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.
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 met with all Spanish bishops on their 'ad limina apostolorum' visit to the Vatican. It's the first time all of them gathered with the Pope.
Before the audience, the Pope met privately with the prelates from Santiago de Compostela and Oviedo. Some of them had already picked up Pope Francis 'way of speaking.'
- "Holy Father, I am delegate of the Pastoral for Youth and rector of the seminary.”
- "Almost nothing...”
- "We're a small diocese, but we're trying to make a fuss.”
- "Make a fuss, make a fuss!”
They gave Pope Francis gifts, letters and lots of greetings. In return, he asked for their prayers.
- "Pray for me. We'll see each other in a bit.”
Minutes later, they all gathered at the Consistory Hall. This time, Pope Francis welcomed all the visiting Spanish bishops.
The president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Card. Antonio María Rouco Varela, recalled that then-Cardinal Bergoglio visited Spain in 2006.
CARD. ANTONIO MARÍA ROUCO VARELA
President, Spanish Episcopal Conference
"How can we forget the spiritual exercises you led for Spanish bishops in 2006, the same year you took part in the World Meeting of Families in Valencia.”
The Pope gave each bishop a written message, asking them to always search for new paths to the Gospel. He also expresses his concern for the mundane culture that "closes God into the sphere of private life and excludes Him from the public sphere.”
On March 11, the Spanish bishops will hold a Plenary Assembly, and the Pope jokingly reminded them.
- "I hope you have a good assembly. When is it, next week?”
- "Have fun!”
A total of 83 bishops will visit Rome in a two week period. For most them, the visit has an important meaning.
MSGR. JESÚS MURGUI
Bishop of Orihuela-Alicante (Spain)
"I was surprised by the easiness and closeness of Pope Francis. Also by the great interest he showed, his capacity to listen and pay attention to all the different opinions of the bishops present.”
MSGR. JULIÁN BARRIO
Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
"It was a joyful gathering, full of happiness. Also very bright. Very similar to today's weather.”
The Spanish Bishops didn't miss the chance to officially invite Pope Francis to visit Spain in 2015. That year that marks the fifth centennial of the birth of St. Teresa of Ávila.