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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.

Full text of the Pope's powerful speech to prisoners


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for receiving me and givingme the opportunity to be here with you and to share this time in yourlives. It is a difficult time, one full of struggles. I know it is apainful time not only for you, but also for your families and for allof society. Any society, any family, which cannot share or takeseriously the pain of its children, and views that pain as somethingnormal or to be expected, is a society "condemned” to remain ahostage to itself, prey to the very things which cause that pain.

I am here as a pastor, but above all asa brother, to share your situation and to make it my own. I have comeso that we can pray together and offer our God everything that causesus pain, but also everything that gives us hope, so that we canreceive from him the power of the resurrection.

I think of the Gospel scene where Jesuswashes the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. This wassomething his disciples found hard to accept. Even Peter refused, andtold him: "You will never wash my feet” (Jn 13:8).

In those days, it was the custom towash someone’s feet when they came to your home. That was how theywelcomed people. The roads were not paved, they were covered withdust, and little stones would get stuck in your sandals. Everyonewalked those roads, which left their feet dusty, bruised or cut fromthose stones. That is why we see Jesus washing feet, our feet, thefeet of his disciples, then and now.

Life is a journey, along differentroads, different paths, which leave their mark on us.

We know in faith that Jesus seeks usout. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt fromtravelling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from ourjourney. He doesn’t ask us where we have been, he doesn’tquestion us what about we have done. Rather, he tells us: "Unless Iwash your feet, you have no share with me” (Jn 13:8). Unless I washyour feet, I will not be able to give you the life which the Fatheralways dreamed of, the life for which he created you. Jesus comes tomeet us, so that he can restore our dignity as children of God. Hewants to help us to set out again, to resume our journey, to recoverour hope, to restore our faith and trust. He wants us to keep walkingalong the paths of life, to realize that we have a mission, and thatconfinement is not the same thing as exclusion.

Life means "getting our feet dirty”from the dust-filled roads of life and history. All of us need to becleansed, to be washed. All of us are being sought out by theTeacher, who wants to help us resume our journey. The Lord goes insearch of us; to all of us he stretches out a helping hand.

It is painful when we see prisonsystems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain,to offer new possibilities. It is painful when we see people whothink that only others need to be cleansed, purified, and do notrecognize that their weariness, pain and wounds are also theweariness, pain and wounds of society. The Lord tells us this clearlywith a sign: he washes our feet so we can come back to the table. Thetable from which he wishes no one to be excluded. The table which isspread for all and to which all of us are invited.

This time in your life can only haveone purpose: to give you a hand in getting back on the right road, togive you a hand to help you rejoin society. All of us are part ofthat effort, all of us are invited to encourage, help and enable yourrehabilitation. A rehabilitation which everyone seeks and desires:inmates and their families, correctional authorities, social andeducational programs. A rehabilitation which benefits and elevatesthe morale of the entire community.

Jesus invites us to share in his lot,his way of living and acting. He teaches us to see the world throughhis eyes. Eyes which are not scandalized by the dust picked up alongthe way, but want to cleanse, heal and restore. He asks us to createnew opportunities: for inmates, for their families, for correctionalauthorities, and for society as a whole.

I encourage you to have this attitudewith one another and with all those who in any way are part of thisinstitution. May you make possible new opportunities, new journeys,new paths.

All of us have something we need to becleansed of, or purified from. May the knowledge of that fact inspireus to live in solidarity, to support one another and seek the bestfor others.

Let us look to Jesus, who washes ourfeet. He is "the way, and the truth, and the life”. He comes tosave us from the lie that says no one can change. He helps us tojourney along the paths of life and fulfillment. May the power of hislove and his resurrection always be a path leading you to new life.