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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:

April 2015: Pope takes initiative against human trafficking and the Armenian genocide


The Pope remained in Rome during the month of April, which started strong with the celebration of Easter. He released important messages about the persecution of Christians, human trafficking, and the Armenian genocide. The Pope also called for an end to the death of migrants in the Mediterranean. 

During the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, he celebrated the feast of priests with a message for them: Do not look over your shoulder and be on guard against temptation. 

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"The faithful never leave us without something to do, unless we hide in our offices or go out in our cars wearing sun glasses.”

In the afternoon, Francis broke away from the traditional celebration of the Last Supper in the Cathedral of San Giovanni by having a more humble celebration at a prison in Rome. There he washed and kissed the feet of 12 prisoners, men and women from various parts of the world.

The Pope also recalled persecuted Christians and denounced the silence, a message that is usually the focus of the Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum on Good Friday. 

"In You, Divine Love, we still see our persecuted brothers, beheaded and crucified because of their faith while we watch or while we remain silent accomplices.”

Two days later, in the usual blessing 'Urbi et Orbi' on Easter Sunday, the Pope prayed for the 147 students killed by Islamist terrorists. The problem of jihadi attacks has been constant throughout the year. 

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The following Sunday, Francis celebrated Mass to mark the first anniversary of the Armenian genocide, during which he named Armenian St. Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church. 

Pope Francis referred to the slaughter of one million Armenians 'genocide,' which angered Turkey. However, the European Parliament stood beside the Pope in the conflict and that same week called on Turkey to officially acknowledge the genocide. 

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In the Regina Coeli on Sunday, April 19, the Pope prayed for the 700 migrants who died in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach the Italian coast. 

"I express my deepest sorrow in the face of this tragedy and I assure my thoughts and prayers to those still missing and to their families. I address an urgent appeal that the international community will act with decision and promptness to avoid any similar tragedy from happening again.”

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This question was the focus of the first meeting between Pope Francis and Italy's new president, Sergio Mattarella. 

The Pope's agenda intensified during the final days of April. He met with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban-Ki Moon. The two discussed climate change, one of the major issues the Pope has taken on this past year.

On 29th, the Pope reflected on why young people seem to be rejecting marriage. It's a major issue that would be discussed at the Synod on the Family a few months later.

"Why aren't young people getting married? Why do they prefer to live together and often times with limited responsibility? Many couples, even the Baptized are showing little faith in marriage and in the family.”

Pope Francis closed the month with a major public encounter with Jesuit congregations. More than 5,000 people were present, and many asked questions. In his responses, the Pope offered a call to action.

"You must ask yourself, as a Catholic, Do I see reality from afar? You can't be a spectator. Commit yourself. Do your best. If the Lord calls you to it, get involved in politics. It will make you suffer, perhaps even lead you to sin, but the Lord is with you. Ask for forgiveness and go forward.”

The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission also came to Rome, and the Pope gave a message of unity by the 'link' that unites all Christians.