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Feast days of Sts. John Paul II, John XXIII added to universal calendar

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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.

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: Just as God freely offers salvation, don't give hoping to benefit

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Christians are called to help those who have nothing to give and love those who don't love back, Pope Francis said.

Salvation and changing the world for the better require "doing good to those who aren't able to repay us, just like the Father did with us, giving us Jesus," the pope said at his weekly general audience Wednesday in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis to visit Turkey in November

Pope Francis will visit Turkey in November, eight years after his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, made a landmark visit to the predominantly Muslim country.

Turkey's newly elected president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, extended a formal invitation to Francis, and the Turkish Embassy to the Holy See confirmed Tuesday that the pope has accepted.

"The pope has been invited by both the Orthodox Church and the government and he is expected to meet the president during his visit," an embassy representative said.

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!"

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September 12-25, 2014

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