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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.