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‘REJOICE AND BE GLAD’ | Pope’s apostolic exhortation focuses on call to holiness

Pope Francis greeted youths as he left an audience with young people from the northern Italian Diocese of Brescia in Paul VI hall at the Vatican April 7.

VATICAN CITY — God calls all Christians to be saints — not plastic statues of saints, but real people who make time for prayer and who show loving care for others in the simplest gestures, Pope Francis said in his new document on holiness.

"Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy," the pope wrote in "Gaudete et Exsultate" ("Rejoice and Be Glad"), his apostolic exhortation on "the call to holiness in today's world."

Pope Francis signed the exhortation March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, and the Vatican released it April 9.

'REJOICE AND BE GLAD' | Pope's apostolic exhortation focuses on call to holiness

In 'Gaudete et Exsultate,' Pope Francis wrote that the path to holiness is made up of small steps in prayer, sacrifice and service to others. The document, whose English title is 'Rejoice and Be Glad,' focuses on the call to holiness each of us experiences.

VATICAN CITY -- God calls all Christians to be saints -- not plastic statues of saints, but real people who make time for prayer and who show loving care for others in the simplest gestures, Pope Francis said in his new document on holiness.

"Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy," the pope wrote in "Gaudete et Exsultate" ("Rejoice and Be Glad"), his apostolic exhortation on "the call to holiness in today's world."

Pope Francis signed the exhortation March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, and the Vatican released it April 9.

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On Easter, Salvadorans bury priest assassinated during Holy Week

Pallbearers travel through a massive crowd April 1 with the coffin carrying slain Father Walter Vasquez Jimenez to Holy Trinity Church in Lolotique, El Salvador. The 36-year-old priest was killed March 29, Holy Thursday, shortly after renewing his vows.

LOLOTIQUE, El Salvador — On Easter, as thousands of Salvadorans from around the country packed into the rural town of Lolotique, Catholic Church officials laid to rest a 36-year-old priest violently killed during Holy Week — the latest victim of a wave of violence that plagues the country.

NCAA championship is a win-win for Catholic universities

Villanova Wildcats guard Jalen Brunson hoists the national championship trophy after defeating the Michigan Wolverines, 79-62, in the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball championship April 2 in San Antonio.

WASHINGTON — The ball was in the court for Catholic universities in the NCAA basketball tournaments this year.

For the first time, Catholic university teams won both the men's and women's national championship games. The women's team, the Fighting Irish from the University of Notre Dame, beat Mississippi State University on Easter 61-58, thanks to Arike Ogunbowale's dramatic, 3-point shot with less than one second left.

The next night, the Villanova University Wildcats men beat the University of Michigan 79-62, winning their second national title in three years.

Trevi Fountain coins to continue bringing fortune to Rome’s needy

People gather in front of the landmark Trevi Fountain after its 2015 restoration in Rome. While millions of tourists throw a coin over their shoulder into the fountain hoping to return to Rome one day, the money scooped out of the fountain each week offers more concrete hope to the city’s poor.

VATICAN CITY — While millions of tourists throw a coin over their shoulder into Rome's Trevi Fountain hoping to return to Rome one day, the money scooped out of the fountain each week offers more concrete hope to the city's poor.

Rome's city council extended an agreement March 29 with Caritas Rome to entrust it with the tourists' coins to provide food and shelter to the city's poor and needy.

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