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Rome Reports

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Looking back at the best news events of 2015

Pope Francis made the headlines almost every day in 2015. The news covered all types of topics, but the good news events topped them all.  The Pope showed over and over again the importance he attaches to reaching out to the poor. In February, he had these showers next to St. Peter's Square installed for the homeless. A month later, he opened the doors for them to one of the greatest treasures of the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel. And in October, he inaugurated this night shelter for the homeless â?? a gift from the Jesuits.  The first quarter of this year also marked the time the Pope made the surprise announcement calling for a Jubilee on the theme of Mercy. POPE FRANCIS March 13, 2015 "I have often thought about how the Church can do more to make clear its mission of being a witness of mercy. It is a path that begins with a spiritual conversion. Therefore, I have decided to convene a special jubilee focused on God's mercy. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy." With great anticipation, the world welcomed the Popeâ??s encyclical "Laudato sí¬â?. He released the document on June 18th, a text so many appreciate for its revolutionary and inspiring words in defense of the environment. The Pope also launched an ecumenical initiative in 2015 when he visited a Waldensian church, the first time ever for a Pope. He asked forgiveness for the offenses committed in the past by Catholics.  Pope Francis offered many other examples of moving dialogue forward, when he met various world leaders and personalities from Fidel Castro to Barack Obama; Angela Merkel to the imam of Banguiâ??s Grand Mosque in the Central African Republic, he rode with him in the popemobile when greeting the people. In October, the Synod on the Family once again showed the importance Church holds for the family, while recognizing the unique challenges families face. He concluded the world gathering with a document offering encouragement, one which will also help him in preparing the final text to serve as a guide for the Church in the coming years. With this gesture ... Mercy became the star theme of 2015 and will remain so throughout 2016. On December 8th Pope Francis opened the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica. And in what seems to be an annual tradition now, the Pope offered a gift to the world right at the time of his birthday: he approved the miracle which paves the way for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be declared a Saint in 2016. AC/TJ RR JM -PR Up:AC