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CAIRO, June 19, 2018 (MENA) - Spokesman for the Catholic Church of Egypt Hani Bakhoum dismissed reports circulated on social media websites, claiming that Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, has fallen over during a holy mass.

Bakhoum told reporters on Tuesday that such reports are "baseless".

He pointed out that the incident took place on July 29, 2016, noting that he has contacted with the spokesman of the Diocese of Rome who asserted that Pope Francis is in good condition, dismissing such information.

Several social media websites circulated photos of Pope Francis while falling over during the holy mass, asking people to pray for him.

VATICAN, June 17, 2018 (MENA) - Pope Francis is pressing for negotiations involving the sides in the Yemen conflict so the humanitarian crisis does not worsen.

In public remarks, Francis said he was following "with worry the dramatic fate of the people of Yemen, already so exhausted from years of conflict", according to Fox News on Sunday.

He appealed to the international community so that "no effort be spared to urgently bring to the negotiating table the sides in conflict and to avoid a worsening of the already tragic humanitarian situation".

VATICAN CITY, June 14, 2018 (Reuters) - Pope Francis called on Thursday for a “change in mindset” on migration policies, saying international cooperation was vital, as Italy and France engaged in a diplomatic spat over the issue.

Francis made his comments in a message to participants at a conference on international migration being held in the Vatican. He called for the “shared global management of international migration in the values of justice, solidarity and compassion”.

Italy summoned France’s envoy on Wednesday and angrily rejected French criticism of its immigration policies, escalating a diplomatic row that is widening one of Europe’s main political fault lines.

A day after French President Emmanuel Macron said Rome had acted with “cynicism and irresponsibility” by closing its ports to a migrant ship, Italy’s economy minister canceled a Paris meeting with his counterpart and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte weighed postponing a meeting with Macron scheduled for Friday.

Francis, who has made defense of migrants and refugees a major plank of his papacy, said overcoming the current migration crisis “demands a change in mindset”.

He said countries “must move from considering others as threats to our comfort to valuing them as persons whose life experience and values can contribute greatly to the enrichment of our society.”

Rome’s clash with Paris centers on the charity ship Aquarius, which both Italy and Malta refused to let dock at their ports. It was carrying 629 migrants and is now heading to Spain, which offered safe harbor, escorted by two Italian ships.

The pope said the trans-national dimension of the migration crisis required “the assistance of the entire international community” because it exceeded the capacity of individual states.

“Such international cooperation is important at every stage of migration: from departing one’s country of origin all the way to reaching one’s destination, as well as facilitating reentry and transit,” Francis said.

“In each of these countries, migrants are vulnerable, feeling alone and isolated. The recognition of this fact is vitally important if we wish to give a concrete and dignified response to this humanitarian challenge,” he said.

The conference, organised by the Vatican and Mexico, was attended by many ambassadors accredited to the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY, May 16, 2018 (News Wires) - Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned the killing of Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border, saying the deaths would only lead to more violence, and appealed for dialogue to bring justice and peace to the Middle East.

“I express my great pain for the dead and wounded and I am close in prayer and affection to all those who are suffering,” he told tens of thousands of people at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

“I repeat that the use of violence never leads to peace. War begets war and violence begets violence.”

Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border on Monday during demonstrations against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, in the bloodiest day in Gaza in years.

Francis, who visited Israel and Palestinian territories in 2014, asked both sides and the international community to redouble efforts “so that dialogue, justice and peace prevail”.

Last December, when US President Donald Trump announced the decision to move the embassy, Francis called for Jerusalem’s “status quo” to be respected, saying new tension in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts.

Speaking earlier in the audience to a group of Polish World War Two veterans, he said: “We never learn.”

VATICAN CITY, May 6, 2018 (AP) — Pope Francis has offered a prayer in St. Peter's Square for an end to violence in the deeply impoverished Central African Republic, which he visited 2½ years ago.

Francis during his traditional on Sunday blessing recalled the serious violence in recent days that left many, including a priest, dead. He called for an end to vendettas "to construct peace together."

At least 19 people were killed and 98 wounded in the renewed sectarian violence in the Central African Republic's capital of Bangui, with targets including a church, a mosque and health facilities. The country has faced deadly interreligious and intercommunal fighting since 2013, with thousands of people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

During his November 2015 visit, the pope delivered a message of reconciliation.

By Salwa Samir

The blessing of the icon of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt by Pope Francis of the Vatican, is an important step towards including the Egyptian route in the Roman Catholic pilgrimage programmes.
Pope Francis presented an Egyptian delegation headed by ex-minister of tourism with an icon depicting the Holy Family’s journey in Egypt, which he had blessed, during the weekly audience he gave to thousands of people in St Peter’s Square, in the Vatican.
The flight into Egypt was a biblical event described in the Gospel of Matthew which narrated how the Holy family (Mary, Jesus and Joseph) fled to Egypt to escape the persecution of King Herod.
“Blessing the path is a quantum leap in the modern history of religious tourism in Egypt,” Nader Guirguis, a member of the Committee for the Revival of the Holy Family’s Itinerary, which is affiliated to the Tourism Ministry, told the Egyptian Mail.
“Egypt will be a mecca for Vatican pilgrimage, and that is what it deserves,” he added. He pointed out that the Pope’s adoption of the path of the Holy Family was a good start for reviving tourism to Egypt, especially religious tourism.
Guirguis said that tracing the Holy Family’s route through Egypt was expected to attract about two million Catholic Christians to the country.
The pilgrimage route in Egypt includes 25 sites, from Sinai in the east to Assiut in the south.
The Tourism Ministry has said that eight locations were being developed to be the main stops on the journey. The eight stops include the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, the Hanging Church in Cairo, the three monasteries of Wadi el-Natrun namely the Syrians Monastery, the Saint Bishoy Monastery, the Paromeos Monastery, the Church of the Holy Virgin in Jabal al-Tayr in Minya and the Monastery of Al-Muharraq in Assiut.
The ministry added that the development was starting from Cairo and the stages that followed would be completed according to schedule.  It added that adequate funding was available for the development of the Holy Family’s route.
Director General of International Relations and Strategic Planning at the Tourism Ministry Adel el-Guindi told the local media that until now about LE400 million had been allocated for the development of all the archaeological points of the Holy Family’s path and the surrounding areas and roads, in the various provinces.
To the Egyptian destination for this spiritual journeys to be offered to Christians all over the world, a delegation of the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi Catholic organisation, which is responsible for the pilgrimage in the Vatican, arrived here last month to go on a guided tour of the places to be covered by the Pilgrimage Programme in Egypt this year.
The delegation held meetings with the Tourism minister, Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark, and Egypt’s Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Dr Ahmed el-Tayyeb.  
During their visit, the delegates were informed that Egypt was working to seize the historic opportunity and turn the support of the Pope into gain, by reviving religious tourism.

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