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Cardinal Angelo Comastri places the ashes on the head of Pope Francis (AP)

More than 700 of the 1,142 missionaries attend Ash Wednesday Mass in St Peter’s Basilica

Pope Francis meets the Missionaries of Mercy yesterday (AP)

Francis sends out missionaries of mercy after the blessing and bestowal of ashes in St Peter’s Basilica

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill attend a reception marking the 1000th anniversary of the death of Grand Prince Vladimir in 2015 (Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russia is isolated and fighting two wars, and its leaders recognise that, diplomacy-wise, the Pope has many divisions

The man claimed connection to the Pope (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Luis Nobre claimed a connection to the Vatican that helped him and his associates steal £73 million

Pope Francis poses for a selfie during a meeting with 'missionaries of mercy' at the Vatican (CNS)

Francis addressed his newly-appointed Year of Mercy missionaries ahead of sending them out around the world

German Chancellor Angela Merkel  (AP)

The Pontiff said in an interview he had been called by the German Chancellor, after she was angered by his comments on Europe

PETA's vegan pledge has been launched for Lent (AP)

PETA’s Go Vegan and Feel Great for Lent pledge aims to ’embrace Christian values’

Pope Francis talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Vatican (AP)

Francis described Europe as ‘a barren woman’ during a speech at the European parliament in 2014

People walks past a Pope Francis banner outside a store in Mexico City (CNS)

The Vatican has updated the Holy Father’s itinerary for the upcoming papal visit

Peter Saunders (PA)

The legacy of the abuse scandal is, in many respects, still an open wound for the Church