SANTIAGO, Cuba - A key task of a traveling pope is to confirm his brothers and sisters in the faith. For Pope Francis in Cuba, that ministry took on added importance as Cuba and its people stand on the threshold of potentially epochal change.

Published in Faith

HOLGUIN, Cuba - The scene would have been unimaginable a few years ago: A Catholic Mass in Holguin's Revolution Plaza, where May Day parades and other patriotic events exalting the Cuban Revolution take place.

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VATICAN CITY - While cruising past cheering crowds in Naples, Italy, earlier this year, Pope Francis received an unexpected gift. A local pizzeria owner jogging alongside the papal car jumped over the barrier and handed Francis a pizza, which the smiling pope willingly accepted.

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HAVANA - In a hot and steamy cathedral after listening to a Daughter of Charity talk about her work with people with severe disabilities, Pope Francis set aside his prepared homily and spoke about serving those the world considers "useless."

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis expressed his joy and "prayerful solidarity" to the new head of the Assyrian Church of the East, 73-year-old Catholicos Gewargis III.

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On the first full day of his Apostolic Journey to Cuba, Pope Francis celebrated the Sunday Mass in Havana's Plaza de la Revolución, focusing on the theme of service.

Published in Reflections

HAVANA - Although it was not part of his formal program, Pope Francis took time after Sunday Mass to visit Cuba's ailing former leader, Fidel Castro.

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HOLGUIN, Cuba - Popes have come and gone from Cuba, and this city of 300,000 or so always has prepared but never has been picked for a visit by a pope -- until now.

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SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba - A week before Pope Francis arrived here, the communist government agreed to pardon 3,522 prisoners, including elderly people and people under 20 with no prior offenses.

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HAVANA - Pope Francis, celebrating his first Mass in Cuba, was flanked by three cardinals who, with him, have been credited with helping seal the deal between the United States and Cuba to move toward normalizing relations.

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WASHINGTON - When Pope Francis visits the U.S. in September, he’ll make stops at prominent churches that have drawn the faithful and the curious for decades.

Published in International

HAVANA - As Cubans finally face the prospects of calmer relationships and greater ease of communication and commerce with the United States, Pope Francis told the Cuban people that love and service, not anyone's ideology, are the keys to their happiness.

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HOLGUIN, Cuba - A pope's visit is always a blessing, but there is something special about this one, say some residents in the city of Holguin, Cuba's fourth largest city, as they prepare not just for Pope Francis' arrival to the island but also to their city.

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HAVANA - Pope Francis began his visit to Cuba praying for greater freedom for the island's people and calling on U.S. and Cuban politicians to continue moving toward fully normal and neighborly relations.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis' desire for a Church whose doors are wide open isn't just a metaphor for encouraging a greater spirit of welcoming.

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