VATICAN CITY - Underscoring the geographical diversity of his selections, Pope Francis named 15 cardinal electors "from 14 nations of every continent, showing the inseparable link between the church of Rome and the particular churches present in the world."

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VATICAN CITY - No saint was ever known for having a "funeral face," Pope Francis said; the joy of knowing one is loved by God and saved by Christ must be seen at least in a sense of peace, if not a smile.

Celebrating the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, Dec. 14, Pope Francis paid an evening visit to Rome's St. Joseph parish, meeting with the sick, with a group of Gypsies, with a First Communion class and with dozens of couples whose newborn babies were baptized in the past year.

Published in International

ROME - In the heart of Rome's high-end shopping district, sparkling with Christmas lights and shiny baubles in the windows of famous designers, Pope Francis prayed that people would spend time in silence and in service as they prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth.

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VATICAN CITY - Citing a distinguished German theologian and an anonymous elderly penitent from Argentina, Pope Francis told an overflow crowd in St. Peter's Square never to despair of God's mercy to sinners.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - In one of his last public appearances, Pope Benedict XVI told an overflow crowd in St. Peter's Square Feb. 24 that his upcoming retirement does not mean he is abandoning the church, but that he will be serving it in a new way, through prayer and meditation.

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