VATICAN INSIDER: THE “BEST OF”

I had one of the most wonderful, heart-warming, inspiring days of my life today when a colleague from the Ave Maria conference and I went to Laski, about a half hour outside of Warsaw, to visit a center run by the Franciscan Sisters, Servants of the Cross, whose charism is working with blind children.

The center is hosting some blind children from Ukraine and I’ll tell their story on Monday. Sister Fabiana will tell us of her life in Ukraine, a total of 15 years at two different times.

I’ll also tell you about this beautiful center, its founding and its foundress, and offer many photos of the school, the sisters, the children at play and the wonderful, serene setting in part of the massive Kampinos forest.

The sisters’ foundress, Mother Elzbieta Roza Czacka, from a Catholic, aristocratic and patriotic family, became blind at 22 and, after various vicissitudes, discovered her true mission in life.

So tune in to that on Monday!

VATICAN INSIDER: THE “BEST OF”

Because I have spent most of the week in Poland at the conference organized by the Ave Maria Law School and Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University of Warsaw that was dedicated to Pope St. John Paul’s Natural Law and International Human Rights Legacy, I’ve not had time to prepare my usual VI program of a news segment, Q&A and an interview. My colleagues at EWTN are thus offering a “Best of” Vatican Insider this weekend! Thanks for understanding!

The days were wonderful beyond telling but also very long and I literally had no time to write a blog or prepare VI during the conference. However, I’ll be back to writing on Monday and will have a new Vatican Insider for you next weekend. Back to Rome tomorrow!

In the meantime, wherever you are, at home or on vacation, enjoy yourself and those you love!

 

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS SOLIDARITY HEALTH SHARE (PART II)

The Lord and weather willing, I will be off tomorrow to New York for a few days with the highlight of my visit being the May 9th Path to Peace Foundation dinner that is offered annually by the Holy See Mission to the United Nations.

The Foundation was instituted in 1991 by Archbishop (now Cardinal) Renato Martino who was the Vatican’s point man – the apostolic nuncio – to the U.N. for 16 years, I was honored to be a member of four Holy See delegations to international United Nations conferences when I worked at the Vatican: Cairo 1994, Copenhagen 1995, Beijing 1995 and Istanbul 1996, three of which were led by Abp. Martino. Mary Ann Glendon led the September 1995 delegation to Beijing for the U.N. conference on women and Abp. Martino was adjunct head of delegation.

Those were truly amazing times for me, personally and professionally.

The president of the foundation is always the apostolic nuncio and permanent observer to the United Nations. Currently that is Archbishop Gabriele Caccia. I’ve been blessed to know him for many years as well.

As the foundation website notes, at a special event held each year the Path to Peace Foundation honors an individual whose life and work have dramatically affected the world community for the better. The first Path to Peace Award was bestowed in 1993 upon H.E. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary General of the United Nations. The honorees this year are King Abdullah of Jordan and his wife, and Queen Rania.

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS SOLIDARITY HEALTH SHARE (PART II)

Join me on Vatican Insider this weekend when my guest, Brad Hahn, CEO of Solidarity Health Share, returns in Part II to tell us more about this community that supports you and your family by lowering your medical bills, providing you with a team of care professionals to help you navigate the health care system, and giving you peace of mind knowing your health care dollars are used ethically. Learn of the challenges facing health care providers and how solidarity helps families in their own health challenges. Brad is a lawyer and has worked for decades in the Phoenix, Arizona area.  (photo taken after lunch at the marvelous Taverna Agape)

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: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS SOLIDARITY HEALTH CARE – TODAY WE HONOR SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS SOLIDARITY HEALTH SHARE

My guest this week and next on Vatican Insider is Brad Hahn, CEO of Solidarity Health Share, who will tell us about this community, a ministry really, that supports you and your family by lowering your medical bills, providing you with a team of care professionals to help you navigate the health care system, and giving you peace of mind knowing your health care dollars are used ethically. Learn of the challenges facing health care providers and how solidarity helps families in their own health challenges. By the way, Brad is a lawyer and has worked for decades in the Phoenix, Arizona area. (photo taken after lunch at the marvellous Taverna Agape)

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: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

TODAY WE HONOR SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA

(franciscanmedia.com) – The value Catherine makes central in her short life and which sounds clearly and consistently through her experience is complete surrender to Christ. What is most impressive about her is that she learns to view her surrender to her Lord as a goal to be reached through time.

She was the 23rd child of Jacopo and Lapa Benincasa and grew up as an intelligent, cheerful, and intensely religious person. Catherine disappointed her mother by cutting off her hair as a protest against being overly encouraged to improve her appearance in order to attract a husband. Her father ordered her to be left in peace, and she was given a room of her own for prayer and meditation.

She entered the Dominican Third Order at 18 and spent the next three years in seclusion, prayer, and austerity. Gradually, a group of followers gathered around her—men and women, priests and religious. An active public apostolate grew out of her contemplative life. Her letters, mostly for spiritual instruction and encouragement of her followers, began to take more and more note of public affairs. Opposition and slander resulted from her mixing fearlessly with the world and speaking with the candor and authority of one completely committed to Christ. She was cleared of all charges at the Dominican General Chapter of 1374.

Photos from a visit several years ago to St. Catherine’s home in Siena, a very large home given the size of the family. The room with all the paintings was the family dining room:

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Her public influence reached great heights because of her evident holiness, her membership in the Dominican Third Order, and the deep impression she made on the pope. She worked tirelessly for the crusade against the Turks and for peace between Florence and the pope.

In 1378, the Great Schism began, splitting the allegiance of Christendom between two, then three, popes and putting even saints on opposing sides. Catherine spent the last two years of her life in Rome, in prayer and pleading on behalf of the cause of Pope Urban VI and the unity of the Church. She offered herself as a victim for the Church in its agony. She died surrounded by her “children” and was canonized in 1461.

Her body is under the main altar of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. We could not take photos in the church in Siena with relic of her skull – this is from Atlas Obscura:

Catherine ranks high among the mystics and spiritual writers of the Church. In 1939, she and Francis of Assisi were declared co-patrons of Italy. Pope Paul VI named her and Teresa of Avila doctors of the Church in 1970. Her spiritual testament is found in The Dialogue.

REFLECTION

Though she lived her life in a faith experience and spirituality far different from that of our own time, Catherine of Siena stands as a companion with us on the Christian journey in her undivided effort to invite the Lord to take flesh in her own life. Events which might make us wince or chuckle or even yawn fill her biographies: a mystical experience at six, childhood betrothal to Christ, stories of harsh asceticism, her frequent ecstatic visions. Still, Catherine lived in an age which did not know the rapid change of 21st-century mobile America. The value of her life for us today lies in her recognition of holiness as a goal to be sought over the course of a lifetime.

SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA IS A PATRON SAINT OF: Europe, Fire Prevention, Italy

 

VATICAN INSIDER PAYS TRIBUTE TO VICKI THORN

VATICAN INSIDER PAYS TRIBUTE TO VICKI THORN

I was totally breathless as I read the news from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Wednesday, April 20 that one of dearest people I knew, and a prolife warrior par excellence, had died that very morning. I’ve known Bill and Vicki for years and phoned Bill as soon as I knew, only to discover that it was a sudden death as she was getting ready for the morning

The three of us have had many meetings in Rome, laughed over many a good story and broke bread in many great restaurants. On one occasion, I interviewed Vicki for “Vatican Insider” and that is what you will hear this weekend.

We are doing a “Best Of” this weekend built around the interview with Vicki because I have a terrible cold with cough and little energy and I can barely talk so could not have even recorded the news segment, etc.

I posted the archdiocese report of her death on Facebook on Wednesday the minute I learned of it. I can see by your many responses how much Vicki was loved and valued as a friend and immensely appreciated as for her prolife work and her ministry to help those who were suffering from having decided to have an abortion.

I’m not sure if you know but Vicki, as founder of the post-abortion healing ministry Project Rachel and executive director of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, was due to receive Notre Dame’s Evangelium Vitae Medal at a banquet on April 25, 2020. Covid made that personal award ceremony impossible and there were dozens of us who were disappointed. I had made plans to fly in to Notre Dame for the ceremony.

From the news.nd.edu website:

“Vicki Thorn has dedicated her life to caring for women and men who have been wounded by abortion,” said O. Carter Snead, the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture. “Her work is a living witness to the unconditional love and mercy that lies at the heart of the Culture of Life. We are pleased to honor her with the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal.”

“Vicki Thorn’s work has been a source of healing for women and men whose lives have been touched by abortion,” said University President  Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC. “I’m grateful to the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture for recognizing Ms. Thorn for her service to the Church and to the work of mercy on behalf of a Culture of Life.”

This coming Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. I just know the Lord’s arms are wide open with both mercy and love to welcome this beautiful daughter into his kingdom!

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: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

 

 

VATICAN INSIDER: TWO PRIESTS, TWO BROTHERS, TWO TALES OF PRIESTHOOD – CARDINAL PAROLIN: AVOID ESCALATION IN UKRAINE, BUCHA CIVILIAN MASSACRE “INEXPLICABLE” – FLORISTS, GARDENERS AND TECHNICAL WORKERS TO BEAUTIFY ST. PETER’S SQUARE FOR EASTER

VATICAN INSIDER: TWO PRIESTS, TWO BROTHERS, TWO TALES OF PRIESTHOOD

My guests this week in the interview segment of Vatican Insider are two of my dearest friends, two priests, two brothers, native Chicagoans, who are both in Rome at the same time: Msgr. Michael Boland, a consultant to Catholic Charities USA following 30 magnificent years as head of Catholic Charities in the archdiocese of Chicago, and his brother Fr. Jeremiah Boland, pastor of a parish I know and love, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview, Illinois. Fr. Jerry is in Rome on sabbatical at the North American College’s Institute of Continuing Theological Education.

They both recently celebrated anniversaries of their priesthood : Fr. Jerry 40 years, Msgr Michael, 35.

They are two of my most cherished friends and, as I note in our conversation, there are two things that bind us in friendship: celebration of the Eucharist, Mass, and meals! I know you will hear that friendship when we talk!

I forgot to take a photo while they were in my office but here we are, breaking bread, after I conducted the interview (Fr. Jerry on the left; Msgr. Michael on the right)

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: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

CARDINAL PAROLIN: AVOID ESCALATION IN UKRAINE; BUCHA CIVILIAN MASSACRE “INEXPLICABLE” 

On the sidelines of an event at Vatican Radio, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin comments on the recent revelations of the massacre of civilians in Bucha, and confirms the possibility of a papal trip to Kyiv and a separate meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. Parolin: Avoid escalation in Ukraine, Bucha civilian massacre ‘inexplicable’ – Vatican News

FLORISTS, GARDENERS AND TECHNICAL WORKERS TO BEAUTIFY ST. PETER’S SQUARE FOR EASTER

You may recall that, in January, I published a piece about Dutch Florists who, for the first time in 35 years, would not be able to embellish St. Peter’s Square for Easter with thousands of flowers, plants, palm trees and shrubs: 35-YEAR TRADITION OF DUTCH FLOWERS IN THE VATICAN AT EASTER TO END  | Joan’s Rome (wordpress.com)

Well, it seems from a press release today from the Governorate of Vatican City State that there will still be some Dutch participation:

Continuing the Holy Week tradition of decorating St. Peter’s Square with hundreds of floral compositions and decorations, workers from the Infrastructure and Services Service of the Governorate of Vatican City State will prepare the altar area of the square, working alongside those who have offered plants and flowers. In particular, on Palm Sunday, April 10, olive branches provided by the National Association of the City of Olio, by the mayors of the City of Olio and the Lazio Region, and by the Caputo family of Taranto in the Puglia Region will be distributed.

The supply of “Phoenix palms” ** will be handled by the Supreme Pontiff’s Office for Liturgical Celebrations. Parmureli from the city of Sanremo will also be present.

The Flora Olanda wholesale floriculture company in Rome will lend large olive trees to be placed near the statues of Saints Peter and Paul at the foot of the churchyard. The floral decorations in St. Peter’s Square on the occasion of Holy Easter will be made thanks to the generous contribution of the florists and the professors of floristry of biotechnology of Naklo in Slovenia, with the collaboration of the Vatican gardeners who will work throughout Good Friday to prepare and finish the decorations by the next day.

** Phoenix canariensis is a species of flowering plant in the palm family, native to the Canary Islands

VATICAN INSIDER: THE BIRTH OF AN APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION – POPE FRANCIS: INDIGNATION, SHAME AND AN APOLOGY TO CANADA’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

VATICAN INSIDER: THE BIRTH OF AN APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION

My Special this week in the interview segment is about the just-published Apostolic Exhortation “Praedicate Evangelium,” (Preach The Gospel) by Pope Francis. Nine years in the making, this document focuses on the reform of the Roman Curia, the Vatican-based central government of the Catholic Church. It was published March 19th with absolutely no fanfare or pre-announcement and only in Italian. We await news of the other major language translations.

I look at some of the unusual features of the constitution and its presentation, and review some of the questions that surfaced with what seemed to be its hasty publication. In addition, I dissect it to explain all the changes that will take place in the Roman Curia. It goes into effect on Pentecost, June 5, 2022.

The last such constitution, Pastor Bonus, was written by Pope John Paul in 1988.

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: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

POPE FRANCIS: INDIGNATION, SHAME AND AN APOLOGY TO CANADA’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

Pope Francis ended his busy Friday morning with a long-awaited, moving and also extremely colorful audience with Canadian indigenous peoples including Métis, Inuit and First Nations.

The importance of this audience cannot be stressed enough, although it seems an Act II will be played out in Canada with a future papal trip, very likely this summer.

By way of review, you might recall that, during the Angelus on June 6, 2020, the Pontiff shared his dismay with the world over the dramatic news, which had arrived a few weeks earlier, of the discovery in Canada of a mass grave in the Kamloops Indian Residential School with human remains of over 200 indigenous Canadians. A macabre discovery, a symbol of a past of residential cruelty in the country when, from 1880 to the last decades of the 20th century, in institutions financed by the government and managed mostly by Christian organizations, the aim was to educate and convert indigenous young people and to assimilate them. in traditional Canadian society, through systematic abuse.

Canada’s bishops have since created a series of projects to support indigenous communities in a process of reconciliation whose apex was this week’s meetings of the Pope with three of those communities.

Friday, representatives of each delegation prayed and spoke in their native languages and, after the papal talk, danced, played drums and violins and sang in their native languages.

Eye-catching, bright-colored native dress and headdresses filled the Clementine Hall with a vibrancy rarely seen in these hallowed rooms of the Apostolic Palace.

One could feel the emotions of the Inuits, Métis and First Nations people as they prayed, danced and sang, as they listened to the Holy Father and, towards the end, as they presented him with gifts.

Numerous gifts, in fact, were presented to the Pope including snow shoes, stoles and a cross made of whale bone on silver in a sealskin pouch. He in turn gifted each group with specially boxed bronze olive branch sculptures, a sign of peace and reconciliation. (Vatican media photos)

Snow shoes:

In his talk, the Pope expressed his sorrow for past maltreatment of indigenous by Catholics and asked the Lord for forgiveness. He told the indigenous and the bishops who accompanied them he will be travelling to Canada, but “not in winter” to meet them again.

Pope Francis’ complete talk translated into English can be found here: Like branches of a tree – L’Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis began by noting how, over past days, “I have listened attentively to your testimonies. I have brought them to my thoughts and prayers, and reflected on the stories you told and the situations you described. I thank you for having opened your hearts to me, and for expressing, by means of this visit, your desire for us to journey together.”

He then gave an overview of “a few of the many things that have struck me,” including an indigenous saying: “In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation”. These are wise words, farsighted and the exact opposite of what often happens in our own day, when we run after practical and immediate goals without thinking of the future and generations yet to come. For the ties that connect the elderly and the young are essential.”

Francis spoke of how “you compared yourselves to the branches of a tree. Like those branches, you have spread in different directions, you have experienced various times and seasons, and you have been buffeted by powerful winds. Yet you have remained solidly anchored to your roots, which you kept strong.”

Meditating on those roots, the Pope returned to the image of a tree, saying, “yet that tree, rich in fruit, has experienced a tragedy that you described to me in these past days: the tragedy of being uprooted. The chain that passed on knowledge and ways of life in union with the land was broken by a colonization that lacked respect for you, tore many of you from your vital milieu and tried to conform you to another mentality. In this way, great harm was done to your identity and your culture, many families were separated, and great numbers of children fell victim to these attempts to impose a uniformity based on the notion that progress occurs through ideological colonization, following programs devised in offices rather than the desire to respect the life of peoples. This is something that, unfortunately, and at various levels, still happens today: ideological colonization.”

“Listening to your voices,” continued Francis, “I was able to enter into and be deeply grieved by the stories of the suffering, hardship, discrimination and various forms of abuse that some of you experienced, particularly in the residential schools. It is chilling to think of determined efforts to instil a sense of inferiority, to rob people of their cultural identity, to sever their roots, and to consider all the personal and social effects that this continues to entail: unresolved traumas that have become intergenerational traumas.

The Pope said with sorrow, “All this has made me feel two things very strongly: indignation and shame. Indignation, because it is not right to accept evil and, even worse, to grow accustomed to evil, as if it were an inevitable part of the historical process. No! … The memory of the past must never be sacrificed at the altar of alleged progress.”

“I also feel shame,” explained the Pope. “I have said this to you and now I say it again. I feel shame – sorrow and shame – for the role that a number of Catholics, particularly those with educational responsibilities, have had in all these things that wounded you, in the abuses you suffered and in the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values. All these things are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“For the deplorable conduct of those members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry. And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon. Clearly, the content of the faith cannot be transmitted in a way contrary to the faith itself: Jesus taught us to welcome, love, serve and not judge; it is a frightening thing when, precisely in the name of the faith, counter-witness is rendered to the Gospel.”

The Holy Father also said he thinks “with gratitude of all those good and decent believers who, in the name of the faith, and with respect, love and kindness, have enriched your history with the Gospel. I think with joy, for example, of the great veneration that many of you have for Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. This year I would like to be with you on those days. Today we need to re-establish the covenant between grandparents and grandchildren, between the elderly and the young, for this is a fundamental prerequisite for the growth of unity in our human family.”

Francis concluded by saying, “I have been enriched by your words and even more by your testimonies. You have brought here, to Rome, a living sense of your communities. I will be happy to benefit again from meeting you when I visit your native lands, where your families live. I won’t come in the winter! So I will close by saying “Until we meet again” in Canada, where I will be able better to express to you my closeness. In the meantime, I assure you of my prayers, and upon you, your families and your communities I invoke the blessing of the Creator.”

He closed by addressing everyone in English: “I thank all of you! Blessing of the Holy Father God bless you all – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Pray for me, don’t forget! I’ll pray for you. Thank you very much for your visit. Bye bye!”

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE INSTITUTE OF HIGHER STUDIES ON WOMEN: PART II

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE INSTITUTE OF HIGHER STUDIES ON WOMEN: PART II

When you join me tomorrow or Sunday on my weekend radio program “Vatican Insider, stay tuned to the interview segment after the news for Part II of my conversation with Anita Cavadid, directress of the Institute of Higher Studies on Women at Rome’s Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum. I revisit some of Part I where Anita tells us about the courses and the diploma the Institute offers and then explains the initiative shared with five other Pontifical Universities and Catholic Institutes that explores the specific contribution of women in the life and mission of the Church.

We also take a look at the March 7-8 International Congress on Women Doctors of the Church and Patron Saints of Europe. In conclusion Anita talks of her dream for the Institute to become a faculty at the university.

Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, UPRA

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: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE INSTITUTE OF HIGHER STUDIES ON WOMEN

I leave tomorrow for NY for a few days, principally to attend a special Mass on Saturday at the cathedral by Cardinal Dolan for his Mother, Shirley, who died on the 12th.  I’ve known him for almost 30 years and met his Mom enough times in both Rome and NY to know she was a special lady. I lost my Mom at the same age…..she was also 93. It is truly in my heart to be there!

I’ll have my iPad and will do my best to stay in touch. I’ll be contributing to “At Home with Jim and Joy” on Monday and will be on air with Teresa Tomeo on our weekly “Catholic Connection” chat time, and will try to post a blog or two as well. For important and/or breaking news, I’ll post on Facebook (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420) and Twitter (@joansrome)

I wish all of you who are Irish (or wannabe Irish) a blessed and fun and celebratory St. Patrick’s Day! My family is from Galway and Mayo counties! Maybe an extra salute to the Notre Dame football team – the Fighting Irish!

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE INSTITUTE OF HIGHER STUDIES ON WOMEN

My guest this weekend in the interview segment is Anita Cavadid, directress of the Institute of Higher Studies on Women at Rome’s Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum. Anita will tell us about the institute, how and why it was founded, and the courses and the diploma it offers. She also explains the initiative shared with 5 other Pontifical Universities and Catholic Institutes that explores the specific contribution of women in the life and mission of the Church. It primarily aims to activate processes of mutual collaboration between women and men in ecclesial settings. We briefly look at the March 7-8 International Congress on Women Doctors of the Church and Patron Saints of Europe and explore that more fully next week.

Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, UPRA

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: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

 

VATICAN INSIDER GOES TO THE VATICAN PHARMACY! – A REAL ROMAN ADVENTURE: A TESLA TAXI

Here’s a link to a must read story about the visit to Ukraine of one of Pope Francis’ two cardinal emissaries: Cardinal Czerny in Ukraine: We are all poor in the face of this war – Vatican News

Life in Italy: Gas here now costs between $9 and $10 a gallon, and other prices will rise (bread, pasta and other items already cost more) because of this: Fuel crisis: Italy braces for delays as truck deliveries suspended from Monday (thelocal.it)

Saw a number of tartans today when I was out on an errand and I knew the only reason I’d seen men wearing “skirts” in Rome would be because of a rugby match!  In fact, Italy and Scotland play tomorrow night in Rome in a celebrated rugby tournament called the Six Nations. Games will be played in Rome’s historic Foro Italico and the Olympic stadium

VATICAN INSIDER GOES TO THE VATICAN PHARMACY!

After the news segment of “Vatican Insider,” tune in for my conversation with Bro. Binish Thomas, a Fatebenefratelli religious brother who is the director of the Vatican pharmacy.

You’ll learn about the history of the pharmacy, its 45,000 products, its 70 employees, the role it played in these Covid times, the help it gives to many people and organizations and, now especially, to Ukraine.

In fact, as I was ushered into Bro. Thomas’ office, I saw a number of pharmacy employees preparing huge boxes of supplies destined for Ukraine. Many of the medical supplies and other goods were brought by Vatican and Roman Curia employees on Monday to a large collection site just outside the Governorate building in Vatican City.

Just a few of the packed boxes that remained as I was leaving the pharmacy –

The 70 employees include pharmacists and personnel in the profumeria who work in two shifts, as well as those that work in administration, the storage rooms, labs and those who receive, catalogue and store new supplies.

Products range from thousands of prescription medicines to over-the-counter (OTC) items such as aspirin, cough medicine and throat lozenges to first aid products to vitamins and baby food – the list seems endless. A separate part of the pharmacy is the profumeria.

Brother Thomas explains that the pharmacy is visited by about 2,000 or more people daily, slightly less during Covid. That number includes Vatican employees who have Vatican health care insurance and outsiders who can visit the pharmacy with a legitimate medical prescription. Vatican employees enter Vatican City with their personal ID but visitors must first go to an office near the gendarmes to get a pass by showing personal ID and a medical prescription.

The newly re-furbished premises are quite large, much bigger than what strikes the human eye when buying a product in the pharmacy or in the separate profumeria and cosmetic section.

I visited a large number of rooms on several floors with Bro. Thomas – numerous storage rooms, a refrigerator room, a laboratory and a room for personnel breaks for coffee, etc. Electronics are everywhere. I’m sure it would not take more than two minutes to find a product anywhere on the premises! The pharmacy not only lives in the present – it is very avant-garde. 

This hand-held device, for example, allows the pharmacy to know the exact number remaining of specific items on storage room shelves.

As you can see here, the pharmacy, in business since 1874, also produces its own brand of perfumes and colognes for men and women, soap and other products.

 

And now, the real surprise!   The Vatican pharmacy uses robots to get medicine to the pharmacists!

Clients take a number to enter the pharmacy, then go to a specific counter and present the pharmacist with a prescription. The pharmacist puts that info into a computer and, what seems like no more than a minute, the needed medicine – having been picked from a storage shelf by the unseen robot – slides down a spiral chute and is in the pharmacist’s hands!

Here are some photos of the “robot” area. There are 3 laptop “robots” that get and forward the orders, the long arm of the “robot” that picks the product from the long rows of shelves. the 6 delivery chutes are located behind the pharmacists in the public part of the pharmacy.

All this and more on “Vatican Insider”

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: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

A REAL ROMAN ADVENTURE: A TESLA TAXI

I called a taxi after an interview yesterday at Regina Apostolorum, a beautiful place in a country setting and bit of a distance from my home and office. When I got in the car and saw how beautiful and spacious it was, I asked the driver what it was and he asked me to guess, noting it is a well-known brand, even if owned only by a small number of people. For some reason I immediately guessed Tesla!

Well, the next 20 or so minutes were a revelation. The car is totally electric, no dashboard, just a big tablet that controls everything. There was even a moment when the driver, hands off, left the driving to the car – it was fascinating! Anything you can do in a normal car, you can do in a Tesla – you just touch the screen. You can listen to music and even view films – but you can only do movies when the car is parked.

I had lots of questions and he explained everything. I asked how he charged it and he showed me a map of Tesla charge spots. The Tesla spots charge faster than non-Tesla charge ones. He said he could do it at home but it would take a lot longer. It costs about 28€ to get the motor to 100% – gas would be about 60 or more Euro.  He also told me that insurance was a lot cheaper for a Tesla.

There are six cameras on the car and they capture front, back and the sides (front side, rear side, etc). Several times as he drove, the car slowed down because we were nearing a bus or another car but it was the Tesla computer that slowed the car, not the driver.

I don’t know how many of you reading this have ever been in a Tesla but for me, yesterday was a terrific ride and a fascinating conversation. I sound like a salesperson but it was a fun 20 minutes! I really don’t need a lot to make me happy!

 

VATICAN INSIDER: THE LENTEN STATION CHURCHES OF ROME

Some pretty surprising numbers in this piece on Italy and the Ukraine refugee crisis:  How is Italy responding to the Ukraine refugee crisis? (thelocal.it). I will follow this news and update reports as refugee arrivals continue to grow and welcome centers sponsored by churches, Caritas, the Sant’Egidio community and dozens of others step up to meet this crisis.

VATICAN INSIDER: THE LENTEN STATION CHURCHES OF ROME

On this first weekend of March – and of Lent – in what is normally the interview segment, I offer a mini-pilgrimage of sorts as we visit some of the Lenten Station churches in Rome, very special churches that tell a beautiful story over the 40 days of Lent, a story found only in Rome.

The first station church, as you will learn, is the Dominican basilica of Santa Sabina on Ash Wednesday:

file photo with Pope Francis:

The final station church, where Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday of Holy Week, is St. Mary Major:

There is a special side to this story for English-speaking Catholics as you will discover when you listen to this Special report. So, tune in to that after the weekly news update and the Q&A.

In the Q&A, by the way, I explain the original of papal and Roman Curia retreats. It’s timely because, in fact, Pope Francis and ranking members of the Roman Curia start their annual Lenten retreat this coming Sunday, They will not be together as has happened most years since 2014 when Pope Francis started retreats at a religious house in Ariccia, not far from Rome. In recent years, Covid issues persuaded the Pope to ask Roman Curia leaders to organize their own personal retreats, as he is doing.

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: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.