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Papal Trip to Cuba?
April 17, 2015. The Vatican's spokesperson has announced that Pope Francis is considering a trip to Cuba. If the visit takes place it would be before or after his trip to the U.S in September. The process however, is still in its beginning phases, so no official decision has been made. 
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Dates of papal trip to Latin America released
April 16, 2015. The Vatican has announced the dates of Pope's upcoming trip to Latin America. He will visit Ecuador from July 6 to 8. After, he will be in Bolivia from July 8 to 10. He will then go to Paraguay until July 12. 
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Pope's Message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations
April 14, 2015. In his message for the event, which will be held on April 26, Pope Francis considers the meaning of "vocation.” He writes that it means to respond to God's call. That is, "allowing him to help us leave ourselves and our false security behind” so that we can find Jesus Christ, "the origin and destiny of our life and our happiness.”

The title of the message is: "Exodus, a fundamental experience of vocation.”

Read the full text here.
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New vicar apostolic in Venezuela and bishop in India

April 7, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Ernesto José Romero Rivas, O.F.M. to be Vicar Apostolic of Tucupita (Venezuela). The Pope has also appointed Vincent Aind to be Bishop of Bagdogra (India).

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New Prefect in the Congregation for Catholic Education
March 31, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, as the new Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. He also also appointed Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki as a member of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. 
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New bishop in Mozambique
March 30, 2015. The Pope has appointed Alberto Vera Aréjula, a Spanish missionary, to be Auxiliary Bishop of Xai-Xai in Mozambique.
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New Eparchy and new Exarchate in India
March 26, 2015. The Pope has created the Eparchy of St. John Chrysostom in Gurgaon of the Syro-Malankara Church (India). He has also appointed its first bishop, Jacob Barnabas Aerath. Additionally, Pope Francis created the new Apostolic Exarchate of St. Ephrem of Khadki of the Syro-Malankara Church (India). He appointed the first Exarch, Bishop Thomas Mar Anthonios Valiyavilayil.
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New bishop in Ecuador
March 24, 2015. Pope Francis appointed Victor Bertram Wick Enzler to be bishop of Santo Domingo (Ecuador). Until now, he served as auxiliary bishop of Guayaquil, also in Ecuador.

Organist of the Pope: privileged witness to unique moments

2014-01-31

Even magnificent basilicas like St. Mary Major in Rome would feel empty without this music. For almost 30 years Juan Paradell-Solé has played the organ in all the ceremonies inside this church, in a privileged spot close to the mosaics of the apse.

But the Vatican also needs music, and since 2011 this Spanish organist plays in all the ceremonies that the Pope presides. It's the first time in history that the Sistine Chapel Choir, the Pope's private choir, has an official organist.

He soon grasped that Pope emeritus Benedict XVI took very seriously the music in his ceremonies.

JUAN PARADELL-SOLÉ
Organist, Sistine Chapel Choir
"He would chose or suggest the music he would like to be played or sung. And obviously, if he said he wanted that piece or some other one, we would play it. He increased the use of Gregorian chant and the use of multiple melodies in music.”

His post also gives him the chance of witnessing historical moments. If he had to choose one, it would be when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation.

JUAN PARADELL-SOLÉ
Organist, Sistine Chapel Choir
"I was there, I was playing the organ in the ceremony where Benedict XVI resigned, precisely. In that moment no one could believe it. No one could believe his words, what he was saying: did he really say that? He resigned? Is that possible?"

And then Pope Francis arrived. Juan Paradell also played in the conclave that choose Jorge Mario Bergoglio as successor of Peter.

JUAN PARADELL-SOLÉ
Organist, Sistine Chapel Choir
"Even though it doesn't seem like it, Pope Francis loves music. And he also knows it very well, more than anyone could think. He knows Mozart, he likes Beethoven and is a great supporter of opera.”

After the historic resignation of a Pope and a conclave, the maestro Paradell is ready for whatever may come next. Not by chance, his hands have provided music to some of the most important moment in the recent history of the Catholic Church.


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