Pope Francis

For New Year, pope urges help for refugees, respect for life

Young Rohingya refugees played soccer Dec. 10 at the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Specially established centers in the camps help child refugees with basic education, recreation and counseling services. Before reciting the Angelus Jan. 1, the pope said of migrants and refugees: “Let’s not extinguish the hope in their hearts; let’s not suffocate their hopes for peace.”

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis began the New Year praying the world would demonstrate a marked increase in solidarity and welcome for migrants and refugees.

"Let's not extinguish the hope in their hearts; let's not suffocate their hopes for peace," the pope said Jan. 1 before reciting the Angelus with a crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square.

For the New Year's celebration of World Peace Day and the feast of Mary, Mother of God, Pope Francis had chosen to focus on migrants and refugees and their yearning for peace.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Don’t confess other’s faults, own up to sins

Pope Francis received a bouquet of flowers at his general audience Jan. 3 in Paul VI hall at the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY — Fear and the shame of admitting one's own sins leads to pointing fingers and accusing others rather than recognizing one's own faults, Pope Francis said.

"It's difficult to admit being guilty, but it does so much good to confess with sincerity. But you must confess your own sins," the pope said Jan. 3 at his first general audience of the new year.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Get to Mass early; don’t calculate how late you can be

Pope Francis blew out a candle on a 13-foot-long pizza at a special meeting to celebrate his 81st birthday Dec. 17 at the Vatican’s Paul VI hall. A group of children receiving assistance from the Vatican’s St. Martha Dispensary, a maternal and pediatric clinic, gave the pope a birthday party Dec. 17 marked with singing, dancing and a cake adorned with gold and white fondant decorations.

VATICAN CITY — Don't be late for Mass believing the introductory rites don't matter, Pope Francis told visitors and pilgrims.

The words and gestures that open the celebration help the faithful come together as one and prepare them to listen to the Word of God and celebrate the Eucharist worthily, he said Dec. 20 at his weekly general audience.

"It is not a good habit to be looking at the clock" and calculating how much of the beginning of Mass would be OK to miss and still fulfill one's obligation, he said.

Pope says Our Lady of Guadalupe feast shows Mary’s closeness to those on margins

Pope Francis venerated an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe as he celebrated Mass Dec. 12 marking her feast day in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY — The appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which mirrored that of the indigenous people of the time, is a sign of Mary's closeness to those who are marginalized, Pope Francis said.

Like St. Juan Diego, who felt like he was of no importance at being chosen by Mary because of his indigenous heritage, marginalized people in today's world are often made to feel worthless by conditions imposed upon them, the pope said in his homily during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Pope: God does not lead us into temptation, Satan does

VATICAN CITY — The Italian and English translations of the "Our Father" can give believers the wrong impression that God can and does lead people into temptation, Pope Francis said.

The Italian bishops' television channel, TV2000, has been broadcasting a series of conversations between the pope and a Catholic prison chaplain looking at the Lord's Prayer line by line.

The episode broadcast Dec. 6 focused on the line, "Lead us not into temptation."

Father Marco Pozza told the pope that friends have asked him, "Can God really lead us into temptation?"

POPE’S MESSAGE | Sunday has lost its sense as day of rest, renewal in Christ

Pope Francis prayed at a prayer service held in front of a statue of Mary near the Spanish Steps in Rome Dec. 8. The brief prayer service was a celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

VATICAN CITY — Just like a plant needs sun and nourishment to survive, every Christian needs the light of Sunday and the sustenance of the Eucharist to truly live, Pope Francis said.

"How can we carry out the Gospel without drawing the energy needed to do it, one Sunday after another, from the limitless source of the Eucharist," he said Dec. 13 at his weekly general audience.

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