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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
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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.

Pope Francis says goodbye to youngest ambassador to the Holy See

2014-07-08

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.

FERNANDO SANCHEZ
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. 

BENEDICT XVI
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. 


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