Pope urges expansion of priests’ on-call emergency service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Year of Mercy is a perfect time to increase the number of priests who take turns being on call all night for emergency spiritual care of the sick and dying, Pope Francis wrote. The pope, as Jesuit Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, belonged to a special service, which is supported by…

Timeline of key events in life and ministry of Blessed Junipero Serra

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CS) — Here is a timeline of key points in the life, ministry and sainthood cause of Blessed Junipero Serra, the 18th-century Spanish missionary to California. Pope Francis is scheduled to canonize the Franciscan friar Sept. 23 during his visit to Washington. — 1713: Born and baptized Miquel Joseph Nov. 24 in Petra…

Pope Francis to speak from lectern Lincoln used for Gettysburg Address

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — As lecterns go, it is strictly utilitarian, a simple walnut stand with none of the ornamentation commonly found in mid-19th-century furnishings. Yet it has a distinguished past and is about to have a distinguished future. At a news conference Aug. 7 at the Union League of Philadelphia, Robert Ciaruffoli, president of the…

Papal message for World Peace Day to focus on overcoming indifference

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Selfishness and fear keep too many people ignorant of the suffering of others and prevent them from finding creative ways to express solidarity and to promote peace, said a statement from the Vatican’s justice and peace office. To promote a reflection on the need for a “conversion of mind and heart”…

Being altar server is call to prayer and mission, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholics are more fortunate than the Old Testament prophets were because in the Eucharist they experience Jesus’ closeness and know that God is not far off on a lofty throne, Pope Francis told thousands of altar servers from across Europe. “In the Eucharist and in the other sacraments,” the pope said,…

Ambassador expects pope to challenge Americans to live nation’s ideals

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The U.S. ambassador to the Holy See believes Pope Francis is not traveling to the United States in September to scold anyone, but to challenge the country’s people to live up to their ideals. “I don’t think he’s coming to the United States to antagonize, to criticize, to call out people,”…

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to go to confession, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Trusting in God’s infinite mercy, people should not be afraid or embarrassed to go to confession, Pope Francis said. “There are people who are afraid to go to confession, forgetting that they will not encounter a severe judge there, but the immensely merciful Father,” Pope Francis told thousands of people gathered…

Prisoners, volunteers, teens invited to celebrate Jubilee with pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — More than a dozen individual celebrations will be scheduled for the Jubilee of Mercy in 2016, giving pilgrims the chance to celebrate their own holy year with Pope Francis in Rome. The yearlong extraordinary jubilee will include a number of individual jubilee days, such as for consecrated men and women; deacons;…

House limits number allowed in chamber to hear papal address to Congress

WASHINGTON (CNS) — House members voted July 28 to limit the number of people allowed in the House Chamber Sept. 24 when Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of Congress. The vote, which was part of a procedural measure, excludes former members of Congress and former House officers and chaplains from attending the papal address….