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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.
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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.
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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.

Religious Persecution: Family of slain Pakistani minister, meets with Pope Francis

2014-08-29

The mother and brother of a Pakistani Christian minister, who was murdered because of his faith, met with Pope Francis. The son of 87 year old Marta, Shabaaz Bhatti, was killed in his native country, where as a Catholic he was part of the  minority. Now, his family is making sure his legacy lives on. 

PAUL BHATTI 
Brother of Shabaaz Bhatti
"The Pope was very touched and moved. He closed his eyes, held my mom's hand tightly and hugged her. That speaks volumes.” 

His brother, Shabaaz, was Pakistan's Minister of Minorities. He strongly opposed the country's blasphemy law which criminalizes critiques against Islam. In many cases, the law is used to wrongfully accuse people. It's often used as a tool for personal vendettas against Christians and other minorities. Shabazz killed in 2011, by Muslim extremists

With religious persecution on the rise, Bhatti, who held his brother's government post after he was assassinated, says the current violence in Iraq and Pakistan is much more complicated than it seems. 

PAUL BHATTI 
Brother of Shabaaz Bhatti
"What's going on in Iraq and Pakistan and other parts of the world, is not solely based on religion. They are terrorists who are using religion as a tool to reach their personal goals. In Pakistan, I've met good Muslims who have supported me as minister.”

At the same time, he fears that radicalized Muslims will turn Pakistan into another Iraq, where persecution and lawlessness seems to have taken over. 

PAUL BHATTI 
Brother of Shabaaz Bhatti
"That is a possibility, because you're dealing with Muslim terrorists who are also attacking other Muslim minorities. First we have to identify what is triggering this violence, discrimination and division and why people are ultimately being killed.” 

To prevent hatred, he says, education and inter-religious dialogue is key, especially in younger generations. 

PAUL BHATTI 
Brother of Shabaaz Bhatti
"When children are raised under a radical ideology, and they grow up with suicide bombers, they too become victims of violence. We must help these children.” 

Bhatti says he and his family are still threatened by extremists. So much so, that he's been forced to live between Pakistan and Europe. He says he doesn't feel a sense of revenge over the murder of his brother. Instead, he says he wants to devout his time helping those who cannot defend himself, just like his brother Shahbaz did before he was killed. 


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