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Military Finds Bomb at Aparecida Shrine Prior to Pope’s Visit (3021)

The homemade device had little chance of causing fatalities, according to Brazilian authorities.

07/22/2013 Comments (6)
Wikipedia/Agência Brasil

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida.

– Wikipedia/Agência Brasil

APARECIDA, Brazil — The Brazilian military discovered an improvised bomb today in a parking garage bathroom at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, which Pope Francis is due to visit on Wednesday.

“It was a homemade device, with little potential to cause fatalities,” according to a statement of the Brazilian Air Force. “It is worth pointing out that such episodes formed part of our security forces’ training in Aparecida and at no point were civilians’ lives in danger.”

The bomb has already been destroyed. It was discovered around 11:30am Rio de Janeiro time, during the completion of simulated exercises by security forces, according to Brazil’s Grupo Estado.

Pope Francis landed in...READ MORE

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Pope’s World Youth Day Gift — Jesus (2925)

Declares the arriving Holy Father, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ!’

07/22/2013 Comments (1)
Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis walks with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil immediately after disembarking in Rio de Janeiro July 22 to commence his World Youth Day visit.

– Catholic News Agency

RIO DE JANEIRO  — Affirming the “great heart” of the Brazilian people, Pope Francis said at a welcome ceremony that he comes to World Youth Day in the name of Jesus to encourage fraternal love among humanity.

“I ask permission to come in and spend this week with you,” Pope Francis told the assembled representatives of the Brazilian nation. “I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ!”

“I have come in his name, to feed the flame of fraternal love that burns in every heart; and I wish my greeting to reach one and all: The peace of Christ be with you!”

Shortly after landing at Rio de Janeiro's international airport on July 22,...READ MORE

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Lourdes Records 69th Official Miracle (4326)

In a medically inexplicable cure, Danila Castelli recovered in 1989 from grave problems associated with a tumor near her bladder.

07/22/2013 Comments (2)

Danila Castelli

– YouTube

LOURDES, France — The famous Marian shrine in Lourdes, France, has received an official declaration from the bishop of Pavia, Italy, stating that the 69th confirmed miracle has taken place there.

“I have the joy of reporting to everyone my healing, which just a few days ago was approved as a miracle by my bishop, which is a beautiful thing,” said Mrs. Danila Castelli, an Italian woman who experienced the miracle on May 4, 1989, after visiting the baths in Lourdes.

Castelli said in an interview posted July 18, 2013, on the Lourdes Sanctuary’s YouTube channel that she wants to “thank Our Lady for all of the joy I’ve received, not just the joy of a healed body — which is also important...READ MORE

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Rio de Janeiro and a Hurricane Named Francis (12100)


07/22/2013 Comments (11)
Jeanette De Melo

Sandcastle at Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach.

– Jeanette De Melo

After the initial jubilation of having been granted World Youth Day 2013, organizers in the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro quickly found themselves in an uphill battle: a less-than-friendly Brazilian government focused more on the upcoming soccer World Cup of soccer and the 2016 Olympic Games; the city’s reputation for shady tourist attractions, like the Rio Carnival; and the well-known issues of urban violence.

Aside from these challenges, in the face of which Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro was always optimistic, there was another not so small detail: an ailing Pope Benedict.

In the midst of a rocky start, one that involved convincing government officials that World...READ MORE

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Who Speaks for Catholics in the Military on Religious Freedom? (2976)

NEWS ANALYSIS: As Capitol Hill debates a bill to bolster religious freedom, controversy erupts over who should represent the interests of Catholic soldiers.

07/22/2013 Comments (6)
Wikimedia Commons

– Wikimedia Commons

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops have warned that the religious freedom of Catholics and Church institutions is under threat, so recent headlines asserting similar problems in the military are often accepted without question.

But do Catholics in the armed forces actually face challenges to the free exercise of their faith? And if they do, where does the danger come from, and who should provide an authoritative judgment?

The need for clarity on such matters has gained urgency as Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming’s  proposed amendment that would strengthen religious freedom in the military fuels intense controversy on Capitol Hill.

Last month, the House Armed Services Committee...READ MORE

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Pope Francis’ Style Changes Papal Flight (3218)

Boarding the plane in Rome carrying his own bag, the Holy Father manifested his down-to-earth, personable approach.

07/22/2013 Comments (6)

Pope Francis boards the papal plane July 22 at Rome's Fiumicino Airport.


VATICAN CITY — As he boarded the plane for Rio de Janeiro and the 28th World Youth Day, Pope Francis brought his down-to-earth approach with him, carrying his own bag and opting for individual conversations with journalists instead of the typical press conference.

The first visible sign of Pope Francis’ simplicity appeared as he boarded the papal plane, an Alitalia Airbus 330, at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport on Monday morning, with a black leather bag in hand.  

While the sight would not have been unusual for other passengers, the fact was not missed by Vatican watchers, who observed that no pope in recent memory has carried his own bag.

And while the action was small, it captures the...READ MORE

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Pope Prays for WYD at St. Mary Major in Rome (3731)

Shortly before leaving for Rio, the Holy Father prayed before the famous ‘Protectress of the Roman People’ image.

07/22/2013 Comments (2)

The image of Salus Populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman People).

RIO DE JANEIRO — Two days before his departure to Rio De Janeiro for World Youth Day, Pope Francis made a surprise trip Saturday to Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major in order to ask for Mary’s intercession.

The Pope entered through the side door of the basilica. He spoke a few words to the faithful gathered there. He asked them to accompany him “with prayers, trust and penance” for World Youth Day.

Pope Francis spent more than 30 minutes of his one-hour-and-15 minute visit praying before the image of the Virgin Mary known as Salus Populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman People). The large Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child is traditionally held to be a creation of...READ MORE

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Social-Media Pilgrims at World Youth Day (4057)

Catholics can participate via Facebook, Twitter, apps, as well as broadcasting, livestreaming and blogging by media outlets, including EWTN and the Register.

07/22/2013 Comments (3)

WASHINGTON — For millions of Catholics around the globe, the road to World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro isn’t by plane, train or bus, but by new methods: Facebook, Twitter and apps.

Catholics are taking advantage of the opportunity to follow Pope Francis to Rio as “social pilgrims,” using a variety of new and social-media platforms to engage in the World Youth Day experience.

Already, 2.6 million English Twitter users and 2.8 million Spanish Twitter users follow Pope Francis (who tweets under the handle @Pontifex), whose daily “tweets” (140-character messages) have been described as a “lectio divina for Catholics” on which to meditate for the day.

Pope Francis has encouraged the idea...READ MORE

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