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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.”

The Via Francigena, or the Camino de Santiago to Rome


Via Francigena is a pilgrimage route that starts in Canterbury, England, and ends in Rome. Lately, its been booming. The more than one thousand mile road has seen a 30 percent increase in pilgrimage in the last year, and its expected to grow even more during the Jubilee of Mercy.

There are more than 80 steps that need to be taken to reach the Eternal City, using this particular path. The people who are promoting it have a dream in mind.

President, European association of Via Francigena
"Via Francigena wants to emulate the success of the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage of lay and religious people to the tomb of Santiago and the pilgrimage to the tomb of Peter are similar. Through important localities as in our case if Italy and Spain. Today, Via Francigena has fewer  pilgrims than Santiago. The numbers from 2014 are 35,000 compared to 230,000 in Santiago. We are currently at just 15 percent of the numbers.”

Just a few weeks before the start of the Jubilee of Mercy, 86 cities are working together to promote Via Francigena. They have improved the road signs and safety in four countries: England, France, Switzerland and Italy. But this approach is not limited by those traveling by foot to Rome.

President, European association of Via Francigena
"It is a project of the city officials to create accessible trails for each walking route. For example, in Tuscany, there is already a road adopted for bicycles and many are traveling also using back roads, even by horseback.”

The development of railways and  improvements of roads has made the walking to Rome impossible in the last century. The recovery of the Via Francigena only happened a few years ago, in 2011.

President, European association of Via Francigena
"We talked about only it 14 years ago. It is when a group of mayors of 30 different municipalities, to be exact, discussed the project of the Council of Europe: the Via Francigena. In sensed, because of an intuition, that by promote the Via Francigena, we would create a flow, like that of Santiago, as they walked toward Rome.”

Currently, they are working on an agreement with the Government of Galicia, in Spain. They want the Camino de Santiago to promote the Via Francigena, in an exchange for them promoting Santiago.