weekly audience

Baptism gives strength to forgive enemies, love poor

Pope Francis accepted a bag of crackers as he greeted people while leaving his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Jan. 8.

VATICAN CITY -- Baptism isn't just some formal ritual, it profoundly changes people, giving them unwavering hope and the strength to forgive and love others, Pope Francis said.

"With baptism, we are immersed in that inexhaustible source of life that is Jesus' death, the greatest act of love in all of history," he said during his first general audience of 2014.

More than 6.6 million attended Vatican events with Pope Francis in 2013

VATICAN CITY -- In the first nine and a half months of Pope Francis' pontificate, more than 6.6 million people participated in papal events at the Vatican, including weekly general audiences, group audiences, liturgies and recitations of the Angelus and "Regina Coeli" on Sundays and holy days.

The statistics, compiled by the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household and released Jan. 2, do not include figures from Pope Francis' trip to Brazil for World Youth Day in July 2013, or his visits to Italian locations outside the Vatican.

POPE'S MESSAGE | Share each other's burdens in prayer, acts of love, pope says

Pope Francis prayed at the tomb of St. Peter inside St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day.

VATICAN CITY -- Saying, "don't worry, we aren't taking up a collection," Pope Francis asked people at his weekly general audience to perform an act of charity by praying for a seriously ill 18-month-old girl named Noemi.

Being part of the Church means sharing "spiritual goods -- the sacraments, charisms and charity" -- including by helping someone or praying for those in need, he said Nov. 6 at his weekly general audience.

Faith, harmony, universality make Church 'catholic,' pope says

VATICAN CITY -- Professing that the Church is "catholic" means accepting its teachings, accepting the gifts it offers to help one grow in holiness and accepting the fact that it is composed of different people with different gifts and opinions, Pope Francis said.

"Let's ask ourselves: Do we live in harmony in our communities? Or do we fight among ourselves?" the pope asked Oct. 9 as he focused his weekly general audience talk on the meaning of the creed's profession that the Church is "catholic."

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