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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.”
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.

April 2013: Discovering the new Pope


April 2
Pope Francis kicked off his first full month as Pope by honoring one of his predecessors. On April 2, he prayed before the tomb of John Paul II at St. Peter's Basilica, on the anniversary of his death. 

The Pope also prayed before the tombs of John XXIII and Pius X. Interestingly, next April, Pope Francis will canonize both John Paul II and John XXIII.

April 8
A week later and 26 days after his election, Pope Francis celebrated his Installation Mass as the Bishop of Rome. Thousands of people waited to see him outside the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the official see for the Diocese of Rome.

During the homily, the Pope started talking about one of the main topics of his pontificate: mercy.

"In my personal life, I've seen the merciful face of God and His patience so many times. I've also seen many people who courageously go to Jesus' wounds and say: 'Lord, here I am. Accept my poverty. Cover my sins with your wounds, clean them with your blood.' I've seen how God welcome them, consoles them, cleans them and loves them.

After the Mass, he opened the papal rooms at the Basilica, which had been closed since Benedict XVI stepped down.

April 10/11
Over the next few weeks, the world would begin to discover the Pope's unique personality. The passionate soccer fan greeted his favorite soccer team after a general audience. 

"...And to the group form the Athletic Club of San Lorenzo of Almagro, from Buenos Aires. That is very important.”

The next day, he traded his papal hat with an American couple after speaking to the Papal Foundation.

April 16
Halfway through the month, Pope Francis took the time to greet Benedict XVI on his special day. He called him at Castel Gandolfo and celebrated Mass in his honor.

"Today is the birthday of Benedict XVI. We offer this Mass in prayer for him, so that the Lord can be with him, comfort him and console him.” 

Benedict XVI turned 86. It was his first birthday as Pope emeritus.

April 19
Another highlight from this month that showed off the Pope's personality was this tight embrace with Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, at the Vatican.

But it wasn't his only audience with world leaders. He also met with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, as well as the executives from Mozambique, Spain, Madagascar, Italy and Israel.

In fact, it was the latter, President Shimon Peres, that invited Pope Francis to visit the Holy Land in 2014.

"I am waiting for you in Jerusalem, and not just me, but all the people from Israel.”

It was the first of several invitations Pope Francis would receive from political and religious leaders in the region. As the 2013 comes to an end, the possibility he'll take up that invitation is looking more likely.