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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:

The traveling Pope: 104 international trips to 129 countries


He led a packed schedule that would make any season traveler envious. But John Paul II had a very specific mission, to evangelize the world. In his 26 years of travel, the Pope led a total of 104 pastoral trips outside Italy. In all, he visited 129 countries.

Archbishop emeritus of Manila (Philippines)
March 2, 2011
"He had accomplished perhaps something that has never been accomplished by a Church people except Saint Paul. But even Saint Paul, he traveled around the Mediterranean. But this man, John Paul II, he really went to every corner of the world, I think from North to South we can't count all the places he has gone through.”

When broken down by continent, Africa has the largest number of stops. He visited 43 countries there. He also made his way to 33 countries in Europe, excluding Italy. In Asia, he visited 19 countries, 17 in North America, all 10 in South America, while he traveled to six in Oceania.

But those numbers don't reflect the countries he visited more than once. The Polish Pope traveled to his homeland a total of nine times, more than any other country. 

John Paul II visited France eight times, seven to the mainland. He visited the United States seven times, and he traveled to Mexico and Spain five times.

In fact, his first two trips, in 1979, just months after his election, were to Mexico and Poland. His last trip abroad was to the Marian shrine at Lourdes.

Though he wasn't the first Pope to travel, John Paul II was the first to travel to many new countries, especially in the Third World. His extensive trips took to even the smallest, most remote places like Guam, the Seychelles or Curaçao

Archbishop emeritus of Manila (Philippines)
March 2, 2011
"John Paul II is the beloved Pope on the whole world, loved by not only Catholics, but also for those who are non-believers. and the reason for this is that he really brought the papacy close to people, not only in the way he had addressed his audience, but also in the way he had visited so many countries.”

In many ways, John Paul II was a man of many notable firsts. During his first trip to the United States in 1979, he became the first Pope to visit the White House, where he met with President Jimmy Carter. 

Three years later, he became the first reigning Pope to visit the United Kingdom, since the Church of England split from the Catholic Church. During that visit he met with Queen Elizabeth, and he prayed with the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Canterbury Cathedral, the see of the Anglican Church.

Archbishop emeritus of Manila (Philippines)
March 2, 2011
"He went to the places where the people were. So, for that along, we have to thank God for giving us John Paul II, because he really brought Jesus with him and brought Jesus to those corners of the world where the Lord had never physically gone. He brought Jesus there.”

In 2001, he also traveled to Syria, becoming the first Pope to set foot inside a mosque. He visited the site where John the Baptist is believed to be buried in Damascus.

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