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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:

Priestly vocations are up in the U.S...What gives?


It's a call to serve...a vocation to dedicate one's life to the Church. But the question iswhat influences these seminarians to pursue the priesthood? A recent study in the U.S, shows that at least in the U.S, one of the main factors is the influence of local parish priests. 

American Seminarian 
"After Mass one day... I’m about ready to leave, when Fr. Morgan stops me, this is after four years of not having said a word, and he asks me point blankly, If I want to be a priest?”

James says, he felt called to the priesthood as a child. For others like Jeff, it was seeing a parish priest suffer through a terminal illness that struck him to the core. 

"Throughout that- he was joyfully suffering and embracing the cross in a sacrificial way, offering his priesthood for his parishioners and just for the complete love of Christ.” 

Andrew felt the call later in life, after doing missionary work for one year and being a youth minister. 

American Seminarian
"I went to college, I had no desire to be a priest. After college I had no desire to be a priest. It was really after working for a couple of years, that it kind of hit me.”

It's estimated that 595 American seminarians will be ordained priests this year. It's a number that represents a 25 percent hike in the U.S, when compared to 2014. This according to the Center for Applied Research.

"The quality of seminarians, especially among the younger ones is quite good, in terms of spiritual life, human virtues, hard work, comfort with the secular work.” 

According to that same study, after the influence of a local parish priest, education in all its forms comes next...whether within the family or in a Catholic school or institution. 

Daniel, was interested in film production, but he felt that somehow, that wasn't enough. 

American Seminarian 
"The success that I could grow in the Hollywood industry is limited to myself. I realized I wanted to do something that is beyond the self, that is self giving.” 

It's estimated that in the U.S, one out of every five parishes don't have an assigned parish priest. 
When Pope Francis visits the U.S in September, the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops, hopes the papal visit will also trigger more vocations for generations to come.