Thursday, April 26, 2018
“And after this, our exile…”

“We would now ask you to return back to your everyday lives and allow myself, Kate and Alder Hey to form a relationship, build a bridge and walk across it.” —Alfie’s father, Tom Evans, in a statement in Liverpool this evening in which he asked for an end to all polemical press coverage of his son’s battle to live. Alder Hey is the name of the Liverpool hospital where Alfie is staying. Despite appeals to be allowed to take Alfie out of the hospital, the parents’ wishes have been rejected by the British court system. How has this happened? When parents and a hospital disagree over treament of a patient, if the disagreement is not resolved in an arbitartion process, the disagreement is placed in the hands of the British court system. That is what seems to have happened in this case. Hence the parents’ desire to patch up relations with the hospital…

“From this point onwards there will be no more statements issued or interviews given. We hope you will respect this.” —Tom Evans, 21, in a press conference this evening. Based on this statement, Tom will not be giving any further public statements about Alfie’s case. It is now the hour of silence…

“Holy Mary, pray for us…” —A phrase of the “Loreto Litanies,” prayed at the end of a rosary this evening in St. Peter’s Square by a small group of Catholic laypeople and several nuns and priests, many holding candles…

Prayer in St. Peter’s Piazza

The group, numbering perhaps 200 souls, had gathered at 10 p.m. to pray a rosary for Alfie and his family, beginning precisely at 10:17 p.m. — the time Alfie was taken off of his breathing equipment three nights ago in the Liverpool, England, hospital where he has been for a year and a half.

It was an evening as perfect as only a Roman evening can be — clear sky, bright moon…. a small breeze stirring the night air… overhead, solitary doves and seagulls coasting on the breeze down from the great obelisk toward the facade of St. Peter’s, wings outstretched, in total silence, their flight, it seemed, a form of prayer…

(Italians in prayer in St. Peter’s Square this evening, beginning at 10 p.m. for nearly an hour…)

Then the leader of the group, a middle-aged, earnest Italian man, said:

“Alfie’s father, Tom Evans, just an hour ago, requested that all the polemics around Alfie’s case cease immediately. He has said it is the family’s wish and request, to all of us. So, we want to make clear that we are not here tonight to pray for or against anyone, in any sort of polemical context. We love Alfie, and his family, and we do pray for him, and his parents, but we are really here tonight for quite another purpose: to pray for our own personal, inner conversion. The inner conversion of each one of us.”

People looked at the leader and weighed his words.

Some seemed to nod.

There was total silence.

Quietly, the rosary began, in Italian.

The candles flickered on the faces of those praying.

Several photographers moved about snapping photographs.

The occasional solitary dove flew overhead…

“Nel nome del Padre, del Figlio…”

“In the name of the Father, of the Son…”

“Padre nostro… venga il tuo Regno… rimetti a noi i nostri debiti come noi li rimettiamo…”

“Our Father…. thy Kingdom come… forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive…”

“Ave Maria, piena di grazia… prega per noi peccatori…”

“Hail Mary, full of grace… pray for us sinners…”

“Gloria al Padre, e al Figlio, e allo Spirito Santo.
Come era nel principio…”

“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning…”

“O Gesù mio! Perdona le nostre colpe, preservaci dal fuoco dell’inferno, porta in Cielo tutte l’anime, specialmente le più bisognose della tua Misericordia.”

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.”

And then again, and then another time, and another, and one more, until the end of the 5th mystery…

“…forgive us our sins…”

“…pray for us sinners…”

“Glory be…”

“…those most in need of Thy mercy.”

And then, this:

“Salve, o Regina, Madre di misericordia, vita, dolcezza e speranza nostra, salve. A te ricorriamo, esuli figli di Eva: a te sospiriamo, gementi e piangenti in questa valle di lacrime. Orsù dunque, avvocata nostra, rivolgi a noi gli occhi tuoi misericordiosi. E mostraci, dopo questo esilio, Gesù, il frutto benedetto del tuo seno. O clemente, o pia, o dolce Vergine Maria. Amen.”

“Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Amen.”

“… after this our exile…”

The rosary took about 25 minutes.

The murmurs of the prayers attracted passers-by.

The group was about 200-strong when the rosary began, but, bit by bit, the crowd grew larger, until some 400 were praying quietly…

As the minutes passed, and the murmuring prayers flowed over the piazza like the sounds of water in a mountain stream, it seemed right to set aside the polemics.

There is enough reason for each of us to pray… for the things we know that we have done wrong… and not done right…

The rosary ended.

The Litanies of Loreto followed.

The Italian woman next to me let me look onto her sheet, in the flickering light of a candle, which contained the “Litanie Lauretana.”


Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Holy Mary,
pray for us.

Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Saviour,
Mother of mercy,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honour,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower if ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comfort of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Grant, we beseech thee,
O Lord God,
that we, your servants,
may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body;
and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
may be delivered from present sorrow,
and obtain eternal joy.
Through Christ our Lord.


The prayer ended.

The crowd began to disperse.

I said to the Italian woman next to me: “Well, even from his hospital bed, Alfie is changing the world. Even if we can no longer talk about him, and he cannot speak, he’s doing it…”

She looked at me quizzically.

“We must stop what is happening all over the world, what they are doing to the children,” she replied, quite firmly, with a quite serious look, in a decisive voice…

Tonight, silence

As I write, little Alfie is still alive and breathing, without his breathing machinery, which was detached Monday night at 9:17 p.m. — more than three days ago.

…but his parents have just given what they say is their final statement, and will now keep silent and seek to rebuild their relationship with the Liverpool hospital staff where Alfie is staying

Here is a report on this latest development from the London Telegraph (link):

Alfie Evans’ father in dramatic u-turn as he asks supporters to ‘return to their lives’ in his ‘last’ interview

By Helena Horton Nick Squires, in Rome

26 APRIL 2018 • 7:23PM

Alfie Evans’ father has urged his family’s supporters to carry on with their lives in a dramatic u-turn outside Alder Hey hospital.

After weeks of ramping up support for his 23-month-old son to be allowed to travel abroad to receive treatment for his undiagnosed brain condition, it appears Tom Evans has had a change of heart.

Earlier on Thursday, the 21-year-old father even called for the Pope to travel to Merseyside to see Alfie’s plight for himself.

But speaking outside the hospital in Liverpool, which has become the focal point of the bitter treatment dispute, he said his latest interview would be his last.

“Our lives have been turned upside down by the intense focus on Alfie and his situation,” Mr Evans said.

“Our little family along with Alder Hey has become the centre of attention for many people around the world and it has meant we have not been able to live our lives as we would like.

“We are very grateful and we appreciate all the support we have received from around the world, including from our Italian and Polish supporters, who have dedicated their time and support to our incredible fight.

“We would now ask you to return back to your everyday lives and allow myself, Kate and Alder Hey to form a relationship, build a bridge and walk across it.”

Staff at the hospital have been subjected to abuse by angry supporters of the Evans family, who had been campaigning for Alfie to be released from hospital.

In a statement on behalf of himself, his son, and Alfie’s mother Kate James, he said:

“We also wish to thank Alder Hey staff at every level for their dignity and professionalism during what must be an incredibly difficult time for them too.

“Together we recognise the strains (that) recent events have put upon us all and we now wish for privacy for everyone concerned.

“In Alfie’s interests we will work with his treating team on a plan that provides our boy with the dignity and comfort he needs.

“From this point onwards there will be no more statements issued or interviews given. We hope you will respect this.”

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Evans appealed to Pope Francis to travel to Liverpool to see the plight of his son who he claims is being held hostage at Alder Hey hospital.

Tom Evans, who has been at the centre of a bitter legal dispute with the hospital, told the Catholic channel TV2000 on Thursday: “I call on the Pope to come here to see what is happening.

“Come here and see how my son is the hostage of this hospital. What we are enduring is not right.”

Rome’s Vatican-owned pediatric hospital Bambino Gesù has offered to treat the 23-month-old boy, who has a serious undiagnosed brain condition.

The government in Rome has granted Alfie Italian citizenship in a bid to bring him to Italy and beat rulings to let him die.

But the British courts have refused to allow the child, who continues to fight after being taken off life support earlier this week, to be transferred to Italy.

“Thank you Italy. We love you,” Mr Evans said. “Alfie is part of the Italian family. He is part of Italy. We belong to Italy.”

[End Telegraph article]

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