Pope Francis had an unusually busy weekend with two events on the Saturday May 30 vigil of Pentecost and three more on Pentecost Sunday.
The Saturday highlight was the rosary at the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens, transmitted throughout the world and in linkup with 50 Marian shrines. The Pope also sent a video message to CHARIS (Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service) on the eve of Pentecost. Francis warned that life after the pandemic will not be the same so we must take advantage of this opportunity to improve the lives of the most vulnerable. CHARIS was created by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life in 2018 to foster unity and communication between the different Catholic charismatic realities. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-05/pope-francis-vide-message-charism-eve-of-pentecost.html
May 31, Pentecost Sunday and the feast of the Visitation, the Holy Father celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Altar of the Chair with a small number of faithful mpreent, shared a video message with “The Kingdom Come,” and recited the Regina Coeli for the first time from his study window with faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “Thy Kingdom Come” is an annual global ecumenical prayer movement promoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby that started in 2016. The Pope’s message contrasted God “infecting” the world with life at Pentecost with the “deadly virus” that has ravaged the world amid the coronavirus pandemic. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-05/pope-thy-kingdom-come-pentecost-archbishop-canterbury-welby.html
PENTECOST: THE CHURCH, RECONCILED AND READY FOR MISSION
It was a thrill today to be in a warm and sun-splashed St. Peter’s Square with perhaps 200 people for Pope Francis’ noon recitation of the Regina Coeli. After months of addressing the faithful via television and live streaming from the library of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father seemed delighted to be back at his study window that overlooks the square. And the faithful were overjoyed, too, and showed their enthusiasm with sustained applause.
Pentecost seemed like the ideal feast day to resume this more personal sharing of faith, reflections and prayer. Pentecost is considered the birth of the Church and today we were once again, in person, with the Successor to Peter. Many churches throughout the world were having their own kind of re-birth as doors opened, many for the first time in three months, to the faithful for Mass.
I posted a video on Facebook at the Regina Coeli and here are a few photos I took while in the square.
In his remarks before the Marian prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the missionary nature of the Church, recalling that Pentecost marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. He said, “By forgiving and gathering His disciples around Him, Jesus makes them His Church: a community reconciled and ready for mission.” When Jesus said “Peace be with you,” he was forgiving those who had abandoned Him in his Passion.
After praying the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis noted that seven months ago concluded the Amazon Synod, and he invited the faithful to pray in silence for a moment that “the Holy Spirit might give light and strength to the Church and to society in the Amazon region, sorely tried by the [COVID-19] pandemic.”
The Pope prayed for the “the poorest and most defenseless” in the Amazon and other areas of the globe, saying, “I plead that they may not lack health care.” Then, in off the cuff remarks, Francis said that saving money by not providing health care is wrong: “Persons are more important than the economy. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. The economy is not!”
Those words generated great applause among the faithful in the square, including many nuns.
After having been forced to close for a while dictated by the coronavirus pandemic, the Vatican Apostolic Library and Archive will reopen to sccholars as of June 1st. Admission will be made only by booking online and with specific regulations and health safety rules.
REMEMBER: Tomorrow, Saturday, May 30 at 5:30 pm ROME TIME, Pope Francis will preside over the prayer of the Holy Rosary from the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens. This will be done “united in prayer to invoke the help and assistance of Our Lady in the pandemic, and to entrust the whole of humanity to the Lord.” It will be televised worldwide, language translations will be available and Rome will be linked to some of the major Marian shrines in the world.
VATICAN INSIDER VISITS ST. PETER’S BASILICA
Just a brief word about the Special I have prepared for what is normally the interview segment of Vatican Insider. As soon as I can return to personally interviewing people here in Rome and inside the Vatican, I’ll bring you some great conversations. In the meantime, this weekend I offer Part II of my special on St. Peter’s Basilica, the last of the four papal basilicas that we visit. We’ve already been to St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major.
Until you can return to this magnificent country and remarkable Eternal City, and visit these churches in person, you’ll have these Vatican Insider podcasts to accompany you! And they will be one of your best friends when you do come to Rome!
So this week, be a tourist for a few minutes! Come to Rome! You know that’s where you want to be!
And this is my view when I enter Vatican City at the Perugino Gate –
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)
FREE VATICAN E-BOOK “YES TO LIFE”
The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, in a communiqué announced that the Vatican is making available a free eBook with the proceedings of the 2019 international conference “Yes to Life! Take care of the precious gift of life in its fragility.” The book comes one year after the event at the Patristic InstituteAugustinianum in Rome that brought together about 400 people from 70 countries, involving doctors, perinatal care experts and family psychologists. It is available on the website of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life and the Vatican Publishing House: (https://www.vaticannews.va/it/lev.html).
The communique notes that dicastery secretary, Father Alexandre Awi Mello, wrote in the presentation of the ebook that the intent was to offer “an intense moment of formation and scientific and pastoral information for the accompaniment of couples and families who live the experience of the birth of a child with congenital diseases, presenting clear concrete alternatives to abortion.”
The eBook opens with the speech that Pope Francis addressed to the participants in the conference whom he had received in audience, This is followed by the introduction of the prefect of the dicastery, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, and all the speeches and testimonies in the language in which they were pronounced.
The dicastery has also prepared a video (https://youtu.be/J24jocCE9Ug), according to the communique. Dicastery under-secretary Gabriella Gambino explains that the video allows one to relive the salient parts of the initiative that “continues to have resonance in different parts of the world through similar training but also through the activation of new perinatal comfort care centers.”
Things are moving very precipitously in Hong Kong and I am worried for all who live there, Catholic and not. The following is an excellent piece by UCAN staff and indicates the reasons why Catholics and the Church in Hong Kong are and should be worried, as we should be worried for these our brothers and sisters. https://www.ucanews.com/news/hong-kong-catholics-are-right-to-fear-beijings-henchmen/88189?fbclid=IwAR3jrncgy-8kkcCLNL2kIsZF8F00jVwMjnN96dDi9jAXuLPVirmYwP5HGMI
COVID-19: VATICAN URGES OSCE TO PROMOTE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AMID RISING INTOLERANCE
The Holy See warns that religiously-motivated hate crimes are on the rise, as the Covid-19 pandemic increases intolerance and inequality.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)
Msgr. Janusz Urbańczyk took part this week in an OSCE conference aimed at raising awareness about intolerance and discrimination. The Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe focused his remarks at the 25-26 May event on the impact that intolerance has on Christians.
The OSCE is an intergovernmental organization whose members include most countries of the Northern Hemisphere and is concerned with conflict prevention and crisis management.
Religious intolerance on the rise
Hate crimes against Christians and members of other religions, said Msgr. Urbańczyk, negatively impact the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. “These include threats, violent attacks, murders and profanation of churches and places of worship, cemeteries and other religious properties,” he said.
The Vatican representative expressed “great concern” about a divide between religious belief and religious practice.
“The false idea that religions could have a negative impact or represent a threat to the well-being of our societies is growing,” he warned.
Believers are frequently told that prayer and religious convictions are a private matter that have no place in the public sphere.
Discrimination in digital space
The Internet and social media, said Msgr. Urbańczyk, often become a place to put others down or incite hatred of cultural, national, and religious groups.
The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the trend, since people are spending more time online during lockdowns.
Discrimination on social media, he noted, can lead to violence, the final step in a “slippery slope which starts with mockery and social intolerance.”
Dignity and unity
Msgr. Urbańczyk also urged OSCE member states to promote the inherent dignity of every person and the fundamental unity of the human race. He said these two principles form the basis of all truly democratic societies. National minorities, he added, should be free to profess and practice their religion.
Lockdowns to stem the Covid-19 pandemic have contributed to rising inequalities and “de facto discriminatory treatment.” “Rights and fundamental freedoms,” said Msgr. Urbańczyk, “have been limited or derogated throughout the whole OSCE area.” These include the closure of churches and restrictions on religious services.
Tolerance and freedom
In response to these threats, the Holy See’s representative urged OSCE member states to promote both tolerance and fundamental freedoms, which include religious liberty.
“Tolerance,” said Msgr. Urbańczyk, “cannot be an alibi for denying or guaranteeing fundamental human rights.”
THE CORONAVIRUS AND ITALY: SHORT TAKES
ROME: PANTHEON TO LIVE STREAM ROSE PETAL CEREMONY: Thousands of rose petals will rain down into the Pantheon on 31 May 2020 but this year the event takes place behind closed doors. The spectacular tradition of rose petals fluttering down through the oculus of the Pantheon is scheduled on Sunday 31 May from 10.00 following Mass for the Feast of Pentecost. However, due to the covid-19 crisis, this year the annual tradition will take place behind closed doors for the first time, broadcast live from the Pantheon’s official website, beginning at 10.00. The ancient ceremony involves fire-fighters dropping tens of thousands of rose petals 43 metres into the interior of the Pantheon, symbolising the Holy Spirit’s descent to Earth. Hopefully we will be able to return to witness the fascinating spectacle in person next year but in the meantime we can be grateful to modern technology and watch from afar. For full details see Pantheon website.https://www.wantedinrome.com/news/rome-pantheon-to-live-stream-rose-petal-ceremony.html
HERE’S HOW MUCH TOURISM ITALY CAN EXPECT TO GET THIS YEAR: Italy is hoping to restart tourism again from June, but how many visitors will actually come back this year? The Local spoke to the president of Italy’s National Tourism Agency to find out. Italy’s tourism sector, and its economy as a whole, has taken a major hit as visitors stay away this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Huge losses were reported as travellers cancelled their bookings even before Italy shut down in early March, when all but the most essential travel to Italy became impossible. The resulting economic hit to one of the world’s most-visited nations is profound. Tourism employs an estimated 4.2 million people in Italy – just under a fifth of the entire official workforce. The tourism sector accounts for 13 percent of Italian GDP. Up to 420 million people visited Italy annually in the past few years, and until the coronavirus outbreak, that figure was only expected to keep growing. With Italy now planning to restart tourism in June, many hope this will be enough to keep tourist businesses afloat. But will visitors return in the same numbers? And if so, when? Giorgio Palmucci, President of Italy’s National Tourism Agency (ENIT), told The Local that hundreds of thousands of people are already planning to return to Italy in the second half of 2020 – with Brits and Americans leading the charge. “At the moment there are 300,000 reservations, a provisional figure which we hope will keep growing,” he said. https://www.thelocal.it/20200526/heres-how-much-tourism-italy-c can-expect-to-get-this-year
ITALY’S FRECCE TRICOLORI JETS GO ON NATIONWIDE TOUR: Italy cancels Festa della Repubblica parade in Rome. Italy’s Frecce Tricolori fighter jets are conducting a nationwide tour ahead of the 74th anniversary of the nation’s proclamation as a republic on 2 June. The tour, which began on 25 May with Trento, Codogno, Milan, Turin and Aosta, will fly over all the Italian regions over the coming days, culminating in an aerobatic display in Rome on 2 June, Festa della Repubblica. To celebrate Italy’s national day the jets will fly over the capital as Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella places a wreath at the Altare della Patria in the centre of Rome. The tour, which sees the jets emit plumes of the green, white and red of the Italian tricolour, is designed as a symbolic embrace of all regions during the coronavirus emergency in a sign of “unity, solidarity and recovery.” https://www.wantedinrome.com/news/italys-frecce-tricolori-jets-go-on-nationwide-tour.html
AIR FRANCE-KLM GROUP TO RESUME FLIGHTS TO ITALY: Fiumicino, May 28 – The Air France-KLM Group will gradually resume links with Rome, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Naples and Bari from June 1, the group said Thursday. By the end of the month, 78 weekly flights will be operational by Air France and KLM to Italy, a statement said. “Resuming flights to the Bel Paese is cause for great pride for us and confirms the importance of the Italian market for the Air France-KLM Group,” the statement said.
BOY, 18, GETS NEW LUNGS AFTER COVID-19 ‘BURNED’ HIS: May 28 – An 18-year-old Italian boy had a successful lung transplant 10 days ago after both of his were ‘burned’ by COVID-19, leaving him in a life-threatening condition, medical sources said Thursday. It is the first operation of its kind in Europe. The organs were rendered incapable of breathing in a few days, medical sources said. The operation was carried out at Milan’s Policlinico Hospital, under the coordination of the National Transplant Centre, with the regional transplant…Such an operation had only been tried before in some rare cases in China, while another one was carried out in Vienna a few days after the Milan one, which took place on May 18. The boy was put on an urgent waiting list on April 30 and less than two weeks ago suitable organs were found, donated by a person who died in another region, and who was negative for the coronavirus. centre and the northern Italy transplant program. The boy, who was named as Francesco, started suffering a fever on March 2 and on March 6 was taken into intensive care at Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital. https://www.ansa.it/english/news/2020/05/28/boy-18-gets-new-lungs-after-covid-19-burned-his_c164e7c4-2e2b-41bb-8549-d96fbad9a10c.html
DAVID BACK ON SHOW JUNE 2: Florence, May 27 – Michelangelo’s David will be back on show on June 2 as Florence’s Accademia Gallery reopens after almost three months of lockdown, the gallery said Wednesday. The gallery will boast a new airing system while tickets will be discounted from 12 to eight euros, it said. Another novelty is the app The Right Distance, downloadable onto visitors’ smartphones, which will beep when they get too close to anyone else.
(Sources: Wanted in Rome, The Local, ANSA)
GREETINGS FROM JOAN’S HOME IN JOAN’S ROME!
A video lesson on how to make limoncello at home. I also posted this on Twitter and Facebook.
Took a while to download the video but here’s the link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pZxxzEqRnMCRXgUQDZEhG2xLyntlCYjv/view
Start with the following ingredients and then follow my lead:
1 liter grain alcohol (only grain alcohol, no vodka, etc.!)
1 liter water
1 kilo (4 cups) sugar
8 very large, thick-rind lemons: use your potato peeler to take the zest of these lemons. Make sure you do not have the white part of the rind – that will make you limoncello bitter.
Now, do what I say in the video….
“AUTHENTIC PRAYER IS A HOPE-FILLED GAZE DIRECTED TO GOD”
As he has done for several months now, Pope Francis presided at the weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace, accompanied by monsignori from the Secretariat of State who, practicing social distancing, delivered summaries of the main audience catechesis in diverse languages.
Francis began his reflections by noting that, “in our continuing catechesis on prayer, we now consider the prayer of the just. In the book of Genesis, the accounts of the fall of Adam and Eve and of the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, tell of the emergence and expansion of evil and sin across successive generations. We too still experience the presence of wickedness in the world. Yet God’s will for his creatures is for the good, not for evil.”
He went on to explain that, “in the first pages of the Bible we also see another, less conspicuous story, with Abel, Seth, Enoch and Noah, who acted humbly and prayed to God with sincerity. These just men of prayer were peacemakers who show that authentic prayer, freed from the tendency to violence, is a hope-filled gaze directed to God, which can cultivate new life in place of arid hatred.”
Francis underscored the fact that, “throughout history, righteous men and women of prayer – often misunderstood or marginalized – have ceaselessly offered up intercession for the world, invoking God’s power to bring about healing and growth. May we, like them, faithfully ask God to fulfil his work of transforming hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.”
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FOUNDER TO BE BEATIFIED
Congratulations to the Knights of Columbus! Truly a red-letter day for them as their founder, Dr. Michael McGivney, is slated for beatification! Yesterday afternoon, in a meeting with Cardinal Becciu who heads the Congregation for Saints, Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of a number of decrees, including a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Michael McGivney, Diocesan priest, Founder of the Order of the Knights of Columbus. McGivney was born August 12, 1852 in Waterbury, and died in Thomaston on August 14, 1890.
The Vaticannews biography states: Venerable Michael McGivney was the founder of the Knights of Columbus, now the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization. After studies in Canada and the United States, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop James Gibbons in Baltimore. He founded the Knights of Columbus as a mutual aid society, geared especially to working men and their families. He was known for his tireless work among his parishioners. He died at the early age of 38 from pneumonia. Following Wednesday’s announcement, the Knights of Columbus released a statement, where you can read more about the life of Ven Michael McGivney and the work of the Knights.
CORONAVIRUS, ITALY: SHORT TAKES
THE COLOSSEUM IN ROME, ITALY’S MOST VISITED TOURIST SITE, WILL REOPEN on Monday June 1, after being closed for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. With over 7 million visitors a year, the Colosseum is one of Rome’s major tourist attractions. The Flavian amphitheatre, which is listed as world heritage, “will finally reopen to the public, under the banner of accessibility, welcome and above all, safety,” according to a statement from the archaeological site.
ITALY IS PUSHING FOR A COORDINATED RESUMPTION OF TRAVEL IN EUROPE FROM JUNE 15, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Monday evening. “For tourism, June 15 is a bit like the European D-Day,” Di Maio stated on Italian television channel Rai 1. “Germany aspires to reopen on June 15,” Di Maio pointed out, and “we are working on this together with Austria and other countries,” he added. His statements come as France and Germany have called for the borders to be reopened as soon as possible. So far, announcements of plans to reopen borders have been made by individual European countries despite the European Commission calling for more consultation. Di Maio hopes to be able to present “homogeneous indications to tourists” in all regions of Italy so tourists can move freely from one region to another. “We must save what we can save of the summer to help our entrepreneurs.”
POMPEII TO OPEN IN TWO PHASES AND WITH NEW TIME SLOTS FOR VISITORS. Italy’s archaeological site Pompeii reopens to the public in two stages after being closed for more than two and a half months due to the coronavirus lockdown. In the first phase, from May 26, visitors will be able to walk along a pre-established route through the ruins of the ancient Roman city that was buried under a thick carpet of volcanic ash in 79 AD. Visitors must book online and select a time slot for entry – scheduled every 15 minutes for a maximum of 40 people at a time. Tickets must be presented either using the QRcode or already printed. All visitors must pass through thermoscanners before entering the site and are obliged to wear masks for the duration of their visit as well as respecting social distancing: one metre outside and 1.5 metres inside. For the duration of the first phase tickets will be reduced to €5 before returning to normal prices on June 9 when the site reopens fully, with access to areas previously closed-off to the public. For full details about access, tickets and opening times see Pompeii website.
Speaking of Pompeii: if you have to be in lockdown…. https://news.yahoo.com/us-couple-waits-2-1-133541074.html
A GOVERNMENT CALL FOR 60,000 VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO HELP ENSURE SOCIAL DISTANCING in Italy sparked a new controversy within the ruling coalition. Photos of Italian beaches and piazzas crowded with people enjoying the first weekend outdoors continued to alarm authorities and experts. That prompted local authorities to issue a call to recruit 60,000 volunteers who will help people comply with the social distancing measures. The move, however, sparked a new political controversy, as the Interior Ministry complained that it was not informed of the initiative and several politicians expressed doubts over the new figures. The volunteers will oblige people — “with kindness” and without the possibility of imposing fines — to respect social distancing rules in the parks, beaches and clubs, while also supporting the weakest part of the population, including kids and elderly people. Civil assistants, or volunteers, must be older than 18 years of age, unemployed or low-income earners, and supported by social safety nets.
ROME TO HAND OUT MASSIVE FINES FOR DUMPED MASKS AND GLOVES. Rome is to issue fines of up to €500 for those caught dumping used protective masks or plastic gloves on the streets of the capital during the pandemic. The measure is part of a zero-tolerance approach by Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi who says she is taking the action after repeated complaints from the city’s refuse collectors who have to dispose of the used gloves and masks. Raggi said that “uncivilised people” were responsible for the “shameful behavior that, thanks to this measure, will be severely sanctioned,” reports Italian newspaper La Stampa. Environmental association Legambiente said recently that with rain there is a high risk of the plastic trash finding its way into the sea.
ITALIAN TENOR ANDREA BOCELLI ON TUESDAY DONATED BLOOD PLASMA after saying he had had the coronavirus. Bocelli told journalists at a Pisa hospital that he had had mild symptoms, a slight fever, and had practically been asymptomatic. Speaking at the blood sampling centre of Cisanello Hospital, he said his wife and children had also had COVID-19, but were now fine. His wife had also given plasma for the study, led by the AOUP association of Pisa, into treatment for COVID patients. He said he had discovered he had the virus after taking a test on March 10.Bocelli said he hoped his plasma would help find a treatment for the deadly virus.
(Sources: Brussels Times, ANSA, Wanted in Rome, AA)
FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, BRAIN STEM CELLS TRANSPLANTED INTO MS PATIENTS
According to the Pontifical Academy for Life, brain stem cells have been transplanted for the first time in the world into 15 multiple sclerosis patients, with none of them showing any side effects so far.
Other actors in this history-making story include the Associazione Revert Onlus, a nonprofit founded in 2003 to finance, promote and incentivize brain stem cell research, and the Fondazione Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza of San Giovanni Rotondo, a hospital founded by St. Padre Pio. The reports said that, “possible therapeutic effects of the trial are now being assessed.”
The Academy website noted that, “For the first time ever, all patients recruited in a brain stem cell transplantation trial were treated for the experimental treatment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.”
It continues: “On the occasion of the World Day of Multiple Sclerosis, which is celebrated on 30 May, the Pontifical Academy for Life of the Vatican State and its President Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, together with the Revert Onlus Association, announce the conclusion of the Phase I clinical trial that involves human brain stem cell transplantation in fifteen patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.” This was done with the patronage of the Stem Cell Foundation of Terni.
“We are proud to announce this important milestone in the ongoing experimentation with brain stem cells,” said Angelo Vescovi, Scientific Director of the IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza in San Giovanni Rotondo and of the Advisory Board of Revert Onlus, as well as Professor of the University of Milano Bicocca. “We are now waiting for the one-year follow-up and the submission of the Phase II protocol for this disease as soon as possible.”
Academy president Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia had this to say about the announcement: “I thank the Director of IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, Prof. Angelo Vescovi, who has been working with tenacity and determination for almost thirty years to reach new goals in regenerative medicine and give hope to those suffering from multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases.
“Revert’s research,” added Archbishop Paglia, “is unique in its kind because it is free from any ethical and moral problems and this makes us even more proud of the results obtained and makes us look to the future with greater optimism, always with respect for life. The milestone reached also shows that the initiative was not extemporaneous, but it evolved over the years, expanding and including other neurological diseases and the evaluation of desirable standardizable therapeutic effects. Sick people deserve to have answers and treatment options and it is only serious and constant work that can satisfy all of this, free of charge.”
I hope everyone had a meaningful and happy Memorial Day yesterday. It’s a day off for EWTN staff and, while I did not post my usual blog, I did a lot of other work-related projects. I admit that I yearned (dreamed!) all day long for a family-oriented bar-b-q around a pool and in a lovely garden, visiting with my nieces and nephews (and great nieces and nephews!) and catching up on family news. If you actually did something similar (with or without a pool), I’m sure you obeyed all the health protocols and managed to have a good time notwithstanding everything.
I actually went to dinner at La Vittoria! everyone had masks except clients. of course, as we eat. In the envelope on the table was a letter from my best friend in Hawaii and a special mask made by a friend of hers. One side depicts St. Damien who worked for years alongside victims of leprosy on Kalaupapa, Moloka’i and the other side, as you see, colorful crosses! I might be the only person in Rome to have a Hawaiian mask!
POPE FRANCIS TO RECITE PENTECOST REGINA COELI FROM STUDY WINDOW
This Sunday, May 31, Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Father will celebrate Holy Mass at 10 am in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the Vatican Basilica, without the participation of the faithful.
At 12:00 noon, from the window of his private study, the Holy Father will resume the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. Law enforcement will ensure safe access to the square and will ensure that the faithful present can respect the necessary interpersonal distance.
POPE TO PRAY THE ROSARY WITH THE SHRINES OF THE WORLD
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization has announced that Pope Francis is to join Marian shrines across the world, to pray to the Virgin Mary for help amidst the pandemic.
By Gabriella Ceraso (vaticannews)
“Devoted and with one accord to prayer, together with Mary (cf. Acts 1:14)”. On this theme Pope Francis will lead the recitation of the Rosary on Saturday May 30, joining the Marian Shrines of the world that, due to the health emergency, have had to interrupt their normal activities and pilgrimages.
The Pope will once again be close to humanity in prayer, to ask the Virgin Mary for help amid the pandemic. The prayer will be broadcast live to the world from the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens at 5:30pm Rome time.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization that is promoting the initiative, has given dozens of rosaries to families and individuals who represent the areas most involved and most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. These include doctors and nurses, recovered patients and people who have suffered a loss, a hospital chaplain, a pharmacist and a journalist, a Civil Defence volunteer with his family and a family who welcomed their newest member into the world during this difficult time. They will all be present to express hope.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization writes that at the end of this Marian month, Pope Francis will place the sorrows of all humanity at the feet of our heavenly Mother, certain that she will not fail to help.
The largest sanctuaries of the five continents will be connected online. These include Lourdes, Fatima, Lujan, Milagro, Guadalupe, San Giovanni Rotondo and Pompeii.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, sent out a letter addressed to the rectors of the shrines to invite them to organise and promote this special moment of prayer in accordance with current health regulations and relevant time zones.
The appointment for the end of the Marion month is a further sign of closeness and consolation for all those who in various ways have been struck by the coronavirus in the certainty is that our heavenly mother will listen to all requests for protection.
A separate note from the Council stated: “The rosary decades will be recited by several men and women who will represent various categories of people particularly touched by the virus. There will be a doctor and a nurse for all of the sanitary personnel committed on the front lines of hospitals; a person who has been healed and another person who lost a family member for all of those representing all of those who have personally been touched by coronavirus; a priest, a hospital chaplain and a nun who is a nurse will represent all priests and consecrated persons close to those who have been so tried by the illness; a pharmacist and a journalist representing all persons who, even during the period of the pandemic, have continued to undertake their own work in favor of others; a volunteer from civil protection with their family representing all those who gave themselves to face this emergency and for the entire vast world of volunteerism; a young family to whom was born precisely in this time, a baby boy, a sign of hope and the victory of life over death.
SHORT TAKES FROM VATICAN NEWS
POPE RENEWS ECUMENICAL COMMITMENT ON ANNIVERSARY OF UT UNUM SINT
In a letter marking the 25th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s landmark encyclical “Ut unum sint”, Pope Francis calls for a renewed commitment to ecumenism. Pope Francis has recalled the Church’s “irrevocable” commitment to the task of ecumenism on the 25th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s encyclical Ut unum sint.In a Letter addressed to Cardinal Kurt Koch, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Holy Father notes that Ut unum sint was published on the Solemnity of the Ascension, “under the sign of the Holy Spirit, the creator of unity in diversity”. It is in “that same liturgical and spiritual context”, the Pope says, that “we now commemorate it and propose it once more to the People of God”.https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-05/pope-renews-ecumenical-commitment-on-anniversary-of-ut-unum-sint.html
HOLY LAND: BASILICA OF THE NATIVITY REOPENS
The Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem reopens its doors to the faithful limiting access to 50 people at a time. As restrictions due to Covid-19 begin to ease many countries are making their first tentative steps into the next phase of the pandemic. Churches that have been closed for physical worship are opening their doors to the faithful who are asked to observe a series of precautionary measures. In the Holy Land, Tuesday 26 May is the turn of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem where 50 people will be allowed inside at a time. This comes on the heels of the official reopening of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday, as announced by the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Francis Patton, OFM, and the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Theophilus III and Nourhan Manougian. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2020-05/holy-land-churches-naivity-bethlehem-reopening-patton.html
PHILIPPINE NUNCIATURE WARNS AGAINST PERSON CLAIMING TO BE CLOSE TO POPE
The Apostolic Nunciature in the Philippine capital Manila has alerted the country’s bishops against a certain Cristian Eduardo Tietze who is falsely claiming to be close to Pope Francis and Vatican officials. Tietze introduces himself as president of the “Peace for Life Foundation”. In a May 22 circular letter to bishops and diocesan administrators, Father Marvin Mejia, the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said that Monsignor Julien Kaboré, chargé d’affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila, has written to CBCP President, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, warning dioceses and religious communities against Tietze. Father Mejia warned that the person is “claiming to be close to the Holy Father and to the Holy See”.
SEASON OF CREATION TO TAKE PLACE DURING SPECIAL LAUDATO SI’ YEAR
As the Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year gets underway, the secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development urges Catholics to take part in the annual Season of Creation. The Season of Creation is an annual ecumenical celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home. It takes place from September 1 – the World Day of Prayer for Creation – to October 4 – the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Christians of all traditions are invited to take part by organizing prayer services, community litter clean-ups, or advocacy actions. This year’s event takes place within the context of the special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year that Pope Francis opened on Sunday, May 24. The Year coincides with the 5th anniversary of his encyclical. The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development launched a special invitation on Monday urging Catholics to take part in the Season of Creation. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-05/vatican-climate-season-of-creation-laudato-si.html
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