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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.
World

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.
Pope Francis

Holy See adopts UN Convention against Corruption

September 23, 2016. Pope Francis has asked the Vatican to be exemplary in the fight against corruption and meet the set international standards in this regard. Therefore, the Secretary of State has announced that the Holy See will conform to the Merida Convention against Corruption. This requires countries to implement anti-corruption measures concerning its laws, institutions and practices. From now on, the Roman Curia and the Vatican City State will review its administrative procedures to align them to the standards set by the Convention. Through this compliance, the Vatican says it hopes to contribute to increased transparency and proper management of public affairs in the international community.
Pope Francis

Cardinal Parolin to preside at liturgy before peace signing between Colombia and FARC

September 20, 2016. Colombia's government has invited the Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, to preside over a liturgy before the ceremony to unite representatives from the Colombian government and the FARC, in Cartagena de Indias. The liturgy will take place before the ceremony related to agreements of Havana between the Colombian government and the FARC. It will be next Monday, September 26, and dozens of heads of state are scheduled to attend. In the liturgy, Parolin will "ask God to enlighten each Colombian to work conscientiously and with complete freedom, so that in a responsible and informed way, they can participate in making decisions that concern the common good of the entire country, which is so dear to Pope Francis."
Pope Francis

Pope Francis pays tribute to Father Jacques Hamel

September 13, 2016. Pope Francis will celebrate Mass for Jacques Hamel, the priest murdered in France by two terrorists on July 26 in the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. It will be held on Wednesday, September 14 at 7 a.m inside the chapel of his residence in Casa Santa Marta. The bishop from Diocese of Rouen along with 80 pilgrims from the same diocese will be present.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis' calendar from September to November

SEPTEMBER Sunday 25, 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time: At 10.30 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square, Holy Mass and Jubilee of Catechists. Friday 30 to Sunday 2 October: Apostolic trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan. OCTOBER Saturday 8: At 5.30 p.m. in St. Peter’s Square, Marian vigil. Sunday 9, 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time: At 10.30 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square, Holy Mass and Marian Jubilee. Sunday 16: 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time: At 10.15 in St. Peter’s Square, Holy Mass and canonisation of Blesseds Salomone Leclercq, José Sanchez del Rio, Manuel González García, Lodovico Pavoni, Alfonso Maria Fusco, José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, and Elisabeth of the Holy Trinity. Monday 31 to Tuesday 1 November: Apostolic trip to Sweden to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. NOVEMBER Friday 4: At 11.30 in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for the souls of cardinals and bishops who died during the year. Sunday 6, 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time: At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass and Jubilee of Prisoners. Sunday 13, 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time: At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass and Jubilee of the Homeless. Sunday 20, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe: At 10 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square, Holy Mass for the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy.

June 2015: Pope Francis releases encyclical, makes historic visit to Sarajevo

2015-12-28

Pope Francis had a busy year in 2015, and June was no exception. In between two papal visits to Sarajevo and Turin, he released his much-anticipated encyclical, "Laudato Si.”

The Sarajevo trip took place on June 6th. The elephant in the room was the country's civil war. Although it ended 20 years ago, helping to heal the war's wounds was one of the Pope's top goals. He gave a stirring speech about the importance of equality and rejecting divisions.

POPE FRANCIS
"In order to successfully oppose the barbarity of those who would make of every difference the occasion and pretext for further unspeakable violence, we need to recognize the fundamental values of human communities, values in the name of which we can and must cooperate.”

Later, he said Mass at the same stadium that Pope John Paul II had come to years ago. Sixty thousand people filled the venue, but from the helicopter it seemed like more. 

There was a special place in the stadium reserved for those who were hurt or mutilated during the war. In his homily, Pope Francis directly called out those who he held responsible for wars.

POPE FRANCIS
"In the context of global communications, we sense an atmosphere of war. Some wish to incite and foment this atmosphere deliberately, mainly those who want conflict between different cultures and societies, and those who speculate on wars for the purpose of selling arms.”

Later in the day, he heard powerful testimony from priests and nuns who were persecuted during the civil war.

"The militants forced the pastor, Father Vinko, to put my rosary under his shoes. He refused to do so. One of the militiamen, unsheathing his sword, threatened to hit me if he did not trample and desecrate the rosary. Then I said to the pastor: 'Father Vinko, let them kill me, but, for the love of God, do not trample our Sacred object!'”

The Pope was moved and he responded without notes. He told them that they must forgive, but they cannot forget what happened during the war.

POPE FRANCIS
"You don't have the right to forget your history. Not for revenge, but to make peace. Not to look at them as something strange, but to love as they have loved.”

Later that month, Pope Francis' "ecology encyclical” was released. "Laudato Si” instantly became one of the most talked-about encyclicals in the history of the Church.

In the document, the Pope doesn't focus on technical solutions to care for the environment. Rather he encourages Christians to embrace changes in their everyday lifestyle. More specifically, he calls for extreme consumerism to stop. 

Experts in theology, science, and business gathered at the Vatican to address the controversy that came with the document's release. 

CARD. PETER TURKSON
"It's a call to dialogue on all levels for the solution of problems which are common to all of us.”

JOHN ZIZIOULAS
Eastern Orthodox metropolitan of Pergamon
"I've been involved with ecumenical gatherings for many, many years, but it's the first time that I'm confronted with so many mass media. So may God help me, help protect me.”

A few days after releasing the new papal document, Pope Francis traveled north to visit the Holy Shroud in Turin, Italy.

There was silence as Pope Francis prayed for several minutes in front of the relic, which is said to have covered Jesus' dead body. When he finished praying, the Pope reached out and touched the frame that holds the Shroud.

Even though a Pope has never officially recognized this linen cloth as the one that covered the body of Jesus after his Crucifixion, the Holy Shroud is nonetheless the most prized relic of the Catholic Church.

After vising the relic, Pope Francis stopped speak to tens of thousands of young people. He spoke with them about love and urged them to avoid living a hedonistic lifestyle.

POPE FRANCIS
"Often, advertisers want to convince us that something is beautiful and that it's good. They make us believe they're selling diamonds, when in reality, it's only glass.” 

True love, according to Pope Francis, entails respect and service. People must not love others just to satisfy their own need for pleasure.

POPE FRANCIS
"It's a love that recognizes the life of the other as something sacred. It says: 'I respect you, I don't want to use you.' It's not easy. We all know the difficulties that rise when trying to overcome the simplistic and hedonistic concept of love. Forgive me, if I said something you weren't expecting, but please, I ask you to make an effort to live a chaste love.” 

The Pope also had a private meeting with some of his relatives who live in the Turin area.


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