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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday morning was full of comments, reunions, smiles and anticipation for Rome's priests, as they waited for their bishop, the Pope.
Pope Francis welcomed them inside Paul VI Hall for the traditional, yearly gathering to mark the start of Lent.
The Pope talked about mercy and forgiveness. But he also made exposed something personal. He keeps near his heart a crucifix that belonged to an Argentine priest well-known for confessing many people, including John Paul II, during one of his visits to Argentina. With lots of empathy, the Pope explained that he stole the crucifix from the priest's rosary, but for a good purpose.
"Right away, the thief in all of us come to mind. While I laid the flowers on his coffin, I took the crucifix from the rosary, about this size, I pulled gently and removed it. In that moment, I looked at him and said: 'Give me half of your mercy.' I felt a strong sense that gave me the courage to do this, and to say this prayer. Then, I placed that crucifix in my shirt pocket. But, the Pope's shirts don't have pockets, right? But, I always carry with me a small, cloth pouch. Since that day, up until today, I keep that crucifix with me. And when I get negative thoughts about any person, my hand comes here, always, and I feel the grace... it does me good. See what good the example of a merciful priest makes!”
The Pope also shared the questions he uses when a priest asks him advice, or even when he prays. Some of them caused laughter from the crowd.
"At night, how does your day end? With God, or with television? I see many of you laughing. I also laugh.”
Pope Francis also expressed his solidarity with several priests unfairly accused of abusing minors. Courts found the allegations to be false, and the people responsible are now in custody.
"I want to state publicly my support for the clergy. Because in this case, the accused are not 7, 8, 15... it's the entire priesthood, in the name of these 7, 8, 15...”
Pope Francis also repeated that the Church lives through merciful times, and that it must be like a "field hospital.” It shouldn't wait for the sick to seek out doctors, but rather, the Church should go out and seek the "injured.”