New Bishops in Mexico and Brazil
March 4, 2015. The Pope has accepted the resignation of Francisco Ramirez Navarro, the Auxiliary Bishop of Tlalnepantla (Mexico). He has appointed in his place Cuapio Jorge Bautista, of the diocese of Texcoco.
In Brazil, Francisco Joaquim Wladimir was appointed Bishop of Colatina Lopes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On Sunday, Pope Francis will visit the Sacred Heart parish in Rome. It's located by the city's main train station, known as Termini. Over the years, the area has gained a reputation for its high homeless population.
FR. VALERIO BARESI
"At first the Pope wasn't convinced about visiting this parish. Instead, he wanted to give priority to those that are not really in the center of Rome. But when he found out that we work with the youth, the poor and with refugees, he said he would definitely visit.”
It's a common sight to see people sleeping on the street, under cardboard boxes, especially at night. But at the parish, they find support to assimilate into society. Luigi is among them. He's one of the lucky ones who have been able to find shelter at night.
During the day, Luigi spends most of his time out on the street, and while he hopes to one day land a job, he knows it won't be easy. At 59, he suffers from a condition that limits his vision. But he says, the fact that Pope Francis will pay a visit, is very moving.
"I'd like to tell him so many things. But it's no use saying them, because he already knows what we're feeling. It's like he sees it in our very own eyes. But really the greatest gift will be to meet him. I think Pope Francis is great and I really want to finally meet him.”
The Salesian-run parish carries out many support programs for the poor, including refugees. A chapter from the Missionaries of the Risen Christ assist the Salesians with educational and welfare activities. These women arrived to the Sacred Heart church four years ago, and since then, things have gotten busy.
Nowadays, about 400 refugees depend on them. One of them, Stephen who stopped in the now infamous island of Lampedusa, before making it to Rome.
"I'm very happy with them because they have love for everyone here, most of them are refugees, because sometimes they have dinner for refugees here. We all gather to eat.”
SR. MARIA MERCEDES GUAITA
Missionary of the Risen Christ
"We listen to their lives, have tea with them. Many times they'll say, this is the first time I've been offered tea since I escaped from home. Many have seen their friends die, while they ran away. And many more have families that were killed.”
The Pope's schedule will be completely packed. He will spend about four hours, meeting several groups. In addition to the homeless, Pope Francis will meet with refugees, volunteers and parish youths. But he will also make the time to answer their questions.
In his role as Bishop of Rome, the Pope will confess five people, celebrate Mass, and greet the sick. He'll also meet with the two religious communities that look after the Sacred Heart parish.