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Pope Francis advances eight new causes of sainthood

January 23, 2017. On January 20, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to announce the publication of decrees for the advancement of eight causes of sainthood.

Holy See confirms investigation of Order of Malta

January 17, 2017. The Holy See has issued a statement Tuesday in response to "attempts by the Order of Malta to discredit” the new group established by the Vatican to conduct the investigation of why the Chancellor of the Order of Malta was asked to step down.

Pope sends condolences for victims of Turkish cargo jet crash

January 16, 2017. On Monday morning, a Turkish cargo plane has tragically crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing dozens and hospitalizing many others. Many homes and vehicles in the small village are also destroyed. As a result, Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin has sent a message of condolences to the victims of the disaster on behalf of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis to meet with Palestinian president on Saturday

January 11, 2017. Pope Francis will meet with Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas on Saturday, January 14, at the Vatican to inaugurate the new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.

Former Director of the Vatican's school for diplomats, Justo Mullor dies

December 30, 2016. The smiling archbishop Justo Mullor died this morning in Rome, at the Pío XI Clinic. He was 84 years old.

The most spectacular church in Rome turns ten years old


When you think of churches in Rome, these images likely come to mind: centuries-old buildings, majestic domes, entire walls covered in artwork. 

But Rome's skyline also features one very unconventional church, with a story behind it as unique as its design. It's called the Church of God, Our Merciful Father, but informally it's known as the Jubilee Church.

Architecture Professor 
"The space setting contradicts all traditional principles of a Catholic church. For example, it's not a church designed in a cross-shaped floor plan, neither Latin or Greek. And it's not inspired by the Tridentine Council's concept of a central nave.”

The Vatican chose American architect Richard Meier, from an open call to design a church to celebrate the Jubilee, the arrival of the Third Millennium. John Paul II himself approved the design, and expressed his desire for it to be consecrated to God, Our Merciful Father. 

The final outcome is a striking structure, both inside and out. An absolute simplicity dominates the interior: empty white walls, a glass ceiling. The modern designs contrast starkly with two antique objects: a crucifix from the 1400's and a statue of the Madonna. 

Architecture Professor 
"The beauty of that Madonna is that it's not modern. So it ends the practice of imposing traditional norms within architectural culture on the overall church. Instead the presence of these two elements are the continuity of tradition.”

But perhaps the church's most impressive and recognizable features are the three distinctive sails on the outside. For John Paul II they symbolized the "boat of Peter,” sailing with the People of God. But as with any unique piece, there can be more than one meaning.

Architecture Professor 
"They're an example of constructivism, and represent a dome, so characteristic of Rome from the baroque era. But instead, it's sectioned off and redesigned disjointedly.”

But whatever the interpretation, reactions arealways the same. 

Parish priest, Chiesa Dio Misericordioso
"The comments are mostly positive. Architects always make a sketch of the outside, and visitors are always struck by the shapes, and the essence of the shapes.”

But even for local parishioners, the Jubilee Church is special. They just celebrated the tenth anniversary of its consecration. What's more, they've openly embraced their links to John Paul II and the Jubilee.

Parish priest, Chiesa Dio Misericordioso
"Every three years, we talk about: one year, the Son, Jesus Christ; another year, the Holy Spirit; and the third year, the Father. Just like John Paul II indicated in his preparation letter for the Jubilee of the Year 2000.”

And though he never stepped foot inside, John Paul II remains a key figure for the church. Ahead of next year's canonization, they're expecting a jump in visitors to see this unique building. It's a living celebration of his lasting legacy for the Third Millennium.