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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.”
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.

Summary of 2013. March: A Pope from the ends of the world


Just minutes after the Sede Vacante period began, Cardinal Camerlengo Tarcisio Bertone took over the reins of Vatican temporarily. He would oversee the Church's properties, seal the papal apartments, and solve day-to-day matters until the election of a new Pope.

All cardinals also received a letter from the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano. It officially informed them of Benedict XVI's resignation, and it summoned them to Rome immediately to elect a new Pope.

On March 4, the pre-conclave began. Up until March 11, the cardinals met to discuss the challenges the Church faced and what kind of leader could tackle them. But all the details of their meetings had to remain secret.

"I don't recall anything. I forgot everything.”
"It was a place for prayer and meditation.”
"My silence will do the talking.”
"I won't say anything. Goodbye and sorry.”

At the same time, the Vatican was also getting the Sistine Chapel ready for the conclave. These stoves played a vital role. One would burn the voting ballots, while the other would be used to let the outside world know the results.

The new Pope's habit was also ready to go. Tailors made three in small, medium and large sizes to better suit the Church's next leader.

The conclave began on Tuesday, March 12
. All 115 cardinals filed in to the Sistine Chapel in the afternoon. Half of them, 60, came from Europe. Latin America had 19, while 11 came from the United States, and 3 from Canada. Both Africa and Asia were represented by 11 each, while Australia had one.

To be elected Pope, the candidate had to tally at least 77 votes.

After all of the cardinals swore secrecy, the Chapel doors closed.

"Extra Omnes.”

The first fumata, or smoke signal, came later that night. Black smoke emerged, meaning the cardinals were unable to reach consensus.

On Wednesday, March 13, despite the steady rain falling in Rome, thousands of people waited at St. Peter's Square for the next fumata. Again, black smoke emerged.

By Wednesday evening, after five rounds of voting, white smoke finally appeared. The cardinals had chosen a new Pope.

An hour later, Cardinal Protodeacon Jean Louis Tauran made the much anticipated announcement.

Anuntio vobis gaudium magnum...

"You know that it was the duty of the Conclave to give Rome a Bishop. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone to the ends of the earth to get one... And first of all, I would like to offer a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may keep him.”

"I have no words.  I am very happy to be Latin American, and very proud. This is the first Argentinian Pope, so we are all very happy.”

Argentine Ambassador to the Holy See

"We are very excited. It is a gift for the whole Church, for all of mankind. We have our Pope Francisco, our Cardinal Bergoglio. It will be very positive for all Catholics and for the world.”

One day a time, the world became familiar with the unique approach for this new Pope. The morning after his election, he ventured out to the hotel where he had been staying to pay his bill.

Vatican Spokesperson

"There, he picked up his bags, said hi to the staff, and he paid his bill. He wanted to set a good example. Then he returned to Santa Marta.”

When he met with 5,000 journalists at Paul VI Hall, the Pope also explained why he chose to be called Francis.


"During the election, I had next to me the archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo, and prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy,  Cardinal Claudio Hummes. He's a great friend. When the 'danger' grew, he would comfort me. And when the votes reached the two thirds required, applause broke out because we had elected a new Pope. Cardinal Hummes hugged me and kissed me saying, 'Do not forget about the poor.' Those words stayed with me, the poor!So then in my mind I immediately thought of Francis of Assisi.”

Ten days would pass before a historic and much awaited meeting between two living Popes. Pope Francis visited Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo.

Together, they prayed and met for 45 minutes. Here, Benedict XVI handed him the Vatileaks report, while Pope Francis gave him this gift.

"I am told it's called the Madonna of Humility. Allow me to say one thing, I though of you, so much humility during your pontificate.”

The month of March ended with the Holy Week celebrations. Pope Francis stunned everyone when he celebrates Holy Thursday Mass at a juvenile detention center in Rome. He washed the feet of twelve teens, including two Muslims.

"What does this mean? That we have to help one another. If you are angry at someone, let it. And if they ask you for a favor, do it. Jesus teaches us this, and this is what I do, I do it with all my heart, because it's my duty.”

The ceremony was simple, but emotional. It paved the way as an example of a pontificate characterized by mercy and service to the most vulnerable members of society