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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:

Álvaro del Portillo is beatified


(-ONLY VIDEO-) The first successor of Josemaría Escrivá as prelate of Opus Dei has been beatified. Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided over the beatification ceremony in Madrid in front of thousands of pilgrims.

Pope Francis signed the decree that recognized the miracle attributed to the intercession of Álvaro del Portillo on July 5th, 2013. A newborn with numerous medical conditions was miraculosly healed after suffering major cardiac arrest.

Pope Francis sent a message on the occasion of the beatification of Alvaro del Portillo.

Dear brother,

The beatification of the Servant of God Álvaro delPortillo, faithful collaborator of St Josemaría Escrivá and his first successorat the head of Opus Dei, is a moment of special joy for all the faithful of thePrelature, and also for you, who were for so long a witness of his love for Godand others, and his fidelity to the Church and to his vocation. I too wish tounite myself to your joy and to thank God, who embellishes the face of theChurch with the holiness of her children.

His beatification will take place in Madrid, the citywhere he was born and spent his childhood and youth. Here his life began totake shape in the simplicity of family life, through friendship and service toothers, as when he went to outlying districts to help provide human andChristian formation to so many people in need. And in this city, above all,there took place the event that definitively marked the course of his life: hismeeting with St Josemaría Escrivá, from whom he learned to fall more in lovewith Christ every day. Yes, to fall in love with Christ. This is the path toholiness that every Christian has to follow: to let ourselves be loved by the Lord,to open up our hearts to his love, and to allow him to be the one who guidesour lives.

I like to recall the aspiration that the Servant ofGod would often repeat, especially for personal celebrations and anniversaries:"Thank you; forgive me; help me more!” These words bring us closer to thereality of his interior life and his relationship with the Lord, and can also helpto give a new impulse to our own Christian life.

In the first place, Thank you. This is the soul’s immediate, spontaneous reaction on experiencingGod’s goodness. It cannot be otherwise. He always goes ahead of us. Howeverhard we try, his love always gets there first, touches and caresses us first, Hebeats us to it. Álvaro del Portillowas aware of the many gifts God had given him, and thanked God for thatmanifestation of his fatherly love. But he did not stop at that: hisrecognition of Our Lord’s love awakened in his heart desires to follow him withgreater commitment and generosity, and to lead a life of humble service toothers. Especially outstanding was his love for the Church, the Spouse ofChrist, whom he served with a heart devoid of worldly self-interest, far from discord,welcoming towards everyone and always seeking in others what was positive, whatunited, what was constructive. He never spoke a word of complaint or criticism,even at especially difficult times, but instead, as he had learned from StJosemaría, he always responded with prayer, forgiveness, understanding andsincere charity.

Forgive me.He often confessed that he saw himself empty-handed before God, incapable ofresponding to so much generosity. But to admit our poverty as human beings isnot the result of despair but confident abandonment in God who is our Father.It means opening ourselves to his mercy, his love, which is able to regenerateour life. His love does not humiliate us, nor cast us into the depths of guilt,but embraces us, lifts us up from our prostration and enables us to go forwardwith more determination and joy. The Servant of God Álvaro knew the need wehave of God’s mercy, and devoted a lot of his own energy to encouraging thepeople he met to go to the sacrament of Confession, the sacrament of joy. Howimportant it is to feel the tenderness of God’s love, and discover that thereis still time to love!

Help me more.Yes, the Lord never abandons us, he is always at our side, he journeys with us,and every day he expects new love from us. His grace will not fail us, and withhis help we can take his name to the whole world. The heart of the new Blessed beatwith the desire to bring the Good News to all hearts. And so he travelled tomany countries to foster new projects for evangelization, undeterred by difficulties,moved by his love for God and his brethren. One who is very immersed in God isable to be very close to other people. The first condition for announcingChrist to them is to love them, because Christ loves them before we do. We haveto leave behind our selfish concerns and love of comfort, and go out to meetour brothers and sisters. That is where Our Lord is awaiting us. We cannot keepour faith to ourselves: it is a gift we have received to give away and sharewith others.

Thank you, forgive me, help me! These words expressthe thrust of a life that is centered on God. It is the life of someone who hasbeen touched by the greatest Love and who lives totally on that love; someonewho, while experiencing their own human weakness and limitations, trusts inGod’s mercy and wants all mankind, their brothers and sisters, to experience ittoo.

Dear brother, Blessed Álvaro del Portillo is sendingus a very clear message. He is telling us to trust in the Lord, that he is ourbrother, our friend, who never lets us down and is always at our side. He isencouraging us not to be afraid to go against the current and suffer forannouncing the Gospel. He is also teaching us that in the simplicity andordinariness of our daily lives we can find a sure path to holiness.

I ask all the faithful of the Prelature, priests andlay-people, as well as all those who take part in its activities, to please prayfor me. At the same time, I give them all my Apostolic Blessing.

May Jesus bless you, and may the Holy Virgin watchover you.