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New Custodian of the Holy Land

May 20, 2016. Friar Francesco Patton is the new Custodian of the Holy Land. He succeeds Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in office for the last 12 years. Friar Francesco Patton is 52 years old from Vigo Meano (Italy). He graduated in Communication Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and until now was the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor in Saint Vigilius of Trent.

Pope thanks Sudanese woman who faced the death penalty for being Christian

2014-07-24

Up until recently, she faced the death penalty for being Christian. But now, just months later, the Sudanese woman who made international headlines, got to meet Pope Francis, accompanied by her husband and two children. 

The young mother was sentenced to death back in May, convicted of converting to Christianity. Before heading off to the U.S, she traveled to Rome on Thursday, where she met with Pope Francis. As the Pope met Maya, the baby girl who was born in prison, he thanked Meriam for her testimony of faith. 

POPE FRANCIS
"I want to thank you for your Christian testimony. Thank you for being an example to us all.” 

Meriam took a flight from Sudan's capitol to Rome. Upon arrival she was welcomed  by several Italian authorities. 

While speaking with the Pope, she and her husband shared the living nightmare they experienced as a family. A relative of hers, accused her of marrying a Christian. As a result, on May 15th, she was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging. She was eight moths pregnant at the time. 

In prison, she gave birth to her baby girl, with her legs chained. After an international outcry, she was released.  It's something that still brings tears to their eyes. Out of respect, the Pope asked the cameramen to leave the room. 

POPE FRANCIS
"Can we cut this and stop?

The Pope also greeted the Italian authorities who accompanied the family to the Vatican. As a gift, he gave the young couple rosaries and walked them to the door of his residence, in Casa Santa Marta. 

Visibly moved, the Pope thanked the family for their visit and above all else, for their testimony of faith. 


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