Catholic News Agency: Vatican

Meriam Ibrahim lands in Rome, meets with Pope Francis

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: July 24, 2014
Vatican City, Jul 24, 2014 / 06:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A young Sudanese woman dismissed of a death sentence for refusing to renounce her Christian faith has arrived to Rome with her family, where they met with Pope Francis shortly after arriving. “Pope Francis was very tender with her, her husband, who was in prison, and thanked her for her testimony,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said of the encounter in a July 24 statement. Describing the meeting between the young family and the Roman Pontiff as “very serene and affectionate,” Fr. Lombardi explained that for him encounter, which took place in the Pope’s residence at the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, was “a gesture of closeness and solidarity for those who suffer for their faith.” “And this goes beyond this beautiful and attentive gesture.” In May, the 27-year-old woman was charged with abandoning Islam under Sudanese law. Because her father was a

Pope Francis to meet with 20 young Asian leaders

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: July 23, 2014
Vatican City, Jul 23, 2014 / 08:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his upcoming apostolic voyage to South Korea Pope Francis is slated to meet with 20 Asian youth during the 2014 Asia Youth Day, including Korean pop-star BoA. According to the Korean Times, representatives from 17 Asian countries will attend a luncheon with the Roman Pontiff Aug. 15, following his visit to Daejeon’s World Cup Stadium, where he will celebrate Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption, after which he will have an official lunch with the diocese’s seminarians. Among the 17 different countries the youth will come from are India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Taiwan, Nepal, China, Japan and Mongolia. K-pop sensation BoA will also join the banquet as an honorary ambassador for the sixth Asian Youth Day, being held in Daejeon. Taking place Aug. 13 – 17, the event is expected to draw some 2,000 youngsters from 22 Asian countries. The Roman Pontiff will travel to the Somoe Shrine after the lunch

Pope Francis calls Syro-Catholic patriarch, assures of his prayers

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: July 22, 2014
Vatican City, Jul 22, 2014 / 10:54 am (CNA/EWTN News).- According an Italian Catholic new organization, Pope Francis made a phone call to Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan over the weekend to reassure him of his continued prayers for Iraqi Christians. Following the July 19 burning down of the Episcopal palace of Syrian-Catholics in Mosul, Italian Catholic news organization SIR reports that Pope Francis made a phone call to the Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan of Antioch the afternoon of July 20 to express his condolences and closeness in a time of persecution. The agency reports that during their 9 minute conversation, the Pope reassured the patriarch “that he follows closely and with concern the drama of forced and threatened Christians in the Iraqi city of Mosul.” SIR referred to other reports coming from the Syrian-Catholic Patriarchate, which stated that Patriarch Younan “thanked the Pope” and asked him to “intensify” his effort

Schedule for Pope Francis' Caserta visit released

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: July 22, 2014
Vatican City, Jul 22, 2014 / 04:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican has released Pope Francis’ schedule for the first of this two-day trip to the Italian city of Caserta, where he will later meet an evangelical pastor and friend from his time in Buenos Aires. Pope Francis will travel by helicopter to the province of Caserta in the Campania region of Italy the afternoon of July 26, and will arrive to the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) School of the Air Force, in the Royal Palace of Caserta at 3:45p.m. After his arrival, the Roman Pontiff will hold a meeting with the diocese’s priests and seminarians at 4p.m., and will celebrate Mass at the airport at 6p.m. Following the Mass he will return to the Vatican by helicopter evening so that he can recite the Angelus prayer with faithful in St. Peter’s Square Sunday, as he does every week. On Monday, July 28, the Bishop of Rome will return to Caserta to pay a private visit to his longtime friend, Evangelical pasto

Pope laments exodus of last Christians from Mosul

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: July 21, 2014
Vatican City, Jul 21, 2014 / 05:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his weekly Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis mourned the fleeing of the last Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul, who were told by ISIS forces last week to either convert, pay the Jizya tax or leave. “They are persecuted; our brothers are persecuted, they are driven out, they have to leave their houses without having the possibility of taking anything with them,” Pope Francis voiced in his July 20 Angelus address. “I want to express my closeness and my constant prayer to these families and these people,” he continued. “Dear brothers and sisters who are so persecuted, I know how much you suffer, I know that you are stripped of everything. I am with you in the faith of the one who has conquered evil!” Members of ISIS, a militant group that operates in Iraq and Syria with the aim of establishing a caliphate in northern Syria and Iraq, overtook the country’s second-largest ci

Argentine national soccer team sends autographed jersey to Pope

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: July 20, 2014
Vatican City, Jul 20, 2014 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a gesture of gratitude and affection, the Argentinean national soccer team, which lost Sunday to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, sent Pope Francis an official team jersey autographed by each of its players. “Here’s the present the team sent to our Pope Francis!” team member Maxi Rodriguez said in a post on his Twitter account, which featured a photo of himself and team captain Lionel Messi holding the jersey. The Holy See expressed thanks for the gift on Thursday, noting that although Argentina did not win the final, the team “acknowledged it had faith that the Pontiff would keep them in his thoughts throughout the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.” During their stay in Brazil, the Argentine team kept a large photo of the players posing with Pope Francis on display at their training center in Belo Horizonte. The picture was taken last year when the Argentine team visited the pontiff while in

Pope laments loss of innocent life in Malaysian plane crash

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: July 18, 2014
Vatican City, Jul 18, 2014 / 10:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Following the crash of a Malaysian passenger plane in eastern Ukraine yesterday, Pope Francis has offered prayers for the victims, urging all parties involved in the country’s conflict to work for peace. “The Holy Father Francis has learned with dismay of the tragedy of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft downed in east Ukraine, a region marked by high tensions,” A July 18 statement from the Vatican read. “He raises prayers for the numerous victims of the incident and for their relatives, and renews his heartfelt appeal to all parties in the conflict to seek peace and solutions through dialogue, in order to avoid further loss of innocent human lives.” According to CNN, the plane, a Boeing 777 carrying 298 people, all civilians and including many children, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and is said to have been shot down by a surface-to-air-missile. It crashed Thursday, July 17 betw

Pope Francis makes phone call to Israel, Palestine presidents

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: July 18, 2014
Vatican City, Jul 18, 2014 / 08:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In wake of the rising death toll in Gaza due to increased tensions between Israel and Palestine, Pope Francis made a personal call to the country’s presidents in order to ask for peace. “Following last Sunday’s heartfelt appeal for continued prayer for peace in the Holy Land, this morning the Holy Father Francis personally telephoned President Shimon Peres and President Mahmoud Abbas,” a July 18 statement from the Vatican read.  During the calls, the Roman Pontiff voiced “his very serious concerns regarding the current situation of conflict involving in particular the Gaza Strip which, in a climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering for the two populations, is claiming many victims and giving rise to a serious humanitarian emergency.” Tensions between Israel and Palestine have steadily increased in recent weeks following the murder of three Israeli teenagers, whose bodies w

Key challenges to African family polygamy, gender priest reveals

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: July 18, 2014
Vatican City, Jul 18, 2014 / 06:19 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Representatives from the Pontifical Council for the Family gathered in the Congo with over 40 bishops last week to discuss the state of families in Africa, highlighting both strengths and challenges they face. “The bishops are very glad and positive about the family because it is really the structure of African society,” Fr. Andrea Ciucci told CNA July 11, however “there are some problems not typically African but that Africa is learning from Europe and America.” A priest of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Fr. Ciucci traveled last week to Brazzaville, capitol of the Republic of the Congo, along with the council’s president, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, to meet with the Association of Bishop Conference of Central Africa (ACERAC). Bishops from each of the six nations composing the ACERAC, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea, met alongsi

Vatican bank starts second phase of reform effort

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: July 18, 2014
Vatican City, Jul 17, 2014 / 08:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Institute for Religious Works, or 'Vatican Bank', has released its annual report for 2013, announcing the start of the second phase of its intended reform. Ernst von Freyberg, the outgoing president of the institute’s board, said it will “continue to serve with prudence” and provide specialized financial services to the Church around the world. “The valuable services that can be offered by the institute assist the Holy Father in his mission as universal pastor and also aid those institutions and individuals who collaborate with him in his ministry,” von Freyberg said in the nearly 100-page report.   von Freyberg will officially leave his position at the end of July. At the moment the Institute for Religious Works, known by its Italian acronym IOR, is in transition to a new president, Jean-Baptiste de Franssu.   de Franssu’s task is to lead the IOR through the refo