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New Custodian of the Holy Land

May 20, 2016. Friar Francesco Patton is the new Custodian of the Holy Land. He succeeds Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in office for the last 12 years. Friar Francesco Patton is 52 years old from Vigo Meano (Italy). He graduated in Communication Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and until now was the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor in Saint Vigilius of Trent.

Pope makes an appeal for peace in Syria: Vouch for Peace instead of Violence

2014-01-22

Despite the rain about 13,000 people came out to greet Pope Francis during his weekly general audience. To start things off, he chatted a bit with fellow Argentinian soccer fans and exchanged his papal hat, not once, but twice. He blessed several babies along the way, but one girl wasn't too excited about the whole experience. 

POPE FRANCIS
"No, No. She's scared. Look, she's frightened.”

POPE FRANCIS
"If I hug her,  I'll have to get her a psychiatrist.” 

During his catechesis, the Pope talked about ecumenism, especially since the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is currently taking place. He described divisions among Christians as a scandal. 

POPE FRANCIS
"Our Christian communities still experience divisions and this is a scandal. Division among us is a scandal. There is no other word for it. It's simply a scandal.” 

The Pope then explained that Christians from different denominations can learn from one another. What one community lacks, it can find in the other. 

POPE FRANCIS
"Let's find joy as we recognize the different graces that God has given our fellow Christians. We receive the same Baptism from the Holy Spirit, who gives these graces. Let's recognize this and rejoice.” 

Before concluding his general audience, the Pope also made an appeal for peace in Syria. On Wednesday an international Syrian Peace Conference began in Switzerland. The Pope called on governments and civilians to vouch for reconciliation, instead of violence. 

POPE FRANCIS
"May they see in one another not an enemy, not a competitor, but rather brothers and sisters to welcome and embrace.” 

Usually,  during this time of year the general audiences are held indoors because of the cold weather. But to accommodate more pilgrims, so far all of them have taken place in St. Peter's Square. 


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