VATICAN CITY -—The COVID-19 pandemic calls for an urgent reality check against baseless information and for increased efforts so everyone has access to vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tools, Pope Francis told diplomats from around the world.

He urged individuals, governments and the international community to recognize the effectiveness and importance of immunizing as many people as possible as part of fighting the pandemic, which he called a “grave moment in the life of humanity.”  Read more >>

Pope Francis approved “Pilgrims of Hope” as the motto for the Holy Year 2025.

The motto aims to give a concise sense of the full meaning of the jubilee journey, Archbishop Rino Fisichella told Vatican News Jan. 13.

The words “pilgrims” and “hope” also represent key themes of Pope Francis’ pontificate, said the archbishop, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, which is in charge of the Holy Year planning efforts.  Read more >>

Attacking houses of worship and religious art is akin to attacking the community who prays there, said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York ahead of Religious Freedom Day, observed Jan. 16. 

“For nearly two years, the U.S. bishops have noticed a disturbing trend of Catholic churches being vandalized and statues being smashed,” said Dolan in a statement released Jan. 14 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Dolan is the chairman of the USCCB’s religious liberty committee. Read more >>

Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles said Mass Sunday in honor of the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines, celebrating the feast of the Santo Niño de Cebú.

“Today, we especially entrust ourselves to the Divine Infant, Santo Niño, as we continue to give thanks to God for opening the door of faith to the people of the Philippines, five hundred years ago,” the archbishop said during his Jan. 16 homily at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Read more >>

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “9 Days for Life”, as the bishops once again encourage everyone to pray for an end to abortion.

“This pro-life novena is an opportunity for recollection and reparation in observation of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States,” said a Jan. 12 statement from the USCCB.  Read more >>

After a journalist reported on Pope Francis’ surprise visit to a record store, the pope surprised him back — by writing him a letter.

Javier Martínez-Brocal, director of the Rome-based news agency Rome Reports, tweeted a black-and-white photo on Jan. 11 of the pope exiting a record store near the Pantheon in Rome. The photo went viral as people wanted to know, “What did he buy?” The journalist also captured video of the encounter.  Read more >>

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