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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.

Third priest found dead in Mexico

September 26, 2016.Mexican priest, Alfredo Lopez Guillen, was found dead this weekend on a rural road about 350 km east of Mexico City, after being allegedly abducted and assaulted in his parish on Monday September 19. This is the third case of violence against priests in Mexico in just one week. On Monday, September 19, Fr. Nabor Jiménez and Fr. José Alfredo Juarez were also kidnapped in the church of Our Lady of Fatima. Hours later they found them lifeless in a ditch in Poza Rica, Veracruz. The Catholic Church wants clarification on the murders, because it is not yet known who could be the alleged perpetrators.

April 2014: Four Popes in St. Peter for the canonization of John Paul II and John XXII


The month of April 2014 will be remembered as a great month in the history of the Church for the canonization of two Popes, John Paul II and John XXIII. 

"We declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church.”

The ceremony also provided a unique moment in Church history: four popes were together in St. Peter's Square: Francis, Benedict XVI, John Paul II, and John XXIII. 

In front of a sea of thousands of people, Pope Francis said that the two newly canonized Popes showed the world the goodness of God.

"These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.” 

But they day began many hours earlier in St. Peter's Square. 

Almost one million pilgrims came to Rome. Each one had a personal history related with the Popes. 

"I was only a child but I remember John XXIII during the Council when he said 'when you go home, caress your children and tell them it is the caress of the Pope.”

"My name is John Paul in his honor.”

" I served food to John Paul II during a lunch with Cardinals at the convent of St. Joseph. This is me with the Pope.”

""We are from Poland, and we come here from Brodnica. We run 2000 km in seven days.” 

Although it took place on April 27th, preparations were underway for months in the Eternal City for such a special occasion.

Dozens of leaders from around the world came for the canonizations. Some, such as the King and Queen of Spain, took advantage of their stay in Rome to visit Pope Francis. It was only two months later that King Juan Carlos I would abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Felipe VI. 

During the month of April, Pope Francis met with two other monarchs. He held a meeting with the King of Jordan, Abdullah II on April 7th, several weeks before his visit to the Holy Land. And on April 3rd, he met with Queen Elizabeth II of England and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. The Pope gave her a gift for her great grandchild, Prince George of Cambridge. 

It was also the second Holy Week for Pope Francis as Pontiff. On Holy Thursday he celebrated the Mass of the Lord's Supper at a center for the disabled, elderly and sick people. There, he washed the feet of 12 patients, among them, 86 year old Angelica. 

"But as they say here, I'm on the last leg of the journey. He is great, a great, great person.”

For the Pope, the weak and the vulnerable must be at the heart of the Church. For this reason, on April 11th he asked forgiveness for the abuse of children committed by priest. 

"I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children.”

It was during a meeting with members of the  International Catholic Child Bureau which promotes the defense of rights of children worldwide.

Another tragedy close to the life of the Church is that of immigration. In order to bring it to the world's attention, the bishops of the United States and Mexico celebrated a joint Mass on the border to remember those who have abandoned their country in search of a better future.

April 2014 came and went without stopping at the Vatican. 30 days in which the Eternal City was visited by a record number of pilgrims. 30 days in which the Church overwhelmingly celebrated the canonization of two revolutionary Popes. 

-Up: GRT