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Bishops' conference official speaks of challenge of Protestantism, Islam in Congo Republic (Fides)

The Congo Republic, a nation of 5 million, is much smaller than its neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 44% of the Congo Republic’s residents are Protestant; 33% are Catholic.

Pope expresses love for his native Argentina, asks forgiveness for faults (Vatican News)

The Pontiff thanked his fellow countrymen for the messages they sent on the fifth anniversary of his election.

Former Cardinal Keith O'Brien dies after fall (The Scotsman)

The disgraced prelate, who resigned his post as Archbishop of Edinburgh in 2013 after admitting sexual misconduct, later renounced his rights and privileges as a member of the College of Cardinals.

Nicaraguan prelate criticizes government censorship of social media (Fides)

The leftist Daniel Ortega, who ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, has governed the nation since 2007.

St. Joseph

St. Joseph is honored with feast days throughout the Liturgical Year.  This feast encourages us to look at Joseph's role as husband and head of the Holy Family.Most of what we know about the life of St. Joseph comes to us from Scripture and legends that have sprung up regarding his life. Though Joseph is only mentioned by two of the evangelists, he is paid the compliment of being a "just" man. This is a way of saying that Joseph was such a good and holy man that he shares in God's own holiness. In addition, Joseph gives us an example of how to be a just spouse and how to have holy relationships.Joseph's example as a husband can be best seen in how he respected Mary. He realized that God had a special plan for his wife and for his son, and Joseph did everything in his power to help this plan become reality. When Joseph was given chances to give up his vocation to the married life, by divorcing Mary or leaving her, he resisted the temptation and stayed by her side providing support and love.The feast of St. Joseph Husband of Mary has been celebrated throughout the church since the tenth century and has been honored as the Patron of the Universal Church since 1870. St. Joseph is the patron of workers, carpenters, Austria, Belgium, Bohemia, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and southern Vietnam.

Gaze upon the crucifix, enter into Jesus' wounds, Pope says during Angelus address (Zenit)

Click here for the Pope’s March 18 Sunday Angelus address, which was devoted to the Gospel of the day (John 12:20-33).

Padre Pio, when tormented by devil, abandoned himself to Jesus, Pope says in saint's hometown (Vatican Press Office)

Click here for a video of the Pontiff’s address, delivered on March 17 during a pastoral visit to Pietrelcina.

Russia to expel 23 British diplomats, close consulate in escalating row over poisoned ex-spy (Washington Post)

L’Osservatore Romano (March 18 Italian edition) devoted front-page coverage to this story.

Honoring Padre Pio's relics, Pope preaches on prayer, smallness, wisdom (Vatican Press Office)

Click here for a video of the Pope’s pastoral visit to San Giovanni Rotondo, the site of the friary where St. Pio (1887-1968) lived for most of his life.

Airstrikes hit Syrian enclave where many are fleeing, activists say (CNN)

L’Osservatore Romano (March 18 Italian edition) devoted front-page coverage to this story.