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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:

Students learn to search, listen and reflect on the Gospel at the Urbanian University


The origins of the Pontifical Urbanian University date back to 1627, when Pope Urban VIII created a college that bears his name. Nearly 300 years later, in 1962, John XXIII made it into a pontifical university.

This institution plays a key role within the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples. Here, priests, seminarians and lay people from countries receiving missionaries spend years studying before returning home.

Rector, Pontifical Urbanian University
"Our task is not to prepare people that have answers to their problems, prefabricated in the West. The university's main task is to search, and listen to instances that arise from different contexts, and to reflect on these instances using Church doctrine, using the Lord's Word, above all. We want to prepare people that, when they go back to their instances, will be able to generate answers.”

The students spend several years in Rome, taking classes on Theology, Philosophy, Canon Law and Missiology.

Rector, Pontifical Urbanian University
"The intellectual formation has always been considered within Church life as indispensable for ministry. But everyone understands that, in a world that's constantly changing, with great social, intellectual, and theological challenges, in social contexts so varied in each country, intellectual formation becomes an integral part of the ministry itself.”

Students arrive in Rome with a scholarship from the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to a particular diocese. The campus environment is described as universal, making it easier for students to understand the reality of the Church today.

Priest (Colombia)
"You find yourself in a classroom with a large number of priests and classmates from other parts of the world, that speak other languages. People that have gone through the same thing you have, but they have a different vision and cultural makeup. The first thing I learned is that the Church should have the face of each culture, but all of them united in the same faith in Jesus Christ.”

Students say they're grateful for this phase in their lives. They admitted that being far from family is difficult. But living in Rome also means being closer to others.

Seminarian (Dem. Rep. of Congo)
"There's a multicultural exchange, but we're also lucky to be close to the successor of Peter, to live next to the Pope, go to Mass, help during the Pope's Mass. That's something not many people can claim. Having easy access to the Pope, when my bishop sees him in TV or rarely when he visits, is an advantage for me. It's a good thing, one of the best things about studying in Rome.”

Some of the notable alumni that have walked the halls of the Pontifical Urbanian University include Cardinal Newman, recently beatified by Benedict XVI, or George Pell, the prefect for the Secretariat of the Economy and a member of the Pope's advisory council.