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Mgr Hugh O’Flaherty The priest who won over a deadly enemy P8

Francis Campbell PAGE 7

The diplomat on his daunting new posting

No. 6502

April 15 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)

Rome names feast day of John Paul II Feast to fall on October 22, the day of pope’s inauguration Nun healed by miracle to testify at beatification event Pope’s coffin to be brought into St Peter’s for veneration


POPE JOHN PAUL II’S feast day will be celebrated on October 22, Vatican officials have declared.

On Tuesday, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments issued a decree setting the date on which the late pope’s feast will be marked in the local Church calendar in the Diocese of Rome and the dioceses of Poland.

According to the custom, Pope John Paul II’s memorial will be celebrated in his local dioceses until the day that he is canonised, when his feast will be inserted into the Church’s universal calendar.

The feast of the late pope, who is being beatified on the Sunday after Easter, will be celebrated on the day he was inaugurated to the papacy in 1978 when he became one of the youngest popes in recent history. Contrary to the normal practice, the decree also allows dioceses around the world to celebrate Masses of thanksgiving for the beatification in the year that follows it.

Outside Rome and Poland, bishops will have to file a formal request to the Vatican to receive permission to mark the feast day, the decree said. The restricted celebration of a Blessed’s feast is one of the most noticeable differences between being beatified and being canonised.

The only places where parishes and churches can be named after Blessed Pope John Paul II without special Vatican permission are in the Diocese of Rome and the dioceses of Poland or other places that have obtained specific Vatican permission to insert Pope John Paul’s feast into their liturgical calendar, the decree said.

The text of the opening prayer – or collect – for the Mass in honour of Blessed Pope John Paul II,

A woman emerges from her father’s shop in Rome which sells tapestries of Pope John Paul II, who will be beatified on May 1

reads: “O God, who are rich in mercy and who willed that the Blessed John Paul II should preside as pope over your universal Church, grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching, we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ, the sole redeemer of mankind. Who lives and reigns.”

Meanwhile, preparations for Pope John Paul II’s beatification were in full flow as the Vatican unveiled the programme for the build-up to Divine Mercy Sunday last week. A vigil at the Circus Maximus on Saturday April 30 will begin with a solemn procession followed by testimonies about the late Roman pontiff by his former press officer Joaquín Navarro-Valls and his private secretary Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz.

Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, the French nun who was miraculously healed through John Paul II’s intercession, will also be one of the speakers. Her cure from Parkin

Photo: CNS

son’s disease, from which the late pope also suffered, was attributed to his prayers and provided the miracle necessary for his beatification.

Pope Benedict XVI will recite the final blessing which will be transmitted live to the Circus Maximus from the Apostolic Palace. After the prayer vigil eight churches located between the vigil site and the Vatican will remain open all night for pilgrims to pray in.

The Holy Father will celebrate the beatification Mass in St Peter’s Square the next morning at 10am, although beatifications are normally conducted in a Blessed’s birth diocese by the local bishop.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, will celebrate the Mass of thanksgiving on the following Monday in St Peter’s Square.

Last Friday Vatican workers transferred the body of Pope Innocent XI from the Chapel of St Sebastian in St Peter’s Basilica to the Altar of Transfiguration in order to make room for Pope John Paul II’s body. John Paul II’s wooden coffin will be placed before the tomb of St Peter in the Vatican Grotto and then transferred to the Altar of Confession in the basilica for the beatification. His remains will remain there for public veneration.

Pope Benedict XVI described his predecessor’s life as founded on prayer and witnessing to the Gospel after watching a Polish documentary about the late pope released ahead of his beatification.

Speaking after the screening, the Benedict XVI said: “Once again I want to underline the two foundations of his life and ministry: prayer and missionary zeal.”

He added: “John Paul II was a great contemplative and a great apostle. God chose him for the See of Peter and protected him so he could lead the Church into the third millennium. With his example he guided us all in this pilgrimage.” Letters: Page 13

Catholic bloggers are invited to landmark meeting at the Vatican BY ANNA ARCO

THE VATICAN is to host a conference for bloggers sponsored jointly by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

The Vatican hopes that the meeting, which will follow the beatification of Pope John Paul II, will allow for a dialogue between bloggers and members of the Curia. The meeting, to be held on May 2, will feature two panels. The first will comprise five bloggers from different language groups while the second panel is will include people involved in Church communications.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Archbishop Claudio Celli of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and Fr Federico Lombardi of the Vatican’s Press Office and Vatican Radio will be among those present at the conference.

Organisers have chosen May 2 in the hope that large numbers of bloggers might already be in Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. There will be space for 150 bloggers.

Dr Richard Rouse, an official at the Pontifical Council for Culture, told Vatican Radio that culture today was strongly formed and shaped in the blogosphere.

He said: “Bloggers have an enormous influence, it’s an important community, it’s an important category, so it’s right that there is to be a meeting of bloggers within the Church in order for the Church to take account of this reality, to dialogue with it, to listen to it, to be aware of it.”

Dr Rouse added: “It is not a meeting which intends to propose writing rules for bloggers. It’s not a meeting in which we are going to tell people how to blog properly. It’s just a very simple encounter, a first step along a road of dialogue.” Vatican Notebook: Page 4

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Papers suggest that Lincoln was Catholic BY ED WEST

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the American president who freed the slaves, may have been a Catholic, according to recently discovered papers.

The July 1905 issue of The American Catholic Researches included an article headlined “Was Abraham Lincoln a Catholic in His Youth?” by Archbishop John Ireland of St

Paul, Minnesota, who had served as a chaplain in the Civil War. He wrote about his old friend, the pioneering missionary Fr St Cyr, who told him that the young Lincoln used to help him to prepare an altar for Mass, adding: “I visited several times the Lincolns in their home in southern Illinois. The father and the stepmother of Abraham Lincoln both were Catholics.”

Paul VI’s cross and ring for sale on eBay BY DAVID V BARRETT

A PECTORAL cross and ring belonging to Pope Paul VI are being sold on the internet auction site eBay with a starting price of £522,000.

The cross, described by the seller as “Breathtaking!!”, has 12 large diamonds on the four arms, surrounded by “hundreds of smaller diamonds and emeralds”. The ring is described as

“enormous with a 12.75ct Diamond Solitaire” surrounded by diamonds. It is a personal ring; the official papal ring is smashed with a hammer on the death of a pope.

Paul VI donated some of his jewels to charity while visiting the United Nations in 1965. The original purchase price of £39,000 was distributed to four UN agencies. A previous owner was Evel Knievel.


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