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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).

Vatican gives details on the 'Year of Consecrated Life' in 2015

2014-01-31

It's official. The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis will dedicate 2015 to the 'Year of Consecrated Life.' During this press conference, some key details were released. 

CARD. JOAO BRAZ DE AVIZ
Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life
"It's a great time to grow and deepen the faith. Part of this is driven by the hope and the certainty that consecrated life will never disappear from the Church.” 

Some details are still being sorted out, but the Congregation for Consecrated Life hopes the Pope will kick things off on November 2014 and conclude one year later. The goals will include reflecting on the unique role religious men and women have in the Church. Everything from their charisms to their challenges. Among them for example, why some decide to leave their vocation. 

According to recent data, out of 1,000 religious, about 2.5 leave their vocation. That breaks down to about 13,000 people between 2008 and 2012. 

CARD. JOAO BRAZ DE AVIZ
Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life
"We need to shatter that misconception. The notion that when one begins their consecrated life, they automatically become perfect. The notion, that for example, a mother, will never be perfect, but a consecrated person will. This is wrong! We should embrace the realities of fraternal life. Another issue we see is that consecrated life has sometimes followed an individualistic pattern.” 

Each religious order has its own charism.  Cardinal Braz de Aviz believes that dedicating a year to Consecrated Life, will give religious the time and resources to reflect on what their personal vocation and charism is really all about. 

CARD. JOAO BRAZ DE AVIZ
Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life
"The mistake is to think that a charism is already defined and done with. Well, that mentality is like taking a right away from God. If He has given an order a certain charism, then He conserves it and only He can end it if He so wishes. But not us...this is one of the errors we see nowadays.” 

What about cases where founders have started orders while leading less than exemplary lives? That issue was also raised during the press conference. Especially in light of Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. 

CARD. JOAO BRAZ DE AVIZ
Prefect, Congregation for Consecrated Life
"It's important to separate the grace of a specific charism from the founder. Sometimes their life coincides with their charism. But we also see cases where the founder does not lead a life that corresponds with the order's charism.”  

The Year of Consecrated Life will include meetings between young religious and the Pope, international prayer chains carried out by cloistered nuns, and also large scale exhibits in Rome.  


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