“Deepen your knowledge of Jesus. This ends loneliness, overcomes sadness and uncertainty, gives real meaning to life, curbs passions, exalts ideals, expands energies in charity, brings light into decisive choices. Let Christ be for you the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” —St. Pope John Paul II (Pope from 1978 to 2005)
May 4, 2020
We have great hope: that in Christ, all things are possible.
But I have to be honest: we have been crushed by the tragic events of recent weeks. Like many of you, we have had painful personal and professional losses.
Much of our work for 35 years has been in Italy, centered on Rome. But for months now, Italy has been shut down, even more so than our own country, the United States. This has tragically divided families and kept millions hunkering down in their homes until hope itself seems quenched.
For us too, it has been a struggle. An essential source of livelihood for our various efforts has been, for the most part, stripped from us suddenly.
In January and February of this year, we were joyfully preparing a busy spring and summer of bringing dozens of pilgrims to Rome, Assisi, Norcia, Manoppello… of building friendships, of deepening our understanding of our tradition, our faith.
This came to a screeching halt. Overnight. Everything stopped.
We continue to print and publish our magazine, but the lockdown of Italy has been, frankly, devastating.
Still, this challenge also has allowed us time to bring to fruition a few projects which have been on the back burner for half a decade: (1) the digital version of Inside the Vatican magazine, (2) a new website for our foundation, The Urbi et Orbi Foundation, and (3) the adoption of a platform for Virtual Pilgrimages which also can serve as a forum for roundtable discussions, debates, interviews, and meditations on the writings of important figures from the Church fathers to recent Popes. In addition, The Urbi et Orbi Foundation plans a series on Eastern Spirituality.
As for our “Virtual Pilgrimages” via Zoom, dozens of people — even 1,000 to 2,000 people — may travel with us though never leaving their living rooms. We want to bring hope in these times and to reinforce the love for our Church.
We had our first such “Virtual Pilgrimage” on May 1, just four days ago — last Friday — and more than 200 people joined us for 90 minutes.
Many wrote to us to say it was wonderful.
So we urge you to join us on pilgrimage this coming Friday, May 8th… just in case you might wish to see us and hear us as we speak of the faith and the world today. It is free, a gift to you. Click here or see below at the end of this email to register and to view last week’s Virtual Pilgrimage.
We will gather again this Friday, May 8, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (New York City), and “encounter” St. Francis, together with Assisi’s Bishop Domenico Sorrentino. We will focus on Francis’ call, his “vocation” from Christ, to become a “rebuilder of the Church” in his time.
This required him to be stripped of everything, to embrace total poverty, so that he took off his clothes in the room of disrobing where the bishop received him and covered him with a simple cloak, which he wore for the rest of his life — the model of the Franciscan habit, a simple robe. We will go to that very room this Friday.
So please join us on Friday. It is entirely free. It is a gift to you. And we hope it may prove nourishing for your faith in these uncertain and difficult times.
I have a further purpose in this letter.
I have the purpose of asking for your help.
We are planning and hoping to weather this storm and to continue our work of writing and pilgrimaging and “building bridges” of possible greater Christian unity where we can.
But what would hearten us would be if we could have you as a companion, a partner, a friend, in this endeavor.
We hope to weather these storms, be they viral global fevers or economic collapses, but we can do it so much more confidently if we do it together.
Today is “Giving Tuesday,” a global day of giving in response to the needs caused by the virus and its crushing costs. Will you show your support today?
And, as I mentioned above, we now have a new digital version of the magazine! I would like to offer anyone who supports our work on this Giving Tuesday, a gift, a free digital copy of our May 2020 issue. You can check out the digital newsstand here. As soon as you donate any amount, you will be sent a code via email enabling you to read our May issue for free!
We will continue as long as we can on our path, attempting to be witnesses to Christ by being faithful to the teachings handed down from Him by his disciples until the present day.
But we cannot do this without you. To join us, click on the button below…
Nonprofits like our own Urbi et Orbi Communications need help weathering the current storms. A special day, called “Giving Tuesday,” has been created to help such initiatives: May 5, 2020.
We are taking this opportunity to tell a bit of our story, and to share a bit of our sense of purpose with you.
We do this work in partnership with you: we want you to be informed, to have a sense of the current climate of the Church, and to know both where there is hope for the future and where there is danger of losing sight of Truth. (continued below)