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Pope Francis assures Nepal earthquake survivors of his closeness and prayers

A woman carrying her child to school Sept. 19, 2011 walks past houses damaged by an earthquake the previous day in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Rescue workers attempted to reach remote villages cut off after the 6.9 magnitude earthquake killed at least 55 people and damaged more than 100,000 homes in northeastern India, Nepal and Tibet. Nepal was hit by another earthquake this weekend. (CNS photo/Navesh Chitrakar, Reuters)

By Ann Schneible

Kathmandu, Nepal — Pope Francis led the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the weekly Regina Caeli address in praying for the victims of Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal which has claimed thousands of lives.

“I wish to express my closeness to the populations struck by a powerful earthquake in Nepal and in neighboring countries,” he said, moments after reciting the Marian prayer. “I pray for the victims, for the wounded, and for all those who suffer because of this calamity. May they be sustained by fraternal solidarity.” Continue reading

Pope’s prayer suggestion: Remember when you first met Jesus

Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 22. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In every relationship, including one’s relationship with Jesus, it is important to remember that “first encounter,” that initial, life-changing moment of love, Pope Francis said.

Celebrating Mass April 24 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis used the first reading’s account of the conversion of St. Paul to begin a homily about a whole list of encounters Jesus had with individuals in the Gospels. Continue reading

Pope marks Earth Day with call to protect, cultivate, share resources

Pope Francis holds a dove before his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 15, 2013. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters) (May 15, 2013)

By Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — Marking the celebration of Earth Day, Pope Francis asked that everyone recognize the earth as God’s gift to protect and cultivate, sharing the world’s natural resources.

May the way people treat the earth “not be guided by greed, manipulation and exploitation, but rather may it preserve the divine harmony between creatures and creation,” he said.

The pope, who is preparing an encyclical letter on the environment, made his remarks at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square April 22 — Earth Day.

“I urge everyone to see the world with the eyes of God the creator: The earth is an environment to safeguard and a garden to cultivate,” he said.

The pope asked that people live in harmony with creation according to a “logic of respect and care, in order to put it at the service of others, including future generations.”

Posted April 22, 2015

After vision of Christ, Nigerian bishop says rosary will bring down Boko Haram

Nigerians are seen packed in a van fleeing Mubi, Nigeria, following attacks in 2014. Nigeria's bishops criticized Boko Haram insurgentsÕ use of children to commit crimes such as suicide bombings. (CNS photo/EPA)

By Alan Holdren

A Nigerian bishop says that he has seen Christ in a vision and now knows that the rosary is the key to ridding the country of the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram.

Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme says he is being driven by a God-given mandate to lead others in praying the rosary until the extremist group disappears.

“Towards the end of last year I was in my chapel before the Blessed Sacrament… praying the rosary, and then suddenly the Lord appeared,” Bishop Dashe told CNA April 18. Continue reading

Kidnapped Nigerian girls deserve more than just a hashtag, activist says

A clergyman joins others in a "Bring Back Our Girls" gathering in Paris April 14. A year after more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped, Lagos Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie said he believed that "God will answer our prayers" for their return. (CNS photo/Gonzalo Fuentes, Reuters)


The hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls abducted a year ago by the group Boko Haram deserve a major, sustained rescue effort, says a Nigerian lawyer who urges far more global attention for the wider crisis in the country.

“Every day of captivity for these girls is a dark day in their lives and their parents’ lives. It’s harder to keep hope alive,” international human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe of the U.S.-Nigeria Law Group told CNA April 14. Continue reading

Term ‘genocide’ angers Turkey, while pope says memory leads to healing

Pope Francis greets Catholicos Karekin II of Etchmiadzin, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, during an April 12 Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, Pope Francis said atrocities from the past have to be recognized — not hidden or denied — for true reconciliation and healing to come to the world. Continue reading

Pope says children are never a mistake, calls adults to responsibility

Pope Francis greets a baby during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Jan. 7. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Laura Ieraci
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — Children are never a “mistake” and no sacrifice is too great for an adult to make so that children can feel their worth, Pope Francis said.

During his weekly general audience in a chilly, but sunny St. Peter’s Square April 8, the pope continued his series of talks about the family, dedicating a second catechesis to children. He described the great suffering and difficulties many children around the world experience as “a Passion.” Continue reading

Blood of the martyrs sustains the Church, Pope reflects

Pope Francis walks to his seat as he begins his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 1. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Ann Schneible

Pope Francis, in his General Audience address for Holy Week, said that the Christian martyrs of today, by the shedding of their blood, join with Christ in serving the Church through their witness.

“Even today,” the Pope said in off-the-cuff remarks, “there are many men and women, true martyrs, who offer their lives with Jesus to confess the faith only for this reason; it is a service. A service of the Christian witness to the point of shedding blood.”

In his Apr. 1 address, the pontiff recalled the “heroic witness” of Fr. Andrea Santoro, a Roman priest and missionary to Turkey, who was shot dead in the back moments before celebrating Mass on Feb. 5, 2006. Continue reading

Pope Francis on the family synod: ‘We need prayers, not gossip’

Rain falls as Pope Francis arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Elise Harris

During his weekly general audience Pope Francis spoke about the gift and call of the Christian family, and urged attendees to pray for the intentions of the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family.

“The Church needs a prayer full of love for the family and for life,” the Pope told pilgrims gathered in a drizzly St. Peter’s Square for his March 25 general audience.

“Because of this, I ask you to pray insistently for the next Synod of Bishops, on the family, so that the Church is increasingly more committed and unified in her witness of the love and mercy of God with all families,” he said. Continue reading

Vatican statistics show modest, steady church growth worldwide

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — The number of Catholics in the world and the number of priests and permanent deacons rose slightly in 2013, while the number of men and women in religious orders declined, according to Vatican statistics.

For the second year in a row, the number of candidates for the priesthood also decreased.

The numbers come from the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which was completed in February and published in March. The yearbook reported worldwide church figures as of Dec. 31, 2013. Continue reading