Vatican Roundup

Vatican Roundup Pope Francis holds the Book of the Gospels as he celebrates chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Photo: CNS
 must be
 among the ‘crowds’
 Pope urges

Just as Jesus always sought to be with the people to serve, teach and heal them, so too must priests always be in the midst of God’s people, “pouring ourselves out” for them, Pope Francis said.

Being with the people “is the most beautiful place” to be, he told priests during the Chrism Mass in St Peter’s Basilica.

“We must not forget that our evangelical models are those people, the ‘crowd’ with its real faces, which the anointing of the Lord raises up and revives. They are the ones who complete and make real the anointing of the Spirit in ourselves; they are the ones whom we have been anointed to anoint,” he said.

Francis used his homily to reflect on how Jesus related to people, especially the huge crowds that pressed in on him and approached him with their problems, but also were eager to hear his voice and follow him.

The Lord always stood in the middle of the crowd “like a shepherd among his flock,” the Pope said, and those who gathered around him were in some way transformed by him.


Vatican firefighter
 Peter’s less

After the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris April 15, Romans and tourists could not help looking at St Peter’s Basilica and wondering, “what if?”

But Maj. Paolo De Angelis, head of the Vatican fire department, has said that the structural differences between Notre Dame and the basilica and, especially, the differences in the materials used, make a catastrophic fire at St Peter’s less likely.

While the attic of Notre Dame was known as “the forest” because of the lattice of oak beams supporting the roof, in St Peter’s, he said on April 16, most of the supports are in stone or masonry. The few wood beams, he said, are covered in a fire-resistant varnish and are constantly monitored by an ultramodern fire alarm system.

One area of particular concern is the Apostolic Palace, which houses the papal apartments that Pope Francis does not use, but also the papal library and formal meeting rooms and part of the Vatican Museums. According to the “Attivita della Santa Sede”, a volume containing the annual reports of every Vatican office, the firefighters inspect the building’s large attic in person every afternoon.


Women ‘crucified’
 by human

Countless women and girls are being “crucified” by human traffickers, who trick them into slave labour or prostitution, and by those who seek out their services and exploit them, said the missionary nun who wrote the meditations for Pope Francis’ Way of the Cross service.

Victims of human trafficking are people whom “we have crucified and, today, in 2019, we continue to have people crucified for our use, our purposes, our well-being”, Consolata Sr Eugenia Bonetti told reporters at a Vatican news conference on April 17.

She said she hoped the April 19 event at Rome’s Colosseum, where “so much suffering in the past” took place, would give witness to “so much suffering in the present, the suffering of these women, these minors, who are faceless, nameless, hopeless, who are just used and thrown away”.

She wanted the Pope’s Good Friday ceremony, which meditates on Christ’s passion and suffering, to help people recognise “today’s passion” suffered by so many young people.

The prayers and meditations she wrote come from what she has witnessed and learned from the thousands of women and young girls she has helped over the past two decades, Sr Bonetti said.