VATICAN CITY - The cross serves as a warning to the powerful and a message of hope for the poor and oppressed, said the preacher of the papal household.

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ROME - Jesus' gesture of washing his disciples' feet, an act once reserved to servants and slaves, is one that all Christians, especially bishops, must imitate, Pope Francis told hundreds of inmates and prison employees on Holy Thursday.

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NAIROBI, Kenya - Pope Francis' surprise kiss on the feet of South Sudanese political leaders is the message of Easter, the country's Christian leaders said in a joint Easter message.

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VATICAN CITY - Just as Jesus always sought to be with the people to serve, teach and heal them, so, too, must priests always be in the midst of God's people, "pouring ourselves out" for them, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY - Countless women and girls are being "crucified" by human traffickers, who trick them into slave labor or prostitution, and by those who seek out their services and exploit them, said the missionary nun who wrote the meditations for Pope Francis' Way of the Cross service.

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VATICAN CITY - Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet was third on every ballot during the five rounds of voting that ended with then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio becoming Pope Francis, according to a new book.

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ROME - Drawing attention to the special needs of people with Alzheimer's disease, Pope Francis made an afternoon visit to a community of group homes designed to keep residents active and living as normal a life as possible.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis told high school students to break their phone addiction and spend more time on real communication with others and in moments of quiet, personal reflection.

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VATICAN CITY - When done ethically and free of charge, organ donation is a selfless gesture that contributes to fostering a culture of life, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY - Within the universal Christian vocation of serving God and serving others, God handcrafts a specific calling for each person, a vocation that fits his or her personality and abilities, Pope Francis said.

Published in Call to Service

VATICAN CITY - At the end of a highly unusual spiritual retreat for the political leaders of warring factions, Pope Francis knelt at the feet of the leaders of South Sudan, begging them to give peace a chance and to be worthy "fathers of the nation."

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VATICAN CITY - Human trafficking is a "crime against humanity," because it denies the human dignity of the victim, seeing him or her only as a piece of merchandise to be used to enrich or give pleasure to another, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY - To help bring lasting peace to a nation scarred by civil war, Pope Francis was scheduled to speak with and bless leaders from South Sudan gathered for a spiritual retreat at the Vatican.

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VATICAN CITY - Sometimes Christians seem to prefer complaining and being unhappy in life, but that makes them a perfect target for the devil, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.

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VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley told members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors how much Pope Francis appreciated their efforts, particularly their proposal for a summit of leaders of the world's bishops' conferences and for the recently released safeguarding guidelines for Vatican City and the Roman Curia.

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