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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.”

The town and monastery where Benedict XVI will retire


Only about 8,000 people live here and the Pope's summer residence is a key part of the town. In fact just a few feet away from the Papal Palace is this local ice cream shop, where John Paul II and Benedict XVI have ordered from.
Gelateria Carosi

"Benedict XVI would order ice cream for some of his visitors. Personally he liked the 'Fior de Latte' flavor and also vanilla.”

Benedict XVI spent his first summer here as Pope,  back in 2005 to avoid Rome's intense summer heat. He  would spend those months studying, reading and even writing books. The tradition itself goes back generations. The first Pope to use the summer residence in Castel Gandolfo was Urban VIII Barberini back in 1626.

The Papal residence also has a World War II connection. Since the Vatican was a neutral country, Pope Pius XII opened Castel Gandolfo, where about 12,000 Jews sought refuge. During that time the papal apartment was reserved for pregnant mothers to give birth.  At least 40 babies were born there.

Now Castel Gandolfo will become part of modern history as it welcomes a retired Pope.


 "For us he will always be The Holy Father. He was elected the Holy Father, so at least here he will continue to have that title. We will still refer to him as Pope.”

Eventually Benedict XVI will return to the Vatican. He will live in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, along with the so called 'Papal Family' that has accompanied him throughout this pontificate.

The building is undergoing repairs, but it's quite simple. The monastery was built in the 90's under the pontificate of John Paul II, so that contemplative nuns would have a place for retreat and prayer, inside Vatican Walls.

Now, 85 year old Benedict XVI will retire here to, as he says, serve the Church in prayer.

- PR