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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:
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.

Pope visit to Lesbos: The saddest journey that I have made


During his flight to the island of Lesbos, the Pope recalled how this is one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of our time. The Pope recalled that is the saddest journey that he has made.

"It is a sad journey. We are going to see the greatest humanitarian tragedy after World War II.”

The refugee situation in this European border is worsening as they are fleeing war but the governments are expelling them without any aid.

At the foot of the papal plane ladder, he was received by the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The Pope thanked him for Greece's generosity with refugees.

The Patriarch of Constantinople and the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece also awaited him. With them, the Pope traveled in a minibus to the Moria refugee camp, a place where the migrants arrive and can not leave freely. The camp is home to some 2,500 people who are waiting for a response from the government in order to be granted refugee asylum.

The Pope listened to their stories and dried their tears, as he listened, for over an hour, to the tragedies that have brought them there. 

While there, he first greeted orphans, children between 8 and 16 who have left behind everything.

Then the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople greeted many families. The Pope praised the humanity of the Orthodox Patriarch, who gave candy to the children.

Many said only their country of origin: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and especially Syria. Most were Muslims, but also Christians and Yazidis.

This man showed him his war wounds, and introduced him to his baby, born 15 days ago on the shores of Turkey.

This family comes from a Syrian city taken over by Isis. They worry about the fate of their relatives that stayed behind.

This family from Iraq asked for help because their daughter has skin cancer and needs the urgent care of a doctor.

It was a visit filled with emotion.

"Holy father, bless me, please, I'm a Christian. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah. Jesus thank you, thank God.”

"Tell what I can do and I will try."

"We hope that the world will heed these scenes of tragic and indeed desperate need, and respond in a way worthy of our common humanity”.

The three Christian leaders signed a joint statement calling on governments to put "all means to ensure that individuals and communities, including Christians, to remain in their homeland and enjoy the fundamental right to live in peace and security.”

Then refugees invited the Pope and the other religious leaders to lunch, and of course, they accepted the invitation.

- BN