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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.

Trekking the Route to Santiago and Via Francigena on a wheelchair to meet the Pope


Their names are Pietro, Giancarlo, Santiago, Pino and Bartolomeo. They have come to Rome to see the Pope. But they have not traveled by plane or train to get here. They have peddled on their bikes after 16 days of pilgrimage from the Lombardy region in northern Italy.

Pietro is in a wheelchair, although he does not let that get in his way. This is his fourth pilgrimage to the Route to Santiago in Spain, with the help of this customized bicycle.

And with his unique experience, he has written a book, 'Santiago per tutti' or 'Santiago for everyone,' to help other pilgrims like him to discover a route without physical or architectural barriers.

"This guide is special because, unlike the rest, it has three routes to reach different users. An original, pedestrian route; one that is completely asphalted, far from high-speed roads, as safe as possible and close to the original path and, finally, an accessible way with a number of points of interest along the route, which allows people to take charge of what they will find.”

In addition to writing a book, they formed the association Free Wheels Onlus. For example, they lend bicycles that are adapted for the disabled who cannot purchase them.

They believe that leaving home to set off on a journey is a great way to overcome barriers and coping with life. This is what Pietro and his friends have done on the Via Francigena that leads to Rome.

"We chose to walk the bike path, a path for bicycles studied precisely because Pietro moves on a hand bike, pedaling with arms. In transportation we have also opted for self-sufficiency, we move around on bikes. So, we have created a cart to carry the accessories that we need with us.”

They will not write a guidebook on the Via  Francigena but they want to share their spiritual experience along the way and the opportunity to  greet the Pope and give him their sweatshirts, Free Wheels Onlus. They want to show that the only barriers are in the mind.