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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).

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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.

The Story Behind the Feast Day of St. Mary Major and why it's important to Pope Francis

2014-08-05

Immediately following his election to the papacy, Pope Francis said that his first visit would be to pray before the Virgin Mary. 

POPE FRANCIS
March 13, 2013
"Tomorrow I want to go to pray before Our Lady so that she may protect all of Rome.”

Since then, Francis has shown his devotion to the Blessed Mother in this same site, in front of the 'Salus Populi Romani' icon, which means 'the salvation of the Roman people.'

In May, he returned to the shrine to pray the Rosary. He has also entrusted all of his visits to the patroness of Rome. He visited Saint Mary Major before traveling to Brazil for World Youth Day. Upon his return, he stopped at the basilica on his way back to the Vatican, leaving a soccer ball and shirt on the altar, souvenirs from Rio de Janeiro. He repeated the same gesture before and after his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 

He made other solemn visits during the procession of Corpus Christi, where he blessed the faithful in the church square. 

According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to Pope Liberius in his dreams. She told him that she would indicate the area in Rome in which she wanted a basilica built. On a hot summer day, on August 5th 358, the Esquiline area of Rome was covered in snow. Liberius ordered the construction of a basilica in that same area and since then, many Popes have visited the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.

Following tradition and his own personal devotion, Francis has venerated the patroness of Rome on numerous occasions showing that the Blessed Mother is a crucial part of his papacy. 


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