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Mar 31, 2013

Pope appeals for peace, end to Korea tensions, in Easter message

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis used his first Easter Sunday address to call for peace in the world and appealed for a diplomatic solution to the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

In his first “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message, Francis also called for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, an end to the civil war in Syria, and political solutions to conflicts in several African countries.

Mar 30, 2013

Pope leads Catholics into Easter at vigil service in St. Peter’s

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis, leading the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics into Easter for the first time, on Saturday urged those who have strayed from the faith to allow God back into their lives.

Francis, who was elected on March 13, presided at a solemn Easter vigil Mass in St. Peter’ Basilica to usher the Catholic Church into the most important day of its liturgical calendar.

Mar 29, 2013

Pope leads traditional Good Friday rite at Rome Colosseum

ROME (Reuters) – Thousands of people holding candles turned out at Rome’s Colosseum to see Pope Francis mark the first Good Friday of his pontificate with a traditional “Way of the Cross” procession around the ancient amphitheatre.

Francis, who was elected on March 13, sat under a red canopy on Rome’s Palatine Hill as representatives of the faithful from around the world alternated carrying a wooden cross on the day Christians commemorated Jesus’s death by crucifixion.

Mar 29, 2013
via FaithWorld

Pope Francis includes women, Muslims for first time in Holy Thursday rite


Pope Francis washes the foot of a prisoner at Casal del Marmo youth prison in Rome March 28, 2013. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano

Two young women were among 12 people whose feet Pope Francis washed and kissed at a traditional ceremony in a Rome youth prison on Holy Thursday, the first time a pontiff has included females in the rite.

Mar 28, 2013

Pope includes women for first time in Holy Thursday rite

ROME (Reuters) – Two young women were among 12 people whose feet Pope Francis washed and kissed at a traditional ceremony in a Rome youth prison on Holy Thursday, the first time a pontiff has included females in the rite.

The pope travelled to the Casal del Marmo prison on Rome’s outskirts for the traditional Mass, which commemorates Jesus’s gesture of humility towards his apostles the night before he died.

Mar 28, 2013

Pope urges Catholic priests to help poor, shun careerism

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Beginning a busy program of Easter events, Pope Francis on Thursday urged Catholic priests to devote themselves to helping the poor and suffering instead of worrying about careers as Church “managers”.

Francis’ homily at his first Holy Thursday service as Roman Catholic leader was the latest sign since his surprise election two weeks ago of his determination that the 1.2 billion-member Church should be closer to the poor.

Mar 24, 2013

New pope cites grandma’s folk wisdom at his first Palm Sunday

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The new pope began Holy Week on Sunday with a sermon invoking the folk wisdom of his grandmother, further emphasising a new-look papacy that aims to be closer to the people.

Leading his first major service since his election, Pope Francis addressed a vast crowd gathered for Palm Sunday with simple language, urging them to shun corruption and greed and reach out to “the humble, the poor, the forgotten”.

Mar 23, 2013

Pope, former pope meet in first such encounter in 600 years

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (Reuters) – A reigning pope and ex-pope faced each other for the first time in at least 600 years on Saturday when Pope Francis traveled south of Rome to meet his predecessor, “pope emeritus Benedict XVI”.

Francis, who was elected on March 13, arrived by helicopter at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo for a meeting and lunch with Benedict, who has been living here since he abdicated on February 28.

Mar 22, 2013

Pope urges dialogue with Islam, more help for the poor

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis urged the West on Friday to intensify dialogue with Islam and appealed to the world to do more to combat poverty and protect the environment.

Speaking in Italian, the new pontiff said richer countries should fight what he called “the spiritual poverty of our times” by re-forging links with God.

Mar 21, 2013

Argentine Nobel peace laureate Esquivel defends pope

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel defended Pope Francis on Thursday against accusations he failed to speak out against repression during the 1976-83 military dictatorship in their native Argentina, saying he preferred “silent diplomacy”.

Links between some high-ranking Roman Catholic clergymen and the U.S-backed military regime that kidnapped and killed up to 30,000 leftists between 1976 and 1983 tarnished the Church’s reputation in Argentina and the wounds have yet to heal.