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Rome Reports

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April 2016: The month of Amoris Laetitia

The month of April was marked by the publication of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, "Amoris Laetitia." On April 8, this pastoral document was drawn up with conclusions from the two Synods on the family. The expected document was presented at a massive press conference at the Vatican. April 8, 2016 CARD. CHRISTOPH SCHí?NBORN Archbishop of Vienna "For me, this document holds authentic novelties but not a rupture.â?   In the exhortation, the pope asks Catholics to promote the beauty of marriage and to help couples cope with the challenges of living together. It also promotes a sense of welcome for those who have suffered a divorce, asking to address these situations case-by-case "in a constructive way."   In order to do this, the pope asks that the concept of "discernment" is worked through, that is to address doubts in the company of a priest so that each person can become aware of their own situation before God.   The surprise during the month of April came during the pope's trip to a refugee camp in Greece, on the island of Lesbos.   POPE FRANCIS â?¨April 16, 2016 "It is a sad journey. We are going to see the greatest humanitarian tragedy after World War II." He visited the Moria refugee camp, which is a symbol of Europe's indifference to the suffering of thousands of refugees. He could witness the despair these people had, especially when this woman wept on her knees before him. Although it may seem obvious, the pope had to remind the world that refugees are not numbers, they are people.   POPE FRANCIS "The worries expressed by institutions and people, both in Greece and in other European countries, are understandable and legitimate. We must never forget, however, that migrants, rather than simply being a statistic. They are first of all persons who have faces, names and individual stories. Europe is the homeland of human rights, and whoever sets foot on European soil ought to sense this, and thus become more aware of the duty to respect and defend those rights." After preaching with words, the pope led by example. It wasn't until they arrived at the same staircase to the plane as the pope, when the world discovered that he took three families with him to Rome.   Once in Italy, it was Pope Francis himself who welcomed these people to their new life. "Thank you. I appreciate everything you've done for us." "Thank you, pope..." He was so shocked by the refugee situation that he apologized for how they are being treated. POPE FRANCIS â?¨April 19, 2016 "Too many times you have not been welcomed! Forgive the closure and indifference of our societies that fear the change in lifestyle and mentality that requires your presence. You are treated like a burden, a problem, a cost, but are, instead, a gift." In April, the pope also made time for details like this: fulfilling the dream of the little Lizzy Myers, the 5-year-old girl will lose her sight and hearing from a degenerative illness. Before all this happened, she wanted to meet the pope. Her dream came true and Pope Francis did not hesitate to tenderly meet the little girl.   AC/MB CTV / RR -S -PR Up:JD