“The beatification of Paul VI – Under the Roman sun” is the title of a piece in the Vatican paper, L’Osservatore Romano, at news.va about Sunday’s beatification and our new Blessed, Pope Paul VI. We know the celebration, which was also the closing Mass for the synod on the family, took place in the presence of Pope emeritus Benedict XV who was, as Joseph Ratzinger, in 1977 the last cardinal to be created by Paul VI.

What I did not know on Sunday was that Pope Francis wore the chasuble that Paul VI received for his 80th birthday and also used the staff of his predecessor, celebrating the Mass with one of his two chalices. The tapestry that hung from the central loggia with Paul VI’s image was from a photo taken by Pepi Merisio, one of Italy’ìs foremost photographers. We see the new Blessed as he walks with his arms outstretched with a large smile on his face. His liturgical feast will be celebrated on September 26, the day he was born in Concesio, northern Italy.

Except for the announcement of the papal trip to Turkey in November, today was – Dco gratias! – a light news day at the Vatican. Two weeks and then some of 12-hour days filled with writing, listening, reading and analyzing documents, preparing and doing interviews, preparing reports for television and then several more reports for radio – the adrenalin-fueled days almost went by in a blur. Now there will be more time to reflect and perhaps form a clearer picture from that blur. Events like a synod can cause a kind of factual indigestion from consuming too much material too fast and care always has to be exercised when writing – or speaking – to separate the wheat from the chaff.

It will also be great to have a little extra time to spend to tackle a pile of emails and catch up on life and people and events outside of Rome. In the meantime, some tidbits for today…


The Holy See Press Office today confirmed that Pope Francis has accepted the invitations issued by civil authorities, by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and by the bishops of Turkey, and will make an apostolic trip to Turkey from November 28 to 30 2014, during which he will visit Ankara and Istanbul.

He will depart Friday morning, November 28 from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, arriving at Ankara’s Esenboga Airport at approximately 1 pm. His first visit will be to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey and its first president. Francis will then go to the presidential palace where he will be received by the president of the republic and government authorities, later meeting with the prime minister, He will subsequently visit the president of Religious Affairs in the Diyanet.

Saturday, November 29, the Holy Father will fly from Ankara to Istanbul where he will visit the Hagia Sophia Museum, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque, and the Catholic cathedral of the Holy Spirit, where he will celebrate Mass. Later, in the patriarchal Church of St. George in Fanar, there will be an ecumenical prayer and a private meeting with His Holiness Bartholomew I.

On Sunday, November 30 Pope Francis will celebrate Mass privately with the apostolic delegation. In the patriarchal Church of St. George a divine liturgy will take place, followed by an ecumenical blessing and the signing of a Joint Declaration. In the afternoon Pope Francis departs Istanbul for Rome, where he is expected to arrive at Fiumicino Airport at 6.40 p.m.


If you have been following the Twitter feed of the Vatican Apostolic Library (BAV), you learned that you can now see 1084 digitized manuscripts by going to: http://www.mss.vatlib.it/guii/scan/link.jsp

Once you are there, you will see “Digitized manuscripts: 1084, select to access the digitized copy” and be told to click on the mini book with open pages. It is a truly fascinating experience and gives amazing possibilities to millions of people who could never otherwise the library

Here is what the library says about its digitization projects:

BAV Digitisation projects are underway for the following manuscripts, which in the future will be available for on-line consultation, including access through the catalogue:

–    142 manuscripts originating from the old library of the monastery of Lorsch, in the context of a project to virtually reconstruct this famous library (Bibliotheca Laureshamensis

– digital: Virtuelle Klosterbibliothek Lorsch), with the support of the University of Heidelberg;

–    the over 2,000 manuscripts of the Palatini latini collection, in collaboration with the University of Heidelberg;

–    several thousand Greek and Hebrew manuscripts and incunabula, in collaboration with the Bodleian Library;

–    around 30 of the most significant Slavic manuscripts, in collaboration with the University of Sofia “Saint Clement Ohridski”;

–    several dozen Syriac manuscripts, in collaboration with the “Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts” of Brigham Young University (U.S.A.), with which the Library had already produced an earlier series of digitisations in the context of the project Syriac Manuscripts from the Vatican Library;

–    over 600 Chinese manuscripts and over 100 Chinese printed books regarding the history of China from the seventeenth to the beginning of the twentieth century, in collaboration with the “Chinese National Committe for the compilation of Qing History.”.