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 Call to Continuing Conversion and Rite of Election 2019

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March 10, 2019

Mathematical solution to the Sock puzzle

Feb. 24, 2019

Local youth attend World Youth Day in Panama

Annual QUEST weekend honors Scouts

   The Dead Sea Scrolls series

 

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Willy’s Story

The homeless man buried in the Vatican

By Angela Ambrogetti
Catholic News Agency

Willy Herteleer, a homeless man who lived on the side streets outside St. Peter’s Basilica, made headlines after his death, when he received a special burial in the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery. The following is an account of his story as told by Msgr. Amerigo Ciani, a canon of St. Peter’s Basilica and painter who had become friends with Willy.
Everyone in the neighborhood outside the Vatican knew Willy Herteleer.
The “Borgo” – as the area that borders St. Peter’s Square to the north is called – has a small-town-feel. Alongside the monsignors, sisters, cardinals and Romans that live in the neighborhood, there are many homeless people. You can see them every morning at Mass at the Pontifical Parish of Sant’Anna, just off the Borgo inside the Vatican walls.
Willy was one of them.
His austere appearance, the cross around his neck and the pull-cart he had turned into a piece of luggage to carry everything he owned left an imprint.
He participated in Mass every morning. “My medicine is Communion,” he always said. He was always well-groomed, but didn’t seek much conventional medical attention.
Willy was one of the many men and women who live on the side streets around St. Peter’s, men and women who live on the margins of the tourist routes, who have friends throughout the neighborhood.
Among his closest friends were an Italian monsignor, an American religious sister and a German journalist.
More than 80 years old, Willy died one day in December at the hospital near the Vatican where he would often visit to use the bathroom or clean up a bit.
He had to look good because his days were spent as a street evangelizer. After morning Mass, he would stop for a while and speak with the people.
“When did you last go to confession?” he would ask everyone he met. “Are you going to communion? Do you go to Mass?”
He asked the same of other homeless people, those with whom he chose to live.
For a time he lived in a shelter. “Yes, it’s nice, welcoming and clean. Yes, you eat well and the people are nice,” he told people. “But I need freedom. I love freedom!”
He preferred his friends. He preferred the streets. He preferred the monsignor who brought him oranges, the journalist who took his photo.
After Mass, he would speak with his friend Msgr. Amerigo Ciani. “Thanks for your homily pronounced so calmly. I understand it well and it helps me to meditate throughout the day,” he said.
On Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis was celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica when Willy left his earthly life. His friends began to search for him when he did not show up to the usual morning Mass later that week.
One of them, a German named Paul Badde, had only recently become a confrere in the Confraternity of the Camposanto of the Teutons and Flemish, a small cemetery in the Vatican. He proposed that Willy – who was Flemish – be buried there, among the “confreres.”
The confraternity is made up of priests and men and women of German descent. German priests reside on campus, in a residence just next to the cemetery. It is all contained all within the Vatican walls, but is autonomous and independent – a little piece of Germany.
The cemetery dates back to the times of Charlemagne, who gave the piece of land next to St. Peter’s Basilica as a burial plot for pilgrims from German and Flemish lands who perished on their journey.
Willy’s friends organized everything, obtaining the necessary permission from the Vatican, Italy and Belgium, where Willy began his life. They made contact with his family – his four children whom he had not seen for decades.
Father Hans-Peter Fischer, rector of the Camposanto Teutonico, celebrated his funeral Mass, along with Msgr. Ciani. Some of Willy’s friends were present, including Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist Sr. Judith Zoebelein.
“Although he was alone, he didn’t feel alone,” said Msgr. Ciani in the homily. “The presence of God was strong and alive within him. He prayed and prayed. He prayed for the conversion of everyone, even for strangers to repent.”
And, that’s how Willy’s story on earth finishes, with a tomb in the Vatican’s cemetery, surrounded by the affection of those who were close to him in life.
His was a life lived in the margins, but a life full of love.



Past Issues

Feb. 10, 2019

Jan. 27, 2019

Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

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