In canonizing Sri Lanka's first saint, Pope Francis called for the protection of what he called the "fundamental human right" of religious freedom.
Despite the immense destruction still evident in Gaza following the war there last summer, the resilience of the people gave hope to 16 bishops of the Holy Land Coordination during their Jan. 11-12 visit to the Gaza Strip.
One boy's words continued to resonate with Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M. The boy, who was the last student to speak to the bishops before they left Holy Family School in Gaza, told them he simply wanted dignity.
The girl was waiting at the sisters' gate one morning in August.
Before her 18th birthday, Elizabeth had already traveled across the Sahara and the Mediterranean on her way from Nigeria to Europe and spent six months in a brothel in Denmark. She was being prepared to start working on the streets of Italy when she found her way to Casa Rut, a safe house for trafficking victims.
"I was at home with one of my sisters. She was watching television in the front room, and I was in back about to start on my homework. It was at that moment that the earth began to shake."
This is how Nerlande Janvier, a resident of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, remembers the earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Haitians five years ago Monday.
"I didn't know what to do," she said. "All I could think of was the end of the world. I said to myself: That's it, this is how I'm going to die.
What was Cuba like for Catholics in the early days of the Castro revolution? Arthur Jones recalls his time as a reporter there in the 1960s.
Francis told religious leaders he sought to reaffirm respect for each religion's beliefs but to ground such respect in "a full and forthright presentation of our respective convictions."
Pope Francis returns to Asia this week, where crises are priming the ground for the kind of church he is working to grow.
Beginning his trip to a nation still recovering from civil war, Pope Francis called on Sri Lankans to accept each other's differences and seek reconciliation.
France's collective mourning this past week over the slain staffers of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French weekly, rode on deep currents of religious solemnity: massive popular demonstrations, collective solemn silence, flickering candlelight and the tolling of bells. Some details, like the bells of Notre Dame and the dimmed lights of the Eiffel Tower, required official cooperation, but for the most part, the expressions of collective grief were natural outpourings of popular emotion.
Hours before Pope Francis was to arrive in Sri Lanka, people in Colombo were busy with final preparations for his "historic visit."