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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...

Latin-rite Patriarch Faoud Twal of Jerusalem carried a figurine of the Christ Child as he celebrated Christmas Mass at St. Catherine Church in Bethlehem, West Bank, Dec. 25.
January 02, 2014

VATICAN CITY -- Latin-rite Patriarch Faoud Twal of Jerusalem told reporters he expected to host Pope Francis on a visit to the Holy Land in May.

Listing "upcoming events for next year," Patriarch Twal began with "the pope's visit to the Holy Land planned for next...

Pope Francis replaced his zucchetto after a young boy removed it during an audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Dec. 14. The audience was held for families who have been receiving care at the St. Martha Dispensary, a maternal and pediatric clinic located at the Vatican.
December 18, 2013

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said Christmas is an occasion of joy but also a lesson in humility, when the faithful are called to imitate the example of God-made-man.

The pope made his remarks Dec. 18, during his weekly public audience in St. Peter's Square.

December 17, 2013

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis issued a decree declaring one of his favorite Jesuits, Blessed Peter Faber, a saint.

The decree is what the Vatican terms an "equivalent canonization," in which the pope inserts the name of the new saint in the universal calendar of...

Pope Francis waves to the crowd in St. Peter's Square.
December 11, 2013

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis prayed that Catholics throughout the Americas would open their arms to the poor, to immigrants, to the unborn and to the aged just as Mary opens her arms to all.

Anticipating the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the...

December 11, 2013

It's quite an honor that Pope Francis has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year.

With his wide appeal and the great amount of attention to his pontificate so far, said Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, it should come as no surprise that he...

The cover of Time magazine's Person of the Year issue, featuring Pope Francis. (CNS photo/Time Inc., handout via Reuters)
December 11, 2013

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis is not seeking fame or accolades, but being named Time magazine's Person of the Year will make him happy if it helps attract people to the hope of the Gospel, said the Vatican spokesman.

"It's a positive sign that one of the most...

December 06, 2013

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis accepted a proposal to set up a special commission on the sexual abuse of children, which will advise him on ways to prevent abuse and provide pastoral care for victims and their families.

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, a member...

Pope Francis administered the sacrament of confirmation to a young man during Mass at the Parish of San Cirillo Alessandrino in Rome Dec. 1. The pope confirmed several young men.
December 04, 2013

VATICAN CITY -- With his resurrection, Jesus opened the doors for all those who believe in him to be risen and united with him in heaven, Pope Francis said.

The anticipation of eternal life "is the source and reason of our hope, a hope that, if cultivated and...

December 04, 2013

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis called on Catholics worldwide to pray for five Orthodox nuns who were kidnapped in Syria and for all people who have been abducted during the conflict there.

"Let's keep praying and working together for peace," he said in an appeal at...

December 04, 2013

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis will help launch a global campaign of prayer and action against world hunger.

Organized by Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based federation of Catholic charities, the global "wave of prayer" will begin at noon Dec. 10 on the South...

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