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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.

Best of 2013. November: Focus on the family and the Year of Faith


The first day of November, Pope Francis resumed one of the traditions John Paul II had to leave aside due to old age. The Pope visited the graveyards at a Roman cemetery to celebrate Mass for All Saints Day. He offered a special prayer not just for the dead at this cemetery, but also for those that cannot be buried.

November 1, 2013
"I would like to pray especially for our brothers and sisters who have died seeking freedom, a more deserving life. We have seen the photographs depicting the cruelty of the desert; we have seen the sea where many have drowned. Let us pray for them.”

When he returned to the Vatican, the Pope visited the Vatican Grottoes to pray for all of the deceased pontiffs. 

November 5
A few days later, the Vatican released a questionnaire that will be sent to bishops across the world. The 38 questions will help analyze the Church's pastoral approach in topics like marriage, family and sexuality. The answers will be used to prepare the Synod on the family Pope Francis convened.

The topic of the family came up again days later when Pope Francis addressed the Vatican's highest court. Speaking about marriage annulments, he asked the judges to seek justice and the pastoral good when considering annulments.

November 14
Midway through the month, Pope Francis made a reciprocal visit to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, at the Quirinal Palace. During his remarks before the Italian president, the Pope once again spoke up on defense of the family and the need to protect it now more than ever.

"With renewed conviction, the Church continues to promote the work of everyone, individuals and institutions, to uphold the family; which is the primary place where the human being grows. Where we learn the values and examples that make us credible.”

The Pope also met with employees of the presidential palace and their families. He thank them for their work and greeted many of the children in the audience.

November 21
As the month ended, so did the celebrations for the Year of Faith. The Pope began with a visit to a cloistered monastery in Rome. He prayed the Vespers and spoke to the Benedictine nuns about following God's will, citing Our Lady as the finest example.

"We owe quite a lot to Our Lady. She is constantly present throughout the history of Salvation. In Her we see a powerful testimony of hope. She is the Mother of a hope that lifts us in moments of darkness.” 

After praying the Vespers, he joined the nuns in Eucharistic Adoration, before heading back to Vatican.

Two days later, on November 23, the Pope presided over the Rite of Acceptance with over 500 catachumens at St. Peter's Basilica. As he spoke to them about their upcoming Baptism, he explained that God created people precisely to encounter each other. 

"God did not create us to be alone, or closed off in ourselves. He created us so we could encounter Him, and through Him, He lead us towards others. God first comes to us. This is incredible! He comes to us!”

Near the end, the Pope asked the catechumens to live their faith with joy and to never forget the example of Jesus. 

November 24
Celebrations for the Year of  Faith ended with an outdoor Mass with thousands of pilgrims at St. Peter's Square. Pope Francis co-celebrated with the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as with more than 200 other bishops, priests and cardinals.

But there was another special guest. The very first Pope made his debut appearance at the Square. At several points throughout the Mass Pope Francis held the relics of St. Peter, as he prayed. 

His main message during Mass was about asking God for forgiveness. 

"Tell our Lord, 'Jesus remember me. I want to be good, but I don't have the strength. I can't because I'm a sinner, but Jesus please remember me. You can remember me because You are the center of it all.'”

Pope Francis also thanked Benedict XVI during the ceremony. The Year of Faith began in October 2012, under the Pope emeritus. 

- PR