Francis Chronicles: Pope Francis' first message for Lent focused on the theme of Christ's poverty: "He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich."
Thanking members of the Neocatechumenal Way for their generous missionary efforts, Pope Francis also encouraged them to build church unity, learn about local cultures and respect any member's decision to leave the movement.
"I thank the Lord for the joy of your faith and for the passion of your Christian witness," he said during a special audience in the Vatican's Paul VI audience hall Saturday with thousands of members of the parish-based faith formation program.
Three key figures in the establishment of the Catholic church in Canada and in Brazil are likely to be declared saints before the end of the year, said a Jesuit who is helping prepare the material needed for their canonizations.
The three speeding their way toward sainthood are: Blessed Jose Anchieta, known as the Apostle of Brazil; Blessed Marie de l'Incarnation, known as the Mother of the Canadian Church; and Blessed Francois de Laval, the first bishop of Quebec.
Year of Religious to begin Nov. 21 with papal mass and to end on the 50th anniversary of promulgation of Vatican II decree "Perfectae Caritatis" on the renewal of religious life.
Less than a week after a relic of Blessed John Paul II disappeared from a country chapel east of Rome, Italian police recovered the venerated piece of fabric stained with the late pope's blood.
Auxiliary Bishop Giovanni D'Ercole of L'Aquila told reporters Friday that one of three men arrested for the theft the previous day had led police to the relic, which they found inside his garage.
In the 1950s, developers in Vatican City discovered what appeared to be an undeveloped field was actually a cemetery that is thousands of years old.
Pope Francis has chosen the theme, "He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich," for this year's Lenten message, said a Vatican statement Friday.
The theme comes from a verse from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians, where the apostle is promoting generosity in giving and wishes to "test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others."
The full verse reads: "For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich" (2 Cor 8:9).
The Francis Chronicles: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should also look at ways to collaborate with a new papal advisory commission on abuse, the pope said.
"We are working intensely on the final report, and after careful study and consideration, we think it will be made public soon."
Just a few days before the feast of St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesians, the Vatican Library announced a major project to inventory, digitalize, catalogue and study unique historical documents collected by a Salesian missionary to Japan.
The estimated 10,000 original documents, dating from early in the 1600s to the mid-1800s, provide cold bureaucratic details about the persecution of Christians in Japan during that period.