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New bishops in Brazil, Spain and the Democratic Republic of Congo
May 6, 2015. The Pope has appointed Tarcísio Scaramussa, to be the Bishop of Santos (Brazil). Until now, the position was held by Jacyr Francisco Braido. Also in Brazil, the Pope has appointed Edson de Castro Homem to be the Bishop of the Diocese of Iguatu and Agenor Girardi to be Bishop of the Diocese of Uniao da Vitoria.

The Vatican also announced that the Pope has appointed Manuel Sánchez Monge bishop of the Diocese of Santander (Spain). Emery Kibal Mansong'loo will become the Bishop of Kule (Democratic Republic of Congo).

Further, there is a new Vicar Apostolic of Bontoc-Lagawe (Philippines) and two new members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Archbishop of Dijon Roland Minnerath and Anthony Colin Fisher, Archbishop of Sydney.
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Raúl Castro to meet with Pope
May 6, 2015. Cuban President Raúl Castro will meet privately with Pope Francis on Sunday morning, May 10. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi  said, "President Raúl Castro has publicly thanked the Pope for his role in fostering the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States of America."
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New bishop in Texas
April 23, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Msgr. David Eugene Fellhauer, Bishop of Victoria in Texas (United States). In his place, he has appointed the Rev. Brendan Cahill. 
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Appointments
April 22, 2015. The Pope has named Eduardo Pinheiro da Silva, S.D.B. as Bishop of Jaboticabal (Brazil). Until now, he was auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Campo Grande.

The Vatican also announced that on April 21 the Pope appointed Joseph F. Naumann to be Apostolic Administrator "sede vacante" of the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph (United States). Until a new bishop is appointed, Naumann will oversee the diocese. He is currently the Metropolitan Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas.
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Kansas Bishop Robert Finn resigns years after conviction
April 21, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of American Bishop, Robert W. Finn. In 2012 the Kansas Bishop was convicting of not reporting a diocesan priest to police. The priest had a series of pornographic material in his computer. 

He is the first American Bishop to resign for not acting swiftly in dealing with cases of sexual abuse. 

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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
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. 
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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).

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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