Cindy Wooden and Lise Alves | Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY -- Visiting Rio de Janeiro, the chief organizer of papal trips confirmed Pope Francis will participate in the key events of World Youth Day July 23-28 and he said other parts of the papal trip are being tailor-made for the new pope.
Alberto Gasbarri, the Vatican official who has worked on organizing papal trips since the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II, said, "We had a program fixed between October and November of last year, but a little detail changed -- we have a new pope."
GUADALARJARA, Mexico -- A shy woman stopped to pray in front of statue of Blessed Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala while visiting the Santa Margarita Hospital. She knew little about the founder of the facility, who will be canonized May 12, but, like many, she had heard stories from hospital patients who say the soon-to-be-saint still walks the halls providing care, attention and miracles to those in need.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- In early January 2005, Carlos Eduardo Restrepo, a Colombian anesthesiologist suffering from lupus and a severe infection in his thorax, faced death.
His family and friends were preparing for the worst. He was given last rites. But then an image of Blessed Mother Laura Montoya appeared to him, he said.
"I remember it very well. In the moment, I was calm. I prayed to her," he told the newspaper El Colombiano.
Restrepo survived and was cured of his disease. "If this wasn't a miracle, I don't know what is," he said.
VATICAN CITY -- Acknowledging "conflicting reports" about two Orthodox archbishops kidnapped in Syria, Pope Francis prayed for them and for an end to the war in their country.
Speaking at the end of his general audience April 24, the pope offered special prayers for Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan Gregorios Yohanna of Aleppo and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo, who were kidnapped April 22 in northern Syria while on a humanitarian mission.
VATICAN CITY -- A Vatican-convoked commission of doctors concluded a healing attributed to Blessed John Paul II had no natural explanation, according to Italian news reports.
Eventual papal approval of the alleged miracle would clear the way for the canonization of the pope, who died April 2, 2005, and was beatified May 1, 2011.
Once a panel of physicians convoked by the Congregation for Saints' Causes determines a healing is authentic and lasting, and that there is no natural, medical explanation for it, the files are passed on to a panel of theologians.
WASHINGTON -- At the end of a process that has taken her 15 years to complete, world-renowned Rwandan genocide survivor and peace advocate Immaculee Ilibagiza became an American citizen the morning of April 17 in New York City.
"I was completely in tears," she told Catholic News Service in a phone interview April 18. "To be accepted in this country ... was like receiving a gift. ... I hear my father saying, 'now you have the right to be here, you don't have to worry."