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Pope Francis visited the Basilica of St. Mary Major this afternoon to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for his visit and safe return from his Apostolic Visit to Albania. The Pope left a bouquet of flowers given to him yesterday evening at the 'Betania' center
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New Bishop in Germany
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New Bishop Named for Sydney Archdiocese
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Two New Saints
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Match for Peace raises €2,500,000
September 10, 2014. The Interreligious Match for  Peace raised €2,500,000. 

The match was organized by Scholas, an educational organization promoted by the Pope. Their goal was to raise funds to continue their initiatives. 

Several current soccer stars, such as Buffon, Mascherano and Del Piero participated, as well as soccer legends Maradona, Zamorano and Zanetti. 
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Pope appoints Secretary for Pontifical Commission for Protection of Minors
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Burundi police arrest man for murder of three Italian nuns
September 9, 2014. One of the two suspects police detained after the murder of three Italian nuns in Burundi reportedly confessed to the crime

The nuns' religious order announced that the sisters' funeral will take place next September 11 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Pope Francis meets with Maradona
September 4, 2014. Pope Francis met with soccer legend, Diego Armando Maradona, just days after the inter-religious soccer match for peace, took place in Rome’s Olympic Stadium.
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Pope to marry 20 couples at the Vatican on September 14th
August 29th, 2014. The Pope will marry 20 couples on September 14th in St. Peter's Basilica. The ceremony will take place at 9am. The couples are from the diocese of Rome. The celebration will take place 3 weeks before the Synod on the Family.
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Pope Names New Archbishop of Madrid
August 28, 2014. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid (Spain). The Pope has named Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Valencia as Cardinal Rouco´s successor. Also, Cardenal Antonio Cañizares has been appointed as the new Archbishop of Valencia, Spain. He will replace Arch. Carlos Osoro Sierra.
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Pope Francis names new bishop of Toledo (U.S.A.)
August 26, 2014. Pope Francis named Bishop Daniel Edward Thomas as bishop of Toledo (U.S.A.) Until now, Bishop Thomas served as auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia and titutlar bishop of Bardstown. Pope Francis also accepted the resignation of Bishop Giuseppe Merisi as bishop of Lodi (Italy) and named Bishop Maurizio Malvestiti as his replacement. 
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Benedict XVI celebrates Mass in the Vatican with former students
August 25, 2015. Benedict XVI's former students had the chance of meeting him one more time. He celebrated Mass at the Vatican with them to close their annual gatherings in Castelgandolfo, more known as Schuelerkreis. Still, the Pope emeritus didn't attend their meetings.

Pope to Obama: This gift isn't from the 'Pope' but from Jorge Mario Bergoglio

2014-03-27

The US flag was already waving outside the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, when Barack Obama arrived in his black SUV. This marks his second visit to the Vatican, but his first meeting with Pope Francis.

"Wonderful meeting you. Thank you so much for receiving me.”  

After the official pictures were taken, they both headed to the Papal Library.

"Greetings from my family. The last time I came to meet your predecessor I could take my wife and children, but this time they were..."

Their meeting was longer than usual for Vatican standards. They spoke in private for about 50 minutes, while members of the US delegation waited in a nearby hall.

Later on, Barack Obama personally introduced each one of them to Pope Francis. His Secretary of State, John Kerry, was the first  in line.

"I'm so pleased to meet you. Great admirer. Everything you are doing, as a Catholic, for the Church, and for everyone...”

And then the gifts arrived. President Obama gave the Pope seeds from the White House gardens. He also promised to give more seeds to a charity in his honor.

"This, I think, are carrots”. 

"So, if you have the chance to come to the White House we will show you our gardens”. 

"Of course!”

Pope Francis gave him a copy of his first apostolic exhortation and something more personal. 

"This gift is from the Pope. But this other one is from Jorge Bergoglio.  When I saw it,  I said: "I'll give to Obama, it's the Angel of Peace.”

Often times, in these type of diplomatic meetings, gifts can be also be a way to portray a message. For example, when Obama went to the Vatican back in June 2009, Pope Benedict gave him a document titled "The Dignity of the Person,” that stood for the life of the unborn and the right to freedom of conscience. Obama then said he would read it carefully.

Before their meeting, the President of the United States said he wanted to talk to Pope Francis about fighting poverty and other issues they have in common. But it seems like they talked about much more than that. 

According to the Vatican they also discussed religious freedom, the right to life, and freedom of conscience, all of which have been major dividing points between the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops and the president's administration, under 'Obamacare.' Immigration and human trafficking were also discussed. 

Before saying good bye, Obama asked the Pope to pray for his wife and daughters. 


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