Pope Francis I



Pope Francis arrived Tuesday in Washington, D-C, to kick off his four-day visit to the United States. Among those waiting to greet him is Bishop Gregory Parkes, who shepherds the Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocese.

“We don’t know what he’s going to say, it’s going to be a ‘pastoral’ visit, so he’ll be speaking as a pastor, as the leader of the Catholic Church,” Parkes said. “His reason for coming to the United States is to participate in the World Meetings of Families, which will take place in Philadelphia [on Saturday].



Pope Francis is giving all priests the discretion to grant forgiveness to women who have had abortions, during the Catholic Church’s upcoming Holy Year.

The “Holy Year” – also known as “Jubilee” -- begins December 8 and runs through November 26, 2016. Its theme -- announced by Francis earlier this year -- is “Mercy.”

Environmental activists and supporters of renewable energy are celebrating the strong message from Pope Francis on climate change. And the Pontiff’s encyclical has drawn comment from northwest Florida’s Roman Catholic leader.

An encyclical is considered to be a major writing by a Pope, usually addressed to the universal Church, as well as to anyone who’s willing to read it, says Bishop Gregory Parkes, who oversees the Pensacola-Tallahassee Catholic Diocese.


Upwards of three million people will gather in Rome this weekend, for Sunday’s canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. Pope Francis will declare sainthood on two of his most influential predecessors.

Francis made the announcement last October during a meeting with cardinals at the Vatican. Each pope gained high international profiles – John for the modernizing the Church in the 1960s, and John Paul for encouraging the fall of Communism in his native Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe.