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Not sure about 'Triduum at Home'? Here are some CNA Holy Week suggestions

CNA Staff, Apr 9, 2020 / 03:40 pm (CNA).- For many Catholics, this will be the first time the days of Holy Week are spent at home. If you’re not sure how to make the most of the Paschal Triduum and Easter at home, here’s what some of us at CNA have planned:

 

Courtney Mares, Rome Correspondent

Although we cannot attend Mass, I've found solace this Holy Week in listening to the Masses composed by Mozart and other classical composers. (Here is a link to a playlist of 10 hours of Mozart's Masses on Spotify.) Of course, I will be loudly playing a recording of the "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel's Messiah on Easter morning, as is my custom. I hope my singing Italian neighbors will join in.
 
This year, we also have the opportunity to make virtual pilgrimages around the world via Triduum livestreams. You can tune into Holy Thursday from the Garden of Gethsemane in the Holy Land, Good Friday veneration of Christ's Crown of Thorns from Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, a Holy Saturday livestream of the Shroud of Turin, and Easter Sunday Mass and the Urbi et Orbi blessing with Pope Francis at the Vatican through EWTN online.

 

Mary Farrow, Features Writer

I have been riding out coronatide with my husband and my now-31-week in-utero baby. This is a Holy Week unlike one I could have ever imagined. In a Zoom meeting with young adults from my parish this week, my pastor encouraged us to focus on quality and not quantity of prayer and at-home activities this Triduum, and so we are trying to do that. We will be following along with our parish’s resources. And of course having some Easter treats on Saturday night and Sunday to celebrate our Risen Lord.
 

Matt Hadro, Senior DC Correspondent

The biggest thing during our quasi-quarantine has been structuring our day, and for me, praying the Liturgy of the Hours has been a natural and quite helpful practice to center the day around God and pray with the rest of the church. I'll definitely continue this through the Triduum and beyond.

For the Triduum, this is what we have planned:
 
Holy Thursday
Livestream Mass of Our Lord's Supper
Afterwards make a holy hour at home.
 
Good Friday
Livestream the Good Friday liturgy from our local parish or diocesan cathedral
Pray the Stations of the Cross at home
Try to duck into an empty church that's still open
Limit screen time to watching liturgies or a movie like “The Passion.”
 
Holy Saturday
Cook and clean to prepare our home for Easter
Live stream the Easter Vigil from our parish or diocesan cathedral, and then break the fast like champs.


Christine Rousselle, DC Correspondent

I live 538 miles away from my nearest Catholic relative, so I typically do not go home for Easter even during non-pandemic years.

Here in Virginia, where I live, I had developed a routine over the past few years: Holy Thursday liturgy and seven-church pilgrimage with the Dominican House of Studies in DC, Good Friday at my parish in Arlington followed by a fish sandwich from Popeyes, Easter Vigil somewhere in the greater DC area, and then Mass on Easter Sunday at my parish in Arlington--followed by brunch with my friends who don’t celebrate Easter as they’re usually the only ones still in town. 

This year, I’ll be doing things a bit differently. On Thursday, instead of being with the Dominican friars, I’ll be on a virtual pilgrimage with the Diocese of Arlington. Friday, I plan on watching the pre-recorded Stations of the Cross that my parish released on YouTube--and maybe getting more Popeyes' fish delivered.

I’m not yet sure what the plan is for Saturday and Sunday. I have acquired Easter best-type outfits through my Rent the Runway subscription, so I plan on still dressing up, in order to maintain some sense of normalcy.

I find it hard to pay attention to streamed Masses, so I’m probably not going to stream the Easter Vigil--but I will likely tune in to Mass on Sunday morning. Afterwards, my roommates and I are planning on making pancakes and drinking mimosas. I’ve purchased some Easter candy and basket stuffers to surprise them (shh!), and I’m crocheting bunnies as part of my quaren-crafting.

This will be an Easter unlike any other, but that does not mean that the festivities have to have a cloud over them. Christ still defeated death and rose from the dead, so for that, I am grateful.

 

JD Flynn, Editor-in-chief

We're looking forward to a quiet Triduum.

In my own prayer, I'll read the Passion narrative of John's Gospel, and probably read Genesis 22 and the book of Jonah. 

We tell our kids a little bit about Christ's passion each night. Christmas, I've realized, is so much easier catechetically, because everyone understands birthdays.

But we've been talking about how Jesus was on the cross so that we wouldn't have to be, and how because of that, and because Jesus came off the cross, we can go to Jesus' house forever someday, and it will be great. We're not master catechists, but with three little kids who have no concept of death, let alone resurrection, we're doing our best!

I've realized through all of this that during Holy Week, the liturgies of the Church catechize well before we have an intellectual grasp of what's going on -- and more than intellectual catechesis, they imprint experiences on us. So our goal, more than anything, is to imprint formational experiences on our kids. On Holy Thursday we'll sing the Pange Lingua, which my kids love, and I'll wash everyone's feet. On Good Friday we'll make some stations of the cross, and find some ways of making the day more muted, and on the evening of Holy Saturday we'll have a bonfire in the backyard and talk about "waiting for Jesus." 

And we'll listen to the Exsultet, the Easter proclamation, because it's my favorite liturgical moment in the Church's life.

Then on Sunday, we'll eat a lot.

I don't know what my kids will remember, but it's worth a shot!

 

Jonah McKeown, Staff Writer/Producer

Sarah and I are planning to get dressed up to watch the Easter Mass livestream. I'll wear a tie and she'll wear a dress, just to make it a more formal occasion as we celebrate Easter.


Carl Bunderson, Managing Editor

*Go to confession

*Breviary and Missae siccae

For a traditional (i.e. pre-’55) Holy Week, these are great resources to pray the Breviary and to pray the propers of the Masses, and Good Friday’s Mass of the Presanctified:

Set the date you want, and select "Divino Afflatu" for the rubrics. This will give you the texts to pray both the Divine Office and the Mass.

Maundy Thursday Tenebrae

Good Friday Tenebrae

Holy Saturday Tenebrae

Live streams of Tenebrae and other services at the FSSP’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish will be available here or here.

Tenebrae are traditionally anticipated the preceding evening, so Maundy Thursday’s should begin at 1900 MDT on April 8.

For more information about traditional Holy Week, this includes links to a wonderful series of articles describing the rite.

If you come across a hand Missal printed before 1955, buy it.

*Listen to these Holy Week meditations by Fr James Jackson, FSSP.

*On Good Friday listen to Bach’s St John Passion, Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.

*On Holy Saturday read von Balthasar’s booklet Life Out of Death.

*On Easter Sunday, eat lamb. Do not cook it too much. Listen to Bach’s cantatas Christ lag in Todesbanden and Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret, and the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles’ Easter at Ephesus.

*Throughout the year, support your local ethnic markets. I found this week that the nearby Polish market that I used to frequent, and where I always stocked up on kielbasa and other goodies for Easter, is no more. Now I have to search out a new Polish market.

Let this be a lesson to us all.

 

 

Catholic groups call for ethical healthcare triage in coronavirus pandemic

CNA Staff, Apr 9, 2020 / 02:52 pm (CNA).- Catholic healthcare and bioethics groups have called for national protocols that eschew discrimination by age or disability as patients of the coronavirus pandemic are assigned medical care, including scarce resources like ventilators.

“We call for a national set of clear and ethical triage protocols that affirm the dignity of all people. Until then, we urge hospitals and health care professionals to adopt protocols that protect the vulnerable and reject discrimination. The principle of the equal dignity and value of every human life depend on it,” the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the Christus Medicus Foundation said in an April 9 statement.

“America’s healthcare workers on the frontlines are already confronting this question as they work to save lives in unprecedented triage situations in our homeland. The situation will worsen in the coming days. Who is given lifesaving care in a time of limited intensive care capacity and rationed equipment is one of the greatest moral questions our nation has ever faced,” the statement added.

“How we respond is a reflection of our values, one that will define us forever.”

On Thursday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan agreed.

“I sit here in New York, the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. It is imperative to provide our exhausted healthcare heroes with the tools they need to be able to make true and sound ethical decisions to all patients in their care. I join together with the NCBC ethicists, and others, in asking that all people are treated equally and with the God-given dignity they deserve,” Dolan said.

The groups said that making decisions about healthcare allocation should not include discrimination based upon age or disability, assessment of the “quality of life” of patients, or metrics based upon the likely remaining lifespan of the patient apart from the illness.

“We urge hospitals and healthcare workers to use survivability as the litmus test for rationing care during triage. Anything more is stereotyping. Once decisions are expanded to include nonclinical factors and value judgments, discrimination and injustice inevitably ensue,” the statement said.

Dr. Joseph Meaney, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, explained that “the ethical principles guiding such protocols must reject utilitarian or value-laden assessments that extend beyond the crisis situation and enshrine the view that some lives have more value than others.”

Healthcare rationing and discrimination has been a topic of controversy in recent weeks, amid the global coronavirus pandemic that has taken hold of the U.S. healthcare system.

On Wednesday, the federal department of Health and Human Services resolved a disability rights case with Alabama officials, after the state removed controversial triage guidelines recommending that people with severe intellectual disabilities be denied ventilators in the event of shortages at medical facilities.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said April 8 that it had conducted a compliance review of the state following complaints that its 2010 guidelines for triage care allegedly discriminated against people with intellectual disabilities. Alabama has agreed to remove its ventilator rationing guidelines from state websites, HHS said April 8.

“People with intellectual disabilities must be treated the same way, and not be treated as somehow less fit, or less worthy, of having their lives saved, compared to somebody who has greater intellectual abilities,” stated Roger Severino, head of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in a Wednesday conference call with reporters.

More than 16,000 people in the U.S. have died of the novel coronavirus, and more than 460,000 have tested positive for it. Globally, nearly 100,000 have been recorded dead from coronavirus, and almost 1.6 million have tested positive for it.

Catholic groups call for ethical healthcare triage in coronavirus pandemic

CNA Staff, Apr 9, 2020 / 02:52 pm (CNA).- Catholic healthcare and bioethics groups have called for national protocols that eschew discrimination by age or disability as patients of the coronavirus pandemic are assigned medical care, including scarce resources like ventilators.

“We call for a national set of clear and ethical triage protocols that affirm the dignity of all people. Until then, we urge hospitals and health care professionals to adopt protocols that protect the vulnerable and reject discrimination. The principle of the equal dignity and value of every human life depend on it,” the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the Christus Medicus Foundation said in an April 9 statement.

“America’s healthcare workers on the frontlines are already confronting this question as they work to save lives in unprecedented triage situations in our homeland. The situation will worsen in the coming days. Who is given lifesaving care in a time of limited intensive care capacity and rationed equipment is one of the greatest moral questions our nation has ever faced,” the statement added.

“How we respond is a reflection of our values, one that will define us forever.”

On Thursday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan agreed.

“I sit here in New York, the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. It is imperative to provide our exhausted healthcare heroes with the tools they need to be able to make true and sound ethical decisions to all patients in their care. I join together with the NCBC ethicists, and others, in asking that all people are treated equally and with the God-given dignity they deserve,” Dolan said.

The groups said that making decisions about healthcare allocation should not include discrimination based upon age or disability, assessment of the “quality of life” of patients, or metrics based upon the likely remaining lifespan of the patient apart from the illness.

“We urge hospitals and healthcare workers to use survivability as the litmus test for rationing care during triage. Anything more is stereotyping. Once decisions are expanded to include nonclinical factors and value judgments, discrimination and injustice inevitably ensue,” the statement said.

Dr. Joseph Meaney, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, explained that “the ethical principles guiding such protocols must reject utilitarian or value-laden assessments that extend beyond the crisis situation and enshrine the view that some lives have more value than others.”

Healthcare rationing and discrimination has been a topic of controversy in recent weeks, amid the global coronavirus pandemic that has taken hold of the U.S. healthcare system.

On Wednesday, the federal department of Health and Human Services resolved a disability rights case with Alabama officials, after the state removed controversial triage guidelines recommending that people with severe intellectual disabilities be denied ventilators in the event of shortages at medical facilities.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said April 8 that it had conducted a compliance review of the state following complaints that its 2010 guidelines for triage care allegedly discriminated against people with intellectual disabilities. Alabama has agreed to remove its ventilator rationing guidelines from state websites, HHS said April 8.

“People with intellectual disabilities must be treated the same way, and not be treated as somehow less fit, or less worthy, of having their lives saved, compared to somebody who has greater intellectual abilities,” stated Roger Severino, head of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in a Wednesday conference call with reporters.

More than 16,000 people in the U.S. have died of the novel coronavirus, and more than 460,000 have tested positive for it. Globally, nearly 100,000 have been recorded dead from coronavirus, and almost 1.6 million have tested positive for it.

Outreach just as 'essential' as abortion, say pro-life advocates

Washington D.C., Apr 9, 2020 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- As many abortion clinics remain open during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, pro-life sidewalk counselors argue that they too provide “essential” services and should be allowed to gather.

As the coronavirus has spread through the U.S., states, counties and municipalities have curtailed public gatherings of more than 10 people to comply with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Some pro-life prayer vigils have been halted for weeks as a public health precaution. On March 22, the ministry 40 Days for Life ended its spring 2020 campaign of public prayer vigils outside abortion clinics as state and local restrictions on public gatherings increased in number and intensity.

Even as states act to prevent unnecessary gatherings and divert all available medical resources to fight the pandemic, in many places abortion clinics have been designated as providing “essential” services, and allowed to tremain open. In several states, orders to cancel non-essential medical procedures during the pandemic which included elective abortions have been challeneged in court by abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. 

While the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Texas’ abortion-limiting order this week, the Sixth Circuit allowed procedures to continue in Ohio. Federal judges in Alabama and Oklahoma also ruled against state orders limiting abortions in those states during the pandemic.

Some pro-life prayer vigils and sidewalk counseling have continued, but in several states participants have been subject to visits by law enforcement.

According to Live Action News, pro-life prayer vigils outside abortion clinics in Michigan, Ohio, California, and Wisconsin were recently approached by law enforcement and asked to leave for supposedly being in violation of state or local orders. No arrests were made in those cases. 

However, in two cases in North Carolina, arrests were made at pro-life prayer vigils for supposedly being in violation of the state’s prohibition on public gatherings larger than 10 people.

Pro-life advocate David Benham, president of Cities4Life, and other pro-life sidewalk counselors were arrested by police in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 4 for being part of a gathering of more than 10 people. They were praying and offering sidewalk counseling outside the abortion clinic A Preferred Women’s Health Center.

According to social media for the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department, around 50 people were observed by police to be gathered outside the clinic.

The department said that “officers observed approximately fifty (50) protesters congregating outside of the clinic. The gathering was determined to be a violation of mass gatherings in the North Carolina Stay at Home Order. Those who exceeded the allowed amount of ten were asked to leave.”

The state’s governor Roy Cooper had issued an executive order on March 27 ordering residents to “stay at home” except for “essential” activities.

In a video, Benham was seen telling an officer that he was part of a “recognized charity” that was “offering essential services” to women who were considering abortions.

He told the officer that he and other pro-life counselors were “practicing social distancing,” and that the police should “go in the abortion clinic and make the arrests there” out of concern for mass gatherings during the pandemic.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) tweeted that Benham’s arrest was “unconstitutional and a serious abuse of power.”

The legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sent a letter to the city’s attorney on Benham’s behalf, arguing that Benham’s group and Love Life, another group of pro-life advocates, are not subject to the order’s 10-person gathering prohibition as they are charitable organizations providing social services.

Furthermore, on April 4 the pro-life advocates were outdoors with people properly spaced apart, ADF said. Counsel for the groups had previously confirmed with a police officer that they were within their rights to pray on sidewalks outside the clinic provided that they maintained a six-foot minimum distance between persons and had hand sanitizer available.

ADF argued in its letter that the pro-life groups are religious nonprofits “providing charitable and social support services to vulnerable persons” and thus “qualify as ‘Essential Business’” under the governor’s order and should not be subject to the 10-person limit on gatherings.

The right to free speech “in public fora like the streets and sidewalks” is “well-established,” ADF said, and “[a]ny prohibition on this expressive activity in these fora is subject to strict scrutiny.” The city’s act to disperse the prayer gathering of more than ten people outside is “arbitrary and a pretext for discrimination based on protected speech,” ADF said.

“Please instruct any City of Charlotte officers or employees to drop all criminal charges pending against my clients and discontinue their interference with their right to engage in assembly, prayer, counseling, and other expressive activities on public property,” ADF senior counsel Kevin Theriot stated in his letter.

Members of the group Love Life were also arrested in Greensboro, North Carolina on March 28 and again on March 30 while praying outside an abortion clinic. According to citations, they were arrested for travel[ing] for a non-essential function [/purpose],” unlawfully traveling by car to the location rather than on foot.

ADF also sent a letter to the city of Greensboro on behalf of the pro-life advocates, saying the groups limited their activities to fewer than 10 people to comply with local regulations, and that participants were spaced out more than six feet apart.

Outreach just as 'essential' as abortion, say pro-life advocates

Washington D.C., Apr 9, 2020 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- As many abortion clinics remain open during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, pro-life sidewalk counselors argue that they too provide “essential” services and should be allowed to gather.

As the coronavirus has spread through the U.S., states, counties and municipalities have curtailed public gatherings of more than 10 people to comply with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Some pro-life prayer vigils have been halted for weeks as a public health precaution. On March 22, the ministry 40 Days for Life ended its spring 2020 campaign of public prayer vigils outside abortion clinics as state and local restrictions on public gatherings increased in number and intensity.

Even as states act to prevent unnecessary gatherings and divert all available medical resources to fight the pandemic, in many places abortion clinics have been designated as providing “essential” services, and allowed to tremain open. In several states, orders to cancel non-essential medical procedures during the pandemic which included elective abortions have been challeneged in court by abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. 

While the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Texas’ abortion-limiting order this week, the Sixth Circuit allowed procedures to continue in Ohio. Federal judges in Alabama and Oklahoma also ruled against state orders limiting abortions in those states during the pandemic.

Some pro-life prayer vigils and sidewalk counseling have continued, but in several states participants have been subject to visits by law enforcement.

According to Live Action News, pro-life prayer vigils outside abortion clinics in Michigan, Ohio, California, and Wisconsin were recently approached by law enforcement and asked to leave for supposedly being in violation of state or local orders. No arrests were made in those cases. 

However, in two cases in North Carolina, arrests were made at pro-life prayer vigils for supposedly being in violation of the state’s prohibition on public gatherings larger than 10 people.

Pro-life advocate David Benham, president of Cities4Life, and other pro-life sidewalk counselors were arrested by police in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 4 for being part of a gathering of more than 10 people. They were praying and offering sidewalk counseling outside the abortion clinic A Preferred Women’s Health Center.

According to social media for the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department, around 50 people were observed by police to be gathered outside the clinic.

The department said that “officers observed approximately fifty (50) protesters congregating outside of the clinic. The gathering was determined to be a violation of mass gatherings in the North Carolina Stay at Home Order. Those who exceeded the allowed amount of ten were asked to leave.”

The state’s governor Roy Cooper had issued an executive order on March 27 ordering residents to “stay at home” except for “essential” activities.

In a video, Benham was seen telling an officer that he was part of a “recognized charity” that was “offering essential services” to women who were considering abortions.

He told the officer that he and other pro-life counselors were “practicing social distancing,” and that the police should “go in the abortion clinic and make the arrests there” out of concern for mass gatherings during the pandemic.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) tweeted that Benham’s arrest was “unconstitutional and a serious abuse of power.”

The legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sent a letter to the city’s attorney on Benham’s behalf, arguing that Benham’s group and Love Life, another group of pro-life advocates, are not subject to the order’s 10-person gathering prohibition as they are charitable organizations providing social services.

Furthermore, on April 4 the pro-life advocates were outdoors with people properly spaced apart, ADF said. Counsel for the groups had previously confirmed with a police officer that they were within their rights to pray on sidewalks outside the clinic provided that they maintained a six-foot minimum distance between persons and had hand sanitizer available.

ADF argued in its letter that the pro-life groups are religious nonprofits “providing charitable and social support services to vulnerable persons” and thus “qualify as ‘Essential Business’” under the governor’s order and should not be subject to the 10-person limit on gatherings.

The right to free speech “in public fora like the streets and sidewalks” is “well-established,” ADF said, and “[a]ny prohibition on this expressive activity in these fora is subject to strict scrutiny.” The city’s act to disperse the prayer gathering of more than ten people outside is “arbitrary and a pretext for discrimination based on protected speech,” ADF said.

“Please instruct any City of Charlotte officers or employees to drop all criminal charges pending against my clients and discontinue their interference with their right to engage in assembly, prayer, counseling, and other expressive activities on public property,” ADF senior counsel Kevin Theriot stated in his letter.

Members of the group Love Life were also arrested in Greensboro, North Carolina on March 28 and again on March 30 while praying outside an abortion clinic. According to citations, they were arrested for travel[ing] for a non-essential function [/purpose],” unlawfully traveling by car to the location rather than on foot.

ADF also sent a letter to the city of Greensboro on behalf of the pro-life advocates, saying the groups limited their activities to fewer than 10 people to comply with local regulations, and that participants were spaced out more than six feet apart.

How Catholics can be inspired by art during Holy Week

Denver, Colo., Apr 9, 2020 / 02:01 pm (CNA).- As churches and museums remain closed, Catholic artists have encouraged people to be inspired this Holy Week by finding beauty online or even attempting to create projects themselves.

Andrew Julo is the director and curator for the Verostko Center for the Arts at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He told CNA that Catholics should look for both familiar and new pieces of art that flow with the narrative of Holy Week.

He said, for example, Catholics should dwell on art that relates to Christ washing the disciples’ feet, the Passion of Good Friday, or the Resurrection on Easter. He said people may also find art depicting pandemics to express solidarity with those who have died of COVID-19.

“Find images that correspond with the days of Holy Week, assemble your own digital exhibition and share it online. While the majority of these digital reproductions can never substitute the experience of seeing the original work in person, they still possess an ability to move our minds and hearts,” he said.

According to the New York Times, the coronavirus has infected over 1.4 million people and killed over 83,000. In response, many international leaders have placed their countries on lockdown, halting church services, artistic entertainment, and numerous businesses.

He pointed to the recent actions from museums around the world who have begun to offer virtual tours online to engage people in art. He suggested viewers take their time in viewing the art and expand the images to the maximum space on the screen to minimize the distractions from ads and other pictures.

“There's lots of museums throughout the world that are looking to connect with their audiences by sharing their exhibitions, posing questions on social media, and asking folks at home to spend more time looking closely at works of art in their collections,” he said.

Virtual tours of Catholic art, such as pieces by Raphael, Botticelli, da Vinci, Crivelli, and Caravaggio, are being offered for free online through several museums. Among others, a virtual tour may be accessed to view paintings within the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and National Gallery in London.

For Holy Week, Julo suggested that Catholics view Ford Brown’s Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet; Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece, which depicts a mangled Christ; and Exsultet scrolls. He said the website of the British Library includes a beautiful example used at the Benedictine Abbey of Montecassino during the 11th century.

“Grünewald imaged Christ with the same lesions that afflicted patients who were dying from the disfiguring disease of ergotism. Here, Christ’s body reminds us of the importance and fragility of our physical being. With so many individuals throughout the world suffering from COVID-19, an image of the crucifixion this year prompts us to remember these infirmities with greater attention,” he said.

David Clayton, an artist and a writer who runs The Way of Beauty, has emphasized the importance of using images in collaboration with prayer. He told CNA that visio divina, “divine seeing,” is a powerful tool alongside liturgical readings, scripture, and the daily office.

“I think the experience that's going to bear fruit is one of prayer and a pattern of prayer that has the liturgical piety at its heart,” he said. “Then have satellites around that of Catholic devotions, many of which engage with visual imagery.”

He stressed three periods of art that promote authentic beauty – iconography, Gothic, and the Baroque.

He pointed to pieces by Gregory Kroug, a Russian monk and early 20th-century iconographer of the Eastern Orthodox Church; the Madonna and Child by the Gothic painter Duccio; and The Virgin in Prayer by Sassoferrato. He also drew attention to Princeton University, which has recently cataloged images online of icons from Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai.

Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs, a sacred artist who creates custom religious art for homes and churches, discussed with CNA the importance of sacred art as a means to more fully engage in truth. She said art is particularly impactful because humans are both physical and spiritual beings.

“We're made of body and spirit, and, so because of that, the things that we come in contact within a physical world really do affect our soul,” she said.

“It's through the visible that we are able to approach the invisible. So the experience of tactile beauty is a hint of the supernatural beauty that we'll be encountering in heaven. I think Thomas Aquinas says that beauty is the attractive power of truth.”

She suggested that images be viewed slowly and alongside prayer, noting that it is important to allow the art time to open up to the viewer. She said, during the last Palm Sunday, she brought out books of Western art to help engage her children and herself.

“I was grabbing art history books in our living room and looking at great images of Western art from the Baroque and Renaissance and following through the entire Passion. Then looking at images of the agony in the garden or Christ before Pilate or the crowning of thorns,” she said.

“Don't be in a rush. It takes a while for beauty to unfold itself,” she said. “Making space to really focus on a single painting or a single work of music, [it] really draw[s] all of your attentive powers to experiencing it. I think that can lead to a much more profound understanding and engagement with it.”

She also suggested that Catholics participate in creativity themselves, whether through painting, woodworking, gardening, or knitting.

She said domestic practices may also become transformed into something more valuable for the holiday. She suggested using foods depicted in the Passion, like lamb and unleavened bread, or symbolic dishes, like Good Friday’s hot cross buns, which are topped with a cross and cooked with spices used to signify Christ’s burial.

“These days of quarantine … you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands, but also maybe feeling a bit more anxious and needing to find some constructive way to occupy yourself and find outlets for hope,” she said.

“I think that personal experiences of creativity or making something beautiful is a really great blessing.”

Julo also emphasized the value of creativity. He said that the domestic Church is where Christianity began and he stressed the value of fostering an opportunity to honor the Sacred Triduum. He said people should mark Easter with a special action, whether that is through music, poetry, or even a simple walk.

“It's helpful to remember that church began in people's homes. So we in some ways are participating in something that is also very ancient in the domestic space,” he said.

“I would encourage people to try to be creative about how they honor the Sacred Triduum. Gather flowers, branches, or greenery for inside. Light candles. Set up a corner in your home with sacred images including members of your family you’re not able to share physical space with right now. Before meals, make your dining area festive with a table cloth and your nicest place settings ...Whether alone or with others, ritualize your meals.”

How Catholics can be inspired by art during Holy Week

Denver, Colo., Apr 9, 2020 / 02:01 pm (CNA).- As churches and museums remain closed, Catholic artists have encouraged people to be inspired this Holy Week by finding beauty online or even attempting to create projects themselves.

Andrew Julo is the director and curator for the Verostko Center for the Arts at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He told CNA that Catholics should look for both familiar and new pieces of art that flow with the narrative of Holy Week.

He said, for example, Catholics should dwell on art that relates to Christ washing the disciples’ feet, the Passion of Good Friday, or the Resurrection on Easter. He said people may also find art depicting pandemics to express solidarity with those who have died of COVID-19.

“Find images that correspond with the days of Holy Week, assemble your own digital exhibition and share it online. While the majority of these digital reproductions can never substitute the experience of seeing the original work in person, they still possess an ability to move our minds and hearts,” he said.

According to the New York Times, the coronavirus has infected over 1.4 million people and killed over 83,000. In response, many international leaders have placed their countries on lockdown, halting church services, artistic entertainment, and numerous businesses.

He pointed to the recent actions from museums around the world who have begun to offer virtual tours online to engage people in art. He suggested viewers take their time in viewing the art and expand the images to the maximum space on the screen to minimize the distractions from ads and other pictures.

“There's lots of museums throughout the world that are looking to connect with their audiences by sharing their exhibitions, posing questions on social media, and asking folks at home to spend more time looking closely at works of art in their collections,” he said.

Virtual tours of Catholic art, such as pieces by Raphael, Botticelli, da Vinci, Crivelli, and Caravaggio, are being offered for free online through several museums. Among others, a virtual tour may be accessed to view paintings within the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and National Gallery in London.

For Holy Week, Julo suggested that Catholics view Ford Brown’s Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet; Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece, which depicts a mangled Christ; and Exsultet scrolls. He said the website of the British Library includes a beautiful example used at the Benedictine Abbey of Montecassino during the 11th century.

“Grünewald imaged Christ with the same lesions that afflicted patients who were dying from the disfiguring disease of ergotism. Here, Christ’s body reminds us of the importance and fragility of our physical being. With so many individuals throughout the world suffering from COVID-19, an image of the crucifixion this year prompts us to remember these infirmities with greater attention,” he said.

David Clayton, an artist and a writer who runs The Way of Beauty, has emphasized the importance of using images in collaboration with prayer. He told CNA that visio divina, “divine seeing,” is a powerful tool alongside liturgical readings, scripture, and the daily office.

“I think the experience that's going to bear fruit is one of prayer and a pattern of prayer that has the liturgical piety at its heart,” he said. “Then have satellites around that of Catholic devotions, many of which engage with visual imagery.”

He stressed three periods of art that promote authentic beauty – iconography, Gothic, and the Baroque.

He pointed to pieces by Gregory Kroug, a Russian monk and early 20th-century iconographer of the Eastern Orthodox Church; the Madonna and Child by the Gothic painter Duccio; and The Virgin in Prayer by Sassoferrato. He also drew attention to Princeton University, which has recently cataloged images online of icons from Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai.

Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs, a sacred artist who creates custom religious art for homes and churches, discussed with CNA the importance of sacred art as a means to more fully engage in truth. She said art is particularly impactful because humans are both physical and spiritual beings.

“We're made of body and spirit, and, so because of that, the things that we come in contact within a physical world really do affect our soul,” she said.

“It's through the visible that we are able to approach the invisible. So the experience of tactile beauty is a hint of the supernatural beauty that we'll be encountering in heaven. I think Thomas Aquinas says that beauty is the attractive power of truth.”

She suggested that images be viewed slowly and alongside prayer, noting that it is important to allow the art time to open up to the viewer. She said, during the last Palm Sunday, she brought out books of Western art to help engage her children and herself.

“I was grabbing art history books in our living room and looking at great images of Western art from the Baroque and Renaissance and following through the entire Passion. Then looking at images of the agony in the garden or Christ before Pilate or the crowning of thorns,” she said.

“Don't be in a rush. It takes a while for beauty to unfold itself,” she said. “Making space to really focus on a single painting or a single work of music, [it] really draw[s] all of your attentive powers to experiencing it. I think that can lead to a much more profound understanding and engagement with it.”

She also suggested that Catholics participate in creativity themselves, whether through painting, woodworking, gardening, or knitting.

She said domestic practices may also become transformed into something more valuable for the holiday. She suggested using foods depicted in the Passion, like lamb and unleavened bread, or symbolic dishes, like Good Friday’s hot cross buns, which are topped with a cross and cooked with spices used to signify Christ’s burial.

“These days of quarantine … you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands, but also maybe feeling a bit more anxious and needing to find some constructive way to occupy yourself and find outlets for hope,” she said.

“I think that personal experiences of creativity or making something beautiful is a really great blessing.”

Julo also emphasized the value of creativity. He said that the domestic Church is where Christianity began and he stressed the value of fostering an opportunity to honor the Sacred Triduum. He said people should mark Easter with a special action, whether that is through music, poetry, or even a simple walk.

“It's helpful to remember that church began in people's homes. So we in some ways are participating in something that is also very ancient in the domestic space,” he said.

“I would encourage people to try to be creative about how they honor the Sacred Triduum. Gather flowers, branches, or greenery for inside. Light candles. Set up a corner in your home with sacred images including members of your family you’re not able to share physical space with right now. Before meals, make your dining area festive with a table cloth and your nicest place settings ...Whether alone or with others, ritualize your meals.”

Full Text: Pope Francis' Holy Thursday Homily

Vatican City, Apr 9, 2020 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- Here is the full text of Pope Francis' Holy Thursday homily, delivered April 9 at the Basilica of St. Peter.

The Eucharist. Service. Anointing. The reality we live today in this liturgy is the Lord who wants to remain with us in the Eucharist. And we always become tabernacles of the Lord. We bear the Lord with us to the point that he himself tells us that if we do not eat his body and drink his blood, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the mystery of the bread and wine of the Lord with us, in us, within us.

The service. That gesture that is a condition for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. Serve, yes, everyone, but the Lord -- in that exchange of words he had with Peter -- makes him understand that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must let the Lord serve us, that the Servant of God is the servant of us. And this is difficult to understand. If I do not let the Lord be my servant, allow the Lord to wash me, to help me grow, to forgive me, I will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

And the priesthood. Today I would like to be close to priests. All of them -- from the most recently ordained to the pope, we are all priests. The bishops, all ... We are anointed, anointed by the Lord; anointed to offer the Eucharist, anointed to serve.

Today we did not have the Chrism Mass. I hope we will be able to have it before Pentecost, otherwise we will have to postpone it until next year. But I cannot let this Mass pass without mentioning the priests. Priests who offer their lives for the Lord, priests who are servants. In recent days, more than 60 have died here in Italy, in the care of the sick in hospitals, and also with doctors, nurses ... They are "the saints next door,” priests who gave their lives by serving.

And I think of those who are far away. Today I received a letter from a priest, chaplain from a distant prison, in which he tells of how he lives this Holy Week with the prisoners. A Franciscan.

Priests who go far to bring the Gospel and die there. A bishop said that the first thing he did, when he arrived in these mission posts, was to go to the cemetery, to the grave of the priests who lost their lives there, young, by the local plague [local diseases]. They were not prepared, they had no antibodies. No one knows their names. Anonymous priests.

The country parish priests, who are parish priests of four, five, or seven villages in the mountains and go from one to the other, who know the people ... Once, one told me that he knew the name of all the people of the villages. “Really?” I said to him. And he said to me: "Even the name of the dogs." They know all. Priestly closeness.
Well done, good priests. Today I carry you in my heart and I bring you to the altar.

Slandered priests. Many times it happens today. They cannot go out on the street because bad things are said of them, in reference to the drama we have experienced with the discovery of  priests who did ugly things. Some told me that they cannot leave the house with the clergyman because they are insulted, and they continue.

Sinful priests, who together with the bishops and the pope, a sinner, do not forget to ask for forgiveness. And learn to forgive because they know that they need to ask for forgiveness and to forgive. We are all sinners. Priests who suffer from crises, who do not know what to do, who are in the dark ... Today all of you, brother priests, are with me on the altar. 

You who are consecrated, I only tell you one thing: Do not be stubborn, like Peter. Allow your feet to be washed. The Lord is your servant. He is close to you to give you strength, to wash your feet.

And so, with this awareness of the need to be washed, to be great forgivers. Forgive. A great heart has generosity in forgiveness. It is the measure by which we will be measured. As you have forgiven, you will be forgiven: the same measure. Do not be afraid to forgive. Sometimes there are doubts ... Look at Christ [look at the Crucifix]. There is everyone's forgiveness.

Be brave, also in taking risks, in forgiving in order to console. And if you cannot give sacramental forgiveness at that moment, at least give the consolation of a brother who accompanies and leaves the door open for [that person] to return.

I thank God for the grace of the priesthood. We all [thank you]. I thank God for you, priests. Jesus loves you! He only asks that you allow him to wash your feet.

On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis recalls priests dying amid pandemic

Vatican City, Apr 9, 2020 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis recalled the priests who have lost their lives during the coronavirus crisis as he offered the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in a nearly empty St. Peter’s Basilica.

“I cannot allow this Mass to pass by without mentioning the priests,” Pope Francis said in his homily on April 9.

“Today all of you brother priests, you are with me on the altar,” the pope said on Holy Thursday.

Pope Francis explained that he wanted to be close to all the world’s priests at this time, recalling clergy who have recently died of COVID-19.

“Priests who offer their lives for the Lord. Priests who are servants … They are ‘the saints next door,’” he said.

Pope Francis has frequently used the phrase “saints next door”, including in his apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, to refer to holy people who live among us unrecognised.  

“Today I would like to be close to priests,” the pope said. “All of them -- from the newly ordained to the pope, we are all priests. We are anointed, anointed by the Lord, anointed to offer the Eucharist, anointed to serve.”

Holy Week liturgies at the Vatican are taking place without the presence of the public this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Around 12 people were present inside the basilica, in addition to the choir who sang a cappella.

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper commemorates Christ’s Passover meal with his apostles the night before he died. The Mass most especially recalls the institution of the Eucharist -- the sacramental gift to the Church of Christ’s Body and Blood, given in the transformation of bread and wine.

“The reality we live today in this liturgy is the Lord, who wants to remain with us in the Eucharist. And we always become tabernacles of the Lord,” Pope Francis said.

“We bear the Lord with us to the point that he himself tells us that if we do not eat his body and drink his blood, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This mystery of the bread and wine of the Lord with us and in us, within us,” he said.

Often at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the priest washes the feet of some members of the congregation, recalling Christ’s washing of feet at the Last Supper.

This year feet washing was omitted from the liturgy as a precaution to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, Pope Francis stressed the significance of this gesture of humility and service in his homily.

“You who are consecrated, I only tell you one thing,” the pope said. “Do not be stubborn, like Peter. Allow your feet to be washed. The Lord is your servant. He is close to you to give you strength, to wash your feet.”

In past years Pope Francis has offered the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at prisons in Rome, washing the feet of the prisoners himself. 

The first was in 2013, just after he became pope, when he visited the Casal del Marmo youth detention center. Subsequent Maundy Thursday Masses have been held at the historic Regina Coeli prison, a center for asylum seekers, Rebibbia prison, and Paliano prison.

Pope Francis said in his homily that he had received a letter today from a prison chaplain, who wrote to tell the pope of his plans for Holy Week with the prisoners.

He also recalled an encounter with a bishop, who served in a mission territory and told the pope of his experience visiting a local cemetery to pay homage to the missionary priests who had been buried there before him.

Pope Francis offered Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica with the miraculous crucifix of San Marcello and the Byzantine icon of Mary, Salus Populi Romani, near the altar.

“Today we did not have the Chrism Mass. I hope that we will be able to have it before Pentecost, otherwise we will need to postpone it until next year,” he said.

In the intercessory prayers of the liturgy, Pope Francis prayed for humanity to be freed from the pandemic, and for Catholics to have an increased desire to receive the Eucharist.

“Comfort, afflicted humanity, O Lord with the certainty of your victory over evil: heal the sick, console the poor and free all from epidemics, violence and selfishness,” he said.

“Lord Jesus, every day you renew your gift. Increase in us the hunger for your Body and your Blood, the only source of eternal life,” Pope Francis prayed.

Malta court authorizes seizure of €29 million in Vatican bank assets

Washington D.C., Apr 9, 2020 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- A Maltese court has authorized the seizure of assets belonging to the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), commonly called “the Vatican Bank.” The garnishment order was issued last month, allowing three companies involved in a lawsuit against the bank to seize €29.5 million in assets.

Two Malta-based investment companies, Futura Funds Sicav and Futura Investment Management, along with Luxembourg-based Courgar Real Estate, have been embroiled in a years-long court battle with the IOR over millions of euros which the Vatican bank agreed to invest with the firms, before withdrawing from the deal.

At issue is a 2013 investment plan involving the purchase of a property in Hungary – the Budapest Exchange Palace – for development and resale. According to Futura, the IOR originally said it would commit €47 million euros to the project but only delivered €14 million.

Futura argued in the lawsuit that, following a change of leadership at the IOR, the bank had reneged on the project and wanted to go back on its legal commitment to invest.

The judgement by the Maltese court was made March 13 and represents the balance of the investment owed by the IOR and “material damages suffered by Futura Fund and Futura IM” according to a statement from Futura released to the financial news website Expert Investor and reported Monday, April 6.

The statement also said that if the companies are unable to recover the money through IOR assets in Malta, they would pursue the Vatican bank in other European jurisdictions in a “fast-track proceeding.”

In 2013, the same year as the investment plan was agreed upon, Ernst von Freberg was appointed IOR president with a mandate to bring transparency and reform to the institution. Also in 2013, Pope Francis created a pontifical commission to oversee the IOR and “gather accurate information on the legal status and various activities” of the bank, which published its first annual report that year, the contents of which were audited by KPMG.

That same year, the Vatican’s Financial Intelligence Authority was admitted as a full member of the Egmont group of national financial investigative agencies.

The IOR has itself filed a still ongoing suit against Futura Funds SICAV PLC and Futura Investment Management Ltd. seeking to recover its investments in Futura. The IOR claims that its investment committee was misled by the directors of Futura Investment Management, Alberto Matta and Girolamo Stabile, both of whom are named in the IOR’s suit, along with Optimum Evolution Fund SIF, and Optimum Asset Management S.A.

In 2017, the Malta Independent reported Futura Fund’s main shareholder was Futura Investment Management Ltd. which was majority owned by Futura Investment Holding Ltd., the main shareholder of which was Alberto Matta, who was the company’s only director as well as chairman of Optimum Asset Management.

Futura Fund’s website said in 2017 that the company was started in 2011 “by the management team of Optimum Asset Management,” and that “Futura Investment Management Ltd.” is an “affiliated company” of Optimum Asset Management.

According to a letter sent by Optimum Asset Management’s general counsel to the Malta Independent in 2017, “the lawsuit initiated by the IOR regards Futura-Kappa (a real estate fund), which invested in 2013 with the objective to acquire, refurbish, reposition and sell the Budapest Exchange Palace, one of the most prestigious buildings in the Hungarian capital.”

By this description, the plan appears similar to another property investment by an institution of the Holy See.

Beginning in 2014, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State invested hundreds of millions of euros in a property development scheme in London. The secretariat bought a building at 60 Sloane Avenue in stages from Italian businessman Raffaele Mincione in a series of complicated maneuvers involving loans from Swiss banks, several of Mincione’s own companies, and other intermediaries.

The building is now controlled by the Secretariat of State through a U.K. holding company, London 60 SA Ltd. 

The London investment has become the subject of sustained scrutiny by Vatican financial authorities, and Pope Francis has said of the deal “What passed, passed: a scandal.” 

“They have done things that do not seem clean,” Francis said in November last year. The pope’s comments followed raids by Vatican City law enforcement in October last year, several officials at the secretariat were suspended from duty. Two of them served as directors of London 60 SA Ltd. and have now been removed. 

The sole remaining director of the company is Luciano Capaldo, an architect and property developer. UK corporate filings have variously identified him as having UK, Italian, and Vatican citizenship.

Calpaldo is also a shareholder and former chairman of Imvest, a property development company listed in Rome.

In 2016, Imvest offices were raided by Italian financial police in connection to allegations of coordinated fraud, submission of false budgets, and false accounting. 

The 2016 Imvest raids included 13 other businesses and several individuals invested in Imvest, chief among them Alfio Marchini, a wealthy Italian entrepreneur and politician.

Coincidentally, Futura Funds purchased the whole of Imvest’s first bond issuance in 2013 - worth 30 million euros. The bonds were unsecured, and Imvest used all the proceeds to finance a loan to its own shareholder company: Astrim, Marchini’s company.  

In February, a representative for Optimum told CNA that Futura recouped its investment in Imvest “upon commencement of a lawsuit against Mr Marchini and related entities.”

At present, “Futura Funds SICAV has no relationship with Mr Marchini, Imvest or Astrim, whereas Optimum Asset Management is in no way involved in this matter which is now closed,” the representative said.