20 years of Evangelium Vitae: Vatican announces prayer vigil, rosary for life

Vatican City, Mar 23, 2015 / 05:30 pm (CNA).- An international prayer vigil prepared by the Vatican will recognize the 20th anniversary of Evangelium Vitae, the encyclical of Saint John Paul II dedicated to the value and inviolable nature of human life. The vigil, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family, will be held in dioceses throughout the world on March 24 with the purpose of giving thanks to God for the fruits produced by the encyclical on life, making known to the world the … [Read more...]

Japan’s history of ‘hidden’ Christians and what the Pope said about it

Vatican City, Mar 23, 2015 / 03:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a recent meeting with Japan's bishops, Pope Francis discussed how the country's brutal history of Christian persecution has given way to the survival of a small but fervent Catholic community today. In 2015, less than one percent of Japan's population of 127 million people identify as Christian. Pope Francis called the group of faithful who remained after the expulsion of priests and missionaries in the 16th century the … [Read more...]

Rome’s poor receive 1,000 pounds of food from Pope Francis

Vatican City, Mar 23, 2015 / 12:17 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis is sending half a ton of food to families suffering hardships in Rome’s Tor Bella Monaca neighborhood. The food is being distributed through the Institute of Medicine Solidarity Onlus, which works to help the socially disadvantaged, reported AICA, a Catholic news publication in Argentina. Lucia Ercoli, the association’s director, said it was “truly a surprise” when they received the phone call about the food … [Read more...]

Got plans for Holy Week? Pope Francis does

Vatican City, Mar 22, 2015 / 04:48 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis' full slate of events for Holy Week includes plans for a traditional Stations of the Cross, Easter Masses and a universal blessing given on Easter Day. The Vatican’s office for liturgical celebrations, headed by Archbishop Guido Marini, issued on March 20 the complete schedule of papal events for this year’s Holy Week. The week preceding Easter begins with Palm Sunday, which recalls how the inhabitants of … [Read more...]

Pope invites Rome’s homeless to distribute Gospels at Sunday angelus

Vatican City, Mar 22, 2015 / 10:39 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Sunday invited members of Rome's homeless community to join volunteers in handing out copies of the Gospel to pilgrims in Saint Peter's Square, a reminder of how God's Word is found among the poorest of society. “Even in this we see a very beautiful gesture, which pleases Jesus,” the Pope said, moments after leading the crowds in the recitation of the Angelus on March 22: “those most in need … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: No matter what the crime, ‘the death penalty is inadmissible’

Vatican City, Mar 20, 2015 / 03:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Regardless of the crime that has been committed, capital punishment is unacceptable in the modern world, Pope Francis stressed in a recent letter. “Nowadays the death penalty is inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed,” the Pope said. “It is an offence against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person, which contradicts God's plan for man and society, and his merciful justice, … [Read more...]

Vatican archives shed light on tragedy of Armenian genocide

Vatican City, Mar 20, 2015 / 11:14 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Ahead of Pope Francis’ Mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, newly released historic documents confirm the Holy See’s broad commitment to helping the Armenian people at a time when few others would. The Italian Jesuit-run magazine La Civiltà Cattolica stressed that newly published documents “prove how the Holy See, always informed about events, had not remained passive, but was … [Read more...]