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Rome Reports

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February 2014: Benedict XVI first appearance in public as Pope Emeritus

February left several memorable moments.  For the first time, a Pope celebrated St. Valentine's Day, the patron saint of lovers. More than 10,000 couples accompanied the Pope in St. Peter's Square.  POPE FRANCIS February 14th, 2014 "You can't base your marriage on feelings that come and go. It has to be firm and strong, like a rock-just like God's love. Through this love, a family is born.â?  As violence erupted in Ukraine, Pope Francis repeatedly expressed his concern for the conflicts occurring in the East of the country.  POPE FRANCIS February 19, 2014 "I assure the Ukrainian people of my closeness, and pray for the victims of violence, for their families, and for the injured. I invite all parties to cease any kind of violent action and to seek unity and peace in the country.â? These calls for peace in Ukraine were constant throughout the year.  On February 22nd, the Pope created cardinals for the first time. Among the 19 were Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, Mario Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Ricardo Ezzati , Archbishop of Santiago de Chile. Yet the highlight of the ceremony was this. It was the first public ceremony in which Benedict XVI participated as Pope Emeritus. It also marked one year since his historic resignation.  February 24th, 2014 will be remembered as an important day in the reform of the Vatican undertaken by Pope Francis. On that day, the Pope created the Secretariat of the Economy, a department that oversees all economic and administrative aspects of the Vatican. Australian Cardinal George Pell was chosen to lead as Prefect.  FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI Vatican Spokesman "We're dealing with a wider structure, which affects all the other administrative structures within the Holy See. Here, we're talking about all the institutions that have a financial or administrative aspect. So, from now on, they will be under the guidance of this new body, which has a wider scope.â?  With this important decision, Pope Francis fights against Vatican bureaucracy, avoids unnecessary spending and achieves a greater financial transparency.  Lastly, on February 26th, the Legionaries of Christ concluded their Extraordinary General Chapter in Rome. The meeting left behind the scandals of their founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel and look towards a new future. Among other achievements, they chose a new General Director, Mexican Father Eduardo Robles Gil, and also drafted new constitutions. PM-JAE CTV -PR Up: GRT #Papa