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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.

Stopover in Rome for pilgrims traveling to WYD in Krakow


World Youth Day is around the corner and many attendees are using the opportunity to visit other European countries before the start of this international meeting. Rome is the most popular addition with 35.2% of all pilgrims taking time to visit the Vatican.

"We're from the Newcastle Diocese, in Australia, New South Wales, and we're here as a massive group of 72 people. We're here to experience everything, see the Pope, meet the Pope, and connect with other Catholics.”

"It's going to be a once in a lifetime experience. I don't think Pope will come to Sydney, World Youth Day has already been in Sydney, we're never going to be 16 again doing this trip, so why not?”. 

Many have a very clear itinerary for their trip to Poland, others are going to improvise. Some have even found help along the way.

"There is already a group there; they have all of the information. I did get a text message yesterday telling us that there is a lot of trouble with food distribution, with getting information and stuff like that, but you know what? We are young so...”

"We have organized the stays in every country we have been to, and we've spoken to the brothers of the communities in other towns, and they have helped us arrange our stays. In fact, this priest is hosting us here in Italy.”

"They're behaving very well. They're young people with a deep-rooted faith and they are looking forward to finding the Lord, which I think is crucial in this pilgrimage, because Jesus Christ is waiting for us and He wants to transform our hearts.”

Even though many don't have a clear plan, there are two things they know for sure: the places they want to see in Krakow and the reasons for going to WYD.

"We want to see all the places where John Paul II spent his life, because he was a Pope who left a mark in our lives.”

"One of our plans is to visit the Shrine of the Divine Mercy and to discover and feel where this devotion came from, the message the Pope wants to pass on, and his Mercy through love.”

"The reunion of the whole community. Catholics from all over the world coming together in one place, with one goal, is incredible.”

In order to make the most of their trip to Europe, many are planning on staying around for a few more days after WYD. 

"Now we are going to Venice, Pisa, Florence, Venecia, then to Cologne. We will be in Krakow, Auschwitz, then Warsaw and Madrid, Berlin, Amsterdam, France, Avignon. Paris, we go back to Madrid, then in Zaragoza for a while, and then we go back to Colombia.”

WYD will be, without a doubt, an unforgettable experience for everyone.