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The Francis Chronicles

Pope Francis' papacy by the numbers

While many of his younger Italian brethren might still be sleeping, Rome's 77-year-old bishop is up at 4:45 a.m. and ready for another 15-hour day. Though he only has one fully functioning lung, he has maintained a rigorous and demanding schedule during his first 15 months of office, according to the Italian daily La Stampa, which published some interesting statistics on the pope that the Vatican confirmed.

Christians without Mary in their life are orphans, pope says

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Pope Francis told a group of young people discerning a religious vocation to never go it alone, but always stay by their mother, Mary.

"A Christian without Our Lady is an orphan. Also a Christian without the church is an orphan. A Christian needs these two women, two mothers, two virgins: the church and Our Lady," he said Saturday.

The pope spoke off-the-cuff to a group of young men from the diocese of Rome during a brief moment of prayer at the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens.

Pope: Love's giving, not receiving; it's best through action, not words

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Love is more about giving than receiving and is best expressed through action, not words, Pope Francis said.

God's love, in fact, can only be experienced by people willing to let go of their egos and humbly let God take the lead, allowing him take their hand like a loving father with his children, the pope said in his homily Friday.

Celebrating the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Francis focused his homily on the heart of Jesus and his immense love.

Church is essential for faith; there are no 'free agents,' pope says

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Christians are not made in a laboratory, but in a community called the church, Pope Francis said.

At his weekly general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his series of audience talks about the church, telling an estimated 33,000 people that there is no such thing as "do-it-yourself" Christians or "free agents" when it comes to faith.

Every Christian, he said, can trace his or her faith back to parents, grandparents, teachers or friends. "I always remember the nun who taught me catechism. I know she's in heaven because she was a holy woman," he said.

Pope condemns mafia, says members are excommunicated

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In the stronghold of an Italian crime syndicate believed to be richer and more powerful than the Sicilian Mafia, Pope Francis said, "Those who follow the path of evil, like the mafiosi do, are not in communion with God; they are excommunicated!"

During a Mass Saturday in the southern region of Calabria, Pope Francis made clear that even if the mob families continue to go to Mass and decorate their homes and hideouts with religious pictures, they have cut themselves off from communion with the church and with God.

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