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‘Always smiling’: Chiara Corbella’s father remembers her joy, faith

Roberto Corbella (center, with tie) and other family and friends of Chiara Corbella Petrillo attend the closing of the diocesan phase of the investigation into her life and virtues in Rome on Friday, June 21, 2024 / Credit: Daniel Ibañez/CNA

Vatican City, Jul 9, 2024 / 06:00 am (CNA).

Last month, the Diocese of Rome closed its investigation into the virtues and reputation for holiness of Chiara Corbella Petrillo, a 28-year-old wife and mother who died in 2012 from cancer after delaying treatment until after the birth of her son. 

Chiara is known for her joy and simple faith — which persevered even after the young bride and her husband, Enrico Petrillo, experienced the devastating loss of their first two children shortly following birth.

“One of the fundamental characteristics of Chiara’s faith: She was never ostentatious, she was not someone who went around saying ‘I am good,’” Chiara’s father, Roberto Corbella, told CNA at the closing ceremony for the diocesan phase of her cause for beatification at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on June 21.

With the closing of the diocesan phase, documented testimonies and other materials will now be sent to the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints for further scrutiny. The next step in the process will be for the pope to recognize her as someone who lived a life of heroic virtue and declare her venerable.

Chiara was “always smiling, loved a joke … always ready to find the bright side of things. And she didn’t take herself too seriously,” Corbella recalled.

“The fact that we see that so many people in the world rely on her helps us to accept [her death] better, in the sense that it’s clear that I would rather ... still have her sitting on my lap,” he said with tears in his eyes. “But seeing so many people ask for her help certainly makes us accept everything much better.”

Below is a lightly edited version of CNA’s full interview with Roberto Corbella.

CNA: Who was Chiara?

Roberto Corbella: I think Chiara was the daughter everyone would wish to have — a very cheerful child, very attentive to everything around her, people, but also animals, things. She was very curious and took care of everything around her. Always smiling, loved a joke, so always ready to find the bright side of things. And she didn’t take herself too seriously.

Do you have a favorite memory with Chiara? 

I have so many beautiful memories. Maybe the moment I always remember with the most joy is after lunch, when Chiara had the habit of sitting on my knee. She would do this even as a grown up, even after she was married. When she would come to lunch at our house, after lunch [she would sit on my knee]. It was her way of showing affection.

After seeing your daughter experience great suffering together with her husband, Enrico, has your perspective on pain and suffering changed?

Chiara was always very careful to not let us see her suffer. When she felt very bad during her illness, she would go back into her room saying she didn’t feel very well. She never complained, never let us see [her suffering]. Actually, she minimized what she was going through, so we only partially realized what her real situation was. But certainly, yes, she taught me to understand that everything is relative in life. We complain daily — “It’s so hot today” — everyone complains. And then in a little while, we will complain it is too cold. There are some things that are part of life that are natural. Chiara was able to bear them, clearly because of her great faith. 

How does it feel to have a daughter who is now known around the world for her faith?

I always say that we are lucky parents, because every day, watching the news, we hear of young kids who have died in violent situations ... Meanwhile, she left us with a smile, meanwhile, she left after telling us all, “I love you.”

Then, the fact that we see that so many people in the world rely on her, helps us to accept [her death] better, in the sense that it’s clear that rather than being here today doing this [interview], I would rather still have her sitting on my lap. But seeing so many people ask for her help certainly makes us accept everything much better. 

“One of the fundamental characteristics of Chiara’s faith: She was never ostentatious, she was not someone who went around saying ‘I am good,’” Chiara’s father, Roberto Corbella, told CNA at the closing ceremony for the diocesan phase of her cause for beatification at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on June 21, 2024. Credit: Daniel Ibañez/CNA
“One of the fundamental characteristics of Chiara’s faith: She was never ostentatious, she was not someone who went around saying ‘I am good,’” Chiara’s father, Roberto Corbella, told CNA at the closing ceremony for the diocesan phase of her cause for beatification at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on June 21, 2024. Credit: Daniel Ibañez/CNA

Has this experience changed something for you and your experience of God, faith, the Church?

Well, yes. I always say that I was the most secular of the family, because Chiara, her sister, her mother, they always attended church. I was one of what Pope Francis calls “the Sunday Catholics.” I would go to Mass, but I was just doing the expected things, though, not particularly driven. I often find myself questioning. The road is very long, at least for me, so I’m trying to learn.

What was Chiara’s faith and prayer like, especially as she was part of a world and generation that is practicing the faith less and less?

I would say [Chiara lived the faith] very simply and very naturally. From when she was a very young child, her mom brought her, together with her sister, to a prayer group. So she grew up in this group of children who met regularly, prayed and so on, and so she developed a very strong inner faith. Both her and her sister would find time to devote to prayer every day. They would lock themselves in their room in silence. It was more of a listening prayer than a verbal prayer. This marked her throughout her life — then there were evolutions: Her adult life, during the period of her relationship [with future husband Enrico] she leaned on the friars in Assisi; there she did vocation courses with the [youth center] and ... There she came back to give witness talks after losing her first child. And there she returned when she was in crisis with Enrico [during their engagement], and then there they got married. So she matured. But one of the fundamental characteristics of Chiara’s faith: She was never ostentatious, she was not someone who went around saying “I am good...”

She had relationships with everybody, even people absolutely contrary to the faith. And she didn’t discount [their lack of faith] but she didn’t judge anybody or criticize anybody. It was more her example, her knowing how to listen, that made an impact. So a simple faith. Chiara was what you call a “fresh-faced” girl or “the girl next door.” She was very simple: jeans, a T-shirt. Compared to her sister or her mother, her makeup took 30 seconds, so she was always very quick. I think that’s what gets transmitted more, especially to young people. Today Chiara is appreciated because they see her as one of them. I always say if she was still here today she would blend in with the others. 

What is the message Chiara would have wanted to share with the world and which you carry in your heart?

I would say maybe the most relevant message in these times is the message of peace. Chiara as a child lived through the war in Yugoslavia. She was very little, seeing the news on the television, and she was very upset to see these people who were affected. So today she would have a hard time accepting what is going on around the world in so many places and which unfortunately many people are helping to fuel. Therefore I think we need to lower the tensions and try to think about peace. 

How is Chiara’s living son, Francesco, doing?

Francesco recently turned 13 years old and he’s already as tall as his grandma ... He is very much like Chiara. When he was very small, not just physically, but his gifts, his characteristics, his creative abilities, and so on. Otherwise, he’s a 13-year-old, so wild and used to doing what 13-year-olds do. But a nice grandson. We also have three other grandchildren.

Pope Francis names young bishop to lead Agaña Archdiocese in Guam after difficult years

Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica, the seat of the Archbishop of Agana, Guam. / Credit: Public domain

Vatican City, Jul 8, 2024 / 11:33 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Ryan Jimenez to lead the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Agaña on the island of Guam, transferring the 52-year-old Filipino from the neighboring Northern Mariana Islands.

The July 6 move may mark the beginning of a more stable period for the Church on the U.S. island territory after the archdiocese suffered bankruptcy, a sex abuse scandal involving one former archbishop, and the premature departure of another archbishop for unspecified medical reasons.

A local Catholic leader said the archbishop-elect has a “tough job ahead” of him, Pacific Daily News reported.

“He is taking over an archdiocese that is in the throes of getting out of bankruptcy. He needs to win the confidence of our faithful as we work collectively to settle our debt to the victims of clergy sex abuse and their families,” David Sablan, president of the group Concerned Catholics of Guam, told the Guam newspaper July 7.

“Bishop Jimenez has his work cut out for him,” Sablan added.

Jimenez will fill a seat left vacant by Archbishop Michael Byrnes, who formally resigned as head of the Agaña Archdiocese in March 2023 after dealing with medical issues.

Byrnes, who is from Detroit, had succeeded former Agaña Archbishop Anthony Apuron, following his removal by Pope Francis after the Vatican found him guilty of the sexual abuse of minors in 2019.

Jimenez comes from the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, a suffragan diocese of Agaña, which he has led since June 2016.

Chalan Kanoa is the diocese covering the Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth and unincorporated territory of the United States in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.

The 14 Northern Mariana Islands are part of a crescent-shaped archipelago that also includes the separate U.S. territory of Guam, the southernmost island.

According to 2022 statistics, the Archdiocese of Agaña has over 148,000 Catholics, totaling more than 87% of the population.

Archdiocese’s challenging past

While still formally archbishop, Apuron was relieved of his pastoral and administrative authority in June 2016 following accusations he had sexually abused minors. Four months later, in October 2016, Pope Francis appointed Byrnes coadjutor archbishop of Agaña.

Apuron was found guilty of several abuse-related charges by the Vatican’s then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in March 2018. The conviction was upheld on appeal in February 2019, and the final sentencing was announced April 4, 2019.

Apuron was deprived of his office as archbishop of Agaña; forbidden from using its insignia, including the bishop’s miter and ring; and banned from living within the jurisdiction of the archdiocese. He was not removed from ministry and remains a priest under Church law.

In January 2019, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in federal court in the wake of numerous sex abuse allegations. The move, decided upon in November 2018, allowed the archdiocese to avoid trial and to begin to reach settlements in the abuse lawsuits, which amounted to over $115 million.

Byrnes, who succeeded Apuron in April 2019, went on extended leave from his duties in December 2022 for unspecified medical reasons. His resignation was accepted in March 2023.

New archbishop’s biography

Jimenez was born in Dumaguete City in the Philippines on Dec. 18, 1971. 

He did initial studies in the Philippines before volunteering as a religion teacher to high school students in remote areas of his country. 

Jimenez later immigrated to the United States, where he completed his seminary training at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in California, completing a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees in divinity and theology in 2003.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa in 2003. In the mid-1990s, he had served the diocese as a teacher at the only Catholic school on the island of Rota.

In 2010, right before his 39th birthday, Jimenez was named apostolic administrator of Chalan Kanoa, becoming the spiritual leader of the over 43,000 Catholics of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

He was recently awarded a doctorate in divinity from Fordham University.

Pope Francis appoints new prefect of Vatican archives

Documents from the Pontificate of Pius XII released by the Vatican Apostolic Archive. / Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Vatican City, Jul 6, 2024 / 09:05 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has named an Augustinian priest as the new prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Archive, which preserves Church documents dating back to the eighth century.

The Vatican announced on July 5 that Father Rocco Ronzani, a patristics professor from Rome, will serve as the head of what was formerly called the Vatican’s “secret archive.”

The Vatican Apostolic Archive contains 53 miles of underground shelving preserving documentation from historic papacies, ecumenical councils, conclaves, and Vatican nunciatures, or embassies, around the world.

Pope Leo XIII opened the archive to scholars in 1881. Qualified researchers can request permission to visit and view specific documents.

Many historians researching World War II have come to the Vatican’s underground stacks since 2020 when Pope Francis opened the archives of the pontificate of Pius XII.

The Vatican archive also contains the original 1530 letter addressed to Pope Clement VII requesting permission for an annulment for King Henry VIII so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.

Pope Francis changed the name of the archive, which had been known as the Vatican Secret Archive since the 17th century, to Vatican Apostolic Archive in 2019 to avoid the negative associations that accompany modern interpretations of the word “secret.”

As the new prefect, Ronzani succeeds Archbishop Sergio Pagano, who worked in the Vatican archives for 45 years, serving as prefect since 1997.

Pagano recently published a book titled “Secretum,” which describes some of the noteworthy historical “nuggets” documented in the archives from the Galileo trial to when Napoléon Bonaparte’s troops raided the Vatican archive in 1810.

The former prefect will take up a new role as the assessor for the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

Ronzani was born in Rome on Feb. 21, 1978. He entered the Order of St. Augustine in 1997 and was ordained a priest in 2004. He holds a doctorate in theology and patristic sciences from the Pontifical Patristic Institute Augustinianum in Rome, where he currently teaches.

He serves as a consultant to the Vatican Dicastery for the Causes of Saints and as the current director of the historical archives for the Augustinians’ Italian province.

Pontifical Academy for Life releases ‘lexicon’ for end-of-life discussions

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. / Credit: Walter Breitenmoser/CNA

CNA Staff, Jul 5, 2024 / 13:10 pm (CNA).

The Pontifical Academy for Life has released a guide that it says will help the faithful in discussing the “religious and moral ethical implications” surrounding euthanasia, assisted suicide, and other controversial end-of-life topics.

The Vatican Publishing House released the brief booklet on July 2, Catholic News Service (CNS) reported this week. The pontifical academy “distributed the booklet to every bishop in Italy,” with the book as of yet available only in Italian.

The Vatican publisher on its website describes the document as a “little end-of-life lexicon,” one that offers “a series of explanatory and in-depth entries” in order to foster “a language understandable even to the uninitiated” regarding end-of-life matters.

The document is meant to “[help] those who are trying to disentangle these issues,” in part by avoiding “that component of disagreement that depends on an inaccurate use of the notions implied in the discourse.”

The topics “are presented through the lens of Catholic understanding and are connected by several fundamental tenets, such as the Christian meaning of life, death, freedom, responsibility, and care,” CNS said in its report.

CNS reported that the guide covers a variety of issues including comas, palliative care, pain management, euthanasia, organ donation, and “artificial nutrition and hydration,” among other matters.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia — who serves as the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life — urged the faithful to pursue “heartfelt and in-depth dialogue” on life issues rather than “prepackaged and partisan ideologies.”

The Catholic Church in recent years has taken strong stances against government policies such as euthanasia that devalue human life.

Bishops in FranceIreland, and the U.S. have urged the defeat of numerous euthanasia and assisted suicide proposals.

Pope Francis has similarly urged respect for life instead of euthanasia, calling on the faithful to “accompany people toward death, but not provoke death or facilitate assisted suicide.”

“You don’t play with life, neither at the beginning nor at the end. It is not played with!” he told journalists last year.

This article was updated on Saturday, July 6, at 2:00 p.m. to reflect that the report on the lexical book came from Catholic News Service.

Vatican releases schedule for Pope Francis’ two-week trip to Asia and Oceania

Pope Francis waves to pilgrims at his General Audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 26, 2024 / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, Jul 5, 2024 / 11:46 am (CNA).

Pope Francis will travel more than 20,000 miles over the course of seven flights during his ambitious 12-day trip to four countries in Southeast Asia and Oceania this September.

At the age of 87, the Holy Father is set to take on his most ambitious international trip yet, which will be the longest of his 11-year pontificate.

The Vatican published Friday the full schedule for the pope’s trip to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Singapore from Sept. 2 to 13.

The first stop on his Southeast Asia tour is Indonesia, home to the largest Muslim population in the world, where he will preside over an interfaith meeting in Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque.

After a 13-hour flight and day of rest in the Indonesian capital, Francis will meet with the country’s President Joko Widodo on Sept. 4 and deliver a speech to political leaders at the Istana Merdeka Presidential Palace. 

The pope will also visit Jakarta’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption to meet with bishops, priests, religious sisters, and seminarians after meeting privately with local Jesuits. 

More than 29 million Christians live in Indonesia, 7 million of whom are Catholic, while Indonesia’s 229 million Muslims make up more than 12% of the global Muslim population. Nearly all of Indonesia’s Muslims are Sunni.

The pope’s second full day in Jakarta begins with an interreligious meeting in the Istiqlal Mosque, the ninth-largest mosque in the world. 

Pope Francis will conclude his time in Indonesia with a Mass on the evening of Sept. 5 in Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 77,000, after meeting with beneficiaries from local charitable organizations.

On Sept. 6, he will travel nearly 3,000 miles to Papua New Guinea’s sprawling capital of Port Moresby.

Pope Francis will visit local ministries that care for street children and persons with disabilities on his first full day in Papua New Guinea on Sept. 7, which also includes a speech to the local political authorities and an address to the local clergy at the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians.

The following day, the pope will meet with Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape before presiding over Sunday Mass in Port Moresby’s Sir John Guise Stadium.

He will then fly to Vanimo, a city in the northwesternmost province of Papua New Guinea, where he will greet local missionaries and address local Catholics in front of the Holy Cross Cathedral before flying back to the capital city Sunday night.

Pope Francis will travel on Sept. 9 to the small country of East Timor, which has a population that is more than 97% Catholic. 

In Dili, the country’s capital, Pope Francis will visit children with disabilities, meet local clergy and religious in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, give a speech at the Presidential Palace, and preside over Mass in the Esplanade of Taci Tolu over the course of two days.

The pope’s final stop before returning to Rome will be the island of Singapore, the country with the highest GDP per capita in Asia and the second-highest population density of any country in the world.

Pope Francis will be welcomed to Singapore’s world-renowned Changi International Airport on Sept. 11. He will meet President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Sept. 12 before presiding over Mass in Singapore’s SportsHub National Stadium, the third stadium Mass of the trip. 

On his last day in Asia, the pope will preside over an interreligious meeting with young people in Singapore’s Catholic Junior College and visit a group of elderly people. He will make the 6,000-mile journey back to Italy on a chartered Singapore Airlines flight scheduled to land in Rome at 6:25 p.m. on Sept. 13.

The nearly two-week venture will be the pope’s first international trip in 2024. Francis has slowed down his travel schedule in recent months as health and mobility issues, from a knee injury to recurring bronchitis, have forced him to cancel some public appearances, including his last planned foreign visit to Dubai. 

Pope Francis is also scheduled to make a four-day trip to Belgium and Luxembourg at the end of September.

Vatican excommunicates Viganò for schism

Archbishop Carlo Viganò. / Credit: Edward Pentin/National Catholic Register

Rome Newsroom, Jul 5, 2024 / 09:35 am (CNA).

The Vatican has officially excommunicated Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith announced Friday.

Viganò was found guilty of the canonical crime, or delict, of schism, or the refusal to submit to the pope or the communion of the Church, at the conclusion of the Vatican’s extrajudicial penal process on July 4.

The Vatican’s doctrine office announced the “latae sententiae” excommunication (automatic excommunication) on July 5, citing Viganò’s “public statements manifesting his refusal to recognize and submit to the Supreme Pontiff, his rejection of communion with the members of the Church subject to him, and of the legitimacy and magisterial authority of the Second Vatican Council.”

The former papal nuncio to the United States is now excommunicated, the most serious penalty a baptized person can incur, which consists of being placed outside the communion of the faithful of the Catholic Church and denied access to the sacraments. 

The ruling comes after Viganò defied a Vatican summons to appear before the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith to face charges of schism last week.

The former Vatican diplomat — who garnered headlines in 2018 for alleging that senior Church officials covered up abuses committed by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick — has repeatedly rejected the authority of Pope Francis since then and has called on him to resign.

In a lengthy statement shared on social media June 28, Viganò accused Pope Francis of “heresy and schism” over his promotion of COVID-19 vaccines and his overseeing of the 2018 Vatican-China deal on the appointment of bishops.

He also said he has “no reason to consider myself separate from communion with the holy Church and with the papacy, which I have always served with filial devotion and fidelity.”

“I maintain that the errors and heresies to which [Francis] adhered before, during, and after his election, along with the intention he held in his apparent acceptance of the papacy, render his elevation to the throne null and void,” Viganò wrote.

Viganò, who has been in hiding for years, announced on social media June 20 that he had been summoned to Rome to answer formal charges of schism.

The specific charges outlined against Viganò, according to a document he himself posted, involved making public statements that allegedly deny the fundamental elements necessary to maintain communion with the Catholic Church. This included denying the legitimacy of Pope Francis as the rightful pontiff and the outright rejection of the Second Vatican Council.

In response to the charges, Viganò said in a June 21 statement that he had not sent any materials in his defense to the Vatican, noting that he did not recognize the authority of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith “nor that of its prefect, nor that of the person who appointed him.”

Viganò’s excommunication can only be lifted by the Apostolic See.

50,000 altar servers headed to Rome for meeting this month

Pope Francis greets altar servers from France. / Credit: Vatican Media

ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 5, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

The city of Rome will host an international pilgrimage of the association of altar servers “Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium” (CIM) from July 29 to Aug. 3.

The German Bishops’ Conference stated in a July 2 press release that the theme for the 13th pilgrimage is “With You,” an expression taken from the Book of Isaiah. 

Nearly 50,000 altar servers from various countries including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Slovakia, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Hungary will participate in this event.

In addition, they will be accompanied by the president of the CIM, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, the archbishop of Luxembourg.

Some 35,000 altar servers are expected from Germany, who will be accompanied by the president of the youth commission of the German Bishops’ Conference, Auxiliary Bishop Johannes Wübbe, as well as numerous members of the German Bishops’ Conference.

The event will begin July 29 at the Maria S. Bambina Institute in Rome and will conclude with an audience with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square on July 30 at 6 p.m. local time.

The activities of the pilgrimage will be coordinated by the press office of the German Bishops’ Conference.

This story was first published  by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Vatican to publish Instrumentum Laboris for October’s Synod on Synodality meeting

Pope Francis leads the Synod on Synodality delegates in prayer on Oct. 25, 2023. / Credit: Vatican Media

Rome Newsroom, Jul 3, 2024 / 10:55 am (CNA).

The Vatican will publish next week the guiding document for discussions at the final assembly of the Catholic Church’s yearslong Synod on Synodality.

The Instrumentum Laboris, or “working tool” for the upcoming 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, will be presented at a July 9 press conference by Cardinals Mario Grech and Jean-Claude Hollerich, together with the special secretaries of the synodal assembly. 

Dubbed the “Instrumentum Laboris 2,” the document has been in preparation since early June, when approximately 20 experts in theology, ecclesiology, and canon law held a closed-door meeting to analyze synod reports from dioceses and religious communities.

The Instrumentum Laboris will guide the discussions at an assembly at the Vatican in October. The monthlong gathering is the second session of a two-part assembly of the Synod on Synodality. The first session was held in October 2023.

The second October assembly is a continuation of the multiyear Synod on Synodality, which began in October 2021 and has included stages of discernment and discussion at various levels of the Church. 

The fall meeting will bring together Catholic bishops, priests, religious, and laypeople from around the world to discuss topics included in the Instrumentum Laboris and to prepare the synod’s final document.

This is the second Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod on Synodality. A similar working document of 50 pages was published last year ahead of the synod’s October 2023 assembly.

The 2023 Vatican assembly produced a 41-page synthesis report, while the 2024 assembly is expected to vote on a “final report,” which will then be sent to Pope Francis for consideration.

The third phase of the Synod on Synodality — after “the consultation of the people of God” and “the discernment of the pastors” — will be “implementation,” according to organizers.

Why are there no papal audiences during July?

Statue of St. Peter in front of St. Peter's Basilica. / Credit: Vatican Media

ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 3, 2024 / 06:00 am (CNA).

As every year during summer vacation time, the Vatican does not schedule any public, private, or “special” audiences for Pope Francis in the Vatican, including the general audience on Wednesdays.

The Vatican usually suspends such audiences on only two occasions: during the month of July and the week when the pontiff carries out his spiritual retreat at the Vatican.

The Holy See’s press office announced in a statement that the Holy Father’s agenda will resume on Aug. 7.

However, during this usual period of rest, Pope Francis will lead the Angelus on Sundays from the window of the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican.

Although the Holy Father doesn’t spend the summer at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo as popes have traditionally done, this year, as confirmed by the master of papal liturgical ceremonies, he will have a greater rest than in previous years.

Pope Francis will not preside at any public Mass for eight weeks, from July 8 to Sept. 1.

After this well-deserved rest, Pope Francis will travel to Asia and Oceania for 11 days in September and will also visit Belgium and Luxembourg at the end of the same month. In October, the second and final session of the Synod of Synodality will take place in Rome.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

This is Pope Francis’ prayer intention for the month of July

Pope Francis prays during his general audience on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. / Credit: Vatican Media

CNA Staff, Jul 2, 2024 / 14:15 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis’ prayer intention for the month of July is for the pastoral care of the sick. 

“The anointing of the sick is not a sacrament only for those who are at the point of death. No. It is important that this is clear,” the Holy Father said in a video message released July 2. 

“When the priest draws near a person to perform the anointing of the sick, it is not necessarily to help them say goodbye to life. Thinking this way means giving up every hope,” he said, adding: “It means taking for granted that after the priest the undertaker will arrive.”

The pope urged the faithful to “remember that the anointing of the sick is one of the ‘sacraments of healing,’ of ‘restoration,’ that heals the spirit.”

“And when a person is very ill, it’s advisable to give them the anointing of the sick. And when someone is elderly, it’s good that they receive the anointing of the sick,” he said.

He concluded with a prayer: “Let us pray that the sacrament of the anointing of the sick grant the Lord’s strength to those who receive it and to their loved ones, and that it may become for everyone an ever more visible sign of compassion and hope.”

Pope Francis’ prayer video is promoted by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, which raises awareness of monthly papal prayer intentions.