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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.


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Papal Nominations
January 28th, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Msgr. Jose Soleibe Arbelaez, who served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Caldas, Colombia. He has nominated Cesar Alcides Balbin Tamayo as the new Bishop. He also accepted the resignation of Msgr. Egon Kapellari, Bishop of Graz-Seckau, Austria. 
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The Pope marks 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp
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Pope creates new archdiocese in Ireland
January 26, 2015. Pope Francis has unified the Metropolitan See of Cashel with the former Diocese of Emly. This new Archdiocese will from now on be called Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly (Ireland), and Msgr. Kieran O'Reilly will become its first Archbishop. 

Also, Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Stefan Heβe as new Bishop of Hamburg (Germany).
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New Decress of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved
January 23, 2015. Pope Francis met with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He authorised the promulgation of these decrees:

- The miracle attributed to the Venerable Servant of God Maria Teresa Casini, Italian foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1864-1937).

- The martyrdom of Servants of God Fidela (nee Dolores Oller Angelats) and two companions, Spanish professed nuns of the Institute of Sisters of St. Joseph, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 26 and 29 August 1936.

- The martyrdom of Servants of God Pio Heredia Zubia and seventeen companions, of the Trappists of Cantabria and the Cistercian nuns of the Congregation of St. Bernard, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.

- The martyrdom of Servant of God Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa (ne Bakali), South African layperson, killed in hatred of the faith in South Africa on 2 February 1990.

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Ladislao Bukowinski, Ukrainian diocesan priest (1904-1974).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Aloysius Schwartz, American diocesan priest, founder of the Sisters of Mary of Banneux and the Brothers of Christ (1930-1992).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Cointa Jauregui Oses, Spanish professed nun of the Company of Mary Our Lady (1875-1954).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Teresa Gardi, Italian layperson of the Third Order of St. Francis (1769-1837).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Luis De Trelles y Nuogerol, Spanish layperson and founder of the Nocturnal Adoration Society in Spain (1819-1891).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Elisabeth Maria (nee Erizabe-to Maria) Satoko Kitahara, Japanese layperson (1929-1958).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Virginia Blanco Tardio, Bolivian layperson (1916-1990).

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Tommaso Ruzzi, new Director of the Vatican's Financial Intelligence Authority
January 21, 2015. Tommaso di Ruzza was appointed as Director of the Vatican's Financial Intelligence Authority, an organism that oversees all economic transactions  of the Holy See. Up until now, Ruzza had worked there as Deputy Director.

Pope Francis also appointed Daniel E. Garcia as new Auxiliary Bishop of Austin (U.S.).

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Members appointed to Vatican committee to study appeals of condemned priests
January 21, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed seven members and two substitutes to the College for the Study of Appeal to Ordinary Session of the Vatican's  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

They are:

President. Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, Bishop of San Leone, and Auxiliary of Malta.


Members:

- Card. Zenon Grocholewski 
- Card. Attilio Nicora 
- Card. Francesco Coccopalmerio 
- Card. Giuseppe Versaldi 
- Msgr. José Luis Mollaghan, Archbishop emeritus of Rosario (Argentina)
- Mons. Juan Ignacio Arrieta 

Substitutes:

- Card. Julián Herranz
- Msgr. Giorgio Corbellini
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Papal Appointments
January 20, 2015. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Msgr. Germán Trajano Pavón Puente and nominated Fr. Jorge Giovanni Pazmiño Abril as new Bishop of Amato (Ecuador). Msgr. Mario Bedini also resigned today as Archbishop of Isfahan (Iran) and Pope Francis appointed Fr. Jack Youssef as Apostolic Administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same Archdiocese.
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Pope Francis creates Eritrean Metropolitan Church sui iuris
January 19, 2015. Pope Francis created a new Eritrean Metropolitan Church "sui iuris", and appointed Msgr. Menghesteab Tesfamariam as the first  Metropolitan Archbishop of Asmara. He will oversee the eparchies of Barentu, Keren and Segheneity.
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Secretary of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace becomes Bishop of Faenza-Modigliana
January 19, 2015. Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Mario Toso as the new bishop of Faenza-Modigliana (Italy). Since October 29, 2009, Msgr. Toso had worked as the Secretary of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The Vatican hasn't revealed yet who will replace him at the Pontifical Council.
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Appointments
January 16, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Jose Maria Baliña as the new auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Up until now, the 56 year old served as a parish priest in the San Isdiro Labrador church. In Mexico, he has also named Nicholas James Samra, as the apostolic administrator ‘sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis dell’Eparchia’ of the Nuestra Señora del Paraiso of the Greek-Maronites of Mexico.
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Appointments
January 15, 2015. The Pope has approved the appointment of Rev. Basel Yaldo as auxiliary of the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans. He is currently serving as the priest in the St. George Chaldean Catholic Church in Michigan, USA. Also, Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona has been appointed as the new Bishop of the Chaldean eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Sydney, Australia. In addition, Chorbishop Emmanuel Challita has been appointed as the Bishop of the Chaldean eparchy of Mar Addai in Toronto, Canada. 

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New bishop of Grand Island (US)
January 14, 2015. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Msgr. William J. Dendinger and appointed Msgr. Joseph G. Hanefeldt as new Bishop of Grand Island (US).
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The Vatican has new Permanent Observer to UN's headquarters in Vienna
January 12, 2015. Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Janusz Urbańczyk as the Vatican's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. From now on, Msgr. Urbańczyk will also be the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the UN's headquarters in Vienna.

Also, Pope Francis nominated Father Fernand J. Cheri as new Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans.
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Joel Mercier, new Secretary of Congregation for the Clergy
January 8, 2015. Pope Francis nominated Joël Mercier as the new Secretary for the Congregation for the Clergy. Up until now, he worked at the Vatican Congregation for Bishops.

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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