Letter # 7, 2015: Decisions

March 3, 2015, Monday — Decisions (For Easter this year, which falls on April 5, we will be hosting a small group of friends of Inside the Vatican magazine in Rome. We also will visit Assisi, Norcia, Manoppello and Lanciano. We have four spots still open on this pilgrimage. If you would like to join […]


“Love transfigures everything! “

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning. The Liturgy last Sunday presented to us Jesus in the desert, tempted by Satan, but victorious over temptation. In the light of this Gospel we have become aware again of our condition as sinners, but also of the victory over evil offered to all those who undertake the journey […]


“Change Your Heart”

“Using God to cover up injustice is an extremely serious sin”. Pope Francis issued this stern warning against social injustice, most of all the sort caused by those who exploit workers, during Mass on Friday morning, 20 February, in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. The starting point for the Pontiff’s reflection was the prayer […]


Interreligious meeting in Sri Lanka.

Pope Francis in Asia

Pope proclaims Sri Lanka’s first saint, right to religious freedom Canonizing Sri Lanka’s first saint, who ministered to Catholics under persecution three centuries earlier, Pope Francis proclaimed what he called the “fundamental human right” of religious freedom. “Each individual must be free, alone or in association with others, to seek the truth, and to openly […]

Sri Lanka, Madhu.

Sri Lanka: After civil war, reconciliation

The people of Sri Lanka recently ended 25 years of ethnic and religious civil war, and the central message of Pope Francis during his three-day visit to the island was “reconciliation.” He said that would require people to accept persistent differences within their society. And, he said, “the process of healing also needs to include […]

St Peter's railroad station with convenient connections to Rome's beaches or to Rome's main railroad station and subway system.

Via Monte Del Gallo

For many years, Friar Tuck and I were neighbors on Via Monte del Gallo, a narrow, quiet, residential street, which winds uphill from the Italian State Railway’s St. Peter’s station at the beginning of Via Greg­orio VII to the Vatican-owned, spartan, rabbit-warren hotel Casa Tra Noi ( With its ample parking lot for buses and […]

Pope Francis greets a baby while meeting newly married couples during his general audience in the Paul IV Hall at the Vatican.

Vatican Watch February 2015

SUNDAY 4 Pray for peace, look to Mary Peace is a gift. It comes through prayer and small daily efforts to sow harmony in one’s family, parish and community, Pope Francis said today. “At the beginning of this new year, we are all called to re­ignite in our hearts a spark of hope, which must […]

Father Richard P. McBrien.

People February 2015

Father Richard McBrien, prolific theologian and essayist, dies at 78 Father Richard P. McBrien, retired professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame and chair of the university’s theology department for 11 years, died January 25 at age 78, after a long illness, in his native Connecticut. Father McBrien wrote 25 books as well […]

St Peter's Basilica is seen in the background as seminarians lead a procession during the dedication of a new building at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

New “Tower Built at North American College

Pope Pius IX founded the North American College in 1859. Its first home — until the outbreak of the Second World War when Pope Pius XII closed Rome’s “foreign” seminaries — was at a former Dominican and Visitation convent, the Casa Santa Maria, near the Trevi Fountains, today the residence of American priests pursuing graduate […]

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Books, Art & People

Coins of the Mint of Gela, by Giancarlo Altieri and Eleonora Giampiccolo.

The Ancient Coins of Gela

Le monete della Zecca di Gela (“The Coins of the Mint of Gela”) is the title of this bilingual (Italian, English) volume published by the Vatican Publishing House. It showcases the coins of the ancient Sicilian city of Gela, preserved both at the Archeological Museum of Sicily and at the Vatican Apostolic Library’s Numismatic Cabinet, […]

In Praise of Dignity, by Giovanni Maria Flick.

Human Dignity “Under the Microscope” —New From the Vatican Press

In Praise of Dignity is a wide-ranging reflection on human dignity and its various aspects. Published by the Vatican Publishing House, its author is Giovanni Maria Flick, Professor Emeritus of Penal Law at Rome’s Luiss University and President Emeritus of the Italian Constitutional Court. The importance of reflecting on the meaning of the concept of […]

A statue of Father Serra in the courtyard of the San Buenaventura Mission in California.

Juniper Serra

The Pope will canonize a great evangelizer of the American West, But many oppose the decision. Our correspondent analyzes the controversy… Of all the comments Pope Francis made on his recent trip to the Philippines and Sri Lanka, perhaps the least cited were those destined to have the greatest impact: the announcement that Junipero Serra, […]

Fresco of St. John Chrysostom.

Urbi et Orbi Section

Our special Urbi et Orbi section, in which we highlight the spirituality, prayer, customs and practices of our brothers and sisters in the churches of the East, continues… We begin the penitential season of Lent — the season in which we most profoundly enter into the mysteries of Christ’s redemption of the human race. And […]

From left: Dr. Robert Moynihan, Fr. Josiah Trenham, Deacon Peter Kozdrin, Leonid Sevastianov, Fr. Ogulchanskyi Bohdan, Alex Sigov, Igor Novikov, Msgr. Duarte de Cunha at the National Press Club, December 11, 2014.

Urbi et Orbi Section: Our First Annual Dinner & Retreat

GATHERING CLERGY, SCHOLARS, MEMBERS OF the media and activists from 12 nations and more than 8 Christian churches of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant communions, the Urbi et Orbi Foundation held its first annual Dinner and Retreat to celebrate two years of “building bridges” between the East and West, so that Christianity may “breathe,” as Pope […]

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