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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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).
Pope Francis asks Christians to pray for the victims of deadly explosion in Mexico
January 30, 2015. Pope Francis asked Christians to pray for the victims of the deadly explosion in Cuajimalpa, Mexico. He made this petition in his Spanish Twitter profile. The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, also sent a message to the Archbishop of Mexico.
Recemos por las víctimas de la explosión en el hospital de Cuajimalpa, México, y por sus familiares que el Señor les conceda paz y fortaleza— Papa Francisco (@Pontifex_es) enero 29, 2015
Pope Francis kicked off his first full month as Pope by honoring one of his predecessors. On April 2, he prayed before the tomb of John Paul II at St. Peter's Basilica, on the anniversary of his death.
The Pope also prayed before the tombs of John XXIII and Pius X. Interestingly, next April, Pope Francis will canonize both John Paul II and John XXIII.
A week later and 26 days after his election, Pope Francis celebrated his Installation Mass as the Bishop of Rome. Thousands of people waited to see him outside the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the official see for the Diocese of Rome.
During the homily, the Pope started talking about one of the main topics of his pontificate: mercy.
POPE FRANCIS (April 8)
"In my personal life, I've seen the merciful face of God and His patience so many times. I've also seen many people who courageously go to Jesus' wounds and say: 'Lord, here I am. Accept my poverty. Cover my sins with your wounds, clean them with your blood.' I've seen how God welcome them, consoles them, cleans them and loves them.”
After the Mass, he opened the papal rooms at the Basilica, which had been closed since Benedict XVI stepped down.
Over the next few weeks, the world would begin to discover the Pope's unique personality. The passionate soccer fan greeted his favorite soccer team after a general audience.
"...And to the group form the Athletic Club of San Lorenzo of Almagro, from Buenos Aires. That is very important.”
The next day, he traded his papal hat with an American couple after speaking to the Papal Foundation.
Halfway through the month, Pope Francis took the time to greet Benedict XVI on his special day. He called him at Castel Gandolfo and celebrated Mass in his honor.
POPE FRANCIS (April 16)
"Today is the birthday of Benedict XVI. We offer this Mass in prayer for him, so that the Lord can be with him, comfort him and console him.”
Benedict XVI turned 86. It was his first birthday as Pope emeritus.
Another highlight from this month that showed off the Pope's personality was this tight embrace with Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, at the Vatican.
But it wasn't his only audience with world leaders. He also met with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, as well as the executives from Mozambique, Spain, Madagascar, Italy and Israel.
In fact, it was the latter, President Shimon Peres, that invited Pope Francis to visit the Holy Land in 2014.
"I am waiting for you in Jerusalem, and not just me, but all the people from Israel.”
It was the first of several invitations Pope Francis would receive from political and religious leaders in the region. As the 2013 comes to an end, the possibility he'll take up that invitation is looking more likely.