SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba and the United States comes as people and politicians in both countries increasingly support ending an economic embargo that has been in place for more than five decades.

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Pope Francis’ trip to the United States next week, including speeches to Congress and the United Nations General Assembly, will almost certainly put a spotlight on how the leader of the Catholic Church proposes to solve the global problems challenging human security in the world today.

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WASHINGTON - Less than a week before Pope Francis begins his highly anticipated trip to the United States, Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy said Sept. 16 there are no credible threats against the pontiff.

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One nation under God will have five days this month to consider its unity and its divisions, its aspirations and its relationship with God as Pope Francis comes to challenge, console, cajole and confound 325 million Americans.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis asked for prayers for his trip to Cuba and the United States, calling it "a mission" he had high hopes for.

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When Pope Francis visits the United States this month, most Americans will welcome him as a plainspoken champion of the voiceless, whose openness to change has brought new energy to the Catholic Church.

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Families are one great reason why Pope Francis is coming to America.

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“The California drought is so bad, people in Napa are asking the Pope to change the wine into water.”

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Pope Francis' visit to Cuba is a sign of his closeness to the nation's people at a time they "breathe the air of hope" that relations with the United States will improve, said Bishop Wilfredo Pino Estevez of Guantanamo-Baracoa.

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WASHINGTON - Liz Moran said the experience of trekking across the United States this summer to spread the Catholic Church's pro-life message was "life changing."

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KNOCK, Ireland - Two American cardinals of Irish descent praised the role of immigrants -- especially Irish -- in building the United States.

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HAVANA - With Havana Harbor's bright blue waters and a trio of vintage U.S. cars parked along the Malecon framing the scene, Secretary of State John Kerry officially reopened the U.S. Embassy in Cuba Aug. 14, marking the end of more than 54 years of fractured diplomatic relations.

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In recent years, up-and-coming leaders in the U.S. anti-abortion movement have been pushing for a kinder, gentler strategy for their “pro-life” campaign — an effort to win hearts and minds with an upbeat message and affecting ultrasound photos.

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HIROSHIMA, Japan - For a long minute on a sunny morning, silence fell over the memorial park that commemorates the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing of the city.

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VATICAN CITY - The U.S. ambassador to the Holy See believes Pope Francis is not traveling to the United States in September to scold anyone, but to challenge the country's people to live up to their ideals.

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