Month: February 2016

Pope Francis Celebrates His 15th Anniversary as Cardinal

Jorge Bergoglio as cardinal


This is an autographed photo of Pope John Paul with the newly consecrated Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, our Pope Francis.

I’m always impressed by the brotherhood of the priesthood. You can see that in this photograph as well as the recognition that Pope John Paul II as recently   canonized by Pope Francis. They were really brothers in this life and especially in their priesthood. Sharing the priesthood: you can see this in this photograph.

Another thing that is interesting is the humility of Pope Francis, because his signature on the top line just simply says, Bergoglio. The bottom line says, Bishop of Buenos Aires, in German, because it was a German who actually got this item in person.

This photograph was taken during the conclave of the consistory that elevated Bergoglio to the cardinalate. It was the largest consistory elevation of cardinals in the history of the church. Historically speaking, in more than one way, it was choosing the future pope. It’s also interesting that Pope Francis is the first pope, obviously, that was made a cardinal by John Paul II—the last three popes were elevated by Pope Paul VI.

I love the fact that he puts Bishop of Buenos Aires below his name. He takes such pride in his role as bishop. And he’s assumed the great role of being the Bishop of Rome now as one of John Paul II’s successors.  —Father Rich







Commentary on the First Reading for the 2nd Sunday of Lent

Father Rich gave an outstanding homily today, based on the first reading for this 2nd Sunday of Lent, which we have included in this update. This particular reading is what establishes God’s covenant with Abraham.  It is, Father says, the central most important message of the Hebrew scriptures.  Please take the time to listen to this information if you’d like some in depth understanding of today’s first reading and Father’s homily about it.  The presentation starts at Chapter 11 of Genesis.  Commentary on the covenant God establishes is at Chapter 15.

The media featured here is one of the classes on the book of Genesis that Father taught on Nov. 7, 2011.  The whole class on Genesis, as well as all the books of the Bible taught in his Bible studies, (Mondays at 9:00, and all are invited..) are featured under Media/Scripture Classes on this web site.  

We are so fortunate to have these classes on scripture and apologetics available to us, both in real time and on this website.  Please consider availing yourself of the opportunities to learn what is presented in each of these great classes.  (Plus, it’ll give you a chance to hear how the classes are both intelligent and entertaining!)

Apologetics class follows the Stations of the Cross on Wednesdays (6:30)  in the Gathering Space at St. John’s.  Please join us!  


Genesis Scripture Class, Nov. 7, 2011:

Reading 1   GN 15:5-12, 17-18

The Lord God took Abram outside and said,
“Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.
Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”
Abram put his faith in the LORD,
who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.He then said to him,
“I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans
to give you this land as a possession.”
“O Lord GOD,” he asked,
“how am I to know that I shall possess it?”
He answered him,
“Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat,
a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
Abram brought him all these, split them in two,
and placed each half opposite the other;
but the birds he did not cut up.
Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses,
but Abram stayed with them.
As the sun was about to set, a trance fell upon Abram,
and a deep, terrifying darkness enveloped him.When the sun had set and it was dark,
there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch,
which passed between those pieces.
It was on that occasion that the LORD made a covenant with Abram,
saying: “To your descendants I give this land,
from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates.”


February 22: Some Thoughts on The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle

st. peter 2st. peter

Since the fourth century the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the Apostle has been celebrated at Rome as a sign of the unity of the Church founded upon that apostle.  This is an image of Pope St. Peter sitting on the throne from the Jubilee Year of 1950. Although the artwork of the item is crude, the plastic container embedded into the statue has a little case of dirt from his tomb. The container has the symbol of the papacy on it, the cross keys and tiara.

The statue is a replica of the one in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Notice the extended foot of the saint has been reverenced so many times it has literally been rubbed smooth.

st. peter in rome

Father Rich:

Last Monday we had President’s Day in the United States, which was established in 1885 to honor President George Washington’s birthday. Officially it is celebrated on the 3rd Monday of February, giving our federal government a three day weekend. However his actual birth is this Monday, the 22nd of February, which I find interesting, because that day is a national holiday in another country: Vatican City State. What President’s Day is to the United States, February 22nd is to the Vatican.

It might as well be called “Pope’s Day,” but it isn’t. The Church celebrates the feast day “The Chair of St. Peter the Apostle” every February 22nd, honoring the authority of the office of Pope. And, like in the US for President’s Day, all official Vatican offices are closed and  on holiday on this date.

Because of my long fascination with the history of the papacy, for years this has been my favorite liturgical feast day. And for the Catholic Church it is a pretty high ranking feast, as it is one of the few times during Lent that the commemoration takes precedence over the season: liturgically speaking, Monday the 22nd is not Lent.

So I hope you all enjoy a great Pope’s Day on Monday.

I know I will.  –Father Rich

Father brought relics  to Mass to venerate after Mass: they are first class relics of Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II.  He also used a 19th century chalice, which is new to his papal artifacts’ Collection.  Details about all of these precious artifacts made be found at Papal


chalice, new

The chalice is a very ornate and beautiful artifact that dates between the years 1814 and 1870. Unlike the chalice belonging to Pope Leo XIII,  it does not have a particular pope’s coat of arms. And so we can only surmise that it was used by a pope, but we know it was used in service of the pope because of the maker’s mark located on the lip of the chalice.

Every metal worker, jeweler, and medal maker or silversmith addmaker’s marks to the items they create. This practice also allows us to identify the time period in which the item was created.

This chalice indicates it was made between 1814-1870 because it has a maker’s mark of the cross keys and tiara–a very, very tiny mark in this piece of metal. This was just to show it was made in service to the Holy Father.  In the case of this chalice, it was added to the lip, the middle and the base.  On the base, the name of the priest who gave this chalice to St. Charles’ Church is also included.

Beginning in 1814 fine metal artists in the Papal States used this particular maker’s mark. Napoleon Bonaparte had released Pius VII from custody after nearly four years. Jubilation was so great in Rome upon his release that the artists started putting this maker’s mark of cross keys and tiara on their works in honor of the Holy Father’s safety. That practice continued until 1870 when the Papal States were taken over by United Italy.

There is no indication that any one particular pope used this chalice, but the symbol of the cross keys and tiara maker’s mark deem this totally appropriate for this Collection.

It is interesting to speculate in whose hands and on what altars this 200-year-old chalice was used. It always goes back to the central source and summit of our faith, the Eucharist. It is part of the living history of the Eucharist and the priests who are its celebrants. It helps us to recognize that the Eucharist is a part of the living history of the papacy.   Father Richard Kunst.