Welcome to Starting Seven, The Pillar’s daily newsletter.
I’m Luke Coppen and I seek to guide you each weekday morning to the most interesting Catholic news and comment.
📜 Today’s readings: Is 26:1-6 ▪ Ps 118:1 and 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a ▪ Mt 7:21, 24-27.
🗞 Starting seven
2: Ukrainian Greek Catholic officials have expressed concern that two Redemptorist priests detained by occupying Russian authorities in Ukraine are being tortured.
4: Presenting the 2022 Ratzinger Prize to two recipients, Pope Francis has said that Benedict XVI’s magisterium and thought “are not directed toward the past, but are fruitful for the future” (Italian full text).
5: John Allen proposes a “Caritas rule” for Catholic charities.
🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino
Papal audiences for Msgr. Mauricio Rueda Beltz, Under Secretary of the Secretariat of State (Section for Diplomatic Staff); Hal Steinbrenner, chairman of the New York Yankees, with consort; Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle; Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, Adjunct Secretary of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith; Prince El Hassan Bin Talal, and entourage; Fr. Ángel García Rodríguez, president of the Mensajeros de la Paz Association.
🧐 Look closer
Ubi Petrus Pope Francis has kept up his busy travel schedule in 2022 despite being confined to a wheelchair for large portions of the year. The 85-year-old has visited Malta (April 2-3), Canada (July 24-30), Kazakhstan (Sept. 13-15), and Bahrain (Nov. 3-6).
Although he will turn 86 on Dec. 17, he appears to have equally taxing travel plans for 2023. But where is he likely to go?
From Juba to Lisbon Last month the pope told African students that he was preparing to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan in early February. The two-country trip was originally scheduled for July 2-7, 2022, but was canceled under doctor’s orders in June.
The Holy See press office announced on Thursday that the pope would visit the DRC’s capital Kinshasa from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, and the South Sudanese capital Juba on Feb. 3-5.
The South Sudan leg, especially, is highly anticipated. Billed as an “Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to the South Sudanese Land and People,” the trip will have a significant ecumenical dimension, with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of Scotland’s Moderator accompanying the pope.
There is also talk of a trip to Hungary after Easter, which falls on April 9.
Hungarian Cardinal Péter Erdő told Vatican News in August: “We suggest that he should come after Easter, in the second half of spring, because then the climate is such that it is possible to hold an outdoor event.”
The pope made a lightning trip to Budapest on Sept. 12, 2021, to celebrate the closing Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress, but has said that he hopes to return to the country. April 20-23 has been mentioned as a possible date, but nothing has been officially confirmed.
Next year in Kyiv? In his recent interview with America Magazine, Pope Francis underlined his willingness to visit Russia and Ukraine in pursuit of peace. “If I travel, I go to Moscow and to Kyiv, to both, not to one place only,” he said — a seemingly distant prospect given the Russian authorities’ furious reaction to the interview.
🔍 Stories to watch
🇬🇷 A Greek Orthodox monastery’s wine has been named among the world’s 20 best for 2023.
📅 Coming soon
Dec. 3 Vatican Christmas tree and Nativity scene unveiled.
Dec. 4 First anniversary of Hong Kong Bishop Stephen Chow’s episcopal ordination.
Dec. 5 “Fruits of the Spirit” exhibit launched at London’s National Gallery.
Dec. 7 Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington turns 75.
Have a happy feast of St. Charles de Foucauld and St. Edmund Campion.
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