Vatican Roundup

Vatican Roundup
Pope recognises martyrdom
 of Christian Brother

Pope Francis has recognised the martyrdom of De La Salle Christian Brother James Miller, who was born in Wisconsin and was shot to death in Guatemala in 1982.

The recognition of the martyrdom of Bro. James, or Bro. Santiago as he also was known, clears the way for his beatification; the date and location of the ceremony were not immediately announced.

Bro. James was born September 21, 1944, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. He met the Christian Brothers at Pacelli High School there and, at the age of 15, entered the order’s juniorate in Missouri. Some websites refer to him as ‘Brother Fix-it’.

Publishing news about a variety of sainthood causes on November 8, the Vatican also said Pope Francis had recognised as “blessed” a 15th-Century Augustinian brother, Michael Giedrojc.

The recognition amounted to the “equivalent beatification” of Brother Giedrojc, who was born in Lithuania and died in Krakow. With the Pope recognising that over the course of centuries the brother has been venerated by thousands of Catholics, the normal process leading to beatification is not needed.


Supply water not guns, 

Pope tells governments

It is a horrible disgrace that in the 21st Century, millions of people still do not have access to clean drinking water and so many become ill or die from contaminated water sources, Pope Francis has said.

“Unfortunately, in many countries where people do not have normal access to safe drinking water,” what is not lacking “is the supply of weapons and ammunition, which continue to deteriorate the situation”, the Pope said in a message addressed to an international conference discussing the issue.

“The corruption and special interests of an economy that excludes and kills too often prevails over efforts that, in solidarity, should guarantee access to water,” he wrote.

The conference was based on the need for better governance in guaranteeing access to drinkable water for everyone.


Prisoner creates new
 Vatican stamp

As the Christmas season draws near, the Vatican postal service prepared a unique set of commemorative stamps designed by a talented, yet unlikely, artist: a prisoner serving a life sentence.

The Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office announced that its 2018 Christmas stamps will feature images of the Annunciation and of Mary holding baby Jesus painted by Marcello D’Agata, an inmate at Milan’s Opera prison.

A brochure for the stamps from the Vatican post office said that choosing artwork painted by a prison inmate was a response to Pope Francis’ call for compassion toward the imprisoned and for efforts to help them see that prison is not just the end of a life of crime but the beginning of a new life.

The Vatican post office took part in a similar program for burgeoning artists at the Milan prison where D’Agata honed his painting skills.

Mauro Olivieri, head of the Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office, said that entrusting the design of the new Christmas stamps to an inmate serving a life sentence was “a sign of hope, trust and faith in one’s neighbour and in his ability to understand the evil that was committed and to rehabilitate”.