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Pope Francis is sending thousands of dollars in relief aid to the Philippines after a devastating typhoon struck the Southeast Asian archipelago in December. In a statement released Jan. 18, the Vatican said that in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Rai, the pope sent “an initial contribution of 100,000 euros ($113,868) for the relief of the population, through the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.” Read more

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Pope Francis approved “Pilgrims of Hope” as the motto for the Holy Year 2025. The motto aims to give a concise sense of the full meaning of the jubilee journey, Archbishop Rino Fisichella told Vatican News Jan. 13. The words “pilgrims” and “hope” also represent key themes of Pope Francis’ pontificate, said the archbishop, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, which is in charge of the Holy Year planning efforts. Read more

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Pope Francis’ music library contains nearly 2,000 CDs and 19 vinyl records, according to the Vatican cardinal who is curating the collection. While it is mostly made up of classical music, it also includes: an old album of Édith Piaf’s greatest hits; Argentine tango tunes, especially by Astor Piazzolla; and a 25-disc collection of Elvis Presley’s Gospel songs, said Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Read more