In Philly, a reminder that combatting poverty is also a family issue

Joe Towalski, editor of The Visitor, is traveling with the diocesan pilgrimage to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. By Joe Towalski The Visitor As you can imagine, the World Meeting of Families, with its approximately 20,000 participants from more than 100 countries, is a good venue for vendors selling WMF and papal souvenirs,…

Vatican spokesman declines to speculate on what pope will say in the U.S.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Despite repeated questions from journalists on what Pope Francis will say to President Barack Obama, a joint meeting of Congress and the United Nations on any range of potential subjects, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi advised everyone to wait and listen for themselves. During a Sept. 22 news conference in Washington…

Meeting reporters on plane, pope defends his teaching on social issues

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM CUBA (CNS) — Pope Francis defended his position on the economy, the environment and other social issues as faithful repetitions of the basic Catholic social doctrine. Speaking to reporters flying with him from Cuba to Washington Sept. 22, the pope was asked about comments, mainly from the United States, claiming…

Chefs working at a ‘different level’ cooking for Pope Francis, homeless

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Cooking for 1,900 people, no problem. Cooking for the pope? Now that requires extra care. Chefs Michael McDonald and Irshaad Ellis-Bey say they are up to the challenge. Both men are heading the effort of the Washington Archdiocese’s Catholic Charities Enterprises catering service in preparing a meal for 500 guests, including Pope…

Pope calls for ‘revolution of tenderness’ in Cuba

SANTIAGO, Cuba (CNS) — Pope Francis called Cuban to a “revolution of tenderness” as he celebrated Mass in the Minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the country’s patroness. While only about 60 percent of Cubans are baptized Catholics, the little statue of Our Lady of Charity, discovered 400…

Parents of missing Mexican students travel to U.S. to appeal to pope

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — Peasant farmer Emiliano Navarrete lost his son one year ago, in an attack on 43 teacher trainees in southern Guerrero state. He still holds out hope that his son, Jose Angel Navarrete, 18, and his classmates are alive, even though Mexican investigators insist the 43 young men were kidnapped and killed…

Pope visits Fidel Castro before formal meeting with Cuba’s president

HAVANA (CNS) — Although it was not part of his formal program, Pope Francis took time after Sunday Mass to visit Cuba’s ailing former leader, Fidel Castro. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said that after the Mass Sept. 20 in Havana’s Revolution Square, Pope Francis was driven to the ailing 89-year-old’s residence for the…

Cuban dissidents say they hope pope highlights human rights

SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba (CNS) — A week before Pope Francis arrived here, the communist government agreed to pardon 3,522 prisoners, including elderly people and people under 20 with no prior offenses. It was seen as a gesture of goodwill ahead of the papal visit, one meant to signal the Cuban government has grown more…