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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.

Pope Francis to religious: Do not fall into spiritual Alzheimer's


The final stop of Pope Francis' tour of Latin America was at the Marian National Shrine of "El Quinche.”

Ecuadorians filled the streets during the Pope's final hours in their country, and they greeted him with enthusiasm. This is how the Popemobile arrived at the gates of the shrine.

Pope Francis entered the sanctuary carrying a bouquet of flowers. He left it at the feet of the patron saint of the country. He also placed a rosary and caressed the shrine. He then spoke before hundreds of monks, nuns, priests, and seminarians. He began by telling the Ecuadorian people he had been surprised by them.

"In these two days, 48 hours I was in touch with you noticed something was unusual, sorry, something unusual in the Ecuadorian people. All places where I always go the reception is cheerful, happy, friendly, religious, and devotional. Everywhere!”

Pope Francis confessed to them that there was only one possible explanation: That he had arrived while praying.

"I think that I must say it is a message from Jesus. All this wealth you have, spiritual wealth and piety, comes from having the courage you have. Because there were difficult moments, and there was the courage to consecrate the nation to the heart of Christ.”

From that point forward, the Pope decided to change plans and improvise. It ended up being one of his most powerful speeches in Ecuador. He focused on the two key aspects of religious life. The first is gratitude.

"You did not pay admission to enter the seminary, to enter religious life. You did not deserve it. If a religious, priest or seminarian or a nun in here believes that they deserved it, raise your hand. All free. And the life of a religious, a religious priest and a seminarian who is going down that road and well, also bishops, we say, has to go the way of gratitude. Come back to this every day: Lord, today I did this. This worked out. I had this difficulty, but it all comes from you.”

The second key aspect of religious life, according to the Pope, was to avoid a sickness that he called "spiritual Alzheimer's.”

"Do not fall into the spiritual Alzheimer's. Do not lose the memory. Especially the memory of where you came from. FLASH. And it's very sad when you see a priest, a devoted, a consecrated, who at home speaks a dialect or another language, speaks one of these languages of ancient noble people. Ecuador has how many? And it's very sad when they forget the language. It's very sad when they do not want to talk. That means that they forgot where they came from.”

He concluded by reminding them to give freely what is freely received, because their mission is to serve.

"Not that I have my time. I have my things. I have this, no. Now, I close the office. I would have gone to bless houses but I'm tired today, so I watch a nice soap opera on television for the nuns. Service. Serve, serve, and don't do anything else.”

And that's how Pope Francis concluded his final meeting in Ecuador. From the Sanctuary, he departed for the airport. From there, the Pope would head to his next stop: Bolivia.