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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.”
Pope Francis

Pope will not be able to travel to Israel on Friday to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

September 28, 2016. Despite the rumors that Pope Francis will travel to Israel to attend Shimon Peres funeral, the Vatican has issued a statement officially announcing a confirmation for the pope's scheduled visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan will remain as planned on Friday. The pope spoke warmly about the former leader and sent out a telegram of condolences:
Pope Francis

Pope's schedule during his trip to Sweden

September 27, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to Sweden next October 31 and November 1, for the occasion of the Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation.This will be the 17th trip of his pontificate.

Third priest found dead in Mexico

September 26, 2016.Mexican priest, Alfredo Lopez Guillen, was found dead this weekend on a rural road about 350 km east of Mexico City, after being allegedly abducted and assaulted in his parish on Monday September 19. This is the third case of violence against priests in Mexico in just one week. On Monday, September 19, Fr. Nabor Jiménez and Fr. José Alfredo Juarez were also kidnapped in the church of Our Lady of Fatima. Hours later they found them lifeless in a ditch in Poza Rica, Veracruz. The Catholic Church wants clarification on the murders, because it is not yet known who could be the alleged perpetrators.

Tuition too expensive? How a foundation helps priests, seminarians, religious and the laity


"You are living a period in which you should prepare for the big decisions of your life, in the service of the Church and society. Here today, you can see that you are not alone: You are with your teachers, chaplains, residence managers. And you are with the Pope!”

To actually enroll in a pontifical university isn't easy or cheap.  It's often challenging for bishops  to gather enough tuition money for priests, seminarians, religious and lay people to attend these schools. It's estimated that tuition and living expenses costs an average of at least $16,000 a year.

So, to help out, there are foundations that offset the price tag of religious studies, so that the future protagonists of the Church can have a complete formation in Rome.

Foundation CARF

 "We insist that these people from 114 countries study in Rome, because Rome is the See of Peter. So here they are close to the Pope, at the very heart of Christianity. You could even argue there is an osmosis effect.  It's very very different.”

Spaniard Luis Alberto Rosales is the director of CARF, which translates to the Academic Roman Center Foundation.  Every year, it grants about 400 scholarships so that priests, seminarians, nuns, religious and lay people with few resources, can study at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

To make it happen, it collects donations from about 10,000 people. Some of them even leave their inheritance or family trusts to sponsor these students.

Foundation CARF

 "What these donors want are priests who are ready for the 21st century, so modern people,  young people, who can relate with today's society. At the same time, they have to be firm, follow the doctrine and be close to the Pope, so they can transmit this message to others.”

Once the donation is given, donors are still kept up to date. In addition to getting thank you  letters, donors also see the grades the scholarship recipients are getting.

The best results are seen at the end, when the students finish their studies and go back home. It's then that priests, religious and the laity become even more efficient in transmitting the faith and in improving society...It's exactly that, that makes this a true long term investment.

- PR