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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.


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Papal Nominations
January 28th, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Msgr. Jose Soleibe Arbelaez, who served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Caldas, Colombia. He has nominated Cesar Alcides Balbin Tamayo as the new Bishop. He also accepted the resignation of Msgr. Egon Kapellari, Bishop of Graz-Seckau, Austria. 
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The Pope marks 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp
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Pope creates new archdiocese in Ireland
January 26, 2015. Pope Francis has unified the Metropolitan See of Cashel with the former Diocese of Emly. This new Archdiocese will from now on be called Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly (Ireland), and Msgr. Kieran O'Reilly will become its first Archbishop. 

Also, Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Stefan Heβe as new Bishop of Hamburg (Germany).
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New Decress of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved
January 23, 2015. Pope Francis met with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He authorised the promulgation of these decrees:

- The miracle attributed to the Venerable Servant of God Maria Teresa Casini, Italian foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1864-1937).

- The martyrdom of Servants of God Fidela (nee Dolores Oller Angelats) and two companions, Spanish professed nuns of the Institute of Sisters of St. Joseph, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 26 and 29 August 1936.

- The martyrdom of Servants of God Pio Heredia Zubia and seventeen companions, of the Trappists of Cantabria and the Cistercian nuns of the Congregation of St. Bernard, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.

- The martyrdom of Servant of God Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa (ne Bakali), South African layperson, killed in hatred of the faith in South Africa on 2 February 1990.

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Ladislao Bukowinski, Ukrainian diocesan priest (1904-1974).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Aloysius Schwartz, American diocesan priest, founder of the Sisters of Mary of Banneux and the Brothers of Christ (1930-1992).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Cointa Jauregui Oses, Spanish professed nun of the Company of Mary Our Lady (1875-1954).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Teresa Gardi, Italian layperson of the Third Order of St. Francis (1769-1837).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Luis De Trelles y Nuogerol, Spanish layperson and founder of the Nocturnal Adoration Society in Spain (1819-1891).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Elisabeth Maria (nee Erizabe-to Maria) Satoko Kitahara, Japanese layperson (1929-1958).

- The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Virginia Blanco Tardio, Bolivian layperson (1916-1990).

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Tommaso Ruzzi, new Director of the Vatican's Financial Intelligence Authority
January 21, 2015. Tommaso di Ruzza was appointed as Director of the Vatican's Financial Intelligence Authority, an organism that oversees all economic transactions  of the Holy See. Up until now, Ruzza had worked there as Deputy Director.

Pope Francis also appointed Daniel E. Garcia as new Auxiliary Bishop of Austin (U.S.).

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Members appointed to Vatican committee to study appeals of condemned priests
January 21, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed seven members and two substitutes to the College for the Study of Appeal to Ordinary Session of the Vatican's  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

They are:

President. Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, Bishop of San Leone, and Auxiliary of Malta.


Members:

- Card. Zenon Grocholewski 
- Card. Attilio Nicora 
- Card. Francesco Coccopalmerio 
- Card. Giuseppe Versaldi 
- Msgr. José Luis Mollaghan, Archbishop emeritus of Rosario (Argentina)
- Mons. Juan Ignacio Arrieta 

Substitutes:

- Card. Julián Herranz
- Msgr. Giorgio Corbellini
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Papal Appointments
January 20, 2015. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Msgr. Germán Trajano Pavón Puente and nominated Fr. Jorge Giovanni Pazmiño Abril as new Bishop of Amato (Ecuador). Msgr. Mario Bedini also resigned today as Archbishop of Isfahan (Iran) and Pope Francis appointed Fr. Jack Youssef as Apostolic Administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same Archdiocese.
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Pope Francis creates Eritrean Metropolitan Church sui iuris
January 19, 2015. Pope Francis created a new Eritrean Metropolitan Church "sui iuris", and appointed Msgr. Menghesteab Tesfamariam as the first  Metropolitan Archbishop of Asmara. He will oversee the eparchies of Barentu, Keren and Segheneity.
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Secretary of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace becomes Bishop of Faenza-Modigliana
January 19, 2015. Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Mario Toso as the new bishop of Faenza-Modigliana (Italy). Since October 29, 2009, Msgr. Toso had worked as the Secretary of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The Vatican hasn't revealed yet who will replace him at the Pontifical Council.
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Appointments
January 16, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Jose Maria Baliña as the new auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Up until now, the 56 year old served as a parish priest in the San Isdiro Labrador church. In Mexico, he has also named Nicholas James Samra, as the apostolic administrator ‘sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis dell’Eparchia’ of the Nuestra Señora del Paraiso of the Greek-Maronites of Mexico.
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Appointments
January 15, 2015. The Pope has approved the appointment of Rev. Basel Yaldo as auxiliary of the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans. He is currently serving as the priest in the St. George Chaldean Catholic Church in Michigan, USA. Also, Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona has been appointed as the new Bishop of the Chaldean eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Sydney, Australia. In addition, Chorbishop Emmanuel Challita has been appointed as the Bishop of the Chaldean eparchy of Mar Addai in Toronto, Canada. 

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New bishop of Grand Island (US)
January 14, 2015. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Msgr. William J. Dendinger and appointed Msgr. Joseph G. Hanefeldt as new Bishop of Grand Island (US).
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The Vatican has new Permanent Observer to UN's headquarters in Vienna
January 12, 2015. Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Janusz Urbańczyk as the Vatican's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. From now on, Msgr. Urbańczyk will also be the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the UN's headquarters in Vienna.

Also, Pope Francis nominated Father Fernand J. Cheri as new Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans.
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Joel Mercier, new Secretary of Congregation for the Clergy
January 8, 2015. Pope Francis nominated Joël Mercier as the new Secretary for the Congregation for the Clergy. Up until now, he worked at the Vatican Congregation for Bishops.

Iraqi Christians flee their homes without even blankets or water

2014-07-11

For thousands of Iraqis, life changed in an instant. Fighters from the Islamic State, a terrorist group, captured several cities in northern Iraq, forcing civilians to flee the fighting, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

PATRICK NICHOLSON
Caritas Internationalis
"What Caritas is trying to do is provide them with beds, with blankets, with food. And then also, it works through volunteers, so it's training the volunteers in first aid, so that they can provide any medical assistance.”

The situation is also challenging for those who chose to stay. Cities, like Mosul, are the mercy of ruthless militants.

MARTA PETROSILLO
Aid to the Church in Need (Italy)
"The Chaldean archbishop of Mosul said that he had never seen something like this: the city of Mosul, a prisoner of chaos, with the army that abandoned the region. The Church has responded to this emergency, helping nearly 1000 refugee families, and not just Christians.”

PATRICK NICHOLSON
Caritas Internationalis
"Caritas Iraq has reached 200 families so far, and aims to reach another one thousand families in the coming days.”

Jihadist fighters, also known as ISIS, control parts of Iraq and Syria, and have displayed great cruelty, even crucifying their opponents. Pope Francis admitted that he cried when he heard about this practice. As the terrorist group expands  its control, Christians feel especially vulnerable.

MARTA PETROSILLO
Aid to the Church in Need (Italy)
"We know that there have been many attacks and anti-Christian crimes in Syria. The Iraqi community fears similar attacks from jihadists: decapitations, rape, murder. We're also heard of them forcing Christian women in certain places to wear a veil.”

According to the UN refugee agency, the fighting displaced nearly half a million people. Thousands have faced multiple tragedies in few years: they fled to Syria when sectarian violence escalated in Iraq. Then, the Syrian Civil War forced them to return. Now, they are victims, yet again, of bloody fighting.


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