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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.

December 2014: Interfaith commitment to fight against human trafficking


The month of December started off with a call to action. Religious leaders of different faiths went to the Vatican to sign an agreement against human trafficking. 

"We hereby declare on behalf of each and every one of our faiths, that modern slavery, be it human trafficking, forced labor, prostitution or the sale of organs, is a crime against humanity. The victims are from all walks of life, but usually it affects the poorest and most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.” 

Archbishop of Canterbury
"At a time when faiths are seen wrongly as a cause of conflict it is a sign of real hope that today global faith leaders have together committed themselves publicly to the battle to end modern slavery.” 

With their signature, they all agreed to work together against forced labor, prostitution and the illegal sale of organs. Issues that now affect more than 36 million people. 

On December 12th, the Pope celebrated a Mass to honor the Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Among those in attendance where ambassadors and Latin American leaders. 

It was a so called Creole Mass which combines Christian prayers with Argentinian beats and folk music. 

At a time when many Latin American countries face instability, the Pope called on Christians to make the continent one of hope. He also called on them to have faith in Our Lady and to live out the Gospel. 

"We only have to turn our hearts to Our Lady. That way we'll listen to the voice of a tender and caring Mother who asks us: 'Why are you afraid? Am I not by your side?

At the end of the Mass the Pope placed a golden rose at the feet of Our Lady. It's a flower that's traveled throughout parishes in the Americas. From Alaska, all the way to Chile. 

And just as Pope Francis got a surprise for his 78th  birthday at St. Peter's Square, the world was surprised by historical news. The US and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations.

Both Barack Obama and Raul Castro highlighted the key of role Pope Francis played in the reconciliation of the two countries.

Of course, part of the Season's cheer is having a Christmas tree. This year, the tree came from Calabria in Southern Italy. 

It stands about 85 feet tall and it weighs eight tons. 

It took weeks to set up all the lighting, but the end result was well worth it. 

Of course, just a few feet away, there's this year's Nativity Scene, which came all the way from the city of Verona. 

Two symbols that mark a birth that happened more than 2000 years ago, in Bethlehem...and that changed the world. 

- PR