Comfortable in the presence of Mary and at a shrine that symbolizes one of his most important experiences as a member of the Latin American bishops’ council, Pope Francis kicked off five days of intense activity with an act of devotion.
Hundreds of thousands of cheering people welcomed Pope Francis to Brazil July 22 as he made the first international trip of his pontificate to his native region of Latin America.
Pope Francis has approved a major updating of the criminal laws of Vatican City State, including in areas dealing with child abuse and terrorism financing, and has ruled that any Vatican employee can be tried by the Vatican court for violating those laws.
Before saying a word publicly, Pope Francis made the sign of the cross and tossed a wreath of white and yellow flowers into the Mediterranean Sea in memory of the estimated 20,000 African immigrants who have died in the past 25 years trying to reach a new life in Europe.
With retired Pope Benedict XVI sitting next to him, Pope Francis formally recited separate prayers to consecrate Vatican City to St. Joseph and to St. Michael the Archangel.
No date for a canonization ceremony was announced, but it is likely that the two popes will be canonized together, possibly “by the end of the year.”
Publication of the encyclical titled “Lumen Fidei” (“The Light of Faith”) was one of the most awaited events of the Year of Faith which began last October.
The stability of the church requires that it be built on Jesus, but its beauty and strength also rely on the contributions of each and every Christian, Pope Francis said.
Christianity isn’t a school for teaching a superficial form of being nice to everyone, but it’s also not a boot camp where everything is rigidity, rules and long faces, Pope Francis said.
Christians have “far to go” if they seek to be known primarily for their love of God and neighbor, Pope Francis said.
A church that is rich and lacking in praise for the Lord is an old, lifeless church that neglects the true treasure of God’s free gift of grace and salvation, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.