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In The News

Vatican, Rome gear up for canonizations of John XXIII, John Paul II

Catholic News Service
By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Just over five weeks before the canonizations of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, Rome hotels are reporting they are almost fully booked and the Vatican has confirmed the Mass will take place in St. Peter's Square, despite knowing that hundreds of thousands of people will have to watch the ceremony on large video screens.

Pope Francis had announced in late September that he would proclaim the two popes saints in a single ceremony April 27, Divine Mercy Sunday.

Less than two weeks after the date was announced, the Prefecture of the Papal Household issued an advisory that access to St. Peter's Square would be first-come, first-served and warned pilgrims that unscrupulous tour operators already were trying to sell fake tickets to the Mass.

With perhaps more than 1 million people expected to try to attend the liturgy, rumors abounded that the Vatican would move the ceremony to a wide-open space on the outskirts of town. But the Vatican confirmed Feb. 27 that the Mass would be held in St. Peter's Square, just outside the basilica where the mortal remains of the two rest.


Pope Francis And The Beauty Of His Message, His 'Abuelo' Charm

Fox News Latino
March 13, 2014
By Grazie Pozo Christie

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote an article about what it felt like to see the election of the world’s first Latin American Pope. I wrote about the surge of pride that we felt in our culture and traditions, which could produce so learned and wise a man. And I also wrote about his personal impact on us. The way his gentle smile, warm tones, his very evident affection for all of us were just perfectly recognizable to us, very Latin. We identified in him right away the wise Abuelo that some of us are lucky enough to have near us, or even lucky enough to have living in our homes, helping us “con cariño” with the children and with our busy lives.

I can safely say that this first year of life with Francis has been so much more than even our pride and joy on that first day led us to expect. His way of expressing himself so frankly and with such openness has led to all sorts of confusion, mostly amongst those who don’t understand the Church very well to start with. I think part of the reason is cultural. He is very much a man of our culture, which is warm, urgent, and emphatic, less “politically correct” than American culture.

My American husband is always shocked at how frank we Latinos are, about all sorts of things that in his culture are taboo subjects.


Francis: A Pope That Millennials Can Love

Time: Opinion - Religion
March 12, 2014
By Christopher J. Hale and Ashley McGuire

Why young people are ready for the pontiff's call to action

It was a rainy Roman night that surpassed all superlatives. A year ago today, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims waited under their umbrellas in St. Peter’s Square waiting to meet the new pope. After a long wait with a record setting television audience, the mostly young crowd was brought to silence when the new pope was announced: Jorge Mario Bergoglio.



Pope Francis, one year later -- calling us to a deeper faith

Fox News
March 13, 2014
By Maureen Ferguson

Standing in St. Peter’s square one year ago amid the euphoria at the installation mass of Pope Francis, an NBC News microphone was suddenly in my face, with a reporter asking my thoughts on our new pope. My response, based on the little I knew about Jorge Bergoglio’s days leading the flock in Argentina, was, “I think he is going to challenge all of us to live a deeper life of faith.”


Syrian Nuns Held By Rebels for Months Released

The Wall Street Journal
March 10, 2014

JDEIDET YABOUS, Syria—Thirteen Syrian nuns and three other women held captive by al Qaeda-linked rebels for nearly three months have been released.

A pro-regime businessman living in Damascus said he was in negotiations with the Nusra Front rebel group up until a week ago and their main demand was the release of 138 detainees in regime prisons, including foreign fighters. However, Syrian officials wouldn't discuss what, if anything, the rebels had received in return for the women.The 16 women were transferred from Syria to Lebanon early Sunday evening as a first step to freedom.