• Pope Francis boards his airplane on the occasion of his trip to Africa, at Rome's Fiumicino International Airport, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. Pope Francis is leaving for a trip that will take him to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, from Nov. 25-30. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope brings peace message to Africa amid security fears

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Pope Francis wants to bring a message of peace and reconciliation to an Africa torn by extremist violence, but security concerns are so high that he might be forced to make changes to his itinerary for the final leg of the trip.

  • In this undated image taken from a photo provided by Nosheen Hanaan,  Hanaan, left, poses with teammates from the Syrian national youth team. For a while, it seemed Nosheen Hanaan’s dream was coming true: The budding star qualified to be goalie on Syria’s national soccer team at the age of 18 after earning a reputation for his fierce blocking on al-Hurriya, a league team from the northern city of Aleppo. But that dream crumbled as Syria descended into war. Today, 23-year-old Hanan is a refugee and works as a waiter in a popular hotel restaurant in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil. (AP Photo via Nosheen Hanaan)

    New Mexico Catholic bishops: Support Syrian refugees

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Catholic bishops have urged state residents to write letters to President Barack Obama in support of expanding U.S. resettlement efforts involving Syrian refugees.

  • Uganda fundraises, spruces up shrine for pope visit

    NAMUGONGO, Uganda (AP) — More than 2 million people are expected to converge near a minor basilica in the Ugandan capital where Pope Francis will celebrate Mass on Saturday, an official with the Roman Catholic Church here said Monday even as workers put in extra hours to spruce up the shrine.

  • In this Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 file photo, Pope Francis waves from inside his car after arriving at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia. Pope Francis follows his predecessors next week Nov. 25-30, 2015 to visit Africa whose growing numbers of Catholics are seen as a bulwark for a church seeking to broaden its appeal amid secularism, competing Christian faiths and violent extremism, in a trip that will take him to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

    In Africa, Pope Francis to find a church growing in numbers

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Pope Paul VI became the first modern pope to visit Africa in 1969 and declared the continent a “new homeland” for Jesus Christ. During the quarter century of his papacy, St. John Paul II traveled to 42 African countries and earned the nickname “the African.” Pope Benedict XVI said Africa was a continent of hope. Next week, Pope Francis joins his predecessors and visits a region whose growing numbers of Catholics are seen as a bulwark for a church seeking to broaden its appeal in the face of challenges from secularism, competing Christian faiths and violent extremism.

  • In this photo taken on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, Leroy Stolzfus, of Gordonville runs in the 2015 Harrisburg Marathon in Harrisburg, Pa. The Pennsylvania man turned heads as he whizzed by fellow runners at the Harrisburg Marathon, not because of his speed, but because of his unusual racing attire. Stolzfus finished the 26.2-mile race in just over three hours and five minutes — all while wearing his community's traditional clothing.  (Daniel Zampogna /PennLive.com via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

    Amish man runs marathon in traditional slacks and suspenders

    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — An Amish man turned heads as he whizzed by fellow runners at a recent marathon — not because of his speed but because of his unusual racing attire.

  • In this Oct. 7, 2015 file photo, actor Mark Ruffalo speaks in opposition of hydraulic fracturing at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Ruffalo is one the movie industry’s most outspoken advocates for environmental causes. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

    In any ensemble, Mark Ruffalo is still standing out

    NEW YORK (AP) — Is there any better team player in movies than Mark Ruffalo?

  • A Syrian refugee, who agreed to be photographed on condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation against family living in Syria, poses for a portrait on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at the Muslim Association of Lehigh Valley in Whitehall, Pa. Dozens of Syrian refugee families are being resettled in the Allentown, Pa., area in part because the city is already home to one of the nation's largest population of Syrians, who began settling here in the late 1800s. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    In America’s Little Syria, a divide on accepting refugees

    ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Some Syrian Christians in Pennsylvania’s third-largest city say they don’t think it’s a good idea to bring Muslim refugees from Syria into Allentown.

  • Bishop Larry Silva, of Honolulu, second from left, listens to remarks at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall meeting, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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