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Sunday, March 29, 2015
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Pope Francis to visit President Obama at White House

The White House has issued a statement announcing that United States President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will host Pope Francis on September 23, 2015. The meeting will take place in the White House. The statement says President Obama and Pope Francis will discuss several issues of mutual interest, including "caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom around the world; and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities."

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 St Peter's Basilica goes dark for Earth Hour
St Peter's Basilica goes dark for Earth Hour

The lights went out on St Peter's Basilica for one hour on Saturday evening, joining once again the international 'Earth Hour' effort to raise awareness about climate change. The annual initiative, which began in 2007, invites cities around the world to turn off the lights on their national monuments and public buildings, as well as in offices, shops and homes, to help raise awareness about the need to adopt more environmentally sound practices. Earth Hour is being observed today, 28 March in major cities across the world, from 8.30 to 9.30pm, local time in each country.

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Assyrian Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV has died
Assyrian Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV has died

His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East died on Thursday morning, March 26 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Patriarch Mar Dinkha was 80 years old and the cause of death was a virus infection and pneumonia. The funeral service will be held on April 8 at St George Church in Chicago. Patriarch Dinkha, the 111th Patriarch of the Church of the East, was consecrated as Patriarch on October 17, 1976, serving 39 years at his post.

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Pope welcomes homeless to Sistine Chapel
Pope welcomes homeless to Sistine Chapel

On Friday evening, Pope Francis went to the Sistine Chapel to greet the 150 homeless persons who had been invited to visit the Vatican Museums through an initiative of the Office of Papal Charities. On his arrival the Pope said: "Welcome. This is the house of all; this is your house. The doors are always open to all." He went on to shake hands and talk with each person, staying for about 20 minutes. Later, he thanked Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, Papal Almoner, for having organized the visit, which he called a "small kindness" for the guests.

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Vatican Observer to UN on right to freedom of religion
Vatican Observer to UN on right to freedom of religion

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, spoke at the 28th meeting of the Council for Human Rights on 10 March. His speech, emphasizing the fundamental importance of religious freedom as well as the freedom of expression, was published by the Vatican today. A text summary follows:"The International Community is now confronted with a delicate, complex, and urgent challenge with regard to respect for religious sensibilities and the need for peaceful coexistence in an ever more pluralistic world:

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Pope Francis: Faith, not cold doctrine, brings joy
Pope Francis: Faith, not cold doctrine, brings joy

It is faith that brings joy - not 'cold doctrine' , Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning. Commenting on the day's readings, Pope Francis remarked that Abraham and his wife Sarah are old, but he believes and opens "his heart to hope" and is "full of consolation." Jesus reminds the doctors of the law that Abraham "rejoiced" to see his day "and was full of joy": "And that's what these doctors of the law did not understand. They did not understand the joy of promise; they did not understand the joy of hope;

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Pakistan: 570,000 people call for justice for Asia Bibi
Pakistan: 570,000 people call for justice for Asia Bibi

A petition calling for the release of a Christian woman sentenced to hang for blasphemy in Pakistan has topped half a million signatures. The online petition calls for the release of mother-of-five Asia Bibi, who was condemned to death in November 2010. She was convicted of blasphemy after a heated conversation with Muslim co-workers. The campaign received a surge in support last week, with the number of signatures rising to more than 570,000. The Change.org petition was organised by university student Emily Clarke, who was moved by the plight of Asia Bibi, the first woman to be

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Iraq:  David Cameron urged to take action on UN genocide report
Iraq: David Cameron urged to take action on UN genocide report

Aid to the Church in Need has called on the Government to act to save persecuted Christians and other faith groups in Iraq and Syria after a UN human rights office report said recent atrocities there could be classed as 'genocide'. The report, based on interviews with more than 100 alleged victims and witnesses, called on the security council to refer the case to the International Criminal Court. While welcoming the report, ACN has demanded the UK Government take action to address the situation. The report highlights substantial human rights violations, including killings, torture, rape and sexual slavery, forced religious conversions

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Pope calls for renewed prayers for Family Synod
Pope calls for renewed prayers for Family Synod

Pope Francis called for renewed prayers for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family during the General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square today. In spite of heavy rain many thousands had gathered. The Holy Father met a group of sick people in Paul VI before coming out to greet pilgrims in the Square. The Pope began his reflection by noting that today, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, marks a special stage in the journey of catechesis on the family, a moment to pause for prayer.

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World prays for victims of plane crash in French Alps
World prays for victims of plane crash in French Alps

Prayers are taking place around the world for the victims of yesterday's plane crash in the French Alps. In the small German town of Haltern, which lost 16 pupils and two teachers from the Joseph Koenig school on the flight, a special Mass was said last night. In a telegram yesterday, the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin writes that the Holy Father "joins in the grief of the families" of the victims, which include many children. Pope Francis is also praying for those who died "entrusting them to the mercy of God" and he has expressed his sympathy for all those affected by the tragedy, including

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Turkey: No bells ring to mark 100th anniversary of Armenian  genocide
Turkey: No bells ring to mark 100th anniversary of Armenian genocide

Armenian churches around the world began ringing their bells at 19.15 yesterday - the hour chosen to symbolically recall the year 1915 - and in this way commemorate the eve of the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The initiative, proposed by Patriarch Karekin II, united Armenian communities around the world. But there was one notable exception. The churches of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, throughout the Turkish territory did not participate in the event.

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Recruiting now: Ecumenical Accompaniers  in Palestine & Israel
Recruiting now: Ecumenical Accompaniers in Palestine & Israel

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel (EAPPI) provides protection by presence, monitors human rights abuses, supports Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and advocates for an end to the occupation. Ecumenical Accompaniers, working as Human Rights Monitors, will be based in the West Bank and Israel in 2016 for three or four and a half months' service.

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           Pope Francis: How many people are 'Christians - yes, but...'?
Pope Francis: How many people are 'Christians - yes, but...'?

How many people say they are Christians but don't accept 'the way' that God wants to save us? They are the ones Pope Francis defined as "Christians, yes, but...", incapable of understanding that salvation passes through the cross. And Jesus on the Cross. This is the very core of the message in tpday's readings, Pope Francis explained, during Mass at Santa Marta this morning. In the passage from the Gospel according to John (8:21-30), Jesus says: "When you have lifted up the Son of man..." and, foretelling of his death on the cross, evokes the bronze serpent that Moses raised "to heal the

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Colombia: Priest killed in robbery
Colombia: Priest killed in robbery

Father Fernando Meza Luna, pastor of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, in the city of Sincelejo, about 900 km north of Bogota, was shot dead about 9pm on Saturday night during an attempted robbery. Parishioners rushed the wounded priest to Santa Maria Clinic, but he died soon after. On Sunday, a large number of people went to the Cathedral to express their sorrow at the death of the priest, while another group appealed to the authorities asking for more security in the streets of Sincelejo, as this was not the only episode of armed violence that occurs against peaceful citizens.

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Pope Francis: Where there is no mercy there is no justice
Pope Francis: Where there is no mercy there is no justice

During his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta today, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel readings of the day and on another Gospel passage pointing out that "where there is no mercy there is no justice". Referring to three women in the Bible, Pope Francis said they represent three allegorical figures of the Church. The women he said are: Susanna - an innocent woman; an adulteress - a sinner; and a poor and needy widow.

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AoS holds Mass on cruise ship following Tunis terror attacks
AoS holds Mass on cruise ship following Tunis terror attacks

A Mass was celebrated on Saturday, March 21, in Marseille on board the cruise ship Costa Fascinosa after five passengers from the vessel were killed in the Tunis terrorist attack. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, from the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), who is currently in Marseilles to attend the regional AoS coordinators' meeting. The service was held at the request of Costa Cruises, owners of Costa Fascinosa, to offer spiritual and pastoral support for surviving passengers and crew who have been affected by the tragic killings.

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Leading Saudi cleric calls for destruction of all churches in Kuwait
Leading Saudi cleric calls for destruction of all churches in Kuwait

Saudi Arabia's top Muslim cleric has called for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula after legislators in the Gulf state of Kuwait moved to pass laws banning the construction of religious sites associated with Christianity. Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, last Tuesday, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, who serves as the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, said the destruction of churches was absolutely necessary and is required by Islamic law, Arabic media has reported.

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Pope calls on Christians to express their faith in action
Pope calls on Christians to express their faith in action

Pope Francis says the lives of Christians must be coherent and express faith in action. Speaking to the crowds gathered in a rainy St Peter's Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope invited all believers to always bear in mind the message of the Gospel, the image of the Crucified Lord, and the need to be witnesses of faith. The Pope also told the crowds that there were 300 homeless people in the square, distributing 50,000 copies of the Gospel- where we "we can meet Jesus, listen to Him, and get to know Him". This is a beautiful gesture" he said. "Those who are most needy

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Pope warns of 'terrorism of gossip',  venerates relic of St Januarius
Pope warns of 'terrorism of gossip', venerates relic of St Januarius

Pope Francis venerated the relic of St Januarius during his visit to Naples Cathedral on Saturday. According to tradition, the vial of blood sometimes liquifies around 19 March. On this occasion, after the Pope kissed the reliquary, Cardinal Sepe announced the blood of St Januarius "is already halfway liquefied". Pope Francis responded, saying if the blood only half liquefied "it means the Saint thinks we're only half converted .. We must keep going." Earlier, the Pope had a convivial meeting with a group of priests, religious and seminarians. He began saying "I prepared a speech, but

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Pope Francis tells people of Naples: 'Do not be robbed of hope'
Pope Francis tells people of Naples: 'Do not be robbed of hope'

Massive crowds gathered in Piazza del Plebicito, the centre of Naples, on Saturday for the Papal Mass. In his homily the Holy Father commented on the passage from the Gospel of St John in which Jesus, in the temple, spoke about Himself as a source of 'living water' and the people began to discuss the truthfulness of this assertion. Although the high priests wanted to detain him, "as they did under dictatorships", noted Francis, the guards returned empty-handed as they had heard "the voice of truth". "The Word of the Lord, today as yesterday,

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Canada: Québec Cathedral to open Holy Door for  Year of Mercy
Canada: Québec Cathedral to open Holy Door for Year of Mercy

Following the announcement by Pope Francis on 13 March that an 'extraordinary Holy Year' will begin on December 8, the Archdiocese of Quebec has announced that the Holy Door of the Cathedral Basilica Notre-Dame de Québec will be open to pilgrims throughout the Jubilee of Mercy. His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada, said the diocesan Church rejoices in joining Pope Francis in this Year of Mercy. "After the 350th anniversary of Notre-Dame de Quebec, this will be a Jubilee that we will celebrate with the Universal Church.

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Pope visits Naples, meets migrants and workers
Pope visits Naples, meets migrants and workers

Pope Francis began a visit to Naples yesterday. His helicopter landed in the sports field in the Scampia quarter, one of the most highly-populated in Naples, built between 1970 and 1990 largely in response to the emergency caused by the earthquake that devastated Naples in 1980. It is among the areas with the highest rates of unemployment in Italy. From the field the Pope travelled by Popemobile to St John Paul II Square, where he was given a warm welcome by the crowds. Surrounded by children, he was officially greeted by the cardinal archbishop of Naples, Crescenzio Sepe,

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Pope: death penalty is inadmissible no matter how serious the crime
Pope: death penalty is inadmissible no matter how serious the crime

Pope Francis repeated the Catholic Church's total opposition to the death penalty today, during his audience with a delegation from the International Commission against the Death Penalty. Extracts from the letter the Pope gave to Federico Mayor, president of the Commission, follow. "I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some reflections on what the Church contributes to the humanistic efforts of the Commission. The Church's Magisterium, based on the Sacred Scripture and the thousand-year experience of the People of God, defends life from conception to natural end,

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            Pope Francis: Japan's 'hidden Christians' a model for Church
Pope Francis: Japan's 'hidden Christians' a model for Church

Japan's 'hidden Christians' the Christian communities who kept the faith alive through centuries of persecution, can be an inspiration to today's Catholics, Pope Francis told Japanese bishops who are on their Ad Limina visit to Rome. In his address to them, the Pope recalled St Francis Xavier who brought Christianity to Japan in the mid 16th century and early Church leaders like Jesuit St Paul Miki and his followers whose "steadfast faith in the midst of persecution became an encouragement for the small Christian community to persevere in every trial."

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Address in honour of Shahbaz Bhatti: The souls of the just are in the hand of God
Address in honour of Shahbaz Bhatti: The souls of the just are in the hand of God

'The souls of the just are in the hand of God'. Nothing greater nor more exact can be said of the man in whose memory and honour we gather today. He was murdered four years ago because of his witness to justice and mercy and equity under the rule of law. His blood is the seal upon the words he spoke in defence of individuals condemned to death through the abuse and misuse of laws in Pakistan which were ostensibly framed to protect the name of God. We know however, these laws were framed by a military dictator intent on preserving his usurpation of power through a politicized use of religion.

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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 5351
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