LORETO, Italy – Nine-year-old Andrea is an Italian boy who joined 130 children last month for a “Pilgrimage of Joy” to the Marian Shrine of Loreto, Italy.

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CALTANISETTA, Italy – Italian youth lead the lively Sunday worship at St. Pius X Catholic Church in this southern Sicilian town with the help of an African migrant picking up the playful rhythm on a drum.

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PALERMO, Italy – Young African men crowded the courtyard, while others squatted on the cool, gray marble floor inside the Caritas diocesan facility near the gritty central train station of the Sicilian capital.

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BERGAMO, Italy – The Diocese of Bergamo announced yesterday that next year the body of St. John XXIII will return to the city, his native diocese, for a visit expected to last about two weeks.

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TURIN, Italy – Inside a copper teapot in a kitchen cupboard, Italian police found the relic of St. John Bosco that had been stolen two weeks earlier from the basilica erected at his birthplace.

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UMBRIA, Italy – Italian brides are finding wedding dresses at an unusual spot hidden in the Umbrian hills, where they are able to pick out their special gown – all for the cost of a donation.

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VATICAN CITY – A new initiative in Italy will allow blood donors to receive a free ticket to the Vatican Museums.

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OME – A priest is being asked to take a break from his parish in the small Italian town of Montesilvano after some in his congregation reportedly stormed out of Mass when he openly criticized Pope Francis on Palm Sunday (April 9).

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PALERMO, Italy – Hollywood precedent notwithstanding, an Italian archbishop has announced that known members of the mafia cannot be godparents for the Catholic sacraments of baptism or confirmation.

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ROME – Italy’s oldest native-born nun, Candida Bellotti, celebrated her 110th birthday with best wishes from Pope Francis and valuable tips for those wanting to live a long life.

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VATICAN CITY – The overwhelming majority of sainthood causes the past decade have originated in Italy, said the head of the Vatican office responsible for investigating the causes.

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ROME – After political outcry and personal threats, an Italian priest has replaced a Christmas Nativity scene that critics said depicted Mary, the mother of Jesus, with a Muslim body covering.

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VATICAN CITY – Individuals and entities that have accounts at the Vatican bank and are subject to taxation in Italy will have until mid-April to report to Italian authorities the income earned by their Vatican accounts.

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ASSISI, Italy – Down a deserted stone alleyway, a joyful chorus of “Hallelujah” can be heard rising from an open window while dozens of tourists armed with selfie sticks gather nearby and begin to scour one of Italy’s most beloved towns in search of the perfect digital souvenir.

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VATICAN CITY – After a strong earthquake struck central Italy and with the early news reporting many deaths and serious damage, Pope Francis turned his weekly general audience Aug. 24 into a prayer service.

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