The year's first great ceremony was the baptism of 28 babies in the Sistine Chapel. This time, the ceremony's choir was the sound of weeping infants.
“And so... the concert has begun.”
One of the most important meetings in January, with anti-mafia and anti-terrorism judges. The pope thanked them for risking their lives, and told them that he prayed for the conversion of mafia members. He also asked them to fight against the roots of corruption.
'The money from the dirty deals of mafia crimes is stained with blood, and produces iniquitous power. We are all aware that the devil enters ‘through the pockets:’ there is the first corruption.'
Pope Francis also celebrated Mass to commemorate the 800 anniversary of theDominican Order. In his homily, he recalled how each person must choose between a superficial life and one based on charity.
“How do you go from a pseudo-festive superficiality to glorification, which is the authentic feast? It is passed on due to good works.”
There are currently about 6,000 Dominicans working in every continent. They are known for their preaching, which is why so many great theologians have come from their order, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Albert the Great and St. Catherine of Siena.
In January, the pope asked the Order of Malta's Grand Master to resign, in order to facilitate a solution to the institution's internal crisis.
Two months prior, the Order's third-in-command was expelled. It was suggested that this was done with the support of the Holy See, however this has never been confirmed.
The former chancellor appealed the decision to the Vatican, which opened an investigation to find out what had really happened in the Order.
The Grand Master first said the Vatican had no power to investigate them, and asked the members of the Order not to cooperate. However,he later complied to the requests in order to solve this unprecedented situation.
Among the Vatican's several visitors that Pope Francis met with was Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.
“It was a pleasure to meet him!”
Perhaps the most exciting moment was his meeting with Arnold Schwarzenegger, star of the Terminator series and Conan the Barbarian. The actor thanked him for his concern regarding the environment.
“It's a great honor to meet you. I wanted to come here and say thank you very much for protecting us.'
As a keepsake from the meeting, one of Schwarzenegger's associates gave the pope a 'Cowboy Blazer.'
“Very cold for the mountain.”