Pope Francis this Christmas day delivered his Urbi et Orbi message, (to the city and the world) from the central loggia of St Peter's Basilica. In it he prayed that recent U.N.-backed peace agreements for Syria and Libya would quickly end the suffering of their people.
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It’s hard to describe the mix of emotions that washed around the Synod Hall on Saturday at the close of this three week meeting. Elation, exhaustion, incredulity and relief were certainly among the reactions I heard from Synod Fathers as they worked their way painstakingly through all 94 points of their lengthy final text.
Father Joseph Zhang Yinlin, 44, was ordained as coadjutor bishop of Anyang diocese in Henan province Aug. 4. The ceremony at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Anyang city was presided over by 90-year-old Bishop Thomas Zhang Huaixin of Anyang.
Asia’s newest country, Timor-Leste, will sign a concordat with the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on Aug. 15 when it celebrates 500 years of evangelization to mark the arrival of the Portuguese in 1615. The treaty has been under negotiation since 2006 but was not finalized until two months ago.
Authorities have stepped up persecution of underground Catholics in Hebei province with the detention of a bishop and a priest as well as the demolition of an altar that left two laywomen injured, all in separate incidents this month.
Philippines Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle has been elected president of Caritas, the international confederation of more than 150 Catholic development agencies. The cardinal-archbishop of Manila, dubbed “the Asian Pope Francis”, succeeds Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, who has served two four-year terms as president.
Pope Francis announced on Friday the Roman Catholic Church will mark an extraordinary Holy Year, one of its most important events, in which faithful make pilgrimages to Rome and other religious sites around the world. Making the surprise announcement in St. Peter's Basilica on the second anniversary of his election, Francis said the Holy Year will focus on the topic of mercy, one of the most important themes of his papacy.
Pope Francis called for respect of "religious freedom as a fundamental right" in Sri Lanka as he declared missionary priest Joseph Vaz the country's first saint. Speaking slowly in English, the pope said each individual "must be free, alone or in association with others, to seek the truth, and to openly express his or her religious convictions, free from intimidation and external compulsion".
Pope Francis embarks on one of the most delicate missions of his 18-month-old papacy on Friday, when he is expected to wrestle with the problems of Christian persecution in the Muslim world and tackle relations with Islam in a time of spreading jihadism during his visit to Turkey.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols said this week that he believes Pope Francis appreciates the experience of the English Catholic Church in learning to exist in a culture that does not always agree with it.
Blase Cupich is poised to become the archbishop of Chicago on Tuesday when his predecessor hands him a bishop's staff and relinquishes the chair that symbolizes the leadership of the nation's third-largest diocese.
Local officials in Laos arrested seven Christians for meeting for worship on Sunday, according to a rights group. Security officials and police arrested the Christians as they ate lunch after meeting for worship in the home of pastor Sompong Supatto, according to Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).
Pope Francis has appointed Mgr Marcus Stock Bishop-elect of Leeds diocese. Mgr Marcus is a proven administrator having been General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (November 2009 to date) and Acting Director of the Catholic Education Service
St Patrick’s Seminary in Maynooth is welcoming 14 new seminarians this year. Thirteen men hoping to join the diocesan priesthood and one missionary priest have begun their studies for priestly formation at Ireland’s national seminary in County Kildare.
Chris Patten, former chairman of the BBC Trust and former chancellor of the University of Oxford, will serve as president of the commission. The 70-year-old British public servant is a Catholic and was co-ordinator of Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United Kingdom in 2010.
"The first work of the bishop is prayer. His first enthusiasm is for prayer. He is to pray boldly, arguing with God for the sake of his people. Then, secondly, he is to stay close to the people, in his heart and in how he spends his days. In a bishop, said Pope Francis, there can be 'no psychology of princes'. He is always to be a servant.
Pope Francis has appointed Lady Margaret Scotford Archer as president of a group of scholars dedicated to studying issues in the social sciences in order to offer reflection and advice to the leadership of the Church.
Pope Francis has appointed Father Alan Williams SM, currently the Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, as the seventh Bishop of Brentwood. His episcopal ordination will take place at Brentwood Cathedral on 1st July 2014 at 12 noon. The bishop-elect was born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1951. He took final vows in the Society of Mary [Marist Fathers] in 1981 and was ordained priest in St Anne’s Whitechapel in 1983.
In an episode that underlines the fierce and long-standing friction between China's officially atheist Communist Party and its rapidly growing Christian congregation, Bible-carrying believers this week flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to protect it from the bulldozers.