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February 19, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis met for the third time in late February with his international Council of Cardinals, an eight-member group advising him on the reform of the Vatican bureaucracy and other issues.

The Feb. 17-19 meetings focused on financial and...

February 12, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- Going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist should make a difference in the way Catholics live, Pope Francis said; they should be more accepting of others and more aware of their sinfulness.

"If we don't feel in need of God's mercy and don't think we...

February 05, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- It's important to go to Mass every Sunday because that's where people receive Christ who saves, forgives and unites everyone to His Father, Church and each other, Pope Francis said.

It's also "important that children are well prepared for first...

February 05, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- A Church without religious sisters would be "unthinkable," Pope Francis said, honoring the contributions consecrated men and women make to the Church and society.

"Every consecrated person is a gift to the people of God on pilgrimage," he said Feb...

Pope Francis watched as children released doves from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Jan. 26. The two young people at his side launched doves to highlight the Church’s call for peace in the world.
January 29, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- Many Catholic parents go to great lengths to ensure their children are baptized, and they must make similar efforts to see that their children are confirmed, Pope Francis said.

Without confirmation, he said, young people will remain "halfway" on...

Pope Francis embraced a boy during a pastoral visit to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Rome Jan. 19.
January 22, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- The divisions that exist among Christians are a source of pain and scandal, and damage the credibility and work of spreading the Gospel, Pope Francis said.

"Christ's name creates communion and unity, not division. He came to create communion among...

January 22, 2014

OXFORD, England -- The cardinal who heads Pope Francis' Council of Cardinals said the Catholic Church is entering a "new era" and accused critics of the pope's statements on economic injustice of failing to "understand reality."

"I'm firmly convinced we are at the...

January 21, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama at the Vatican March 27, the White House announced and the Vatican confirmed.

The spring meeting would be Obama's second visit to the Vatican as president, but his first with Pope Francis, who...

Pope Francis baptized an infant in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Jan. 12. The pope baptized 32 children during the celebration on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
January 15, 2014

VATICAN CITY

Christians facing difficulties and discrimination, especially in the Middle East, can learn a valuable lesson from Japanese Christians who survived by clandestinely baptizing, praying and hiding during 250 years of harsh persecution,...

January 15, 2014

On successive days in mid-January, Pope Francis and his top collaborator at the Vatican made public statements that provided a lesson in Franciscan contextualization of highly loaded moral issues.

On Jan. 13, the pope told the Vatican diplomatic corps that he...

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.
January 08, 2014

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'...

Pope Francis talked with children dressed as characters in a Nativity scene as he arrives to visit the Church of St. Alfonso Maria dei Liguori in Rome Jan. 6.
January 08, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- Surrounded by cheese sellers, shoemakers and bleating, baying animals, Pope Francis immersed himself in a lively re-enactment of a special day in Bethlehem.

He even let a lamb rest on his shoulders and greeted a tiny baby named Francis, who played...

Amanda Kopff was blessed by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square on Dec. 18, following the pope’s weekly audience. Kopff laughed with her father, Tom Kopff, as she recalled her meeting with Pope Francis.
January 08, 2014

Amanda Kopff admits she doesn't remember the scent of Pope Francis, but she does remember being struck by his height -- she estimated he's over six feet tall -- when she had a surprise encounter with him during a recent family vacation to Rome.

Kopff also said his...

January 02, 2014

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...

Pope Francis visited the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square after leading an evening prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 31.
January 02, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- The new year will be brighter only if everyone steps outside their safe havens, gets involved and works together to solve local problems with generosity and love, Pope Francis said.

As 2013 comes to a close, let everyone ask God for forgiveness and...

January 02, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- Celebrating the first Christmas since his election, Pope Francis preached the goodness and tenderness of God, and prayed that men and women around the world would allow God's grace to transform them into peacemakers.

"Let us allow our hearts to be...

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