NCR Today: The core mission of the Catholic church is to go outside of itself, to make neighbors, and to always be at the service of the poor.
For decades, many liberation theologians globally have lived with a looming possibility: A letter could arrive from the Vatican contesting their work.
Pope Francis' most frequent advice and exhortation to Catholics -- from laypeople in parishes to bishops and cardinals -- is "Go forth."
Preparing for the Year for Consecrated Life, members of religious orders, secular institutes and consecrated virgins are asked to spend a considerable amount of time remembering the joy they felt when they first realized God was calling them.
"Pope Francis has asked us to let our hearts dwell on a freeze-frame of the joy of 'the moment when Jesus looked at me,'" said Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz and Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, respectively prefect and secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Vatican City -- Francis writes to Congregation for Bishops about how to find new bishops: be 'restless' in search for pastoral bishops
Never hesitate to call a priest to bless and anoint sick or elderly family members, Pope Francis said.
Some people worry receiving the sacrament of the anointing of the sick "brings bad luck" and "the hearse will come next," the pope said. "This is not true!"
The sacrament brings Jesus closer to those in need, strengthening their faith and hope, he said Feb. 26 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.
Celebrating the closing Mass for the extraordinary general chapter of the Legionaries of Christ and ending his service as papal delegate overseeing the order, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis told the priests that the Lord had healed their order and reaffirmed his love for them.
Pope Francis on Tuesday lashed out at public indifference to the many wars raging around the globe, with especially harsh words for arms makers who he said profit from the violence and suffering.
"Think of the starving children in the refugee camps. Just think of them: this is fruit of war!" Francis said at the daily Mass he celebrates in the chapel of the Vatican guesthouse where he lives.
The three months of protests in Ukraine that ended with government snipers killing dozens of people strengthened the commitment to democracy of many Ukrainians, but also left the country vulnerable to further violence and division, said the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
"The danger that our neighbor (Russia) will provoke a civil war has not passed," Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych told reporters in Rome Feb. 25, adding that the protests have solidified the Ukrainian people's commitment to independence, freedom and democracy.
NCR Today: In a letter to families, Pope Francis asks for prayers for the October synod and assures Catholics that "all the People of God" will be involved in it.