VATICAN INSIDER MEETS THE INSPIRATION FOR WORLD DAY OF GRANDPARENTS – JULY 30: FEAST DAY OF BLESSED SOLANUS CASEY

Where on earth has July gone?! So hard to believe this Sunday is August 1st! Because the Holy Father is still convalescing from his July 4 surgery, it was fairly quiet in the Vatican this week except for Sunday’s Mass for the First World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, and an unprecedented trial that began in the Vatican on Tuesday.

For Pope Francis, July is traditionally the month in which he takes a kind of working vacation, remaining in the Vatican but reducing public appearances to the Sunday Angelus. He sends the occasional telegram or message to a group but in-person meetings are reduced to the minimum.

Today, for example, the Holy Father sent a telegram of condolences for the death on Thursday in Rome of French Jesuit Cardinal Albert Vanhoye. Vanhoye had turned 98 on July 24. An eminent biblical scholar, the cardinal was rector emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and former secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. He led the 2008 Lenten Retreat for the Curia. The cardinal’s funeral in St. Peter’s Basilica is Saturday, July 31.

VATICAN INSIDER MEETS THE INSPIRATION FOR WORLD DAY OF GRANDPARENTS

I had the great joy of interviewing two dear friends, a dynamic duo – Catherine Wiley and Marilyn Henry – this week to talk about the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. Catherine founded the Catholic Grandparents Association in the UK and Marilyn Henry coordinates CGA in the U.S. Grandmothers themselves, they tell us the riveting tale of how CGA came about and how a lot of work by Catherine over 12 years led to this new World Day! You will be very inspired by their remarkable story!

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 serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

JULY 30: FEAST DAY OF BLESSED SOLANUS CASEY

(Franciscanmedia.org: Blessed Solanus Casey’s Story (November 25, 1875 – July 31, 1957) – a story I really had to share as it is so inspirational!)

Barney Casey became one of Detroit’s best-known priests even though he was not allowed to preach formally or to hear confessions!

Barney came from a large family in Oak Grove, Wisconsin. At the age of 21, and after he had worked as a logger, a hospital orderly, a streetcar operator, and a prison guard, he entered St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee—where he found the studies difficult. He left there, and in 1896, joined the Capuchins in Detroit, taking the name Solanus. His studies for the priesthood were again arduous.

On July 24, 1904, Solanus was ordained, but because his knowledge of theology was judged to be weak, he was not given permission to hear confessions or to preach. A Franciscan Capuchin who knew him well said this annoying restriction “brought forth in him a greatness and a holiness that might never have been realized in any other way.”

Photo from Solanus Casey Center

During his 14 years as porter and sacristan in Yonkers, New York, the people there recognized Solanus as a fine speaker. James Derum, his biographer writes, “For, though he was forbidden to deliver doctrinal sermons, he could give inspirational talks, or feverinos, as the Capuchins termed them.” His spiritual fire deeply impressed his listeners.

Father Solanus served at parishes in Manhattan and Harlem before returning to Detroit, where he was porter and sacristan for 20 years at St. Bonaventure Monastery. Every Wednesday afternoon he conducted well-attended services for the sick. A co-worker estimates that on the average day 150 to 200 people came to see Father Solanus in the front office. Most of them came to receive his blessing; 40 to 50 came for consultation. Many people considered him instrumental in cures and other blessings they received.

Father Solanus’ sense of God’s providence inspired many of his visitors. “Blessed be God in all his designs” was one of his favorite expressions.

The many friends of Father Solanus helped the Capuchins begin a soup kitchen during the Depression. Capuchins are still feeding the hungry there today.

In failing health, Solanus was transferred to the Capuchin novitiate in Huntington, Indiana, in 1946,  where he lived for ten years until needing to be hospitalized in Detroit. Father Solanus died on July 31, 1957. An estimated 20,000 people passed by his coffin before his burial in St. Bonaventure Church in Detroit.

At the funeral Mass, the provincial Father Gerald said: “His was a life of service and love for people like me and you. When he was not himself sick, he nevertheless suffered with and for you that were sick. When he was not physically hungry, he hungered with people like you. He had a divine love for people. He loved people for what he could do for them—and for God, through them.”

In 1960, a Father Solanus Guild was formed in Detroit to aid Capuchin seminarians. By 1967, the guild had 5,000 members—many of them grateful recipients of his practical advice and his comforting assurance that God would not abandon them in their trials. Solanus Casey was declared Venerable in 1995, and beatified on November 18, 2017.

REFLECTION

His biographer James Patrick Derum writes that eventually Father Solanus was weary from bearing the burdens of the people who visited him. “Long since, he had come to know the Christ-taught truth that pure love of God and one’s fellowmen as children of God are in the final event all that matter. Living this truth ardently and continuously had made him, spiritually, a free man—free from slavery to passions, from self-seeking, from self-indulgence, from self-pity—free to serve wholly both God and man” (The Porter of St. Bonaventure’s, page 199).

 

VATICAN INSIDER: SPECIAL EDITION ON PAPAL MOTU TRADITIONIS CUSTODES – CHURCH TO MARK FIRST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY

L’Osservatore Romano in the weekly English edition: I’m not sure if this link will work because, as of July 1, the Vatican newspaper requires a paying subscription. I have paid but am not sure if it works if I merely post a link or if you will be asked to sign in. ING_2021_030_2307.pdf (osservatoreromano.va)

VATICAN INSIDER: SPECIAL EDITION ON PAPAL MOTU TRADITIONIS CUSTODES

Because of the repercussions heard around the world since the July 16th release by the Vatican of Pope Francis’ Motu proprio TRADITIONIS CUSTODES On the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970, I am dedicating the interview segment of Vatican Insider to a Special about this papal document. I will try to examine the whys and wherefores of TRADITIONIS CUSTODES – which is Latin for Guardians of Tradition – and look at its reception.

As you probably know by now, the motu proprio was accompanied by a lengthy letter to the world’s bishops in which the Pope explained the reasons behind his decision to abrogate previous norms for the Latin Mass. I will look at both the motu and the papal letter to bishops and then examine some of the questions that have arisen since the papal document’s publication.

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 serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

CHURCH TO MARK FIRST WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY

This Sunday the Vatican will inaugurate the very first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, a day that Pope Francis established at the end of January this year. He will not, however, be presiding at Sunday’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica as he continues to recover from his July 4 surgery in a Rome hospital for diverticular stenosis of the colon. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, will celebrate the July 25th World Day Mass.

Princess Leonore, held by Sweden’s Queen Silvia, gives a papal key chain to Pope Francis during her grandmother’s private audience with Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican in this April 27, 2015, file photo. The pope has chosen the theme, “I am with you always,” for the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated July 25, 2021. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis selected the fourth Sunday of July for this annual celebration as the nearest date to the July 26 feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents. The theme of this first World Day is “I am with you always.”

VATICAN INSIDER: A NEW PRIEST AND HIS CALL TO SERVE (PART II) – POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ – VATICAN NEWSPAPER REQUIRES PAYING SUBSCRIPTION – 50 YEARS AGO: THE PAUL VI HALL WAS INAUGURATED

I want to wish all of my fellow Americans, but especially my family and friends, a wonderful, happy, healthy, fun-filled, celebratory Fourth of July! May July 4th be whatever you want it to be – laid back and restful or filled with family and fun and games galore.

Most of all, may July 4th be a moment to remember the faith and the values of our nation’s founding fathers and the reasons for which the United States of America was formed those many years ago! Perhaps you can make time to read the Declaration of Independence – and if you have children, read it to them!

VATICAN INSIDER: A NEW PRIEST AND HIS CALL TO SERVE (PART II)

Welcome back to Part II of my conversation with Fr. Ryan Brady, a good friend and newly ordained priest for the archdiocese of Chicago. I was at Holy Name Cathedral for his ordination on that beautiful day, May 15, 2021. Ryan tells us his story – how he felt called to be a priest, the difference that having a vocation call later in life can make a difference, the importance of the family in a vocation, and some of the experiences and ministries that are part and parcel of training for the priesthood.

He also tells us about the Rome Experience, a program that brought him to the Eternal City for a month with 20 seminarians and several other priests. Ryan is on his flight home to Chicago and his new parish (parishes!) of St. Linus and Our Lady of the Ridge as I write.

Both of us ask that you pray every day for priests and for vocations to the priesthood.

Ryan is next to me at my birthday celebrations two days ago. And we’ve also shared some meals at Homebaked!

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 serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

POPE FRANCIS RECEIVES PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ

Pope Francis today received in audience Mustafa Al Kadhimi, prime minister of the Republic of Iraq, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States. (vatican media photo)

The Holy See Press office issued a communiqué on the meeting, noting that “during the cordial talks, Pope Francis’ historic visit to Iraq and the moments of unity experienced by the Iraqi people were evoked, and the importance of promoting a culture of national dialogue to foster stability and the process of reconstruction of the country was discussed.”

It said, “the parties went on to highlight the importance of protecting the historical presence of Christians in the country with adequate legal measures, and the significant contribution they can make to the common good, highlighting the need to guarantee them the same rights and duties as other citizens.”!

As they completed their talks, “attention turned to the regional situation, noting the efforts made by the country, with the support of the international community, to re-establish a climate of trust and peaceful coexistence.”

Pope Francis visited Iraq from March 5 to 8.

VATICAN NEWSPAPER REQUIRES PAYING SUBSCRIPTION

This is my English translation of a tweet yesterday from the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano:

“Dear Reader, As of July 1, reading L’Osservatore Romano in all its editions will be reserved for subscribers only. Subscribing to the digital version by 30 September you can take advantage of the promotional price of € 20 per year. For information: Abbonamenti – L’Osservatore Romano” (By the way, the price doubles on October 1)

The paper edition of L’Osservatore Romano, which yesterday turned 160, costs €450 annually for subscribers living in the Vatican or Italy. All other countries must contact the Vatican at info.or@spc.va.

And here is the link I post every Friday to the week’s L’Osservatore Romano in English: ING_2021_027_0207.pdf (osservatoreromano.va)

The following message accompanied today’s email digital copy of the newspaper:

Dear Reader,

Beginning this 1 July, all editions of L’Osservatore Romano will be available for reading by subscription only.

Subscribe by 30 September to receive the promotional yearly price of €20.

click here to subscribe

We inform you that until July the 15th, access will be available to All

Kind Regards,
Editor-in-Chief of L’Osservatore Romano

Andrea Monda

50 YEARS AGO: THE PAUL VI HALL WAS INAUGURATED

The Paul VI Hall has seen millions of visitors received by five different Popes over the last 50 years. Here is a photo gallery, recalling some of the events with some of those Popes. 50 years ago: the inauguration of the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican – Vatican News

Vatican News

Wednesday, June 30, 1971, with the first general audience in the Vatican’s new hall, Pope Paul VI inaugurated the so-called “Aula Nervi” designed and built by architect Pier Luigi Nervi.

In his speech, which became at times a lively conversation with the faithful who packed the new hall, Paul VI explained the reasons for having commissioned it by saying it is “now part of the mission of the Roman Pontificate” as he highlighted the importance of the Wednesday appointment with the faithful from all over the world.

Over the last 50 years, the Paul VI Hall has seen five different Popes and welcomed millions of pilgrims. It has been used for many different events, becoming a dining room where Rome’s homeless have shared meals with the Pope on special occasions and the venue for the Synod of Bishops. Through the years it has provided the perfect space for thousands of Wednesday General Audiences in the winter months, and most recently, the Hall has even become a Covid-19 vaccination centre for Vatican employees and for those in need.

 

VATICAN INSIDER: A NEW PRIEST AND HIS CALL TO THE PRIESTHOOD

VATICAN INSIDER: A NEW PRIEST AND HIS CALL TO THE PRIESTHOOD

My guest this week is Fr. Ryan Brady, a good friend and newly ordained priest for the archdiocese of Chicago. I was at Holy Name Cathedral for his ordination on that beautiful day, May 15, 2021. Ryan will tell us about his call to be a priest, the difference that having a vocation call later in life can make, the importance of the family in a vocation, and some of the experiences and ministries that are part and parcel of training for the priesthood, such as spending months as a hospital chaplain.

He’ll also explain how our lives became intertwined. It’s a story you might have read – A Chalice Goes Home – on my blog! Be sure to stay tuned for our conversation (Part I of two parts).

And by the way, pray every day for priests and for vocations to the priesthood.

Ordination Day

After Fr. Brady’s First Mass (I was a lector and in the sanctuary and did not take any photos – his folks will be sending me some pix)

Mass at St. Patrick’s in Rome

Breaking bread in Rome

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 serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

 

VATICAN INSIDER: FR. MATT BERRIOS AND THE PONTIFICAL ORIENTAL INSTITUTE

A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That….

English weekly edition of L’Osservatore Romano: ING_2021_025_1806.pdf (osservatoreromano.va)

The following was in my inbox today – the daily PAUSE AND PRAY reflection I get from Franciscan media. I was especially struck by ACT!

REFLECT

Gratitude is a spiritual practice that changes our littleness into abundance. It changes how we see our lives, situations, and experiences. We can always find something to be grateful for, even when life is hard or less than ideal.

PRAY

Dear Jesus,
take all that is in me
and pour it out in a sacrifice of gratitude.
Teach me that gratitude is a way
to always come close to and experience your presence.
Practicing gratitude is an opportunity
to name all the ways you love and bless me in my life. Amen.

ACT

Set a timer for five or ten minutes. Begin to count and name all your blessings, all the things for which you are grateful; all the ways that God loves and cares for you.

Among my countless blessings, at the top of a long list, is my Dad, whom I remember with great love and cherished memories every Father’s Day, and hundreds of times in between! He and all Fathers will be in my prayers this weekend.

I paid tribute to him in this edition of At Home – go to the bottom 6 or so minutes: At Home with Jim and Joy – 2021-06-14 – Jim and Joy Call-in Show – YouTube

VATICAN INSIDER: FR. MATT BERRIOS AND THE PONTIFICAL ORIENTAL INSTITUTE

My guest this week in the interview is Paulist Fr. Matt Berrios. The Paulist Fathers have been in Rome 99 years, administering to the Catholic American community and other English-language Catholic residents or visitors. We now have two Paulist priests at St. Patrick’s – Fathers Steve Petroff, the rector and Joe Ciccone, vice rector – but a third Paulist is here, Fr. Matt. Ordained at the Paulist-run church of St. Paul the Apostle, in New York City on May 20, 2017, Fr. Matt served there as associate pastor until July 2020 when he moved to Rome to pursue advanced studies at the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

Also known as the Orientale, the Italian acronym is PIO. And that is what Fr. Matt will talk about this weekend – what are the Oriental Churches? What studies is he pursuing? What courses does the PIO offer? And much more.

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 serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

VATICAN INSIDER OFFERS A TRIVIAL PURSUIT WEEKEND – CARDINAL PAROLIN IN BEIRUT: ENTIRE CHURCH STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH LEBANON

Link to weekly edition of L’Osservatore Romano in English:

https://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/pdfreader.html/ing/2020/09/ING_2020_036_0409.pdf.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewsletterOR-EN

Today is the day of prayer and fasting that Pope Francis urged us to make for the Country of Lebanon and the city of Beirut that, as you know, still suffers enormously from an explosion that occurred at the seaport a month ago. Francis sent Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to Beirut to show his love and closeness and support of the Lebanese people, especially those killed or wounded. Below is a Vatican report of that visit.

This is a city I know and love very much and where I have friends and I’ve accompanied the cardinal in my thoughts and prayers.

Today also marks the 4th anniversary of the canonization of Saint Teresa of Calcutta – Mother Teresa. Vatican news interviewed the postulator of her cause and you can follow that story here: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2020-09/saint-mother-teresa-kolkata-annivesary-canonization.html

VATICAN INSIDER OFFERS A TRIVIAL PURSUIT WEEKEND

This week on Vatican Insider, after an overview of the news stories this week in the Vatican and a Q&A on cremation and burial, I look at some topics that have surface in emails I’ve received over time. I answer questions about the patron saint of television (who and why?), the statue of St. Peter in the basilica named for him, why Popes wear white (who started that?), Rome’s most visited nativity scene and look at which is larger, the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica or that of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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)

CARDINAL PAROLIN IN BEIRUT: ENTIRE CHURCH STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH LEBANON

Following the Pope’s invitation for a universal day of prayer and fasting for Lebanon on Friday, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, expresses the Church’s closeness and solidarity with the nation, amid its economic and political crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent explosion in Beirut.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis, during the Wednesday General Audience, called for a universal day of prayer and fasting on Friday for Lebanon, in the aftermath of the deadly 4 August explosion at the Beirut port, as well as the ongoing economic and political crisis in the country.

The Pope also announced he would send Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to Lebanon as his representative “to be present with its people” and to express his “solidarity and spiritual closeness.”

Ahead of the day of prayer, Cardinal Parolin met Thursday with the Lebanese Bishops, representatives of different religious communities, and humanitarian organizations at the St. George Maronite Cathedral in Beirut.

Solidarity with Lebanon
Addressing the religious leaders during the meeting, Cardinal Parolin explained that his visit was “to express the nearness of the Catholic Church throughout the world.”

He pointed out that the Pope’s appeal for a day of prayer generated immediate responses from all over the world. “You are not alone!” he said, assuring Lebanon’s leaders.

He also called on the nation’s political leaders, urging them to “foster the talents of young people and their aspirations for peace and a better future,” adding that only together can we “defeat all forms of authoritarianism by promoting inclusive citizenship based on the respect of fundamental rights and duties.”

“Our suffering can help us purify our intentions and strengthen our resolve to live together in peace and dignity, to strive for a better governance that favors responsibility, transparency and accountability,” he said.

Pointing out the unique value of Lebanon – a part of the Holy Land that was visited by Jesus, His Apostles, and Our Lady – Cardinal Parolin reminded the religious leaders that they have a “primary mission to give hope to an afflicted population, to honor and serve our brothers and sisters in humanity, starting with the most vulnerable.”

He concluded by encouraging the many “beautiful” examples of solidarity already happening all over Beirut, and appealed to the international community to not leave Lebanon alone, as the world “also needs the unique ongoing experiment of pluralism, living together in solidarity and freedom that is Lebanon.”

Find strength to set out again

At a Mass celebrated at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa, on the same day, Cardinal Parolin encouraged all Lebanese “to continue to hope and to find the strength and energy to set out again”, despite the economic, social and political crisis which has only been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic and the explosion in August.

Our Lady of Harissa –

The Vatican Secretary of State appealed that the reconstruction of the country should be done not only at the material level, but also in a way that fosters a new approach to the management of public affairs based on laws, transparency, collective responsibility and the common good.

Cardinal Parolin concluded his homily with Pope Francis’s words during the General Audience on Wednesday: “And now I ask you to entrust to Mary, Our Lady of Harissa, our anxieties and our hopes. May she support all those who mourn their loved ones and may she give courage to all those who have lost their homes and, with them, part of their lives! May she intercede before the Lord Jesus so that the Land of Cedars may blossom again and spread the fragrance of living together throughout the Middle East.”

VATICAN INSIDER: THE 7 HILLS OF ROME, COATS OF ARMS AND CANDLES AND ROME’S OLDEST BRIDGE – VATICAN MUSEUM DIRECTOR NAMED TO ADVISORY BOARD OF HERMITAGE MUSEUM – SAINT AUGUSTINE’S STORY

L’Osservatore Romano weekly English edition: https://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/pdfreader.html/ing/2020/08/ING_2020_035_2808.pdf.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewsletterOR-EN

If you are a mother (or know one) who has dedicated her prayer life to a child straying from all that is good and right in life, one who continually, as the expression goes, “pushes the envelope,” then the story of St. Monica and her son, St. Augustine, is for you! If you need to feel encouraged, if you are praying to experience even the slightest sensation of optimism, this is the story you need to know and reflect on.

Yesterday, as we know, was the memorial of St. Monica and today is the feast of her son. I’ve posted below the capsule version of St. Augustine’s life as told in their Saint of the Day column by franciscanmedia.org

VATICAN INSIDER: THE 7 HILLS OF ROME, COATS OF ARMS AND CANDLES AND ROME’S OLDEST BRIDGE

I’m looking forward to have you join me this weekend on Vatican Insider! Wherever you are as you listen, if you’ve decided to spend a brief moment with me this weekend, I think I have a fun offering for you in what is normally the interview segment.

I’ve called this segment INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW because I’m going to bring you some trivia – some little known, and often unusual facts about the Vatican – some fun stories about the 7 hills of Rome, the papal coat of arms, the Paschal candle, Vatican City State, the Vatican mosaic studio and the Bridge of Angels. I also call this “Inquiring Minds Want to Know” because so many people have written me in the past with questions and now is a good time to answer those questions, although I often try, when time allows, to personally answer those emails.

(A heads-up: There were hours of technical difficulties today as I was trying to record the News segment so, if by chance you notice an audio difference in that and my Special, it was due to different methods of recording. My EWTN colleagues in Alabama are very talented people so I know you’ll get the best audio possible!)

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 MUSEUM DIRECTOR NAMED TO ADVISORY BOARD OF HERMITAGE MUSEUM

In an email to members of the meeting who regularly receive “The Agenda of Barbara Jatta, Museum Director,” it was announced that, “Following her recent appointment as an official member of the Advisory Board of the State Hermitage Museum, today, Friday 28 August, the Director of the Vatican Museums Barbara Jatta will participate by videoconference in the annual meeting of the committee that, for the year 2020, will bring together the directors of the principal international museums in the city of Yekaterinburg (Urals), where one of the new satellite offices of the illustrious cultural institution of St. Petersburg will soon be inaugurated.

The meeting will be a precious moment of exchange and comparison to identify the most suitable strategies to face the critical issues of the museum sector in this particular historical moment.

SAINT AUGUSTINE’S STORY

(franciscanmedia.org) Saint Augustine of Hippo – Saint of the Day for August 28 (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430)

A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience.

There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures, redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love.

His tomb in Pavia, Italy –

Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent: politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism.

In his day, Augustine providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him/I will speak in his name no more/But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart/imprisoned in my bones/I grow weary holding it in/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9). https://www.franciscanmedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SODAug28.mp3

 

VATICAN INSIDER EXPLORES BELLS, FLAGS, BASILICA FLOOR MARKINGS AND MORE! – EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VATICAN BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK – ROME’S FIUMICINO AIRPORT TURNS 60

Weekly Vatican newspaper in English: https://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/pdfreader.html/ing/2020/08/ING_2020_034_2108.pdf.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewsletterOR-EN

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

VATICAN INSIDER EXPLORES BELLS, FLAGS, BASILICA FLOOR MARKINGS AND MORE!

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

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at 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)

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VATICAN BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK

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

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

Have fun! http://www.vatican.va/siti_va/index_va_en.htm

ROME’S FIUMICINO AIRPORT TURNS 60

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

VATICAN INSIDER GOES STAR GAZING – A ROME HOTEL AND A POLISH SAINT

In my August 12 column about the diaconate ordination that afternoon at Chicago’s Mundelien seminary, I posted my story about one of those seminarians, now Deacon Ryan Brady, to whom I had given a chalice that had been in our family. That blog was titled A CHALICE GOES HOME.  I neglected to say that WordPress – where I post my blog – leaves photos available only for a short period, no more than a few weeks, I believe. So the photos of that chalice did not appear in the re-posted story and I am so sorry!  By the by, if you counted 14  deacons, not 13 as I wrote, I learned this morning that a 14th seminarian was included at the last moment.

P.S: I hope you enjoy all the photos I’ve posted below of the Vatican Observatory at Castelgandolfo and those of the Kolbe Hotel in Rome named for the Polish saint whose we feast we celebrate today.

VATICAN INSIDER GOES STAR GAZING

When Popes spent the summer period at the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, one of the many hill towns or “castelli romani” southeast of Rome, they enjoyed cooler air, a slower pace of life and a view of lovely and placid Lake Albano that fills an old volcanic crater, and the beautiful sprawling hills which surround it.

The palace at Castelgandolfo also offers Popes another, more spectacular view, should they so wish – a view of the universe through the telescopes of the twin observatory towers atop the pontifical residence.

And this weekend, I’ve prepared a Special for “Vatican Insider” on the very special Vatican Observatory.

The Specola, as the Vatican Observatory is also called, is not only one of the most highly respected observatories in the world but is actually one of the oldest astronomical institutes, dating back to 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII formed a committee to look at the scientific data and ramifications involved in a reform of the calendar. One of the committee members, Fr. Christoph Clavius, a Jesuit mathematician from the Roman College, wrote books favoring this reform and, with some of his brother Jesuits interested in astronomy, confirmed studies done by Galileo.

I took these photos at the observatory at Castelgandolfo when the Jesuits – the order that has run the Observatory for over 100 years – invited journalists for a visit:

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)

A ROME HOTEL AND A POLISH SAINT

In January 2018, I spent an evening in the presence of two choirs that sang at the papal Mass on the Epiphany, principally the young people’s amazing choir of Christ Cathedral in Orange County, California, along with members of St. Anne’s choir from Laguna Niguel. I was invited to join them for dinner at a hotel I had heard of but never visited, the Kolbe Hotel.

The hotel was named for St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Conventual Franciscan Friar who died in the Auschwitz concentration during World War II. The Nazi prison guards chose 10 people to be put to death and prisoner 16670 Kolbe offered to take the place of a stranger. We commemorated his birthday on Monday, January 8.

The hotel premises are part of a structure built in 1625 that became a Franciscan monastery in 2012. Renovations started on the premises in 2007 and the result is what we see today, the Kolbe Hotel, part of which is still a Franciscan monastery.

Today is the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe and I’d like to pay tribute to this martyr for the faith by sharing some of the photos I took at the Hotel Kolbe that evening – the room he lived in and chapel where he prayed when he was at what was then the International College of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual , and a small museum dedicated to this Polish saint.

He was canonized in 1992 by a fellow Pole, Pope John Paul II.

https://www.kolbehotelrome.com/

 

VATICAN INSIDER: SOME TRIVIA AND FUN STORIES FROM THE VATICAN (PART II) – UNESCO “REGRETS” TURKISH DECISION ON HAGIA SOPHIA, A WORLD HERITAGE SITE – JULY 24, FEAST OF BELOVED LEBANESE SAINT CHARBEL MAKHLOUF

Click here for English edition of weekly L’Osservatore Romano: https://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/pdfreader.html/ing/2020/07/ING_2020_030_2407.pdf.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewsletterOR-EN

VATICAN INSIDER: SOME TRIVIA AND FUN STORIES FROM THE VATICAN (PART II)

Wherever you are as you listen to Vatican Insider this weekend, if you’ve decided to spend a brief moment with me, I think I have a fun offering for you in what is normally the interview segment.

I’ve called this Special “Inquiring Minds Want To Know” because I’m going to bring you some trivia – some little known, and often unusual facts about the Vatican, Popes or the Church. Join me for Part II as I look at who is the patron saint of television, the story of the statue of St. Peter in the basilica named for him and why Popes wear white. I’ll also look at who made one of the most visited nativity scenes in Rome and lastly, will tell you which has the biggest dome – St. Peter’s Basilica or the U.S. capitol?

Remember these stories might be a bit of trivia but they are not trivial!

UNESCO “REGRETS” TURKISH DECISION ON HAGIA SOPHIA, A WORLD HERITAGE SITE

There could be an interesting twist in Turkey’s July 10 decision to turn the once Christian basilica-then mosque-then museum of Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. In 1934, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, turned Hagia Sophia into a museum, which later became a UNESCO world heritage site. It was Turkey’s current president Erdogan who announce the recent change on July 10. Reaction against the change poured in, not only from many Turks but from around the world and one of the strongest voices was that of UNECSO.

Two things in particular struck me and I have contacted UNESCO but do not have an answer as I write:

1. “This decision announced today raises the issue of the impact of this change of status on the property’s universal value. States have an obligation to ensure that modifications do not affect the Outstanding Universal Value of inscribed sites on their territories.”

2. “UNESCO calls upon the Turkish authorities to initiate dialogue without delay, in order to prevent any detrimental effect on the universal value of this exceptional heritage, the state of conservation of which will be examined by the World Heritage Committee at its next session.”

Both of these imply some possible change in the monetary aspect of being a World Heritage site, such as monies earmarked for restoration, etc.

Hagia Sophia re-opened today for Muslim prayer. Today’s date was important as July 24, 1923 marks the date that Allied powers and Turkey signed the Treaty of Lausanne that ended the Ottoman Empire and signaled the start of the Republic of Turkey. An estimated 7,000 police closed off and policed a large portion of Istanbul adjacent to Hagia Sophia. Those who could not get inside brought their own prayer rugs and prayed outside in the adjacent garden area. An estimated 1,000 faithful prayed inside, including President Erdogan.

Following is the complete statement from the UNESCO website:

Hagia Sophia: UNESCO deeply regrets the decision of the Turkish authorities, made without prior discussion, and calls for the universal value of World Heritage to be preserved.

Paris, Friday 10 July – The Director-General of UNESCO deeply regrets the decision of the Turkish authorities, made without prior discussion, to change the status of Hagia Sophia. This evening, she shared her serious concerns with the Ambassador of Turkey to UNESCO.

Hagia Sophia is part of the Historic Areas of Istanbul, a property inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. “Hagia Sophia is an architectural masterpiece and a unique testimony to interactions between Europe and Asia over the centuries. Its status as a museum reflects the universal nature of its heritage, and makes it a powerful symbol for dialogue,” said Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

This decision announced today raises the issue of the impact of this change of status on the property’s universal value. States have an obligation to ensure that modifications do not affect the Outstanding Universal Value of inscribed sites on their territories. UNESCO must be given prior notice of any such modifications, which, if necessary, are then examined by the World Heritage Committee.

UNESCO also recalls that the effective, inclusive and equitable participation of communities and other stakeholders concerned by the property is necessary to preserve this heritage and highlight its uniqueness and significance. The purpose of this requirement is to protect and transmit the Outstanding Universal Value of heritage, and it is inherent to the spirit of the World Heritage Convention.

These concerns were shared with the Republic of Turkey in several letters, and again yesterday evening with the representative of the Turkish Delegation to UNESCO. It is regrettable that the Turkish decision was made without any form of dialogue or prior notice. UNESCO calls upon the Turkish authorities to initiate dialogue without delay, in order to prevent any detrimental effect on the universal value of this exceptional heritage, the state of conservation of which will be examined by the World Heritage Committee at its next session.

“It is important to avoid any implementing measure, without prior discussion with UNESCO, that would affect physical access to the site, the structure of the buildings, the site’s moveable property, or the site’s management,” stressed Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture. Such measures could constitute breaches of the rules derived from the 1972 World Heritage Convention. (https://en.unesco.org/news/unesco-statement-hagia-sophia-istanbul)

JULY 24, FEAST OF BELOVED LEBANESE SAINT CHARBEL MAKHLOUF

On one of my visits to Lebanon, a very good friend took me to Saint Maroun Monastery in Annaya, the shrine of St. Charbel, perhaps the most beloved of Lebanon’s saints, beloved by both Christians and Muslims. We spent an afternoon and early evening exploring the Monastery of St. Maroun, the hermitage and small museum and also attended Mass in a church built in 1840. Our final moments were at the tomb of the saint that, since 1952, has been in a cave-like structure.

Thousands and thousands of medically-verified miraculous healings have been attributed to St. Charbel’s intercession. For the past 70 years, since the healings have been recorded, more than 29,00 such cases have been archived.

Charbel, a Catholic Maronite monk and priest renown for his holiness, lived from May 8, 1828 to December 24, 1898. for several decades after his death, his body was incorrupt. Though his body is no longer incorrupt, his tomb is one of several in the world that has oil exuding from it, said to have miraculous healing as attested to by many witnesses.

I have a small bottle of that oil – still unopened – from that visit.

Here are some photos I took on that afternoon visit. The shrine is well above sea level and it was cold as we were on our mini pilgrimage.