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Couples with kids, cohabitating are among those marrying at papal Mass

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Among the men and women Pope Francis is set to unite in marriage are Catholics who have been living together as well as couples who already have children.

The pope will preside over his first wedding ceremony as pontiff during a nuptial Mass on Sunday in St. Peter's Basilica.

The event, which will see 20 couples from the Rome diocese celebrate the sacrament of marriage, was organized by the vicariate of Rome.

"Those who will get married Sunday are couples like many others," the diocese said in a press release Wednesday.

Pope cites three lessons from Mary: Be joyful, help others, never give up

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When a mother has a birthday, children send their greetings and love, so make sure to do the same thing on the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Pope Francis said.

The liturgical feast day Monday "would be her birthday. And what do you do when your mom has a birthday? You send her greetings and best wishes," the pope said, after praying the Angelus with people gathered Sunday in St. Peter's Square.

The pope asked people to say "a Hail Mary from the heart" and to not forget to tell her "Happy Birthday!"

Pope says war is senseless slaughter, can always be avoided

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War is just "senseless slaughter" and should never be seen as inevitable or a done deal, Pope Francis said.

"War drags people into a spiral of violence which then proves difficult to control; it tears down what generations have labored to build up, and it sets the scene for even greater injustices and conflicts," he said in a written message to a world summit of religious leaders.

"War is never a necessity, nor is it inevitable. Another way can always be found: the way of dialogue, encounter and the sincere search for truth," he wrote.

Catholic church must welcome 'unconventional couples,' top Italian bishop says

The Catholic church should make "unconventional couples" feel at home instead of making them targets of "de facto discrimination," the leader of the Italian Bishops Conference and an ally of Pope Francis said this week.

"Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice," said Bishop Nunzio Galantino, an apparent reference to divorced and remarried Catholics.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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