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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.
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.

RISEN executive producer: We took nothing but the cross we wore on our necks


The executive producer for the movie RISEN, fled Iraq as a refugee with nothing but his faith. His experience and the coaxing from his parents led him to create this movie, RISEN, as an expression of his religious freedom and a tribute of respect to his parents. 

Executive Producer, RISEN
"We let go of everything we had, whether it was a little money or our house. We took nothing but the cross that we wore on our necks. That was it. Prayer, that's what got us through.” 

Pete Shilaimon immigrated to the United States in the 70s, following the same route that so many refugees are currently taking; but he admits that his plight was not nearly as bad as other have it now.

Prayer was the only strength he had, but despite difficulties and death, he started to question the Chaldean Catholic faith his parents fought so hard to keep. RISEN, through the main character Clavius, addresses these questions and resognates with the doubting Thomas' throughout the world, including Pete himself.

Executive Producer, RISEN
"I feel like I've been Clavius on that rock, having those one-on-ones with Christ and asking those questions, you know? I had a sister that died, my father passed away and there were so many "come to Jesus” moments where you just look up and ask those questions.” 

He says the making of this movie has brought him closer to his faith. He was able to meet Pope Francis in Rome with the film crew and now, he claims, he doesn't struggle with as much doubt.

Pete recognizes the message of hope the movie has imparted, not only on him, but on all those who have seen it. Through received Facebook messages and calls to his office, he says the impact has been one of hope, finding oneself, solidifying beliefs and the freedom to live again.

Executive Producer, RISEN
"I knew that it would speak to people. I knew that the people that were maybe questioning their faith would get revitalized again. And I think people that maybe were kind of on the fence might, you know, take another look and see if they could find it again; see if they could find their faith again; see if they could see the light.”

This light was definitely present, not only to the audience viewers around the world, but even to this executive producer who had both his heart and faith affected by his own film. 

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