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March 18, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- When Pope Francis went out onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica for the first time, he said he did not prepare what he was going to say, but "I felt deeply that a minister needs the blessing of God, but also of his people."

He didn't know if it...

Pope Francis went to confession at a Lenten penance service March 13 in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. At the service, the pope announced an extraordinary jubilee, a Holy Year of Mercy, to be celebrated from Dec. 8, 2015, until Nov. 20, 2016.
March 18, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis announced an extraordinary jubilee, a Holy Year of Mercy, to highlight the Catholic Church's "mission to be a witness of mercy."

"No one can be excluded from God's mercy," the pope said March 13, marking the second anniversary of his...

Pope Francis gave the homily while celebrating Mass March 8 at St. Mary Mother of the Redeemer Parish on the outskirts of Rome.
March 11, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- Don't pack it in or shift into cruise control, Pope Francis told his fellow seniors.

Today's frenetic world, especially young people and families, needs the older generation's prayers, wisdom and gifts to give them the encouragement, hope and faith...

Pope Francis waved as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 11.
March 11, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Within two years of becoming pope, Pope Francis now has an effect named after him.

This "Francis effect" provides both comfort and challenges to Catholics, according to a panel of U.S. Catholic leaders speaking via a teleconference March 10 organized...

Pope Francis greeted the crowd as he arrived to lead his general audience March 4 in St. Peter’s Square.
March 04, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- Seeing the elderly only as a burden "is ugly. It's a sin," Pope Francis said at his weekly general audience.

"We must reawaken our collective sense of gratitude, appreciation and hospitality, helping the elderly know they are a living part of their...

March 04, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- As Catholics are encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their lives during Lent, Pope Francis offered some quick tips to help people prepare for the sacrament of penance.

After a brief explanation of why people should go to...

Pope Francis attended a spiritual retreat in Ariccia, Italy, Feb. 22 with members of the Roman Curia.
February 25, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- The Lenten journey of conversion requires Christians to rediscover the "deepest truth" about themselves, cast off their masks and take on the courage to live truth, a prominent Carmelite priest told the pope and Vatican officials.

In the first days...

Pope Francis placed a red biretta on new Cardinal Soane Mafi of Tonga at a consistory at which the pope created 20 new cardinals in St. Peter’s Basilica Feb. 14 at the Vatican.
February 18, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- Liberty and equality are not enough for the well-being of a nation, there must also be a strong sense of brotherhood that is first developed and nurtured in the family, Pope Francis said.

Without seeing each other as brothers and sisters, a nation'...

Pope Francis placed a red biretta on new Cardinal Soane Mafi of Tonga at a consistory at which the pope created 20 new cardinals in St. Peter’s Basilica Feb. 14 at the Vatican.
February 18, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- The Catholic Church cannot call itself Church if it is a "closed caste" where the sick, the wounded and sinners are shunned, Pope Francis told the 20 new cardinals he created.

"The way of the Church is precisely to leave her four walls behind and...

February 18, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- Cardinals meeting at the Vatican discussed better ways to balance the responsibilities of local bishops and of the Roman Curia, said the Vatican spokesman.

A recurring theme in the cardinals' Feb. 12-13 meeting was "what is it that is done best...

A young girl touched Pope Francis’ face Feb. 11 at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
February 11, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- Children are a blessing, not a burden, and are a sign of the confident hope of a couple and of society, Pope Francis said.

"If a family that has been generous in having children is looked upon as a burden, something's wrong," he said Feb. 11 at his...

February 05, 2015

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced Feb. 5 that Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of Congress Sept. 24.

The pontiff's "historic visit" would make him the "first leader of the Holy See to address a joint meeting of Congress," Boehner...

Pope Francis spoke as he led his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Jan. 28.
February 05, 2015

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced Feb. 5 that Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of Congress Sept. 24.

The pontiff's "historic visit" would make him the "first leader of the Holy See to address a joint meeting of Congress," Boehner...

Pope Francis used holy water to bless clergy before celebrating a Mass marking the feast of the Presentation of the Lord Feb. 2. The Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican also marked the World Day for Consecrated Life.
February 04, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- Every family needs a father -- a father who shares in his family's joy and pain, hands down wisdom to his children and offers them firm guidance and love, Pope Francis said.

Being a father is not easy since it takes lots of patience and grace, he...

February 04, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- Christ showed that the way to draw close to God is not by putting down other people and creating an exclusive club, but by embracing and encouraging others to love and do good works, Pope Francis said.

Christians can end up "privatizing" the faith...

Pope Francis arrived to lead ecumenical vespers Jan. 25 at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. The service marked the closing of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity as well as the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.
January 28, 2015

VATICAN CITY -- When their lives are all work and no play, men turn their children into "orphans" who lack a father to guide them, show them love and teach them values, Pope Francis said.

"They are orphans in a family because their fathers are often absent, also...

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