VATICAN INSIDER GOES BEHIND THE SCENES: THE MAKING OF A PAPAL TRIP – CASTELGANDOLFO: FOR ST. JOHN PAUL IT WAS “VATICAN TWO” – CASTELGANDOLFO: HISTORY, BEAUTY, AND PEACE MAKE IT A HOME FOR POPES

I leave tomorrow to spend some vacation time in Illinois and California with family, especially nieces and nephews whom I’ve not seen in a while! Then I’m off to Hawaii for time with my ohana, the Hawaiian word for family – and family here encompasses just about everyone you know!

I also have a very special reason this year for being in Hawaii! I am an official member of the Diocesan Guild for the Cause of Canonization of Joseph Dutton! Joseph worked alongside St. Damien and St. Marianne on Molokai’s peninsula of Kalaupapa where thousands of victims of leprosy were exiled for decades and decades. Joseph was there for exactly half of his 88 years on earth. His was an amazing life and is an amazing story and hopefully I’ll find a bit of time, even while on vacation, to tell you about Joseph.

Fr. Damien told him one day, “You are like a brother to everyone here and that is what In will call you, Brother Joseph.” And that is how we refer to him – Brother Joseph Dutton!

Obviously I’m quite excited, as is anyone leaving on vacation, just knowing I will have some time to relax, no deadlines to meet, few alarm clocks, no set daily schedule. I admit it usually takes me a few days to remember that I don’t have a deadline for a TV spot or the radio programs I have each week or for posting a daily blog and adding news and photos to Facebook and Youtube. I do, however, hope to have some surprises from Hawaii.

My weekend radio show, Vatican Insider will not be on vacation, however. For this weekend I’ve prepared a special on the behind-the-scenes preparations of a papal trip. As you know, Pope Francis will be in Ireland this weekend for the World Meeting of Families. My great colleagues at EWTN Radio will be preparing “The Best Of” Vatican Insider for the weekends I am away.

In my absence I leave you with a special column and photos of Castelgandolfo, photos I took on a perfect July day a number of years ago when I had a lovely visit to the papal palace and gardens. I have posted this before but for some of you it may be the first time.

However, don’t forget to check in with me on FACEBOOK (https://www.facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420) and YOUTUBE (https://www.youtube.com/user/joansrome) as I will be posting photos and videos, and perhaps even some news. So stay tuned!

VATICAN INSIDER GOES BEHIND THE SCENES: THE MAKING OF A PAPAL TRIP

Learn what goes into the multi-layer preparations of an international papal trip – you’ll better understand Pope Francis’ trip this weekend to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families and all the behind-the-scenes work!

To listen to last weekend’s Special on VI – Inquiring Minds Want to Know – click here: https://soundcloud.com/ewtn-radio/vatican-insider-with-joan-lewis-special-inquiring-minds-part-ii

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)

CASTELGANDOLFO: FOR ST. JOHN PAUL IT WAS “VATICAN TWO”

For your special enjoyment I leave you today with a “Joan’s Rome” travelblogue©. We will visit the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo where Popes John Paul and Benedict vacationed for years but which now is fairly deserted as Pope Francis prefers staying at the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, Much of the apostolic palace is now (sadly, as far as I am concerned!) a museum!

Castelgandolfo is a lovely town in a beautiful part of Italy, and I have had the incredible good fortune to have visited the papal palace on quite a number of occasions.

The first extended visit was a number of years ago when I was welcomed by the then director of papal villas, Saverio Petrillo, whose book on the papal palace I used to write this story, along with much information he gave me as we spent an afternoon strolling the grounds, the gardens and the pontifical farm!

On several other occasions I spent an entire day in the palace when it hosted the offices, library and classrooms of the papal observatory and offered summer courses in astronomy. Those offices have been transferred to a new location on the papal property but the telescopes are still in the palace – asd you will see in one photo.

I hope you enjoy this! Have a great summer, stay well and safe travels.

Above all, may God sit on your shoulder!|

CASTELGANDOLFO: HISTORY, BEAUTY, AND PEACE MAKE IT A HOME FOR POPES

Roman Pontiffs have spent summers here for centuries, enjoying stupendous panoramas and a climate that is far cooler than Rome’s, which can be quite torrid in July and August. Pope John Paul affectionately called it “Vatican Number Two.”

I am talking, of course, about the summer papal residence at Castelgandolfo that has a long and colorful history and possesses beauty to rival that of the apostolic palace and gardens in Rome.

Pope Benedict, shortly after his arrival one summer at the Pontifical Villa in Castelgandolfo, said; “Thank you, and good evening to you all, dear friends. I have arrived here to begin my holidays. Here I have everything: the mountain, the lake, … a beautiful church with a recently restored facade and good people. I am so happy to be here. Let us hope the Lord grants us a peaceful holiday. My heartfelt blessing to you all! May Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless you. Good evening and thank you.”

Castelgandolfo is one of a number of small towns located on beautiful sprawling hills that surround and overlook Lake Albano, about a half hour drive southeast of Rome. The lake, which fills an old volcanic crater, is 961 feet above sea level. Fed by underground sources and drained by an artificial outlet, said to have been built around 398 B.C., it is about two square miles (5 sq km) in size and has a maximum depth of 558 feet.

Located on what was once known as Alba Longa, a city in ancient Latium, reputedly the birthplace of Romulus and Remus, Castelgandolfo and the cluster of nearby towns are known as the Alban Hill towns. Romans also call these picturesque towns the “Castelli Romani” because of the fortified castles originally built on those hills by noble families, around which small towns grew and flourished. Each “castello” bore the name of the lord of the manor.

Castelgandolfo took its name from the Gandulfi family. Originally from Genoa, they built a small square fortress with crenelated walls, an inner courtyard, several towers and an adjacent garden on the hill where the town that bears their name stands today. The Savelli family later bought the property and owned it until 1596 when, because of a debt they could not pay to Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605), the land became patrimony of the Holy See, forming the nucleus of the papal residence that exists today.

In ensuing centuries, the property underwent many vicissitudes, including the purchase of additional lands, villas and gardens, and renovations and additions to the original palace. Some of the Roman Pontiffs who left their mark on the papal property include Urban VIII (1623-1644), Alexander VII (1655-1667) Clement XI (1700-1721, who bestowed the title “Pontifical Villa” on the property), Benedict XIV (1740), Clement XIII (1758-1769) and Clement XIV (1769-1774).

In 1623 Cardinal Maffeo Barberini was elected Pope, choosing the name Urban VIII (1623-1644). Even before his election he had spent vacations in Castelgandolfo and had even built a small home near the walls of the original castle/fortress. Once he became Pope he decided to make this spot his summer residence, readapting and enlargening the old fortress.

One of those who assisted him in this work was the illustrious Carlo Maderno who, in 1603, after completing the facade of Santa Susanna’s Church in Rome, was named as principal architect of the new St. Peter’s Basilica. Maderno designed both a large wing that overlooked Lake Albano, as well as the left part of the facade as seen today from Castelgandolfo’s main square. A modest garden was also planted at this time.

Pope Urban VIII moved into the Castelgandolfo residence on May 10, 1626, just six months before the completion of St. Peter’s Basilica, following 120 years of work. In 1627, the Pope’s nephew, Taddeo Barberini, acquired land and vineyards near the papal residence. Four years later he acquired yet more land and buildings and the entire complex became known as Villa Barberini. Today this is all an integral part of the pontifical property in Castelgandolfo.

 

Pope Alexander VII (1655-1667) completed the work begun by Urban VIII, including the long gallery which bears his name, with the assistance of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, noted painter, architect and sculptor. Bernini also designed part of the gardens of the papal residence and they can still be seen today.

Bernini is best remembered for having designed the splendid colonnade of 284 pillars which embraces St. Peter’s Square, one of the fountains in the square, the basilica’s Altar of the Cathedra, the tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and the baldachin over the central papal altar. Alexander VII also asked Bernini to design the town’s parish church, which was named after St. Thomas Villanova.

The 19th century saw the unification of Italy, which greatly affected papal holdings, principally the vast Papal States. The Papal States, in fact, under Pope Pius IX were incorporated into the new Italy when the peninsula was unified in 1870. By the by, Pius IX’s 32-year pontificate from 1846 to 1878 was the second longest in history, following that of St. Peter). From the loss of the Papal States to the Lateran Pact between Italy and the Holy See on February 11, 1929, under Pius XI, no Pope ever left Vatican City for a holiday in Castelgandolfo.

 

With the Lateran Treaty, Villa Barberini now belonged to the Holy See and officially became part of the papal residence complex in Castelgandolfo. Pius XI helped to restore the buildings and land which had been unused for so many years. He even bought several orchards in order to set up a small farm, not only to produce goods for consumption in the Vatican but to underscore the importance of agriculture.

This last acquisition brought the total acreage of the papal property in Castelgandolfo to 136 acres (55 hectares). Vatican City State is 109 acres (44 hectares). In Castelgandolfo, more of the total acreage is dedicated to the farm (62 acres, or 25 hectares) and to gardens than it is to buildings.

 

The real work of restoration at Castelgandolfo under Pope Pius XI began in 1931. In 1933 the Vatican Observatory, run by the Jesuits, was moved from Vatican City in Rome to Castelgandolfo, because the city lights were too bright for astronomers. Still today, the director of the observatory has an apartment in the palace at Castelgandolfo.

Pius XI also built a new chapel in which he placed a replica of Poland’s Black Madonna of Czestochowa. Between 1918 and 1921, he had been, respectively, apostolic visitator and then nuncio in Poland, and had a predilection for the Black Madonna. This chapel has remained unchanged since his day. The Pope’s first summer visit was in 1934.

His successor, Pope Pius XII, especially loved Castelgandolfo and spent a great deal of time at this residence, except for the years of World War II. However, during some of the worst moments of the war, Pius allowed the inhabitants of Castelgandolfo and nearby towns to take refuge on the papal property, given that it enjoyed the status of extraterritoriality. After the landing at Anzio in 1944, the citizens of Castelgandolfo were allowed to stay at the papal palace whereas those from other towns were allowed sanctuary in the Villa Barberini property. Pius XII’s first postwar visit to the lakeside villa was in 1946. He returned often after that and died there on October 9, 1958.

Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) also enjoyed sojourns at Castelgandolfo. He started two traditions here as pontiff: praying the Angelus with the faithful on Sundays in the inner courtyard, and celebrating Mass in the parish church of St. Thomas Villanova on the August 15 feast of the Assumption.

 

Paul VI inaugurated papal trips by helicopter from Castelgandolfo. Continuous use of a helicopter for short papal trips began during the Holy Year of 1975 when Paul VI would return to Rome for the weekly general audiences. He died here on August 6, 1978.

 

John Paul II, then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow, Poland, spent several hours here on October 8, 1978. He returned 17 days later as Pope, having been elected on October 16. He spent most of every summer here, and often came for several days after an especially long and arduous foreign trip.

Benedict XVI, as we saw, also enjoyed the beauty, peace and subdued rhythm of summer life at Castelgandolfo, and came here every summer for a couple of months after his election to the papacy in April 2005. He lived here for two months after he resigned and left the Vatican on February 28, 2013.

I earlier mentioned one part of the pontifical property that is called Villa Barberini. Here we find many buildings, including the home of the director of pontifical villas and apartments used by the cardinal secretary of state and by the prefect of the papal household in the summer. The formal gardens, a 62-acre farm, and the remains of Emperor Domitian’s (81-96) palatial 14 square kilometer home are all also part of Villa Barberini.

Dr. Petrillo, former director of the pontifical villas at Castelgandolfo, began to serve the Holy See in June 1958, and was named Director of the pontifical villas in 1986. He authored a book entitled “The Popes at Castelgandolfo,” from which I took much of the information you are reading here. Saverio was an excellent, knowledgeable and discreet guide to the papal property and residences the day we first met.

Dr. Petrillo began his work in Castelgandolfo at the age of 18 when he was asked to take the place of a Vatican employee who was ill. In the ensuing years he familiarized himself not only with the physical property – the farm, gardens and buildings – but with the multi-century history of the villas as well. His office, as well as other administrative offices, was located in one of the buildings of the Villa Barberini part of the pontifical property, and offered splendid views of the Castelli Romani and, in the distance, Rome and the Mediterranean.

Separate from Villa Barberini, but only a short distance away, are the Apostolic Palace and other gardens. The palace – the building overlooking the lake – is where the Pope resides and where the faithful can join him in the courtyard on Sundays for the noon angelus. At Castelgandolfo, Dr. Petrillo told me on my first visit, the Holy Father has the same basic rooms that he has in Rome – a study, private chapel, dining room and library. The rooms, as is the entire palace complex, are on a smaller, more intimate and homey scale. “Everything here,” he said, “is very intimate, warm and family-like. Even the pace of life is slower, more suited to man.”

On our tour of the farm, Saverio Petrillo pointed out that it produces eggs, milk (there are 25 cows) and yogurt on a daily basis: these are brought early in the morning to the apostolic palaces in both Castelgandolfo and Rome and are sold as well in the Vatican City supermarket under the name “Ville Pontificie di Castelgandolfo” – Pontifical Villas of Castelgandolfo. Olive oil is also produced, but in very small quantities. Once Vatican City even had its own bakery!

He told me some 60 people work year round on the papal properties in Castelgandolfo, including gardeners, tree trimmers, those who work at the farm, electricians, other maintenance people, etc. Only 20 people permanently reside in buildings on the property.

The heliport, which is not far from the farm, was first used by Paul VI in 1963 when he visited the cathedral at Orvieto. Continuous use of a helicopter for short papal trips began during the Holy Year of 1975 when Paul VI would return to Rome for the weekly general audiences.

Pope John Paul II, a very athletic pontiff, asked that a swimming pool be installed at Castelgandolfo to be used for health reasons. Although I did not see the 60-foot long pool on my tour of the papal villa and gardens, Dr. Petrillo told the story that when the Pope heard that some people objected to the cost of a pool, he humorously said: “A conclave would cost a lot more.” This was John Paul’s explanation about how effective physical exercise was in helping him bear the strains of a tiring pontificate.

The beautifully maintained and manicured formal gardens of Villa Barberini have been used by Popes through the centuries for long walks and moments of prayer. The flowers, bushes and trees – of many varieties, and trimmed to perfection in geometrical shapes – provide beauty, seclusion and tranquility. Covering many acres, the stunning formal gardens also provide lovely vistas of the Roman countryside. There are statues, fountains, and a labyrinth of walkways and roads, one of which dates to Roman times and is paved exactly like the Old Appian Way.

One olive tree in the gardens has a special story: Just an olive branch at the time, it was given by King Hussein of Jordan to Pope Paul VI during his trip to Jerusalem in 1964. The late king’s son and heir, now King Abdullah, was able to visit the gardens and saw the fully-grown tree.

Ruins of Emperor Domitian’s villa can be found everywhere and occasionally one will see a niche with a statue from the villa.

The Emperor Domitian, who ruled from 81 to 96, had built a 14-square kilometer villa on this site. Constructed on three levels, the top was for the servants, the middle was for the imperial family and their guests and the bottom was the crypto-portico, which is in near perfect condition nearly two thousand years later.

The crypto-portico, reached now by a staircase built into the gardens, was constructed to provide the emperor and his guests with a cool place to walk, talk, and sit to escape from the summer heat of Rome. Enormous in size, it resembles a tunnel – with one end open and the other closed. The closed end has a raised stage-like level, accessible by a staircase: today there is a large cross here. The ceiling is curved and, on the western wall, there are windows at the top level. These were once covered with alabaster to let in the late afternoon, setting sunlight – but not the heat.

Also at Villa Barberini is the Antiquarium, a museum that houses a small but prized collection of artifacts from Domitian’s villa which were discovered over the past century. Only restricted numbers of scholars are allowed to visit the Antiquarium which includes busts, statues, columns, portals, and tables made of marble and various stones, to mention but a few objects.

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RINGING OF CATHEDRAL BELLS ACROSS IRELAND’S DIOCESES TO LAUNCH WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES

RINGING OF CATHEDRAL BELLS ACROSS IRELAND’S DIOCESES TO LAUNCH WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES

This evening, all of Ireland’s 26 dioceses will open the 9th World Meeting of Families simultaneously with a special liturgical ceremony and with the ringing of bells in each of the 26 diocesan cathedrals across the island. Family-friendly festivals are also taking place, according to an announcement about the WMOF agenda from the Irish Bishops’ Conference. The lead ceremony will take place in Dublin.

The schedule for this event held every three years calls for the WMOF Pastoral Congress to take place in the Royal Dublin Society over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week while the Festival of Families will be celebrated in Croke Park on Saturday afternoon. The Holy Father Pope Francis will join the WMOF celebrations when he visits Ireland on Saturday 25 August. WMOF will culminate with the closing Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, on Sunday next, 26 August.

Tuesday’s opening liturgy in each cathedral will be a full celebration of Evening Prayer. Entitled Le chéile le Críost (Together with Christ), it will gather the Church as the family of families as we set out on the path of celebration for the entire World Meeting of Families. Representatives from each parish will attend their respective cathedral along with international pilgrims.

These liturgical celebrations will remind us that we walk in the footsteps of the saints and those who have handed on the faith to us. The ceremonies will involve singing and praying hymns, psalms and canticles, burning incense and praying for the entire human family before our God and Father. All are welcome!

A sample of some of the diocesan celebrations planned for this evening:

ACHONRY
Event: Opening Ceremony of the World Meeting of Families 2018
Location: Cathedral of the Annunciation and Saint Nathy, Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon
Time: 8.00pm
Details: This special celebration, on the evening of August 21st, will be a gathering of all twenty-three parishes of the diocese – eleven in County Mayo, eleven in County Sligo, and the Cathedral Parish of Ballaghaderreen in County Roscommon. It will focus on the life of the Venerable Fr. Patrick Peyton, CSC, a native of our diocese, a priest of the Congregation of Sancta Croce (Holy Cross), and known with great international renown as ‘the Rosary Priest’. The evening in the Cathedral will have as its theme the message Fr. Peyton brought to the world, “The family that prays together, stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”

ARMAGH
Event: Opening festival followed by music and Evening Prayer
Location: Shambles Market
Times: 5pm- Festival
7pm: Procession
7:30 – 8:15pm: Evening Prayer
Details: Free to all, this festival promises to be a joyful, fun celebration of family, of all ages shapes and sizes and includes live music, dance, bouncy castles, face painting and a wide range of other fun activities. At 7pm there’ll be a procession from the Shambles Market to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, followed by more music and Evening Prayer from 7:30 – 8:15pm.

GALWAY
Event: Opening Ceremony for the World Meeting of Families
Location: Galway Cathedral
Times: 7.30pm
Details: The ceremony will be led by Bishop Brendan Kelly and will include a blessing of families with the relic of Blessed Karl of Austria. Blessed Karl is one of the very few official saints of the Church who was also a husband and father.

LIMERICK
Event: Street Party and Celebration Liturgy
Location: St. John’s Square, Limerick
Times: 3:30 – 6.30 pm: Street Party
7pm: Celebration Liturgy
Details: This event will take place on Tuesday 21st August to welcome Pope Francis and to launch World Meeting of Families. There will be food, face-painting, music and magic followed by a celebration liturgy at St. John’s Cathedral. Admission is free and ALL ARE WELCOME! Under-18s must be accompanied by parent or guardian.

OFFICIAL PRAYER FOR WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES

God, our Father,
We are brothers and sisters in Jesus your Son,
One family, in the Spirit of your love.

Bless us with the joy of love.

Make us patient and kind,
gentle and generous,
welcoming to those in need.
Help us to live your forgiveness and peace.

Protect all families with your loving care,
Especially those for whom we now pray:

[We pause and remember family members and others by name].

Increase our faith,
Strengthen our hope,
Keep us safe in your love,
Make us always grateful for the gift of life that we share.

This we ask, through Christ our Lord,

Amen

Mary, mother and guide, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, father and protector, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, pray for us.

WMOF website: https://www.worldmeeting2018.ie/en/

PAPAL AGENDA FOR WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES IN IRELAND

I arrived back in Rome this morning and Fiumicino Airport was anything but welcoming. I have no idea what a first time visitors thought because the wait in line for passport control was one hour! I have no idea how long it took for the multitudes behind me in line!

I spoke to a family from New Jersey waiting in line behind me, and said I only had one guess as to why it was taking so long. I told them August is the biggest months of the year for vacation time for Italians and the biggest holiday of August, perhaps the whole year, was this coming Wednesday, August 15, feast of the Assunta, the Assumption. I said I could only surmise that airport personnel were taking their sacred vacation time this week and, as we got to the booths where a fair number of agents usually make lines move at a good pace, I saw I was right. There was 1 (one) agent for European Union and Swiss passports and 4 – a mere 4 agents! – for the non-European Union passports. Hundreds and hundreds of us were standing on line as several planes from overseas had landed almost simultaneously.

A separate line and separate agents’ booths greeted visitors who had to present or get a visa to enter Italy. Snails move faster than that line did!

I did see signs that said that children under 14 years of age, thus, whole families with young children, had a separate and expedited entry. Sounds like a terrific idea.

I have to say that the idea of being so short-staffed at a critical time of the day for plane arrivals and critical time of the year for vacationers coming to Italy is inconceivable to me. I have been wondering all day: Will the shortage become even more critical on The Big Day – August 15?

The only positive side of my wait was that, for the first time in decades, my bag actually arrived at the carousel before I did. I always make sure I have a book to read when I wait for my luggage at Fiumicino!

PAPAL AGENDA FOR WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES IN IRELAND

The Holy See Press Office has announced Pope Francis’ schedule for his upcoming apostolic visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families, August 25-26.

That journey begins on Saturday morning, August 25, when he departs Rome and arrives in Dublin at 10:30.

Official Welcome and Visit with Civil Authorities

The official welcome ceremony will take place at the presidential residence in Áras an Uachtaráin at 11:15, followed by a courtesy visit to the president. At Dublin Castle, Pope Francis will meet with civil authorities and members of the Diplomatic Corps at 12:10.

Dublin Castle:

Visit to the Cathedral and a Homeless Center

In the early afternoon, Pope Francis will visit Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral and greet those gathered. He will then go to the Capuchin Fathers’ Reception Center and will visit a number of homeless families in private.

St. Mary’s Pro-cathedral:

Festival of Families

The Holy Father will conclude his day with the Festival of Families at Croke Park Stadium set to begin at 7:30.

Croke Park Stadium:

Visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock

On Sunday, Pope Francis will travel to Knock to visit the Shrine and recite the Angelus.

Holy Mass in Phoenix Park and meeting with Bishops

After returning to Dublin, Pope Francis will preside over an afternoon liturgy at Phoenix Park after which he will meet with the bishops of Ireland in a convent of Dominican Sisters.

Departure

Following a 6:30 pm farewell ceremony, Pope Francis will depart for Rome where he is expected to land at Rome’s Ciampino airport at 11pm.

“WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES, A GIFT THE IRISH CHURCH CAN SHARE WITH OTHERS” – POPE FRANCIS’ APOSTOLIC TRIP TO IRELAND

“WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES, A GIFT THE IRISH CHURCH CAN SHARE WITH OTHERS”

An invitation from Dublin’s Archbishop Dairmud Martin:

“We are here to officially announce the programme of the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families together with the details of the Programme for the Family Pastoral Congress that will be held at the RDS in Dublin on the days before the visit of the Pope.

St Mary Pro-Cathedral

Today we launch the programme of the final stage of a process that has been underway for over two years here in Ireland and has reached out to parishes throughout the country through the Amoris pastoral programmes.

My hope is that now the World Meeting of Families – the pastoral preparation, the Pastoral Congress in the RDS and the visit of Pope Francis – will open out for families renewed inspiration, hope and healing.

Ireland

The visit of Pope Francis to the World Meeting of Families in Dublin must not be just a once-off event. It comes as the Church in Ireland struggles to find a new place in Irish society and culture – a very different one from the dominant one it held in the past.

Pope Francis is above all a free man. He shows us we can live in a world where faith seems marginal and yet manage to touch hearts and challenge them to reflect on and discern those fundamental values vital for society. What he does is to find ways in which he can win hearts for what the teaching of Jesus involves, not through imposing and judging, but through winning and attracting.

Pope Francis said to me that he considers the World Meeting of Families as a gift to the Irish Church. His idea, however, is not that we will receive a gift to be placed in a glass-case for ourselves. He looks on the World Meeting of Families as a gift that the Irish Church can then share with others.

Family is about love, no matter how imperfect and failing: it is about a love that enriches lives. I am thinking about the love of spouses, the love of parents for children, the goodness with which families enrich communities. We have great families who would never think of themselves as great: they simply do their best. Where would any of us be without the love and generosity we received from our parents?

I wish to sincerely thank all those in the Church in Ireland and the public authorities all of whom, in their own areas of competence, have made an enormous contribution to ensure that as many people who wish to can take part in the events.

I encourage families to take part in the global event that is World Meeting of Families. I encourage families to take this unique opportunity to see Pope Francis where they can. All are welcome.”

Full details of the Pastoral Programme for the World Meeting of Families in the RDS in Dublin are available here:
http://www.worldmeeting2018.ie

POPE FRANCIS’ APOSTOLIC TRIP TO IRELAND

SATURDAY 25 AUGUST 2018
ROMA-DUBLIN

08:15 Departure by plane from Rome/Fiumicino for Dublin
10:30 Arrival at Dublin International Airport

OFFICIAL WELCOME
10:45 Transfer to Áras an Uachtaráin
11:15 Arrival at the Presidential Residence

WELCOME CEREMONY in front of the main entrance of the Residence
11:30 COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT in the Presidential Residence
12:00 Transfer to Dublin Castle
12:10 Arrival at Dublin Castle

MEETING WITH AUTHORITIES, CIVIL SOCIETY AND DIPLOMATIC CORPS in Dublin Castle – Speech of the Holy Father

15:30 ARRIVAL AT ST MARY’S PRO-CATHEDRAL
VISIT to the CATHEDRAL – Greeting of the Holy Father

16:15 Transfer to the Day Centre of the Capuchin Fathers
16:30 PRIVATE VISIT to the DAY CENTRE FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES of the CAPUCHIN FATHERS

19:30 Arrival at Croke Park Stadium
19:45 FESTIVAL OF FAMILIES – Croke Park Stadium – Speech of Holy Father

SUNDAY 26 AUGUST 2018
DUBLIN-KNOCK-DUBLIN-ROMA
08:40 Departure by plane for Knock
09:20 Arrival at the Airport in Knock
Immediate transfer to the Shrine
09:45 Arrival at Knock Shrine
VISIT to the CHAPEL of Knock Shrine

Knock Shrine

ANGELUS on the square in front of the Shrine Angelus of the Holy Father

10:45 Transfer to the airport in Knock
11:10 Arrival at the airport in Knock
11:15 Departure by plane for Dublin
11:50 Arrival at Dublin International Airport
Lunch with the Papal Delegation
14:30 Arrival at Phoenix Park
15:00 HOLY MASS in Phoenix Park – Homily of the Holy Father
MEETING WITH THE BISHOPS in the Convent of the Dominican Sisters – Speech of the Holy Father

18:30 Arrival at Dublin International Airport
FAREWELL CEREMONY
18:45 Departure by plane for Roma/Ciampino
23:00 Arrival at the Airport of Roma/Ciampino

PAPAL CATECHESIS ON HOW TO RECEIVE COMMUNION – POPE TO ATTEND WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES IN DUBLIN

PAPAL CATECHESIS ON HOW TO RECEIVE COMMUNION

The weekly general audience was held in St. Peter’s Square today under sunny skies, something of a rarity in Rome in recent weeks, and Pope Francis continued his weekly series of catecheses on the Mass, turning to the “culminating moment in the rite of Holy Communion.”

Francis said, “the Lord’s gift of Himself at the Last Supper is renewed at each Mass in the offering of His body and blood under the signs of bread and wine. After the breaking of the bread, the priest asks us to acknowledge the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. His words invite us to acknowledge our sins, to trust in the reconciling power of Christ’s sacrifice, and to receive the medicine that unites us ever more closely to him.”

The Pope explained that, “at the moment of communion, we respond ‘Amen’ to the words ‘The body of Christ’. In this way, we signify our openness to the transformative power of God’s grace, which enables us to grow in the unity of Christ’s mystical body, which is the Church.”

“If it is we who move in procession to receive communion,” said the Holy Father, “in reality it is Christ Who comes to meet us, to assimilate us to Him. Being nourished by the Eucharist means letting ourselves be changed by the One Who comes to us.”

And the Pope gave a mini-catechesis on how to receive communion:

“The Church strongly desires that even the faithful receive the Body of Christ with hosts consecrated in the Mass itself; and the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is expressed with greater fullness if Holy Communion is done under both species, even with the knowledge that Catholic doctrine teaches that, even under one species, all of Christ is received. According to ecclesial practice, the faithful normally approach communion in a processional form and receive communion with devotion while standing, or while kneeling, as established by the Episcopal conference, receiving the sacrament by mouth or, where allowed, in the hand, as they prefer. After communion, silent prayer helps us keep in our hearts the gift received, as does a psalm or hymn of praise.”

“Nourished by the bread of life,” said Francis, “we become a living Eucharist; in a word, we become what we receive. Our silent prayer after receiving communion is gathered up in the final prayer of the Mass, which thanks God for making us sharers in this holy banquet and asks that we may grow daily in union with him, until we share at last in the wedding feast of heaven.”

At the end of the catechesis and greetings to pilgrims in various languages, Pope Francis announced that he intends to participate this summer in the August World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, travelling there on August 25 and 26.

POPE TO ATTEND WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES IN DUBLIN

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference warmly welcomed the announcement today by Pope Francis that he will attend part of the 9th World Meeting of Families that will take place August 21 to 26 in Dublin on the theme, “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World”.

According to a press release from the Irish bishops, Pope Francis, 81, will arrive in Dublin on Saturday, August 25, and will take part in the “Festival of Families” in Croke Park. The Festival is the faith-based cultural concert of the World Meeting of Families six-day program. The next day, Sunday 26 August, Pope Francis will be the chief celebrant at Holy Mass in Phoenix Park, the concluding liturgy of the World Meeting of Families 2018. Full details of the papal schedule will be released at a later date.

The bishops said, “On behalf of the faithful of Ireland we warmly welcome today’s announcement, by the Holy Father himself, that he plans to visit Dublin in August for the World Meeting of Families. We are deeply honored that Pope Francis will come to our country to participate in this universal Church celebration of faith and joy, as well as of the contemporary challenges that face families. With great anticipation we also look forward to hearing the apostolic guidance of His Holiness during his stay with us.”

“Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin,” said the bishops, “as president of the World Meeting of Families 2018, has been charged with undertaking the significant task of organizing this global celebration and each of the other 25 dioceses on the island of Ireland is supporting the host diocese to ensure its success for the whole country and for the world. We eagerly await the visit of Pope Francis which no doubt will be an occasion of spiritual renewal for our laity, religious and clergy as well as a strengthening of Christian family life.

“The preparations for the World Meeting of Families in Dublin are benefiting from the 2014 and 2015 Synods of Bishops in Rome which discussed the role of the modern family in the world and how the Church should respond. Both synods were hosted by Pope Francis and were preceded by a worldwide consultation. The subsequent publication by the Holy Father in April 2016 of his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (the Joy of Love), represents the fruit of these synods as he reflected on the significance of the deep mutual love of spouses and on their love for their children for the good of humanity and for the stability of society.”

Also today, two Irish families presented the official World Meeting of Families 2018 “Icon of the Holy Family” to Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in Saint Peter’s Square. The Tobin family is from County Kildare and the Bushell family resides in Rome. The delegation was led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, president, and Father Timothy Bartlett, secretary general, of the World Meeting of Families 2018. The group also included the iconographer Mihai Cucu.

POPE FRANCIS’ LETTER FOR DUBLIN WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES

Pope Francis has written a letter to the organizers of next year’s World Meeting of Families, who presented the event at the Vatican press office on Thursday morning. The Meeting is scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland from August 21st to 26th 2018 on the theme The Gospel of the Family: joy to the world.”

In the letter addressed to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head of the new Vatican office for Laity, Family and Life, the Pope says he hopes the Meeting will be a way for families to deepen their reflection on the document ‘Amoris Laetitia’ which he wrote at the conclusion of the two recent synods on the family.

At the press conference, the cardinal stressed the importance of preparations that will take place in parishes and dioceses ahead of the event. This catechesis must involve lay people as well as clergy, he said, reaching out especially to individuals and families who have grown away from the Church: As Pope Francis said we need to be a Church that goes out to the peripheries of society to those people who don’t listen to us at the present moment, to those families who have lost their way or who do not go to church any more.

Also present at the press conference was the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin who highlighted the complex combination of faith and secularization that characterizes his country today. He said the meeting will be a challenge for the archdiocese but also an opportunity to underline the importance of family life for Irish society as a whole.

Archbishop Martin said the meeting must learn to accompany families and address the real day-to-day difficulties which he hears about from those in his own archdiocese: “They’d be talking about work, leisure, homelessness, how to make ends meet, how government subsidies are being cut back, how they’d have sleepless nights worrying about their teenage children – these are the challenges they have to be supported in so that they can carry out this essential role in society and that people really give them the support and confidence to do that“.

Both leaders hope the meeting will not be a one-off event, but rather a chance for the whole Church to deepen its reflection on the Pope’s words in ‘Amoris Laetitia‘, seeing the family as a vital resource for sharing the message of God’s love with the world.

Neither of them would confirm the Pope’s presence at the Meeting next year, but they did share their hopes that he’ll be attending the event – a hope also expressed in the promotional video for the World Meeting of Families.

Following is Pope Francis’ Letter to Cardinal Farrell:

To the Venerable Brother Cardinal KEVIN FARRELL
Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life,

At the end of the Eighth World Meeting of Families, held in Philadelphia in September 2015, I announced that the subsequent meeting with Catholic families of the world would take place in Dublin. I now wish to initiate preparations, and am pleased to confirm that it will be held from 21 to 26 August 2018, on the theme “The Gospel of the Family: joy for the world”. Indeed, it is my wish for families to have a way of deepening their reflection and their sharing of the content of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

One might ask: does the Gospel continue to be a joy for the world? And also: does the family continue to be good news for today’s world? I am sure the answer is yes! And this “yes” is firmly based on God’s plan. The love of God is His “yes” to all creation and at the heart of this latter is man. It is God’s “yes” to the union between man and woman, in openness and service to life in all its phases; it is God’s “yes” and His commitment to a humanity that is often wounded, mistreated and dominated by a lack of love. The family, therefore, is the “yes” of God as Love. Only starting from love can the family manifest, spread and regenerate God’s love in the world. Without love, we cannot live as children of God, as couples, parents and brothers.

I wish to underline how important it is for families to ask themselves often if they live based on love, for love and in love. In practice, this means giving oneself, forgiving, not losing patience, anticipating the other, respecting. How much better family life would be if every day we lived according to the words, “please”, “thank you” and “I’m sorry”. Every day we have the experience of fragility and weakness, and therefore we all, families and pastors, are in need of renewed humility that forms the desire to form ourselves, to educate and be educated, to help and be helped, to accompany, discern and integrate all men of good will. I dream of an outbound Church, not a self-referential one, a Church that does not pass by far from man’s wounds, a merciful Church that proclaims the heart of the revelation of God as Love, which is Mercy. It is this very mercy that makes us new in love; and we know how much Christian families are a place of mercy and witnesses of mercy, and even more so after the extraordinary Jubilee. The Dublin meeting will be able to offer concrete signs of this.

I therefore invite all the Church to keep these indications in mind in the pastoral preparation for the next World Meeting. You, dear Brother, along with your collaborators, have the task of translating in a special way the teaching of Amoris Laetitia, with which the Church wishes families always to be in step, in that inner pilgrimage that is the manifestation of authentic life.

My thoughts go in a special way to the archdiocese of Dublin and to all the dear Irish nation for the generous welcome and commitment involved in hosting such an important event. May the Lord recompense you as of now, granting you abundant heavenly favours.

May the Holy Family of Nazareth guide, accompany and bless your service, and all the families involved in the preparation of the great World Meeting in Dublin.

POPE FRANCIS AT FAMILY FESTIVAL PRAYER VIGIL: FAMILIES ARE FACTORIES OF HOPE

POPE FRANCIS AT FAMILY FESTIVAL PRAYER VIGIL: FAMILIES ARE FACTORIES OF HOPE

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis participated in a great gathering of families on Saturday evening in Philadelphia, host city of the World Meeting of Families, for a vigil of prayer and a celebration of the family. The following is Chris Altieri’s report for Vatican Radio from Philadelphia:
POPE- FAMILIES VIGIL

Hosted by actor Mark Wahlberg, and with a rundown that numbered several A-list personalities and legendary performers including vocalist Aretha Franklin and tenor Andrea Bocelli, the event was punctuated by the testimony of six couples representing various ages and conditions of family life:

An engaged couple from Australia, Camillus O’Kane and Kelly Walsh, whose faith gives them inspiration, courage and direction as they prepare for married life in a cultural context that is not always friendly to the idea of lifelong, selfless commitment.

A Ukrainian immigrant woman and her two sons, one of whom has special needs, and who have struggled to make a life for themselves here in the United States, and whose faith sustains them in their trials.

Nidal Mousa and Nida Joseph, a Christian family from Jordan with their two daughters, Faten and Dema, who minister to people in serious poverty, religious persecution, immigration, and war.

Ifeyinwa and Chidi, a couple from Nigeria with four children, whao are about to celebrate 24 years of marriage and who shared their experience of injury, healing and forgiveness.

Leona and Rudy Gonzales from New York, grandparents and great-grandparents of 12, who offered their witness to the indispensable role of extended family in family life.

Mario and Rosa from Argentina: married 60 years, they spoke of the need for families to rest in God’s providence.

In his own remarks to the participants, Pope Francis put aside his prepared speech, and spoke of the family as God’s great gift, and the most beautiful part of God’s creation. The family is the channel and reflection of God’s own beauty, truth, and goodness. “The family,” founded on the marital love of a man and a woman that alone can generate and nurture life according to God’s own plan, “is like a factory of hope.”

Though there are no perfect families, and though in every family there are tensions, difficulties, conflicts, challenges, there is in the family also the abiding love by which all these can be overcome. “Families have their difficulties, in families we quarrel,” he said. “Sometimes plates can fly and children bring headaches and I won’t speak about mothers-in-law! But in the family there is always light because the love of God, the Son of God opened also that door of love. But just as there are problems in families we must remember there is the light of the Resurrection.”

“Only love is able to overcome,” said Pope Francis, who went on to discuss also the intergenerational nature of the family, calling all present to remember and to care for children and elderly family members. “Children, younger and older are the future, the strength that moves us forward. Grandparents are the living memory of the family, they passed on the faith to us – to look after grandparents and children is the expression of love.”

The stakes are high – indeed they could be no higher. “A People that is not able to look after their children and grandparents is a people that has no future, because it doesn’t have strength or the memory to go forward.”

“God bless you and give you hope,” concluded Pope Francis. “God give you the strength to go forward: lets protect the family – and please pray for me.”

CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED PAPAL TEXT: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-thanks-families-for-witnessing-to-truth-goodn

What was it actually like to be at the Prayer Meeting for the Festival of Families in Philadelphia on Saturday night? Vatican Radio’s correspondent Seán Patrick Lovett was there and got a bird’s eye view of the Pope, the performers and the people in the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. He reports:

The noise is always the same. It starts as a “whoop” and ends as a “yell” – thousands of vocal chords vibrating in unison. And it always means the same thing: he’s arrived.

When Pope Francis arrived on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia on Saturday night for the Festival of Families, all I could think was: don’t his arms ever get tired? I mean, the Parkway is nearly ten kilometers long and, driving in the popemobile through the immense crowds lining the route since early afternoon, the Pope never stopped waving and blessing to left and right the entire way. My own arms were aching just watching him.

When the papal motorcade drew up beside the massive podium it was in a blaze of flashing police lights, screaming sirens, and roaring security vehicles. I counted 21 motor bikes and 25 bullet-proof behemoths that dwarfed the car they were there to protect. No stopping to drink a cup of maté here, no tossing soccer scarves at the Pope, or even getting closer than a hundred yards to him. Americans, who are used to this kind of thing, are saying they have never seen security like this. Neither have I. Over the past five days I have been searched by the Secret Service, frisked by the FBI, prodded by police, sniffed by bomb squad dogs, and passed through more metal detectors than they have at Heathrow.

But I was talking about Pope Francis and the Family Fest in Philadelphia.

How to describe it? I suppose it was something between a music concert, a variety show, a folk festival, and a multimedia presentation – with the occasional testimony by families thrown in to remind us why we were really there. It was a star-studded evening too: actor/producer, Mark Wahlberg, was master of ceremonies, and singing legend, Aretha Franklin, belted out her very own version of “Amazing Grace”.

Then Pope Francis spoke. Instead of following his prepared speech, he chatted to the gathering about “God’s overflowing love” that resulted in the creation of the world and how the culmination of that creative love is the family.

Thousands of families came from far and wide for the event and didn’t appear in the least deterred – either by the length of the program or by the chill autumn wind that swept down the Parkway. They continued to applaud right to the end. But then, they were making a night of it. For them, the most important event would be the closing Mass on Sunday morning and they weren’t moving. I wish I could say I was as brave