VATICAN – In his Easter appeal for peace throughout the world, Pope Francis made special mention of the ongoing "carnage" in Syria and the recent violence along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, violence the Pope said had not spared "the defenseless."

Pope Francis to have cataract surgery next year

VATICAN – During a customary visit to a prison on Holy Thursday, Pope Francis revealed that he has cataracts and is planning to have an eye operation to correct them next year.

The head of Regina Coeli prison in Rome made a comment during the visit about the importance of being “far-sighted” about prisoners’ rehabilitation.

Pope Francis responded, “This is good. Because at my age, for example, cataracts arrive and one does not see reality well. Next year, we will have to have an operation.”

He encouraged the inmates to have clear eyes – what he called “cataract surgery for the soul” – in order to see and spread hope.

Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that is common as people age, is usually correctable with a routine surgery.

The pope, who turned 81 in December, maintains a rigorous schedule and still makes several international trips per year. He had a portion of one lung removed when he was young, due to an infection, but is considered to be in generally good health.

Chinese bishop detained briefly during Holy Week

HONG KONG – A Chinese bishop was taken away by authorities but was back home the next day, according to a news report.

Dream come true: Boy meets Pope and rides popemobile

VATICAN – While many people hope to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis and greet him, 12-year-old Peter Lombardi got something even better than he imagined.

World’s youth lay out hopes at pre-synod meeting 


Young people are ready and willing to be leaders in the Church, said youth delegates at an unprecedented pre-synodal meeting of young people in Rome. 

No Holy Week observance planned in war-torn Philippine city

MANILA, Philippines – There will be no Holy Week observance this year in Marawi almost a year after extremist gunmen occupied the southern Philippine city.

U.S., world urged to help Jordan aid refugees, end Syrian civil war

SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan – The United States has a responsibility to help Jordan as it struggles to support hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and must actively seek to end Syria's long civil war, American human rights advocate Kerry Kennedy told a conference on forced migration.

Like St. Joseph, police protect pilgrims from danger, Pope says


VATICAN – Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the men and women who work day in and day out protecting him and millions of pilgrims who visit St. Peter's Basilica each year.

Pope praises French policeman who gave his life to save hostage

VATICAN – Pope Francis joined leaders praising a French police officer who "gave his life out of a desire to protect people" during a terrorist attack.

U.S. Catholic school students join peers in march against gun violence

WASHINGTON – In the parish hall of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, elders handed markers to younger members of the parish as they filled in posters with the Gospel-based message from the Book of Isaiah that they wanted others to see at the March for Our Lives event the next day: "And the children will lead us."

Young people ask for a humble Church, welcoming and merciful

VATICAN – Young people want to know they are valued members of the Catholic Church and that their questions and struggles are taken seriously enough that someone will spend time with them discussing issues rather than simply repeating "prefabricated" responses, said delegates to a meeting in Rome.