National Catholic Reporter

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Francis

Pope Francis says church is called to frankness, courage

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The church today is called to be frank and courageous, just as the apostles were after the Resurrection, said Pope Francis at his first daily Mass after a two-week break for Holy Week and Easter.

"Even today, the message of the church is the message of frankness and Christian courage," the pope said Monday. In attendance at Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae were the nine members of the pope's advisory Council of Cardinals, who were to begin another round of meetings that day.

Latin American officials: Pope Francis to visit three countries July 6-12

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Pope Francis is expected to arrive July 6 in Ecuador, starting a three-country tour of his home continent, The Associated Press reported from Quito.

The trip, the pope's second to South America since being elected in March 2013, also would include stops in Bolivia and Paraguay, two fast-growing countries in recent years, but still among the poorest on the continent.

Pope to formally proclaim holy year in front of basilica's Holy Door

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Celebrating the first vespers for Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis formally will deliver the "bull of indiction" or proclamation of the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.

Portions of the document will be read Saturday in front of the Holy Door at St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican announced. The Holy Door, usually bricked up, is opened at the beginning of a jubilee year.

The Holy Year of Mercy is scheduled for Dec. 8, 2015, to Nov. 20, 2016.

Montreal's Cardinal Turcotte, cleric with common touch, dies at age 78

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Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, cardinal of the people, died Wednesday in Montreal's Marie-Clarac Hospital.

The 78-year-old cardinal, who served as Montreal's archbishop for 22 years, was diabetic, and his health had been in decline for several months. He was moved to palliative care March 24.

Turcotte was remembered as a populist, a down-to-earth cleric with a common touch who once supported an ad campaign that urged Montreal residents to pray for his beloved Canadiens to make the National Hockey League playoffs.

Students pray for safety of Pope Francis more than 1 million times

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The prayerful protection of Mary has been showered upon Pope Francis 1 million times over, thanks to students and their friends at St. Charles Borromeo School in the New Orleans archdiocese.

On Holy Thursday, April 2, just before the start of the school's monthly rosary, religion teacher Lisa Benoit, accompanied by seven students bearing numbered placards, made a joyful announcement: The school's 2014-2015 goal of praying 1 million Hail Marys for the safety of Pope Francis had not only been met, but exceeded.

The count: an incredible 1,031,840 Hail Marys.

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