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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.
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Pope accepts the resignation of Cardinal O'Brien
March 20, 2015. The Pope has accepted the resignation of "the rights and prerogatives of the cardinal" from Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, Archbishop Emeritus of Edinburgh.

Economic inequality, expected focus in meeting between Obama and the Vatican

2014-03-26

U.S. President Barack Obama will make his second visit to the Vatican on Thursday. He will meet for the first time with Pope Francis. The two are greatly expected to focus on the things they share in common, rather than their differences.

With a population of more than 316 million, the United States is not only one of most populous countries, but also one with the most Catholics.

More than three quarters of Americans consider themselves to be Christians, with the Protestant denominations making up half of the entire population. Meanwhile a quarter, or nearly 68 million people, identify as Catholic. As such, the Catholic Church is the largest single Church in the country.

Barack Obama is the 44th president. He was first elected in 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. Voters re-elected him in November 2012. 

Obama's administration has been at odds with the local Catholic Church in a number of topics, namely health care reform, and social issues like abortion and gay marriage. But during this meeting, it's expected he and Pope Francis will touch on the issues they share in common.

High among that list is economic inequality. Both leaders have championed a more equal distribution of wealth, and assistance for the poor. Other topics on the agenda are also expected to include the Middle East peace process, especially given the Pope's upcoming visit in May. But other international conflicts like Syria and Ukraine could arise. 

On a local level, the Pope could also bring up immigration reform, a topic local bishops have pushed for considerably. It also reflects the reality of the Church in the U.S., which is made up more and more of immigrants and their children.


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