VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Since the Gospel message touches every aspect of a person's life, it must be proclaimed in a way people can understand, Pope Francis said. At his weekly general audience Oct. 25, the pope looked at the lives of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, two brothers from ninth-century Greece who became missionaries in central Europe. St. John Paul II named them co-patrons of Europe and wrote the encyclical "Slavorum Apostoli" ("The Apostles of the Slavs") about them, affirming Eastern Europe's Christian culture.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People coming from cultures that promote consumerism over caring for the planet should look to Indigenous communities as models for developing an ecologically conscious mentality, the first cardinal from the Amazon region said. "To save the Amazon is to save the whole planet," Cardinal Leonardo Ulrich Steiner of Manaus, Brazil, told Catholic News Service Oct. 23. "The Amazon really is a symbol, a symbol of the need to change our mentality, to be less consumeristic, to chase after money less."
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Maria Antonia de Paz Figueroa, an 18th-century consecrated lay woman from Argentina. The Vatican press office said the pope signed the decree, which clears the way for her canonization, during an audience Oct. 24 with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.
The Very Reverend Fr. Peter Boutros, pastor of St. John of the Desert Melkite Catholic Church, has a word of caution for those who might be glued to the news emanating from Israel as the crisis in the Middle East deepens. “We need to start looking at things a little bit more, look at the depth of things, not just lump everybody together,” Fr. Boutros said.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Thousands of children from Italy and many others representing other parts of the world will meet Pope Francis at the Vatican Nov. 6 to express their hopes, dreams and questions. "It will be a meeting to show the dream we all have: to go back to having the pure sentiments of children, because the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children," the pope had said Oct. 1 when he announced the initiative called, "Let us learn from boys and girls."
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Catholic Church's highest ranking prelate in the Holy Land offered his "absolute availability" to be exchanged for Israeli children taken hostage by Hamas. Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, told reporters during an online meeting Oct. 16 that he is willing to do "anything" to "bring to freedom and bring home the children" taken into Gaza during Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, in which more than 1,300 Israelis were killed. The Israeli military said Oct. 16 that some 200 people, including children and elderly persons, are being held hostage.
As the death toll in Israel continues to rise, surpassing 1,200 as of Tuesday evening, Fr. Craig Friedley, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Queen Creek, is now back home unharmed after a harrowing few days abroad. He and a group of about 20 parishioners, along with dozens of travelers from other parishes in the Diocese of Phoenix, had just begun their tour of the Holy Land when war broke out.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Terrorism, violence, barbarism and extremism undermine the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. "War is always the defeat of dignity and an occasion for not reaching any solution," he said, hoping that all weapons would be silenced and reason prevail so that there can be pause to reflect on the right way to achieve peace in Israel and Palestine.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- "War is a defeat," Pope Francis insisted as he called for prayers for peace in Israel and Palestine. Speaking to thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square Oct. 8 for the recitation of the Angelus prayer, the pope said he is following events in Israel and Gaza "with apprehension and sorrow." A day earlier, militants in Gaza launched a massive attack on southern Israel, firing rockets and breaching the border.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christian life is a battle each person must fight against the temptation to be self-sufficient and against a paganism disguised as sacredness, Pope Francis said in an introduction to a small book distributed to participants at the synod on synodality. Such "spiritual worldliness," he wrote, "though it be camouflaged with the appearance of the sacred, it ends up being idolatrous because it does not recognize the presence of God as Lord and liberator of our lives and of the history of the world. It leaves us prey to our capricious desires."