TORONTO - For Gérard Byamungu, the most memorable part of the Third World Congress on the Pastoral Care of International Students in Rome was meeting the Pope.

“It was a gesture of appreciating what we do as international students,” said Byamungu, an international student studying at Toronto’s Ryerson University on shaking hands with Pope Benedict XVI. “I was very happy that I had the chance to meet him and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

While all delegates had an audience with the Pope, only select participants had the opportunity to shake his hand.

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HAVANA - The Cuban bishops announced that 2012 would be a Marian jubilee year and that Pope Benedict XVI would come to Cuba as a "pilgrim of La Caridad," the popular name for the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, the country's patroness.

In a Dec. 8 pastoral letter, they declared a jubilee year from Jan. 7, 2012, through Jan. 6, 2013, and said Cubans need the joy of faith, the strength of Christian love and the light of hope that can come from "a reunion with our Christian roots" and with the "enthusiastic reception of the teachings of Jesus Christ."

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VATICAN CITY - The Catholic Church's project of "new evangelization" faces two dangers: people thinking others will do the work and people so fired up to preach the Gospel, they forget to pray, said the preacher of the papal household.

Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, who preaches to the pope and top Vatican officials on the Fridays of Advent and Lent, dedicated his December 2011 series to lessons the church can learn from its own history of evangelization efforts.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI tapped a tablet computer and successfully lit the world's largest electronic Christmas "tree" located in the Italian town of Gubbio.

Before turning on the tree with a tap on the Sony S Tablet, the pope addressed the citizens of Gubbio via a video link from his apartment in Vatican City Dec. 7, calling on Christians to serve as a light in the lives of others.

In his talk, the pope said that just as the tree design in Gubbio was made up of tiny individual lights, each person needs to bring light to the people and places in their lives, to their family, workplace, neighborhood, town or city.

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ROME - The church should fear the sin of its own members more than hatred against Christians, Pope Benedict XVI said.

While the church has suffered from persecution throughout its history, it "is supported by the light and strength of God" and will always end up victorious, he said.

Overcoming trials and outside threats shows how the Christian community "is the presence, the guarantee of God's love against all ideologies of hatred and selfishness," he said on the feast of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 8.

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HONG KONG - A year after Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to mainland Chinese Catholics, and on the eve of Beijing hosting the Olympic Games, Chinese church leaders said some positive developments have resulted but more work needs to be done to achieve the letter’s objectives.

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SYDNEY, Australia - In the longest-lasting and longest-distance trip of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to Australians and to young people from around the world about God's plan for all creation, but especially for people.

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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican anticipated the July 1 celebration of Canada Day with a ceremony highlighting the ministry and authority of five new Canadian archbishops.

The archbishops of “the true North, strong and free” knelt before Pope Benedict XVI June 29 and received a woolen band symbolizing the responsibility they share with him of shepherding the church’s flock. They were joined by 41 other archbishops from around the world.

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