A sweet sign of hope: Pope's envoy returns to Iraq with Easter cake
Pope Francis' personal envoy to Iraq will return to the country during Holy Week, bringing with him the pontiff's love and solidarity along with a special gift from the diocese of Rome: cake. “During Holy Week, which is now close, these families are sharing with Christ the unjust violence of which they are victims, and participating in the pain of the same Christ,” a March 27 statement from the Vatican read.
Thousands to enter Church in US at Easter
Nearly one-third of American dioceses have reported the numbers of catechumens and candidates who are expected to enter the Church at Easter. The highest figures were supplied by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (1,828 catechumens), the Archdiocese of Washington (1,317 catechumens and candidates), and the Diocese of Raleigh (1,300 catechumens and candidates). 39,654 catechumens were baptized in the United States in 2013, and an additional 66,831 candidates were received into full communion with the Church.
Papal bull to be issued on eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, proclaiming Holy Year
Pope Francis will issue a “Bull of Indiction” on April 11 as a formal proclamation of the Jubilee of Mercy, the Vatican has announced. During a penitential service in St. Peter’s basilica on March 13, the Pope announced a Year of Mercy, to begin this year on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and run through the feast of Christ the King, November 20, in 2016. The formal proclamation of that Jubilee will be made during the First Vespers for the feast of Divine Mercy, underlining the theme of the year.
Christian leaders call for end to 'profound evil' of the death penalty
"Torture and execution is always a profound evil, made even more abhorrent when sanctioned by the government in the name of justice when other means of protecting society are available," said the statement released March 31. "All who reverence the sanctity of human life, created in the image of God, must never remain silent when firing squads, lethal injections, electric chairs and other instruments of death are viewed as morally acceptable."
Security concerns cited for Pope's visit to Sarajevo
The interior minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina has revealed that his country’s government is coping with security threats involving the visit to Sarajevo by Pope Francis in June. “I don’t want to say much more,” Dragan Lukac said. He expressed confidence that “the police forces of Bosnia will be able to deal with the issue and ensure the safety of the visit.” The papal visit to Sarajevo, in the heart of a region with a history of sectarian bloodshed, has raised concern about security.
Way of Cross takes Jesus' point of view to help others carry crosses
Written by an Italian bishop well-known for leading spiritual exercises, the meditations are meant to inspire today's men and women to think about their own crosses in light of Jesus' passion and how, by following his way, they can endure and find new meaning and life. Several days before the pope's Good Friday commemoration April 3, the Vatican released the Way of the Cross meditations, along with the commentary and prayers for the 14 Stations of the Cross.