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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:

Msgr. Romero was killed while celebrating Mass … and so were these four other priests


Pope Saint Sixtus II died in the third century and Saint Stanislaus of Poland in the eleventh. Although they lived hundreds of years apart in completely different contexts, these two have something in common: They were both murdered while celebrating mass.

Sixtus II was arrested and beheaded under the persecution of Emperor Valerian. Saint Stanislaus, however, was murdered for exposing the cruelty and promiscuity of Poland's king. Some believe it was the king who killed the saint while he celebrated Mass.

Secretary for Seminars, Congregation for the Clergy
"All saints, their every day service, simply, of daily life, is fed by the Eucharist. And this prepares them for pinnacle moments, moments of martyrdom.”

A beatification will take place on May 23 in El Salvador for a martyr who was shot while celebrating Mass in 1980. His murder shocked all of Latin America. This is Oscar Romero, of course, the Archbishop of San Salvador.

Secretary for Seminars, Congregation for the Clergy
"In the case of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and many saints, their daily Eucharist gave them the light of the Gospel to face difficult situations. Every day, every Christian experiences difficult situations: economic, political, social. They must face them with mercy, love, forgiveness, fraternity, even though these situations are unjust and go against the dignity of the person.”

Another martyr whose death had a great impact at the time was Thomas Becket, who was killed in 12th century England. He was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, though not while celebrating Mass. He became a symbol of state inference in the rights of the Church.

The martyrdom of Oscar Romero, Pope Saint Sixtus II and Saint Stanislaus are among the best known, but they are far from alone. Each lived and died in very different times and situations. Despite the adversity, all remained firm in their faith and paid the ultimate price.