Sister Antonietta Colacchi – Nun of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and Director of the Dispensary of Santa Marta


“Our days are marked by the joy of being a Christian, by the brightness of a smile, and by the warmth of gratitude!” Sister Antoinetta Colacchi said to Pope Francis on December 14 when the Pope visited the Dispensary of Santa Marta in Vatican City, which she directs. The dispensary is a small clinic tucked […]

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“When Benedict Played a Maltese Christmas Carol For Us”


“To contrast Popes with each other reduces them be­cause one loses the beautiful aspects and the significant characteristics of their personalities.” Monsignor Alfred Xuereb speaks from personal experience. For al­most six years he served as one of Pope Benedict XVI’s personal secretaries, and since March of 2013 he has been at the service of Pope […]

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Speaking to the Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel

“At the ripe old age of 87 I am one of the elders of the College of Cardinals, but in terms of appointment I am just a baby, and because my life was always dedicated to study, my knowledge of Curia events does not go past the third grade.” Thus began the meditation that Cardinal […]

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Lumen Fidei, the “Four-Handed Encyclical” of Francis and Benedict


The encyclical was actually almost finished, Pope Francis told some Italian bishops in private this spring. Then, on June 13, talking with members of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, he said: “Now an encyclical will be published, which they say has been written by ‘four hands.’ Pope Benedict handed it over to me. […]

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Homilies at Early Morning Mass

Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican residence where the new pontiff resides. Among those in attendance this day were Vatican gardeners, garbage collectors and cleaning crews (CNS photo)

At 7 o’clock sharp each morning during the past three months, about 50 people have gathered in a small Vatican chapel for an ordinary weekday morning Mass like similar Masses around the world. Present are nuns, students, priests, and Vatican officials on the way to their offices. One of the concelebrating priests is in charge […]

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In Assisi Waiting for Francis

Assisi awaits Pope Francis (it is expected in Rome that the new Pope, named Francis, will travel to Assisi in early October). Already, many people are traveling to Assisi to rediscover the life and writings of St. Francis and to pray at the saint’s tomb. It is a pilgrimage which is best done quietly, on […]

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Toward the Conclave: Reflections

Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, 
Archbishop of Ranchi (India)

On Tuesday morning, March 12, at 10 a.m., a Mass pro eligendo Romano Pontifice is celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica. This is the last act of the cardinals’ General Congregations (pre-conclave meetings) and the first act of the Conclave which opens this afternoon. The Dean of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, presides over this Mass. All […]

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From the Ends of the Earth

Young Jorge Mario Bergoglio cooking his own meals.

The new Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an Argentinian of Italian ancestry, has chosen the name Francis, i.e., the name of the Saint of Assisi, but also of Jesuit Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missionaries. Jorge Mario Bergoglio combines the human warmth and simplicity of the pastor with solid doctrine and the ability to guide […]

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The Dark Evil Ratzinger Fought

From the shock in the US in the years after 2000 to the “guidelines” for bishops’ conferences all over the world, the Pope placed the victims first. Malta, Australia, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom — Pope Benedict XVI in these countries embraced and listened to the victims of sexual abuse by clergy, seeking […]

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On the Airplane with Benedict XVI

The trips of a Pope who surprised us with his clarity, says his secretary, Msgr. Georg Gänswein. When Benedict XVI traveled to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012 he set a record: he was the oldest Pope to make an international voyage. This explains much of the meaning of travel in the pontificate of the […]

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Jesus’ Childhood


Love and humility: This is the modus operandi of God that the theologian Joseph Ratz­inger explains to the reader of the third book dedicated to the figure of Jesus. The Childhood of Jesus is, according to the German title, a “prologue,” an “antechamber,” to the study of the Gospels. In fact, Benedict XVI explains in […]

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“I, Papal Sediario”


Interview with Massimo Sansolini, a man who for 50 years was in charge of carrying the papal gestatorial chair Since 1964, Massimo Sansolini has been a papal “sediario.” This is a title that sounds ancient and also somewhat mysterious. In effect it means that he has lived almost half a century in the shadow of […]

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A Coin For Two Saints

Slovakia decided to mint a special 2-euro coin for the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, apostles of the Slavs in Moravia, now part of Slovakia. But… Can a 2-euro coin become a way of witnessing to the faith of a people? Perhaps this may happen in a Europe which continues […]

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Archbishop Georg Gänswein

Archbishop Georg Gänswein.

Recently Msgr. Georg has seemed more serene. On public occasions, he has at last begun to smile again. It certainly was not easy for the Pope’s secretary to address the “Vatileaks” storm which broke in May. Now, appointed archbishop and promoted to prefect of the papal household while still remaining Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg […]

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Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai

Cardinal Bechara Butros Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch.

In much of the Middle East, Christians face grave difficulties. But in Lebanon, for generations a “mod­el” of religious coexistence, Christians have lived in relative security and peace. A leader in the effort to keep this so is Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, 72, head of Lebanon’s Eastern-rite Maronite Church. For his tireless efforts to defend […]

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Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan


During the past year, he has consistently, eloquently, spoken out in defense of the unborn and traditional marriage, led the American bishops and been a much-loved pastor to the ordinary faithful in one of the world’s largest and most important cities. For these reasons, we have selected Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and […]

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“The Holy Spirit Helps Us and Shows Us the Right Way”

Pope Benedict XVI closes the 2012 Synod of Bishops on the “new evangelization” with a call to bear witness everywhere to Christ…   The Synod for the New Evangelization is over, but the work starts now. This happens all the time, but in this case it seems more necessary than ever for all Christians to […]

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Opening the “Year of Faith”

On October 11, a single ceremony opened the “Year of Faith” and recalled the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Benedict urged Catholics to go back to the Council’s documents…   Green, fuchsia and red, then lots of white and gold along with the most varied colors of God’s people. […]

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“My Challenge Is to Bring the Pope’s Message Back into Focus”


An interview with Greg Burke, former Fox News correspondent, named communications advisor to the Vatican secretariat of state Are you sorry you have left Fox News and given up your job as a correspondent? Greg Burke: I’m very sorry because my job with Fox News was a sort of dream job. I was based in […]

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Swiss Guards To the Rescue!


An interview with Gabriele Paris, a new recruit, who went with his companions to the Emilia Romagna region, Italy, to provide security at the damaged Carpi hospital Gabriele Paris: Our superior said they needed volunteers. He asked my squad, the second, if anyone was willing to go. I said “Yes.” What did you do there? […]

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