November, 2017

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Pope Francis creates new Section of Vatican Secretariat of State

Pope Francis on Tuesday set up a new Section within the Vatican’s Secretariat of State to manifest his “the attention and closeness” of the Holy See’s diplomatic personnel.

This Third Section of the Vatican’s State office is to be called the Section for Diplomatic Staff of the Holy See and will reinforce the current office of the Delegate for Pontifical Representations.

A communique from the Holy See Press Office says the Section will be chaired by the Delegate for Pontifical Representations, currently Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawlowski.

“The Third Section will deal exclusively with matters relating to the staff who work in the diplomatic service of the Holy See or who prepare to do so – such as, for example, selection, initial and continuing formation, conditions of life and service, promotions, permits, etc.,” the statement reads.

The Third Section has been granted “the just autonomy”, it says, and “seek to establish close collaboration with the Section for General Affairs (which will continue to handle general matters of the Pontifical Representations), and with the Section for Relations with States (which will continue to deal with the political aspects of the work of the Pontifical Representations).”

In spelling out the Section’s tasks, the statement says the Delegate for the Pontifical Representations “will participate, along with His Excellency the Substitute for General Affairs and His Excellency the Secretary for Relations with States, in weekly coordination meetings chaired by the Secretary of State. Furthermore, he will convene and chair ad hoc meetings for the preparation of the appointments of Pontifical Representatives. Finally, he will be responsible, along with the President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, for the selection and formation of candidates.”

Pope at Angelus: ‘charity fuels faith making it fruitful and credible’

Pope Francis on Sunday told the faithful that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must be ready to meet with the Lord.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, the Pope also said that it is not sufficient to lead a life of faith; a Christian must also be fueled by charity.

The parable of the ten virgins

Recalling the parable of the ten virgins the Pope said one must not wait for “the last moment of our lives to collaborate with God’s grace: you must do it now!” he said.
Quoting from the liturgical reading in which the Lord said to the foolish virgins “Stay awake for you know neither the day nor the hour” Francis explained that Jesus is telling us that ‘staying awake’ does not mean only not to fall asleep: it is an exhortation to be prepared.

Charity fuels and safeguards faith

The lamp, the Pope said, is “the symbol of faith that illuminates our lives”. Oil, he continued, “is the symbol of charity which fuels the lamp making the light of faith fruitful and credible”.

“A life that is poor in charity is devoid of true light” he said.

“If we let ourselves be guided by what appears to be most convenient, seeking only to protect and nurture our interests, our lives become sterile and incapable of giving life to others; in this way we do not store a stock of oil for the lamp of our faith which will be extinguished at the time of the Lord’s coming, or even before that” he said.

“The condition to be ready to meet with the Lord, Pope Francis said, is not only faith, but a Christian life full of love and charity for our neighbour.”

Always be prepared to meet the Lord

He urged Christians always to “be vigilant and to try to do good through actions of love, sharing and service” to our brothers in difficulty so we can serenely await the arrival of the groom.

We know, he continued that “the Lord may come at any time, but even the slumber of death will not scare us if we have a supply of oil that we have accumulated through good works every day”.

“Faith inspires charity and charity safeguards faith” he said.

Giving thanks for Spanish martyrs

After the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled the beatification ceremony that took place in Madrid on Saturday during which Vicente Queralt LLoret and 20 of his martyred companions and José Maria Fernández Sánchez and 38 of his martyred companions were proclaimed blessed.

“They were all killed in hatred for the faith during the religious persecution that took place during the 1936 – 1937 Spanish Civil War” he said.

Pope Francis concluded giving thanks to God for the great gift of these witnesses of Christ and of the Gospel.

Rome’s Monti District.

Monti, between Termini station and Via dei Fori Imperiali, has a genuine village atmosphere even though it’s close to some of the city’s main tourist sites. There are characteristic centuries-old buildings and a small market, and it is within easy reach of the good-value Piazza Vittorio market area. The best thing about Monti is its position: near to everything but at the same time a world of its own. As its name suggests, it is on a hill and the winding roads are steep and narrow. There are plenty of excellent restaurants, good local grocers and artisan workshops. Buses run frequently along Via Nazionale to the north and Via Cavour to the south, where there is also ametro stop. Its dominant landmark is the basilica of S. Maria Maggiore but a quick stroll downhill and you are at the Roman Forum. It is also the location of a number of good, recently renovated hotels. Parking in the heart of Monti is impossible although there are garages in the surrounding areas such as Esquilino and near Termini station.


Basilica di S. Pudenziana

Fourth-century paleo-Christian church dedicated to St Pudentiana, a Roman martyr and secondary patron saint of the Philippines. The church was converted from a second-century Roman bath house, and traces of them are still visible in its apse. Today the church caters to members of the city’s Filipino community.

Mercato Monti

Trendy market offering a large selection of handtailored fashion items by young independent designers, as well as bespoke accessories, vintage clothing, art works and collectibles. Housed in the basement of Hotel Palatino near the Metro Cavour stop, the market is open Sat-Sun 10.00-21.00.

Piazza Della Madonna Dei Monti

The focal point of this square is a fountain built in 1587 by Giacomo della Porta, who also designed the nearby Madonna dei Monti church. The fountain acts as a popular meeting place, particularly in the evenings when groups of friends enjoy a drink on its marble steps.

Rome’s pyramid open for free tours on 1 November

Piramide Cestia wins Europa Nostra heritage conservation award.

Rome’s Piramide Cestia pyramid celebrates winning this year’s Europa Nostra award for heritage conservation by opening for free guided tours throughout Wednesday 1 November.

The tours, in Italian, are programmed every half an hour from 09.30 until 16.00 and must be reserved in advance via the Coopculture website.

The 2,000-year-old monument underwent a €2 million restoration between 2013 and 2014, funded by Japanese entrepreneur Yuzo Yagi who made his fortune by importing Italian clothes to his Yagi Tsusho chain of fashion stores in Japan over the last four decades.

The Egyptian-style pyramid stands in the middle of a busy junction between Piramide train station and the city’s Non-Catholic cemetery, opposite the fortified Porta S. Paolo.

Dating from the first century BC, the 36-metre high pyramid was built as a tomb for the powerful Roman magistrate Caius Cestius. Experts believe that the monument has evaded collapse over the centuries because it was incorporated into the Aurelian walls in the years 271-275.

The Europa Nostra prize was launched by the European Commission in 2002 to celebrate and promote best practices related to heritage conservation, management, research, education and communication.