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Over three million visitors to the Vatican in 2015

VATICAN CITY (CNS): According to information released on December 30 by the Prefecture of the Papal Household, more than 3.2 million people visited and attended papal events, liturgies or prayer services at the Vatican in 2015.

The total represented a significant drop from the 5.9 million visitors received by Pope Francis in 2014. It was also slightly more than half the 6.6 million pilgrims who visited the Vatican during the first nine-and-a-half months of his pontificate in 2013.

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Test case for bishops’ appointments in China

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Vatican has given its approval to Father Tang Yuange, a priest from Chengdu in southwestern China who was chosen through a government selection process, to be ordained as a bishop.

Local Catholics in southwestern Sichuan province said on December 24 that the Holy See had given its approval for Father Tang to be appointed and ordained as a bishop in October, shortly after a six-member Vatican delegation visited Beijing to meet with Chinese officials.

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Hong Kong magnate among sponsors of Vatican lightshow

HONG KONG (UCAN): Recognised as being the wealthiest Chinese person in the world, Hong Kong magnate, Li Ka-shing, was one of the sponsors of a spectacular lightshow heralding the opening of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in Rome on December 8.

The three-hour spectacular, threw colourful images of people from various parts of the world onto the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as scenes of nature and the threats of climate change.

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Worries over Vatican-Taipei relations may be huff and puff

TAIPEI (UCAN): Philip Chen Chien-jen, a vice presidential candidate in the upcoming elections in Taiwan, is urging Church people to be patient over speculation that China may ask the Vatican to cut its diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

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Pope gives Castro cross to refugees’ parish church

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis is donating a crucifix that was given to him by the president of Cuba, Raul Castro, during the recent papal visit to the Caribbean nation to the parish church of Lampedusa, an island haven for refugees in the Mediterranean.

Vatican Radio reported on November 12 that the crucifix measures over three metres high and is crafted from wooden oars tied with ropes to symbolise the reality of migrants who have crossed the sea in flimsy boats.

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No second-tier members in Church

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis said that the laity are not second-tier members of the Church, automatons at the service of the bishops, whose role it is to carry out blindly orders that come from on high.

Rather, he said that as disciples of Christ and their natural insertion in the world, they are called to animate in the spirit of the gospel every environment, activity and relationship, which otherwise may go unnoticed and abandoned.

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Vatican XI having good season

ROME (SE): Overshadowing the final day of the Synod of Bishops on Family Life, the Vatican cricket team took to the field at the Capanelle Ground in Rome on October 24 to play a return match against the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI.

The Vatican men succeeded in squaring the ledger with the Anglican team running out winners by a comfortable 42 runs. Last year the Anglicans scraped home in the last over of the game.

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Vatican confirms hushed meeting in Beijing

VATICAN (SE): “It is part of a process aimed at normalisation of relations,” the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, told the media at the Vatican on October 29, confirming that a delegation from the Holy See had met with government representatives in Beijing from October 11 to 16.

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Vatican police arrest two for document leaks

VATICAN (CNS): The Vatican press office announced on November 2 that Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, the secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and Francesca Chaouqui, a former member of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, had been arrested for leaking documents to two Italian authors. The Vatican called it a “serious betrayal of the trust bestowed by the pope.”

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Vatican opens night shelter

Vatican (SE): A new home for the homeless was opened at the Vatican on October 12. The Dono di Misericordia (Gift of Mercy) is a gift to Pope Francis from the General House of the Society of Jesus in response to his appeal to religious communities to house people in need.

The Vatican Information Service reported on October 12 that the Apostolic Almoner, the office of papal charities, called it a concrete gesture to adapt the structure to the needs of its users.

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