A Roman Observer: Pay attention later this week when Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa gives his annual Good Friday homily at the papal liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica.
A series of reflections to be used by Pope Francis in Rome on Good Friday make connections between the crucifixion of Jesus and the modern-day use of the death penalty.
The reflections, to be used by the pope at an annual public service in and near Rome’s historic Colosseum, pointedly ask: “When will the death penalty, still practiced in many states, be abolished?”
ROME -- Reflecting on Jesus' death, recounted on Palm Sunday, Francis has said humility "is the way of Jesus; there is no other."
The Japanese bishops asked that even if Francis did not outright condemn nuclear power, he say it has "very serious problems that threaten life."
While enjoying a private visit to the Sistine Chapel, a group of VIP guests -- homeless people who live around the Vatican -- were surprised by a visit from Pope Francis.
The 150 visitors had just reached the Sistine Chapel at about 5 p.m. Thursday when Pope Francis walked through the door.
"Welcome," the pope said. "This is everyone's house, this is your home. The doors are always open for all."
The president and the pope "will continue the dialogue, which they began during the President's visit to the Vatican in March 2014, on their shared values and commitments."
Pope Francis will spend two days in Turin to venerate the Shroud of Turin; meet young people, workers, juvenile detainees, immigrants and the sick; and visit with his Italian relatives from northern Italy.
The papal visit June 21-22 also will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Bosco, a 19th-century priest from the Turin region who was a pioneer in vocational education, worked with poor and abandoned children and founded the Salesians, a religious order specializing in youth work.
"I ask you all, please do not miss making your prayer," Pope Francis said. "This prayer for the synod on the family is for the good of all."
The papal almoner, an archbishop who distributes charitable aid from Pope Francis, planned a special afternoon for about 150 homeless people: a walk through the Vatican Gardens, a visit to the Vatican Museums, private time in the Sistine Chapel and dinner in the museums' cafeteria.
At the end of Pope Francis' spontaneity-filled meeting with priests, seminarians and religious in the cathedral of Naples, the vial of dried blood of the city's patron saint appeared to miraculously liquefy.
After Pope Francis blessed the congregation with the reliquary holding the vial, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples announced, "As a sign that St. Januarius loves the pope, who is Neapolitan like us, the blood is already half liquefied."