POPE FRANCIS TAKES QUESTIONS FROM CHILDREN IN HURRICANE-HIT TEXAS, PUERTO RICO – PRIEST EXORCIZES LAS VEGAS SHOOTER’S HOTEL ROOM WITH HOLY WATER AFTER FEELING EVIL PRESENCE

VATICAN INSIDER: KATE MAHONEY, HER MIRACULOUS CURE AND A BEATIFICATION

My guest this weekend in the interview segment of Vatican Insider is Kate Mahoney whose miraculous cure of multiple organ failure following treatment for cancer was credited to the intercession of Servant of God Mother Marianne Cope and this led to Marianne’s beatification in 2005. Kate tells an amazing – and extremely inspiring! – story so be sure to pour that extra cup of coffee as you listen to her tale.

Here is a photo I took of Kate as she met Audrey Toguchi, another “miracolata” as we call her in Rome, whose cure of lung cancer was attributed to Blessed Damien of Molokai, a miracle that led to his canpnization in 2009. The two met for the first time at the Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference that I attended last weekend in Honolulu. The second photo also shows Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu.

They both gave wonderful talks about their cures and answered questions for those attending this session.

Kate has written a book about her journey through illness to her pilgrimage to Rome for Mother Marianne’s beatification.

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE FRANCIS TAKES QUESTIONS FROM CHILDREN IN HURRICANE-HIT TEXAS, PUERTO RICO

ROME (CNS) — Pope Francis said that there are no easy answers to the suffering and destruction wrought by hurricanes and that while such disasters happen naturally, humankind must also take responsibility for not caring for the environment.

In a video chat with young children participating in a program of the international network of “Scholas Occurrentes” Oct. 26, the pope spoke with children from Texas and Puerto Rico, where Hurricanes Harvey and Maria struck hardest.

“If God loves us all, why did he make hurricanes and heavy rains?” asked Pedro Garcia, a 9-year-old Mexican-American boy living in Houston who lost his home after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas.

Galveston-Houston Catholic school students smile for a photo before a live video chat with Pope Francis at Telemundo Houston Oct. 26. In a video chat with young children from Texas and Puerto Rico, the pope said there are no easy answers to the suffering and destruction wrought by hurricanes. (CNS photo/James Ramos, Texas Catholic Herald)

Click here for full story: https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/10/27/pope-francis-takes-questions-children-hurricane-hit-texas-puerto-rico

PRIEST EXORCIZES LAS VEGAS SHOOTER’S HOTEL ROOM WITH HOLY WATER AFTER FEELING EVIL PRESENCE

(from EWTN’s ChurchPOP) –  The Las Vegas shooting on October 1st, 2017 was the deadliest shooting in modern American history, leaving 58 people dead and over 500 people injured.

About two weeks later, Fr. Clete Kiley from Chicago arrived in Las Vegas with a group meant to help and comfort the traumatized staff of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, from where the killer had opened fire on the concert crowd outside.

He had just finished leading prayer with several hundred members of the hotel staff when the hotel manager approached him. She explained that the shooter’s room had just been released back to the hotel by the FBI, and she wanted him to perform a blessing in the space.

As soon as he set foot in the hallway of the 32nd floor where the room was, he says he immediately felt a dark spiritual presence.

“I felt like I was being pushed back, like ‘don’t come in here’,”he told Newsweek. But he pushed on anyway: “On the inside, I’m going, ‘Oh no, you have to go’.” So he started praying the Prayer to St. Michael.

“When I stepped in the room, I really felt a real profound silence,” he later explained. “I immediately noticed the broken windows covered from outside. It was very powerful to see the physical damage.”

He could sense an evil presence in the room, so he used a palm branch to disperse Holy Water while praying to the Holy Spirit.

Right away, he could feel a sense of comfort and relief. When he returned back downstairs, the hotel staff was also relieved that a Catholic priest had blessed the room.

“You could see people go, ‘Thank God, that’s good’.” he said. “I really saw the whole thing as part of a healing process. A small part of a healing process.”

VATICAN INSIDER AND THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE – VATICAN SPONSORS THREE-DAY CONFERENCE: “CATECHESIS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES”

This might be the last column for a few days as the three-day conference I am in Honolulu to attend and speak at starts tomorrow morning and runs through Sunday afternoon. I will be bsuy every waking moment and what I can post, I will, although text and photos will more likely appear on my Facebook page.

Monday morning at 7:30 am I will be joining Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu and other pilgrims for a visit to Kalaupapa – we’re scheduled to be back in late afternoon. We fly to Kalaupapa on Makani Kai Airlines from a small airport adjacent to the Honolulu international airport. In any case, as you can see, my time for writing lengthy posts will be limited in coming days.

I do want to share a nice story with you – a happy ending, if you will.

The parish office of St. Augustine Church is just meters from my condo and this is where I had copies of my speech printed as I have no facilities in the condo. I know Fr. Lane Akiona, the pastor and Sr. Cheryl Wint who is one of the organizers of the Damien and Mariane conference, and Sister was kind to make the copies.

I decided late this afternoon that I wanted a larger font for my speech as I have no idea how high or low my podium will be. The parish office was closed when I made this decision so I went to the Marriott hotel right across the street. I am a Marriott Rewards member and was sure they might help me out in the business office by printing some pages. The smiling gal at the front desk heard my story and, smiling but firm, said, “I’m sorry we can only do this for hotel guests.”

I truly was very surprised.  I naturally intended to pay for this service! Maybe I should have asked for the manager but I left the hotel, exiting through a large courtyard that has many stores. I stopped in a Segway office to ask if they knew where I could have some copies made – was there a Kinko’s nearby, perhaps? With huge smiles and in the typical Hawaiian friendly manner, they replied, “we’d be happy to do that for you!”

And they printed my speech – color parts and all –and would not let me pay a cent! I will find something very nice to do for them – in additon to promoting Segway!

The staff asked what my speech was about and I said, “I’m telling people how they can become saints!” They were amazed and then asked – quite naturally! – how does one becomes a saint. I stole a few lines from my talk and we spent a few interesting minutes together.

You never know in life, right?

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And now a few words about the conference that starts tomorrow in the Vatican. If bi-location was a fact of life, that’s also where I’d be this weekend. I know Kairos and its leader, Cris Gangemi and have covered other conferences they’ve held in Rome and have interviewed Cris. I hope this weekend is a huge success for the organizers!

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Here are some photos I took last evening – Waikiki by night:

 

VATICAN INSIDER AND THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE

Tune in to “Vatican Insider” this weekend when my guest on the interview segment is Vicki Thorn, a recently re-appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. You have heard Vicki before as she is the founder of Project Rachel and also Executive Director of the National office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing in Milwaukee.

The academy, founded by Pope St. John Paul II and professor Jerome Lejeune in 1994, is dedicated to promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic and carries out research on bioethics and Catholic moral theology. Over the years it has promoted and developed the Church’s teaching on various areas of medical ethics, including procreation, in vitro fertilization, gene therapy, euthanasia and abortion.

The academy’s entire membership was completely dissolved last December by Pope Francis. He has since re-appointed some former members, appointed new ones and ordered that the statutes be completely re-written.

Tune in to Part II of our interview and listen to Vicki as she talks about the first meeting of the newly reconstituted Academy.

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

VATICAN SPONSORS THREE-DAY CONFERENCE: “CATECHESIS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES”

(Vatican Radio) A global conference will open in Rome on Friday looking at best practices to help people with disabilities fully engage in the life of the Church.

The event is entitled “Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church.” It is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization and partnered by The Kairos Forum, a UK based organization that focuses on the spiritual and religious needs of people with disabilities.

Over the course of the three-day gathering 450 experts from around the world will share their insights.

Vatican Radio’s Lydia O’Kane spoke to Monsignor Geno Sylva, English language official at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, about the goals of the conference.

Speaking about how the conference came about, Msgr. Sylva said, “this international conference is the fruit that was sewn during the Jubilee (of Mercy) with all the other discussions that took place afterwards.”

He underlined that, “the aim and the goal is for us as a Church and for this Pontifical Council to really learn what are the best practices that are already taking place throughout the world in catechizing people with special needs …”

The Church and Disability

Msgr. Sylva stated that this conference is also meant to “highlight the responsibility that we have as a Church to take into account the special needs for each of the baptized, so that we can present to him or her the catechism, the catechesis of our Church in a way that they can receive it; they can grasp the elements of it .”

The global conference, “Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church,” will run from the 20th to the 22nd of October at the Urbaniana University in Rome.

 

 

VATICAN INSIDER: A LOOK AT THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE – POPE SENDS TELEGRAM OF CONDOLENCES AND PRAYERS FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

Pope Francis tweeted the following on this historical day – 100 years ago, the final Marian apparition to the three shepherd children at Fatima: In this centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, we thank God for the countless blessings we have received under her protection.

It’s probably far-fetched to say “If you happen to be in Honolulu next week….” but I will say that to the many friends (and fans!) I have in the Hawaiian capital, inviting one and all to come to the Hawaii Convention Center on October 20, 21 and 22 for the Saints Damien and Marianne Conference (www.dmcchawaii.org) . I’ll be there to write about the conference, interview guests (including Cardinal Mafi of Tonga!) and post some videos on Facebook Live. I’ve also been asked to speak and have been working on what I hope will be an informational and inspirational talk that I’ve titled, “A PhD in Sainthood.”

I leave Sunday and, after a very long trip, expect to spend Monday researching and writing and preparing several televised segments for “At Home with Jim and Joy.” Catholic TV in Honolulu has kindly agreed to tape those segments for us!

Aloha – until we meet again!

VATICAN INSIDER: A LOOK AT THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE

Tune in to “Vatican Insider” this weekend when my guest on the interview segment is Vicki Thorn, a recently re-appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. You have heard Vicki before as she is the founder of Project Rachel and also Executive Director of the National office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing in Milwaukee.

The academy, founded by Pope St. John Paul II and professor Jerome Lejeune in 1994, is dedicated to promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic and carries out research on bioethics and Catholic moral theology. Over the years it has promoted and developed the Church’s teaching on various areas of medical ethics, including procreation, in vitro fertilization, gene therapy, euthanasia and abortion.

The academy’s entire membership completely was dissolved last December by Pope Francis. He has since re-appointed some former members, appointed new ones and ordered that the statutes be completely re-written Listen to Vicki as she talks about the first meeting of the newly reconstituted Academy.

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 www.ewtn.com) 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: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE SENDS TELEGRAM OF CONDOLENCES AND PRAYERS FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

Pope Francis has sent a telegram expressing his condolences to the families of victims of widespread wildfires in northern California, and promising prayers for all those affected.

Signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and jointly addressed to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the Holy Father expresses his prayerful solidarity with everyone affected by the fires.

The wildfires sweeping through California have killed at least 31 people and damaged thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. More than 20,00 people have been displaced by 21 fires, and as many as 400 people remain missing amid the chaos of displacement and the ongoing battle to bring the blazes under control.

Following is the papal telegram:

The Most Reverend Salvatore Joseph Cordileone ,Archbishop of San Francisco

The Most Reverend José Horacio Gómez ,Archbishop of Los Angeles

Informed of the tragic loss of life and the destruction of property caused by the wildfire in California, the Holy Father assures you of his heartfelt solidarity and his prayers for all those affected by this disaster.  He is especially mindful of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and who fear for the lives of those still missing.  His Holiness offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this tragedy. To all he sends his blessing.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Secretary of State