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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.

Pope plants a 'virtual olive tree' as a sign of peace

2014-03-21

Pope Francis met with leaders of the so called 'Scholas Occurrentes' initiative at the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta. Since the mission of the papal project is to promote peace, the Pope planted a virtual olive tree. As usual, soccer made its way into the conversation. 

POPE FRANCIS
"A short time ago, I met someone here at the Vatican who has a very important role in Brazil...It was a quick visit, but this person wanted to greet me. She highlighted one word: 'Neutrality.' Remember that the World Cup is ours. I said, 'Why do you say that?' And she replied, 'Last time the San Lorenzo team was behind, but you prayed for them and they won. So stop praying for Argentina.'” 

Ever since then hundreds of people have joined in this project, which promotes an international exchange of information and resources. Some have even planted their own virtual olive tree through www.educacionporlapaz.org

In an improvised speech, the Pope praised this initiative for helping kids and vouching for a better future. With high unemployment rates, the Pope said he feels the pain of those who are still looking for a job, adding that he appreciates the support of teachers, soccer stars and technology to make it all happen.

In fact, two huge soccer stars, Messi and Buffon, helped launched the program, so it's only fitting that soccer be a huge part of it. The next big event will be an inter-religious soccer game and the World Cup in Brazil will also be full of surprises. 

Also joining the project is FIFA, who will promote the creation of this network of schools which will facilitate the exchange experiences and information among students. 

ENRIQUE PALMEYRO
Director, Scholas Occurrentes
"The FIFA, which is the International Federation of Football and the FIFPRO, meaning the World Footballers' Association are joining in to help the project, specifically to help out these kids.” 

The Pope approved the project back in August, and he got a little bit of help from Lionel Messi and Gianluigi Buffon, soccer captains of Argentina and Italy, respectively. 

JOSÉ MARÍA DEL CORRAL
Director, Scholas Occurrentes 
"It's a way for all soccer players to say they are on board with the project and with the Pope's initiative. That was the underlining message when Messi and Buffon gave him an olive tree.” 

The idea is that through education and a cultural exchange, they can promote peace. 

ENRIQUE PALMEYRO
Director, Scholas Occurrentes
"The initiative doesn't discriminate against anyone, so Muslims, Jews, Christians, other religions and even those without one. Everyone is welcomed under this initiative.” 

JOSÉ MARÍA DEL CORRAL
Director, Scholas Occurrentes 
"We're vouching for all children so that they can all be included in this program. That includes those 60 million kids who are out on the limits.” 

Later that day, Pope Francis sent out a tweet to show his support for the project and for the very first time, he included the name of an organization in his tweet, by writing out 'Scholas.'


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