Tag Archives: Pope Francis

The Year of Mercy

14 Mar

MARCH 14, 2015 — Pope Francis has proclaimed the first holy year of his pontificate, and it’s a good one!

When Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Faustina Kowalska, he simultaneously instituted Divine Mercy Sunday as a permanent part of the Church calendar. Pope Benedict XVI also echoed his predecessor in emphasizing that we live in an era where the Lord is eager to welcome sinners and impart His mercy.

mercy-yearFrancis picked up on this only days after he was elected to the Chair of Peter two years ago. He repeated those words yesterday when he proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“Let us not forget that God forgives and God forgives always,” Francis said, repeating the words he used during his first Angelus as pope, on March 17, 2013. “Let us never tire of asking for forgiveness.”

He made the jubilee announcement yesterday during his homily of the penitential celebration with which he opened the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative in St. Peter’s Basilica. The “Jubilee of Mercy” will commence when the Pope opens the basilica’s Holy Door on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December, and concludes on Nov. 20, 2016, with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

Report from Crux.

Report from Catholic News Agency.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog and editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine.

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The day of four popes: Top of the world, ma!

27 Apr

VATICAN CITY (April 27, 2014) — One of the most challenging aspects of being part of an historic event is that the full impact of the moment can’t be fully appreciated until it’s had time to percolate. The day of four popes — new newly canonized and two at the altar for the canonization Mass — was just that.

In St. Peter's Square the day before the double canonization

In St. Peter’s Square the day before the double canonization

Divine Providence, however, was at work for me and the other 1 million or more pilgrims in Rome today for the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.

While I had media credentials for the canonization Mass — the third time for me for a papal event at the Vatican — I didn’t receive credentials to be atop the colonnade of St. Peter’s Basilica as I had the previous two times. I was to be relegated to the general media section during the canonization Mass.

Officials told us that the media would have special seating in the square (somewhere), so some of my colleagues opted to camp out overnight near the media office at the entrance of the Paul VI Hall. Accredited media were to be let into the square, which had been emptied for cleaning and security sweeps, at 4:30 am.

I had a late evening, but I caught a few hours’ sleep, got up at 1:30 am and set out at 2 am to find my media friends. I’m staying right on the edge of the secured area which has been cordoned off from vehicular and pedestrian traffic, which is on the opposite side of the square from the media center. I’d been told that no one could pass through this restricted area around St.Peter’s Square. My plan was to make my way through a million people in 2 hours so I could join my friends.

Plans change.

Canonization Mass

Canonization Mass

I bought a couple bananas for breakfast from the shop downstairs, and then exited directly into the restricted area. It was spookily deserted while the other areas around the Vatican swelled with crowds waving banners and singing all through the night. As I walked the deserted three blocks to the Vatican, I only saw paramedics and a few other workers.

When I got to the edge of Vatican City near St. Peter’s Square at about 2 am, I flashed my media creds and they let me through. I was standing right in front of the square where Rome meets Vatican City. My two-hour journey lasted four minutes. Instead of walking around a million people, I walked three deserted blocks. God is good.

I spent the next two hours chatting with Peter, a 22-year-old Polish student who was a dead-ringer for a young Karol Wojtyła (John Paul II). He was tending to a wheelchair-bound man named Martin.

Video of St. Peter’s Square… and Peter (aka John Paul II):

The largest crowd in Vatican history: Well over 1 million people (click to enlarge)

The largest crowd in Vatican history: Well over 1 million people (click to enlarge)

By 5:30 am, I was in St. Peter’s Square. But security were incredibly clueless about where to have the media sit. We didn’t have chairs. We didn’t have a special section. But we were in the square for a truly historic day in the history of the Catholic Church. I connected with my friends — Dario Mobini from Seattle, Alton Pelowski who edits Columbia magazine for the Knights of Columbus, and Jason and Crystalina Evert of ChastityProject.com.

Then the good news came.

Dario, who was born in Rome and raised in the States, had wrangled four spots atop the colonnade that surround the square. The head of security for  the event walked us up the narrow stairway himself. After all of the turmoil of botched accreditation and badly managed media relations on the part of organizers, this was a minor miracle!

"Top of the world, Ma!"

“Top of the world, Ma!”

I felt like Jimmy Cagney in finale of White Heat: “I made it! Top of the world, ma!”

That feeling didn’t subside until the Mass was over. There were about 400 media taking in the view as the square filled up. Most of them were photographers. When I was in Rome for the conclave that elected Pope Francis, I forgot my long lens at home. This time, I brought the lens, but left it in my room because access to the colonnade was a pipe dream. I should have been a Boy Scout! Their motto is “always be prepared.”

While I waited, I prayed for each person who had requested prayers from me. I also read the requirements for the Divine Mercy plenary indulgence.

Bishops taking cell phone pics before the Mass

Bishops taking cell phone pics before the Mass

Despite the hiccups, it was a thrill to see Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict from my perch. It was a thrill (despite my lack of sleep) to be part of a Catholic first — two popes canonized at the same time, and with two living popes present no less! And it was delightful to see the great number of bishops and cardinals taking cell phone pictures of the crowd and selfies, too.

My video from atop the colonnade during the canonization Mass:

The significance of the event was not lost of Pope Francis. In his homily, he praised the new saints as men of courage and mercy, who responded to challenges of their time by modernizing the Catholic Church in fidelity to its ancient traditions.

Pope Francis embraces Pope Emeritus Benedict

Pope Francis embraces Pope Emeritus Benedict

“They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,” Francis said. “They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful.”

When the hundreds of Eucharistic ministers began fanning out through the square, I grabbed my things to make my way down. But just as I was about to go down the stairs, Jesus came to me! Two Eucharistic ministers showed up to bring Communion to the media. Well played, Lord! We need you.

Divine Mercy Sunday is the Octave of Easter. That simply means that the celebration of Easter Sunday is eight days long. Being in St. Peter’s Square today was a fitting way to wrap up the greatest feast of the year!

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog.

The day of four popes, two saints … tomorrow

26 Apr
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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (April 26, 2014) — I’ve been in Rome for 36 hours and I have completely forgotten to blog. Yes, it’s been that good! Best news first: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will concelebrate the canonization Mass with Pope Francis tomorrow. It will be the day of four popes and two new saints in about 16 hours.

After adjusting to the six-hour time difference on Wednesday, I woke up Thursday morning and went straight to the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross for a C-FAM/Alliance Defending Freedom conference exploring the pontificate of John Paul II, the soon-to-be saint. Speakers included papal biographer George Weigel, Ambassador Michael Novak, Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, all moderated by C-FAM’s Austin Ruse.

St. Peter's Square is bustling, awaiting the millions here for the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII

St. Peter’s Square is bustling, awaiting the millions here for the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII

After a brisk 8-mile run along the Tiber this morning, I waded into the growing crowds streaming into St. Peter’s Square. Estimates range from 1 million to 5 million pilgrims, so it will be a fascinating night — especially since it has already started raining here.

Security will empty St. Peter’s Square of pilgrims (some of whom have camped out for most of the day) so they can secure it for the event, which is drawing several heads of state — including the president of Poland.

Our media contingent will be led into the Square at 4:30 am (10:30 pm Eastern Saturday night), so this guy will need a triple espresso when it’s over!

Watch for photos on my Facebook page!

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog.photo

Iowa Catholic Radio: The importance of Confession

25 Mar

ICRadioMARCH 25, 2014 — Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog and Editor-in-Chief of Legatus magazine, was a guest on Iowa Catholic Radio in Des Moines, Iowa, this morning. He appeared on the Iowa Catholic Radio TODAY with Mark Reed (Director of Institutional Advancement at Catholic Foundation of Southwest Iowa), Mark Amadeo, Jeanne Wells, and Fr. Joe Pins (Vocations Director for the Diocese of Des Moines).

They asked Novecosky about Legatus and its members, CEOs and business leaders who strive to become better Catholics by meeting once a month for rosary, Confession, Mass, and a good speaker. The conversation then turned to Pope Francis’ announcement of 24-hours-for-the-Lord, happening in Rome this weekend. Basilicas in Rome will be open for Confession and Eucharistic adoration.

More importantly, they discussed the need for Catholics to return to regular Confession during Lent in order that they may experience more of the Lord’s mercy.

Listen to the entire interview.

Iowa Catholic Radio: Pope Francis creates 19 new cardinals

24 Feb

Iowa-Radio-newFEBRUARY 24, 2014 — Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog and editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine, was a guest on Iowa Catholic Radio in Des Moines, Iowa, this morning. He appeared on the Iowa Catholic Radio Morning Show with Jeanne Wells. She asked Novecosky about the Feb. 22 consistory at the Vatican where Pope Francis created 19 new cardinals.

They also discussed the upcoming canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.

Listen to the entire interview.

Pope Francis at six months

17 Sep

SEPTEMBER 17, 2013 — Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog and editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine, was a guest on Iowa Catholic Radio in Des Moines, Iowa, this morning. He appeared on the Iowa Catholic Radio Morning Show with Jeanne Wells and Mark Amadeo. They asked Novecosky about Pope Francis and his impact on the Church over the first six months of his pontificate. Iowa-Jean-Mark

Novecosky, who was in St. Peter’s Square when Pope Francis stepped out onto the loggia after his March 13 election, said that the new pope has built his reputation as a reformer, a man who will continue to do things differently without compromising the Gospel message.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has pledged to reform the Roman Curia, the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church. The Pope recently appointed Italian Archbishop Pietro Parolin as his new Secretary of State.

Pope Francis will meet with his “Gang of Eight” cardinals charged with advising him on curial reform in early October.

Listen to the entire interview.

For life and peace

16 Sep

by Patrick Novecosky

The world has been on edge for more than a month over the civil war in Syria, and whether or not the U.S. should intervene militarily after the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime on Aug. 21.

Pope Francis called for a day of fasting and prayer on Sept. 7. Catholics and non-Catholics alike from around the world prayed for a peaceful solution to the conflict, and more than 100,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square with the Pope for a five-hour vigil on the eve of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Pope Francis prays during a Sept. 7 vigil in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis prays during a Sept. 7 vigil for peace in St. Peter’s Square

“This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: Violence and war are never the way to peace!” he said. “War always marks the failure of peace; it is always a defeat for humanity.”

Incredibly, some in the mainstream media were critical of the Holy Father’s message. Mark Phillips, reporting for CBS This Morning, said that the Pope had “taken sides” and waded into “politics” by calling for peace. He hinted that Pope Francis has chosen Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position over that of President Obama.

There are several lessons to be learned here. First, the Church will always stand against violence when there is an opportunity for peaceful dialogue. Blessed John Paul II pleaded for peace in the lead-up to the first and second Gulf Wars. The secular media embraced his position. Pope Francis is doing nothing different. The message is the same. The difference is politics — specifically the politics of the man in the Oval Office.

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

My critique here is not of President Obama, but of the liberal secular media whose members stretch their news reports to fit their political ideology. This leads to the second lesson: Do not trust the secular news media. If you haven’t picked up on it, the mainstream news machine has an undeniable bias against Christianity — and in particular against the Catholic Church. Case in point: Their blind mission to destroy Sarah Palin and Tim Tebow.

Informed citizens must have access to truthful, unbiased reporting. Unfortunately, that’s a rare commodity these days. Fortunately, alternative media — blogs and web-based news sites like Breitbart, LifeSiteNews, OneNewsNow, The Blaze and others are delivering what the mainstream media refuse to give us.

No matter what side the secular media comes down on, the Catholic Church will always stand for peace over war, life over death, and Christ over the world. And it’s our job to make sure we are on His side because our choices have eternal consequences.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog and Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.