Pope Watch

Pope Watch July 2016

Visit with Muslim scholar

After five years of silence, Pope Francis met with the Grand Imam of the renowned Al-Azhar mosque and university in Egypt on May 23. Sheik Ahmed el-Tayyib and the pontiff met at the Vatican to promote inter-religious dialogue and peace. Talks between the head of the important Sunni Muslim mosque and university had been discontinued in 2011 after a speech by Pope Benedict XVI which linked Islam and violence. “Our meeting is the message,” Pope Francis told the Grand Imam as he greeted him.

Pope Watch June 2016

Visiting refugee detention center on Greek island of Lesbos

“Europe today faces one of its most serious humanitarian crises since the end of the Second World War,” states a declaration signed by Pope Francis and two leading Greek Orthodox churchmen. These three religious leaders met at a port in Lesbos, Greece to pray for all those seeking refuge, and to encourage political leaders to work toward ensuring all individuals have the freedom to remain in their own homelands. After the meeting, the pontiff returned to Italy with 12 refugees, including six children.

Pope Watch May 2016

Right: Washing the feet of refugees – At the Reception Center for Asylum Seekers outside Rome on Holy Thursday, Pope Francis washed the feet of refugees, and spoke to nearly 1,000 migrants and volunteers about the importance of living in peace as children of the same God.

Pope Watch April 2016

Right: Pope Francis gestures while wearing a Sombrero given to him by someone in the crowd on Zocalo Square in Mexico City.


Pope Francis visited Mexico from Feb. 12–17, during which he brought a message of solidarity with the victims of drug violence, human trafficking and discrimination to some of that country's most violent and poverty-stricken regions.

Pope Watch September 2015

Right: Pope Francis holds a cap given to him by students while visiting the Banado Norte neighborhood in Asuncion, Paraguay, on July 12


Did you know?

Pope Francis is a fan of The Lord of the Rings. He once used the characters Frodo and Sam to illustrate the journey of man and the drama of human life. 


New auxiliary bishops for Los Angeles

July/August 2015

The ‘Pope Franciscus’ white rose

Two French horticulturists, Croix Dominique and Jacques Ranchon, recently named a new breed of white rose “Pope Franciscus” after the pontiff. Pope Francis has a devotion to the Little Flower, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and receives white roses from her intercession: “Whenever I have a problem, I ask the saint not to solve it, but to take it into her hands and to help me accept it and I almost always receive a white rose as a sign.” Fifty rose bushes are planted in the Vatican Gardens and at Castel Gandolfo. 

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