The Pope’s Lent retreat: Bucking tradition or just being his Jesuit self?

Vatican City, Feb 27, 2015 / 04:24 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- While Pope Francis has altered the custom of his predecessors by leaving the Vatican for his yearly Lenten retreat, one priest tells CNA the pontiff is merely being true to his Jesuit roots. “This is what Jesuits do,” said Fr. Joseph Carola, S.J.,  theology professor at Rome's Gregorian University in a Feb. 26 interview. “That’s very Jesuit of the Holy Father to choose to go somewhere else, somewhere … [Read more...]

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Willy’s Story – the homeless man buried in the Vatican

Vatican City, Feb 27, 2015 / 03:08 pm (CNA).- Willy Herteleer, a homeless man who lived on the side streets outside St. Peter’s Basilica, made headlines after his death, when he received a special burial in the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery. The following is an account of his story as told by Msgr. Amerigo Ciani, a canon of St. Peter’s Basilica and painter who had become friends with Willy. Everyone in the neighborhood outside the Vatican knew Willy Herteleer. The … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis back from Ariccia with new seeds planted

Rome, Italy, Feb 27, 2015 / 06:15 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After a weeklong spiritual retreat outside of Rome, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the priest who led the reflections, saying that although it’s not always easy to preach to priests, seeds have been planted. “On behalf of all of us, I too would like to thank the father for his work among us during the spiritual exercises,” Francis said after his return to Rome Feb. 27. “It’s not easy to give … [Read more...]

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This Lent, the Pope has a message for lapsed Catholics: It’s never too late

Rome, Italy, Feb 27, 2015 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Fallen away Catholics are being invited to “come home” this Lent through a worldwide initiative led by Pope Francis, which points to confession as a primary way to experience God's merciful embrace. “So often, people are afraid to come back to church or to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for they feel that, since they have been gone for so long, there is no way back,” said Father Geno Sylva, English language … [Read more...]

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Jesuit priest’s cheerful disposition kept hope alive during Afghan captivity

Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb 27, 2015 / 02:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A key player in working for the release of a Jesuit priest held by suspected Taliban militants in Afghanistan for eight months said Thursday the priest never lost hope and was confident in the efforts being made to secure his freedom. Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar, S.J., was the Afghanistan director for Jesuit Refugee Services at the time of his abduction by unidentified men on June 2, 2014. Some reports identified the men as Taliban … [Read more...]

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African bishops aim for observer status at African Union

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Feb 27, 2015 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The African bishops took the first step on Monday toward having representation at the African Union, with the appointment of a liaison between the AU and the symposium of African bishops conferences. Bernhanu Tamene Woldeyohannes was on Feb. 23 appointed head of the office for relations between the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and the African Union. Woldeyaohannes' Addis Ababa office … [Read more...]

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Why a new State Department position could spell trouble for religious liberty

Washington D.C., Feb 26, 2015 / 06:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The State Department’s new LGBT special envoy will promote human rights abroad but could also pose a serious threat to religious freedom, said several experts in the field. “I believe this administration's long-term objective is more revolutionary,” said Dr. Tom Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Through the … [Read more...]

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