Our friend Rivka participated in an international congress on the book of the late Cardinal Lustiger, “The Promise”. She reports:

On October 20, 2014, the Pope met with Cardinals and Patriarchs from the Middle East to discuss the dramatic situation of the Christians in the Middle East.

Pope Francis proclaimed Pope Paul VI blessed during the beatification ceremony in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday, October 19, 2014.

The Extraordinary Synod of the Bishops on the Family ended on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

The Custody of the Holy Land announced that Father Hanna Jallouf and most of those kidnapped with him were released by the Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria.

On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land announced that Franciscan Father Hanna Jallouf and some of his parishioners have been kidnapped in Syria.

On Sunday, September 21, 2014, Pope Francis paid a short visit to Albania.

On Wednesday, September 17, 2014, Pope Francis met with a delegation of 40 world Jewish leaders at the Casa Santa Marta in honor of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

At the end November, Pope Francis will travel to Turkey and will participate in the celebration of the Feast of Saint Andrew as guest of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew.

On Thursday, September 4, 2014, Pope Francis met both former Israeli State President Shimon Peres and Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014, Pope Francis learnt that three members of his family had been killed in a car accident in Argentina.

Pier Paolo Pasolini released his movie “The Gospel According to Saint Matthew” fifty years ago and on this occasion the Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, described it as the best film about Jesus.

The Sign of Peace is getting some more attention at the Vatican. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments released guidelines on the Rite of the Sign of Peace during Mass.

On July 28, 2014, Pope Francis visited an Evangelical Church in Caserta, Italy, where his friend Giovanni Traettino is pastor.

After the traditional Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican on Sunday, July 27, 2014, Pope Francis made an impassioned plea to stop the wars.

On July 24, 2014, Pope Francis has met with the young Sudanese woman, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 26 years old, raised as a Muslim, who was imprisoned and sentenced to death for marrying a Christian.

On Friday, July 18, 2014, Pope Francis called Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

On Sunday, July 13, 2014, Pope Francis called for peace in the Holy Land during the weekly Angelus prayer at noon.

On July 7, 2014, Pope Francis met with six victims of abuse at the hands of clerics and asked forgiveness for the grave crimes committed and for the omission of the Church.

The Holy See released a statement in which Pope Francis expressed his condolences following the discovery of the bodies of Gilad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah.