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New Bishop in San Diego (United States)
March 3, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Aux. Bishop Robert McElroy of San Francisco to head the Diocese of San Diego. McElroy is 61.
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New bishop in San Andrés Tuxtla (Mexico)
March 2, 2015. The Pope has appointed Fidencio Lopez Plaza, a priest from the diocese of Querétaro, to be the new Bishop of San Andrés. 
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Appointments
February 27, 2015. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Charles Jude Scicluna as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Malta. Up until now, he had served as the Bishop of San Leone and as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Malta. 
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New bishops in the Dominican Republic and Colombia
February 23, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of three bishops from the Dominican Republic. They are Ramon Benito de la Rosa (Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros), Rafael Leonidas Felipe and Núñez (Diocese of Barahona) and Antonio Camilo Gonzalez (Diocese of La Vega).

In their places, he has appointed Freddy Antonio de Jesus Breton Martínez (Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros), who is transferring from the Diocese of Bani; Andrew Napoleon Romero Cárdenas (Diocese of Barahona); and Hector Rafael Rodríguez Rodríguez, M.S.C. (Diocese of La Vega).
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New Doctor of the Church
February 23, 2015. San Gregorio di Narek will soon be named a Doctor of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis. The Armenian theologian, philosopher and writer was born around 950 and died in 1005. He lived most of his life in a monastery in Narek and for years now he has been considered a Doctor of the Armenian Church.
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New bishop in Colombia
February 19, 2105. The Pope has appointed Francisco José Méndez Crispiano Clavijo to be the new bishop of Sincelejo (Colombia). Until now, he was rector of the John Paul II diocesan seminary in Valledupar (Colombia).
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Nominations
February 17, 2015. Msgr. Adolfo Tito Yllana, has been nominated by Pope Francis as the new nuncio of Australia. Up until now, he served as the nuncio, or papal respresentative, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
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Coptic Pope phoned by Pope Francis
February 16, 2015. In light of the brutal assassination of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, Pope Francis called the Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, to express his condolences. The victims were beheaded by Islamic terrorists, before posting the video online. Pope Francis told Tawadros II that he will be praying for the victims, on Tuesday morning, as their funeral Mass is celebrated. 
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New permanent representative to the FAO
February 12, 2015. Pope Francis has named the Spanish Msgr. Fernando Chica Arellano permanent representive to the United Nations Agency for Agriculture and Food.

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Appointments
February 6, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Polish missionary Józef Roszynski, S.V.D. to be Bishop of Wewak (Papua New Guinea) and Chidi Denis Isizoh to be Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Onitsha (Nigeria).
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Pope to address US Congress September 24
February 5, 2015. Pope Francis will visit the United States Capitol on September 24th and deliver an address to a joint session of Congress. It will be the first ever address to Congress by a Pope. House Speaker John Boehner, a Catholic, said in a statement that the Pope’s "teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another.”

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LIVE CHAT
February 5, 2015. Pope Francis will take part in a Google Hangout to chat live with students with special needs.  The Thursday afternoon meeting, will kick off at 4pm, Rome time. The program is part of the ‘Scholas’ project which is meant to improve education on a global scale.  The students are from the U.S, Brazil, India and Spain. 

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Crash Condolences
February 5, 2015. Pope Francis has expressed his condolences over the deadly Taipei plane crash. The TransAsia flight crashed into a river with 58 people on board. On behalf of the Pope, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, sent a message addressed to Taipei’s Archbishop Hung Shan-cuan. In it, the Pope offered his heartfelt condolences to the civil authorities and assured families of the deceased and the missing, of his spiritual closeness.

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Msgr. Oscar Romero declared a Martyr
February 3, 2015. The Vatican announced that Pope Francis has officially approved the martrydrom of Msgr. Oscar Romero. The Salvadorian Archbishop was killed while celebrating Mass on March 24th, 1980, during the height of the country’s civil war. The decree signed by Pope Francis recognizes that Romero was killed because of hate towards the Catholic faith.
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Pope names new bishops in Ireland, Mexico, and Tanzania
February 2, 2015. The Pope has named Alphonsus Cullinan, 55, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore (Ireland).

He has also named Liberatus Sangu Bishop of Shinyanga (Tanzania). He is about to turn 52 and has worked in the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples since 2008.

Francis has also named Francisco Eduardo Cervantes Merino, 61, the new Bishop of Orizaba (Mexico).

Summary of 2013. March: A Pope from the ends of the world

2013-12-26

Just minutes after the Sede Vacante period began, Cardinal Camerlengo Tarcisio Bertone took over the reins of Vatican temporarily. He would oversee the Church's properties, seal the papal apartments, and solve day-to-day matters until the election of a new Pope.

All cardinals also received a letter from the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano. It officially informed them of Benedict XVI's resignation, and it summoned them to Rome immediately to elect a new Pope.

On March 4, the pre-conclave began. Up until March 11, the cardinals met to discuss the challenges the Church faced and what kind of leader could tackle them. But all the details of their meetings had to remain secret.

"I don't recall anything. I forgot everything.”
"It was a place for prayer and meditation.”
"My silence will do the talking.”
"I won't say anything. Goodbye and sorry.”


At the same time, the Vatican was also getting the Sistine Chapel ready for the conclave. These stoves played a vital role. One would burn the voting ballots, while the other would be used to let the outside world know the results.

The new Pope's habit was also ready to go. Tailors made three in small, medium and large sizes to better suit the Church's next leader.

The conclave began on Tuesday, March 12
. All 115 cardinals filed in to the Sistine Chapel in the afternoon. Half of them, 60, came from Europe. Latin America had 19, while 11 came from the United States, and 3 from Canada. Both Africa and Asia were represented by 11 each, while Australia had one.

To be elected Pope, the candidate had to tally at least 77 votes.

After all of the cardinals swore secrecy, the Chapel doors closed.

"Extra Omnes.”


The first fumata, or smoke signal, came later that night. Black smoke emerged, meaning the cardinals were unable to reach consensus.

On Wednesday, March 13, despite the steady rain falling in Rome, thousands of people waited at St. Peter's Square for the next fumata. Again, black smoke emerged.

By Wednesday evening, after five rounds of voting, white smoke finally appeared. The cardinals had chosen a new Pope.

An hour later, Cardinal Protodeacon Jean Louis Tauran made the much anticipated announcement.

Anuntio vobis gaudium magnum...

"You know that it was the duty of the Conclave to give Rome a Bishop. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone to the ends of the earth to get one... And first of all, I would like to offer a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may keep him.”

"I have no words.  I am very happy to be Latin American, and very proud. This is the first Argentinian Pope, so we are all very happy.”

JUAN PABLO CAFIERO
Argentine Ambassador to the Holy See

"We are very excited. It is a gift for the whole Church, for all of mankind. We have our Pope Francisco, our Cardinal Bergoglio. It will be very positive for all Catholics and for the world.”

One day a time, the world became familiar with the unique approach for this new Pope. The morning after his election, he ventured out to the hotel where he had been staying to pay his bill.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Vatican Spokesperson

"There, he picked up his bags, said hi to the staff, and he paid his bill. He wanted to set a good example. Then he returned to Santa Marta.”

When he met with 5,000 journalists at Paul VI Hall, the Pope also explained why he chose to be called Francis.

POPE FRANCIS

"During the election, I had next to me the archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo, and prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy,  Cardinal Claudio Hummes. He's a great friend. When the 'danger' grew, he would comfort me. And when the votes reached the two thirds required, applause broke out because we had elected a new Pope. Cardinal Hummes hugged me and kissed me saying, 'Do not forget about the poor.' Those words stayed with me, the poor!So then in my mind I immediately thought of Francis of Assisi.”

Ten days would pass before a historic and much awaited meeting between two living Popes. Pope Francis visited Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo.

Together, they prayed and met for 45 minutes. Here, Benedict XVI handed him the Vatileaks report, while Pope Francis gave him this gift.

POPE FRANCIS
"I am told it's called the Madonna of Humility. Allow me to say one thing, I though of you, so much humility during your pontificate.”

The month of March ended with the Holy Week celebrations. Pope Francis stunned everyone when he celebrates Holy Thursday Mass at a juvenile detention center in Rome. He washed the feet of twelve teens, including two Muslims.

POPE FRANCIS
"What does this mean? That we have to help one another. If you are angry at someone, let it. And if they ask you for a favor, do it. Jesus teaches us this, and this is what I do, I do it with all my heart, because it's my duty.”

The ceremony was simple, but emotional. It paved the way as an example of a pontificate characterized by mercy and service to the most vulnerable members of society


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