Pope Francis departs Sunday for a three-day trip to Bulgaria and North Macedonia. You will be able to follow much of that trip on EWTN’s televised coverage as well as consulting the Vatican media website. Cardinal Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin spoke about that trip to Vaticannews (see below).
As you may know from reports I have done, 6 of the 12 apostles are buried in Rome: Peter, Simon, Jude, (these first three are all in St. Peter’s Basilica!) James the Lesser, Philip and Bartholomew.
Today is the feast day of Saints James and Philip whose remains are in the beautiful church known as Santissimi Apostoli – Most Holy Apostles – just yards from Rome’s famed Piazza Venezia. Run by the Friars Minor Conventual, this church dates from the 6th century. Dedicated originally to St. James and St. Philip, it is now dedicated to all the Apostles and its full name is Santi 12 Apostoli.
St. James the Lesser (we also have St. James the Greater, of course, in Santiago di Compostela, Spain) served as the first bishop of Jerusalem and was martyred there. Thrown from the roof of the temple but still alive, his enemies chose to stone him to death. Tradition says he was buried on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem, the city whose shepherd he had been.
As to St. Philip, tradition says that about the year 80 he was arrested in Hieropolis, nailed by his feet to a tree, upside down, just like St. Peter, and finally beheaded. His grave for centuries was the focus of Christian pilgrimages. In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian II moved his relics to Constantinople and, through various iterations, they came to the catacombs in Rome and then to the Church of the Twelve Apostles.
VATICAN INSIDER TAKES YOU TO THE VIA LUCIS
In place of the usual intervew segment this week on Vatican Insider, I have prepared a special on the Via Lucis, a very beautiful post-Easter tradition that not enough people know about.
The Way of the Cross, the Via Crucis, follows the course of Jesus’ passion, death, and burial; it is observed, as we all know, by the devotion to the Stations of the Cross, a collection of 14 images found in virtually all Catholic churches.
The Way of Light,Via Lucis – also known as the Stations of the Resurrection – celebrates the most joyful time in the Christian liturgical year, the 50 days from Easter (the Resurrection) to Pentecost (descent of the Holy Spirit).
Via Lucis – First Station
The Via Lucis is a wonderful tradition and I explain its history and take you through the Stations.
IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)
CARDINAL PAROLIN: POPE BRINGS PEACE, UNITY TO BULGARIA & NORTH MACEDONIA
The Vatican’s Cardinal Secretary of State looks ahead to Pope Francis’ 29th Apostolic Journey abroad, which takes him to Bulgaria and to North Macedonia from 5 to 7 May.
By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)
During Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to the Balkan nations of Bulgaria and North Macedonia, Cardinal Pietro Parolin says the Pope will be highlighting “that which unites”.
Speaking to Vatican News on the eve of the Pope’s departure, Cardinal Parolin pointed to the logo and motto of the trip to Bulgaria, which is “Pacem in Terris” – Peace on Earth – the title of an encyclical by Pope St. John XXIII, the first visitor and Apostolic Delegate to the country.
“The Pope will be a bearer of peace, a witness to the Risen Christ,” the Cardinal explained, and since we are in Easter time, we remember the apparitions of the Risen Jesus to his disciples when his first greeting was “Peace be with you. Peace I leave you; my peace give you”.
Parolin added that the theme of peace, which was central to John XXIII’s pontificate, will be built upon by Pope Francis with those attitudes of which John XXIII was a witness: “the search for friendship, gentleness, amiability, encounter with the other,” and the capacity to highlight what unites more than what divides.
“These great features of the figure and the Pontificate of John XXIII had already emerged at the time when he was Papal Nuncio in Bulgaria; I believe that it is along these lines that the contribution of Pope Francis during this journey will be placed,” he said.
With an eye to the Pope’s schedule in Bulgaria that lists a moment of prayer before the Throne of Saints Cyril and Methodius, a meeting with representatives of different religious denominations, and a visit to Patriarch Neophyte – the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church – the Cardinal noted that the visit shines the spotlight on some particularly significant figures of the present and past, such as those of the two Saints: the brothers Cyril and Methodius.
They were saints of the Church of the first millennium, the Cardinal said, a Church that was still undivided but where tensions were already being experienced and which would ultimately lead to fracture and division.
The witness they provide in their search for unity, in their desire to evangelize new peoples using new methods and new languages, Parolin said, adds meaning to the Pope’s encounter with the people of Bulgaria that is to take place in a dimension of ecumenical fraternity, “recognizing each other as brothers in the one Lord”, and at the same time striving to overcome the divisions and the tensions that still exist.
It speaks, he said, of the desire to pursue the Christian mission to bring the Gospel to the world, certain that the effect of this evangelization will be all the more profound and incisive the more united we are, proclaiming together the Word of salvation that the Lord has entrusted to us.
Migrants and refugees
Pope Francis is also scheduled to visit a refugee camp during his journey. Cardinal Parolin recalled the four verbs chosen by the Pope in calling for solidarity and action regarding migrants and refugees: “Welcome, Protect, Promote and Integrate”.
He pointed out that Pope Francis carries forward this teaching with concrete gestures and never tires of bearing witness to this important issue during almost all of his journeys and in many other situations and occasions as well.
“Here, too, he wants to underline this aspect, taking into account that protecting also means defending and protecting the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters who find themselves in a situation of vulnerability and often of marginalization,” he said.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
In North Macedonia, the Pope will visit the city of Skopje, birthplace of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, focusing attention on the poor.
Together with John XXIII and Saints Cyril and Methodius, Cardinal Parolin said Mother Teresa is clearly a dominant figure of this journey.
“When I was in Macedonia a few years ago, I was able to see how much affection and devotion there is towards Mother Teresa. Naturally, this attention towards the poor, the marginalized, towards those who find themselves in need, translates into something very concrete,” he said.
Mother Teresa, he recalled, compared herself to “just a drop in the ocean, noting however, the ocean would be less because of that missing drop”.
Cardinal Parolin said the Pope is bound to make that teaching his own and insist on asking the faithful to put charity into action.
Challenges and opportunities
“I believe”, Cardinal Parolin said, “there are no challenges, but opportunities in this journey”, especially taking into account the geographical and historical reality of Bulgaria, which, he said, is a crossroads of meetings and peoples, and the multi-ethnic and multi-religious society in North Macedonia.
Once again, he concluded, it is an occasion to launch the theme of the culture of encounter and of the mutual richness provided by diversity.