Morning Catholic must-reads: 30/12/13

Pope Francis at yesterday's Angelus (AP)

Francis entrusted next year’s synod of bishops to the Holy Family in his Angelus address yesterday (prayer, full video).

A delegation delivered a private message from Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to Pope Francis on Saturday.

The gift of life should be recognised as “definitive and inviolable“, Spanish Archbishop Antonio Rouco Varela said at an open-air Mass in Madrid yesterday.

The BBC’s John Sudworth goes in search of missing Chinese Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin.

Former detainee Alin describes what it was like to see Pope Francis wash the feet of young offenders on Holy Thursday.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat confesses that he underestimated Pope Francis.

And Mail Online posts a picture of actor Christian Bale as Moses on the set of Ridley Scott’s new film Exodus.

Follow me on Twitter @lukecoppen for updates throughout the day.