A papal first: Pope Francis tours area near St. Peter’s tomb

Details:  Pope Francis became the first pope to tour the excavated necropolis where St. Peter is buried, said Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. With explanations from the two directors of the necropolis, the pope walked down the central path between the mostly second-century burial chambers April 1, then went up a slight incline toward [Read More...]

Who will be Francis’ #2?

That’s the question on the lips of a lot of Vatican-watchers, including Francis X. Rocca at Catholic News Service:  As he moves beyond words and gestures to the stage of substantive actions, no decision that Pope Francis makes will be of greater consequence for reform of the church’s bureaucracy than his choice of a secretary [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “Without grace, we can do nothing!”

Pope Francis joined pilgrims this morning to pray the Regina Coeli in St. Peter’s Square.  The Vatican’s translation is below. +++ Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter to you all! Thank you for coming today, in such large numbers, to share the joy of Easter, the central mystery of our faith. Let us pray that [Read More...]

How Pope Francis is reforming the priesthood

I wondered earlier this week if the new pontiff might have a profound impact on vocations.  Fr. Roger Landry in the National Catholic Register is sensing an impact, already, on the priesthood:  In his first couple of weeks as Pope, as well as his 14 years in Buenos Aires, Francis has been charting out the [Read More...]

Vatican defends foot-washing by Pope Francis—UPDATED

Details from AP: The Vatican on Friday (March 29) dismissed criticism of Pope Francis’ decision to wash the feet of two women during a Maundy Thursday Mass at a Rome youth prison. The move has come under fire from Catholic traditionalists who say that the rite is a re-enactment of Jesus washing the feet of [Read More...]

Letters to Pope Francis from prison: “Thank you for washing the feet of youth like us…”

From Vatican Radio:  Los Angeles County has one of the highest youth incarceration rates in the country. Up to 90% of the county’s juvenile justice youth are Latino or African American, and up to 70% of incarcerated youth nationally are said to have some kind of disability. After witnessing the tragic lives of so many [Read More...]

Pope Francis: the medium and the messenger

Two views of Pope Francis, from different perspectives, come to a strikingly similar conclusion. From Deacon Bill Ditewig:  I do not write this from some naive expectation that “he will change church teaching,” as some like to say.  Rather, it is in the way he is approaching his ministry as Bishop of Rome (his preferred [Read More...]

VIDEO: Pope Francis, deacon—UPDATED

From Rome Reports, the Holy Father is shown in this video washing the feet of 12 jailed teenagers —including two Muslims and two girls—and wearing the stole of a deacon. UPDATE: A couple readers have noted that it appears Pope Francis is actually wearing his priest’s stole, turned to one side. They suggest he did [Read More...]

Pope Francis at the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper: “Washing your feet means I am at your service”

From Vatican Radio:  The Washing of the Feet, or Mandatum, is an integral part of the Holy Thursday liturgy, the Missa in Coena Domini, or Mass of Our Lord’s Supper, which opens the Easter Triduum The Washing of the Feet is a sign of service. Or as Pope Francis told about 40 young detainees gathered [Read More...]

Pope Francis to priests at Chrism Mass: “We need to ‘go out’ and give the Gospel to others”

From the Vatican, the text of Pope Francis’ homily at today’s Chrism Mass: Dear Brothers and Sisters, This morning I have the joy of celebrating my first Chrism Mass as the Bishop of Rome. I greet all of you with affection, especially you, dear priests, who, like myself, today recall the day of your ordination. [Read More...]