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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.

John Paul II: A look back at the life of a saint


As soon as the banner was unveiled, St. Peter's Square broke out in applause. On May 2, 2011, John Paul II was beatified

Six years before, more than 1.5 million people gathered to bid him a final farewell in Rome. The date was April 8, 2005. Winds turned the pages of the Gospel, sitting atop his casket. John Paul II had passed away six days earlier, and the world reacted with cries of "santo subito,” saint now. 

Sickness consumed his life bit by bit, but it was never an obstacle to continue preaching the Word of God, even in his last moments, when he didn't have a voice. 

John Paul II was Pope for 26 years and five months, one of the longest pontificates. Racking up the miles from his extensive travels around the world, he could have made three trips to the Moon. With each visit, he was able to touch the hearts of people. 

In 1978, after a three-day conclave, his peers elected Karol Wojtyla as successor of Peter. They said he was the last cardinal to arrive in Rome, because his car broke down, and he even had to hitchhike to make it on time.

The Polish cardinal came from Krakow, a city he lived in for more than four decades. He had served as archbishop from 1962, and as a cardinal since 1967. But he started out as a seminarian, then a priest, then auxiliary bishop, until eventually becoming archbishop. His time as a seminarian was especially tough. Wojtyla had to finish his studies in an underground seminary the current Krakow cardinal established. John Paul II recalled those times, that ended with his ordination as priest in 1946.

"This experience as a worker, and at the same time as an underground seminarian, has stayed with me my whole life. In the factory, to complete my eight-hour shift, day or night, I would take several books. My fellow workers were a bit puzzled, but didn't give me trouble.”

In 1943, during the day he worked eight hours at a quarry, and at night, he studied to become a priest. During this period, Communism had taken away any remaining freedom Poles had. It was the country's second successive totalitarian government.

Nazi forces has invaded Poland four years earlier, when Karol Wojtyla was a student at Krakow's Jagiellonian University. In this environment, along with many Jewish friends, he took part in one of his passions, theater. Hitler's arrival in Poland cut short his college days.

By then, Karol was alone. His father had died in 1941. They had lived together since the death of his brother Edmund, and his mother, in 1932, when he was eight years old.

With Emilia's death, his mother, Karol's father took him and his brother to a Marian sanctuary and pointed out Our Lady, saying she would be their mother. This moment gave way to his strong devotion to Mary. When all this happened, the family still lived in Wadowice, the same place where Lolek, as his family affectionately called him, was born on May 18, 1920.

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