VATICAN INSIDER GOES UNDERGROUND – FRANCIS EXPRESSES SYMPATHY AND CLOSENESS TO BENEDICT XVI ON LOSS OF BROTHER

There will probably be little news from or about Pope Francis this month as he traditionally reduces his working schedule, including the weekly general audiences and private encounters, during July. He is scheduled to appear at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace on Sundays for the Angelus as part of his working vacation.

EWTN employees have been given Friday, July 3 and Monday, July 6 as holidays so these pages might be quiet. I’ll stay on top of news stories and may pop in if something extraordinary develops (which we really do not want to happen in such hot weather). Often I repost stories I see on Facebook so you may find some news there (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420).

In any case, I wish each and every one of you a blessed, happy, peaceful, healthy and patriotic July 4th! Our nation truly needs prayers and that would be the best gift to our country on this 244th anniversary!

VATICAN INSIDER GOES UNDERGROUND

This weekend on “Vatican Insider,” I’ll take you on a tour of the Vatican’s famed “scavi” – Italian for excavations – the celebrated pre-Constantine necropolis (‘city of the dead’) that lies under the basilica named for the first Pope, Peter, who is buried in this necropolis. In fact, one of the most special visits you will make in the Eternal City, and possibly all of Italy, is to the scavi.

I mention Constantine as he became the Western emperor in 312 and the sole Roman emperor in 324. Constantine was also the first emperor to adhere to Christianity. He issued an edict in February 313 that protected Christians in the empire and converted to Christianity on his deathbed in 337.

Because of the extremely limited number of people allowed into the scavi on a daily basis, reservations are given out on a first come – first served basis. I absolutely recommend that you contact the scavi office for tickets between three and four months prior to your arrival in Rome. YES, 3 or 4 months before you arrive!

I do not know all the rules and regulations regarding tours in a coronavirus era but here’s a link to the website. I just spoke to the scavi office and learned they will re-open Monday, July 6: http://www.scavi.va/content/scavi/en/ufficio-scavi.html

FRANCIS EXPRESSES SYMPATHY AND CLOSENESS TO BENEDICT XVI ON LOSS OF BROTHER

The Vatican today published Pope Francis’ letter to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI whose older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, 96, died in Regensburg, Germany Wednesday morning, July 1. On June 29th the brothers marked the 69th anniversary of priestly ordination.

Addressed to “His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope emeritus,” Francis wrote: “You had the sensitivity to be the first to inform me of the news of the death of your beloved brother, Monsignor Georg. I wish to renew my deepest sympathy and spiritual closeness to you in this moment of sorrow.  I assure you of my prayers for the repose of the soul of the late and lamented, that the Lord of life, in His merciful goodness, may welcome him into heaven and grant him the reward prepared for faithful servants of the Gospel. I pray also for you, Your Holiness, invoking the Father, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the support of Christian hope and tender divine consolation.

Always united in faith in the Risen Christ, the source of hope and peace,

Filially and fraternally,

Francis

Vatican media file photo

VATICAN INSIDER: ST. SEBASTIAN BASILICA AND CATACOMBS – POPE BENEDICT XVI CELEBRATES MASS WITH HIS ILL BROTHER ON FEAST OF THE SACRED HEART

I am so happy to share the lovely news of the two Ratzinger brothers – Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and Msgr. Georg – saying mass together in Regensburg, Germany. And this just days before the June 29 anniversary of their priestly ordination in the cathedral of Freising on that day in 1951!

Msgr. Georg lives in this building on Luzengasse in Regensburg.

I took this photo in September 2006 when Benedict made a visit to his beloved Bavaria. Wednesday, September 13, was set aside as a day for the two brothers to spend together – no public activities for Benedict XVI – and the Munich Tourism Office offered several possible day or half-day trips for the media. I signed up for a trip to visit all the places of the pope’s childhood and youth and to this very day, it was one of the best travel memories I ever had in Germany.

When I returned to Rome I bought a photo printer, took perhaps 24 of the best photos I had taken during my trip and made copies from the memory card. I bought a beautiful photo album, put one picture on each page with a one-word description of each place (not that I thought it would be necessary!) and gave that album to Pope Benedict!

Maybe some day I’ll do a slideshow of some of the enchanting places associated with the pope’s childhood and youth.

VATICAN INSIDER: ST. SEBASTIAN BASILICA AND CATACOMBS

As you know, because of the COVID-19 crisis and restrictions imposed on and by people for in person interviews – at least up to now – in recent weeks I have filled what is normally the interview segment of Vatican Insider with Specials. So far, I’ve explored 6 of the 7 Roman basilicas known as the Pilgrim Basilicas – St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, St. Paul’s outside the Walls, Holy Cross in Jerusalem, and St. Lawrence al Verano. Come with me this weekend as we go to the basilica of St. Sebastian that was built above the catacombs of the same name and is dedicated to the third-century saint who was twice martyred.

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So tune in for some fascinating facts and when you come to Rome, you’ll have this podcast as your guide to St. Sebastian!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

POPE BENEDICT XVI CELEBRATES MASS WITH HIS ILL BROTHER ON FEAST OF THE SACRED HEART

The brothers celebrated Mass together at the house in Regensburg and the pope emeritus then travelled to the diocesan seminary in the afternoon to rest.

Catholic News Agency

REGENSBURG, Germany — Pope emeritus Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass with his ailing brother on the feast of the Sacred Heart during his first full day in Germany Friday.

A June 19 statement from the Diocese of Regensburg said that after Pope Benedict XVI arrived from Rome at noon on Thursday he immediately visited his 96-year-old brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.

The brothers celebrated Mass together at the house in Regensburg and the pope emeritus then travelled to the diocesan seminary in the afternoon to rest. In the evening, he returned to see his brother.

The diocese said: “For the first morning in his old homeland, an authentic Bavarian breakfast awaited the pope emeritus in the seminary. There were pretzels, which Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who accompanied him, was also pleased about.”

“In the course of the morning the two brothers will celebrate together a high mass for today’s feast of the Sacred Heart.”

The diocese added that “afterwards there will be apple strudel,” a popular pastry in Bavaria and Austria.

FOR MORE: https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-benedict-xvi-celebrates-mass-with-his-ill-brother-on-feast-of-the-sacr

 

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS ST. LAWRENCE OUTSIDE THE WALLS BASILICA – “JESUS THE DIVINE WORKER FUND” PRESENTED IN ROME – THE FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI: THEN AND NOW

Here is a link to the weekly edition in English of L’Osservatore Romano: https://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/pdfreader.html/ing/2020/06/ING_2020_024_1206.pdf.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewsletterOR-EN

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS ST. LAWRENCE OUTSIDE THE WALLS BASILICA

As you know, what is normally the interview segment of Vatican Insider has been changed over recent months because of the COVID-19 crisis and restrictions imposed on and by people for in person interviews – at least up to now. I’ve thus filled this segment with Specials I’ve prepared for you, including visits to what are known as the Seven Pilgrim Basilica of Rome.

So far, I’ve explored five of those seven basilicas – the four papal basilicas of St. Peter’s, St, John Lateran,. St. Mary Major and St. Paul’s Outside the walls and last week we went to Holy Cross in Jerusalem. This weekend I take you to San Lorenzo – San Lawrence Outside the Walls. This is truly a not-to-miss church when you are in Rome so when you return to the Eternal City, you’ll have this podcast as your guide to St. Lawrence.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

“JESUS THE DIVINE WORKER FUND” PRESENTED IN ROME

On Tuesday, June 9, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has set up a fund to help families in Rome who have lost their livelihoods and are in economic difficulty due to the Covid-19 crisis. In a letter addressed to Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, Francis wrote: “As bishop of Rome I have decided to establish the ‘Jesus the Divine Worker Fund’ to reaffirm the dignity of work, with an initial allocation of one million euros.”

He explained the Fund aims to support those “who risk being excluded from institutional protection and who need support until they can walk again unaccompanied…. My thoughts go “to the great number of daily and occasional workers, to those with fixed-term contracts that have not been renewed, to those who are paid by the hour, to interns, domestic workers, small entrepreneurs, self-employed workers, especially those in sectors most affected [by the pandemic] and their related industries.”

That fund was officially presented this morning, Friday, June 12, at 11am in the Sala degli Imperatori of the Lateran Apostolic Palace in the presence of Cardinal de Donatis, the president of the Lazio Region Nicola Zingaretti and Rome mayor Virginia Raggi. Raggi has pledged an additional €500,000.

THE FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI: THEN AND NOW

The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, known in many countries as Corpus Christi or Corpus Domini, is a holiday in the Vatican and only one public event is usually on the papal schedule on this day – an evening Mass and procession to celebrate this feast which commemorates the Real Presence of Christ – Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity – in the Eucharist.

This annual celebration here in Rome traditionally starts with Mass at 7 p.m. in the square outside the Pope’s cathedral church of St. John Lateran, a procession with the Blessed Sacrament down Via Merulana to St. Mary Major Basilica and a blessing of the crowd gathered at this Marian basilica. This tradition has always taken place on a Thursday. (photos: Vatican, CNS, AP, Getty)

From 2013 to through 2017 Pope Francis celebrated Mass at St. John Lateran, joined the Eucharistic procession to St. Mary Major and blessed the faithful there. In 2018, he celebrated this feast in a parish in Ostia, a seaside town, and in 2019 he marked Corpus Christi in Casal Bertone.

In 2017, in what was seen as an unprecedented change, Francis announced that the traditional Roman Corpus Christi procession that has taken place for decades on a Thursday would henceforth be celebrated on Sunday.

It is on a Thursday, Holy Thursday, that the Church celebrates the institution of the Eucharist

This year, however, 2020, because of the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass on Sunday, June 14, at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica at 9:45 am in the presence of about 50 faithful.

Via Merulana, originally called Via Gregoriana, was laid out by Pope Gregory XIII during the Holy Year 1575. There is a Via Gregoriana in Rome today but it is located near the famed Spanish Steps. Among Pope Gregory’s achievements: He reformed the calendar, founded the papal observatory, as well as several colleges and seminaries, including the Gregorian University, and built the Quirinale Palace, for years the summer residence of Popes and now home to the president of Italy.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Corpus Domini Mass

The procession between the two Roman basilicas began in the 1400’s. Its current itinerary began in 1575 when Pope Gregory XIII built the street that links the two churches and was originally named Via Gregorian, now called Via Merulana. This route was followed for more than 300 years until the procession fell into disuse until 1979 when St. John Paul revived the custom, He processed the distance on foot every year except 1981, after the attack on his life in St. Peter’s Square, and 1994 following hip surgery. Starting in 1995 he rode in an open, canopy-covered vehicle, seated before a small altar bearing the monstrance and host.

The feast of Corpus Christi is due in part to the visions of a 13th century Augustinian nun, Julianna of Lièges, known for her devotion to the Eucharist. In one vision, Our Lord appeared to her, reminding her there was no solemnity honoring the Blessed Sacrament and she began to promote such a feast. Pope Urban IV, who also wished to honor the Eucharist, wrote a Bull in 1264 in which he spoke of the love of Our Lord and Savior as expressed in the Holy Eucharist, ordering Corpus Christi to be celebrated annually on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Indulgences could be gained, he wrote, by attendance at Mass and reciting the Office composed at Urban’s request by St. Thomas Aquinas, which many say is the most beautiful office of the breviary.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, about this same time in history – which was a period of infrequent communion – the elevation of the chalice and host came into being at Mass as well as placing the host in a monstrance for Eucharistic adoration. Corpus Christi is a moveable feast and in some countries is observed on the first Sunday following Trinity Sunday.

I am often asked: What is the difference between a solemnity and a feast day in the Church? Liturgy is, of course, the Church’s public worship and includes all rites and ceremonies by means of which the Church expresses her worship of God. The principal acts of liturgy that would immediately come to mind to all of us would be the seven sacraments, called sacramental liturgies.

There are also categories of liturgical days. The three technical categories are, in descending order: Solemnity, Feast and Memorial.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a feast is “technically, one category of liturgical day, a lesser rank than ‘solemnity’ and a higher rank than ‘memorial’. In popular usage, however, ‘feast’ is applied indiscriminately by the faithful to all liturgical days on which the Church commemorates a mystery of Our Lord or Our Lady, or keeps the memory of a saint.” Thus, these days mark an event in the life of Jesus or Mary or a saint. The Vatican is very careful to make the distinction between solemnity, feast or memorial: Corpus Christi is a solemnity.

Often the observance starts on the vigil, that is, the evening prior to the actual date. Many solemnities occur on fixed dates such as January 1 – Mother of God; January 6 – Epiphany; March 25 – the Annunciation; June 29 – Sts. Peter and Paul; August 15 – the Assumption; and December 8 – the Immaculate Conception. Others are movable dates: Easter, the Ascension, Pentecost and Corpus Christi.

A memorial refers to the so-called lowest type of feast found in the Church’s liturgical calendar. There is the obligatory memorial that must be celebrated and the optional memorial that is celebrated at Mass at the priest’s discretion. May 10th was, for example, an optional memorial of Saint Damien de Veuster of Molokai, the priest who treated lepers.

 

VATICAN INSIDER: HOLY CROSS IN JERUSALEM BASILICA – JUNE PRAYER INTENTION: COMPASSION FOR THE WORLD AMIDST COVID-19 PANDEMIC – POPE ON ENVIRONMENT DAY: WE CANNOT PRETEND TO BE HEALTHY IN A WORLD THAT IS SICK

Weekly edition of L’Osservatore Romano in English: https://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/pdfreader.html/ing/2020/06/ING_2020_023_0506.pdf.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewsletterOR-EN

If you want general news, culture, events, classifieds, travel information and a lot more from and about the Eternal City, you will enjoy reading “Wanted in Rome”:https://www.wantedinrome.com/

VATICAN INSIDER: HOLY CROSS IN JERUSALEM BASILICA

Welcome to Vatican Insider and to a special edition whereby we visit Rome’s basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem. Download and save this on podcast for the day that you can finally return to Rome and visit this magnificent church in person.

The first Christian Emperor, Constantine, played a pre-eminent role in the building of four of the five papal basilicas in Rome – St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls and St. Lawrence Outside-the-Walls. Our pilgrimage today takes us to the basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem where not Constantine but his mother, the Empress St. Helena, was the inspiration for the church we see today.

In fact, the story of St. Helena, her conversion to Christianity, her trip to the Holy Land and her recovery of relics linked to Christ’s passion and death, which she subsequently brought to Rome, is as interesting – and, in a way, beautiful – as the church itself. St. Helena’s faith, her devotion to the Cross and, of course, the relics themselves – part of the true Cross, a nail, thorns from the Crown of Thorns and the wood inscription affixed to the Cross bearing the words in three languages: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” – these are all the very raison d’etre for the basilica.

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IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

JUNE PRAYER INTENTION: COMPASSION FOR THE WORLD AMIDST COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Pope Francis, as he does every month, has released a video message to accompany his prayer intention for June: “That all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.”

June is the month the Church dedicates to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“Many people suffer due to the great difficulties they endure,” starts the Message. “We can help them by accompanying them along an itinerary full of compassion which transforms people’s lives. It brings them closer to the Heart of Christ, which welcomes all of us into the revolution of tenderness. We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.”

These monthly papal prayer intentions are prepared by the Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer.

Click here to see the video with English subtitles: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-06/pope-francis-prayer-intention-june-2020-compassion.html

POPE ON ENVIRONMENT DAY: WE CANNOT PRETEND TO BE HEALTHY IN A WORLD THAT IS SICK

On World Environment Day, Pope Francis calls for a change in attitudes, so that we may leave a better and healthier planet to later generations.

By Vatican News

World Environment Day is marked annually on 5 June.

The celebrations for this year’s Day, scheduled to take place in Colombia, were held online instead due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter addressed to Colombian President Ivan Duque on Friday, Pope Francis stresses that, “the protection of the environment and respect for the biodiversity of the planet are issues that affect us all.”

“We cannot pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick”, writes the Pope.

“The wounds inflicted on our mother earth are wounds that also bleed in us.” Pope Francis says that caring for ecosystems demands “a view to the future” that is truly concerned for life, rather than “quick and easy profit.”

Pope Francis then warns that our attitude towards the present state of our planet should “make us concerned for and witnesses to the gravity of the situation.”

“We cannot remain silent before the outcry when we realize the very high costs of the destruction and exploitation of the ecosystem,” he adds.

“This is not a time,” the Pope continues, “to continue looking the other way, indifferent to the signs that our planet is being plundered and violated by greed for profit, very often in the name of progress.”

Everything depends on us, says the Pope, stressing that “we have the chance to” commit ourselves to passing a better, healthier world on to future generations.

He then recalls the recent celebrations of the fifth anniversary of his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’. This “drew attention to the cry that mother earth lifts up to us”, he says.

Finally, the Pope expresses his trust that all deliberations and conclusions “will always foster the building of an increasingly habitable world and a more humane society, where all of us have a place and no one is ever left behind.”

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS ST. PETER’S BASILICA – FREE VATICAN E-BOOK “YES TO LIFE”

After having been forced to close for a while dictated by the coronavirus pandemic, the Vatican Apostolic Library and Archive will reopen to sccholars as of June 1st. Admission will be made only by booking online and with specific regulations and health safety rules.

REMEMBER: Tomorrow, Saturday, May 30 at 5:30 pm ROME TIME, Pope Francis will preside over the prayer of the Holy Rosary from the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens. This will be done “united in prayer to invoke the help and assistance of Our Lady in the pandemic, and to entrust the whole of humanity to the Lord.” It will be televised worldwide, language translations will be available and Rome will be linked to some of the major Marian shrines in the world.

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS ST. PETER’S BASILICA

Just a brief word about the Special I have prepared for what is normally the interview segment of Vatican Insider. As soon as I can return to personally interviewing people here in Rome and inside the Vatican, I’ll bring you some great conversations. In the meantime, this weekend I offer Part II of my special on St. Peter’s Basilica, the last of the four papal basilicas that we visit. We’ve already been to St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major.

Until you can return to this magnificent country and remarkable Eternal City, and visit these churches in person, you’ll have these Vatican Insider podcasts to accompany you! And they will be one of your best friends when you do come to Rome!

So this week, be a tourist for a few minutes! Come to Rome! You know that’s where you want to be!

And this is my view when I enter Vatican City at the Perugino Gate –

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

FREE VATICAN E-BOOK “YES TO LIFE”

The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, in a communiqué announced that the Vatican is making available a free eBook with the proceedings of the 2019 international conference “Yes to Life! Take care of the precious gift of life in its fragility.” The book comes one year after the event at the Patristic InstituteAugustinianum in Rome that brought together about 400 people from 70 countries, involving doctors, perinatal care experts and family psychologists. It is available on the website of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life and the Vatican Publishing House: (https://www.vaticannews.va/it/lev.html).

The communique notes that dicastery secretary, Father Alexandre Awi Mello, wrote in the presentation of the ebook that the intent was to offer “an intense moment of formation and scientific and pastoral information for the accompaniment of couples and families who live the experience of the birth of a child with congenital diseases, presenting clear concrete alternatives to abortion.”

The eBook opens with the speech that Pope Francis addressed to the participants in the conference whom he had received in audience, This is followed by the introduction of the prefect of the dicastery, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, and all the speeches and testimonies in the language in which they were pronounced.

The dicastery has also prepared a video (https://youtu.be/J24jocCE9Ug), according to the communique. Dicastery under-secretary Gabriella Gambino explains that the video allows one to relive the salient parts of the initiative that “continues to have resonance in different parts of the world through similar training but also through the activation of new perinatal comfort care centers.”

 

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS ST. PETER’S SQUARE AND BASILICA – PONTIFICAL COUNCIL ISSUES ADVICE ON CLEANING CHURCHES, ART OBJECTS, WARNS AGAINST “IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE” – NEWS IN BRIEF FROM ANSA

The main story below from the Pontifical Council for Culture is a very important piece of news. Be sure to share this with you pastor, for starters, and I can only hope that every bishop around the world, especially if his diocese has precious and valuable art, will have seen these critical guidelines.

For your reading pleasure this weekend, here is a link to the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano:.

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/osservatoreromano/pdfreader.html/ing/2020/05/ING_2020_021_2205.pdf.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewsletterOR-EN

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS ST. PETER’S SQUARE AND BASILICA

Welcome to a new edition of Vatican Insider. A update about the interview segment – or what is normally an interview. With some covid19 restrictions still in place, I have not been able yet to get out and about and visit people for interviews but hope to resume that soon. In the meantime, I continue with my SPECIAL presentations and this week offer Part I of a visit to the ever- glorious St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. Obviously as a podcast it will be very useful when you finally travel back to Italy and Rome!

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So this week, be a tourist for a few minutes! Come to Rome! You know that’s where you want to be!

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IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

PONTIFICAL COUNCIL ISSUES ADVICE ON CLEANING CHURCHES, ART OBJECTS, WARNS AGAINST “IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE”

From the website of the Pontifical Council for Culture:

There have been reports that, in this period of health emergency, the necessary disinfection of areas, vestments and sacred vessels for worship has been carried out in some cases using detergents that are not suitable for objects of art and cultural heritage.

We publish below a document drawn up not by the Pontifical Council for Culture, but shared by it. It offers simple indications to avoid causing irreversible damage to the most precious and delicate objects present in our churches.

Above all, it is recommended that priests or those in charge of the churches make contact with the cultural heritage specialists in their diocese or competent civil authorities, especially in the most delicate cases.

Recommendations in view of COVID 19 regarding the handling, cleaning and disinfection of cultural property: http://www.cultura.va/content/dam/cultura/docs/pdf/beniculturali/RECOMMENDATIONS_ENG.pdf

SUMMARY TABLE: A graph with recommendations – the Dos and Donts – for handling, cleaning and disinfecting cultural heritage: http://www.cultura.va/content/dam/cultura/docs/pdf/beniculturali/TABLE_ENG.pdf

NEWS IN BRIEF FROM ANSA

Rome, May 21 – Italy saw 47,000 more deaths in March and April this year than last, social security and pensions agency INPS said Thursday. In January and February, it said, there were 10,000 fewer than expected. The INPS study, Analysis of Mortality in the COVID-19 Epidemic, stressed that the number of deaths from the coronavirus were 28,000 in March and April. “With due caution,” the report said, “we can attribute a great part of the higher deaths that happened in the last two months, with respect to the baseline, to the ongoing epidemic.”

Florence, May 21 – Florence’s famed Uffizi gallery will reopen on Wednesday June 3, director Eike Schmidt as the Boboli gardens reopened on Thursday. Palazzo Pitti, the Renaissance palazzo across the Arno from the Uffizi and next to the Boboli gardens, will reopen on Thursday May 28, Schmidt said.

 

VATICAN INSIDER TOURS ST. PAUL’S OUTSIDE THE WALLS – THE PAPAL BASILICAS ORGANIZE FOR CORONAVIRUS, PHASE 2

The Saint of the Day, St. Isidore the Farmer, has a fascinating story that is told on www.franciscanmedia.org There is also an audio version of the story on the website and kids as well as adults will appreciate this. And you can sign up to get their emails with The Saint of the Day story. Isidore has become the patron of farmers and rural communities. In particular, he is the patron of Madrid, Spain, and of the United States National Rural Life Conference. He died May 15, 1130, and was declared a saint in 1622, with Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, and Philip Neri. Together, the group is known in Spain as “the five saints.

VATICAN INSIDER TOURS ST. PAUL’S OUTSIDE THE WALLS

In this week’s edition of Vatican Insider I bring you some news updates, take a look at Pope Francis’ special prayer intentions this week at his private morning Masses and then bring you on a tour of a major Roman basilica in what is normally the interview segment. As you know, Coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Italian government and by Vatican City that adheres to those rules have kept me home for months now, unable to go out an interview people but some day soon I am sure I’ll be able to do that again.

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So this week, be a tourist for a few minutes! Come to Rome! You know that’s where you want to be!

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IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

THE PAPAL BASILICAS ORGANIZE FOR CORONAVIRUS, PHASE 2

Those in charge of the four major Roman papal basilicas (St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls) met on Thursday to study and discuss what needs to be done to re-open the basilicas to the faithful to once again assist at a liturgy. Each basilica has an archpriest, who is a cardinal, who oversees the basilica for its day-to-day life, normal maintenance, repairs and, naturally its liturgical life.

The Thursday meeting was organized by the Secretariat of State.

The meeting allowed the prelates to discuss the “new aspects of Phase 2,” a period of gradual re-openings in Italy and resumption of activities in stores, factories, etc. that began on May 4. As part of Phase 2, churches will be allowed to open their doors to the faithful once again for the celebration of Holy Mass beginning on May 18.

Among the items discussed by the archpriests of the basilicas were the “necessary measures most suitable to guarantee the safety of the faithful.” One specific measure would be the use a thermoscanner to take the temperature of those who wish to participate in liturgical celebrations.

PAPAL PRAYER INTENTIONS AT DAILY MASS – VATICAN INSIDER TOURS ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA – MASSES TO RESUME IN ITALY ON MAY 18

As Pope Francis noted at the Wednesday general audience, “Friday, May 8 the intense prayer of the ‘Supplication to Our Lady of the Rosary’ will rise at the Shrine of Pompeii. I urge everyone to join spiritually in this popular act of faith and devotion, so that through the intercession of the Holy Virgin, the Lord may grant mercy and peace to the Church and to the whole world.” Here is a link from the shrine website to the “supplica” in English: http://www.santuario.it/images/stories/supplica/SupplicaInglese.pdf

VATICAN INSIDER TOURS ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA

As you know, because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Italian restrictions for movement in one’s neighborhood or town, I have been unable for the past two months to go out and interview people for what is normally the interview segment. In that period, I’ve offered a number of specials until I can resume in person interviews.

This weekend we will visit St. Mary Major Basilica, a church that, as you know, Pope Francis visits often to pray before the image of Mary so loved by Romans called Salus populi romani – salvation of the Roman people.

Be a tourist once again! Come back to Rome! Enjoy the visit!

Here are some photos I took one August 5, the day of the famous snowfall on Rome’s Esquiline Hill that marked the founding of this basilica dedicated to Mary. Listen to the Special to learn the whole story!

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IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

PAPAL PRAYER INTENTIONS AT DAILY MASS

Pope Francis continues saying daily Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence, Masses that have been televised and online for months now. He has a special prayer intention every day and announces it at the start of Mass.

On Sunday, May 3, Good Shepherd Sunday, the Pope prayed for doctors and priests, likening them to the Good Shepherd laying down their lives serving the flock.

Monday, May 4, he prayed for families closed up in their homes because of the pandemic, acknowledging that they are trying to do many things they have never done before. He mentioned the reality of domestic violence, and said: “Let us pray for families, that they might persevere in peace with creativity and patience during this quarantine.”

Tuesday, May 5, Francis prayed for those who have died because of the pandemic. “They have died alone, without the caresses of their loved ones. So many did not even have a funeral. May the Lord welcome them in His glory.”

Wednesday, May 6, the Holy Father prayed for the men and women who work in the media: “In this time of pandemic they risk a lot and work a lot. May the Lord help them to always transmit the truth.”

Thursday, May 7, Pope Francis prayed for artists: “I would like to ask the Lord to bless them because through artists we understand beauty, and without beauty we cannot understand the Gospel.”

Friday, May 8, “Today is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day,” said the Pope. “Let us pray for the people who work in these meritorious institutions. May the Lord bless their work that does so much good.”

MASSES TO RESUME IN ITALY ON MAY 18

(CNA) – Dioceses in Italy can resume the celebration of public Masses beginning Monday, May 18, under conditions issued Thursday by the head of Italy’s bishops and by government officials.

The protocol for Mass and other liturgical celebrations states that churches must limit the number of people present – ensuring a one-meter (three feet) distance – and congregants must wear face masks. The church must also be cleaned and disinfected between celebrations.

For the distribution of the Eucharist, priests and other ministers of Holy Communion are asked to wear gloves and masks covering both the nose and mouth and to avoid contact with communicants’ hands.

The Diocese of Rome suspended public Masses March 8 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Several dioceses in hard-hit northern Italy, including Milan and Venice, had suspended public liturgies as early as the last week of February.

All public religious celebrations, including baptisms, funerals, and weddings, were prohibited during the Italian government’s lockdown, which went into effect March 9.

Funerals were allowed again beginning May 4. Public baptisms and weddings may now also resume in Italy starting May 18.

The protocol issued May 7 lays out the genera l directions for complying with health measures, such as the indication of a maximum capacity in a church based on maintaining at least one-meter distance between people.

Access to the church must be regulated to control the number present, it says, and the number of Masses can be increased to ensure social distancing.

The church should be cleaned and disinfected after every celebration and the use of worship aids such as hymnals is discouraged.

Church doors should be propped open before and after Mass to aid traffic flow and hand sanitizer must be available at entrances.

Among other suggestions, the Sign of Peace should be omitted, and holy water fonts kept empty, the protocol states.

The protocol was signed by Italian bishops’ conference president Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Prime Minister and President of the Council Giuseppe Conte, and the Minister of the Interior Luciana Lamorgese.

A note says the protocol was prepared by the Italian bishops’ conference and examined and approved by the government’s Technical-Scientific Committee for COVID-19.

April 26 Italy’s bishops had criticized Conte for failing to lift the ban on public Masses.

In a statement, the bishops’ conference denounced Conte’s decree on “phase 2” of Italy’s coronavirus restrictions, which it said, “arbitrarily excludes the possibility of celebrating Mass with the people.”

The prime minister’s office responded later the same night indicating that a protocol would be studied to allow “the faithful to participate in liturgical celebrations as soon as possible in conditions of maximum security.”

The Italian bishops issued a statement May 7 stating that the protocol for restarting public Masses “concludes a path that has seen collaboration between the Italian Episcopal Conference, the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Interior.”

 

 

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS ST. JOHN LATERAN, CATHEDRAL OF THE BISHOP OF ROME

Today, May 1 is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and Labor Day for many countries. It is normally a holiday and a huge celebration in Italy, a day marked by family outings and picnics and the like and an evening filled with bands and music on the esplanade in front of St. John Lateran basilica. Covid-19 turned the day into a quiet “iorestoacasa” (the Italian coronavirus motto “IstayatHome”) day throughout this normally happy peninsula.

It was a holiday in the Vatican and marked by a special moment this morning for Pope Francis. In fact, he celebrated Mass in the Santa Marta chapel next to the same statue of St. Joseph the Worker that was with Pope Pius XII in 1956, the year after the institution of the solemnity dedicated to the Virgins Husband. The statue of St. Joseph arrived in the Vatican Thursday evening and was placed in the chapel.

DO NOT FORGET: Go to www.ewtn.com at 12 noon (Pacific time) 3 pm (ET) and watch LIVE the re-consecration of the United States to Mary, Mother of the Church,

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS ST. JOHN LATERAN, CATHEDRAL OF THE BISHOP OF ROME

As you know, because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Italian restrictions for movement in one’s neighborhood or town, I have been unable for weeks to go out and interview people for what is normally the interview segment. In past weeks, I’ve offered a number of specials until I can resume in person interviews. This week is no different. For the next few weeks I will be looking at the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome, starting with the four papal basilicas – St. John Lateran, St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major. The other three pilgrim basilicas are Holy Cross in Jerusalem, St. Lawrence Outside the Walls and St. Sebastian. I am going to start with St. John Lateran because it is not only a papal basilica, it is the cathedral church of the Bishop of Rome who is the Pope.

Here are some photos I took on a visit to St. John Lateran:

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Here are more photos of the cloister, museum and sacristy:

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IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

VATICAN INSIDER: INTERVIEWS IN A TIME OF QUARANTINE – POPE’S APRIL PRAYER INTENTION: “LIBERATION FROM ADDICTIONS” – FROM CHINESE CATHOLICS: “HOLY FATHER, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF”

VATICAN INSIDER: INTERVIEWS IN A TIME OF QUARANTINE

I welcome listeners to a new edition of Vatican Insider by noting that this Palm Sunday weekend around the world will be a weekend marked by empty churches because of the coronavirus quarantines in place in almost all countries of the world. However, because of wonderful technology available today, thousands, surely tens of thousands of Masses will be streamed live into the homes of tens of millions.

It is thanks to great technology that I bring you “Vatican Insider” each weekend but even the best of technology does not allow me to leave my home for interviews in this tumultuous period of Covid-19.

Because of mandatory restrictions on movements outside of one’s home, except for medical emergencies and necessary basics like food and medicine, I’ve not been able these last weeks to go out and interview guests for the interview segment of VI. Until conditions allow me to do that, we will be re-airing some previous Specials I did, including visits to the seven pilgrim churches of Rome – and that includes the four papal basilicas.

However, because we still are in Lent, this week’s Special is a profile of Rome’s celebrated Lenten Station Churches.

The first station church – Santa Sabina

I will continue to bring you the News segment and a Q&A every weekend when time allows. Thanks so much for your patience under the circumstances! I am hoping you can use the podcasts of these visits in and around Rome for the day you are finally able to visit the Eternal City again!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

POPE’S APRIL PRAYER INTENTION: “LIBERATION FROM ADDICTIONS”

Pope Francis on Thursday released a video message accompanying his prayer intention for April, which is that “those suffering from addiction may be properly helped and accompanied.”

In his prayer intention for April 2020, Pope Francis asks everyone to pray for those who suffer from addiction, especially addiction to gambling, pornography, and the internet. It has become the custom of Pope Francis to release a video message detailing his prayer intention for each month.

That text follows:
“Surely, you’ve heard about the drama of addiction. And, have you also thought about the addiction to gambling, to pornography, to the Internet – and the dangers of virtual space? Supported by the ‘Gospel of Mercy’ we can alleviate, care for and heal the suffering associated with new kinds of addiction. We pray that those suffering from addiction may be properly helped and accompanied.” (source: vaticannews:
https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-04/pope-francis-prayer-intention-april-2020-addictions.html)

FROM CHINESE CATHOLICS: “HOLY FATHER, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF”

Beijing (Agenzia Fides) – “Holy Father, during the epidemic, may you also have your person at heart. Do it for us, 1.3 billion Catholics around the world. Please take care of yourself too!” This is the recommendation that Chinese Catholics address to Pope Francis from the bottom of their hearts. An open letter addressed to the Bishop of Rome and published today on Xinde Press (“Faith”) website, the widest platform for Chinese Catholic communication.

“The same recommendation” reads the letter, “we would like to extend to those who administer Casa Santa Marta and its secretaries: may they take care of the Pope, in this difficult period, and watch over the safety distances when he has to meet visitors. And if he must necessarily receive someone or participate in events with other people, we hope very much that the Pope will also wear a mask.”

In the words of the letter addressed to the Pope one perceives the loving concern of those who also care about the health of a person they love so much, at a time when danger is incumbent on everyone. As a gesture of faith and communion, countless Chinese Catholics remained awake or woke up on purpose in the middle of the night to follow via internet the extraordinary act of prayer in times of epidemic presided over by Pope Francis on Friday 27 March in St. Peter’s Square (in Beijing it was already one 1 am, Saturday 28 March). A large number of them are following the Pope’s spiritual suggestions every day (reciting the rosary, novena, daily prayers) to live their own Lenten spiritual journey in this time devastated by the global health emergency.

The aid collected with the coordination of Jinde Charity – as well as that sent by other communities and private citizens – is arriving in Italy and in the Vatican with the logistical support of the Italian embassy in Beijing and the Italian Foreign Ministry, which has made it possible to coordinate and organize the air transport of the collected aid. On March 28, the second shipment of aid sent by Chinese Catholics arrived at Malpensa airport (Milan), for a total value of 450,000 euros.

Through the Vatican Pharmacy, the aid was distributed to the Office of the pastoral care of the Vicariate of Rome (10,000 N95 model masks, over 500,000 disposable masks, 27,000 surgical gloves, 8,000 coveralls and 6,000 protective glasses). Large quantities of the same health devices were sent to the Diocese of Macerata, to Gemelli Hospital of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, and to the field hospital of the National Alpine Association. The first shipment of medical devices was shipped thanks to the collections of Chinese Catholics (that) had arrived in Italy two weeks ago, in which case the protective equipment had been taken over and redistributed by Caritas Ambrosiana, in the archdiocese of Milan and in Lombardy, epicenter of the pandemic. Now the third shipment is ready to leave Beijing with the first available direct flights to Italy.

Since the first outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, Pope Francis has publicly shown his closeness to the Chinese population heavily affected by the virus also with direct references expressed at the end of the Wednesday general audience or after the recitation of the Sunday Angelus. As confirmed by Mgr. Segundo Tejado Muñoz, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, quoted by Xinde Press, “through Jinde Charity, Pope Francis donated 200,000 euros unconditionally to China for prevention/epidemic projects and assistance for the elderly, to express his love for the Chinese people”.

FOR MORE: http://www.fides.org/en/news/67680-ASIA_CHINA_Covid_19_emergency_help_arrives_at_the_Vatican_and_a_letter_from_Chinese_Catholics_Holy_Father_take_care_of_yourself