Pope Francis

POPE’S MESSAGE | The ‘Our Father’ connects us with the Father through the Holy Spirit

Pope Francis spontaneously greeted student musicians from St. Louis University High School at his general audience March 14 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. From left to right, the SLUH students are: Sam Pottinger, senior; Emmanuel Parker, senior; Bobby Rizzo, freshman; Ezana Ephrem, senior. The pope listened to the band play “Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded.” Some SLUH students were in Rome for spring break a part of the school’s bicentennial celebration.

VATICAN CITY — Forgiving another who has caused pain or offense isn't easy, Pope Francis said.

"It is a grace that we have to ask for," because the peace offered by Christ cannot take root in a heart that is incapable of living in fraternity with others and incapable of rebuilding those bonds after being wounded, the pope said at his weekly general audience March 14 at the Vatican.

The pope continued his series of talks on the Mass, focusing on the Communion rite, which begins with the assembly's recitation of the Lord's Prayer.

GOING TO THE PERIPHERIES: Pope Francis’ focus throughout his 5-year pontificate has been on mercy and outreach

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VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope just a few days after telling the College of Cardinals that the Catholic Church faced a clear choice between being a Church that "goes out" or a Church focused on its internal affairs.

After the cardinal from Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected March 13, 2013, and chose the name Francis, he made "go out," "periphery" and "throwaway culture" standard phrases in the papal vocabulary.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Eucharistic prayer teaches us to make our whole life a Eucharist

Pope Francis blessed a child at an audience with Italian nurses March 3 in Paul VI hall at the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY — Mass isn't a paid arrangement for salvation but rather the commemoration of Christ's sacrifice of his life, given freely to all, Pope Francis said.

Christians can make a silent prayer during Mass or donate money to offer a Mass for a loved one who is in need or passed away, but should never feel obliged to make a payment, the pope said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican March 7.

Pope appeals for end to inhumane fighting, evil of war in Syria

A rescue worker carried an injured girl amid destroyed buildings Feb. 21 in rebel-held eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria.

VATICAN CITY — Calling the war in Syria "inhumane," Pope Francis called for an end to the fighting, immediate access to humanitarian aid and the evacuation of the injured and infirm.

"My thoughts often turn to that beloved and martyred Syria where the war has intensified, especially in eastern Ghouta," he said Feb. 25 after praying the Angelus with people gathered in St. Peter Square.

POPE’S MESSAGE | At Mass, God accepts humble gifts, gives abundantly in return

Pope Francis blessed a man at his general audience Feb. 28 in Paul VI hall at the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY — God asks so little of people and yet, He gives so much in return, Pope Francis said.

"He asks for our goodwill in daily life, He asks us for an open heart, He asks us to be willing to be better," the pope said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican Feb. 28.

Pope Francis says Paul VI will be canonized this year

Blessed Paul VI is pictured in this undated portrait. On Feb. 15, Pope Francis told pastors in Rome that Paul VI would be canonized this year.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis told pastors in the Diocese of Rome that Blessed Paul VI will be canonized this year.

The pope's announcement came at the end of a question-and-answer session with the priests Feb. 15; the Vatican released the text of the exchange three days later.

Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, papal vicar for Rome, had told the priests that they will be receiving a book of "meditations" about priesthood drawn from speeches from each pope, from Blessed Paul VI to Pope Francis.

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