New Vatican Swiss Guards are sworn-in every May 6 to commemorate the day in 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards died protecting Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome.
Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday to launch his Holy Year of Mercy, declaring that mercy trumps moralizing in his Catholic Church.
Francis stood in prayer on the threshold of the basilica’s Holy Door then walked through it, the first of an estimated 10 million faithful who will pass through over the course of the next year in a rite of pilgrimage dating back centuries.
A thin and frail Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI walked through the doorway right after Francis, gingerly negotiating the two steps with the help of a cane and his longtime assistant. It was a rare outing for the 88-year-old Benedict, whose historic resignation led to Francis’ election and a papacy dedicated to showing the merciful side of the church.
Some 5,000 extra police, carabinieri and soldiers have been deployed around Rome, and a no-fly zone imposed on its skies, to protect the pilgrims who are flocking to Rome on foot, by car, train and plane to participate in the yearlong celebration.
With an oink oink here and a cluck cluck there, animals arrived at the Vatican and elsewhere on Friday to get a blessing. Hundreds of pet owners bring their animals to be blessed every year on the day of Saint Anthony, patron saint of animals. Elsewhere in the world, according to tradition that dates back 500 years, people ride their horses through the narrow cobblestone streets of this small village in Spain to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires.
March 29 Photo Brief: Pope Francis prays for Good friday, German beaches get snow for Easter, North Korea takes aim for America
Pope Francis presides over the first Holy Week of his papacy, beach-goers enjoy snow during the opening day of Strandbad Wannsee beach in Berlin, North Korea releases a picture of Kim Jong-un during an urgent operations meeting to put the country’s rockets on standby to attack U.S. military bases and more in today’s daily brief.
Six days after Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the new head of the Catholic Church, the newly dubbed Pope Francis was formally installed as the church’s next pontiff. Addressing thousands of people at his inauguration mass at the Vatican, the first Latin American pope delivered a homily on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica.
March 15 Photo Brief: The new Pope’s ex-girlfriend, chocolate couture, fake Chinese medicine, et tu, Bieber?
The smiling lady that sent the new Pope packing for the priesthood, models walk the runway in edible attire during the second Bordeaux’s Chocolate fair, Justin Bieber plays on after apologizing for his online slam against Lindsay Lohan, environmental artist Christo unveils his “Big Air Package” and more in today’s daily brief.
After meeting to discuss issues, the Catholic Church’s cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday afternoon to elect a new pope. Meanwhile, near the Pantheon in Rome, the tailors at Gammarelli will make preparations of their own.
For 200 years, the ecclesiastical tailors have been creating garb for bishops, cardinals, pontiffs and priests. As Catholics await the announcement of the Vatican’s next leader, Gammarelli is expected to be already creating papal garb — in small, medium and large sizes so whoever is chosen will get the right fit.
March 10 Photo Brief: World’s largest functional tuba, World Baseball Classic brawl, Burning of the bulls, Chuck Hagel in Kabul
World’s largest functional tuba, World Baseball Classic brawl, Burning of the bulls in Mexico, Chuck Hagel in Kabul and more in today’s daily brief.
Feb. 28 Photo Brief: Pope Benedict bids an emotional farewell, pollution in Beijing, 40th Show of the Best, the sequester
Pope Benedict bids an emotional farewell, pollution in Beijing, 40th Show of the Best, the sequester in the United States and more in today’s daily brief.
Masses of pilgrims queued to enter St. Peter’s Square to hear Pope Benedict XVI’s final weekly public audience in Vatican City, Vatican on Wednesday. The Pontiff attended his last weekly public audience before stepping down tomorrow. The weekly event, which would normally be held in a vast auditorium in winter, was moved outdoors to St. Peter’s Square so more people can attend. Pope Benedict XVI had been the leader of the Catholic Church for eight years and is the first Pope to retire since 1415. He cites ailing health as his reason for retirement and will spend the rest of his life in solitude away from public engagements.