Faith and Justice: The first synod I covered as a journalist was the 1980 Synod of Bishops on the family, which proved to be a month of fun and frustration.
In light of "countless requests from every part of the world," Pope Francis has approved putting Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII on the church's universal calendar of feast days.
Called the General Roman Calendar, it is the universal schedule of holy days and feast days for the Latin rite of the Catholic church.
The two saints' feast days, both of which have the ranking of an optional -- not obligatory -- memorial, are Oct. 11 for St. John XXIII and Oct. 22 for St. John Paul II.
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.
Fr. Robert Oliver will be the secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which is tasked with laying out a pastoral approach to preventing abuse.
NCR Today: The appointment of 25 curial officials to the synod is a sign that Pope Francis still doesn't understand what real reform of the Curia requires.
Among the nonvoting members of 38 observers and 16 experts appointed by the pope, the majority are laymen and laywomen, including 14 married couples.
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!"
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.
Faith and Justice: With a vacancy at the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Pope Francis has an opportunity to restart liturgical renewal.
"Above all we have to clarify that we are not misogynists, we don't want to gobble up a woman a day!" Cardinal Gerhard Müller told L'Osservatore Romano.