VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis led Christians in praying for Catholic and Orthodox clergy and religious kidnapped in Syria and around the world.

Published in Faith

The Jesuit Refugee Service has a very specific answer to Pope Francis’ call to put mercy on the leading edge of a Church reaching out to the peripheries. The answer is education.

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WASHINGTON – If Christians and other religious minorities disappear in Iraq and Syria, "pluralism and stability leave with them," the head of the Knights of Columbus told a U.S. congressional commission April 19.

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ZAHLE, Lebanon – On a rainy spring day, the misery of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees is compounded as they shelter in dilapidated shanties dotting a long muddy swathe of the verdant Bekaa Valley.

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ROME – After less than 48 hours in Rome, "dream" is the word used most often by the six Syrian adults Pope Francis brought back to Italy with him from a refugee camp in Greece.

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ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM GREECE – When an aide suggested Pope Francis offer to fly some Syrian refugees back to Rome with him, the pope said he agreed immediately because it was "an inspiration of the Holy Spirit."

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MYTILENE, Greece – Pope Francis' five-hour visit to Greece ended with him offering safe passage to Italy to 12 Syrian Muslims, half under the age of 18.

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OTTAWA – The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has received $5.95 million in additional funding from the federal government’s Syria Emergency Relief Fund.

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VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis' trip to Lesbos, Greece, April 16 comes at a frightening and critical time for tens of thousands of refugees and migrants waiting and wondering where they will end up, said members of Catholic aid agencies.

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VATICAN CITY – The relics of Syrian St. Elian, which originally were thought to have been destroyed by members of the Islamic State militia, have been found amid the rubble of the desecrated Mar Elian Church in Qaryatain, Syria.

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TORONTO - Truth in all forms of human expression reveals the sacred. Since the beginning, the Church has encouraged artists to express and complement the Gospel message through art.

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Widespread slaughter, expulsion, kidnapping and rape of Christians, Yezidis and other ethnic and religious minorities in territory controlled by the Islamic State may well constitute a genocide, but the Canadian government will not join a growing international movement and formally call it a genocide before there is a proper, third party investigation.

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VATICAN CITY - Easter is a feast of hope, a celebration of God's mercy and a call to pray for and assist all who suffer, Pope Francis said before giving his solemn blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world).

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MONTREAL - Canada’s first Syriac Catholic bishop says his immediate challenge is to minister to refugees from the Middle East and at the same time move forward with plans for evangelization in his vast new Canadian diocese as he prepares for the demands of the Easter season.

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VATICAN CITY - Five years after the war in Syria began, there is a "feeling of helplessness in front of an endless human tragedy," a Vatican official told the UN Human Rights Council.

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