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Quake aftermath continues to torment ancient town of Amatrice as the death toll rises

August 25, 2016. Rescue teams continue to work tirelessly with the hope of finding new survivors, but the number of deaths will increase as there are still dozens missing. Italy's civil protection agency has announced that 190 have dead in the affected areas in the province of Rieti are overcome, while 57 were killed in the province of Ascoli. During the night, there have been up to 60 new tremors of between 3 and 4 degrees of magnitude. Rescuers worked overnight in the most affected Arquata del Tronto, Pescada< g> del Tronto, Accumoli< g> and Amatrice. The most dramatic situation exists in Amatrice, the largest municipality affected, and where 2,000 people live, but in the summer months doubles its population with vacationers and there were many tourists who had come to enjoy the weekend party pasta "amatriciana,” a dish that has its origins here. More than 1,000 people have been displaced by the quake.
World

Grand Ayatollah to Pope Francis: “Thank you for saying Islam is not equal to terrorism”

August 22, 2016. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi sent a letter to Pope Francis to thank him for his words on the flight back from Poland, a few weeks ago: "It is not right to say that Islam is a terrorist faith.” In his letter, the Shia religious leader has strongly condemned terrorist attacks from fundamentalist Islamic groups. He has also stated that "the vast majority of the Musilm people consider all Takfiri sects to be outside the fold of Islam.” Makarem Shirazi is one of the 64 Grand Ayatollahs in Shia Islam and, as such, one of the highest authorities in matters of Islamic dogma and law.
World

Pope conveys “solidarity and spiritual closeness” for the victims of wildfire in Portugal

August 16, 2016. The fire has killed at least five people and caused hundreds to evacuate their homes. The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin addressed a letter, on behalf of Pope Francis, to the bishop of Funchal, Antonio Carrilho. The letter was read during the celebration of Holy Mass for Our Lady of the Mount, Patroness of Funchal. In the letter, Pope Francis expressed his condolences and sorrow over the loss of life and property in the Portuguese island of Madeira, where wildfires have killed at least five people and caused hundreds to evacuate their homes. Pope Francis conveys "solidarity and spiritual closeness” for the victims and those displaced by the wildfires and prayed for the wounded and asked them to have "courage and consolation in Christian hope” for all involved.
World

Pope sends condolences to North America in wake of Hurricane Earl

August 9, 2016. Pope Francis sent his prayers and condolences to the victims in the wake of Hurricane Earl through a message sent by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The hurricane killed at least 45 people in Mexico and 13 in the Dominican Republic and caused an estimated $50 million in damage.
World

Pope sends his condolences following attack that killed 70 people at a hospital in Pakistan

August 9, 2016. The terrorist attack at Quetta Hospital killed dozens of lawyers and left 120 others injured.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis officially establishes the commission to study the diaconate of women

August 2, 2016. Six women and six men will study the diaconate of women "with regard to the first ages of the Church.”
Vatican

Federico Lombardi appointed new president of The Ratzinger Foundation

Aug. 1, 2016. Today Fr. Lombardi officially ceases to be director of the Vatican Press Office and becomes the president of The Ratzinger Foundation. Father Federico Lombardi will chair the board of the Vatican foundation established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. Until now it was run by president Monsignor Giuseppe Scotti. The Ratzinger Foundation promotes the study of theology, organizes cultural and scientific congresses and rewards the work of scholars and researchers in different fields.

Vatican releases Pope's schedule for May visit to the Holy Land

2014-03-27

On May 24, Pope Francis will arrive to Amman, Jordan. King Abdullah and Queen Rania will welcome him at the Royal Palace to kick start his visit to the Holy Land.

That evening, the Pope will celebrate Mass at a stadium, and will meet with refugees and young people with disabilities at the site of the Baptism of Jesus.

The next day, on the 25th, the Pope will travel by helicopter to Bethlehem. Once there, he will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He will also preside a Mass at Manger Square, and have lunch with Palestinian families.

After lunch, he will visit privately the Grotto of the Nativity, and greet children from Palestinian refugee camps. At 4PM, he will board his helicopter for Tel Aviv for a welcome ceremony, and then head out to Jerusalem.

In the historic city, the Pope will meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople at the Basilica of Holy Sepulcher. The visit will mark the historic embrace between the Catholic and Orthodox leaders, which took place 1964.

On May 26, the Pope will visit the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at the Esplanade of the Mosques. He will then visit the Western Wall and the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum. He will also meet with the two Chief Rabbis of Israel, with President Shimon Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the evening, the Pope will meet with priests, and religious men and women at the Church of Gethsemane. He will preside Mass at the Cenacle, the place where, according to tradition, the Last Supper took place.

At 8PM, Pope Francis will fly back to Rome. He's expected to land at 11 o'clock that night.


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