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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:
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 to athletes: No room for addictions, with education, sports and work opportunities


St. Peter's Square became an improvised sports stadium to welcome 50,000 athletes. Despite the warm weather, they joined the Pope in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Italian Sports Center.

The Italian Catholic Action movements founded the non-profit group in 1944, with support from Pius  X, to promote sports among youth in parishes and oratories. 

"We know well that we have a unique and special coach, Jesus Christ, who is with us and who supports us every day in our human and spiritual victories. But, we also know that we have a great team captain, who has chosen the name Francis to guide and serve the Church.”

Several athletes showcased their abilities for the Pope, including a rhythmic gymnastics team. 

Organizers also introduced the Italian amputee soccer squad, which plays at an international level against teams from other countries, despite their disabilities. They had a special request for Pope Francis.

"You Holiness, this special team needs a special team caption, like yourself.” 

The Pope willingly took on the role, accepting the team captain's armband, and individually greeting the squad, before taking a team picture.

In addition to youth leagues and sports, the Italian Sports Center also runs athletic programs in detention centers, and Third world countries like Haiti.

Exhibitions continued with two gymnasts performing their routines on a pommel horse and balance beam. Basketball players also showed their skills at handling the ball.

They even taught the Pope how to balance a spinning basketball on a pencil, much to his delight.

Pope Francis congratulated the association on their anniversary and their work. He urged politicians and community leaders to promote three "paths” to keep youth out of trouble. 

"The path of education, the path of sports, and the path of employment, in other words, that there be jobs available at an early age. If we have these three paths, I assure you there will not be any addictions, no drugs, no alcohol. Why? Because school carries you forward, sport carries you forward, and work carries you forward.”

The Pope encouraged these athletes to commit themselves to life, as they do to sports, never settling for mediocrity, and to work with others, including God, to seek victory. 

He asked the coaches to keep doors open to everyone, especially those in greatest need. He also asked players to avoid individualism and work as a team. The Pope praised the role the Church plays in sports, talking about how an Argentine priest went on establish his favorite soccer team, San Lorenzo of Almagro.

"It's beautiful when a parish has a sports team, and if there isn't a team in the parish, something is missing. If there's no sports team, something is missing.”

Towards the end, the Pope also marked the centennial of the birth of Italy's Olympic committee. He also led a prayer for all teams, including families. Pope Francis closed off, asking for prayers so that he could continue leading his team, the Catholic Church, "until the Lord calls me to him,” he said.

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