February 27, 2015. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Charles Jude Scicluna as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Malta. Up until now, he had served as the Bishop of San Leone and as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Malta.
New bishops in the Dominican Republic and Colombia
February 23, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of three bishops from the Dominican Republic. They are Ramon Benito de la Rosa (Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros), Rafael Leonidas Felipe and Núñez (Diocese of Barahona) and Antonio Camilo Gonzalez (Diocese of La Vega).
In their places, he has appointed Freddy Antonio de Jesus Breton Martínez (Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros), who is transferring from the Diocese of Bani; Andrew Napoleon Romero Cárdenas (Diocese of Barahona); and Hector Rafael Rodríguez Rodríguez, M.S.C. (Diocese of La Vega).
New Doctor of the Church
February 23, 2015. San Gregorio di Narek will soon be named a Doctor of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis. The Armenian theologian, philosopher and writer was born around 950 and died in 1005. He lived most of his life in a monastery in Narek and for years now he has been considered a Doctor of the Armenian Church.
New bishop in Colombia
February 19, 2105. The Pope has appointed Francisco José Méndez Crispiano Clavijo to be the new bishop of Sincelejo (Colombia). Until now, he was rector of the John Paul II diocesan seminary in Valledupar (Colombia).
February 17, 2015. Msgr. Adolfo Tito Yllana, has been nominated by Pope Francis as the new nuncio of Australia. Up until now, he served as the nuncio, or papal respresentative, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Coptic Pope phoned by Pope Francis
February 16, 2015. In light of the brutal assassination of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, Pope Francis called the Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, to express his condolences. The victims were beheaded by Islamic terrorists, before posting the video online. Pope Francis told Tawadros II that he will be praying for the victims, on Tuesday morning, as their funeral Mass is celebrated.
New permanent representative to the FAO
February 12, 2015. Pope Francis has named the Spanish Msgr. Fernando Chica Arellano permanent representive to the United Nations Agency for Agriculture and Food.
February 6, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Polish missionary Józef Roszynski, S.V.D. to be Bishop of Wewak (Papua New Guinea) and Chidi Denis Isizoh to be Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Onitsha (Nigeria).
Pope to address US Congress September 24
February 5, 2015. Pope Francis will visit the United States Capitol on September 24th and deliver an address to a joint session of Congress. It will be the first ever address to Congress by a Pope. House Speaker John Boehner, a Catholic, said in a statement that the Pope’s "teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another.”
February 5, 2015. Pope Francis will take part in a Google Hangout to chat live with students with special needs. The Thursday afternoon meeting, will kick off at 4pm, Rome time. The program is part of the ‘Scholas’ project which is meant to improve education on a global scale. The students are from the U.S, Brazil, India and Spain.
February 5, 2015. Pope Francis has expressed his condolences over the deadly Taipei plane crash. The TransAsia flight crashed into a river with 58 people on board. On behalf of the Pope, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, sent a message addressed to Taipei’s Archbishop Hung Shan-cuan. In it, the Pope offered his heartfelt condolences to the civil authorities and assured families of the deceased and the missing, of his spiritual closeness.
Msgr. Oscar Romero declared a Martyr
February 3, 2015. The Vatican announced that Pope Francis has officially approved the martrydrom of Msgr. Oscar Romero. The Salvadorian Archbishop was killed while celebrating Mass on March 24th, 1980, during the height of the country’s civil war. The decree signed by Pope Francis recognizes that Romero was killed because of hate towards the Catholic faith.
Pope names new bishops in Ireland, Mexico, and Tanzania
February 2, 2015. The Pope has named Alphonsus Cullinan, 55, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore (Ireland).
He has also named Liberatus Sangu Bishop of Shinyanga (Tanzania). He is about to turn 52 and has worked in the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples since 2008.
Francis has also named Francisco Eduardo Cervantes Merino, 61, the new Bishop of Orizaba (Mexico).
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.
Recemos por las víctimas de la explosión en el hospital de Cuajimalpa, México, y por sus familiares que el Señor les conceda paz y fortaleza— Papa Francisco (@Pontifex_es) enero 29, 2015
John Paul II's pontificate broke many records. But, beyond the numbers, the leadership of the Polish Pope guided the Catholic Church through many rising challenges in modern times.
FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
"Don't be afraid!”
One of the greatest challenges was the Cold War, and the two blocs that pitted the world against each other. John Paul II had suffered first hand from the oppression of Nazi and Communist regimes. His role was fundamental in the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. One of his first trips was to his native Poland in 1979. It became a defining point that encouraged Poles to fight for freedom.
John Paul II was a seasoned traveler and reached all corners of the world. He made 104 international trips, and visited 130 countries. In terms of mileage, it's enough to go around the world 30 times. But there were two countries he was unable to visit, China and Russia
DIALOGUE WITH MUSLIMS AND JEWS
John Paul II referred to Jews as "older brothers,” and became the first Pope to step inside a synagogue since the times of Jesus. He also prayed before the Western Wall. He was also the first Pope to kiss a Koran, and step inside a mosque.
Speaking of spurring inter-religious dialogue, John Paul II was a pioneer in calling for joint prayer in favor of peace, as he did so in Assisi. The first joint prayer was in 1986. More than 150 delegates from 12 religions heeded his call.
NO TO WAR
During his pontificate, several major conflicts made international headlines: Rwanda, Kosovo, Sudan, Iraq and the Balkan wars. The Pope, who had survived World War II, did not remain silent. He became the voice of humanity, actively advocating against violence.
"War, never again.”
When it came to proclaiming saints, the Polish Pope looked to modern times. He raised to the altars hundreds of people who led exemplary lives for Christians today. For example, and for the first time, he jointly beatified a married couple: Luigi and Maria Beltrame.
LETTER TO WOMEN
John Paul II took a particular concern for women. He was the first Pope to write an apostolic letter directed to women, Mulieris Dignitatem. In it, he urged them to reflect on their personal, cultural, social and ecclesiastical responsibilities.
DIGNITY OF THE SICK
Weakened by sickness himself, John Paul II remained active until his very last moments. He used his personal experience as a teaching tool for a world already under the influence of the "throw-away” culture.
In the Jubilee for the Year 2000, John Paul II formally apologized for the Church's past errors. It was a historic moment, which the Pope defined as a purification of memory, which allowed Christians to enter the Third Millennium more open to God.
A POPE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
John Paul II understood that young people needed special attention and guardianship. He came up with a gathering dedicated exclusively to them: World Youth Day. The Pope said he felt like another young person in the crowd.
"If you live with youth, you have to become young.”
Over the course of his 27 year pontificate, John Paul II overcame many obstacles and reached many goals. But above all, he was able to reach millions of Christians, talking to them one on one, from heart to heart.