Today is the feast of St. George and Pope Francis’ name day as his birth name is Jorge – George. In Italy there are many people who celebrate their name day or onomastico in a bigger fashion than a birthday.
Tanti auguri, Jorge!
A “BEAUTIFUL SIGN” FROM THE POPE ON HIS NAME DAY
The Church today remembers Saint George the martyr, Pope Francis’ name day. To mark this occasion a number of ventilators will be delivered to Romania, Spain and Italy, countries particularly affected by the coronavirus epidemic. The delivery comes after an announcement on March 27 in response to the needs of several hospitals. Best wishes to the Pope are being received from all over the world.
By Benedetta Capelli and Adrian Dancă – vaticannews
Giving not receiving. This is the spirit that distinguishes today’s day, in which the Church remembers Saint George the martyr. This Saint died in 303, for not renouncing the faith during the anti-Christian persecutions unleashed by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Tradition remembers him in this episode in which, protected by the Cross, he slayed the dragon that devoured people: a symbol of faith that triumphs over evil.
The Pope’s name-day
This is therefore, the day in which Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s name day, Pope Francis, is celebrated. The Pontiff’s gift is the delivery of ventilators and medical equipment, masks, protective glasses for doctors and nurses, overalls for intensive care. A number of hospitals will be benefiting: one is in the city of Suceava, Romania, which has seen an outbreak of coronavirus, where 5 latest generation ventilators are expected; another 2 will go to a hospital in Lecce, Italy, and 3 to Madrid, Spain.
It is “a beautiful sign that falls on this particular day when the Holy Father does not receive a gift but gives it to others”, said Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner, speaking of the imminent delivery that he calls “an embrace of the Pope in a difficult situation for the whole world”.
Romania is experiencing a real emergency in the small town of Suceava where the ventilators will go. There is almost 25% of the total contagion at national level. The town, together with several surrounding municipalities is in quarantine and is located in the poorest region of the country and the European Union.
In Romania there are more than 515 victims and almost 10 thousand infected. The ventilators and all the equipment donated by the Pope will be transported by a flight which will also carry a team of eleven Romanian doctors and six health workers, sent on 7 April by the government of Bucharest to a hospital in Lecce to work alongside Italy in its difficult battle against the coronavirus.
The three ventilators in Madrid will be taken care of by the Nunciature which, together with Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of the Spanish capital, who will bring them to the hospitals most in need. The Iberian country is in lockdown until 9 May. The number of those infected exceeds 208,000, the death toll stands at over 21,000 and almost 86,000 have been cured of the coronavirus.
Two ventilators destined for the hospital in Lecce will be delivered today by Cardinal Krajewski himself. On the journey back to the Vatican, the Papal Almoner will stop in Naples to receive medicine for the poor of Rome
A few days before Easter, two ventilators, medical devices for doctors and nurses and Easter eggs arrived directly from the Vatican at the Cotugno hospital in Naples. Last year, again on the day of his name day, Pope Francis donated Rosary wreaths made for WYD in Panama to young people in the archdiocese of Milan, and a 20 kg chocolate egg to the poor at the Caritas canteen at Termini Station in Rome.
Best wishes to the Pope
At this time the Pope is receiving best wishes for his name day. In his message for Easter, the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella thanked Pope Francis for “the vibrant words of life and hope” repeatedly addressed by the Pope to the country and expressed in his best wishes for the Pope’s name day.
INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS POSTPONED
The Vatican has announced that the International Eucharistic Congress, set to take place in Budapest this fall, has been postponed to September 2021. (Vatican News)
Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni announced today in a written statement that the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress scheduled to take place in September 2020 will now take place in September 2021.
The decision was made “because of the current health situation and its consequences for the movement and aggregation of the faithful and pilgrims.”
In his statement, Bruni notes that the decision was taken by Pope Francis together with the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic[BR1] Congresses and the Hungarian Episcopate.
What a Eucharistic Congress is
Eucharistic Congresses are designed to promote devotion to and belief in Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. In 1967, following the Second Vatican Council, the then Sacred Congregation of Rites wrote, “In Eucharistic Congresses Christians seek to understand this mystery more deeply through a consideration of its many aspects.” It emphasized the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, saying that during the Congresses, the faithful “should venerate [this mystery] through devotions and private prayers, especially by solemn processions, in such a way that all these forms of devotion find their climax in the solemn celebration of Mass”.
History of the Eucharistic Congress
The first Eucharistic Congress took place in France in 1881, during the pontificate of Leo XIII. Since that time, Congresses have been held throughout the world, in places as diverse as Jerusalem, Rome, Montreal, Sydney, Carthage (in Tunisia), Buenos Aires, and Manila. The most recent Eucharistic Congress was held in Cebu City in the Philippines in 2016 with Burmese Cardinal Charles Bo serving as the papal legate.
JFL: An international Eucharistic Congress was held in Chicago from June 20 to 24, 1926. My grandfather William H. Lewis was on the Layman’s Organizing Committee and received the yellow and white decoration with medal that you see here. Members also received the bronze medal you see from Pope Pius XI
POPE FRANCIS: “THE EARTH IS GOD’S HOME, WE STAND ON HOLY GROUND”
Pope Francis dedicated the entire catechesis of today’s general audience to the April 22nd 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The press office published the original Italian-language text as well as the complete English translation. There were also summaries of the Earth Day catechesis in the usual languages of French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Polish.
Pope Francis began the audience that took place in the library of the Apostolic Palace by noting that, “Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. This is an opportunity for renewing our commitment to caring for our common home. We are called to cherish creation and all life within it, for the natural world is the ‘Gospel of Creation’, not a set of resources for us to exploit.”
He explained that, “To overcome our selfishness and rediscover a sacred respect for the earth, we need a new way of seeing – an ecological conversion – for the earth is also God’s home and we stand on holy ground. We can only be authentic custodians of the earth, and overcome the challenges before us – such as the coronavirus pandemic – by acting in solidarity with one another.”
The Holy Father, speaking of his May 2015 encyclical letter, said “As Laudato Si’ reminds us, we are one interdependent human family and so need a common response to the threats we face (cf. 164). In this Easter season of renewal, as we strive to love more deeply our common home and all our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need, let us implore our Heavenly Father: ‘Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth’.”
FOR FULL ENGLISH TEXT: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/04/22/0240/00522.html
POPE FRANCIS AND FRENCH PRESIDENT SPEAK ON PHONE
According to a vaticannews.va story, Pope Francis and French President Macron engaged in a telephone conversation focussed on the European Union’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the need for debt reduction in poor countries. The Holy See Press Office has said nothing about this but French President Emmanuel Macron’s communications office published the news.
Vatican news reported that Pope Francis took the opportunity to express his closeness and support to France where Covid-19 has claimed more than 20,000 lives during a telephone conversation with the French President. The president’s office said Pope Francis and President Emmanuel Macron spoke for about 45 minutes on Tuesday afternoon. It also said the Pope positively acknowledged “the constructive responses taken by France at the international level after the health crisis caused by the pandemic.”
VATICAN OFFICE HEADS MEET TO DISCUSS COVID19 PHASE 2
A Holy See Pfress Office communique today stated that, “This morning in the old Synod Hall, an extraordinary meeting took place chaired by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in the presence of the heads of the dicasteries and entities of the Holy See. The aim of the meeting was to reflect on a second phase of Covid19 emergency that will begin next May. The Holy See’s efforts to deal with the crisis in a sustainable way were underlined. In addition, the gradual reactivation of ordinary services was decided, while safeguarding the health precautions to limit contagion, so as to ensure service to the Holy Father and to the Universal Church.”
CARDINAL FARRELL: WE ARE ONE FAMILY
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, speaks about the decision to postpone the World Meeting of Families and World Youth Day, and about the lessons we can learn during these difficult times.
By Vatican News
Cardinal Kevin Farrell said that the decision to postpone two major ecclesial events was made out of prudence, and concern for the safety of the millions of people who are expected to take part.
The Vatican on Monday announced that the World Meeting of Families (WMF), set to take place in Rome in June 2021; and the next World Youth Day (WYD), scheduled for August 2022 in Lisbon, would both be pushed back a year, to 2022 and 2023 respectively.
Prudence and safety
In an interview with Vatican News, Cardinal Farrell explained that the organizational, logistical, and economic aspects of planning such events were important factors in the decision to postpone the events. Normally, planning for major international events of this kind takes place a year or more in advance. In these times, the Cardinal explained, “it would be imprudent of us to make that decision now, because we do not know exactly what the situation of our world will be as this pandemic comes to an end”.
He also expressed sympathy for people making plans for their families. Both the WMF and WYD draw large crowds from all over the world. It would be unreasonable to make plans for one’s family so soon after a major epidemic. Safety concerns are important too, Cardinal Farrell said: “It’s just not prudent” to have very large gatherings of people “until we know they are going to be safe”.
What we can learn
Cardinal Farrell focused on the importance of families, especially during a period when so many people are “locked down”. The family, he said, “is the most essential aspect of our social life. It is the basis of all social life”.
With so many people living closely together because of necessary health restrictions, families are learning how to care for each other more than ever before, Cardinal Farrell said. It is precisely in family life, that we learn how to value others and to care for them. He said he prays that this might be “one of the aspects” of the coronavirus emergency “that will most affect us”.
“We are one family”
The Cardinal said he believes the world will become “a smaller place” because we are learning that our lives are all interconnected. The Covid-19 emergency has affected every corner of the world, “which shows that the human race, we are all one family”. He said he hopes that “the greatest lesson we would all learn in this experience is precisely that: We are one family”.
JOAN’S ROME LITE
Has been a quiet day here – a day that should be filled with fun and celebrating Rome’s 2,773rd birthday! I posted this story on Facebook and tweeted it as well (https://www.wantedinrome.com/news/rome-celebrates-2773rd-birthday-in-2020.html?fbclid=IwAR3ydM4hjDgYVtYUlVkvcFTo8g4Jy4zbPZZhairQ0ZRShdXrCg5RpvUt7QI)
I think we need more days not filled with bad news and dreaded statistics so it’s Joan’s Rome Lite today, as you will see!
OBEYING THE RULES: TENNIS WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING
You gotta love it! I saw this story and photo in Italian papers and had to share it.
Sport with “social distancing”: two athletes from the Tennis Club of Finale Ligure (Savona), Vittoria Oliveri, 13 and Carola Pessina, 11 played tennis, challenging each other from the roof of their respective buildings and filming their volleys. They then sent the video to their coach, Dionisio Poggi, who posted it on social media. The video of the training on the roof has been re-shared almost 15 thousand times and has collected over 32 thousand “likes,” The girls said it all depends on their desire to return as soon as possible to training.
12 HILARIOUS HOME SCHOOLING MEMES IN CORONAVIRUS ERA
Not sure if I have previously posted this from Aleteia but I know that every so often we all need to laugh so hard we cry! Here you go! https://aleteia.org/slideshow/slideshow-12-funniest-homeschooling-memes/12/
ROME FAMILY MEETING AND LISBON WYD MOVED BACK A YEAR
I don’t know what to say about the following press office statement except Wow, what does this mean? I am guessing they are looking at the organizational aspects of the family meeting and World Youth Day but I presume that things have been in the early planning stages in both Rome and Lisbon for a while now. I also presume they are waiting for flights to resume and hotels to open but with this, we are looking at two and three years down the road!
Statement by Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni: “Due to the current health situation and its consequences on moving and the gatherings of young people and families, the Holy Father, together with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life has decided to postpone the 20210 World Meeting of Families in Rome for a year to June 2022 and the next World Youth Day, scheduled for Lisbon in August 2022 to be moved to August 2023.”
BISHOPS TO ENTRUST ITALY TO PROTECTION OF MARY
Welcoming the proposal and the request by many faithful, the Italian Episcopal Conference will entrust the entire country to the protection of the Mother of God as a “sign of salvation and hope” on Friday, May 1 at 9 pm, with a moment of prayer in the basilica of Santa Maria del Fonte near Caravaggio. (source ACI stampa)
May 1 is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and a big holiday in Italy.
Santa Maria del Fonte is in the province of Bergamo, one of the hardest hit regions in Italy for Covid-19. (https://www.visitbergamo.net/en/object-details/34-santuario-santa-maria-del-fonte-di-carav/
“LA CIVILTÀ CATTOLICA” JOURNAL LAUNCHES NEW EDITION IN SIMPLIFIED CHINESE
The prestigious Jesuit journal, “La Civiltà Cattolica”, has launched a new edition in simplified Chinese on the occasion of its 170th anniversary this year.
By Vatican News
Founded in 1850 by Italian Jesuits, La Civiltà Cattolica is one of the oldest periodicals in the world. On the occasion of its 170th anniversary, its new simplified Chinese edition is also being offered as a gesture of friendship, given the increasingly important role that the Chinese language plays in the contemporary world within the global context.
Parolin – fruit of a friendly encounter
In a letter to Fr. Anthony Spadaro SJ, the Director of the Jesuit periodical, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, praised the initiative, which intends to “write a new chapter – fruit of the friendly encounter with the rich tradition of the Chinese people.” He said this corresponds with the “particular vocation” of the review which is “to build bridges and to establish a dialogue with all people.”
“Therefore, I can only express from the depths of my heart my warmest best wishes and the fervent hope that your review in the Chinese language might become a solid instrument of mutual cultural and scientific enrichment,” the cardinal wrote.
The Italian journal, begun before the unification of Italy, has always enjoyed a very intimate and special relationship with the Holy See and Roman Pontiffs, promoting the dialogue between the Christian faith and contemporary culture with patience and respect.
It was precisely Pope Francis who gave La Civiltà Cattolica the model of Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) or Li Madou, as he was known in China. The Jesuit, who moved from Macerata in Italy’s Marche Region to China at the age of 30, drafted a huge map of the world in 1602, which served to create a wider understanding of the world and to connect the Chinese people with other civilizations.
In a divided world such as our own, said the journal in a press release, it is an ideal image of the harmony of a land at peace. Thus, our review desires to be in its own way a map of the world, connecting cultures and civilizations.
In 1601, Matteo Ricci also composed a treatise on friendship, which offered an opportunity for the Mandarin Chinese and the “literati” of the Ming Dynasty, to know the thinking of the great philosophers of the West. For the Jesuits and for the great scholars within Western culture, the treatise also offered the foundation for dialogue with the great intellectuals of China.
According to the Rome-based Jesuit periodical, European cultures have learned much from the great Chinese culture and from the wisdom of the Chinese, thanks to the study and the passion of the Jesuits. This is the reason why the Jesuit journal decided to start a Chinese edition.
The Chinese edition contributes to making La Civiltà Cattolica more and truly international, said the press release. For some years now, its writers are all Jesuits from different countries and continents, who offer unique and original contributions.
Since 2017, the review has been published in five different languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, and Korean; and now a Chinese edition.
The fortnightly review has always aimed to provide deeper assessments of topics and events of broad significance.
All the writers are Jesuits and the articles are reviewed and approved by an official of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State before publication.
In his message to the journal, Pope Francis expressed hope that in its pages, “the voices of many different frontiers might be heard.” He defined the journal as “unique in its genre.”
The website address of the Chinese edition: https://www.gjwm.org. Also available as redirect are: http://www.gongjiaowenming.org and http://cn.laciviltacattolica.org The website is sub-divided in four sections: News (新闻); World (观世界); Christian Reflection (基督教文化研究); and Culture (文化及评论).
Linked to the website is the WeChat account of the review whose identification code is gjwm1850.
Tune in to EWTN this Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, because Pope Francis will be saying Mass in a private fashion in the church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, – Holy Spirit Church – just a few blocks from Vatican City. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the canonization of St. Faustyna on April 30, 2000, and Pope John Paul’s designation of the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. Check http://www.ewtn.com> for time.
On January 1, 1994, Saint John Paul II named Santo Spirito as the Rome center for Divine Mercy Spirituality. The church itself has a long history and today features beautiful images of Divine Mercy, St. Faustyna Kowalska, called the Apostle of Divine Mercy, and Pope John Paul.
Interestingly enough, John Paul II died on April 2, 2005, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, was beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011, and was canonized with Pope John XXIII on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, 2014 by Pope Francis.
VATICAN INSIDER: WHO IS THE MAN OF THE SHROUD?
Welcome to a new edition of Vatican Insider on this special Easter season weekend of Divine Mercy Sunday! As you know, given that under the coronavirus quarantine rules I cannot go out to interview people, until those restrictions are lifted, I’m presenting a number of Specials I’ve prepared in the interview segment. This weekend, stay tuned after the news for Part II of my special on the Shroud of Turin, the burial cloth believed by many to have enveloped Christ’s body in the tomb. What do scientists say about the cloth, its provenance and dates, the stains on it – and much more.
IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)
PAPAL ALMONER VISITS HOMELESS NEAR ROME’S TERMINI STATION
On Thursday afternoon, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, brought Pope Francis’ greetings, along with food and hygiene products to Rome’s homeless.
Cardinal Krajewski and a handful of volunteers were out on the streets of Rome on Thursday afternoon. (photo: vaticannews)
They brought Pope Francis’s greetings, some food, and hygiene products to several homeless people living near Rome’s Termini train station.
“They were saying hi and thanking us,” said Daniele, one of the volunteers, “for what we had brought them: sleeping bags, food, soap, and some masks they weren’t expecting. But like always,” added Daniele, “we received more than we gave.”
CARITAS SUPPORTING LOCAL CHURCHES IN FIGHTING COVID-19
Caritas Internationalis launches a new “Covid-19 Response Fund” to help support the efforts of local Churches as they assist those suffering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)
Pope Francis recently set up a Commission to manifest the Church’s care for people around the world affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Caritas Internationalis plays a key role in the Vatican task force, due to its vast network of aid agencies spread out in local dioceses in 160 nations.
The Catholic Church’s human development arm released a communiqué on Thursday launching a new fundraising initiative called the “Covid-19 Response Fund”.
Aloysius John, the Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, spoke to Vatican Radio about the Church’s role in helping those suffering during the ongoing pandemic.
“Pope Francis is very much preoccupied with Covid-19, and he wants the Church to express solidarity with the local Churches and help them at this moment as a gesture of witnessing the universal love and care of the universal Church for the local Church,” said Mr. John.
The commission that the Pope set up consists of five working groups. Caritas Internationalis belongs to the first working group, which is dedicated to listening and supporting local Churches.
“We have lots of experience in the areas of health and micro-development, and we are present down to the parish-level in a very capillary way in service of the Church,” said Mr. John.
Caritas has already sent out a survey and received responses from 140 Bishops’ Conferences.
Therefore, Caritas already has a wealth of information that can be used to better distribute aid in case of a local outbreak of Covid-19.
Mr. John said the solidarity fund will be used to provide healthcare services in the areas of prevention and control of infections, access to clean water and sanitation, and procurement of personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc).
Food security is one area that Caritas is most concerned about. Some poor people in developing nations consider Covid-19 to be the lesser of two evils. They prefer to defy social-distancing measures to go out in search of work.
“How are we going to help them? If they don’t have food, then they have to go out to search for food and expose themselves, and others, to the contagious effects of the disease,” Mr. John points out.
He said that Caritas is most concerned about parts of Africa and the Middle East where wars and internal conflicts have left many people poor and vulnerable.
Caritas Jerusalem’s staff in Palestine is already running out of money and may be forced to stop offering food and hygiene kits to 500 families in need.
With local agencies’ needs increasing as the coronavirus spreads, Caritas Internationalis has set up the Covid-19 Response Fund to raise money to send to local Churches.
“The coronavirus solidarity fund is a means to assist small projects which will allow Caritas to help the people who are confined,” Mr. John said.
One project is Caritas Philippines’ “Kindness Centers” set up at parishes. People wanting to help can bring their excess food supplies to the centers. They are then distributed to local families in need.
“We are there to help them create solidarity,” Mr. John said. “We are all in solidarity before the virus, but I think we also have to be in solidarity with people to help them live with dignity.”
The Covid-19 Response Fund offers people around the world a chance to help those in need, even from the confines of their own homes.
“Let us join hands in helping us to help the poor, the needy, and the most vulnerable,” said Mr. John. “Pope Francis wants us to be ‘educators of solidarity’ and, at the same time, actors in the field of solidarity.”
Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the Covid-19 Response Fundcan do so through Caritas Internationalis’s website.
A Bank Account has been opened specifically for this fund at the Vatican Bank (Institute for the Works of Religion). Funds can be wired using the IBAN: VA29001000000020179007
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT
I wish you the Lord’s choicest blessings on your 93rd birthday, knowing that millions around the world join me in prayerful best wishes and in gratitude for the years of your pontificate!
I cherish the times that I was privileged to meet you and to exchange a few words, though brief.
And we all cherish the many memories we have of you as cardinal and then, as of April 19, 2005, as Pope Benedict XVI. (photos Vatican media)
A heartfelt hug accompanies these best wishes!
Pope Francis’ morning weekday Masses at the Santa Marta residence will continue to be transmitted live at 7am next week on Vatican media, including vaticannews.va
POPE FRANCIS TO SAY MASS ON DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY AT CHURCH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
This year, the 20th anniversary of the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska and the institution of Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis will preside at Mass on Sunday, April 19, Divine Mercy Sunday 2020, in the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, the place of particular devotion to Divine Mercy.
Mass will be celebrated in private form and, at the end, the Pope will lead the recitation of the Regina Coeli from the same church.
The Holy Mass and recitation of the Regina Coeli on Sunday 19 April will be broadcast live on television by Vatican Media and streamed on the Vatican News website with comments in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. The images of the event will be distributed by Vatican Media to the media who request them, in order to reach the faithful from all over the world.
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