Philadelphia to host World Meeting of Families in 2015

MILAN - When the Archdiocese of Philadelphia hosts the United States' first World Meeting of Families in 2015, it will need to be a significantly smaller affair than the enormous gatherings seen since its inception in 1994, said the city's archbishop.

It is only with a reduced number of participants that "we could manage through special gifts and the like that people would be willing to give to support such a gathering," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia told Catholic News Service shortly after Pope Benedict XVI's announcement.

For Michael O’Brien, faith is life

TORONTO - The Catholic Civil Rights League has named Michael O’Brien, a world-renowned Canadian author and artist, the 2012 recipient of the Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life.

This annual award recognizes “outstanding lay achievement in advocacy, education, life issues, media and culture, and philanthropy.”

IEC is Ireland's largest religious event since 1979 papal visit

DUBLIN - The weeklong 50th International Eucharistic Congress, which gets under way in Dublin June 10, will be Ireland's largest religious event since Pope John Paul II visited in 1979.

The celebration of faith offers a lively mixture of prayer, reflection and liturgy with participation from some of the leading voices in the Catholic world.

Organizers promise an estimated 12,000 overseas visitors the traditional Irish "cead mile failte" --"a hundred thousand welcomes." Many Dubliners have opened their homes to pilgrims.

Pope deplores 'VatiLeaks' scandal, prays for quake victims [w/ video]

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI voiced regret for the turmoil surrounding the recent publication of leaked Vatican documents, but thanked the vast majority of people who work at the Vatican for their dedication and fidelity.

Speaking at the end of his weekly general audience May 30, the pope said much of the media coverage of the leak of private letters and of the arrest May 23 of his personal assistant has been exaggerated and "completely gratuitous, and has gone far beyond the facts, offering an image of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality."

Pope likens world to latter-day Babel, announces new doctors of church

VATICAN CITY - The modern world is a latter-day Babel, where arrogance inspired by technological progress leads people to play God and sets them against each other, a predicament from which people can escape only through divinely inspired humility and love, said Pope Benedict XVI.

The pope made his remarks during his homily May 27, Pentecost Sunday, during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

Catholics can gain indulgence by praying for families, going to Milan

VATICAN CITY - Catholics who dedicate themselves to special prayers and efforts to promote the holiness of Christian families can receive special indulgences during the World Meeting of Families May 30-June 2 in Milan.

Pope Benedict XVI authorized the indulgences for those who, "truly repentant and motivated by charity, dedicate themselves to the sanctification of the family," said a decree published May 25 by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, which deals with indulgences.

Vatican publishes rules for verifying Marian apparitions

VATICAN CITY - To help bishops determine the credibility of alleged Marian apparitions, the Vatican has translated and published procedural rules from 1978 that had previously been available only in Latin.

The "Norms regarding the manner of proceedings in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations" were approved by Pope Paul VI in 1978 and distributed to the world's bishops, but never officially published or translated into modern languages.

Dublin's city center 'Camino' takes pilgrims to seven historic churches

DUBLIN - A new city center "Camino," or pilgrim walk, has been launched in Dublin as part of the celebrations surrounding the International Eucharistic Congress set for June 10-17.

The walk, involving prayerful visits to seven of Dublin's most historic Catholic and Anglican churches, is partly inspired by the famous pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain and partly inspired by the traditional Dublin devotion of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday.

Each human being is a miracle loved by God the father, Pope says

VATICAN CITY - Addressing God as "Father" is an acknowledgement that God is the one who created, supports and guides humanity, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Maybe people today do not understand the beauty, greatness and deep consolation" that comes from recognizing God as father, "because the paternal figure is not sufficiently present today," the Pope said May 23 during his weekly general audience.

Pope tells Cardinals, 'We are on the Lord's team, the winning team'

VATICAN CITY - "We are on the Lord's team, the winning team," Pope Benedict XVI told members of the College of Cardinals at the end of a luncheon he hosted to thank them for their friendship and support.

At the end of the meal in the frescoed Sala Ducale of the Apostolic Palace May 21, the Pope told the Cardinals that St. Augustine once described history as "a battle between two loves," love for oneself and love for God.

Pope calls on Chinese Catholics to be faithful to church, Pope

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI called on Chinese Catholics to be faithful to the Pope, asked that mass media worldwide promote mutual respect and dialogue, and prayed for those hit by a deadly earthquake near Bologna and a school bombing in Brindisi.

After reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer with those gathered in St. Peter's Square May 20, the Pope denounced a May 19 bombing of a high school in southern Italy, calling it "a vile attack."