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Rome Reports

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Pope in August: Denounces Rohingya persecution and announces trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh

Pope Francis resumed his activities following his summer holidays on August first.

His first General Audience had to be held in the Paul VI Audience Hall due to the high temperatures in Rome. He spoke of baptism to those gathered there as a way of “being reborn.”

“We Christians live in the world, and we are not exempt from obscurities and darkness. However, the grace of Christ received in baptism causes us to leave the night and enter into the day's clarity.”

As soon as the Audience was over, the pope noticed someone special: Italian singer Andrea Bocelli.

"I heard a voice... but who was singing?"

"You have something inside with the power to move others. I don't know. I don't know if you Thank you. I am normal."

Knowing that summer is a time for vacations, trips and less worries for Christians, the Holy Father also touched on these themes in the Sunday Angelus.

"It is important that during the period of rest and the break of day-to-day worries, we recover strength of body and spirit, deepening the spiritual journey." 

A few days later, once the itinerary of his trip to Chile and Peru from January 15-21, 2018 was published, Pope Francis sent a hopeful video message to the Peruvian people.

"A Christian has to follow this path and why not a Peruvian, with so many Peruvian saints?” “A Christian looks forward with hope, because he hopes to accomplish that which the Lord promised him." 

As soon as he heard of the terrible terrorist attacks in Barcelona, Pope Francis issued this statement of condolence for the victims and their families.

“Let us pray for all the dead, for the wounded and for their families and implore the Lord, the God of mercy and peace, to free the world from this inhuman violence."

Pope Francis denounced the situation of the Rohingya, the most persecuted ethnic and religious minority of the world, according to the United Nations. Rohingya Muslims are fleeing en masse from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

That same day the Holy Father announced that he would travel to Myanmar and Bangladesh from 27 November through 2 December.

“They suffer persecution from the Burmese government, which considers them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Therefore they are not granted any rights, including access to health care, education, or decent work.”

On the last day of the month, Pope Francis received the surviving members of the Chapecoense soccer team in the Vatican. The Brazilian team suffered a terrible plane crash on November 28, 2016.

The Holy Father met with two of the three players who survived and then embraced the familiy members of the deceased.