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Appointments
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. 
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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).
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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.
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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).
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Nominations
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. 
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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. 
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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.

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Appointments
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).
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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.”

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LIVE CHAT
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. 

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Crash Condolences
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.

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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.
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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).

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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.


A look at Albania... now and then. From concentration camps to a coming Papal visit

2014-07-12

On September 21st, the Pope is scheduled to travel to Albania. He made the surprise announcement during a Sunday Angelus. 

POPE FRANCIS
June 15th
"With this brief trip, I want to strengthen the faith of the Church in Albania. I want to show my support and love for a country that has suffered the consequences of  past ideologies, for a very long time.” 

That suffering Pope Francis was referring to, dates back decades. The country lived through Italy's Fascism and also, Nazi rule. For almost 40 years, it had a communist dictatorship.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, directly saw the effects this had on the country and its people. 

ARCH. VINCENZO PAGLIA
Pontifical Council for the Family, President
"I was the first Catholic priest to be allowed in Albania. It was March 13, 1991. At that point, there hadn't been free elections under the regime. The country was terrified.” 

In 1991, John Paul II sent in three priests, who could assess the standing of the Church, after years of persecution. 

ARCH. VINCENZO PAGLIA
Pontifical Council for the Family, President
"It was the only state in the world, where the constitution outright banned any type of religious gathering. All priests were in concentration camps. There was only one Bishop, who I actually visited. They set him free, after 19 years of imprisonment, where he was forced to live in a house full of sheep.” 

Parishes, he says were closed or turned into warehouses, garages or theaters. Christians prayed in secret, or else they faced persecution. 

But now, years later Archbishop Paglia visited the country in light of the Pope's upcoming visit.  He says, it's a much different situation now. 

ARCH. VINCENZO PAGLIA
Pontifical Council for the Family, President
"I've noticed an enthusiasm from everyone:  Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims. They see the Pope as the  spiritual leader of humanity.” 

Albania will actually be the first European country the Pope visits. It's a very symbolic trip, given the fact that just 20 years ago, Christians faced jailed time, for wearing a cross around their neck. 


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