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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.

The 700 migrants who died on a sunken ship receive a dignified burial


This ship, which carried the hopes and dreams of hundreds of migrants, also became their tomb...

The Italian Navy recovered the boat from the sea a few days ago after it had been sunken for a year. There were more than 700 dead inside the boat.

It is estimated that about 850 people were on the boat, of which only 28 were saved. Some dead bodies were recovered because the vast majority were in the cellar of the sunken ship.

Now preparations for a decent burial for the migrants has begun. 

Director, Fondazione Migrantes
"The initiative, this great humanitarian initiative, was an idea of the Italian government, which aims to acknowledge the great merit of rescuing these people, to allow the recognition of their identities for the families of these people."

The Fondazione Migrantes is an agency of the Italian Bishops' Conference that deals with migrants and refugees. It will work with the Italian Police to facilitate the arrival of the relatives and their return to their home countries with the body of their loved one. They are also willing to provide the necessary financial aid.

The Pope has asked that in this Jubilee of Mercy, Christians practice the works of mercy. One of them is "burying the dead."

Director, Fondazione Migrantes
"It looked like something from the past but in reality this work of mercy, as shown, is great in the present."

The combined effort of the network of 12,000 missionaries spread around the world and Italian embassies will help look for prospective families. It is a small gesture of humanity in the midst of a tragedy that seems endless.

Director, Fondazione Migrantes
"It's not just about burying a body, it is to let a family, a mother know that her son is gone. So they do not have to continue to live with uncertainty of not knowing where their child is or if someone could do something for him."

So far this year, nearly 3,000 people have died in the Mediterranean waters trying to find a better life away from hunger, war or violence.

Director, Fondazione Migrantes
"This picture of the recovered boat is a great symbol to end this slavery we left in the hands of others."

The EU treaty with Turkey revived the dangerous route from the Libyan coast to Italy. While the distance from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos is only 10 miles, from Libya to Lampedusa it is more than 300 miles. During the journey from Libya on April 18, 2015, 700 people died.