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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.”
"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.
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.