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Pope Francis

Pope Francis has promulgated new decrees regarding future saints

April 27, 2016. Pope Francis has recognized the heroic virtues of the Spanish woman, Montse Grases; the martyrdom of 38 priest in Albania, and has also authorized the beatification of the Irish Jesuit, John Sullivan.
Vatican

Pope names new archbishop of Havana. Also new bishops for Mexico and Spain

On April 26 , 2016. Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Juan de la Caridad García, the new archbishop of San Cristobal of Havana after the resignation of Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino for having turned 75. Juan de la Caridad Garcia , 67, was until now archbishop in Camagüey, Cuba. After the resignation of Ulises Macías, the Pope appointed Bishop Ruy Rendon, 62, archbishop of Hermosillo, Mexico on Tuesday. Tuesdays bulletin announced the appointment of Manuel Herrero as bishop of Palencia, Spain; John Alphonsus Ryan as Bishop of Mzuzu, Malawi; and Edward M. Rice, Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in the US. On the diplomatic section, Francisco Montecillo has been named apostolic nuncio in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Vatican

The Pope has appointed Archbishop Christophe Pierre as the Vatican nuncio to the U.S.

April 12, 2016. The French-born Archbishop will be replacing Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis will travel to Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan

April 9, 2016. The Vatican officially announced Pope Francis new international travels. They will be to Armenia (June 24-26), and to Georgia and Azerbaijan (September 30- October 2).
Pope Francis

The Pope will travel to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 7, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, April 16th. It will be a one day trip to visit the refugees arriving in the Greek coast fleeing war and violence. He will be accompanied the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew and Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, Ieronymos II.

A look at Albania... now and then. From concentration camps to a coming Papal visit

2014-07-12

On September 21st, the Pope is scheduled to travel to Albania. He made the surprise announcement during a Sunday Angelus. 

POPE FRANCIS
June 15th
"With this brief trip, I want to strengthen the faith of the Church in Albania. I want to show my support and love for a country that has suffered the consequences of  past ideologies, for a very long time.” 

That suffering Pope Francis was referring to, dates back decades. The country lived through Italy's Fascism and also, Nazi rule. For almost 40 years, it had a communist dictatorship.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, directly saw the effects this had on the country and its people. 

ARCH. VINCENZO PAGLIA
Pontifical Council for the Family, President
"I was the first Catholic priest to be allowed in Albania. It was March 13, 1991. At that point, there hadn't been free elections under the regime. The country was terrified.” 

In 1991, John Paul II sent in three priests, who could assess the standing of the Church, after years of persecution. 

ARCH. VINCENZO PAGLIA
Pontifical Council for the Family, President
"It was the only state in the world, where the constitution outright banned any type of religious gathering. All priests were in concentration camps. There was only one Bishop, who I actually visited. They set him free, after 19 years of imprisonment, where he was forced to live in a house full of sheep.” 

Parishes, he says were closed or turned into warehouses, garages or theaters. Christians prayed in secret, or else they faced persecution. 

But now, years later Archbishop Paglia visited the country in light of the Pope's upcoming visit.  He says, it's a much different situation now. 

ARCH. VINCENZO PAGLIA
Pontifical Council for the Family, President
"I've noticed an enthusiasm from everyone:  Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims. They see the Pope as the  spiritual leader of humanity.” 

Albania will actually be the first European country the Pope visits. It's a very symbolic trip, given the fact that just 20 years ago, Christians faced jailed time, for wearing a cross around their neck. 


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