Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

RAKOVSKI, Bulgaria - In the Catholic heart of Bulgaria, Pope Francis celebrated a special Mass for 245 children receiving their first Communion and thanked them for helping him, their parents and grandparents remember their own first Communion.

SOFIA, Bulgaria - Twelve boys and girls wearing white T-shirts and dark pants sang for Pope Francis at a refugee center on the outskirts of Sofia.

SOFIA, Bulgaria - In a country that has seen many of its citizens emigrate in search of work and a better life, Pope Francis asked Bulgarians to be welcoming of and sympathetic to the migrants and refugees who arrive in their country hoping to get to Western Europe.

VATICAN CITY - Reading the Bible and praying with it is "the best vaccine" against Catholic communities closing in on themselves or focusing only on self-preservation, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY - On Easter Monday, Pope Francis led thousands of people in St. Peter's Square in praying for the hundreds of people who died or were injured in bomb blasts the previous day in Sri Lanka.

VATICAN CITY - As individuals and as a church, it can be tempting to dwell on mistakes, failures and sins that block the fullness of life, but Easter is the proclamation that the Lord is victorious and his love will triumph, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY - After the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris April 15, Romans and tourists could not help looking at St. Peter's Basilica and wondering, "what if?"

ROME - The president of France and the archbishop of Paris have vowed to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral after a devastating fire, continuing what a professor of architecture described as the natural lifecycle of a historic building.

VATICAN CITY - Marking retired Pope Benedict XVI's 92nd birthday, the editorial director of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication insisted what the retired Pope wrote about facing the clerical sexual abuse crisis is essentially what Pope Francis has said, too.

VATICAN CITY - The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has banned a Legionaries of Christ priest from publicly exercising his priestly ministry for 10 years after he was convicted in Chile of sexually abusing a young girl.