Letting go: the challenging lessons of Benedict and Francis

As we watch the historic papacy of Francis begin to unfold, and read about his choices and habits and preferences, it occurs to me that all of this, just like the resignation of his predecessor, amounts to a teachable moment.  Francis is showing us something vital and necessary, if only we are willing to see. [Read More…]

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Archbishop Celli on the media and the new pope

From the Vatican:  The President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, spoke words of greeting to Pope Francis in the name of the more than 5 thousand media professionals gathered for a special audience with communicators on Saturday morning in the Paul VI Hall: “Once again the media have played [Read More…]

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Pope Francis will wear a “used” ring—UPDATE

From the CNS Twitter feed: the ring is not one made specially for this occasion.  It belonged to Archbishop Macchi, secretary to Paul VI, and it is made of gold-plated silver.  (Unclear at this point if the ring is, in fact, the one worn by Pope Paul VI…) More details of the installation Mass to [Read More…]

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Pope Francis sends out first tweet: “Pray for me”

It isn’t every day that you encounter these kinds of stats on Twitter: 1 TWEET. 1,991,949 FOLLOWERS. But here you go: the first tweet of Pope Francis: Details: Pope Francis made his first foray into the world of Twitter, making his first tweet on Sunday. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was chosen last week [Read More…]

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They haven’t elected a theologian; they’ve elected a pastor

That was my thought, at least, watching the remarkable and touching images of Pope Francis greeting the faithful after Mass today at St. Anne’s in Rome. What this resembled was not unlike something most parishes see on a Sunday — the celebrant greeting his flock after Mass, before everyone heads to the church hall for [Read More…]

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Did Benedict suspect Bergoglio would be the next pope?

Given the widespread reports that the current pope was a runner-up in the last conclave, you have to wonder if Pope Benedict sensed that perhaps Cardinal Bergoglio’s time was at hand. It certainly casts the following tidbit from Rocco in a new light. Here’s a post from last month, about one of Benedict’s final appearances: [Read More…]

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Pope Francis preaches mercy in Sunday homily

Details from Vatican Radio:  Pope Francis is celebrating Sunday Mass in the parish church of Vatican City, dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of Our Lady. The choir intoned the Attende, Domine! at the entrance, and the readings were those of the fifth Sunday of Lent: from the prophet, Isaiah; Psalm 126 – the Lord [Read More…]

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A great story of Jorge Bergoglio and a poor widow who wanted her children baptized

A revealing anecdote from an interview in 2009 with the man who would become Pope Francis:  Just a few days ago I baptized seven children of a woman on her own, a poor widow, who works as a maid and she had had them from two different men. I met her last year at the [Read More…]

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VIDEO: Pope Francis meets the press

If you want a sense of the new pontiff’s personality and his thinking, check out the brief video below from Rome Reports, featuring some candid moments from his encounter with the media on Saturday. As CNS noted, in addition to explaining the story behind his name and his devotion to the poor, the new pope [Read More…]

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Young Pope Francis turned to God after snub from childhood sweetheart

You can’t make this stuff up:  Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the man this week elected as the first Latin American pope, reportedly turned to religion after he was spurned by his childhood sweetheart when they were both just 12 years old. According to 76-year-old Amalia Damonte, Pope Francis once declared “If I can’t marry you, I’ll [Read More…]

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Is St. Patrick wearing a dalmatic?

Why yes, it appears he is: Bishops will do that, from time to time—these days, it’s not an uncommon practice at diaconate ordinations—as a sign of the bishop’s connection to the order of deacon. It’s debatable, though, whether they dressed like that in the 4th century.  (And let’s not even get into the question of [Read More…]

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Homily for 5th Sunday of Lent: March 17, 2013

Back in 1978, when Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II, a French journalist sent a message back to his office in Paris. “They haven’t elected a pope from Poland,” he wrote.  “They have elected a pope from Galilee.” Thirty-five years later, I can’t help but think that history is repeating itself. At this moment, [Read More…]

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Historic: for first time since schism, Ecumenical Patriarch will attend pope’s installation Mass

This is a pretty big deal, folks:  The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I will attend Pope Francis’s inaugural Mass. The Ecumenical Patriarchate Press Office informed AsiaNews about the decision, noting that this is the first time such an event occurs since the Catholic-Orthodox split in 1054, an important sign for Christian unity. The ecumenical patriarch will [Read More…]

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“Pope Francis’ style will make work harder for journalists…”

From Sister Mary Ann Walsh with the USCCB in Rome: Pope Francis’ style will make work harder for journalists. He ad libs or even rejects entirely speeches written for him. That means the Vatican cannot always distribute speeches ahead of time under embargo. Today in his meeting with the cardinals he ad libbed so much [Read More…]

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Pope asks flock in Argentina to stay home for installation, give money to charity instead

Remarkable:  Apostolic Nunciature Buenos Aires Buenos Aires, March 14, 2013 Your Excellency, I have the honor and the satisfaction of turning to you to inform you that the Holy Father Francis has asked me to transmit to all Bishops, Priests, Religious men and women, and to all the People of God his cherished recognition for [Read More…]

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The Franciscan style

Rocco has a few observations:  Beyond scaling back the pomp surrounding his early morning stop at St Mary Major – where he spent a solid half hour in prayer before the protectress of Rome, the ancient image of the Salus Populi Romani – this morning’s La Repubblica reports that the new Pope wanted his retinue to ensure that the basilica [Read More…]

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Archbishop Chaput to let girls play CYO football

Details:  Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has decided to allow girls to play football in Philadelphia’s Catholic Youth Organization league next season, rejecting the recommendation of a panel he directed to review the league’s policy banning them. That rule was subject to scrutiny this winter after Caroline Pla, 11, of Doylestown, was told by the archdiocese [Read More…]

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A pope named after a deacon

An alert reader sent this my way. This was something that popped into my head during yesterday’s excitement, but quickly evaporated (like so many things in my head). From Curt Jester:  St. Francis himself was a deacon and as the Catholic Encyclopedia says. So great, indeed, was Francis’s reverence for the priesthood, because of its relation [Read More…]

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