Vatican Roundup

Pope prays for nun murdered in Haiti

Pope Francis has offered prayers for a Spanish missionary sister killed in Haiti. At the conclusion of events marking the canonisation of St Teresa of Kolkata in Rome on September 4, the Pope recalled Sr Isabel Sola Macas, murdered in a robbery on September 2. 

“At this moment, I would like to remember those who spend their time in the service of our brothers and sisters in difficult or risky environments. Let us pray especially for the Spanish missionary sister, Sister Isabel, who was killed two days ago in the capital of Haiti,” he told pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square.

Sr Isabel, 51, a native of Barcelona and a member of the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, had worked with those in need in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince for many years. She was driving through the city with a lay colleague when gunmen opened fire on her vehicle, hitting her in the chest. Her passenger was also struck but survived.  

Among Sr Isabel’s accomplishments during her missionary work was the establishment of a workshop manufacturing prosthetic limbs for victims of the devastating 2010 earthquake that shattered much of Port-au-Prince.


CAR relations established

The Holy See has established official diplomatic relations with the Central African Republic (CAR). On September 6, Apostolic Nuncio to CAR, Archbishop Franco Coppola, joined with the nation’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Charles Armel Doubane in signing the Framework Agreement making relations a reality. The signing, in the capital Bangui, took place in the presence of President Faustin Archange Touadéra.


Papal schedule for Sweden

The Vatican has issued the schedule for Pope Francis’ trip to Sweden to join in commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The Pope will depart Rome on the morning of October 31, flying to Malmo, Sweden. On arrival, he will travel to Lund, where he will first visit the Swedish royal family before joining in an ecumenical prayer service with Lutheran clerics at the city’s cathedral. In the afternoon he will return to Malmo for another ecumenical event, with other Christian communities.

On November 1, the Pontiff will celebrate Mass in Malmo for the feast of All Saints. He will later return to the airport for his flight to Rome, arriving in the mid-afternoon.


Pope Benedict ‘did not expect election’

Pope Emeritus Benedict has admitted that he did not expect to be elected to replace the late St John Paul II and only accepted the final result of the conclave’s vote from a sense of duty to his fellow cardinals.

In the much anticipated book-length interview, compiled by German journalist Peter Seewald, the former Pontiff explained how he initially dismissed talk of his succeeding St John Paul.

“Of course I’d been mentioned a lot beforehand,” he said. “But I really wasn’t able to take it seriously. I thought it couldn’t happen; that it was unreasonable.

“I was now 78-years-old, which was of course reassuring. If the bishops stop at 75, you cannot hoist a 78-year-old onto the chair of Peter.” 

However, referencing the great sense of duty that must be considered by any cardinal subsequently chosen by the College of Cardinals, he added: “It is worked out with so much gravity and dignity that I believed, if the majority of the cardinals really elect me, the Lord is electing me, and then I must accept it.”