Pope Francis has reorganized the Diocese of Rome. A complete rehearsal of the changes would run to considerable length and likely induce somnolence before it effected understanding. “Let me ’splain,” said Inigo Montoya to Wesley […]
Pope Francis delivers the Angelus address for the Solemnity of the Epiphany on Jan. 6, 2023. / Vatican Media
Vatican City, Jan 7, 2023 / 07:35 am (CNA).
Pope Francis on Friday issued a document reorganizing the Vicariate of Rome in what he call… […]
Cardinal Angelo De Donatis / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA
Rome, Italy, Dec 29, 2022 / 07:30 am (CNA).
The Diocese of Rome will offer a special Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the Basilica of St. John Lateran on Friday afternoon.The Mass was announc… […]
[L] A screenshot of Father Marko Rupnik giving a talk in February 2022 and [R] Cardinal Angelo De Donatis in 2021. / Credit: [L] Youtube account of the Diocese of Rome and [R] Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Rome Newsroom, Dec 24, 2022 / 04:00 am (CNA).
null / Alan Koppschall/CNA.
Rome, Italy, Dec 19, 2022 / 03:00 am (CNA).
Catholics from Italy participated in a re-enactment of the Christmas story in Rome on Saturday.The processional living nativity began outside Rome’s cathedral, the Basilica… […]
Denver Newsroom, Sep 18, 2022 / 14:00 pm (CNA).
Blessed John Paul I did not serve as Roman Pontiff for long, but 10 other popes had shorter pontificates than he did. Their stories are a microcosm of the history of the papacy. Some were friends of saints and worked for the good of the Church, while the qualifications of others might be a bit questionable. Through all these more or less flawed men who sat in the Chair of Peter, the Catholic Church teaches that the connection to St. Peter and his profession of faith in Christ endures.
Urban VII was pope for 13 days, Sept. 15–27, 1590.
He was born Giambattista Castagna at Rome, the home city of his mother. His father was of Genoan nobility. His uncle was a cardinal, whom he served at points during his long career in the Church. He held doctorates in civil and canon law.
Castagna worked in government and diplomacy on behalf of the papacy, which at the time held civil power over parts of Italy. He led several commissions during the Council of Trent and helped organize the military alliance against the Ottoman Empire, according to the New Catholic Encyclopedia. He was appointed archbishop in 1553 and became a cardinal in 1583.
He had a reputation for genuine piety, intelligence, and ability to govern.
After his election as pope, he made sure to address the needs of the poor in Rome. His initial plans included expanded public works to employ the poor.
As God’s providence allowed, he did not have time to do much more than plan. He died of malaria at the age of 69. In his will, he left his personal fortune to support poor girls.
Celestine IV reigned for 15 days, Oct. 25–Nov. 10, 1241.
The future pope was born Goffredo da Castiglione in Milan. He spent time with the Cistercian religious order and was a cardinal bishop of Sabina. He was a nephew of Pope Urban III. He was already in poor health when he was elected, at a time when the papacy was a center of political conflict between backers and opponents of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.
Boniface VI reigned for 16 days, April 11–26, 896.
He was born in Rome. Not much is known about this pope, though records indicate that during his life he was canonically deprived of holy orders on two occasions: the first time as a subdeacon, and the second as a priest. His irregular past caused controversy over his election, the New Catholic Encyclopedia says.
Theodore II reigned for 20 days in December 897.
Another little-known pope, it is said that his clergy loved him, that he loved peace, and that he lived a life of chastity and charity to the poor. He came to power soon after a low point of the papacy. Pope Theodore annulled the acts of the “Cadaver Synod,” which had put on trial the corpse of his predecessor, Pope Formosus. He recovered the dead Roman Pontiff’s body from the River Tiber and gave it a proper burial. He also reinstated clergy who had been forced to resign.
Sisinnius was pope for 21 days, Jan. 15–Feb. 4, 708.
This pope was born in Syria. His health troubles included disabling arthritis, and he was unable to feed himself. The papacy was responsible for the military defense of Rome at this time, with Lombards invading from the north of Italy and Muslim armies advancing from the south. Sisinnius ordered the walls of Rome to be reinforced as his first act, the New Catholic Encyclopedia says. Before he died, Pope Sisinnius ordained one priest and consecrated a bishop for Corsica.
Marcellus II was pope for about 22 days in April and May, 1555.
He was born Marcello Cervini, at Montefano in Tuscany. Like the sainted Pope Marcellus of the fourth century, he kept his baptismal name as his papal name.
His father worked under several pontificates as a scribe and secretary.
Before Cervini was elected pope he served various roles as a secretary to popes and cardinals, including work to correct the Julian calendar. He was actively engaged with the “New Learning” of Renaissance humanism. He served as protector of the Vatican Library and helped improve and expand its collection. Cervini served the Vatican at the time of its response to the Protestant Reformation. He was a president at the Council of Trent, which continued through his short pontificate.
He gained a reputation as a Church reformer and had hoped to pursue this path during his papacy. He was not consecrated a bishop until the day after he was elected pope.
Pope Marcellus reputedly became sick from overwork during the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter, and the illness turned fatal.
The Missa Papae Marcelli of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was composed in his honor.
Damasus II reigned for 24 days in July and August, 1048.
This pontiff was named Poppo. He was born in Bavaria and was of German extraction. He served as Bishop of Brixen in Tyrol, in what is now western Austria.
Popes at the time could be nominated in an unusual manner. Pope Damasus II was named by Holy Roman Emperor Henry III. The pope, however, soon died of malaria.
Pius III was pope for 27 calendar days, Sept. 22–Oct. 18, 1503.
He was born Francesco Todeschini in Siena. He was the nephew of Pope Pius II, a famous Renaissance-era pope. His uncle took him into his household and became his patron, allowing the young man to add the pontiff’s family name Piccolomini to his own last name.
Francesco studied canon law. His uncle named him to become administrator of the Archdiocese of Siena and later made him a cardinal-deacon.
The future Roman Pontiff had a reputation of living an upright life as a cultured, gentle man, the New Catholic Encyclopedia reports. He took part in several conclaves of his time, including that which elected Alexander VI.
His service to the papacy included several diplomatic appointments to Germany, France, and Perugia.
Francesco’s own papal election took place amid ruling Italian families’ disputes over control of Rome and included an unsuccessful power play by the Borgia family.
Pius III was known to be in poor health. At the time of the papal coronation he was already suffering from a diseased leg, which developed into a septic ulcer. He died at the age of 64.
Leo XI was pope for 27 days, from April 1–27, 1605.
The Florentine-born Alessandro de Medici was a member of the famous Medici family. He was grand-nephew to Pope Leo X. He sought to become a priest from an early age, but because his mother objected he was not ordained until after she died, according to the New Catholic Encyclopedia. He served as an ambassador to Rome on behalf of Tuscany, before he began to advance in the Church. He would eventually become a bishop, then archbishop of Florence, before being named a cardinal.
He served as a papal legate to France and was head of the Congregation of Bishops.
Among his great friends was St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratorians.
He was elected pope at the age of 69 and became sick almost immediately.
Benedict V served as pope for 33 days, May 22–June 23, 964.
He was born in Rome and had a reputation for great learning.
He reigned at a time of great turmoil in the Church. Holy Roman Emperor Otto I had interfered with the pontificates of his predecessors. The emperor had forcibly deposed a pope and installed his own nominee on the See of Peter. There were rival claimants to the papacy under Benedict V and Otto again interfered, laying siege to Rome and taking the pope away from Rome by force. Benedict either renounced the papacy or was forcibly deposed. He lived in exile in Hamburg for another year.
John Paul I served as Roman Pontiff from Aug. 26–Sept. 28, 1978, 33 calendar days.
His beatification on Sept. 4 renewed attention to his life. He had a reputation for humility and for teaching the faith in an understandable way.
The future John Paul I took part in the Second Vatican Council and was named patriarch of Venice.
As a cardinal, Luciani published a collection of “open letters” to historic figures, saints, famous writers, and fictional characters. The book, “Illustrissimi,” included letters to Jesus, King David, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Christopher Marlowe, as well as Pinocchio and Figaro, the barber of Seville.
He was the first pope to have two names. He took his papal name from his immediate predecessors, Sts. John XXIII and Paul VI.
Venerable John Paul I / Vatican Media
Denver Newsroom, Sep 2, 2022 / 08:00 am (CNA).
Venerable John Paul I was born Albino Luciani on Oct. 17, 1912 in the town of Canale d’Argordo in northern Italy’s Belluno province. He was the most recent pop… […]
The 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.
Rome Newsroom, Jun 16, 2022 / 08:30 am (CNA).
The Vatican is gearing up for the World Meeting of Families 2022, which will draw around 2,000 Catholic families to the It… […]
The official logo of the 2022 World Meeting of Families in Rome. / Diocese of Rome.
Vatican City, May 31, 2022 / 09:05 am (CNA).
The Vatican published the official schedule for the 10th World Meeting of Families on Tuesday.The international gat… […]
Rome, Italy, May 26, 2022 / 08:37 am (CNA).
When St. Philip Neri came to Rome from Florence in 1533, he encountered a city in upheaval. The Sack of Rome six years prior had left famine and plague in its wake. The Protestant Reformation was in full swing and the Church was rife with corruption.
The young Philip, who would spend around 16 years in Rome as a layman before becoming a priest, soon dedicated himself to caring for the city’s sick and poor.
The saint, whose feast day falls on May 26, also realized that Rome’s people were suffering from a spiritual sickness and tiredness as well, and so he set out to reinvigorate Catholics with the joy of the faith through song and dance — and jokes.
Part of St. Philip’s outreach was the revival of the Seven Churches visit. He may not be the originator of the idea of the pilgrimage to some of Rome’s most important churches, but he is credited with renewing its popularity.
After it fell out of use once again, St. Philip’s congregation of secular priests, the Oratory, revived it in the 1960s, including holding the walk one night each year, as close as possible to the way the saint would have done it.
After a two-year pause, on the evening of May 13 into the morning of May 14, around 800 people walked 15 and a half miles in the footsteps of the saint and his followers.
Police officers in cruisers drove ahead of the urban pilgrimage to block traffic as a sea of Catholics from around Italy crossed busy intersections and passed Friday night diners while praying the rosary in unison and singing the Taizé chant “Laudate Dominum,” whose words say in Latin, “Praise the Lord, all people, Alleluia.”
The rosary was prayed four times during the pilgrimage, which took almost 10 hours to complete, including stops for a sack dinner at midnight and short lessons on the virtues led by priests of the Oratory.
The seven basilicas were chosen by the saint for their importance to Christianity, and the walk on May 13-14 followed the path laid out in a 16th-century document almost certainly seen and used by St. Philip — and likely even written by him.
This document, recreated and printed into a booklet for use on the annual pilgrimage today, gives St. Philip’s guidance for those making the Seven Churches visit.
“Before setting out to make this holy Pilgrimage, each of the Brethren must lift up his mind to God, offering him the sincerity of his heart, with the purpose of desiring the sole glory of his divine Majesty in all actions, and especially in this one,” it says.
Those participating can also earn an indulgence under the usual conditions, and are asked to pray for specific intentions. These include praying for the penance of sins, the amendment of lukewarmness and negligence in the service of God, in thanksgiving for the forgiveness of sins, for the pope and the Church, for sinners still in the darkness of an evil life, for the conversion of heretics, schismatics, and infidels, and for the holy souls in purgatory.
The pilgrimage began at Chiesa Nuova, the church built by St. Philip for the Oratory, and proceeded to St. Peter’s Basilica, reaching the site of St. Peter’s martyrdom at sunset.
From there, the group of 800 people followed a path along the Tiber River to stop at the Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island (not one of the official seven churches) on the way to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
Each of the seven churches is associated with a moment of Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion. At each stop, an Oratory priest preached on a virtue and its opposing vice, before everyone joined in a prayer for an increase in that virtue and for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The virtues and vices were abstinence against gluttony, patience against ire, chastity against lust, generosity against avarice, fervor of spirit against acedia, charity against envy, and humility against pride.
After the Basilica of St. Paul, the pilgrimage followed an ancient street still called Seven Churches Way to arrive at the catacombs and the Basilica of St. Sebastian, a third-century Christian martyr.
As a layman in Rome, St. Philip Neri used to visit the catacombs of St. Sebastian to pray. One night in the catacombs, about 10 years after moving to Rome, as he prayed, a mystical ball of fire entered his mouth and went down into his chest, exploding his ribs and doubling the size of his heart with love of God.
St. Philip was changed, both physically and spiritually, by this event, which he only revealed shortly before his death.
Pilgrims next arrived at the Domine Quo Vadis Church after a silent, moonlit walk through the ancient Appian Way Park, flanked by the silhouettes of Italian cypress trees.
The small church of medieval origin marks the spot where, according to tradition, Jesus appeared to St. Peter as he was fleeing Rome to avoid martyrdom.
Peter asked Jesus, “Domine quo vadis?” (“Lord, where are you going?”), to which Christ said, “Venio Romam iterum crucifigi,” (“I am coming to Rome to be crucified again.”) This rebuke caused Peter to turn around and face his own martyrdom.
The Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls was the penultimate stop. The church, which has the tomb of St. Lawrence, is located next to Rome’s Verano Monumental Cemetery, and was included among the Seven Churches by St. Philip Neri, Father Botta said, as a reminder of mortality.
Almost 2 weeks ago I went on St. Philip Neri’s 7 Churches Walk in Rome.
800 people walked over 15 miles during the 10-hour night pilgrimage.
During the last stretch, at 5:15am, we passed through Termini train station, and Francesco caught this video of the moment. pic.twitter.com/C2SPHn5yoR
— Hannah Brockhaus (@HannahBrockhaus) May 26, 2022
The final stretch of the walk passed through Rome’s main train station, Termini, where pilgrims sang the Marian antiphon “Salve Regina.”
The pilgrimage finished shortly before 6:00 a.m. at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the traditional end of the walk, where the “Salve Regina” hymn was sung again in honor of the Virgin Mary.