Pope Francis will visit Cuba and the United States during a Sept. 19-27 visit. Get the full schedule here.
"We hope that everyone feels welcome to come, and certainly people who have experienced same-sex attraction are certainly welcome like anyone else," he said.
The U.S. bishops gathered in St. Louis for their spring general assembly heard presentations on the pope's upcoming encyclical on the environment, the U.S. church's ongoing work in promoting traditional marriage and the need to remain vigilant in protecting children from abuse.
On the first day of their meeting Wednesday, there also were reports on the bishops' efforts to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and their help in rebuilding work in Haiti, which is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake.
The head of liturgical music for the Philadelphia archdiocese, who was also to play a key role orchestrating the huge outdoor Mass concluding Pope Francis' trip to the U.S. in September, is resigning his post over long-standing differences with Archbishop Charles Chaput.
John Romeri, who has headed the archdiocesan liturgical music office for five years, said he will resign effective June 30 because "there are simply irreconcilable differences" with Chaput over the role and style of music at Mass.
One of the groups has seen its application rejected twice, and the other group is still waiting for a final response.
The wreck of Amtrak's Northeast Regional Train 188 was two blocks from St. Joan of Arc Convent in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput Wednesday urged prayers for all affected by the Amtrak train derailment in the city's Port Richmond neighborhood that left at least six people dead and injured more than 200 others.
"I urge all people of goodwill to join me in extending prayerful condolences to those mourning the sudden loss of a loved one and in asking the Lord to bring healing to all those suffering physical and emotional anguish in the wake of this incident," he said in a statement.
Social justice activists from around the country gathered recently to launch a "Year of Encounter with Pope Francis" to build on the pope's attention to the poor and marginalized.
For the past year, the question most often heard by Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families, was, "How can I help?"
Now there is an answer and a way anyone can lend a hand to the four-day conference and events surrounding the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia in September.
Registration for volunteers is now open at the World Meeting of Families 2015 website.
The meeting runs Sept. 22-25 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
Free from prison and living under house arrest since a December 2013 court ruling, Msgr. William Lynn's freedom appeared to be in jeopardy again.
The case of the former secretary for clergy of the Philadelphia archdiocese, the highest-ranking church official in the archdiocese convicted of a crime connected to the clergy sexual abuse crisis, took a dramatic turn Monday when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that had released him on bail.