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Pope Francis

Pope Francis has promulgated new decrees regarding future saints

April 27, 2016. Pope Francis has recognized the heroic virtues of the Spanish woman, Montse Grases; the martyrdom of 38 priest in Albania, and has also authorized the beatification of the Irish Jesuit, John Sullivan.
Vatican

Pope names new archbishop of Havana. Also new bishops for Mexico and Spain

On April 26 , 2016. Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Juan de la Caridad García, the new archbishop of San Cristobal of Havana after the resignation of Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino for having turned 75. Juan de la Caridad Garcia , 67, was until now archbishop in Camagüey, Cuba. After the resignation of Ulises Macías, the Pope appointed Bishop Ruy Rendon, 62, archbishop of Hermosillo, Mexico on Tuesday. Tuesdays bulletin announced the appointment of Manuel Herrero as bishop of Palencia, Spain; John Alphonsus Ryan as Bishop of Mzuzu, Malawi; and Edward M. Rice, Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in the US. On the diplomatic section, Francisco Montecillo has been named apostolic nuncio in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Vatican

The Pope has appointed Archbishop Christophe Pierre as the Vatican nuncio to the U.S.

April 12, 2016. The French-born Archbishop will be replacing Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis will travel to Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan

April 9, 2016. The Vatican officially announced Pope Francis new international travels. They will be to Armenia (June 24-26), and to Georgia and Azerbaijan (September 30- October 2).
Pope Francis

The Pope will travel to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 7, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, April 16th. It will be a one day trip to visit the refugees arriving in the Greek coast fleeing war and violence. He will be accompanied the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew and Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, Ieronymos II.

During his most recent catechesis on Baptism, Pope Francis referenced the Japanese Catholics under persecution in the 17th Century.

POPE FRANCIS
"There were no priests left in Japan: they were all expelled. So then, the community went underground, keeping their faith and prayers hidden.”

One of the Japanese Catholics that suffered most from outlawing Christianity was Ukon Takayama, the samurai of Christ. The Japanese Episcopal Conference has presented all the necessary documents to open the cause for his beatification.

MSGR. JOSEPH MITSUAKI TAKAMI
Bishop of Nagasaki (Japan)
"He was a great witness to the Christian faith during this period of persecution in Japan, we could even say, in the history of Christianity in Japan. First, he clung to his faith without having doubts, without being swayed by any temporary wealth. He followed Jesus Christ at all times, and he lived a Christian life, according to the Gospel.”

Takayama was born in Osaka in 1552. His family converted to Catholicism and built the first church in Kyoto. But when Emperor Toyotomi Hideyosi outlawed "Western religion” and expelled the Jesuits in 1587, Takayama's family disobeyed, and remained devout to their faith. As a result, he died in 1615 in the Philippines. For Japanese bishops, the life this samurai led is an example for Catholics today.

MSGR. JOSEPH MITSUAKI TAKAMI
Bishop of Nagasaki (Japan)
"They ordered him to abandon his faith, but instead Takayama Ukon abandoned his social status, his wealth, his land, his castle. He left behind all his properties, and was even expelled. Many of his values are still valid for us all today.”

Currently, about half a million Japanese identify as Catholic. That's about 0.5 percent of the population. Jesuit missionaries were the first Christians to arrive in the 16th Century to the Land of the Rising Sun. They included well-known names like St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missionaries.


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