Pope Francis asked for prayers and action concerning the plight of Cuban migrants, a rebel attack in the Philippines, and a deadly gas explosion in Nigeria.
"Only God's mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst," the pope said Dec. 25.
Pope Francis has been given the award in recognition of his efforts at global peace and cross-cultural understanding.
Pope Francis appointed a U.S. media adviser as vice director of the Vatican press office and an Irish prelate as bishop and adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Pope Francis has strongly urged the prelates who head the various Vatican offices to act with more respect and maturity -- and has said church reform will go forward "with determination."
A Vatican envoy urged the World Trade Organization to keep promises made to the poor, amid concerns that its tariff-cutting efforts are disproportionately benefiting rich countries.
Pope Francis has approved a second healing miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata, meaning her canonization is imminent.
Pope Francis has asked ambassadors accredited to the Vatican to encourage non-violent reactions to recent acts of terrorism and war, and has said he opened the Jubilee year of mercy partly to try and encourage efforts to stop violent conflict through reconciliation.
In an audience with four new Vatican ambassadors Thursday, the pontiff that this year “was unfortunately marked by a multiplication of violent conflicts, whether war or terrorism.”