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Pope Francis

Nicolás Maduro meets with the pope in surprise visit to Rome

October 24, 2016. Pope Francis met with Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The private visit took place in the midst of the "worrysome political, social, and economic situation the country is going through, which is having serious repercussins in the daily life of the people,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Holy See and Vietnam begin their 6th bilateral meeting today

October 24, 2016. The sixth meeting between the Holy See and a delegation of Vietnam begins today to improve relations between the two states. The Vatican delegation is headed by Antoine Camilleri, while the head of the Vietnamese delegation is Bui Thanh Son, with Foreign Affairs. The last meeting between the two state delegations was in September 2014.
Pope Francis

Pope to award 2016 Ratzinger Prize to Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles

October 20, 2016. The winners of this year's Ratzinger Prize will be Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles. The former, an Italian priest, is an expert in Systematic Theology and History of Medieval Theology. The latter is Greek and an Orthodox. He is an expert in History of Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology. He will be the first Orthodox to be awarded the prize given by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, considered by many the Nobel Prize of Theology.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to Thais after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

October 14, 2016. Pope Francis has sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand to express his condolences for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was 88 years old, and his reign spanned seven decades. Pope Francis said he is "deeply saddened” and he expresses his closeness to the members of the royal family and the Thai people.
Pope Francis

Pope sends 100,000 dollars for Hurricane Matthew victims

October 14, 2016. Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pope Francis will send $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The money will fund relief efforts in the first stages of recovery after the devastating effects of the hurricane. With this gesture, the pope wants to express his "closeness of spirit and fatherly support” to everyone in the affected area.
Pope Francis

Pope authorizes new decrees of heroic virtues for four potential saints

October 11, 2016. Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues to four people, who are being investigated by the Church for possible sainthood. The decrees were given to the following "Servants of God:”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis rejects death penalty on Twitter: #NoDeathPenalty

October 10, 2016. The Pope has has given his support via Twitter to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The following message can be read in each of his nine accounts, in their respective languages: "Punishment should necessarily include hope! #NoDeathPenalty.”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis announces Synod about youth and vocation

October 6, 2016. It will be held in 2018 under the name "Youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” Preparations for the second Synod of bishops convened by Pope Francis are well underway.

Theme chosen for 2017 World Communications Day

September 29, 2016. The theme for the 2017 World Communications Day has officially been announced. Coming from the book of Isiah, the theme is: "Fear not, for I am with you: communicating hope and trust in our time.”

Jesuits fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa for over a decade


This group of Jesuits is now present in 30 African countries after being founded in 2002. Its founder and first director is the Canadian priest Michael Czerny who says there are many levels to combating the virus.

Fr. Michael Czerny
Founder, AJAN

"There are many dimensions to AIDS impact on a community and so first of all you need to work with those who are vulnerable but not necessarily infected, you work with those who are infected, those who've then passed to the stage of AIDS, and then to all of those who are affected by AIDS.”

The stance of the Catholic Church against the use of condoms has been highly criticized by observers of the AIDS epidemic. However, at the same time the Church is one of the largest groups providing care to victims.

Fr. Michael Czerny
Founder, AJAN

"We explain the Church's position which is a much more holistic, and reasonable, and effective approach which doesn't cut corners and which doesn't enhance or promote disrespect between people.”

Pregnant mothers infected with HIV can receive a shot to ensure the virus won't be passed on to the child during birth. The shot costs around 100 dollars compared to the estimated 300,000 dollars a government spends throughout the lifetime of someone living with HIV.

Father Czerny notes that the human side of living with AIDS in Africa is removed when victims are turned into numbers.

Fr. Michael Czerny
Founder, AJAN

"I think from the outside we tend to use many zeros, we talk about huge numbers and alarming trends and we lose touch or we never get into touch for what it means for the individual, for the family, for the community, and finally for the country.”

These Jesuits are aware that the call for more assistance to AIDS victims is not something new. They fear that it's losing importance on the agenda of world priorities. However, they continue their services of counseling, home-based care, education, as well as economic and medical support.