ASUNCION, Paraguay - Arriving in Paraguay July 10, Pope Francis paid tribute to the historic visit to the country made in 1988 by St. John Paul II, a visit many people saw as contributing to the end of one of the world's longest military dictatorships.

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SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia - Fernando Fernande brought toilet paper, soap and food to the Palmasola prison, where his son has been locked up for the past two years.

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SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia - The Eucharist is a missionary sacrament; it calls people to give all they are and have to God, seek His blessing and then take His love to the world, Pope Francis said at the opening Mass for Bolivia's national eucharistic congress.

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La Paz, Bolivia - Pope Francis shook his head no and told Bolivia's president, "this is not okay," after being presented with  a “communist crucifix” — a carving of Christ crucified on the hammer of a hammer and sickle.

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LA PAZ, Bolivia - Praising Bolivia's efforts to include all its citizens in the country's economic, political and social life, Pope Francis also defended the record and the right of the Catholic Church to be an active member of society and the right of the bishops to comment on public issues.

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QUITO, Ecuador - Clergy and religious must remember that all they have is freely given by God and they must never forget where they came from, Pope Francis told sisters, priests, seminarians and bishops gathered July 8 at the El Quinche Marian shrine near here.

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QUITO, Ecuador - Catholics will never be effective evangelizers if they are squabbling among themselves, and they cannot show the world how faith in Christ responds to the human yearning for freedom and peace if they are divided, Pope Francis said.

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GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador - Even if a pastoral proposal for helping a Catholic family with problems seems scandalous at first, it is possible God could use that proposal to bring healing and holiness, Pope Francis said.

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QUITO, Ecuador - When Pope Francis enters the Jesuit church here July 7 for a moment of private prayer, he will step into an architectural gem where trees once grew up through the floor.

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OTTAWA - Nine months ago Rosa Frias was blessed to meet Pope Francis and tell him about obstacles she faced in opening a children’s clinic in her home town of Limpio, Paraguay. So the Pope’s visit to Paraguay July 10-12 has special significance for Frias now that her dream has come true and her clinic has been opened.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis will depart July 5 on a much-anticipated trip to Latin America, seen as a homecoming for the Argentine pontiff and likely to draw attention to key challenges in the region.

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VATICAN CITY - Anti-capitalism activist Naomi Klein on July 1 praised Pope Francis for standing up to Republicans who are warring against environmentalists, as the Vatican continues its battle against climate change with a high-level conference at the Holy See.

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Let it never be said that the Vatican under Pope Francis is predictable. The latest case in point is a Vatican invitation extended to Canadian feminist and environmental activist Naomi Klein.

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Nearly 500 Canadians have already signed up to be in Philadelphia with Pope Francis for the 2015 World Meeting of Families.

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The Vatican has released details of Pope Francis’ itinerary for his Sept. 22-27 United States visit, his first, and it shows how this “pope of the people” wants to avoid becoming a prisoner of the East Coast “power corridor” during his five days in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

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