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
The youngest ambassador accredited to the Holy See bid farewell to the Eternal City. He's now 40, but arrived at the age of 36. Perhaps it's his youth that made Costa Rica's Fernando Sanchez one of the most active diplomats in Rome.
One of his last official acts was saying goodbye to Pope Francis, who thanked him and gave him a special gift.
Ambassador of Costa Rica
"He talked to me right away about Costa Rica, he told me: 'Costa Ricans are now well known,' because of the World Cup. I gave him a jersey of the national team, which read Pope Francis. He was very happy. In the end, my son, who's always been fascinated with the papal hat, brought one for him and they switched. I couldn't ask for anything better.”
Sanchez' son is used to the attention. He gave Benedict XVI flowers when his father presented his letter of credentials in 2010.
Two weeks after after this first meeting, the Pope mentioned Costa Rica twice during the 2010 Christmas Urbi et Orbi message.
Urbi et Orbi 2010
"May the same hold true not only for those in Colombia and Venezuela, but also in Guatemala and Costa Rica, who recently suffered natural disasters... May it encourage dialogue between Nicaragua and Costa Rica; and may it advance reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.”
He spent less than four years in Rome. But during that time he coordinated three visits by his country's president to the Vatican, even though Benedict XVI dedicated less time to meeting heads of state in his later years.
An ambassador's goals include making his country's presence known. Today, the Vatican's lone parish has a chapel dedicated to the patroness of Costa Rica, Our Lady of the Angels.
He also brokered a partnership between Costa Rica and the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, a Vatican's hospital founded by Father Pio.
The outgoing ambassador said his successor could finalize pending agreements with the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Library, and the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music.
His send off also included a Mass, presided by Card. Antonio Cañizares. Naturally, it took place in the same parish that houses the chapel dedicated to Costa Rica's patroness.
CARD. ANTONIO CAÑIZARES
Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship
"At the end of your service, Fernando, you may leave happy. You sought to serve your country and the Church, to serve God. May He help you, may Our Lady of the Angels protect you and your family, and the beloved nation of Costa Rica.”
Sanchez' term coincided with several decisive moments at the Vatican and the world. They included the resignation of Benedict XVI, and the first year of Pope Francis' historic pontificate.