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Muslim leader says pope is model of what religious leader should be

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Pope Francis, like Islam's Sufi mystic theologians and poets, "is trying to do good for the sake of the Good One, motivated by love and compassion," said the president of the Islamic Affairs Council of Maryland.

Mohamad Bashar Arafat, a Syrian who has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, was visiting the Vatican and speaking to groups in Rome in early October as a guest of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See as part of the U.S. State Department's international speakers program.

Pope Francis celebrates the church as loving 'mamma'

Pope Francis gave pilgrims attending his weekly public audience Wednesday what he called a "homework assignment" to find out the date they were baptized and celebrate it every year.

"How many of you remember the date of your baptism?" the pope asked the crowd in St. Peter's Square, then acknowledged a relatively small show of hands.

"Our baptismal date is the date of our birth in the church," he said. "When you go home today, look hard for the date of your baptism, so you can celebrate it and thank the Lord for this gift."

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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