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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.
Pope Francis

Holy See adopts UN Convention against Corruption

September 23, 2016. Pope Francis has asked the Vatican to be exemplary in the fight against corruption and meet the set international standards in this regard. Therefore, the Secretary of State has announced that the Holy See will conform to the Merida Convention against Corruption. This requires countries to implement anti-corruption measures concerning its laws, institutions and practices. From now on, the Roman Curia and the Vatican City State will review its administrative procedures to align them to the standards set by the Convention. Through this compliance, the Vatican says it hopes to contribute to increased transparency and proper management of public affairs in the international community.

Students come to Rome to take part in UNIV... and to see Pope Francis for the first time


"I greet all the university students who are taking part in the international congress promoted by the Prelature of the Opus Dei. Dear friends, you have come to Rome during Holy Week, to strengthen your faith and find spiritual enrichment.”

As a gift, the group gave the Pope a video called 'Faith at 20.' It shows how students from different countries live out their Catholic faith on a day to day basis. The Pope was very grateful.

"I thank you for your prayers and affection. Through your presence in the university environment, every one of you can achieve what St. Josemaría Escrivá hoped for: 'It is in the midst of the most material things of the earth that we must sanctify ourselves, serving God and all mankind.'”

One of those students is Rocco. He says he's the envy of all his friends because he was able to greet the Pope personally.

"He told me to pray for him, these were his words. I asked him to pray for all the young people of UNIV who are participating in the conference during Holy Week. I also asked him to  pray for me and my family.”

Other students from Madrid, gave the Pope a unique container, filled with special intentions.

"It's a container full of paper. Students offered their studies and work for a special intention, or a person and even for the Pope. They wrote their intention down on the paper and placed it inside the container.”

Even though the Pope didn't speak English during his general audience, students from English speaking countries, seemed to get the message pretty well.

"We are the future of the Church, so we should be very active in sharing the good news to others, so that's why the youth is so important to these types of celebrations.”

"I wanted to participate to make a pilgrimage to Italy and to, of course, see the Pope and see Italy and be here with all the youth and to show the Pope that he was the support of the youth.”

The presence of so many young people in the audience was a small preview of what the Pope will see next July when he visits Rio to lead World Youth Day in Brazil.

OFL @odelafu/KLH