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Remember the joy of your vocation, Vatican officials tell religious

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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.

Pope: Anointing the sick doesn't bring bad luck, it brings Jesus

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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.

Pope Francis blasts arms dealers, decries indifference to war

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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.

Ukrainian archbishop sees lingering threat of war, but signs of hope

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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.

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July 18-31, 2014

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