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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:

August 2014: Pope Francis' Historial Trip to South Korea


On August 4th, the Pope met with over 50,000 altar servers from Germany who came to see him in St. Peter's Square. The Pope called on the youth to not let technology distract them from life. 

August 4
"Many children and young adults waste so much time on hollow things: Chatting on the internet, playing with the cell phone, seeing soap operas. High tech products are meant to make life simple and to improve the quality of life. But often, they distract us from what's really important.”  

However, the highlight of the month was the Pope's long awaited visit to South Korea. With tensions continuing to mount between North and South Korea, many anticipated a word of peace and reconciliation.

August 13
"Korea’s quest for peace is a cause close to our hearts, for it affects the stability of the entire area and indeed of our whole war-weary world.”

Two days into his visit, Pope Francis presided over the beatification of Paul Yun-Ji-Chung and another 123 martyrs who were killed during the height of the country's religious persecution in the 18th and 19th century.  The event saw the participation of more than 1 million people. 

During his homily, Pope Francis recalled the example of the martyrs as call to contribute to peace in the Korean peninsula.

August 15
"The legacy of the martyrs can inspire all men and women of good will to work in harmony for a more just, free and reconciled society, thus contributing to peace and the protection of authentically human values in this country and in our world.”

The Pope also provided comfort to grieving families who lost loved ones in the tragic Sewol ferry boat accident. While greeting the faithful in his Popemobile, he stopped to greet the families who were there protesting for the government to open an investigation into the tragedy.

On the final day of his visit, the Pope celebrated a Mass for Peace and Reconciliation in Seoul's Cathedral. He called on the faithful to follow the Gospel in order to obtain harmony in the two Koreas. 

August 18
"The Gospel calls you, as Christians and Koreans, firmly to reject a mindset shaped by suspicion, confrontation and competition, and instead to shape a culture formed by the teaching of the Gospel and the noblest traditional values of the Korean people.” 

On his return flight from South Korea, the Pope gave a candid press conference in which he called on the international community to defend Christians from the threat of the Islamic State. 

August 18
"It is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor. I want to underline the verb: stop. I don't  say bomb or start a war, but stop! The means by which that happens, need to be evaluated.” 

Although the Pope spends his time comforting those who are suffering, unfortunately he is not immune to tragedy. 

Three relatives of Pope Francis died on two days after his return from South Korea in a car crash in Argentina. During his General Audience that week, the Pope expressed his appreciation for the prayers for his family. 

August 20
"I too have a family. We were five siblings and I have 16 nieces and nephews. One of my nephews was involved in the car crash. His wife died and so did their two children: One was 2 years old, the other just a few months. My nephew is in critical condition. Thank you for your condolences and prayers.” 

The Pope ended the month, continuing his mission of sharing in the sufferings of people particularly in the Middle East.

He met with Fr. Jorge Hernandez, an Argentinian missionary working in Gaza during the Israeli campaign against Palestine. 

Pope Francis invited him to the Vatican to hear first hand accounts of what locals are dealing with, including the aftermath the destruction has left behind.