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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:
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.

Diocese of Rome expands family home for people living with AIDS


For 25 years, the Caritas branch of the Diocese of Rome has taken an active approach to caring for people living with AIDS. When it first started,  fear was high, and those infected had few place to turn to. The live-in facility was opened in Villa Glori, in a posh Roman neighborhood. It's not a medical center, but it's a place they can call home. 

Director, Villa Glori Family Home
"Our center was demonized.  Neighbors didn't want it there. There was fear then, and there's still some now. It was tough at first, even those of us who worked here were scared.”

Twenty years ago, Massimo Raimondi became a volunteer. Back then,  basic care was provided, but more than anything it was a home for them to die with dignity. Some patients were so far along in the illness, that they would die in just a few months. With advances in treating the disease, people began living longer, and the center also shifted its focus to and became a home. 

Now, as the center's director, Raimondi looks after 26 residents. The majority have troubled pasts, including homelessness and drug use. His main goal is give these men and women a family.

Director, Villa Glori Family Home
"One of the most common ailments is depression, and this tends to create psychiatric problems. We believe that, there's more to it than just medicine. We should fight this disease with affection: respect for each person and affection.”

The director says their main mission is provide support, and like any other family, stand by them as they seek treatment. The group lives there, it's their home, but medical and psychological services are not provided. Instead, they want to encourage people to get out of the center and interact with others.

For the past four years, expansion plans moved slowly. Thanks to a generous donation from a neighboring family, they remodeled a camp house. The residents helped in the process.

Director, Villa Glori Family Home
"Not because we couldn't find people to do this job. But, it was more important if they committed themselves. First, to use up their time, but also to make them feel like this is their place, their home.”

This chapel, once a crumbling building, is also part of the expansion project. Pope Francis even donated the bell used in services. In September, residents move in to the new pavilion, which will also allow them to house three more people. 

Once they've settled in, a third part of the expansion process will begin. The abandoned building will eventually become a daycare center for people with Alzheimer's.