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February 22, 2017

Pope warns parishioners on gossip – If you’re tempted to gossip, ‘bite your tongue’

Pope Francis Sunday traveled to a parish on the outskirts of Rome where he visited a priest suffering from a severe form of ALS and celebrated Mass, warning parishioners, as he often does, of the harm gossiping does to a community. When we read the Gospels, we see that “we have a lot of sins,” including betrayal and jealousy, “but there is one I don’t find: they weren’t gossipers, they didn’t talk bad about others, they didn’t speak badly about each other. No,” the Pope said Jan. 15. “In this, they were good. They didn’t pluck at each other,” he…

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Vatican lights Christmas tree – As Pope reflects on Nativity scenes

As Christmas approaches, the Nativity scenes found in churches and homes around the world bid us to make room for Jesus both in our lives and in society, Pope Francis said shortly before the lighting of the Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square Friday. The massive 82-foot tree from the Dolomites was lit in St. Peter’s Square, next to the nearly life-size Nativity scene, donated to the Vatican by the Archdiocese of Malta and designed by local artists. The Nativity scenes found “in churches, in homes and in many public places are an invitation to make room in our lives…

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Don’t whitewash your sins – Pope Francis

As Christmas approaches, don’t downplay your sins, Pope Francis said. Instead, name them honestly in the Sacrament of Confession, open your heart, and ask the Lord to heal you from within. If we merely say: “yes, yes, I have some sins; I go, I confess…and then I go on as before,” we don’t allow ourselves to be recreated by the Lord, the Pope said Dec. 5. It’s as if we’ve applied “two coats of paint” on our heart, believing that is good enough. “No!” he said. What we should do instead is name our sins carefully, saying: “I’ve done this,…

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Vatican announces themes for upcoming World Youth Days

The Dicastery for Laity, the Family, and Life issued a communiqué on Tuesday listing the themes for the next three World Youth Days (WYD). The press release notes that the themes were chosen by Pope Francis “for the three-year World Youth Day journey that will culminate at the international celebration of the event to be held in Panama in 2019.”  World Youth Day is celebrated at the diocesan level each year on Palm Sunday, with an international gathering every two to three years. The most recent international Day was celebrated in August, 2016, in Krakow, Poland. The Blessed Virgin Mary…

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World AIDS Day: Pope calls for solidarity and treatment for all

Pope Francis has appealed to all persons to act in a responsible manner to prevent the spread of HIV-Aids. Speaking during the weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall,  to mark this year’s World AIDS Day, Thursday December 1, the  Pope said: “Millions of people live with this illness and only half of them have access to life-saving therapies.” The Pope invited all to pray for them and for their families and promote solidarity so that “also the poor can benefit from adequate diagnosis and treatment. “I appeal to all to act in a responsible way in order to…

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Advent: Don’t be dominated by material things – Pope Francis

The season of Advent is a reminder to us to open our horizons and have concern for more than just material things, the Pope said last Sunday during his Angelus address. Advent is an invitation “to sobriety, to not be dominated by the things of this world, to material reality, but rather to govern them,” Pope Francis said Nov. 27 in St. Peter’s Square. “If, on the contrary, we are conditioned and overpowered by them, it is not possible to perceive that which is much more important: our final encounter with the Lord: and this is important. He pointed to…

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Pope extends Jubilee mandate on abortion – Grants all priests faculty to absolve sin of abortion

Acknowledging and sharing God’s mercy is a permanent part of the Christian life, so initiatives undertaken during the special Year of Mercy must continue, Pope Francis said. “Mercy cannot become a mere parenthesis in the life of the church,” the pope wrote in an apostolic letter, “Misericordia et Misera,” (“Mercy and Misery”), which he signed Nov. 20 at the end of the Year of Mercy. The Catholic Church’s focus on God’s mercy must continue with individual acts of kindness, assistance to the poor and, particularly, with encouraging Catholics to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation and making it easier for…

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Four cardinals ask pope to clarify teaching on Communion for divorced

Four cardinals said they formally asked Pope Francis to clarify his teaching on Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and, not receiving a response after two months, they released their letter to the press. “We have noted a grave disorientation and great confusion of many faithful regarding extremely important matters for the life of the church,” the cardinals said. “Even within the episcopal college, there are contrasting interpretations of Chapter 8 of ‘Amoris Laetitia,’” the chapter dealing with ministry to the divorced in his exhortation on the family. The four who signed the letter are: Cardinals Walter Brandmuller, a…

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Pope asks authorities to grant clemency for prisoners during Jubilee

After celebrating Mass for prisoners in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis in his Angelus address appealed for better prison conditions and asked that as part of the Jubilee of Mercy, competent global authorities would consider granting clemency to eligible inmates. “I would like to make an appeal for better conditions in prison life, so that the human dignity of the detained is fully respected,” the Pope said Nov. 6. He emphasized the importance of the need for a criminal justice “which isn’t just punitive, but open to hope and the re-insertion of the offender into society.” “In a special way,…

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Vatican congratulates Trump … Prays that his presidency will promote peace amid conflict

After Donald Trump pulled off what was for many a surprising victory in the United States election, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin offered his prayers that the new president-elect would promote peace in a world torn by conflict. “First of all, we take note with respect the will of the American people in this exercise of democracy which they tell me was characterized by a large turnout. Then we congratulate the new president, so that his government can be truly fruitful,” Cardinal Parolin told Vatican Radio Nov. 19. He also assured of his prayers, “so that the Lord…

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Pope Francis confirms ban on ordaining women priests

The Catholic Church insistence that it cannot ordain women to the priesthood and episcopacy is a teaching likely to last forever, Pope Francis said. After being hosted by the Lutheran Church of Sweden, which is led by Archbishop Antje Jackelen of Uppsala, the nation’s first woman primate, Pope Francis was asked Nov. 1 if the Catholic Church might one day have women priests and bishops. As he has done in the past, the pope responded that the question was settled in 1994 by St. John Paul II, who taught that because Jesus chose only men as his apostles, the ordination…

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Pope Francis: ‘The Rosary is the prayer of my heart’

Pope Francis on Wednesday reminded the faithful that the month of October is dedicated to the Rosary and invited all believers to recite the Marian prayer. In a tweet, just a few days ago, on the day when the Church celebrates the feast of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, the Pope said “the Rosary is the prayer that always accompanies my life: it is also the prayer of simple people and saints…it is the prayer of my heart”. At the conclusion of  the weekly General Audience, he explained that the Rosary is “a synthesis of Divine Mercy”: “With Mary,…

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Freed 21 Chibok girls may not be their normal selves at the moment – Pope Francis

Pope Francis, religious head of the Catholic Church worldwide has said the 21 Chibok girls released should undergo psychological evaluation by experts because of their traumatic experience. He made the statement through the President of Pontifical Mission Societies (Nigeria), Rev. Fr. George Ajana, during this year’s World Mission Sunday, at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Area 3, Abuja. According to the Pope, though everyone is grateful for their release, the girls cannot regain their normal selves without psychological rehabilitation and prayers from the church. “The release of the 21 Chibok girls is victory, it is a very good sign…

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Vatican releases instruction on burial, cremation

Professing belief in the resurrection of the dead and affirming that the human body is an essential part of a person’s identity, the Catholic Church insists that the bodies of the deceased be treated with respect and laid to rest in a consecrated place. While the Catholic Church continues to prefer burial in the ground, it accepts cremation as an option, but forbids the scattering of ashes and the growing practice of keeping cremated remains at home, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “Caring for the bodies of the deceased, the church…

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Pope Francis names 17 new cardinals

Pope Francis on Sunday promoted 17 Roman Catholic prelates from around the world to the high rank of cardinal, including 13 who are under 80 years old and thus eligible to succeed him one day. Cardinals, who wear red hats and are known as “princes of the Church,” are the most senior members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy after the pope and serve as his principal advisers around the world and in the Vatican. Naming new cardinals is one of the most significant powers of the papacy, allowing a pontiff to put his stamp on the future of the 1.2-billion-member…

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Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio to be Canonized October 16

This month on October 16th, 2016 Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio will be canonized and declared a saint. He has always been an inspiring example and patron saint for Conquest, Challenge and ECYD because of his heroic martyrdom during the Cristero war. He was an example of courage in the face of people who hated God and the Church. You may remember his story from the 2012 movie  “For Greater Glory”, which depicted the martyrdom this teenage boy in  Mexico in the 1920s. His Life José Sánchez del Río was born on March 28, 1913, in Sahuayo, Michoacán, Mexico. Wanting…

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Federal Government withdraws forgery charges against Saraki, Ekweremadu

Sarai and Ekweremadu

The Federal Government of Nigeria has filed a motion to withdraw the charge of criminal conspiracy against Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu. Four months ago, government, through the Ministry of Justice, arraigned Saraki, Ekweremadu, alongside former Clerk to the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasu, and his deputy, Benedict Efeturi. The four were accused of conspiracy and forgery of Senate Standing Rules which brought Saraki and Ekweremadu to office in 2015. The suit was filed in June, almost a year after Secretary of Senate Unity Forum, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi petitioned the Inspector General of Police where he demanded…

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No war is holy, pope says at inter-religious peace gathering

Violence in the name of God does not represent the true nature of religion and must be condemned by all faiths, Pope Francis said. “We never tire of repeating that the name of God cannot be used to justify violence. Peace alone, and not war, is holy!” the pope said Sept. 20 at the closing ceremony of an interreligious peace gathering in Assisi. Following a prayer service with Christian leaders, including Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, the pope joined religious leaders from around the world to appeal for peace and unity. The…

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Pope Francis: Feeling hopeless? Don’t drink – pray!

Feelings of spiritual desolation, or a lack of will to live, should be combated with prayer, not with sleeping pills or alcohol – things that only distract us from the problem – Pope Francis said Tuesday. “We need to understand that when our soul is in this state of generalized sadness we can barely breathe: This happens to all of us… whether strong or not,” the Pope said in a homily Sept. 27. We need to “understand what goes on in our hearts.” Offered on the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, the Pope said Mass at Casa Santa Marta…

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Corruption is worst form of criminality, Pope tells Vatican police

On Sunday Pope Francis celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Vatican Gendarme by thanking the security force for their tireless service, and warned against modern crimes linked to exploitation and corruption. “Crooks love the scam and hate honesty. Crooks love bribes, agreements done in the dark. This is worse than anything, because he believes he’s being honest,” the Pope told members of the Vatican Gendarme Sept. 18. The crook “loves money, loves wealth,” he said, and, calling wealth an “idol,” noted that crooks “trample on the poor” with no concern or second thought. He noted how there are many people…

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