POPE FRANCIS’ VIDEO MESSAGE FOR XXXII WORLD YOUTH DAY – MONKS OF NORCIA MARK TRANSITUS OF ST. BENEDICT

POPE FRANCIS’ VIDEO MESSAGE FOR XXXII WORLD YOUTH DAY

The Vatican today released a video message from Pope Francis for the XXXII World Youth Day to be held in the dioceses of the world on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017. The Pope’s written message was also released (see below). Following is the text in English of the video message:

Dear young people,

With the memory vividly in our minds of our meeting together at World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, we have set out towards the next goal that will be, God willing, Panama in 2019. These moments of encounter and conversation with you are very important to me. I want this journey to proceed in line with preparations for the next Synod of Bishops because it is dedicated to you young people.

We are accompanied on this journey by Our Mother the Virgin Mary. She encourages us with her faith, the same faith that she expressed in her song of praise. Mary said, “The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49). She knew how to give thanks to God who looked upon her littleness, and she recognised the great things that God was accomplishing in her life. So she set off to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was old and needed her to be close by. Mary did not stay at home because she was not a young couch potato who looks for comfort and safety where nobody can bother them. She was moved by faith because faith is at the heart of Our Mother’s entire life story.

Dear young people, God is also watching over you and calling you, and when God does so, he is looking at all the love you are able to offer. Like the young woman of Nazareth, you can improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history ‒ your history and that of many others. The Church and society need you. With your plans and with your courage, with your dreams and ideals, walls of stagnation fall and roads open up that lead us to a better, fairer, less cruel and more humane world.

As you follow this path, I encourage you to cultivate a relationship of familiarity and friendship with Our Lady. She is our Mother. Speak to her as you would to a Mother. Together with her, give thanks for the precious gift of faith that you have received from your elders, and entrust your whole life to her. She is a good Mother who listens to you and embraces you, who loves you and walks together with you. I assure you that if you do that, you will not regret it.

Have a good pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2019. May God bless you all.

For the video: Go to: http://www.news.va/en and scroll down until you see VIDEO CHANNEL – click here to see Pope Francis who speaks in Spanish

Here is the link to Pope Francis’ written message for the 2017 diocesan level celebration of the XXXII World Youth Day, which takes place on Palm Sunday on the Marian theme: “The Mighty One has done great things for me,” taken from the Magnifcat. The Holy Father tells young people that the world “needs your courage, dreams and ideals.” http://www.news.va/en/news/our-lady-at-the-heart-of-2017-wyd-message

MONKS OF NORCIA MARK TRANSITUS OF ST. BENEDICT

Following is a letter and some photos sent by Father Benedict Nivakoff, OSB, Prior with an update as they mark the transitus of St. Benedict:

Dear Friends, On this Feast, for several centuries, monks, clergy and citizens of Norcia have celebrated St. Benedict’s Transitus – his earthly death and birth into Heaven — in a packed basilica with local townspeople in medieval costume. In the crypt of that basilica, the saint (and his saintly sister) was born to life, while in the upper church his birth into heaven was remembered. Eight months after the great earthquake of 2016, the celebrations have a different character.

The Archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia offered the Mass at a portable altar in front of the statue of our great patron in the piazza with the ruins of the basilica and its still-standing facade covered in scaffolding in the background. Beloved traditions do not die easily and today’s solemnity is a timely reminder that “deep roots are not touched by the frost.”

The Feast comes in Lent and along with St. Joseph and the Annunciation, this week brings a sort of intermission to the monk’s Lenten routine. Many ask me about it. Here is a brief sketch. Our day still begins at the same time, 03:15 AM. Private Lectio, devotions, low Masses and classes punctuate the morning between vigils, lauds, prime and terce. The sung Conventual Mass is at 10:00 as usual then we go outside to work. The main difference to our schedule is that the one meal of the day is moved to 17:30. St. Benedict was keen that the monks not eat until after vespers, or near sunset. Afterward, there is a short meeting called collation, then compline and bed time. Each monk suggests to the Prior a little extra fasting, a little extra prayer and some almsgiving (within the house) and these are added to his daily schedule.

For one of our monks, Fr. Basil, this Lent has an added gift of service. He is spending the month of March with the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta, India. Last year, Br. Anthony was able to help the sisters there for a month and it proved an invaluable source of inspiration for his monastic vocation and for our community at home. While it is true that there are many ways we try to help people near us in the earthquake zone, the stark poverty that affects that region of India brings an added urgency and we are glad our monks can lend a hand.

One way we help locally is through our beer, and we are grateful to God to be able to announce that after moving some equipment and making minor repairs we will finally be reopening a part of the brewery next week for production. Most of the brewery is still badly damaged but a small part remains intact. Re-opening that part (with some modifications) will allow us to get Birra Nursia out — albeit in limited quantities — to more local shops trying to open again. I’ll have more information about that next week. May Nursia help to gladden hearts in Norcia and abroad and may God bless each of you for your continued support of lour many needs!

MARY IS THE FOCUS OF NEXT THREE WORLD YOUTH DAYS – THE YEAR OF MERCY CONTINUES WITH WWW.PETERSPENCE.VA

Pope Frances tweeted today: How much I desire that the years to come will be full of mercy, so that every person can experience the goodness and tenderness of God!

MARY IS THE FOCUS OF NEXT THREE WORLD YOUTH DAYS

The Vatican, through the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, today announced the themes for the next three World Youth Days as chosen by Pope Francis. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the focus of all three celebrations, the first two in 2017 and 2018 at the diocesan level and the third at the international in 2019 in Panama. Pope Francis presided at the last international WYD in July of this year in Krakow, Poland.

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The three themes are taken from the Gospel of Saint Luke:

32nd World Youth Day, 2017: “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His Name” (Lk 1:49)

33rd World Youth Day, 2018: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” (Lk 1:30)

34th World Youth Day, 2019: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38)

Noting that the themes are a continuation of the reflections begun by Pope Francis for the last three World Youth Days on the Beatitudes, the dicastery communique recalled Pope Francis’ remarks at World Youth Day in Krakow, when he invited young people to have “memory of the past, courage for the present and to have/be hope for the future.” The themes “are intended to give a clear Marian tone to the spiritual journey of the next three WYDs” and at the same time “give a picture of young people on a journey between the past (2017), present (2018), and future (2019), inspired by the three theological virtues of faith, charity, and hope.”

The Dicastery note says the “path that is being proposed to young people can also be seen to be in harmony with the reflection that Pope Francis has entrusted to the next Synod of Bishops: Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment.”

THE YEAR OF MERCY CONTINUES WITH WWW.PETERSPENCE.VA

The annual collection taken up around the world for the Pope’s charities, known in the United States and many other countries as Peter’s Pence and in Italy as the “obolo di San Pietro” now has its own page on the Vatican website – www.peterspence.va

The announcement was made this morning by the Secretariat of State as it unveiled  the new website. It went online on yesterday, November 21 and is currently available in English, Italian, and Spanish, though it will soon be translated into other languages.

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This annual collection usually occurs on or around the June 29th Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Funds are given to the Holy Father who then chooses the recipients whom he feels are most in need.

The dicastery communique notes that faithful throughout the world will now have the opportunity to “reflect on the significance of their acts and offer, also online, their concrete support for the works of mercy, Christian charity, peace, and aid to the Holy See.” It adds that, “created by desire of the Holy See, the site is the fruit of an important synergy between the Governorate of the Vatican City State, the Secretariat for Communications, and the Institute for the Works of Religion” (i.e. the Vatican Bank).

The site presents papal messages, the history of Peter’s Pence, lists various works of mercy and, of course, offers the chance to donate online.

 

A JULY SMORGASBORD: VACATIONS, TRAVEL TIPS, WORLD YOUTH DAY

A JULY SMORGASBORD: VACATIONS, TRAVEL TIPS, WORLD YOUTH DAY

Although he is on a working vacation, Pope Francis does preside on Sundays in July at the Angelus from his study in the Apostolic Palace. Yesterday he reflected on the day’s Gospel story of Jesus who is welcomed by Martha and Mary into their home. They each offer their hospitality in different ways. Martha scurries around and is busy preparing things whereas Mary is content to sit at Jesus’ feet to listen to his words. When Martha asks Jesus if he is not upset that she is doing everything alone and Mary isn’t helping, he reminds her, as Pope Francis said, “that in order to welcome him many things are not necessary; indeed, only one thing is necessary, to listen to Jesus.”

Thus, the Holy Father was stressing two essential points: “the importance of hospitality, a real Christian virtue, but one which at times the world neglects,” and “the importance of dedicating more time to listening because the root of peace is in the capacity to listen.”

VACATIONS

With those words in mind, I want to tell you that I start my vacation tomorrow, and will be enjoying the hospitality of family in California and dear friends in Hawaii. I hope I can be Mary to their Martha while on vacation.

I’m always excited about visiting family because I’m part of such a terrific family! I have 9 nieces and nephews and 21 great-nieces and -nephews, a number of whom I will see in California, while others live in Arizona, Oregon, Illinois and Wisconsin (my next visits!)

Hawaii is a vacation unlike any other! It is beautiful beyond description – I don’t feel like a wordsmith when I am there, in fact, I lack for words. Even photos don’t seem to do justice but I will be posting a number on Facebook as I travel.

I could write an entire blog about each of my very special friends, from Jan and Trip, retired Navy (at least two blogs about this amazing couple), to Maria, a doctor at Tripler Medical Center who works with veterans returning from war zones, to Sister Davilyn ah Chick, OSF, principal of Our Lady of Pepetual Help school who wears about a dozen other hats, to Sister Malia Dominica Wong, OP, adjunct professor at Chaminade University in Honolulu, who also wears numerous hats (and both nuns are prolific writers), to Sister Marykutty Kottuppallil, a Missionary Sister of Mary Help of Christians (an order founded in 1942 in Guwahati northeast India in 1942, as part of the family of Salesian orders (superior of a small group of these sisters in Honolulu), to Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu.

In a category all by herself is Audrey Toguchi, our mutual friend, the person who “connects the dots” (her favorite saying), that is, brings people together. I was introduced to Audrey and her story in July of 2008 when I flew to Honolulu on a very quick “reconnaissance” mission. I had been alerted by Linda Cacpal, a fellow member of Audrey’s parish, St. Elizabeth in Aiea, that Audrey was the person whose miraculous cure of lung cancer was due to the intercesssion of Damien of Molokai and led to his canonization in October 2009.

I was in California in July 2008 for a nephew’s wedding. Linda and I had been emailing back and forth about the news from Rome days earlier about a miraculous cure leading to Damien’s canonization. She told me about Audrey and said, “you really should come to Hawaii and meet her.” Well, I did just that. I got on the Internet on Saturday, found airfare and a hotel and was on a plane for Honolulu Monday.

Audrey was the first person I met of what is now this circle of friends – my Hawaiian ohana or family. I interviewed her for my radio show and we struck up a friendship that has lasted and deepened to this day.

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Audrey and her husband Yuki (a magical gardener – I think he could grow orchids from stone)

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Linda also told Bishop Larry I was in town and his office called and we met for a visit and have seen each other every summer since. We’ve also met in Rome with Hawaii pilgrims for the 2009 Damien canonization and the 2012 St. Marianne Cope canonization.

Linda was fascinated by my blog and what she could learn about Rome, the Pope, the Vatican, etc. We had become pen pals not long after my first column appeared in 2006. She gave me my first ever orchid lei when I arrived in Honolulu in 2008 and we saw each other at least on most of my visits. Our last visit was the summer of 2014. She died in December of that year.

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As the local Catholic paper wrote: Linda Cacpal was a lay person, a retired state employee, a convert, a parish minister with a love for the church so total that the bishop was moved to preside at her funeral. “This dear sister of ours dedicated her life to God completely,” Bishop Larry Silva told those who came to say goodbye to their friend in Christ, Jan. 12, at St. Elizabeth Church in Aiea. Eight priests concelebrated. Three deacons assisted.

Cacpal died on the day after Christmas in the home of her godchild and caregiver Leila Tee after suffering through a number of illnesses. She was 62. She worked in a variety of parish and diocesan ministries. She was a Secular Franciscan. And several years ago, Bishop Silva put her on the Diocesan Pastoral Council, his mostly lay advisory panel.

Now you have an inkling of why I get so excited when I plan my Hawaii trip. I love to see and do the Shaka, aka “Hang loose,” a Hawaiian hand gesture meaning take it easy, relax, chill out. It can also be shown to someone as a sign of approval, welcome or goodbye – aloha.

Make a fist, then extend your thumb and little finger, and lightly shake your hand in an up nand down, see-saw motion with your thumb and finger.

Now, “hang loose” on your vacation!

As I re-read what I’ve written, I began to mentally list the names of family and friends I will see and I think I have enough to make five decades of the rosary, each bead a beloved relative or friend.

TRAVEL TIPS

Throughout the year, but especially during the Easter season and in the summer, I get avalanches of emails asking for travel tips. People want suggestions on sites to see in Rome and throughout Italy. I am asked for guides, how to procure tickets to events (or train tickets), for help with hotels and convents and rental cars or private drivers. I am asked for all kinds of shopping tips.

I could probably answer any or all of those questions if I was a full time travel agent but I am not – not do I have time to explore a lot of areas that, I admit, I wish I had time for!

But this is why I prepared the link on my blog: CLICK HERE FOR PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON VISITING THE VATICAN

Not every single question will be answered but a lot will. I write about convents. I explain why I cannot advise people on hotels. I DO, however, list some great restaurants!

Do you need a ticket to a papal Mass or weekly audience (the Angelus does not require a ticket)? Go to: Prefectrure of the Papal Household: http://www.vatican.va/various/prefettura/en/biglietti_en.html

Want to avoid the long lines and reserve tickets to the Vatican Museums? Click here: http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html

Often just a simple search on the Internet to sites beyond what I have listed will provide you with all the information you need.

Pass this information on to friends and family members who will be travelling to Rome – you will help me and you will help them!

WORLD YOUTH DAY

What a terrific event this will be once again. I’ve been to a number of WYDs and always come home the richer person. Krakow will be immensely meaningful in the grand scheme of youth days because it was the diocese led for many years by Pope John Paul, who instituted WYD, and is now led by the late Pope’s secretary and confidante for 40 years. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz.

St. John Paul and St. Faustina Kowalksa are the co-patrons of this special World Youth Day.

To track what is happening and what awaits you if you are about to leave for Poland, visit the official website: http://www.krakow2016.com/en/

And, of course, EWTN will have enormous coverage – television, radio, our website, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

SAFE TRAVELS, EVERYONE! GOD SIT ON YOUR SHOULDER!  SEE YOU IN A FEW WEEKS!

 

THE SIGHTS OF KRAKOW, HOME TO WORLD YOUTH DAY 2016

World Youth Day in Krakow is just around the corner. As you know, I was there a few weeks ago and finally have a little time to more of the many photos I took, pictures I hope will give you some idea of the pulsating heart of this beautiful and ancient city that perhaps a million – maybe more – young people will experience at the end of July.

THE SIGHTS OF KRAKOW, HOME TO WORLD YOUTH DAY 2016

Kraków is a wonderful pilgrim city with a walkable Old Town and major shrines within the City. The Krakow official World Youth Day website says, “While you are there, be sure to visit these points of interest”:

Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny)

It’s the center of Kraków’s community life, bustling with activity and festivals. Within this main market square you will see:  St. Adalbert, St. Mary’s Basilica, Cloth Hall, and the Town Hall tower.

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St. Mary’s Basilica

The current basilica, with stunning Gothic architecture, is from the 14th century, although a church stood on the site more than 100 yrs even before that.  The top left tower has a crown, representing royalty and Mary as the Queen of Heaven and of Poland. Listen for the Hejnal, a bugle song, which is played from the tower every hour.  It commemorates the watchman who long ago sounded this song to alert Krakow during a Tartar invasion. His alarm was broken midway as an enemy arrow pierced his throat.  Every hour it is played by firemen who man the tower in 24-hour shifts, and it always ends abruptly mid tune, in remembrance of the watchman who gave his life. Look at how WYD and number of days to its start are indicated on the basilica façade.

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St. Adalbert

This is the oldest church in Kraków, dating from the 10th century.  It may look crooked to the square, but it is not.  It is built facing east as all churches traditionally were.  In that time the priest led the faithful in Mass, all facing east toward the rising sun, looking toward the Second Coming of the Son and our final judgment day. In this estimation, it is the square that is crooked, not the church.

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Cloth Hall

This is a great market for traditional Polish wares, and a prime place for souvenirs, tourists, and pickpockets alike.  It has been a permanent structure since the 14th century, as a place for merchants. This structure however is from the 16th century built after a fire leveled the previous one.  The “S” in the entry gable is for King Sigismund the Old, who built this “new” structure in the Italian Renaissance style.  You can see marks of his renovations throughout the nation in the same style.

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Town Hall Tower

This is all that remains of the 14th century town hall after the fire that also leveled the first Cloth Hall (in background of last photo).

The old and the new:

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An office just before entering Market square – if you know your history, you know what Solidarnosc is!

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Some of the fascinating architecture in Krakow:

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Off the Market Square (no photos):

Wawel Hill

A symbol of Polish royalty and independence, it is the most visited site in the nation.  A castle has stood here since the beginning of Polish history, and was the seat of the kings for over 500 years. The Wawel Cathedral was the site of most of the royal coronations and funerals for the last 1000 years.  It houses the tombs of nearly all of Poland’s most important rulers and historical figures, including the tomb of the first Polish Saint, St. Stanislaus (directly beneath the altar).

The cathedral is very eclectic with centuries of additions, unique to the style of the times. There is 12th century Romanesque, 14th century Gothic, 16th century Renaissance, 17th century Baroque, and 18th/19th century Neo Classical.  One can still see bits of the original Romanesque structure made of white limestone.

Much of this area is free to enter, including the main level of the Cathedral, the inner courtyard of the castle, and the field of ruins from earlier structures. There are also several areas and museums for which there is an entrance fee, such as: the crypt and the John Paul II Cathedral Museum, the Sigismund tower, and the castle interior and exhibits.

Campus Misericordiae – the final site for WYD Events: World Youth Day Vigil on Saturday and the papal Mass on Sunday will be held at “Campus Misericordiae,” (Field of Mercy), a special site designed specifically for these events: It is about 15km southeast of central Krakow in Brzegi, Poland, between Nowa Huta and Wieliczka. This site was chosen to facilitate travel from the city of Krakow and outlying areas where youth and their leaders will be lodged, busses parked etc.

 

INGREDIENTS FOR A SPECIAL DAY: A CARDINAL, A CONVERSATION AND COOKIES

INGREDIENTS FOR A SPECIAL DAY: A CARDINAL, A CONVERSATION AND COOKIES

I barely know where to begin because my first full day in Kraków has been extraordinary, but I’ve decided to focus on one special moment, one special visit.

I had an appointment this morning with Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, whom I have known for many years, as I wrote yesterday. We first met in the early years of Pope John Paul’s pontificate, stayed in touch and saw each other throughout those long years and remained stayed in touch even after John Paul the Great died in 2005.

My first trip to Kraków to see the archbishop who succeeded his “boss” as archbishop of Krakow was to report on Pope Benedict’s visit in 2006 to honor his predecessor. Now, as I walk the streets of this beautiful and historic city, I find it hard to believe that 10 years have passed.

The cardinal and I met at 10:30. He has had a busy week so far because Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies is also in Karkow to plan for Pope Francis’ liturgies when he comes in late July for World Youth Day.

Fr. Tomasz, the cardinal’s secretary, ushered me into an office I had visited only once before, 10 years ago, but felt it was so familiar, that I knew it well.

I had seen the cardinal in Rome on June 5 and we mentioned that visit for the canonization of a new Polish Saint Stanislaus, this time the founder of the Marian Fathers. We naturally also talked about World Youth Day and the cardinal reported how hard everyone has been working, how excited everyone is and how “absolutely wonderful” Krakow’s World Youth Day will be.

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He told me that 40,000 Americans are coming and said he is thrilled! He added that 250,000 Italian youth are coming! This all makes me wonder: wow, how many Polish Youth will there be?!

I gave Cardinal Dziwisz a copy of my book, “A Holy Year in Rome,” and he also knows about my book on John Paul. We’ve agreed to meet again in September when he will have more time to sit down and tell me the stories I want to hear, the stories I want to tell about John Paul’s humor and humanity. The cardinal is immensely pleased I have chosen to focus on these aspects of the man for whom he was almost like a son for 40 years!

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He was also immensely pleased that I brought my homemade chocolate chip cookies (as was Fr. Tomasz)! We both remember how the Pope enjoyed them, as did the papal household, the Polish nuns and others, because the cardinal, at the time Msgr. Stanislaw, either called me or wrote me a note each time I brought cookies to the Holy Father. So many special, really special, memories!

Cardinal Dziwisz really warmed the cockles of my heart when he thanked me for the work I did all the years at the Vatican and for the work I now do, my “ministry” for EWTN, for the Church.

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Since he knew I intend to go to the Shrine of Divine Mercy the John Paul II shrine tomorrow, he asked me to report back to him with my impressions on the Saint John Paul Shrine!

After this memorable visit and renewal of a long and wonderful friendship, Fr. Tomasz took some photos (many more than you see here!) and the cardinal and I said our goodbyes, promising to meet in September.

I bid him farewell with my Mother’s words – God sit on your shoulder!

Fr. Tomasz asked if I had ever seen the room whose window the Pope always appeared at when he came to Poland and stayed at the archbishop’s residence. The crowd of faithful would never let him get to bed without first greeting them at this window. And the same happened for Benedict XVI ten years ago – a huge, adoring crowd and the same window.

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I had seen the window from outside but never the famous room:

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Fr. Tomasz then brought me to a place that gave me goose bumps – the chapel where John Paul, Karol Wojtyla, was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Sapieha on November 1, 1946.

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I was able to stay some time here in prayer, and the memories of this great and long pontificate all came flooding back. As you can see in the photos, there is the picture of John Paul used for his beatification and canonization and there are also some relics here.

A special beginning to a special day.

GREETINGS FROM KRAKOW – HOME TO 2016 WORLD YOUTH DAY!

GREETINGS FROM KRAKOW – HOME TO 2016 WORLD YOUTH DAY!

This is not my first visit to what is called here the Polish Royal City. I was here for Pope Benedict’s trip in 2006, the first foreign trip he personally chose as Pope in order to honor his predecessor, Polish-born St. John Paul. Benedict XVI did celebrate Youth Day in Cologne in 2005 but that city was chosen by his predecessor.

I had a delightful trip on Alitalia and was picked up at the airport by a taxi the hotel sent for me. The first part of the short ride was through delightful countryside – the sun was shining and it seemed the perfect way to start a trip.

Parts of the airport and the city are still getting ready for World Youth Day next month but I’m sure all will be in order for that big event presided over by Pope Francis.

A word of warning. More people smoke here than any place I have been in recent years, certainly waaaay more than in the U.S. Smoking is allowed outdoors at cafes and restaurants.

I went to the wonderful, world famous main Market Square and had a bite to eat as I read notes, compiled a list of things to do, places to visit and people to call. Solving the phone situation was my priority as I wanted to avoid the roaming charges that I’d incur by using my Italian cell phone in Poland. I hoped to buy a Polish SIM card but discovered my Italian TIM service has special offers for abroad so I hope that solves the problems. Where there seem to be cell phone stores every two or three blocks in Rome, they are much harder to find here.

These are the only two photos I’ve taken so far as I have walked around to acclimate myself to the city. The carriages here are immensely beautiful as are the horses – I may have to see what a carriage ride costs and where they take you.

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Just a quick note as I prepare to go out for dinner. Tomorrow promises to be a full day and I’ll catch up if and when I can.

Before I close – a shout out to the United States where June 14 is Flag Day! Be sure to display yours!

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR JUNE 2016 – HEALTH PROFESSIONALS “PERSONIFY” MERCY, SAYS FRANCIS – AGENDA FOR PAPAL TRIP TO POLAND FOR WYD 2016 – POPE AND C9 CARDINALS MEET, CONTINUE REFORM OF ROMAN CURIA – PRESS RELEASE FROM CONGREGATION FOR EVANGELIZATION

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR JUNE 2016

The papal prayer intention in video format as developed by the Apostleship of Prayer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLw0y7A90pg&feature=youtu.be&a

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS “PERSONIFY” MERCY, SAYS FRANCIS

Pope Francis Thursday addressed the Medical Associations of Spain and Latin America in the Clementine Hall, telling them that health professionals are the “true personification” of mercy. He also told them of his gratitude for those who, through dedication and professionalism, help those who suffer. (news.va photo)

Health officials

Francis said, “the identity of the physician relies not only on skills but mainly on a compassionate and merciful attitude towards those who suffer in body and spirit. Compassion is the very soul of medicine and compassion is not pity, it is suffering-with.”

The Holy Father observed that, “compassion is not always well received in our individualistic and highly technological culture because sometimes it is seen as a humiliation. There are even some who hide behind alleged compassion to justify killing a patient. True compassion does not marginalize, humiliate or exclude and doesn’t celebrate the passing away of a patient. No, this is the triumph … of the “culture of disposability” that rejects people who do not meet certain standards of health, beauty or utility.

“Health is one of the most precious gifts and everyone desires it,” Pope Francis said. “The biblical tradition has always highlighted the closeness between salvation and health, as well as their mutual and numerous implications. … Christian medical tradition has always been inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is identified with the love of the Son of God, who ‘went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed’.”

Francis stressed that compassion “is the appropriate response to the immense value of the sick person, a response made of respect, understanding and tenderness, because the sacred value of the life of the patient does not disappear, nor is it ever darkened, but it shines with more splendor precisely in the person’s suffering and helplessness.” He added that, “fragility, pain and disease are a tough test for everyone, including medical staff; they are a call to patience, to suffer-with; therefore one cannot yield to the temptation to apply quick, merely functional and drastic solutions driven by false compassion or by criteria of efficiency or cost savings. At stake is the dignity of human life; at stake is the dignity of the medical vocation.”

AGENDA FOR PAPAL TRIP TO POLAND FOR WYD 2016

(Vatican Radio)  The Vatican on Thursday released the program for Pope Francis’ 27-31 July visit to Poland for the 31st World Youth Day celebrations.

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The Pope will depart from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 2 p.m. and will arrive at the John Paul II airport of Balice-Krakow two hours later. After the welcome ceremony he will transfer to the Castle of Wawel, where he will address the civil authorities and diplomatic corps, followed by a courtesy visit to the president of the Republic. The Pope’s first day in Poland will conclude with a meeting with bishops in Krakow Cathedral.

In the early morning of Thursday 28 July he will visit the Convent of the Sisters of the Presentation on the way to the airport, and at 8.30 a.m. he will transfer by helicopter to Czestochowa where, in the monastery of Jasna Gora, he will pray in the chapel of the Black Virgin before celebrating Holy Mass in the Shrine of Czestochowa on the occasion of the 1,050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland. At 12.45 p.m. he will return to Krakow where he will address the young people gathered in Jordan Park.

On Friday 29 July he will transfer by helicopter to Oswiecim. At 9.30 he will visit Auschwitz and at 10.30 the camp of Birkenau, returning to Krakow where at 4.30 p.m. he will meet patients at the university paediatric hospital, and at 6 p.m. he will preside at the Via Crucis with young people in Jordan Park.

On Saturday he will visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow, where he will pass through the Door of Divine Mercy and confess several young people. After, at 10.30, he will celebrate Holy Mass for Polish priests, men and women religious, consecrated persons and seminarians in the St. John Paul II Shrine of Krakow. The Pope will lunch with several young people in the archiepiscopal residence and then in the evening will pass through the Holy Door in the Campus Misericordiae with various young people. There, at 7.30 p.m., he will give the opening address of the prayer vigil.

On Sunday 31 July, Francis will celebrate Mass for World Youth Day in the Campus Misericordiae, after which, at 5 p.m., he will greet the WYD volunteers, organising committee and benefactors in the Tauron Arena in Krakow. He will depart by air at 6.30 p.m., destined for Rome’s Ciampino airport, where he is expected to arrive at 8.25 p.m.

POPE AND C9 CARDINALS MEET, CONTINUE REFORM OF ROMAN CURIA

(Vatican Radio) The Council of Cardinals concluded three days of meetings in the Vatican on Wednesday, continuing their discussions on the ongoing reform of the different Vatican offices and institutions. The head of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi briefed journalists on the contents of the meetings, noting that Pope Francis was present for most of the time with the nine cardinals in the group.

Fr. Lombardi said a large part of the consultations was dedicated to discussing the reforms regarding the Secretariat of State, the Congregations for Catholic Education, for Oriental Churches, for the Clergy and for Bishops, as well as the Pontifical Councils for Culture, for Christian Unity and for Interreligious Dialogue.

He also noted that the results of previous consultations regarding the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Worship and the Sacraments, for the Causes of Saints and for Consecrated Life, as well as the new Charity, Justice and Peace office, have been handed over to Pope Francis for his deliberations.

Fr. Lombardi said that the reforms were focused on the criteria of simplifying and harmonizing the work of the different offices, as well as exploring ways of decentralizing tasks to the different bishops conferences.

Lastly, he noted that Cardinal Reinhard Marx and Cardinal George Pell discussed questions relating to the Council and the Secretariat for the Economy, while Msgr. Dario Viganò reported on the continuing reform of the Vatican media offices, especially the process of integrating Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center which is taking place this year.

The next meetings of the C9 group of cardinals are scheduled to take place on September 12th, 13th and 14th and December 12th, 13th and 14th.

PRESS RELEASE FROM CONGREGATION FOR EVANGELIZATION

(EWTN/CNA) From Guam, June 6, 2016 – After sex abuse and other allegations were leveled against Guam’s archbishop, Pope Francis on Monday appointed a Vatican official to be the local Church’s apostolic administrator while an investigation is carried out. On June 6, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, was appointed apostolic administrator “sede plena” of the Archdiocese of Agaña, which serves Catholics in Guam, a U.S. island territory in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The appointment was made shortly after Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agaña was accused of sexual abuse dating from the 1970s, and of failing to implement strong policies on the handling of clerical sex abuse. As apostolic administrator “sede plena,” Archbishop Hon will govern the archdiocese because its ordinary is incapable of doing so. Though Archbishop Apuron remains archbishop, he will not exercise his office while Archbishop Hon remains as apostolic administrator. In May, allegations surfaced against Archbishop Apuron. The accusations were raised by a former altar boy, who said that he was molested at age 12, when he spent the night at a rectory with then-Father Apuron. The alleged incident took place in the mid-1970s in Agat, a town located almost 13 miles southwest of Hagåtña, Guam’s capital, when Archbishop Apuron was a parish priest.

UPDATE FROM GUAM: The following statement from the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is from the website of the Catholic Archdiocese of Agana: http://www.aganaarch.org/8654/press-release-from-the-vatican-congregation-for-the-evangelization-of-peoples/

“The Holy Father in his concern for the good of the whole church and with due consideration for the good of the faithful in Guam has temporarily entrusted the administration of the Archdiocese of Agaña to His Excellency the Most Rev. Savio Hon Tai Fai, S.D.B, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, who will be assisted by Rev. Fr. Tadeusz Jan Nowak, O.M.I..

“The priority of the Apostolic Administrator is to take stock of the present pastoral situation of the diocese; to identify the difficulties present among the clergy, religious, and lay faithful and to take urgent measures, at the earliest, in order to promote and restore unity and harmony in the local Church. The Apostolic Administrator, after carefully discerning the needs of the Archdiocese will take all necessary decisions to assure that this goal is being implemented. The Holy Father kindly asks for the trust and prayers of the local Church and sincerely hopes that the entire Catholic Community will put all of its energy in promoting unity, harmony, and stability of the Church.

“May Mary, Mother of the Church, assist with the same care she manifested at the very beginnings of the Church’s growth.