Pope Meets Colombian Nun Released By Mali Jihadists

This handout picture taken and released on October 10, 2021 by Vatican Media shows Pope Francis (R) greeting nun Gloria Cecilia Narvaez at the end of the mass in St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican. (Photo by ho / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP)

 

Pope Francis on Sunday met with Gloria Cecilia Narvaez, a Franciscan nun from Colombia, a day after she was freed by jihadists in Mali after more than four years of captivity, a Vatican spokesman said.

Sister Gloria was taken hostage on February 7, 2017, in southern Mali near the border with Burkina Faso where she had been working as a missionary.

“This morning, before the celebration of the holy mass to open the bishops’ synod, the pope greeted the recently freed Colombian sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez,” Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

Mali’s presidency had announced Sister Gloria’s release on Saturday, with a statement on the presidential Twitter account paying tribute to her “courage and bravery” along with photos of the nun taken after her release.

“I thank the Malian authorities, the president, all the Malian authorities, for all the efforts you’ve made to liberate me, may God bless you, may God bless Mali,” Sister Gloria said in images broadcast on state television showing her with Mali’s interim president Colonel Assimi Goita and the archbishop of Bamako Jean Zerbo.

“I am very happy, I stayed healthy for five years, thank God,” the nun said, smiling and wearing a yellow robe.

Her liberation had been the fruit of “four years and eight months of the combined effort of several intelligence services”, the presidency said.

In the official statement, Goita assured that “efforts are under way” to secure the release of all those still being held in Mali.

Archbishop Zerbo said Sister Gloria was “doing well”.

“We prayed a lot for her release. I thank the Malian authorities and other good people who made this release possible,” the archbishop said.

The nun boarded a plane to Rome on Saturday evening.

Saved younger nuns

Sister Gloria, 59, was kidnapped near Koutiala, 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of Bamako. She had worked as a missionary for six years in the parish of Karangasso with three other nuns.

According to one of her colleagues, Sister Carmen Isabel Valencia, she offered herself in place of two younger nuns the kidnappers were preparing to take.

“She is a woman of a very particular human quality, down to earth … moved by the love of the poor,” Sister Carmen said.

 

This handout picture taken and released on October 10, 2021 by Vatican Media shows Pope Francis (R) greeting nun Gloria Cecilia Narvaez (C) at the end of the mass in St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican. (Photo by – / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP)

 

In Colombia, her brother Edgar Narvaez said he was very emotional after receiving news of her release.

“She is in good health, thank God. They sent me pictures and she looks well,” he told AFP.

In a letter sent last July by the Red Cross to her brother, Sister Gloria said she was held by “a group of GSIM”, the Al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims, the largest jihadist alliance in the Sahel.

A source close to the negotiations to release her told AFP she had not been ill-treated during her captivity and during that time she had learned the Koran.

“The negotiations lasted months, years,” said the source, without giving further details.

Bound for Rome

In Colombia, Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez — who is also foreign minister — said she was “very happy” at Sister Gloria’s release, which she attributed to the work of the government and also stressed the “humanitarian efforts of the French government to contribute to this success”.

National police director Jorge Luis Vargas said meetings had been held with several European and African ambassadors to try to secure the nun’s release.

“With Interpol, and with other international organisations, we have always sought to bring those responsible to justice.”

There were irregular reports about the nun over the years, including at the beginning of 2021 when two Europeans who managed to escape captivity reported that she was well.

Then in March, her brother received proof that she was still alive, passed on from the Red Cross.

Mali has been struggling to contain a jihadist insurgency that first emerged in the north of the country in 2012, and which has since spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Kidnappings, once rare, have become more common in recent years as a security crisis has deepened in Mali, particularly in the centre of the former French colony.

AFP

COP26 Must Address ‘Unprecedented’ Climate Crisis, Says Pope

Pope Francis delivers the Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of his study overlooking St.Peter’s Square at the Vatican on July 4, 2021. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

 

World leaders meeting later this month for a UN climate summit must offer solutions to an “unprecedented ecological crisis”, Pope Francis warned on Monday.

“COP26 in Glasgow represents an urgent summons to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values that we are presently experiencing, and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations,” Francis said.

The leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, who is hoping to attend the UN talks, issued the plea in writing to members of a Vatican-hosted conference called Faith and Science: Towards COP26.

It brought together scientists and religious leaders ahead of the landmark two week summit that kicks off on October 31 in Scotland.

The Vatican participants were due to sign an appeal denouncing the “seeds of conflict — greed, indifference, ignorance, fear, injustice, insecurity and violence”, which in turn “cause the serious wounds we are inflicting on the environment, such as climate change, desertification, pollution and loss of biodiversity”, the pope said.

Anglican leader Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, one of the religious leaders attending the Vatican conference, said the world needed “a pilgrimage to a clean economy, which decreases carbon emissions and increases renewable energy development and use”.

“We have in the last 100 years declared war on the creation,” he said, calling for a “dramatic and rapid change in taxation and trade rules” in favour of a more sustainable economic model.

“The world has just enough time to get this right,” he insisted.

Last month, Francis, Welby and Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I issued another plea for climate action, saying they felt compelled to “call on everyone, whatever their belief or worldview, to endeavour to listen to the cry of the Earth”.

Less than one month from the COP26 climate summit, world leaders are under unprecedented pressure to decarbonise their economies and chart humanity’s path away from catastrophic global warming.

But with the pandemic still raging in parts of the globe and with countries already battered by climate-driven calamities pleading for help, the negotiations in Glasgow are likely to be fraught.

Pope Francis Calls For ‘Openness’ After Meeting Hungary’s Orban

Pope Francis arrives to attend a meeting with Bishops at the Apostolic Nunciature in Bratislava, Slovakia, on September 12, 2021. – The Pope embarks on September 12 on his 34th international trip for a three-day visit to Slovakia for meetings with the country’s President, the Jewish and Roma communities. (Photo by REMO CASILLI / POOL / AFP)

 

Pope Francis met Hungary’s anti-migration Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Sunday before calling on pilgrims to be “open” and “considerate” at an open-air Mass in Budapest.

The head of 1.3 billion Catholics has often urged help for the marginalised and those of all religions fleeing war and poverty, in contrast to Orban who styles himself as a defender of “Christian Europe” from immigrants.

The pope told tens of thousands thronging the vast Heroes’ Square in Budapest that he wanted them to be “grounded and open, rooted and considerate”.

Thousands more crowded a nearby main boulevard, along which screens and loudspeakers had been set up, while others watched from nearby balconies and other buildings.

“I think the pope never says anything without reason. His words are well chosen and carry a subtle message,” Zsuzsanna Pusztai, a 75-year-old retiree, told AFP.

– ‘Anti-Christian’ jibes –

The pope, in Hungary to close the International Eucharistic Congress, met Orban and other senior politicians behind closed doors in Budapest’s Fine Arts Museum.

“I asked Pope Francis not to let Christian Hungary perish,” Orban posted on his Facebook page following a photo of the two shaking hands.

As a present, he gave the pontiff a copy of a letter written by King Bela IV to Pope Innocent IV in 1250 asking for help against Mongol warriors who threatened Christian Hungary.

The Vatican described the meeting as “cordial”, saying the men discussed environmental protection and the promotion of the family among other topics.

Over the past few years, there has been no love lost between Orban supporters in Hungary and the leader of the Catholic world.

Pro-Orban media and political figures have launched barbs at the pontiff calling him “anti-Christian” for his pro-refugee sentiments.

The pope spent just seven hours in Hungary before flying off to Slovakia for a trip that lasts four days in total.

– Migrant rows –

The Argentine regularly reminds “old Europe” that its culture and society was built on waves of new arrivals.

Earlier in the day, he told Hungarian bishops that various ethnic and religious groups had “transformed this country into a multicultural environment”, presenting a “great opportunity”.

In contrast, Orban’s signature crusade against migration has included border fences and detention camps for asylum-seekers.

Orban’s supporters point instead to state-funded aid agency “Hungary Helps” which works to rebuild churches and schools in war-torn Syria, and sends doctors to Africa.

Orban’s critics, however, accuse him of using Christianity as a shield to deflect criticism and a sword to attack opponents while targeting vulnerable minorities like migrants.

Days before the pope’s arrival posters appeared on the streets of the Hungarian capital — where the city council is controlled by the anti-Orban opposition — reading “Budapest welcomes the Holy Father” and showing his quotes including pleas for solidarity and tolerance towards minorities.

– Health concerns –

It is the first papal trip to Hungary since Pope John Paul II in 1996.

The 84-year-old pontiff’s 34th foreign trip comes two months after a colon operation that required a general anaesthetic and a 10-day convalescence in hospital.

Meeting Christian and Jewish leaders earlier in the day, Pope Francis warned of “the threat of antisemitism still lurking in Europe and elsewhere”.

During that speech he remained seated, apologising that “I’m not 15”.

Hungary’s 100,000-strong Jewish community is one the largest in Central Europe.

But Orban has regularly been accused of running anti-Semitic campaigns with posters depicting Hungary-born financier George Soros as a puppet master controlling the EU’s migration policy.

Pro-Orban media has even described the pontiff as the “Soros Pope” for his support for refugees.

AFP

Pope Hopes Olympic Games Will Be ‘Sign Of Hope’ In Pandemic


Pope Francis waves as he delivers the Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of his study overlooking St.Peter’s Square at the Vatican on July 25, 2021. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

Pope Francis said Sunday he hopes the Tokyo Olympics, which opened Friday, will be a sign of hope and “universal brotherhood” during the coronavirus pandemic raging around the world.

“In this period of pandemic, let these games be a sign of hope, a sign of universal brotherhood and of a healthy competitive spirit,” the pontiff said at the end of the Angelus prayer.

“May God bless the organizers, the athletes and all those who are collaborating for this great celebration of sport,” he told faithful gathered on Saint Peter’s Square.

READ ALSO: Fans Urged To Stay Away From Olympic Marathon Over COVID-19 Fears


Faithfuls listen to Pope Francis delivering the Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of his study overlooking St.Peter’s Square at the Vatican on July 25, 2021. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

The Games opened officially on Friday in a nearly empty stadium after being postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

AFP

Pope To Skip Sunday Mass As He Recovers From Surgery

File photo:  Pope Francis leads the Sunday’s Angelus prayer from the Gemelli Hospital, in Rome, on July 11, 2021, where he is recovering from colon surgery.. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

 

Pope Francis will not lead mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica this weekend as he continues to recover from colon surgery earlier this month, the Holy See said Friday.

“It’s completely normal, the pope continues to heal, “the Holy See said in a statement.

The 84-year-old pope will nevertheless give the traditional Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace following mass, it added.

READ ALSO: Tunisia Rescues 166 Migrants As 16 Die At Sea

Mass to celebrate the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on Sunday will be presided over by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

Francis, who underwent an operation on his colon on July 4, was discharged from the hospital after 10 days and returned to his home within the Vatican.

He had been admitted to hospital after suffering from a type of diverticulitis, an inflammation of pockets that develop in the lining of the intestine.

AFP

Pope Francis Leaves Hospital After Operation

Pope Francis leads the Sunday’s Angelus prayer from the Gemelli Hospital, in Rome, on July 11, 2021, where he is recovering from colon surgery. – Pope Francis has had “satisfactory blood tests” as he recuperates from colon surgery and is gradually starting to work again, according to the daily bulletin from his spokesman on July 10, 2021. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

 

Pope Francis on Wednesday left the Rome hospital where the 84-year-old pontiff underwent an operation on his colon on July 4, an AFP photographer said.

The pontiff left the Gemelli University Hospital for the Vatican in a car with darkened windows, the photographer said.

Francis had been admitted after suffering from a type of diverticulitis, an inflammation of pockets that develop in the lining of the intestine.

The Vatican initially said he would be in hospital for about a week, and the pope led the Angelus prayer from his hospital window on Sunday.

On Monday, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said he would stay for a “few more days”.

Francis stayed in the same suite used by Pope John Paul II, who also lead the Angelus prayer from there.

The Argentine pontiff temporarily ran a fever last week but a chest and abdomen scan and other tests revealed no particular abnormalities.

AFP

Pope To Return Home ‘As soon As Possible’, Says Vatican

Pope Francis leads the Sunday’s Angelus prayer from the Gemelli Hospital, in Rome, on July 11, 2021, where he is recovering from colon surgery. – Pope Francis has had “satisfactory blood tests” as he recuperates from colon surgery and is gradually starting to work again, according to the daily bulletin from his spokesman on July 10, 2021.  (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

 

Pope Francis, 84, continues to recover and will return home “as soon as possible” from hospital following surgery on his colon, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

“The Holy Father is continuing his planned treatment and rehabilitation, which will allow him to return to the Vatican as soon as possible,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

The pope was admitted to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on July 4 after suffering from a type of diverticulitis, an inflammation of pockets that develop in the lining of the intestine.

The Vatican initially said he would be in hospital for about a week, and the pope led the Angelus prayer from his hospital window on Sunday.

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On Monday, Bruni said he would stay for a “few more days”.

“Among the many patients he (the pope) has met during these days, he addressed a special thought to those who are bedridden and cannot return home,” Bruni said on Tuesday.

Francis is in the same suite used by Pope John Paul II, who also lead the Angelus prayer from there.

The Argentine pontiff temporarily ran a fever last week but a chest and abdomen scan and other tests revealed no particular abnormalities.

AFP

Pope To Spend Few More Days In Hospital After Operation

This handout photo taken on May 5, 2021, and released by the Vatican press office, the Vatican Media, shows Pope Francis during his live streamed weekly audience at The Vatican.
Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP

 

Pope Francis will spend a few more days in hospital following his colon surgery, the Vatican said Monday, adding that the football-mad pontiff was cheered by Argentina and Italy’s weekend victories.

Francis will “remain hospitalised for a few more days in order to optimise the medical and rehabilitation therapy,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

The 84-year old underwent planned surgery for inflammation of the colon on July 4. The following day, the Vatican said he was expected to stay at least seven days at Rome’s Gemelli University Hospital.

It was not clear if Francis, who loves football but goes to bed early, stayed up to watch the European championship final between Italy and England, which his adopted homeland won on penalties.

But he likely heard the celebratory fireworks and raucous beeps from cars and scooters across Rome.

The Argentine pope has spent much of his recovery period pacing the hospital’s corridors. His mood is likely to have been lifted Saturday by Argentina’s win over hosts Brazil in the Copa America final.

Francis was “sharing the joy for the victory of the Argentine and Italian national teams with the people close to him”, Bruni said.

And in doing so he had “dwelt on the meaning of sport and its values, and on the sporting ability to accept any result, even defeat”, he said.

“Only in this way, in the face of life’s difficulties, is it possible to always put yourself out there, fighting without giving up, with hope and trust,” Francis was quoted as saying.

– Sunday Angelus from hospital –

On Sunday, the pope greeted well wishers from his balcony on the hospital’s 10th floor, where he delivered the Angelus prayer, thanking them for their support “from the bottom of my heart”.

He had earlier visited children in the nearby cancer ward, some of whom then went with him to the balcony and stood by him, Bruni said.

He was photographed Sunday looking cheerful in a wheelchair as he greeted staff and a fellow patient.

Francis is in the same suite used by Pope John Paul II — who also lead the Angelus prayer from there — and has celebrated mass in the apartment’s private chapel with those looking after him.

The pontiff temporarily ran a fever last week after his operation for “severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis”.

But a chest and abdomen scan and other tests revealed no particular abnormalities.

Diverticula are small bulges or pockets that develop in the lining of the intestine. Diverticulitis occurs when they become inflamed or infected.

Sclerosis is normally defined as a hardening of tissue.

 

Pope Greets Faithful For Prayer From Rome Clinic Balcony

Pope Francis leads the Sunday’s Angelus prayer from the Gemelli Hospital, in Rome, on July 11, 2021, where he is recovering from colon surgery. – Pope Francis has had “satisfactory blood tests” as he recuperates from colon surgery and is gradually starting to work again, according to the daily bulletin from his spokesman on July 10, 2021. The 84-year-old pontiff underwent a scheduled surgery on his colon on Sunday and is recuperating at Rome’s Gemelli hospital. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

 

Pope Francis greeted supporters for prayers on Sunday from the 10th floor balcony of his hospital where he is recovering from colon surgery.

“I am glad to be able to keep the Sunday Angelus appointment, even here” at the hospital, he said.

“I have deeply felt your closeness and the support of your prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he told 200 people gathered below.

“In these days of being hospitalised, I have experienced how important good health care is, accessible to all, as it is in Italy and in other countries.

“A healthcare system that assures good service, accessible to everyone. This precious benefit must not be lost. It needs to be kept,” Francis said.

READ ALSO: Messi Ends Trophy Drought As Argentina Beat Brazil To Win Copa America

The 84-year-old pontiff has been in Rome’s Gemelli hospital since last Sunday, when he underwent planned surgery for an inflammation of the colon.

He temporarily ran a fever last week after his operation, but a chest and abdomen scan and other tests revealed no particular abnormalities.

“I would like to express my appreciation and my encouragement to the doctors and all healthcare workers and hospital staff,” Francis said.

And the Church leader asked people to “pray for all the sick, especially for those in the most difficult conditions: may no one be left alone, may everyone receive the anointing of listening, closeness and care”.

AFP

Pope To Lead Sunday Angelus Prayer From Hospital

Pope Francis delivers the Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of his study overlooking St.Peter’s Square at the Vatican on July 4, 2021. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

 

 

Pope Francis will lead Sunday’s Angelus prayer from the Rome hospital where he is recovering from colon surgery, the Vatican said Friday.

“The Angelus will be recited from the 10th floor of the A. Gemelli University Hospital,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said, adding that the 84-year-old pontiff was continuing to improve following last Sunday’s operation.

Francis continues to “eat regularly” and has “resumed his work” just five days after the planned surgery for an inflammation of the colon, Bruni said in his daily update.

The Vatican had said Monday that the Argentine pontiff was expected to stay in hospital for around seven days.

Francis is in the same suite on the 10th floor of the Gemelli hospital used by Pope John Paul II — who also lead the Angelus prayer from there in 1992, before coming to the window to wave to the faithful gathered outside.

The late pope underwent surgery at the hospital a number of times, including after an attempt on his life in 1981, and for a tumour in the colon in 1992.

He dubbed the suite overlooking the Gemelli entrance “Vatican 3”, third in line after the tiny city state in the centre of Rome and the papal summer palace at Castel Gandolfo, outside the city.

It was not immediately clear whether Francis would lead the Angelus — normally delivered from the window overlooking St Peter’s Square in the Vatican City — from his hospital window or live-streamed from inside the suite.

Vatican: Pope Had Brief Fever But Tested Negative For ‘Abnormalities’

This handout photo taken on May 5, 2021, and released by the Vatican press office, the Vatican Media, shows Pope Francis during his live-streamed weekly audience at The Vatican.
Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP

 

 

Pope Francis temporarily had a fever while in hospital after his operation, but a chest and abdomen scan and other tests revealed no particular abnormalities, the Vatican said Thursday.

The 84-year-old pontiff has been in Rome’s Gemelli hospital since Sunday, when he underwent planned surgery for an inflammation of the colon.

“His Holiness Pope Francis spent a quiet day (on Wednesday) eating and moving unassisted,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in his daily update.

In the afternoon, the pope sent his “affectionate greetings” to young patients in the nearby paediatric oncology and children’s neurosurgery wards.

“In the evening he temporarily ran a temperature. This morning he underwent routine and microbiological examinations, and a chest and abdomen scan, which proved negative,” Bruni said.

“The Holy Father is continuing with his planned treatment and (is) eating by mouth.”

Bruni said on Monday that the pope was expected to stay in hospital for around seven days as long as there were no complications.

He later said tests had confirmed the pope was suffering from “a severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis”.

Diverticula are small bulges or pockets that develop in the lining of the intestine. Diverticulitis occurs when they become inflamed or infected.

Sclerosis is normally defined as a hardening of tissue.

Francis is in the same suite on the 10th floor of the Gemelli hospital used by Pope John Paul II.

The late pope underwent surgery there a number of times, including after an attempt on his life in 1981, and for a tumour in the colon in 1992.

Pope Thanks Well-Wishers As Condition Improves – Vatican

Pope Francis delivers the Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of his study overlooking St.Peter’s Square at the Vatican on July 4, 2021. Andreas SOLARO / AFP

 

Pope Francis has been touched by the many message of support received following his operation, the Vatican said Wednesday as it confirmed his condition continues to improve.

Spokesman Matteo Bruni said the 84-year-old pontiff is eating and is no longer receiving “infusion therapy”, a phrase that typically refers to drugs administered intravenously.

“Pope Francis is touched by the many messages and the affection received in these days, and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” he said.

The pope underwent a planned three-hour operation on Sunday for what the Vatican described as symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon.

“The post-operative progress of His Holiness Pope Francis continues to be regular and satisfactory,” Bruni said in his daily media update.

“The Holy Father has continued to eat regularly and infusion therapy has been suspended.”

READ ALSO: Death Toll In Philippines Military Plane Crash Rises To 52

This handout photo taken on May 5, 2021, and released by the Vatican press office, the Vatican Media, shows Pope Francis during his live-streamed weekly audience at The Vatican. Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP

 

Tests confirmed “a severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis”, he added.

Diverticula are small bulges or pockets that develop in the lining of the intestine. Diverticulitis occurs when they become inflamed or infected.

Sclerosis is normally defined as a hardening of tissue.

On Monday, Bruni said the pope would stay in Rome’s Gemelli hospital for around seven days unless there were complications.

AFP