December 12, 2014. Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Vicente Jimenez Zamora as the new Archbishop of Zaragoza, Spain. Up until now, he served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Santander. In Ecuador, Fr. Adelio Pasqualotto has been nominated as the new Vicariate Apostolic of Napo. Pope Francis also appointed Rev. Fr. Pietro Bovati, as the new Secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.
Vatican releases new questionnaire on the Synod on the Family
December 9, 2014. The Vatican has published a new questionnaire containing 46 questions pertaining to the family and the modern day challenges it faces. It’s meant to be a further reflection for the second phase of the Synod on the Family, which will take place in October 2015. The questions are divided in three sections. In the following days, it will be distributed to many groups, including Episcopal Conferences, Eastern Church and Curia Departments.
The Jesuits to start new General Congregation on October 2016
December 9, 2014. The General Superior of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, has called a new General Congregation. This assembly, which will include representatives from all over the world, will start on October 2, 2016. In a letter, Fr. Pachon called on all Jesuits to take part in this "serious process of spiritual discernment" on which the future and mission of the Society relies.
New Archbishop of Kenya
December 9, 2014. Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Martin Musonde Kivuva as new Archbishop of Mombasa (Kenya). He previously served as bishop of the diocese of Machakos (Kenya).
Also, Adolfo Ramon Canecin was appointed coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Goya (Argentina).
Community of Sant'Egidio reelects its president
December 9, 2014. Marco Impagliazzo has been reelected as president of the Community of Sant'Egidio by an assembly of 220 delegates from around the world.
Colombian bishop, resigns
December 1, 2014. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Msgr. Luis Alberto Parra Mora, Bishop of Mocoa-Sibundoy (Colombia). He is 70 years old.
First message of Pope Francis in Turkey
November 28, 2014. Pope Francis signed the so-called Golden Book at Ataturk's Mausoleum in Ankara. There he wrote this message: "I express my sincerest good wishes so that Turkey, the natural bridge between two Continents, may not only be a crossroad, but also a place of encounter, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among men and women of good will of every culture, ethnicity and religion."
Pope on Haiti
November 25, 2014. Five years have passed since the deadly earthquake devastated the island of Haiti. In light of this anniversary, Pope Francis has called for a Vatican meeting to take place. The goal is for the Church to look into what can be done to help out victims and the country as it tries to re-build itself.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
November 24, 2014. Pope Francis has named Cardinal Robert Sarah as new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Up until recently, he served as the President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
Sarah, 69, a native of Conakry, Guinea, also held a prominent role in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
He is taking over the post previously held by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, who was recently named Archbishop of Valencia, Spain.
Synod on the Family 2015
November 21, 2014. The following Cardinals will be delegate presidents during the second part of the Synod on the Family, from October 4th to the 24th, 2015. The Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois. From the Philippines, Luis Antonio Tagle. From Aparecida Brazil, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis. From Durban, South Africa, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier.
The Relator General will be Cardinal Peter Erdo, who serves as the Archbishop of Budapest. The Secretary General, will be Italian Msgr, Bruno Forte.
New Bishop in Broken Bay (Australia)
November 20, 2014. Pope Francis has appointed Peter Andrew Comensoli as the New Bishop of Broken Bay, Australia. Up until now, he served as the auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Sydney.
During his most recent catechesis on Baptism, Pope Francis referenced the Japanese Catholics under persecution in the 17th Century.
"There were no priests left in Japan: they were all expelled. So then, the community went underground, keeping their faith and prayers hidden.”
One of the Japanese Catholics that suffered most from outlawing Christianity was Ukon Takayama, the samurai of Christ. The Japanese Episcopal Conference has presented all the necessary documents to open the cause for his beatification.
MSGR. JOSEPH MITSUAKI TAKAMI
Bishop of Nagasaki (Japan)
"He was a great witness to the Christian faith during this period of persecution in Japan, we could even say, in the history of Christianity in Japan. First, he clung to his faith without having doubts, without being swayed by any temporary wealth. He followed Jesus Christ at all times, and he lived a Christian life, according to the Gospel.”
Takayama was born in Osaka in 1552. His family converted to Catholicism and built the first church in Kyoto. But when Emperor Toyotomi Hideyosi outlawed "Western religion” and expelled the Jesuits in 1587, Takayama's family disobeyed, and remained devout to their faith. As a result, he died in 1615 in the Philippines. For Japanese bishops, the life this samurai led is an example for Catholics today.
MSGR. JOSEPH MITSUAKI TAKAMI
Bishop of Nagasaki (Japan)
"They ordered him to abandon his faith, but instead Takayama Ukon abandoned his social status, his wealth, his land, his castle. He left behind all his properties, and was even expelled. Many of his values are still valid for us all today.”
Currently, about half a million Japanese identify as Catholic. That's about 0.5 percent of the population. Jesuit missionaries were the first Christians to arrive in the 16th Century to the Land of the Rising Sun. They included well-known names like St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missionaries.