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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.

Pope to Presidents of Israel and Palestine: Peace takes more courage than war

2014-06-08

It was a meeting where politics was set aside, and priority was given to prayer. Pope Francis invited the Presidents of Israel and Palestine to pray for peace. 

Each president arrived separately and the Pope personally greeted each one of them.  Then, both presidents, exchanged a few words. 


"I call him Holiness, but he's been a  good friend for a long time”

"He is to blame for this”

"Against all the norms ...”


Also there, was Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who leads the Orthodox Church, which has a strong presence in the Holy Land. 

Together, all four of them, got in the same car, and made their way to the Vatican Gardens to pray for peace. 

Since music can often express what words cannot-a list of moving melodies were played out before all delegations. 


The prayer session lasted over an hour. In chronological order, first it was the Jewish representatives, then Christians and finally Muslims. 


Each delegation gave thanks to God for creation and for humanity. Then came an apology for not always respecting one another. They asked for forgiveness, for their sins against God and their fellow brothers and sisters. Ultimately they prayed for the gift of peace. 


Along the way, music from these three religions intensified the atmosphere of prayer. 


It was a specifically a prayer meeting, but it's expected to have political consequences. Addressing both leaders, the Pope said it takes more courage to engage in peace than war. He then asked them to respect their accords and to avoid provocation. He also talked about those who have lost their lives in this conflict. 

POPE FRANCIS 
"Many, all too many, of those children have been innocent victims of war and violence, saplings cut down at the height of their promise. It is our duty to ensure that their sacrifice is not in vain. The memory of these children instils in us the courage of peace.”


SHIMON PERES
President of Israel 
"I was young, now I'm old. I experienced war. I tasted peace. Never will I forget the families, parents and children who paid the cost of war. All my life I shall never stop to act for peace.” 


MAHMOUD ABBAS
President of Palestine
"We want peace for ourselves and for our neighbors. We want prosperity and thoughts of peace for us and for others. Lord, listen to our prayers. Give victory to our requests, because You are the most just and merciful, God of all worlds.” 

Together they prayed, asking for a miracle. It may not trigger immediate results, but it shows a willingness to negotiate. They also planted an olive tree,  as a symbol of peace, to mark the day. 


The Pope then walked them to the Vatican's Casina Pio IV Hall, where both presidents spoke in private. 

The process will be long, with the Pope is hoping that Jews, Christians and Muslims will begin a new chapter of peace in the Holy Land...a region, that for generations has seen conflict. 


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