Rome bustling on canonization eve

Ecuador donates thousands of roses for canonization altar

Photo by Linda Del RioIt’s canonization eve, and Rome is bustling with activity as the final preparations are being made for the double canonization of Pope John Paul II and John XXIII.

DCR special correspondent Linda Del Rio was on the ground in Rome today checking out the altar to be used for the April 27 canonization Mass, and ran into Maite Mijares, a representative from Ecuador’s trade office in Italy.

Mijares reported that some 40,000 flowers, mainly roses, will adorn the altar for tomorrow’s celebration, and most of them were donated by the South American country of Ecuador.

She said they began the preparations three days ago, and that Ecuador is happy to be a part of the celebration. Check out the interview below with Mijares.

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Also on the ground in Rome is Jeffrey Bruno, a great friend of the DCR. He’s been taking photos for Aleteia, and has generously shared some of them with us.

These are snapshots from canonization eve.

Bruno also attended an evening procession with the World Youth Day cross through the streets of Rome.

These are his words: “The event began at the Centro San Lorenzo, which is the Chapel in Rome that houses the WYD Cross. Mass was celebrated with a completely packed Church filled with young adults and teens from all around the globe.

“This was followed by a joyful procession through the streets of Rome inviting those who were met along the way to join them in their journey to Piazza Navonna. What followed next was entrance into Sant’Agnese in Agone (Church) in which a full program of activities. It began with personal stories of the impact that Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII had on the lives of the speakers, and also stories of intersessions and answered prayers.

“This was followed by Veneration of the WYD Cross and ultimately finishing with Benediction and Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The event spanned several hours, was attended by hundreds, and was perhaps one of the most powerful experiences in this photographers life.”

These are his photographs.


COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.

Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash