VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis joined leaders of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in praying for peace in Israel and Palestine, "sharing the great sorrow of the mother church of Jerusalem." "We are sadly witnessing a tragedy unfolding in the very places where the Lord lived, where he taught us through his humanity to love, to forgive and to do good to all," the pope said Nov. 9. "And, instead, we see them torn apart by tremendous suffering that is striking the innocent most of all, so many innocent people dead."
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God seeks and loves those who are humble because it allows him to be a part of their lives, Pope Francis said. "This is Christian humility, which is not simply one virtue among others, but the basic disposition of life: believing ourselves to be in need of God, making room for him and putting all our trust in him," the pope said in his homily Nov. 3.
ROME (CNS) -- As the sun broke through the morning sky after a torrential downpour in Rome, Pope Francis was wheeled past dozens of gravestones that marked the final resting place of members of the military forces who died during and immediately after World War II. He carried a bouquet of large white roses and had an aide place it at the grave of Guardsman William Perkins, a member of the Welsh Guards who died at the age of 28 in 1944. The pope then continued along the green lawn, hands clasped briefly in prayer.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After dozens of people were killed and billions of dollars in damages were suffered due to a hurricane that hit Mexico's Pacific coast, Pope Francis expressed his condolences and prayed that Christians would contribute, in a spirit of charity, to the reconstruction of affected areas. The pope was "deeply saddened to learn of the natural disaster that is affecting the coasts of Guerrero" in southern Mexico, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, wrote in a telegram to Archbishop Leopoldo González González of Acapulco Oct. 27.
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.