Friday 18

Vatican parish welcomes first refugee family following Pope’s appeal

The Vatican announced that a family of four — mother, father and two children — was welcomed by the community of the Vatican’s St. Anne Parish in Rome after Pope Francis made an appeal earlier this month for every church in Europe to open its doors to refugees.

Syrian Christians of the Catholic Greek-Melkite rite, the family fled their war-torn city of Damascus and arrived at the Vatican on September 6, the day that Pope Francis made an appeal for every parish, religious community, monastery and shrine in Europe to take in a family. According to the papal almoner, the family will stay in an apartment inside the Vatican near St. Peter’s Basilica. All necessary procedures requesting international protection for the family were started immediately.

Since current legislation doesn’t allow asylum applicants to take paid work for the first six months, the family will be assisted by the St. Anne parish community during that time.

Sunday 20

Pope Francis gifts Fidel Castro with copy of Laudato Si’

Pope Francis and former Cuban president Fidel Castro held a brief meeting after Sunday Mass on September 20 during the Pope’s visit to Cuba.

Pope Francis, accompanied by a few other Vatican representatives including Apostolic Nuncio to Cuba Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, traveled to Fidel Castro’s home where the two talked about the environment and “the great problems of the contemporary world.”

The two exchanged a few books, with Pope Francis giving Castro a copy of his works Laudato Si’ and Evangelii Gaudium as well as a book on happiness and the spiritual life by Italian priest Fr. Alexandro Pronzato.

Most notable, however, was the collection of writings and homilies by Spanish-born Jesuit priest Fr. Amando Llorente that Pope Francis gave him. A tutor to Castro in his youth, the priest was later exiled from Cuba in 1961 under Castro’s regime.

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Pope Francis shakes hands with former Cuban President Fidel Castro at Castro’s residence in Havana on September 20 (CNA photo)

Monday 28

Pope Francis explains World Youth Day tie to Divine Mercy

“You, dear young man, dear young woman, have you ever felt the gaze of everlasting love upon you, a gaze that looks beyond your sins, limitations and failings, and continues to have faith in you and to look upon your life with hope?” the Pope asked in his Message for the 31st World Youth Day in Krakow 2016, set to take place July 25-31.

“Dear young people, at the Shrine in Krakow dedicated to the merciful Jesus, where he is depicted in the image venerated by the people of God, Jesus is waiting for you… Open yourselves to his merciful gaze, so ready to forgive all your sins,” said the Pope.

Tuesday 29

Mercy, dialogue the focus of World Communications Day

This year’s theme for World Communications Day is inspired by the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, and stresses that social communications should be centered on mercy, dialogue and welcome.

The Pontifical Council of Social Communication announced the choice of “Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter” which “highlights the capacity of good communication to open up a space for dialogue, mutual understanding and reconciliation, thereby allowing fruitful human encounters to flourish,” the communique read.

Wednesday 30

A Mexican exorcist advances on path to sainthood — courtesy of the Pope

In a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, head of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, Pope Francis advanced the cause of a Mexican exorcist who lived during the time of the Cristero War, and eight others, for their heroic virtue.

Fr. Juan Manuel Martín del Campo was one of five priests who have now received the title of “Venerable.”


Fr. Juan Manuel Marin del Campo, a Mexican exorcist, on the road to sainthood

Born in the state of Jalisco in 1917, Fr. Martín del Campo served as a priest for more than 50 years before his death, eight of which (1987-1995) were spent as the official exorcist for the Mexican diocese of Xalapa.

He entered the seminary of Veracruz in the 1930s, during the time of Mexico’s Cristero War that was sparked by anti-clerical legislation being passed by the Mexican President Elías Calles in 1926.

The laws banned religious orders, deprived the Church of property rights and denied priests civil liberties, including the right to trial by jury and the right to vote. The persecution became so fierce that some Catholics began to forcibly resist, fighting under the slogan and banner of “Cristo Rey” (Christ the King).


Friday 2

Listen to your guardian angel—he is God’s messenger

Each of us has a Guardian Angel who, acting on behalf of God, advises us and protects us from evil if we only listen to him, Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass on the Feast of the Guardian Angels.


“May we ask the Lord for the grace of this meekness, to listen to the voice of this companion, to this ambassador from God who accompanies us in His name, and may we be supported by his help,” the Pope said.

He explained that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God could have left them to fend for themselves. But instead, as an act of love and mercy, the Lord sent with them an angel to guide and protect them.

Sunday 11

Pope prays for victims of weekend blasts in Turkey

Pope Francis expressed his condolences Sunday for those affected by attacks in Ankara during a weekend protest that left at least 95 people dead.

“While I pray for that beloved country, I ask the Lord to welcome the souls of the departed, and to comfort the suffering and (their) families.”

The October 10 attack is believed to have been perpetrated by two suicide bombers. It struck a group of pro-Kurdish demonstrators and labor activists who were holding a rally near the capital city’s main train station three weeks ahead of an election, according to Reuters.

Sunday 18

Pope Francis: Four new saints point to humility — not worldly power

Pope Francis today canonized four new saints, whose greatest legacy, he said, was their tireless imitation of Jesus in humble service to others, which is something each of us is asked to emulate. “The men and women canonized today unfailingly served their brothers and sisters with outstanding humility and charity, in imitation of the divine Master,” the Pope said. Among the four newly canonized individuals recognized for their exemplary virtue are Italian priest Fr. Vincent Grossi, Sister Mary of the Immaculate Conception, and married couple Louis and Zelie Martin. Known for being the parents of  the 19th century French saint Therese of Lisieux, Saints Louis and Zelie Martin are the first married couple to ever be canonized together.


A tapestry showing Louis and Zelie Martin, parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, as Pope Francis leads the October 18 Mass for their canonization in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Pope Francis also canonized Spanish Sister Maria of the Immaculate Conception, a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross, and Italian Father Vincenzo Grossi, founder of the Institute of the Daughters of the Oratory (CNA photo)

Wednesday 21

Vatican calls rumors over Pope Francis’ health false and irresponsible

The director of the Holy See press office denied reports in the Italian press that Pope Francis is suffering from a brain tumor, and denounced their dissemination as “gravely irresponsible.”

The statement by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., came in response to a report that day by Italian agency Quotidiano Nazionale alleging that the Pope had been diagnosed with a small but curable brain tumor.

“The dissemination of totally unfounded news regarding the Holy Father’s health by an Italian press agency is gravely irresponsible and unworthy of attention,” reads the statement.

Fr. Lombardi also pointed out that Pope Francis’ busy schedule has continued without issue.

“Moreover, as everyone can see, the Pope is carrying out his very intense activity without interruption in a way that is absolutely normal.”

Thursday 22

Pope creates Vatican office combining laity, family, life issues

Pope Francis announced Thursday to the Synod on the Family that he has chosen to establish a new office in the Roman Curia that will deal with issues of laity, family, and life, as part of his reform of the curia.

“I have decided to establish a new Dicastery with competency for Laity, Family and Life, that will replace the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family,” Pope Francis said.

The Pope added that the Pontifical Academy for Life will also be joined to the new office.

Wednesday 29

Pope Francis sets up foundation to boost Catholic education

Observing the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on Christian education, Pope Francis today announced the establishment of a foundation meant to promote Catholic education worldwide.

The Pope said he was pleased that the Congregation for Catholic Education “wishes to constitute on this occasion a Foundation named Gravissimum Educationis, with the aim of pursuing ‘scientific and cultural ends, intended to promote Catholic education in the world,’” he wrote, quoting the foundation’s statutes.

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