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In today's Catholic Daily Roundup, top stories include presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' positive poll numbers, Pope Francis' visit with Fidel Castro, and his upcoming visit with Cuban bishops in Havana.

"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it." (Stephen Colbert)

Today's Gospel: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." (Matt 9:9-13)

In the News:

  • Two days after Hilary Clinton drew 600 people to see her speak in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders drew five times that many people to the very same spot. Sanders continues to climb in the polls, adding to speculation that he may win the nomination over Clinton's expected victory. 
  • As Americans continue to navigate diplomatic relations with Iran, President Rouhani spoke to 60 minutes last night about what political relations will look like moving forward for the two countries. The President claimed to be hopeful, stating that "while the enmity will not soon go away, this is the first step forward."
  • Viola Davis won an emmy last night for her skilled and moving portrayal of a defense lawyer on the show "How to Get Away With Murder". Viola Davis was the first african american woman to win the award, and used her accolades to draw attention to the ways african american women are pushed out of opportunities in hollywood. "You cannot win an emmy for roles that simply are not there" she said; calling attention to deep racial and gender disparities that have plagued Hollywood since its incipient years.

Pope Francis and church news:

  • Pope Francis's much anticipated trip to Cuba was kicked off with a visit to Fidel Castro's home, where the two exchanged insights and books on religion. Earlier in the day, the people's most popular pontiff conducted mass in front of a picture of Che Guevara, where he urged the Cuban and international community to "serve people, not ideas." 
  • Today, the Pope continues to illuminate audiences in Cuba the day before he's scheduled to fly to the U.S. He will be meeting with bishops outside of Havana, and conducting another mass in the town of Holguin. Francis continues to speak about the spirit of poverty and hope, which he encourages audiences to remain receptive to. "Dream Big", Francis says, "Dream that the world, with you, can be different". 
  • The arrival of Pope Francis is only a day away, and Catholics and non-catholics alike are in excited anticipation for the fascinating week ahead. Pope Francis's Philadelphia prison visit, especially, is meant to highlight the emphasis his Papacy has placed on justice for the innocent and underrepresented. Criminal justice has come into more visibility these past few months as President Obama, too, recently visited a prison in attempt to bring attention to the school to prison pipeline that targets underserved communities.

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