Catholic News Agency: Vatican

A sweet sign of hope: Pope's envoy returns to Iraq with Easter cake

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: March 29, 2015
Vatican City, Mar 29, 2015 / 06:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis' personal envoy to Iraq will return to the country during Holy Week, bringing with him the pontiff's love and solidarity along with a special gift from the diocese of Rome: cake.   “During Holy Week, which is now close, these families are sharing with Christ the unjust violence of which they are victims, and participating in the pain of the same Christ,” a March 27 statement from the Vatican read. Cardinal Fernando Filoni, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, traveled to Erbil as Pope Francis' personal envoy in August of last year. He returns to Iraq in order to “stand beside the families” who have been forced out of their homes due to extremist violence. With the funds taken up from a special collection, the families of the diocese of Rome will also show their solidarity with those suffering in Iraq by sending an Easter cake &ldquo

Holy Week is about humility – there is no other way, Pope says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: March 29, 2015
Rome, Italy, Mar 29, 2015 / 05:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Palm Sunday said that imitating the humility of Jesus is what makes Holy Week “holy,” and encouraged attendees to mimic his attitude of humiliation as the week unfolds. Referring to the day’s second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which recounts how Jesus “humbled himself” by taking on human form, the Pope said that “these words show us God’s way and the way of Christians: it is humility.” Humility, he said, is “a way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God!” As the Church sets out on the path of Holy Week that leads us to Easter, “we will take this path of Jesus’ own humiliation. Only in this way will this week be holy for us too!” Francis explained. Pope Francis spoke to the thousands of pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square for his March 29 Palm Sun

500 years after birth, witness of St. Teresa of Avila remains strong, says Pope

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: March 28, 2015
Vatican City, Mar 28, 2015 / 01:56 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila's birth, Pope Francis praised the Spanish mystic and reformer for her witness of self-gift to God, as well as her particular relevance during this Year of Consecrated Life. “How much goodness does the testimony of her consecration – born directly from the encounter with Christ, her experience of prayer as continuous dialogue with God, and her community life, rooted in the motherhood of the Church – do for us!” the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio's translation. In a Mar. 28 letter addressed to Fr Xavier Cannistrà, superior general of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, the pontiff wrote that it is providential that the anniversary of the saint's birth should coincide with the Year of Consecrated Life, which began late last year. St. Teresa of Avila, the Holy Father said, “shines as a sure and attractive model of total self

Pope praises deceased Assyrian patriarch as wise pastor, ecumenical leader

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: March 28, 2015
Vatican City, Mar 28, 2015 / 11:17 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolences following the death of Catholicos Dinkha IV, patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, describing him as an “important spiritual leader, a courageous and wise pastor.” The patriarch passed away on Mar. 26 in Rochester, Minnesota at the age of 79. Addressing the telegram to Mar Aprem, Metropolitan of the Assyrian Church of the East for India, Pope Francis assured him, as well as all bishops, clergy, and faithful of the “spiritual closeness of all Catholics.” “The Christian world has lost an important spiritual leader, a courageous and wise pastor who faithfully served his community in extremely challenging times,” the Pope said. He observed that the Iraq-born patriarch had “suffered greatly because of the tragic situation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and in Syria, resolutely calling attention to the plight of our Chri

Pope expected to visit Italian cities of Florence, Prato in November

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: March 27, 2015
Vatican City, Mar 27, 2015 / 03:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- An informal announcement was made on Friday at the close of the Italian bishops conference's spring meeting in Rome revealing that Pope Francis will visit the two Tuscan cities Nov. 10. “We welcome the news that the Holy Father will be in Prato with great joy,” Bishop Franco Agostinelli of Prato said March 27. The bishop explained that “our whole diocese is celebrating this event, which will mark our history: Peter will truly visit out Church and confirm us in the faith.” Simultaneously announced in Rome, Prato, and Florence, the news of the Pope’s visit came at the end of a gathering of the permanent council of the Italian bishops conference at the Vatican. Francis’s November trip will be his first time traveling to both Florence and Prato, which are both located in Italy’s northern Tuscan region and sit about 15 miles apart. St. John Paul II visited Prato in 1986, meet

'This is your house' – Pope Francis meets homeless in Sistine Chapel

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: March 27, 2015
Vatican City, Mar 27, 2015 / 11:24 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis stopped by to visit with 150 of Rome’s homeless in the Sistine Chapel after they were invited for dinner and a private tour by the Vatican. “Welcome. This is everyone's house, and your house. The doors are always open for all,” the Pope told his homeless guests during their March 26 visit to the Vatican Museums. He said that their visit was like a tender caress from God. The group was invited by Papal Almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who oversees the office of papal charities. In the course of the visit, the homeless guests received a tour of the Vatican City State, passing by the Santa Martha guesthouse where the Pope lives, as well as several galleries in the Vatican Museums, culminating with the Sistine Chapel. Although cameras and photographers were prohibited, the Vatican’s press office said that the Pope was with the group for at least 20 minutes, and greeted each pers

Pope Francis meets relatives of aid workers murdered by Islamic State

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: March 27, 2015
Vatican City, Mar 27, 2015 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The brother and widow of two British aid workers killed by Islamic State militants last autumn were among the participants in yesterday’s General Audience, during which they briefly met with Pope Francis and received his blessing. “Pope Francis has called for a common commitment to end fighting, hatred and violence. Mike Haines is living that commitment in an extraordinary way,” Nigel Baker, the British ambassador to the Holy See, said in a March 24 statement a day before the audience. Mike Haines is the brother of former aid worker David Haines, who was murdered by the Islamic State in September after being kidnapped while working near the Syrian-Turkish border  in 2013. David Haines was 44, and the father of two. He had joined relief agency Acted in the delivery of clean water, food and tents in Syria amid the growing humanitarian crisis in refugee camps near Atme, 35 miles west of Aleppo on the T

Bishops conferences are not the Magisterium, Vatican doctrine chief reminds Cardinal Marx

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: March 26, 2015
Vatican City, Mar 26, 2015 / 04:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has told a French paper that doctrinal, or even disciplinary, decisions regarding marriage and family are not up for determination by national bishops’ conferences. “It is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the Catholicity of the Church,” Cardinal Mueller said when asked, “Could certain doctrinal or disciplinary decisions on marriage and family be delegated to the episcopal conferences?” “Episcopal conferences have authority on certain matters, but they are not a magisterium beside the Magisterium, without the Pope and without communion with all the bishops,” he continued. The Famille Chretienne interview of Cardinal Mueller – whose office is tasked with promoting and safeguarding doctrine on faith and morals – was published March 26, and was translated into English

Pope Francis to meet, celebrate Mass with relatives during Turin visit

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: March 26, 2015
Rome, Italy, Mar 26, 2015 / 08:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A son of Italian immigrants, Argentinian native Pope Francis will have the opportunity to meet with distant relatives during his visit to Turin for the first time since coming to Italy after his election. The family members Francis will meet during his trip “are cousins. Different cousins and various other family members. I don't know them, I only know that there are some from Turin,” Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia told journalists March 25. The archbishop, who oversees the Turin diocese, spoke with journalists during a press briefing announcing the details of the Pope’s June 21-22 visit this summer. Pope Francis will meet with his relatives on the 22nd, and will be with them from 10:15 in the morning until 4:30 that afternoon. During that time, he will celebrate Mass and have lunch with them at the archbishop’s residence. Archbishop Nosiglia said that the request for the encounter essentially ma

A look at Pope Francis' summer trip to the Shroud of Turin

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: March 26, 2015
Vatican City, Mar 26, 2015 / 12:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican has released the schedule for Pope Francis' upcoming pilgrimage to Turin – home to what is believed to be the burial shroud of Jesus – with a program that largely centers on young people. The pontiff's June 21-22 visit to the northern Italian city also marks the centenary of the birth of Saint John Bosco, founder of the Salesian order and patron saint of youth. According to the Vatican, which released the schedule during a March 25 press briefing, the Pope will venerate the shroud in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist shortly after his arrival in Turin, before pausing for a brief moment of prayer at the tomb of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, another patron of the youth, who is buried in a nearby altar. This year's papal visit coincides with a rare exposition of the shroud, which will be on display to the public from April 19 to June 24, having been most recently on display in 2010.