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Holiness is being loving not boring pope says

VATICAN (CNS): “With this exhortation I would like to insist primarily on the call to holiness that the Lord addresses to each of us, the call that he also addresses, personally, to you,” Pope Francis writes near the beginning of his new apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad).
 
“Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy,” he writes in the document, which was signed on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, and released by the Vatican on April 9.

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Hope for continuing Sino-Vatican dialogue

by Anthony Lam Sui-ki
 
Recently, Sino-Vatican dialogue has again become a hot issue for media and for the public. Actually, as early as 1981, the late Pope St. John Paul II already expressed his desire for contact and dialogue. The Holy See, however, stresses that such contact and dialogue do not aim at the establishment of diplomatic relations. 
 








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Pope denounces deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Francis condemned the use of chemical weapons after the deadly April 7 attack by Syrian army warplanes that killed dozens of innocent men, women and children in Douma, Syria.
 
“There is no good and bad war, and nothing, nothing can justify the use of such instruments of extermination against defenseless people and populations,” the pope said before concluding Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square on April 8.
 

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Easter triumphs over death, injustice, deprivation and slavery pope proclaims

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Easter morning dawned bright and sunny at the Vatican, highlighting the thousands of flowers, trees and bushes donated by flower growers in the Netherlands.
 
Before delivering his Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world) blessing on April 1, Pope Francis prayed made special mention of the ongoing carnage in Syria as well as the recent violence which saw 15 Palestinians killed during protests along Gaza’s border with Israel on March 30.
 

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Cry out, pope tells young people

VATICAN (CNS): Celebrating Passion Sunday Mass on March 25 with thousands of young people, Pope Francis urged them to continue singing and shouting hosanna in the world, proclaiming the lordship of Jesus and following his example of outreach to the poor and suffering.
 
The crowd that shouted hosanna as Jesus entered Jerusalem included all those for whom Jesus was a source of joy, those he healed and forgave, and those he welcomed after they had been excluded from society, the pope said in his homily.
 

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Church needs young people, but they need to be heard too

ROME (CNS): The Catholic Church needs the enthusiasm, daring and hope of young people so that it can preach the gospel energetically and respond to the questions men and women raise today, Pope Francis told some 300 young adults gathered for the opening a weeklong meeting in preparation for October’s Synod of Bishops on March 19.
 
“We need to rediscover in the Lord the strength to get up after failure, to move forward, to strengthen hope for the future,” the pope said. 
 

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Church leaders praise Stephen Hawking

VATICAN CITY (CNS): British theoretical physicist, cosmologist and popular author, Stephen Hawking, who said he did not believe in God, died on March 14 at the age of 76. He was an esteemed member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and fostered a fruitful dialogue between science and faith.
                                        

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Pope Francis by the numbers

VATICAN (CNS): In just five years as leader of the universal Church, Pope Francis has made 22 international trips, travelling 249,297 kilometres—the equivalent of six times around the world.
 
The pope has also declared 880 new saints, including the martyrdom of an estimated 800 Italian laypeople killed by Ottoman soldiers in the 15th century.
 
The Vatican released those numbers, detailing the many papal events, documents, travels and accomplishments over the past five years, and more on March 17. 

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Pakistan’s bishops meet with pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Archbishop Joseph Arshad of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, recounted that sitting in a small circle in the papal library with four other bishops from Pakistan and Pope Francis felt like having a family discussion.
 
The archbishop, president of the Pakistan Bishops’ Conference, along with with Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi; Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad; Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore; and Bishop Benny Mario Travas of Multan, met with the pope as part of their quinquennial ad limina visit to report the pope.

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Famed director makes film about Pope Francis

VATICAN (CNS): After two years working on the documentary, Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, the award winning German filmmaker, Wim Wenders, said he is most struck by the pope’s courage.
 

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