Pope Francis ended his three-week summer vacation at the evening meeting and prayer Aug. 4 with some 9,000 altar servers.
Pope Francis has again strongly called on Catholic communities to have a welcoming and merciful attitude to Christians who have remarried outside the church after a divorce, saying that such people “are not by any means excommunicated” and should be made to feel a part of their communities.
Pope Francis said we must remember that feeling ashamed during confession is "a grace that prepares us for the embrace of the Father, who always forgives and always forgives everything."
More than a dozen individual celebrations will be scheduled for the Jubilee of Mercy in 2016, giving pilgrims the chance to celebrate their own holy year with Pope Francis in Rome.
The yearlong extraordinary jubilee will include a number of individual jubilee days, such as for consecrated men and women; deacons; priests; catechists; the sick and disabled; teenagers and prisoners. Young people will be able to celebrate their jubilee with the pope at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland.
Through numerous speeches and homilies, Pope Francis has been offering concrete and, at times, colorful advice on the topic of family.
Helping to inaugurate an exhibit at the Vatican, the chief rabbi of Rome noted just how much "times have changed."
"Seeing in St. Peter's Square the banner announcing the exhibit with an image of a pope -- that's normal -- but a pope shaking hands with a rabbi? That's not normal. It's a sign of how times have changed," Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni said.
The banner shows the late St. John Paul II and the late Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff greeting each other in 1986 at Rome's main synagogue. John Paul was the first pope in modern history to enter a synagogue.
Pope Francis has welcomed the election of a new patriarch for the Armenian Catholic Church, extending what is known as "ecclesial communion" to Patriarch Gregoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan of Cilicia, who was elected Friday by his fellow Armenian bishops.
The day after the election, the pope wrote to the new patriarch offering his congratulations and praying that God would shower him with an "abundance of divine gifts."
Pope Francis was the first pilgrim to sign up for World Youth Day to be held in Krakow, Poland, launching the opening of registration.
Accompanied by two Polish teenagers who wore World Youth Day 2016 T-shirts, the pope had to make a couple of attempts pressing the screen of a tablet before his online registration went through.
"There. With this electronic device I have signed up for the day as a pilgrim," he told thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square on Sunday for his Angelus address.
When the Vatican publishes its annual report detailing its activities , the 1,400-page volume is filled with references to the everyday and the exceptional.
Returning to the Vatican in the midst of a heat wave after an eight-day, three-country trip to South America, Pope Francis took the kind of vacation he said he prefers: what has become known as a "staycation."
With the exception of a meeting Tuesday with a group of mayors from around the world and the Sunday recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis' schedule was cleared of meetings, audiences and public appearances July 13-Aug. 4.