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The newest school in the Diocese of Phoenix now has its first graduating class in the waiting. Two of the 12 eighth-graders at Annunciation Catholic School in Cave Creek have been there since its doors opened on the St. Gabriel Parish campus in 2009. They were second-graders at the time and huddled around their principal in a small circle — with first-graders too — for opening prayer.

"Let us not lose hope," Pope Francis said. "Where there is a family with love, that family is able to warm the heart of an entire city with its witness of love."

WASHINGTON (CNA/EWTN News) — Congress has only one month to reauthorize the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Many human rights activists and religious leaders have stressed its importance, and the nation’s bishops suggest the commission would help the U.S. fulfill Pope Francis’ call to protect religious minorities.

VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — On the first World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the preacher to the papal household said that St. Francis of Assisi is a key model in showing the link between faith in God and care for our common home.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) — Flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner — two high-profile Catholic politicians — the visual of Pope Francis’ Sept. 24 address to Congress will signal an evolving narrative. The improbability of a pope standing before a joint meeting of Congress comes in an era of wider acceptance of the Catholic faith as it intersects with public life and U.S. politics, and indicates a comfort level between the two that wouldn’t have been imaginable several decades ago, observers said.

In an extraordinary gesture for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has extended to priests worldwide the authority to absolve women for the sin of abortion and has decreed the full validity during the year of the sacrament of confession celebrated by priests of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.

The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation should be a time for individuals to examine their lifestyles and the way they impact the environment, Pope Francis said.

The outside world is not what "makes us saints or not saints, rather it is the heart that expresses our intentions, our choices and the desire to do everything for God's love," Pope Francis said.

SCOTTSDALE — Fr. Don Calloway, MIC had a message for the more than 1,100 people who packed into the DoubleTree Resort Aug. 21-23 for a three-day Marian Conference. “We need Our Lady in a big way, probably more than we’ve ever needed her before.” He referred to “so-called gay marriage” and the series of recent videos casting light on the trafficking of unborn body parts by employees of Planned Parenthood, calling the organization “a bastion of evil, it is a place of darkness and death.” He also praised the effort that saw over 300 protests earlier that morning against Planned Parenthood.

The Nigerian cardinal expressed hope that the 500 days would be a symbolic catalyst to move the Nigerian community into recognizing the serious problem on its hands and finding a solution.

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