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).
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.”