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From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Posted

IMAGE: CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World

By Joyce Duriga

DES PLAINES, Ill. (CNS) — With thick, wet snow falling down and live mariachi music to greet them, around 400 riders on horseback rode up to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines Dec. 4 to pay homage to Mary.

Some wore ponchos bearing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Other riders carried their cellphones and were recording the ride. Once in front of the outdoor shrine, each rider handed over a red rose for Mary and was blessed with holy water by shrine rector Father Esequiel Sanchez. The priest himself entered the shrine on horseback and was wearing a traditional Mexican sombrero.

It’s the fifth year for the pilgrimage, which is organized by Club Los Vaqueros Unidos (United Cowboys Club) in Wadsworth. The horseback pilgrimage is the unofficial kickoff of celebrations at the shrine that culminate with 24 hours of Masses and visits to the outdoor shrine Dec. 12 for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The pilgrimage usually includes a three-hour ride through the forest preserve in Lincolnshire and ends at the shrine, but this year that portion was canceled because the forest preserve was conducting a “deer management” program, said club member Maria Anguiano.

Despite the wet and heavy snow that soaked the riders and horses, there were many smiles as the riders made their way past the shrine.

“What everyone really wants to do is thank the Virgin for the blessings throughout the year and acknowledge her presence in their lives,” Anguiano told the Catholic New World, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Having the riders and horses visit the shrine is fitting to the history of the church in the United States.

“All the evangelization in America happened on horseback so as we bless the horses today we remember that tradition,” Father Sanchez said. “The key element in the life of a lot of people was a sturdy horse, to be able to make a living and get around. Now it’s become a symbol of a way of life that is very much still treasured and valued.”

In the evening of Dec. 4, a group of tractor-trailer drivers went to the Des Plaines shrine for their own pilgrimage. The two pilgrimages are held before the Dec. 12 feast day since more than 120,000 pilgrims usually visit the shrine over Dec. 11 and 12 and accommodating the horses and trailers would be difficult.

In Mexico City, it’s a tradition for groups or clubs to make a pilgrimage to the Guadalupe shrine there on the feast day, which commemorates Mary’s appearance to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill near modern-day Mexico City.

Mary appeared to Diego for the first time at dawn Dec. 9, 1531, and said she wanted a church built in her honor on that hill. Diego went to the bishop to share this news, but was put off by the prelate. She appeared again, and Diego — who was called by name by the lady in the apparition — again approached the bishop. The bishop asked for a sign from this lady of Diego’s and Mary produced enough roses in December to fill Diego’s cloak, or “tilma.”

When he emptied them in front of the bishop, he found that she had left her image on the tilma, which remains today in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

The local shrine in Des Plaines began in the mid-1980s. The shrine is officially connected to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and is the only place in the United States where pilgrims can receive the same special indulgence that is offered to pilgrims visiting the basilica.

– – –

Duriga is editor of Catholic New World, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

1 hour 38 min

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christian hope is not the same as being optimistic about the future, but is knowing that whatever dark or frightening things are going on in one’s life, God is there offering protection and light, Pope Francis said.

Holding his general audience in the Vatican audience hall decorated with Nativity scenes and Christmas ornaments from the state of Queretaro, Mexico, Pope Francis announced Dec. 7 that he was beginning a series of audience talks about hope.

Especially during Advent and in preparation for Christmas, he urged people to read the second half of the Book of Isaiah, “the great prophet of Advent, the great messenger of hope.”

The audience began with a reading of Isaiah 40, which starts: “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.”

When the prophet was writing, the pope explained, the people of Israel were in exile, they had “lost everything — their homeland, freedom, dignity and even their trust in God. They felt abandoned and without hope.”

Isaiah not only proclaims God’s love and fidelity, but calls on those who still have faith to offer consolation to others and help them “reopen their hearts to faith.”

The desert — literally and figuratively — “is a difficult place to live, but it is precisely the place where one can walk to return not only to one’s homeland, but to God, return to hoping and smiling,” the pope said. “When we are in darkness and difficulty, it’s hard to smile.

“Hope teaches us to smile,” the pope said. “One of the first things that happens to people who withdraw from God is that they are people without smiles. They might be able to laugh out loud — tell one joke after another and laugh — but their smile is missing.”

“When we are with a baby, a smile comes spontaneously because a baby is hope,” he said. “We smile even if it’s a bad day because we see hope.”

Hope does not come with power or wealth, but with trusting in God, the pope said. It is knowing that “God, with his love, walks with us. I hope because God is alongside me. And this is something all of us can say. I have hope because God walks with me, he walks alongside me and holds my hand.”

The key players in the Christmas story, he said, prove that “history is not made by the powerful, but by God together with his little ones, those small and simple people whom we find around Jesus, who is about to be born: Zachariah and Elizabeth, who are old and marked by sterility; Mary, the young virgin engaged to Joseph; the shepherds, who were despised and counted for nothing.”

They had hope, the pope said, and they turned the dark and twisted paths of life around them into “a highway on which to walk toward the glory of the Lord.”

“There’s no denying that there is a crisis of faith in the world today,” he said. “People say, ‘I believe in God. I’m Christian.’ ‘I belong to that faith.’ But their lives are far from being Christian, far from God! Religion, faith has turned into an expression.”

Those who believe must convert, constantly turning their hearts to God and “following that path toward him. He awaits us.”

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

4 hours 8 min
Members of the Crusaders for Life hold signs and cheer during the March for Life in Washington Jan. 22, the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard) Members of the Crusaders for Life hold signs and cheer during the March for Life in Washington Jan. 22, the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard)

By Gail Finke

Ohio’s so-called Heartbeat Bill, which would ban abortion after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, was passed by both state Houses on Tuesday and is now on Gov. John Kasich’s desk.

Crafted with the help of many Catholic attorneys and pro-life advocates, including the late Dr. Jack Willke of Cincinnati, the Unborn Heartbeat Protection Bill was introduced in the Senate, where it had been since initially passing the House in March 2015, in a surprise move Tuesday morning. It quickly passed and went back to the House, where it passed as an amendment to a child abuse bill late Tuesday night.

Paula Westwood, Executive Director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, has worked on the legislation for many years and offered testimony about before both Houses on numerous occasions, both with Dr. Willke and alone.

She says that the House Bill includes a budget appropriation that gives the governor line-item veto power. He can pass the entire Bill as-is or strike any part of it, including the abortion provision.

“As our leading elected official, Cincinnati Right to Life and the entire Ohio statewide pro-life coalition expect Gov.Kasich to stand firm in defense of these helpless little ones, whose lives depend on his signing H.B. 493 with the Heartbeat protection amendment intact,” she said.

A coalition of pro-life groups from around the state supports the bill, including Right to Life groups in Cincinnati, Warren County and Clark County in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati; as well as Cleveland, Tiffin, Fostoria, and other areas around the state. It’s also supported by the Ohio Pro-Life Action League and its affiliates.

Ohio Right to Life and its affiliate members (not all groups named “Right to Life” are affiliated with the state group) and the Ohio Catholic Conference are officially neutral on the legislation, which would in effect ban most abortions because fetal heartbeats can be detected as soon as 16 days after a baby is conceived.

Pro-life opponents of the bill consider other proposed abortion restrictions more likely to meet court challenges. Proponents, including Westwood, say that legislation is frequently challenged and that this legislation has been written to withstand challenges.

It was written in part by Janet Folger Porter, president of Royalton, Ohio-based Faith2Action and former president of Ohio Right to Life, and has inspired “heartbeat” laws that passed in Arkansas and North Dakota.

In social media posts to its members this morning, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio called the bills’ passage “completely unexpected” and urged them members to demand that Gov. Kasich veto the Heartbeat Bill in whole or by line-item veto.

Pro-life groups are making similar appeals to members. Whatever the governor does, Westwood says the Bill is a victory for the cause of Life in Ohio.

“The Ohio House has confirmed that at the very least, unborn children with beating hearts in Ohio deserve protection and life,” she said

To see the test of H.B. 493, go to LegislatureOhio.gov.

For information about how the line-item veto works in Ohio, go to InnovationOhio.

To contact Gov. Kasich about his or other pending legislation, go to Governor.Ohio.gov.

H.B. 493 with Heartbeat protection amendment now goes to Governor Kasich for signature.

ACTION: Contact Governor John Kasich to sign H.B. 493 including the Unborn Heartbeat Protection amendment without veto.

4 hours 12 min

jubileecmykSisters, brothers and priests from religious communities throughout the archdiocese who are celebrating jubilees in 2016 came together for an annual Mass in their honor at Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati Oct. 15.

Celebrated by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, the Mass recognized the faith of the women and men religious who have dedicated their lives to serving God and God’s people for 25, 50, 60, 70 or 75 years.

During the liturgy, the jubilarians renewed their commitment to their baptismal call and received scrolls from Archbishop Schnurr thanking them for their years of service.

In his homily, the archbishop referred to the jubilarians “exemplary followers of Jesus, who not only know about Jesus; they know Him. They have been with Him on the journey.”

“God has given us a mighty gift in the powerful testimony of their religious lives,” he added. “It is our honor to be with them today, recognizing such a milestone…and gift to the church. We are grateful for their witness, their perseverance and service. With our love and prayerful best wishes, we ask the Lord’s special blessing upon them. In a very real and concrete way, right in front of us is today’s homily, a living homily, enfleshed in these jubilarians.”

4 hours 17 min
Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Mary Alice Weber, left, celebrating 80 years in her religious community, is greeted by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr as Ursuline Sister Lucia Castellini looks on. (CT Photo/Colleen Kelley)Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Mary Alice Weber, left, celebrating 80 years in her religious community, is greeted by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr as Ursuline Sister Lucia Castellini looks on. (CT Photo/Colleen Kelley)

The 29th annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection will be held Dec. 10-11 in most U.S. parishes Coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO, it benefits nearly 33,000 elderly Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests whose communities lack adequate retirement funding.

The appeal raised $30.7 million in 2015, the sixth highest total in its history, allowing the NRRO to distribute $25 million to 401 religious communities across the county. Communities use the money to bolster retirement savings and subsidize expenses such as prescription medications and nursing care. Throughout the year, additional funding is allocated to congregations with the greatest needs. A portion of the proceeds also supports education in retirement planning and eldercare delivery.

“The ongoing generosity toward the needs of senior religious is truly heartwarming,” said Sister Stephanie Still, a member of the Sisters of the Presentation and the newly appointed executive director of the NRRO.

Since the U.S. bishops created the fund in 1988, Catholics have contributed more than $785 million. Despite that overwhelming generosity, many religious communities continue to struggle to provide for aging members. Of 550 communities submitting data to the NRRO in 2015, only 8 percent were adequately funded for retirement.

Religious communities are financially autonomous and thus responsible for the care and support of all members. Historically, Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests—known collectively as women and men religious—ministered for small stipends. As a result, many religious communities now lack adequate retirement savings.

Compounding the funding shortage are the rising cost of care and the substantial loss of income that has resulted from the declining number of religious able to serve in paid ministry.

“Donations to the Retirement Fund for Religious enable our office to provide financial assistance, educational programming and resources that help religious communities reduce funding deficits and plan for long-term retirement needs,” said Sister Stephanie. “Religious communities are profoundly grateful for this support and are careful stewards of each dollar received.”

Almost 95 percent of donations directly support senior religious and their communities. For more information, see www.retiredreligious.org.

11 hours 17 min

adventcandlesbokeh

2016 ADVENT CALENDAR

ONGOING

St. Albert the Great, 3033 Far Hills Ave., 45429
Kettering
Christmas tree Sales Starting Saturday, November 26th
W-F 6-8:30 p.m.
Sat. 9-6 p.m. & Sun Noon-6 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/F2UnSDYEiat

Wendesday, December 7, 2016

Athenaeum of Ohio, 6616 Beechmont Ave., 45230
Cincinnati
Advent Lessons and Carols
7:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/3RfvkMTNM1v

St. Cecilia, 3105 Madison Rd., 45209
Cincinnati
Parish Advent Mission with Sacrament of Reconciliation
7-8:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/o1Du9YMTG1s

St. Columban, 894 Oakland Rd., 45140
Loveland
Day of Prayer for Sick with Eucharistic Adoration
9 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/WBDpdYgiUok

Thursday, December 8, 2016
Holy Day of Obligation
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saturday, December 10, 2016

St. Francis Xavier, 607 Sycamore St., 45202
Cincinnati
Blue Christmas Prayer Service
10 a.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Caa822maFPJ2

St. John the Baptist, 5361 Dry Ridge Rd, 45252
Dry Ridge
Breakfast in Bethlehem (Prayer, Fun, Food & Fellowship for whole family)
9 a.m.
$5 per person/$25 per family
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/cFam43YbRH82

Old St. Mary Church, 129 E. 13th St., 45202
Cincinnati
Rorate Mass (a German Tradition of celebrating a votive mass of the BVM)
6:45 a.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/huYeprBQZAA2

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, 2300 Smithville Rd., 45420
Dayton
Advent Peace Fest
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Sherman Hall
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/NdzKdranELE2

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Annunciation, 3547 Clifton Ave., 45220
Cincinnati
Bambinelli Sunday Blessing (Blessing of Christ Figures from Home Creches)
9 a.m. & 11 a.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/94B53YBerQF2

Good Shepherd, 8815 E. Kemper Rd., 45249
Cincinnati
Christmas Concert
6 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/7dwLEgkoYGU2

St. Anthony Shrine, 5000 Colerain Ave., 45223
Cincinnati
Advent Lessons & Carols
4:00 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/xy9kSZEBzsC2

St. Albert the Great, 3033 Far Hills Ave., 45429
Kettering
Breakfast with Santa
After 8 & 9:30 a.m. Masses (Join us in Cafeteria)
Santa’s Bake Shop
After Masses (Buy baked good in Parish Center)
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/q4UubHd39VH2

Monday, December 12, 2016

Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, 325 W. 8th St., 45202
Cincinnati
Advent Lunch with the Lord
12 Noon
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/UQK8PYvwvgt

St. Augustine, 48 N. Hanover, 45845
Minster
Reconciliation Services
7:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/K4sWTAiqEpK2

Corpus Christi, 2014 Springdale Rd., 45231
Cincinnati
Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration
6 p.m. Mass
7 p.m. Fiesta
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/yD5cfnZzjeM2

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Good Shepherd, 8815 E. Kemper Rd., 45249
Cincinnati
Sacramental Reconciliation Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/9fjM8fTfEVw

Holy Angels, South Main & Water Streets, 45365
Sidney
3rd &4th Grade Christmas Program
2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/FuTRgeG8zHk

Holy Redeemer, 120 S. Eastmoor Dr, 45869
New Bremen
Reconciliation Services
7:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/6G3JRVu6Fk52

Holy Trinity, 140 N. Sixth St., 45103
Batavia
Sacrament of Reconciliation for Advent
7-8 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/cipDWp2Mtwn

Holy Trinity, 108 E. Main St., 45828
Coldwater
Penance Service
7:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/TMWD5g6yuzK2

St. Ann, 370 S. Fifth St., 45176
Williamsburg
Sacrament of Reconciliation for Advent
7-8 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/AaZuirf4TMv

St. Dominic, 4551 Delhi Pike, 45238
Cincinnati
Advent Parish Penance Service (Church)
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/9jjnWT1XCCx

St. John Neumann, 12191 Mill Rd., 45240
Cincinnati
6 p.m. Simple Supper
7 p.m. Reconciliation Service
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/FpmzUKts2zB2

St. Maximilian Kolbe, 5720 Hamilton Mason Rd., 45011
Liberty Township
Communal Penance Services
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/RCAeY2JBi2G2

St. Michael the Archangel, 11144 Spinner Ave., 45241
Sharonville
Parish Reconciliation Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ujGZFFNbhLx

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Annunciation, 3547 Clifton Ave., 45220
Cincinnati
Eucharistic Holy Hour at 7 p.m.
Benediction at 8 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/FtSDfWT28g12

St. Boniface, 310 S. Downing St., 45356
Piqua
Advent Penance Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/dqQW4zvES1C2

St. Columban, 894 Oakland Rd., 45140
Loveland
Nativity Tour at 1 p.m.
Parish Reconciliation Service at 7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/pDAnGXdH2oA2

Holy Trinity, 108 E. Main St., 45828
Coldwater
Crib Blessing & St. Nick at 6:30 p.m.
Coffee House at 6:30 & 8 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/buVkx2PRXP22

St. Joseph, 02441 State Route 364, 45865
Egypt
Reconciliation Services
7:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/s47TigP4CoN2

Old St Mary, 129 E. 13th St., 45202
Cincinnati
Musical Oratory of Advent
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/9zvpHv4Cbm32

St. Paul, 308 Phillips St., 45387
Yellow Springs
Advent Communal Reconciliation Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/3UorX9UTibx

Thursday, December 15, 2016

St. Columban, 894 Oakland Rd., 45140
Loveland
Nativity Tour
12 Noon
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/p4scensBgNy

Holy Family, 3006 W. 8th St., 45205
Cincinnati
Lessons and Carols
9 a.m. & 7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ZYiYiptveXB2

St. Antoninus, 1500 Linneman Rd., 45238
Cincinnati
School Christmas Concert
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/YxGyBmUM36S2

St. John the Evangelist, 9080 Cincinnati Dayton Rd., 45069
West Chester
Advent Penance Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/o2KCwSvPZCG2

St. Louis, 210 N. Broadway, 45160
Owensville
Sacrament of Reconciliation for Advent
7-8 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/FCqVEHoBmVx

St. Martin of Tours, 3720 Saint Martin Pl., 45211
Cheviot
Advent Reconciliation Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/4ipTtDRk5K22

St. Mary Hyde Park, 2853 Erie Ave, 45208
Cincinnati
Advent Penance Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/GYqNjoL9puE2

St. Michael, 33 Elm St., 45845
Ft. Loramie
Reconciliation Services
7:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/VWhTEUHa1b22

St. Philomena, Stonelick-Williams Corner Rd., 45103
Stonelick
Sacrament of Reconciliation for Advent
7-8 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/UZgLbNGkEkA2

St. William, 4108 W. 8th St., 45205
Cincinnati
Penance Service (Church)
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ytWGz5cX5sT2

Friday, December 16, 2016

All Saints, 8939 Montgomery Rd., 45236
Cincinnati
“Come & See” A Choral Christmas Concert
7:30 p.m.
Location: St. Francis De Sales, Walnut Hills
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/gTbU32Z71zS2

St. Anthony of Padua Maronite, 2530 Victory Pkwy, 45206
Cincinnati
Christmas Novena
6:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/J5pJR5zfntK2

St. Francis de Sales, 1600 Madison Rd., 45206
Cincinnati
School Christmas Concert
9:30 a.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/z1ALP99DVhE2

Saturday, December 17, 2016

St. Ann, 370 S. Fifth St., 45176
Williamsburg
Sacrament of Reconciliation for Advent
3-3:45 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/dbsSM5Ebkas

St. Anthony of Padua Maronite, 2530 Victory Pkwy, 45206
Cincinnati
Christmas Recital
5:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/miR8hcsznc82

Holy Trinity, 108 E. Main St., 45828
Coldwater
Penance and Reconciliation
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/o9qvq2ZxuhP2

St. Louis, 210 N. Broadway, 45160
Owensville
Sacrament of Reconciliation for Advent
4-4:45 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/FuSmUtqXvPP2

Sunday, December 18, 2016

St. Augustine, 48 N. Hanover, 45845
Minister
Christmas Choir Concert
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ftEKRBTyutQ2

St. Anthony, 471 Saint Anthony Rd., 45846
St. Anthony
Christmas Pageant
10:30 a.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/i7XLbzupCr72

St. Columban, 894 Oakland Rd., 45140
Loveland
Nativity Tour
12:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/poXudJ1tPQz

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, 5890 Buckwheat Rd., 45150
Milford
Lessons & Carols
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/n49LhBWXDJs

St. John the Baptist, 5361 Dry Ridge Rd, 45252
Dry Ridge
Blue Christmas
6 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/v8CpDZdrzHz

St. Mary, 3821 Philothea Rd., 45828
Philothea
Christmas Pageant
9 a.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/HCnYXLz4nqt

Monday, December 19, 2016

St. Anthony of Padua Maronite, 2530 Victory Pkwy, 45206
Cincinnati
Christmas Novena
6:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/WahDJJ6snKH2

St. Antoninus, 1500 Linneman Rd., 45238
Cincinnati
25th Anniversary Concert
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/o34WtgixHLm

St. Columban, 894 Oakland Rd., 45140
Loveland
Nativity Tour
10 a.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/mgzWXZUY8TU2

Holy Family, 3006 W. 8th St., 45205
Cincinnati
Advent Taize prayer service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/HZxf8GqNLn82

Holy Trinity, 108 E. Main St., 45828
Coldwater
Penance and Reconciliation
6:30-7:05 a.m., 7:55-8:30 a.m., & 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/S3q9hK1WSLE2

St. Jerome, 5858 Kellogg Rd., 45230
Cincinnati
Advent Penance Service
7:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/C7TUSoqKyum

St. Patrick, 409 E. Main St., 45373
Troy
Communal Penance Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/bx8KsWmV9k52

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

St. Anthony of Padua Maronite, 2530 Victory Pkwy, 45206
Cincinnati
Christmas Novena
6:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/4SGqmYVpQYG2

St. Columban, 894 Oakland Rd., 45140
Loveland
Advent Lessons and Carols
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/qenuKJjiCz22

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton & St. Andrew, 5890 Buckwheat Rd., 45150
Milford
Joint Advent Penance Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Km34JiwzaaJ2

Holy Redeemer, 120 S. Eastmoor Dr., 45869
New Bremen
Advent Communal Reconciliation
7:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/PC7PTrFMGMs

Holy Trinity, 108 E. Main St., 45828
Coldwater
Penance and Reconciliation
6:30-7:05 a.m., 7:55-8:30 a.m., & 5:30-7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/uxJYGdhXCEs

St. Louis, 210 N. Broadway, 45160
Owensville
Sacrament of Reconciliation for Advent
7-8 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/yQhNmePpJSy

St. Martin of Tours, 3720 Saint Martin Pl., 45211
Cheviot
Vesper Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/pgHFRWkgcMK2

St. Philomena, Stonelick-Williams Corner Rd., 45103
Stonelick
Sacrament of Reconciliation for Advent
7-8 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ix32BbZs8sy

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

St. Anthony of Padua Maronite, 2530 Victory Pkwy, 45206
Cincinnati
Christmas Novena
6:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/zUkGaZCH9FL2

Ascension, 2025 Woodman Dr., 45420
Kettering
Longest Night Prayer Service
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/R5uCiiK41YF2

St. Columban, 894 Oakland Rd., 45140
Loveland
Advent Lessons and Carols
8:30 a.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/iYBkCYUKxPt

St. Dominic, 4551 Delhi Rd., 45238
Cincinnati
Advent Concert with Mike Davis (Church)
7 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/h8usJg7tpAq

Holy Trinity, 108 E. Main St., 45828
Coldwater
Penance and Reconciliation
6:30-7:05 a.m., & 7:55-8:30 a.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/y4pHsuZf1z82

Thursday, December 22, 2016

St. Anthony of Padua Maronite, 2530 Victory Pkwy, 45206
Cincinnati
Christmas Novena
6:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/FQaXvZXKfU62

St. Columban, 894 Oakland Rd., 45140
Loveland
Nativity Tour
9:30 a.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/d2MhTEjtrd12

Friday, December 23, 2016

St. Anthony of Padua Maronite, 2530 Victory Pkwy, 45206
Cincinnati
Christmas Novena
6:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/J9nWHN1QXbv

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Annunciation, 3547 Clifton Ave., 45220
Cincinnati
Eucharistic Holy Hour at 7 p.m.
Benediction at 8 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/rtLFXz3Bytn

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

St. Columban, 894 Oakland Rd., 45140
Loveland
Nativity Tour
12:30 p.m.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/pDmsX1xLbPq

st-anthony-friary-creche-outdoor-2

15 hours 17 min

IMAGE: EPA

By Beth Griffin

NEW YORK (CNS) — Christians in the Middle East face extinction because of genocide, wars and international indifference to their plight, according to panelists at a Dec. 5 interfaith forum in New York.

A concerted multilateral effort to establish a safe haven for them while rebuilding their devastated homelands is preferable to massive permanent resettlement to other countries, including the United States, they said.

Twelve speakers at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture event explored “The Crisis for Christians in the Middle East,” with a particular focus on vulnerable Christian minorities in Syria and Iraq.

Christians formed the majority in the Middle East until the Crusades in the 12th-14th centuries, but “the past thousand years haven’t been good in many ways,” said Jack Tannous, assistant professor of history at Princeton University.

Tremendous violence perpetrated against Christians led to widespread conversion, he said, and long periods of stasis have been punctuated by large-scale persecution and followed by immigration.

As a result, many Christians were effectively exterminated from the lands where they lived for centuries, said Michael Reynolds, associate professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University.

Genocide is the accurate description for the fate of Christians, especially in areas controlled by the Islamic State, speakers said.

Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, executive director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said she appreciated that Christians were included in the March 17 genocide declaration by Secretary of State John Kerry, even if the inclusion, she added, was made with difficulty by the current administration and because “it’s popular to talk about minority religions.”

Kerry said the atrocities carried out by the Islamic State group against Yezidis, Christians and other minorities were genocide.

“Today we are witnessing the world’s indifference to the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East and Africa,” said Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress and former U.S. ambassador to Austria. Referencing the Holocaust, he said, “Since 1945, genocide has occurred again and again. ‘Never Again!’ has become hollow. You can’t just declare genocide and say the job is done. You have to back it up with action.”

“Jews know what happens when the world is silent to mass slaughter. We learned it the hard way,” Lauder added.

“People turn off the Middle East because it’s so horrible,” Arriaga de Bucholz said, but having the U.S. declare genocide helps bring attention to the situation and opens the potential for action.

Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, said his organization works with the Eastern churches throughout the Middle East, an area not fully understood or appreciated by those in the Latin church. The charitable and health care efforts particularly by women religious in largely Muslim areas have been well-received, and Christians and others have gotten along well, he said. Nonetheless, there is much outright suffering and persecution, he said.

“Syria is an absolute mess, but the church is still there,” Msgr. Kozar said. Lebanon is at or close to capacity with refugees. Jordan has the greatest concentration of refugees in the world, but its camps are plagued with extortion and a gangland mentality. Christians are considered third-class citizens in Egypt and still suffer reprisals after the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood. Christians in Kurdistan and Iraq face different challenges.

“We are accompanying Christians who believe that somehow Our Lord will accompany and sustain them. We try to bring a reasonable stability,” he said.

Msgr. Kozar and other speakers underscored the deep historic and cultural connection of the Christians to their lands. “There is a tug of war between the goodwill of people here in the West who want to welcome and adopt (the refugees) and presume it’s best to extract them from where they are, and the church leaders and most of the people who want to stay” in the region and return to their countries when it is safe to do so, Msgr. Kozar said. “Family, faith, and church are connected.”

Nina Shea, director of the center for religious freedom at the Hudson Institute, said the current administration’s lack of a religious test for aid dooms tiny minorities and the new administration must make sure Christians and other minorities get their fair share of aid destined for Syria and Iraq.

Also, the United Nations needs a plan to protect minorities. “Otherwise, they will become extinct,” she said.

Retired U.S. Gen. Raymond Odierno, former chief of staff of the U.S. Army, said during his lengthy leadership service in Iraq, he never had a specific mission to protect Christians. He said that was likely because there were bigger problems and if the U.S. singled out Christians, it might be interpreted by the Iraqis as trying “to force our religion on Iraq.”

Odierno said the new administration should be prepared to have a position on what happens to Christians when the fighting wanes in Syria. He advocated a multinational effort to establish a safe haven to protect Christians “until governments can receive them and place them back where they belong — or else, they’ll dwindle.”

The effort will only work if it is multinational and supported by the United Nations, he said. A solo effort by the United States would create a larger problem for Christians because it would look like the U.S. was unilaterally protecting Christians.

Odierno also suggested relocating Christians from the Ninevah Plain of Iraq to Kurdish-controlled areas during what he said could be a 10- to 20-year rebuilding process before they could return home. He could support a no-fly zone there if there’s a threat and if Russia participated, he said.

Odierno said it’s unclear if the U.S. and Russia can work together to protect Christians and he has not spoken to anyone in Russia, “but I believe we should be able to develop common ground on this.”

He said, “It’s up to us as a nation that supports all religions to assist when any religion is being attacked. We should be there and take a look at it … we may be judged 50 years from now.”

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York said when bishops visit him from the Middle East, “they don’t say a lot, but unfailingly cry and plead not to be forgotten. They feel desperate, alone and isolated.” He wore a Coptic pectoral cross, a gift to him from Egypt, and he displayed an icon of the Martyrs of Libya.

“We have a God who is calling us to a sense of justice, advocacy and charity. We cannot forget these people,” he said.

The event was organized by the Anglosphere Society, a nonprofit membership organization that promotes the traditional values of English-speaking peoples, in collaboration with the Archdiocese of New York and the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

21 hours 41 min

IMAGE: CNS

By

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has launched a beta version of its website in English and has included its template for local guidelines on preventing sexual abuse, resources for a day of prayer for the victims and survivors as well as a mailing address to contact commission members.

The website — www.protectionofminors.va — eventually will include versions in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French, the commission said in a statement Dec. 6.

Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals identified the protection of children and young adults as one of the church’s priority needs and suggested in December 2013 that he create a commission to advise him and assist dioceses and religious orders around the world in drawing up guidelines, handling accusations and ministering to victims and survivors. Pope Francis named the first members three months later and appointed as president Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 3 hours

canned-good-for-media

Badin High School students recently helped load the truck with more than 6,500 canned goods headed for St. Raphael’s food bank for the holiday season. Badin averaged more than 10 cans per student, with the sophomores leading the way with 2,048 canned goods donated. Assisting with the load effort were, from left, were Simon Hoppa, Sophie Tischler, Leah Krause, Andrew Jones, John Berg, Jackson Long and Anthony Hunt.

1 day 4 hours
Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 4. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Prayer Intentions of Pope Francis The Holy Father’s prayer intentions for December 2016

Pope Francis’s universal intention is for an end to child-soldiers:
That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.

His evangelization intention is for Europe:
That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.

1 day 8 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Debbie Hill

By Judith Sudilovsky

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (CNS) — Even the Christmas decorations seem more cheerful this year in Bethlehem.

A new display of Santa’s reindeer and sleigh were about to alight at the main traffic circle on Manger Street, and a big white Christmas tree made of lights perched merrily next to them. The official Christmas tree in Nativity Square was a focus of great commotion as pilgrims and locals struck poses for photos and selfies Dec. 5. A few days earlier, at the official tree lighting ceremony, the square was packed with hundreds of onlookers ready to welcome the Christmas season to the birthplace of Jesus.

After two Christmas seasons in which the political reality had overtaken holiday cheer, people seemed primed to finally feel some merriment in Bethlehem. In 2014, the summer Gaza war was still keeping away tourists, and last year a spate of stabbings and shootings overshadowed any hope of holiday cheer.

This year, the Israeli separation barrier construction continues to slowly creep around Bethlehem, creating an isolated enclave. There has been no real move toward a long-term peace agreement, nor any easing of travel restrictions or any significant improvement in the economic or political situations, but Palestinians are embracing what they can of the holiday spirit.

Storekeepers like Muslim Samer Laham, 37, whose front entrance displays rows of hanging Santa Claus hats, are putting out their Christmas wares and readying for the celebrations.

“People haven’t started buying the hats yet, but they will in a few more days,” said Laham confidently.

Ashraf and Shahad Natsheh, who are also Muslim, took the afternoon to come from Hebron, West Bank, to take pictures of their 10-month-old daughter Na’ara in front of the official Bethlehem Christmas tree with its life-sized creche and gold-colored ornaments.

“The atmosphere is definitely better than last year, the roads are open and there is more calm,” said Shahad Natsheh, 26. “We come to see the tree because it is beautiful.”

Ian Knowles, the British director of the Bethlehem Icon Centre on historic Star Street, which used to be the main thoroughfare into the city center, said although people are still a bit apprehensive about the general situation, “Christmas hope still flickers.”

Seeing the apparent defeat of Islamic State in several battles in Iraq and Syria has also brought a sense of optimism to the Christian community, which had harbored fears that they might be next if the militants were not stopped, he said.

“People here have family in Jordan and Lebanon, and they were feeling (that this) could happen to them,” said Knowles. “Now they are watching as Christians are slowly returning to their churches and celebrating Masses in the charred remains.”

Catholic tattoo artist Walid Ayash, 39, and his staff stayed up almost half the night cleaning his tattoo studio and barber shop and putting up Christmas decorations.

“Two days ago they lit up the Christmas tree in the city. Everybody is happy. The kids are happy. I have four kids and they are happy,” he said. “Last year it was very sad, the situation was bad, but we hope this year will be better than before.”

“I want to be happy with my family. I am very religious. I thank God I am in Bethlehem. We celebrate. My workers dress like Santa Claus and throw candy for the children. The kids will be here, the atmosphere will be happy. You know, it’s Christmas,” he said.

Cradling one of his white doves — “peace pigeons” as he has dubbed them — in his hands in their rooftop roost above Star Street, Anton Ayoub Mussalam, 75, who is Catholic, said everyone is waiting for Christmas.

From 1987 until 2015, he and his wife, Mary had not had permission to go to Jerusalem, where one of their daughters lives.

“Maybe there will be a happy Christmas,” Mussalam said. “We hope everyone will be happy. We hope there will be a small piece of peace. We need peace like we need food and water.”

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 23 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Catholic Charities

By Rose Ybarra

MCALLEN, Texas (CNS) — Blessing the ground for a new respite center in McAllen is a sign of the Catholic Church’s commitment to be available and helpful to immigrant families, who “are enduring many, many tragic situations in their lives,” said Brownsville Bishop Daniel E. Flores.

“It’s the work of the church to be a presence and to make available a space for people to feel welcome, where people can be attended to and dealt with in their humanity,” the bishop said Dec. 1. “People are not statistics, people are not just numbers, people are not problems, ultimately, people are people.”

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley hosted the ground-blessing ceremony for its new respite center.

Bishop Flores conducted the blessing. He was joined at the ceremony by Sister Norma Pimentel, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus, who is executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in the Brownsville Diocese, and McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.

All three expressed their gratitude to Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, its pastoral team and parishioners for their generosity in housing the current respite center for the last two-and-a-half years.

“God asked the church especially to be a sign of his love by continuing to open up a space where our service to one another can be manifested,” the bishop said.

“The (Rio Grande) Valley is one of the poorest areas in the whole United States and yet, they share the little that they have to make sure that someone who has less will be able to have something that they need,” Sister Pimentel said in her remarks.

“Because of that sacrifice, we have been able to help so many thousands and thousands of immigrant families,” she continued. “And so today is a very special day because it marks the continuation of this act of kindness, compassion and love.”

She thanked the city of McAllen, Catholic Charities and “the thousands of volunteers who have taken part and continue to take part to show the world that we are a community with compassion and with a heart.”

Darling in his remarks noted the recent “rhetoric about sanctuary cities in the media,” and pointed out that those who receive assistance at the respite center, “are here as legally as you and I.”

The immigrants, who are mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, are in the legal process of seeking asylum or residency.

“I keep hearing in the press that it’s an illegal immigrant situation,” he said, but “it’s people seeking asylum.”

“We have received a lot of kind of negative publicity over the last two and half years alluding to an unsafe border, the need to protect the border, those kinds of things,” Darling added, “but really what you’re seeing is the spirit of McAllen and the Catholic Church helping people in need who are here; many times for reasons we can’t even fathom what they have gone through.”

In June 2014, Sister Pimentel heard there were immigrant families huddled at the bus station in downtown McAllen with only the clothes on their back, nothing to eat or drink and nowhere to shower or sleep. The families had been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, released with a court date and dropped off at the bus station with permission to continue to their final destinations.

Sister Pimentel opened the respite center in the parish hall of Sacred Heart Church, located just two blocks away from the bus station, to provide food, clean clothing, showers, medical attention, supplies for the road, phone calls, overnight lodging and more for the immigrants.

More than 57,000 immigrants have passed through the center.

– – –

Ybarra is assistant editor at The Valley Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Brownsville.

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

2 days 48 min

IMAGE: CNS/Oscar Durand

By Oscar Durand

ISTANBUL (CNS) — Sami Dankha, his three brothers and their families used to kick off Christmas celebrations by attending a packed Christmas Eve Mass at St. Thomas Church in Baghdad. Wearing brand new clothes and sporting fresh haircuts, they would spend the night chatting, singing and eating pacha, a dish made from sheep’s head that Iraqis consider a delicacy and a staple of Christmas.

But that was 20 years ago. Today, Dankha, 51, his wife, Faten, and their five children live in Turkey as refugees, far away from the rest of their families. They are waiting for an answer to their resettlement application to Australia.

“If you count Christmas and Easter, it has been about 40 times we haven’t gathered,” said Dankha, whose brothers now live in New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands.

Years of instability, violence and discrimination have forced Iraqi Christian families to leave their homes. Christmas, traditionally celebrated with loved ones, is a reminder of the exodus of Christians from Iraq and the Middle East to countries all over the word. Despite the distance and across different time zones, families keep the spirit of the holiday alive.

“The last time we were all together was 2005. Maybe 2006. I am not sure,” Habiba Taufiq, 69, told Catholic News Service.

Taufiq was born in Aqrah but has lived most of her life in Ankawa, a Christian enclave in northern Iraq. She is now a refugee in Turkey, where she lives with one of her 10 children. The other nine are split among Australia, France, Sweden and Iraq.

“We danced and celebrated because of Jesus. Not only us but also with other families,” Taufiq said, remembering Christmas back home. “Now there is a big difference because we are in different countries and that affects the occasion.”

To stay connected, families rely on messaging and calling apps.

“I call them on Viber video,” said Dankha, mentioning one the most popular apps among the Iraqi community in Turkey.

Last year, Dankha spent at least four hours glued to his phone as he virtually celebrated Christmas with family and friends in 10 different countries. At some point he had to connect his phone to a power adapter after running out of charge. But seeing and hearing what is happening on the other side of the call is no replacement for being face to face.

“I see them celebrating in parties, and I feel sorrowful because I am here and we are separated, in different countries,” Dankha said.

Nearly halfway around the world, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Nesrin Arteen, 42, also uses a messaging app to keep in touch with her family.

“I talk to them often; with the internet, it is easy. But back when I arrived, it was very different,” she told CNS.

Arteen is from Zakho, Iraq, and moved to Canada in 1994 before smartphones became ubiquitous. At the time she had to use a call center and wait in line before she could speak with her family. And when it was her turn, the quality of the connection was not good, and the calls frequently disconnected.

For Arteen, Christmas meant attending the Christmas Eve Mass and staying up all night with her family. She fondly remembered klecha — a traditional cookie usually filled with nuts, coconuts or dates — which she could not have when she first arrived in Canada. Back then Saskatoon did not even have a Chaldean Catholic church, which made her feel removed from her Christmas traditions.

“It was a different feel, different from home. I didn’t feel the spirit of Christmas,” Arteen said, remembering the first Christmas she spent in Canada.

Over time things changed. Today there is a Chaldean church in her city, and Arteen has started to create her own Christmas traditions.

“I feel that the spirit of Christmas is here,” she said. “My children go to a Christian school and are also part of the choir. There are places where they sing Christmas carols.”

Taufiq hopes to reunite soon with some of her family in Australia. As she navigates visa procedures, she said she feels at peace that her children continue the traditions she started.

“The circumstances separated us and now we are in different countries. But we still continue living with love,” she said.

Dankha told CNS this Christmas will be special. His younger brother, Yalda, will visit him in Turkey from the Netherlands. They haven’t seen each other since 2000.

That makes one less person on his list of people to call on Christmas.

“There are so many friends I don’t know if I will ever see. Maybe one day when my country’s situation is OK, maybe then we will get together. But I don’t know if that will happen,” he said.

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

2 days 2 hours

IMAGE: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis pleaded with a group of billionaires to take seriously their personal obligation to share their resources and make a real commitment to doing business in a way that helps other people realize their potential, too.

The global economic system, he said Dec. 3, needs a “fundamental renewal” that “does not have to do simply with market economics, figures to be balanced, the development of raw materials and improvements made to infrastructure.”

“What we are speaking about is the common good of humanity, of the right of each person to share in the resources of this world and to have the same opportunities to realize his or her potential, a potential that is ultimately based on the dignity of the children of God, created in his image and likeness,” the pope told CEOs and other leaders taking part in the Fortune-Time Global Forum.

Business leaders like Virgin’s Richard Branson, LRN’s Dov Seidman, Siemens’ Joe Kaeser and IBM’s Ginni Rometty met in Rome for two days to respond to what they described as Pope Francis’ “passionate pleas for broader prosperity and lasting ways to lift the poor.” They also spoke with concern of growing popular discontent with the way big business and governments operate.

“Populism and protectionism are rearing their heads around the world, and trust in business — as well as other institutions — has plummeted,” the leaders said in their report to the pope.

After public sessions focused on what Branson defined as “moral leadership” — “leadership that accepts that the long-term sustainability of our actions is more important than short-term gain” — the CEOs and heads of major nongovernmental organizations participated in working groups to develop practical commitments aimed at increasing people’s access to finance, health care, the internet, energy, food, clean water, education and job training.

“Our great challenge,” Pope Francis told them, “is to respond to global levels of injustice by promoting a local and even personal sense of responsibility so that no one is excluded from participating in society.”

“The centrality and dignity of the human person,” especially the poor and refugees, must be the key factor in strategizing sustainable development, the pope said.

“When we ignore the cries of so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we not only deny them their God-given rights and worth, but we also reject their wisdom and prevent them from offering their talents, traditions and cultures to the world,” he told the CEOs. “In so doing, the poor and marginalized are made to suffer even more, and we ourselves grow impoverished, not only materially, but morally and spiritually.”

While the CEOs recognized that globalization and digitization “have created unprecedented growth and lifted billions of people out of poverty,” both they and Pope Francis also acknowledged that the growth has been uneven and “inequality within nations is on the rise.”

“People want to make their voices heard and express their concerns and fears,” Pope Francis told the leaders. They want to contribute and “to benefit from the resources and development too often reserved for the few.”

“While this may create conflict and lay bare the many sorrows of our world, it also makes us realize that we are living in a moment of hope. For when we finally recognize the evil in our midst, we can seek healing by applying the remedy,” the pope said.

“Institutional and personal conversion” is the only way forward, he said. “Seek ever more creative ways to transform our institutions and economic structures so that they may be able to respond to the needs of our day and be in service of the human person, especially those marginalized and discarded.”

And that cannot be done from the boardroom, he said. “Involve in your efforts those whom you seek to help; give them a voice, listen to their stories, learn from their experiences and understand their needs. See in them a brother and a sister, a son and a daughter, a mother and a father. Amid the challenges of our day, see the human face of those you earnestly seek to help.”

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

2 days 4 hours

cincigives_tile_v1-with-textThe Athenauem of Ohio is involved with the Cincinnati Gives Challenge, a friendly fundraising competition raising money for local nonprofit organizations. Right now they are in the Number 3 Spot.

As of 9:15 a.m. on December 5 the gap is widening between second and third place and The Athenauem is now $1,151 away from the #2 spot and a $6,000 cash bonus.

Here is how the Challenge works:

The top fundraiser of the Challenge will win an additional $15,000 with second place winning $6,000 and third place winning $3,000.

Here’s how you can help The Athenauem. Click on the following link to donate today: https://www.crowdrise.com/theathenaeumofohio-cincinnatigives

The total fundraising goal for the campaign is $75,000. This year The Athenauem is blessed and thankful to have 75 men currently studying to become priests. In honor of this great blessing The Athenauem hopes to raise $1,000 per seminarian.

The Anthenauem’s priests and graduates serve in parishes, hospitals, schools, and ministries throughout Cincinnati and beyond.

2 days 6 hours

Columbarium units for cremated remains, like this one in this 2015 photo at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, have been constructed recently at area Catholic cemeteries to accommodate the growing popularity of cremation. (Steve Trosley/CT Photo)

An urn containing cremated remains is seen in a niche in the Holy Rood Cemetery mausoleum in Westbury, N.Y., in 2010. During an Oct. 25 news conference in Rome, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that while the Catholic Church continues to prefer burial in the ground, it accepts cremation as an option, but forbids the scattering of ashes or keeping cremated remains at home. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)An urn containing cremated remains is seen in a niche in the Holy Rood Cemetery mausoleum in Westbury, N.Y., in 2010. During an Oct. 25 news conference in Rome, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that while the Catholic Church continues to prefer burial in the ground, it accepts cremation as an option, but forbids the scattering of ashes or keeping cremated remains at home. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Although permission for Catholics to be cremated was issued and incorporated into Canon Law in 1963, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told reporters Oct. 25 that church law had not specified exactly what should be done with “cremains,” and several bishops’ conferences asked the congregation to provide guidance.

That request led to “Ad resurgendum cum Christo” (“To Rise With Christ,”) an instruction “regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation,” issued Oct. 25. The document was approved by Pope Francis after consultation with other Vatican offices and with bishops’ conferences and the Eastern churches’ synods of bishops.

“The instruction from the Vatican regarding the disposition of the cremated remains of a deceased person is a helpful clarification for the faithful’” Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr said.

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith teaches that, for strong theological reasons important to our Catholic faith, cremains must not be scattered, stored at home, or preserved in mementos,” he said in a statement released to the public in November.

The entire document is available at the following address on the internet: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20160815_ad-resurgendum-cum-christo_en.html.

Catholic cemeteries in the archdiocese were pleased by the document. “We’re sort of excited that the church has taken another look at the law regarding cremated remains,” said Steve Bittner, President of the Cincinnati Catholic Cemetery Society.

“Although this is really nothing new, it gives us an opportunity to reach out to funeral homes and grief and bereavement ministries in the parishes to review and educate the faithful about the directive,” Bittner, who was recently elected president of the board of directors of the U.S. Catholic Cemetery Conference said.

“This is the way we should practice our faith,” Bittner said quoting William E. Gladstone, the 19th century British statesman. “This quote is on our wall, Bittner said: ‘Show me the manner in which a nation or a community cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.’”

His 173-year old association, which manages and maintains St. Joseph, St Mary and St. John cemeteries, has been offering a free cremation service, “so that faithful Catholics can get their loved one off the mantle and back home,” he said. The offer is that the cemetery will inter the remains at no charge, “all at our cost,” Bittner said. “We take the family to the spot, show them that their loved one will be memorialized. We say some prayers and place the remains in consecrated ground, rather than in a sand trap at a golf course or someplace like that. This all demonstrates the belief we have in the resurrection of the body on the last day.”

Bittner said his organization will be meeting with funeral home directors and, with the pastors’ permission, with parish bereavement ministries so that the faithful can be educated about the directive.

Director of Archdiocesan Cemeteries, Deb Crane, at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, also said the directive was an opportunity to educate Catholics about the Church’s teaching on cremation.

There has been much construction of columbarium facilities at Gate of Heaven as more and more Catholics choose the relatively economical option of cremation over traditional burial in a vault and casket or casket and mausoleum.

At Calvary Cemetery in Dayton, there is a year-old facility, the St Kateri Preserve, dedicated to natural burials.

“Death is part of the natural cycle of life. Natural burials honor the idea of “dust to dust,”
says the cemetery’s website. Calvary Cemetery offers these options for burial in an earth-friendly way:
o “Ashes or bodies are placed in biodegradable containers or shrouds. Bodies are prepared with no embalming or with environmentally friendly techniques.
o “Graves may be dug by hand and family members may participate. Many find that this experience is a beautiful way to say goodbye to their loved one and provides a sense of closure.
o “Graves are marked with field stones or engraved rocks. A GPS system makes identifying the burial site simple.
o “Trees and wildflowers are chosen from a native plant list provided by a botanist for eco-conservation providing maximum sustainability of the area birds and wildlife.”

“For Catholics, this is the ultimate way to return to the Earth. Our church teaches us that our bodies or their ashes are best kept together in an appropriately reverent vessel when interred. The St Kateri Preserve offers the opportunity to use hand crafted urns and boxes made of biodegradable materials, keeping the liturgical promise while also rendering the immediate release back to the earth many desire.”

The cemetery also offers a special site for cremated remains in a more traditional setting called “Spirit of the Living Waters.”

Deb Crane, Director of Cemeteries of the Archdiocese, discussed the owned and operated Gate of Heaven Cemetery. She said, “On a national level, cremations will for the first time equal traditional burials this year. The cremation rate does vary by region across the country. In the west, cremations represent 75percent of all burials whereas in the southeast, they are about 30 percent. In the Midwest, the mix is estimated to be 45 percent cremation. At Gate of Heaven, last year’s results were below the region figures, but the mix at Gate of Heaven is changing very rapidly,” she said

“Overall, the rate of cremations is rising aggressively at five percent per year,” Crane said. That means in just five years, cremations will represent about 70 percent of burials in the Midwest. In 10 years, given the current trends, it will be 95 percent.

Research indicates the shift is driven by economics (savings of about one-third), Crane said.

“In our country today, families are widely dispersed geographically. Moreover, it is not uncommon for seniors to have more than one residence. Given this broad dispersion of families, relocation of the deceased becomes a major consideration (moving a body across state lines can easily cost as much as a funeral), Crane explained.

“As a result, the second driver of cremation demand is the easier logistics considerations provided by cremation.”

She also explained that the recent Vatican directive contains nothing new but gives impetus to an education program already in action.

“We do have a program that explains the Church’s rules on cremation and the disposition of remains. It is our INSIGHT Seminar series, as featured in the October Catholic Telegraph,” she said. “The seminar has been presented to ten parishes thus far, nine more are being scheduled, and ten others are pending. This educational program is expected to continue beyond this initial offering.”

Catholic News Service provided some of those questions to the staff of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship to have them answered:

Q.: The new document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) spells out regulations regarding cremation. Does it change anything in how the Catholic Church in this country has regulated this issue?
A.: No, the new document from the CDF doesn’t change anything for us in this country. For example, we already have permission to have a funeral Mass in the presence of cremated remains. What the Instruction does do, however, is reiterate the church’s preference for the burial of the body in normal circumstances, and, when cremation is necessary, its insistence that the remains be properly interred.

Q.: If the document says that traditional burial is preferred, does that mean cremation is wrong?
A: If the church saw cremation as “wrong,” it wouldn’t permit it! Sometimes cremation can truly be necessary. However, the ancient custom and the preference of the church is to bury the body, whenever possible.

Q.: What should I do if I’ve already scattered the ashes?
A.: We can’t change the past, of course, and if you truly didn’t realize at that time that it shouldn’t be done, then you shouldn’t burden yourself with guilt. Remember that what happens to a person’s body after death has no bearing on what happens when that person’s soul meets the Lord on judgment day. However, you might wish to offer extra prayers for the person’s happy repose.

Q.: If I plan to donate my body to science, after which it will be cremated, is that OK? What if the laboratory disposes of these ashes?
A.: This would seem to be a valid reason for cremation. However, it would be important to make sure that arrangements are made for a funeral Mass, and that a trusted relative or friend is able to receive the remains and see to their proper burial.

Q.: How do I convince my dad to let me bury my mother’s ashes, which he now has at home?
A.: Only you would know the best way to approach a situation like that, and it would depend a lot on his reasons for keeping the remains and on his own personal faith. Perhaps making him aware of the church’s preference would be enough to convince him? Or the assurance that his own earthly remains will one day be buried alongside those of his wife? Also, the Vatican’s instruction itself articulates some compelling reasons: “The reservation of the ashes of the departed in a sacred place ensures that they are not excluded from the prayers and remembrance of the Christian community. It prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten, or their remains from being shown a lack of respect…”

Q.: Entombment of ashes is expensive; is there any ‘consecrated ground or consecrated place’ where Catholics can place ashes for free?
A.: That would vary from place to place. There have been some Catholic dioceses and cemeteries that have even organized special opportunities for the interment of cremated remains for no cost at all, just as a way to encourage people who might have been keeping the remains without a good idea of what to do with them. You might wish to bring this question to the office of your local bishop — the people who assist him might be able to help you find an appropriate place, particularly if the expense is an important factor.

Q.: “I am afraid I did something wrong. When my daughter died, I could not afford to bury her, but I had her cremated and her ashes will be buried with me. I also had some ashes put in crosses for her kids. I am distressed I did something very wrong.”
A.: Clearly you did that with good intentions, and weren’t aware of what the church wants us to do with the mortal remains of our loved ones, so you shouldn’t burden yourself with guilt over this. Would it be possible now to find a cemetery plot where you can bury her remains, and make arrangements so that your own remains can someday go into the same location? If at all possible, the ashes in the crosses should also be buried or interred along with them.

Q.: Many people die and are never buried properly. Perhaps they die at sea or in an explosion or whatever. Why is the Vatican worried about something like this when there are so many other problems in the world?
A.: This instruction isn’t concerned with those kinds of situations. Burial at sea is necessary at times, as is cremation. The main purpose for this instruction is to help foster a healthy respect for the human body, even after death, especially in light of the move in recent years away from traditional burial in favor of more expedient and economical means. Where contemporary culture today may well question what difference it makes, the church is reminding us to recall that the human body is an integral part of the human person deserving of respect even after death. The earliest Christians buried the bodies of their dead, and this set them apart from many of their contemporaries. We bury our dead out of reverence for God our creator, and as a sign that we look forward to the resurrection on the last day.

2 days 11 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: Live Catholic Headlines
Posted
Vatican City, Dec 7, 2016 / 11:49 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis gave an interview to a Belgian magazine in which he cautioned media to avoid several major temptations, including the desire to always focus on scandal – which he compared to "coprophilia," a mental illness in which a person has an abnormal interest in feces. 5 hours 29 min
New Delhi, India, Dec 7, 2016 / 08:05 am (EWTN News/CNA).- A cloistered nun in India came out of her convent for an extraordinary reason: to attend a graduation ceremony for her doctorate in Aerospace Engineering.
9 hours 13 min
Vatican City, Dec 7, 2016 / 06:13 am (EWTN News/CNA).- For Pope Francis, one of most needed virtues of modern time is hope, which is something he said must never be abandoned no matter how hard life gets, and which is often expressed in the simple act of a smile. 11 hours 5 min
Vatican City, Dec 7, 2016 / 04:36 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Beauty, under the care of artists, has the ability to transform even the everyday lives of men and women, Pope Francis said in a message for the annual meeting of the Pontifical Academies on Tuesday. 12 hours 42 min
Vatican City, Dec 7, 2016 / 04:06 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- A new association for women working in the Vatican announced Wednesday provides a personal and professional network for women to offer support to each other and to the community. 13 hours 12 min
Vatican City, Dec 7, 2016 / 02:37 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The updated version of the Vatican's document on priestly formation, released Wednesday, deals with issues of clericalism, homosexuality, and the protection of minors, among other things. 14 hours 41 min
Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, Dec 7, 2016 / 02:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- A distant part of Ethiopia last week celebrated the baptisms of 300 adult catechumens, youth, and infants. 15 hours 16 min
Vatican City, Dec 6, 2016 / 09:47 am (EWTN News/CNA).- On Tuesday, the Vatican announced that Bishop Wilfredo Pino Estévez, who has led the Cuban diocese of Guantánamo-Baracoa for the past 10 years, will now be taking over as the new Archbishop of Camaguey. 1 day 7 hours
Vatican City, Dec 6, 2016 / 08:16 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors launched a new website Tuesday, which is designed to help inform the public about their work, and includes resources for Church leaders on safeguarding children and caring for survivors. 1 day 9 hours
Vatican City, Dec 6, 2016 / 08:04 am (EWTN News/CNA).- For the first time, the works of Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn will be displayed at the Vatican. 1 day 9 hours
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec 6, 2016 / 06:47 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- In late September, Pope Francis met with the controversial president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila. 1 day 10 hours
Vienna, Austria, Dec 6, 2016 / 02:26 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- In order to realize the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons the discourse of the international community surrounding nuclear security must be based on an ethic of trust, responsibility, and cooperation – not fear and suspicion, Vatican official Msgr. Antoine Camilleri said Tuesday. 1 day 14 hours
Vatican City, Dec 5, 2016 / 12:22 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- As Christmas approaches, don't downplay your sins, Pope Francis said. Instead, name them honestly in the Sacrament of Confession, open your heart, and ask the Lord to heal you from within. 2 days 4 hours
Vatican City, Dec 5, 2016 / 09:00 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Upon accepting the resignation of Bishop Denis Madden, Pope Francis has appointed two priests to be the next auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Vatican announced Monday. 2 days 8 hours
Arlington, Va., Dec 5, 2016 / 06:35 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The Gospel is the answer to a wounded society, the new bishop of Arlington said in the wake of the presidential election. 2 days 10 hours
Vatican City, Dec 5, 2016 / 01:52 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis endorsed a recent conference dedicated to the conservation and restoration of art and heritage within the Middle East, as a means to defend the rights of the human person.  2 days 15 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: Reliable world news and analysis from a Catholic perspective.
Posted

Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas has said that the government of Venezuela must fulfill its commitments to preserve a fragile dialogue with opposition leaders.

5 hours 40 min

Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame University, is not prepared to commit to inviting President-elect Donald Trump to speak on campus.

5 hours 50 min

Cardinal Peter Turkson suggested an open public debate on the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, in remarks to the National Catholic Register.

6 hours 11 min

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (popularly known as “Ahok”), the Christian governor of Jakarta, will go on trial for blasphemy on December 13.

6 hours 14 min

At the conclusion of his regular weekly public audience on December 7, Pope Francis called attention to two days designated by the UN for special observances: the International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9 and Human Rights Day on December 10. He said:

6 hours 22 min

Pope Francis explained his understanding of the “synodal Church,” and issued a strongly worded condemnation of defamation and disinformation in the media, in a new interview with the Belgian journal Tertio.

6 hours 25 min

Because of the heated debate on the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, “we are witnessing today a bizzare form of schism,” Bishop Athanasius Schneider said in a French television interview.

7 hours 19 min

The Vatican has confirmed that homosexual men should not be ordained to the priesthood.

7 hours 47 min

Having concluded his series of Wednesday general audiences on mercy, Pope Francis has turned to the topic of Christian hope.

16 hours 49 min

In a December 6 message to the 11 pontifical academies on the occasion of a joint meeting, Pope Francis spoke about beauty in the midst of cities.

16 hours 54 min

In five months, a Ugandan grassland has been transformed into the world’s 2nd-largest refugee camp, according to Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies.

17 hours 15 min

At a December 5 interfaith forum in New York, the president of the World Jewish Congress pleaded for concerted action to stop the genocide of Christians.

17 hours 34 min

In February 2015, the Islamic State attacked Christian villages in northern Syria, seizing over 200 hostages.

17 hours 51 min

Switzerland’s bishops gathered at Valère Basilica in Sion on December 5 and asked God for forgiveness for sexual abuse within the Church.

18 hours 26 min

The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity told a French Catholic newspaper that it is better to “commemorate” the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation than to “celebrate” it.

18 hours 47 min

The Catholic bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are acting as mediators to ward off a national crisis created by President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to relinquish his authority.

1 day 11 hours

The Vatican has opened an exhibition of works by Rembrandt van Rijn: the first exhibit of the Dutch artist ever shown at the Vatican Museums.

1 day 11 hours

A New York judge has granted the New York archdiocese a temporary stay of a court order calling for the transfer of the remains of Archbishop Fulton Sheen from New York to Peoria, Illinois.

1 day 11 hours

“The logic of fear and mistrust that is epitomized by nuclear deterrence must be replaced with a new global ethic,” a Vatican representative said in an address to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

1 day 11 hours

A Christian cemetery has been desecrated in Kafr Yasif, an Arab town of 10,000 in northern Israel whose residents are mostly Christians and Muslims.

1 day 17 hours

The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences gathered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for a seven-day meeting devoted to “The Asian Catholic Family: Domestic Church of the Poor on a Mission of Mercy.”

1 day 17 hours

Pope Francis received US Secretary of State John Kerry in a December 2 private audience.

1 day 17 hours

The bishop of Yei, South Sudan’s second-largest city, told the Fides news agency that people there are at risk of being massacred by the president’s forces in the nation’s ethnic civil war.

1 day 17 hours

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against a Romanian Greek Catholic parish that sought the return of its property from the Romanian Orthodox Church.

1 day 18 hours

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has welcomed Pope Francis’s statement in the apostolic letter Misericordia et Misera that “I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.”

1 day 18 hours

Two Syrian Orthodox prelates were denied permission to enter the United Kingdom to participate in the dedication of a new cathedral.

2 days 7 hours

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has voiced his admiration for Amoris Laetitia, in a column published in the Vatican newspaper, L‘Osservatore Romano.

2 days 7 hours

Pope Francis received Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz and George Weigel in separate private audiences on December 5.

2 days 16 hours

Father James Martin, SJ, the editor of America magazine, has discussed his role as consultant to Martin Scorsese’s film Silence, which portrays the work of Jesuit missionaries in Japan under persecution during the 17th century.

2 days 17 hours

A total of 69 people were victims of 59 hate-crime offenses motivated by anti-Catholic bias in the US in 2015, according to a report recently issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

2 days 17 hours

Dioceses in the United States will mark the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12) as a day of prayer and solidarity with families of immigrants.

2 days 17 hours

In his Angelus address for the Second Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis called upon the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square to convert.

2 days 18 hours

Pope Francis met with international business leaders taking part in a Fortune-Time Global Forum and called upon them to place the economy at the service of the human person and seeks ways to include the poor and marginalized.

2 days 18 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: The World Seen From Rome
Posted

Never lose hope… Never…

Pope Francis stressed this during this morning’s General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, as began a new series of catecheses on the theme of Christian hope. 

In this Season of Advent, “the time of expectation, in which we prepare ourselves to receive once again the consoling mystery of the Incarnation and the light of Christmas,” he noted, it is important to reflect on hope.

“When we find ourselves before a child, perhaps we might have many problems and many difficulties, but a smile comes to us from within, because we find ourselves before hope: a child is a hope!

“And so,” he continued, “we must be able to see in life the way of hope, which leads us to find God, God who became a Child for us — and it will make us smile”

Need Hope

“We need hope! We feel lost and also somewhat discouraged, because we feel impotent and it seems that this darkness will never end.

“However, we must not let hope abandon us, because God walks with us with His love.”

The Pope encouraged faithful to allow ourselves to be taught by the Lord what it means to hope, beginning with the prophet Isaiah, ‘the great prophet of Advent.’

Comfort

In the second part of his Book, the Jesuit recalled, Isaiah addresses the people with a proclamation of consolation: “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. ”

God the Father consoles by arousing consolers, proclaiming that “the warfare is ended, sorrow is ended, and sin is pardoned.”

“For the people, consolation begins with the possibility to walk on the way of God, a new way, straightened and passable, a way to prepare in the desert, so that one can go across it and return to the homeland.”

Therefore, Francis highlighted, to prepare that way means to prepare a way of salvation and of liberation from every obstacle and hindrance.

 

“When we are in darkness, in difficulties, we cannot smile and it is, in fact, hope that teaches us to smile to find that way that leads to God,” he said.

“Life is often a desert, it is difficult to walk in it, but if we entrust ourselves to God it can become beautiful and wide as a highway. Suffice it never to lose hope, suffice it to continue to believe, always, despite all.”

No More Deserts … Doesn’t Disappoint

“Let us wait confidently for the coming of the Lord and no matter what the desert is of our lives – each one knows in what desert he walks — it will become a flowering garden,” Francis said, underscoring: “Hope does not disappoint!”

Pope Francis concluded, reminding faithful tomorrow is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, for which, he will continue the annual tradition of paying homage to Mary near Rome’s Spanish Steps, and likely will visit afterward Rome’s Marian Basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore.

***

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/general-audience-on-christian-hope/

8 hours 7 min

Pope Francis has given another interview, this time to the Belgian weekly “Tertio.”

The interview was done on the occasion of the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and published this morning.

In the interview, the Holy Father discusses issues ranging from mercy and the Jubilee year, to interreligious dialogue and war.

Responding to other inquiries, the Jesuit Pontiff also offers advice for young people, press, and priests.

Asked some wisdom for priests, he admitted his three-tier response is a bit Salesian, but comes from the heart:

  • “One, Remember that you have a Mother who loves you, and do not stop loving your Mother, the Virgin.”
  • “Second: let yourself be looked at by Jesus.”
  • “Third, look for the suffering flesh of Jesus in our brothers: there you’ll encounter Jesus.”

To the young people, he encouraged them to seek meaning in life, to open their horizons and, acknowledging difficulties nowadays for them to find work, to not “retire at 20 years old.”

Turning to press, Francis reminded them of journalists’ great responsibility and despite temptations, to not be swayed to report falsities or half truths, because it can have dangerous consequences.

When asked if he would visit Belgium, Francis stressed that he does not plan to visit, but that he knows the country well. Everyone laughed when he mentioned that the nation’s most beautiful city, however, is not theirs of Brussels, but rather Bruges.

As soon as possible, ZENIT will bring you an English translation of the interview’s text.

***

On the NET:

‘Tertio:’ http://www.tertio.be/magazines/878/artikels/%E2%80%9CRevolutie%20van%20tederheid%20bezweert%20cardiosclerose%E2%80%9D

 

12 hours 13 min

At the conclusion of today’s General Audience, Pope Francis remembered that two important international days fall this weekend.

“In the coming days two important days promoted by the United Nations take place: International Anti-Corruption Day on Dec. 9, and Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.”

Saying they are two closely connected realities, he noted, “corruption is the negative aspect to combat, beginning with the personal conscience and being vigilant of areas of civilian life, especially for those most at risk.”

“Human rights is the positive aspect, to be promoted even more decisively, so that nobody is excluded from the effective recognition of the fundamental rights of the human person.”

Pope Francis concluded, praying, “May the Lord sustain us in this double commitment.”

12 hours 26 min
[From Vatican Radio]

On November 23, in the small Italian village of Massafra, a funeral Mass was offered for a young Italian girl, 10-year-old Paolina, who had died of a terrible illness.

The Requiem Mass took place in the church of Saint Leopold Mandic,, with many parishioners present, including the local mayor.

During the homily at the Mass, the pastor, Father Michele Quaranta read a letter sent to Paolina by Pope Francis. Paolina’s mother had written to the Holy Father to ask his blessing and his prayers for her daughter. Pope Francis had hoped to welcome to the young girl to the Vatican to meet her in person, but Paolina was already too sick to make the voyage.

The full text of the Pope’s letter to Paolina can be read here:

Dearest Paolina,

Your photos are on my desk, because in your truly special gaze I see the light of goodness and of innocence. Thanks for sending them to me! Read this letter together with your family and the kiss that I will give you now will be the kiss of the Pope. I join my hands to yours and to those of all those who are praying for you. And so we will make a long chain that, I’m sure, will reach to heaven. But remember that the first link in this chain is you, because you have Jesus in your heart! Remember that! So speak to Him, tell Him about yourself, but also talk about your mom and dad who have so much need of help and comfort in the face of the very difficult steps they are facing. You will certainly be a very good girl by suggesting to Jesus what to do for them! Remember, too, to tell Him what He should do for me, too, while I remember the things He ought to do for you. I give you a very, very big hug, and I bless you, together with your parents and your loved ones, with all my heart.

Francis

12 hours 39 min

Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of the Pope’s address at the General Audience this morning:

_

Speaker: Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today we begin a new series of catecheses dealing with Christian hope. In these times, when evil often seems to have the upper hand, hope comforts us with the assurance of Christ’s lordship, his victory over sin, and his constant presence in our midst. In this Advent season, we hear once more the great message of consolation spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “Comfort, comfort my people”. The prophet tells us that God promises to bring his people home from their exile in a foreign land and that he desires that a way be prepared for him through the desert. This summons to renewed faith and trust in God’s saving power is also addressed to us. Saint John the Baptist, preaching in the desert of Judea, echoed these words as he prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. The Scriptures show us how Christ’s birth was prepared for by men and women – like Mary, Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth – who never lost their trust in God’s promises. May we imitate their hope, and await the coming of the Savior, who turns the desert of our lives into a garden of delight.

Speaker: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Denmark, Spain, Nigeria, Australia and the United States of America. I pray that each of you, and your families, may experience a blessed Advent, in preparation for the coming of the newborn Savior at Christmas. God bless you!

 

12 hours 50 min

Here is a ZENIT working translation of Pope Francis’ address during this morning’s General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall:

__

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today we begin a new series of catecheses, on the theme of Christian hope. It is very important, because hope does not disappoint. Optimism disappoints, but not hope! We are in such need of it, in these times that seem dark, in which sometimes we feel lost in face of the evil and violence that surround us, in face of the pain of so many of our brothers. We need hope! We feel lost and also somewhat discouraged, because we feel impotent and it seems that this darkness will never end.

However, we must not let hope abandon us, because God walks with us with His love. “I hope because God is by my side: all of us can say this. Each one of us can say: “I hope, I have hope, because God walks with me.” He walks and leads me by the hand. God does not leave us alone. The Lord Jesus has overcome evil and opened to us the way of life.

And then, particularly in this Season of Advent, which is the time of expectation, in which we prepare ourselves to receive once again the consoling mystery of the Incarnation and the light of Christmas, it is important to reflect on hope. Let us allow ourselves to be taught by the Lord what it means to hope. Therefore, we listen to the words of Sacred Scripture, beginning with the prophet Isaiah, the great prophet of Advent, the great messenger of hope.

In the second part of his Book, Isaiah addresses the people with a proclamation of consolation: “Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service has ended, that her guilt is expiated, That she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be lifted up, every mountain and hill made low; The rugged land shall be a plain, the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

God the Father consoles by arousing consolers, to whom He asks to hearten the people, His children, proclaiming that the warfare is ended, sorrow is ended, and sin is pardoned. This is what heals the afflicted and fearful heart. Therefore, the prophet asks to prepare the way of the Lord, opening oneself to His gifts of salvation.

For the people, consolation begins with the possibility to walk on the way of God, a new way, straightened and passable, a way to prepare in the desert, so that one can go across it and return to the homeland. Because the people the prophet was addressing was living the tragedy of the exile in Babylon, and now, instead, it hears it said that it will be able to return to its land, through a way made easy and wide, without valleys and mountains that make the way exhausting, a way leveled in the desert. Therefore, to prepare that way means to prepare a way of salvation and of liberation from every obstacle and hindrance.

The exile was a dramatic moment in the history of Israel, when the people had lost everything. The people had lost their homeland, freedom, dignity and even their trust in God. They felt abandoned and without hope. Instead, see the prophet’s appeal, which reopens their heart to faith. The desert is a place in which it is difficult to live, but precisely there is where they will be able to walk to return, not only to their homeland but also to God, and to hope and to smile again. When we are in darkness, in difficulties, we cannot smile and it is, in fact, hope that teaches us to smile to find that way that leads to God. One of the first things that happen to persons who are tired of God is that they are persons without a smile. Perhaps they are able to have a great laugh, they do so one after another, a beat, a laugh … but a smile is lacking! Hope alone gives a smile: it is the smile of the hope of finding God. 

Life is often a desert, it is difficult to walk in it, but if we entrust ourselves to God it can become beautiful and wide as a highway. Suffice it never to lose hope, suffice it to continue to believe, always, despite all. When we find ourselves before a child, perhaps we might have many problems and many difficulties, but a smile comes to us from within, because we find ourselves before hope: a child is a hope! And so we must be able to see in life the way of hope, which leads us to find God, God who became a Child for us — and it will make us smile, it will give us all!

In fact, these words of Isaiah are later used by John the Baptist in his preaching, which invites to conversion. He said thus: “The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord” (Matthew 3:3). It is a voice that cries where it seems that no one is able to hear — but who can hear in the desert? — that cries in the loss due to the crisis of faith. We cannot deny that today’s world is in a crisis of faith. One says ”I believe in God, I am Christian” – “I am of that religion …” But your life is very far from being Christian; it is very far from God! Religion, faith has fallen in an expression: “Do I believe?” – “Yes!” However, here it is about turning to God, converting the heart to God and of going on this way to find Him. He awaits us. This is John the Baptist’s preaching: to prepare. To prepare the encounter with this Child who will give us back a smile. When the Baptist proclaims the coming of Jesus, for the Israelites it was as if they were still in exile, because they were under Roman domination, making them strangers in their own homeland, governed by powerful occupants who decided their life. However, the true history is not that made up of the powerful but rather that made by God together with His little ones. The true history – that which will remain in eternity – is that which God writes with His little ones: God with Mary, God with Jesus, God with Joseph, God with the little ones. Those little and simple ones that we find around Jesus about to be born: Zechariah and Elizabeth, elderly marked by sterility; Mary, young virgin girl betrothed bride of Joseph, the shepherds held in contempt, accounted as nothing. It is the little ones, made great by their faith, the little ones who are able to continue to hope. And hope is the virtue of little ones. The great, the satisfied do not know hope they do not know what it is.

It is the little ones with God, with Jesus that transform the desert of exile, of desperate loneliness, of suffering into a level way on which to walk to go to encounter the glory of the Lord. And we come, therefore, to allowing ourselves to be taught hope. Let us wait confidently for the coming of the Lord and no matter what the desert is of our lives – each one knows in what desert he walks — it will become a flowering garden. Hope does not disappoint!

[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]

In Italian  

I give a warm welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the Missionaries of Charity; the Love and Freedom Community; the Aphasic Community of Puglia and the artists of the 24th edition of the Christmas Concert promoted by the “Don Bosco in the World” Foundation. Dear brothers and sisters, I exhort you to cultivate in every circumstance of life the theological virtue of hope, gift of God, who with His tenderness does not cease to console His people.

A special greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. The Liturgical Season of Advent is an occasion of special grace to reflect on our journey to encounter the Lord. May the Virgin Mary, whose Immaculate Conception we will celebrate tomorrow, be the model for interior preparation for Christmas, so that each one’s heart becomes a cradle to receive the Son of God, face of the Father’s mercy, with the listening of His word, with works of fraternal charity and with prayer.

[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]

The Holy Father’s Appeal

In the forthcoming days, two important Days will be observed, promoted by the United Nations: that against corruption — December 9 — and that for human rights — December 10 –. They are two closely linked realities: corruption is the negative aspect to combat, beginning from one’s personal conscience and watching over realms of civil life, especially those that are most at risk; human rights are the positive aspect, to be promoted with ever renewed determination, so that no one is excluded from effective recognition of the fundamental rights of the human person. May the Lord support you in this twofold commitment.

[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]

 

 

13 hours 17 min

He who does not know the tenderness of God does not know the Christian doctrine.  This was the concept at the core of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, a homily focused largely on the figure of Judas.

Judas, an evangelical image of the lost sheep

Taking his cue from the Gospel reading of the day which recounts the Parable of the lost sheep, Pope Francis spoke of how the Lord never stops looking for us.

Describing the Lord as a kind of a judge, a judge who caresses and is full of tenderness, he said God does everything to save us.

“He does not come to condemn, but to save” the Pope said, and he loves each and every one of us personally. He knows us by name and loves us for what we are.

And speaking of the lost sheep Francis explained that it did not get lost because it didn’t have a compass but because it “had a sick heart” and was running away “to be distant from the Lord and was satiating an inner darkness.”

And pointing out that the Lord knows these things and never neglects to go out and look for the lost sheep, the Pope said the Lord’s attitude toward Judas is so symbolic:

“Judas is the most perfect lost sheep in the Gospel: a man with a bitter heart, someone who always had something to criticize in others, he was always ‘detached.’  He did not know the sweetness that comes of living without second ends with others. He was an unsatisfied man!” he said.

The Pope said that because of the darkness in his heart Judas was separated from the herd. He said – more in general – that darkness can lead to living a double life: “a double life that, perhaps painfully, many Christians, even priests and bishops lead…”

Pointing out that Judas himself was one of the first bishops, the Pope recalled a beautiful sermon given by Father Mazzolari in which he described Judas as a lost sheep: “Brother Judas, he said, what was happening in your heart?”  Francis said we need to understand lost sheep: each and every one of us has something in us of the lost sheep.

The Repentance of Judas

The Pope went on to explain that is not so much a mistake but a disease of the heart that makes a sheep wander and he said it is something the devil exploits.

Just as it was with Judas whose heart was ‘divided’. And finally when Judas saw what harm his double life had wreaked in the community, when he saw the evil he had sown because of the darkness in his heart that caused him to run away, looking for a light that was not the light of the Lord, but artificial lights like Christmas decorations, he was thrown into despair:

The Pope said that the Bible tells us that “the Lord is good, he never stops looking for the lost sheep” and it tells us that when Judas hanged himself he had repented.

“I believe that the Lord will take that word [repentance] and bring it with Him,” he said. And it tells us that right until the end God’s love was working in that soul.

He said that this is the message, the good news that Christmas brings, asking us to rejoice with a sincerity that brings with it a change of heart that leads us to take comfort in the Lord, and not in other ‘escapist’ consolations.

God’s power is in His tenderness

When Jesus finds the lost sheep he does not insult it although it caused so much harm, the Pope said, and in the Garden of Olives, he calls Judas with the appellative ‘friend’. These, he said, are God’s caresses:

“He who does not know the caresses of the Lord does not know Christian doctrine! He who does not allow himself to be caressed by the Lord is lost!” he said.

Pope Francis concluded saying that the consolation that we seek is in God’s tenderness that saves us and brings us back to the fold of his Church.

“May the Lord give us the grace to sincerely recognize our sins as we await Christmas, as we wait for the power of God who comes to console us with tenderness,” he said.

[From Vatican Radio]

Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Tuesday of the Second Week in Advent
Lectionary: 182

Reading 1 IS 40:1-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
The rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

A voice says, “Cry out!”
I answer, “What shall I cry out?”
“All flesh is grass,
and all their glory like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower wilts,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it.
So then, the people is the grass.
Though the grass withers and the flower wilts,
the word of our God stands forever.”

Go up onto a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
Cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
Here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2, 3 AND 10AC, 11-12, 13 R. (see Isaiah 40:10ab) The Lord our God comes with power.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord our God comes with power. Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The day of the Lord is near:
Behold, he comes to save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 18:12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”

1 day 4 hours

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: In 1983 when the new Code of Canon Law was promulgated, the Tridentine Mass of Pius V was thought to be abrogated. I happened to be studying canon law at that time and was advised, in fact, that the Latin Mass had been abrogated by Paul VI. I consulted an expert in Rome who advised me that if Paul VI had intended to abrogate the Mass, he would have used a different Latin verb. But that does not detract from the fact that people believed that it had been. When the new code was promulgated, therefore, I maintain that any reference to the liturgy in the new code refers only to the ordinary form. Rubrics for the Latin Mass were set by Pius V. The validity of an action depends on the intention of the legislator or the one carrying out the act. Comment please. — M.F., Ottawa, Ontario

A: There are really several questions involved.

The first question is whether the extraordinary form was ever formally abrogated. Pope Benedict XVI declared in his 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum:

“It is therefore permitted to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal, which was promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Church’s Liturgy.”

Therefore, if the Pope has said it was never abrogated, then that is the case.

While Paul VI never made a formal declaration abrogating the earlier missal, and in some specific cases allowed for its continued celebration, some people believed that it had been abrogated in virtue of a canonical principle as articulated in canons 20-21 of the Code of Canon Law:

“Canon 20. A later law abrogates, or derogates from, an earlier law if it states so expressly, is directly contrary to it, or completely reorders the entire matter of the earlier law. A universal law, however, in no way derogates from a particular or special law unless the law expressly provides otherwise.

“Canon 21. In a case of doubt, the revocation of a pre-existing law is not presumed, but later laws must be related to the earlier ones and, insofar as possible, must be harmonized with them.”

Since the rites of the ordinary form completely reordered the matter of liturgical worship, some people might have presumed that the new rites abrogated the earlier. As Canon 21 points out, however, this cannot be presumed in cases of doubt.

It must also be pointed out that the bulk of liturgical law is not found in the Code of Canon Law and is expressly excluded from its province, thus Canon 2:

“For the most part the Code does not define the rites which must be observed in celebrating liturgical actions. Therefore, liturgical laws in force until now retain their force unless one of them is contrary to the canons of the Code.”

A similar provision was also in the earlier code, so most of liturgical questions are not covered by the code.

This principle, however, might assist us in answering our reader’s other question: Does the code refer exclusively to the ordinary form?

The answer is given in the 2011 instruction “Universae Ecclesiae, on the Application of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of His Holiness Benedict XVI,” issued by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. To wit:

“27. With regard to the disciplinary norms connected to celebration, the ecclesiastical discipline contained in the Code of Canon Law of 1983 applies.

“28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.”

The answer to the question therefore is both yes and no. The 1983 canonical discipline, and all other liturgical law since 1962, applies except when it is incompatible with the 1962 rubrics.

Thus, for example, the norms regarding the use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, authorized in earlier documents but incorporated into the 1983 code, would be incompatible with the 1962 rubrics and so they would not be applicable to the extraordinary form.

On the other hand, disciplinary norms in the code that touch upon the sacraments would generally be applicable no matter what form of the Roman rite was used. Examples here would include the requirements for being a godparent; the higher minimum age for ordination to the priesthood; the norms for marriage impediments; the broadening of the possibilities for exposing the Blessed Sacrament; and the extension of faculties for hearing confession beyond the diocese. These are not ceremonial norms and thus do not generally affect the rubrics in one way or the other.

A similar criterion could also be applied to norms issued after the promulgation of the code. For example, the decisions made by the Holy See regarding the validity of the use of mustum for celebrating Mass by priests afflicted by alcoholism or of the use of low-gluten bread for sufferers of celiac disease would also be applicable to those who habitually celebrate or attend the extraordinary form.

There might be some cases that are not clear. For example, some ask if a small second chalice might be used in the extraordinary form to benefit those celiac sufferers who are incapable of ingesting even low-gluten bread. Certainly this is a tiny minority, but it would probably not totally contradict the rubrics of the extraordinary form even though these rubrics do not contemplate this possibility.

In cases of doubt the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei would normally be the competent organ to resolve them. As the instruction says:

“9. The Sovereign Pontiff has conferred upon the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei ordinary vicarious power for the matters within its competence, in a particular way for monitoring the observance and application of the provisions of the Motu ProprioSummorum Pontificum.

“10. §1. The Pontifical Commission exercises this power, beyond the faculties previously granted by Pope John Paul II and confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 11-12), also by means of the power to decide upon recourses legitimately sent to it, as hierarchical Superior, against any possible singular administrative provision of an Ordinary which appears to be contrary to the Motu Proprio.

“§2. The decrees by which the Pontifical Commission decides recourses may be challenged ad normam iuris before the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

“11. After having received the approval from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will have the task of looking after future editions of liturgical texts pertaining to the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.”

* * *

Readers may send questions to zenit.liturgy@gmail.com. Please put the word “Liturgy” in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.

1 day 4 hours

As the Vatican-mediated talks in Venezuela are crumbling, there’s no doubt Pope Francis has the situation in his heart.

The government and opposition were supposed to sit down with Vatican mediation today, but this morning, the opposition said they were not planning to attend the talks, since the government has made no efforts at compromise, and particularly, has not made any moves to release more than 100 political prisoners.

The archbishop of Caracas was in Rome in November for the consistory to create new cardinals. On that occasion, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino said that the Holy Father’s “affection and concern for Venezuela is something very encouraging for us.” The Pontiff “is always worried about us,” he said.

Already then, the cardinal was lamenting that the talks were progressing too slowly and expressing his regret that the government was not moving to release political prisoners.

The Archbishop of Caracas also pointed out that some think that the Pope’s delegate is going to resolve the problems.

But, he pointed out, “the responsibility for the resolution of the problems weighs on the shoulders of the parties in conflict, not on the shoulders of the supporters.”

It’s not the Vatican – he stressed — that is going to resolve Venezuela’s problems; it is Venezuelans in the Government and in the Opposition that are trying to reach agreements to resolve the critical and very bad circumstances that the Venezuelan people are experiencing.

Finally, recalling the Mass that he himself celebrated with political prisoners the previous Sunday, he explained that “they ask for support, solidarity, affection.”

1 day 4 hours

Healing cynicism and indifference starts with small gestures — little sparks of beauty that can mend societies.

The Pope suggested this in a message delivered today to participants in the XXI Joint Meeting of the eleven Pontifical Academies.

The Pope’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, read the Message to participants gathered in the Apostolic Chancery on Tuesday afternoon. They are exploring the theme: Sparks of beauty to give a more human visage to our cities.

“Taking care of people, starting with the smallest and weakest, and of their daily bonds,” writes Pope Francis, “necessarily also means taking care of the environment in which they live. Small gestures, simple actions, small sparks of beauty and love can heal, ‘mending’ the often lacerated and divided human fabric [of society], as well as that of a city and of the environment, representing a concrete alternative to indifference and cynicism.”

The Holy Father’s Message was addressed to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who also serves as President of the Coordinating Committee for the Pontifical Academies.

1 day 5 hours

The Fides agency reported that a Lahore anti-terrorism court has sentenced five people to death for the killing of Shahbaz Masih, 26, and Shama Bibi, 24, killed in the Punjab province in November of 2014.

The couple was accused of having committed blasphemy. The couple, who were working in a brick kiln, were first tortured and then burnt alive in the furnace. The two left three children who are now living with their maternal grandfather.

Among the five sentenced to death, one is a Muslim religious. The judge also ordered a fine of 200,000 rupees for each of the convicted and imposed a two- year imprisonment sentence to eight other defendants involved.

Michelle Chaudhry, president of the “Cecil Chaudhry & Iris Foundation,” an organization that today deals with the legal protection and education of the three orphaned children of the couple, told Fides: “Justice is done. Although as Catholics we reject the death penalty, we believe it is important that a court acted promptly, in just two years, and punished the culprits. It is a sign of maturity of the Pakistani judicial system that respects the rights and demands for justice for everyone, including religious minorities who often suffer unpunished violence. The government of Pakistan must ensure safety and security to every single citizen of Pakistan regardless of faith, as enshrined in the Constitution”.

Chaudhry concludes: “Shama and Shahzad are two innocent people who were killed because of hatred and intolerance. In that furnace humanity, the teachings of Islam and the democratic Pakistan of Ali Jinnah were burned”.

The two were killed by a crowd of more than 600, instigated by the religious leaders of the area, although they continued to proclaim their innocence.

About 40 suspects, including the owner of the kiln, were arrested the day after the murder.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are often abused and used for vengeance.

[Report adapted from Fides]
1 day 5 hours

Here is the homily by Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, given at vespers for the Archdiocesan Day of Sanctification of Priests on November 28.

 

Reading

Philippians 3:12-21

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

We all know how good citizenship, civic involvement and concern for the common good are so important and necessary for society. Citizenship has been front and center in the news over the past few years. We have listened to inciting talk about political leaders who may not have been legitimate citizens or candidates who may or may not be “natural born citizens” and thus eligible to run for office! We have heard much about citizenship, borders, walls and passports over the past year during the Presidential election campaign. There has been much rhetoric and threats about keeping non-citizens out or how to get those here illegally to return to their homelands. Many are living in trepidation and fear for their very lives as the US Government leadership transition is underway. The worldwide refugee crisis that has impacted all of us is also a shocking story of desired citizenship and justice and freedom. Citizenship is at the forefront of the thinking of many people throughout the world at this moment in history.

In the scripture reading we just heard from the Apostle to the Nations, St. Paul reminds his beloved community at Philippi about another citizenship which transcends that of the nations on earth. Paul reminds the Philippians that “our citizenship is in heaven.” The matter of citizenship was a very important one for the inhabitants of Philippi because that city, located in Macedonia, had become a Roman colony. This meant that a large number of Roman citizens lived in Philippi, especially many retired military officers.

When Paul and Silas first arrived in Philippi on their missionary journey, they caused quite a scene and were subsequently imprisoned in shackles. That very night there was a large earthquake and both Paul and Silas were set free. They even managed to convert the Philippian jailer and his family. The following morning, Paul complained to the city officials of Philippi reminded them that he was a Roman citizen! Paul accused them of mistreating him.  They apologized to Paul. Roman citizenship carried with it certain privileges, wherever you happened to live in the Empire. All of this is the background of Paul’s use of the word “citizenship” in today’s passage. But Paul took that term to a higher level. It was not only Roman or for that matter any earthly citizenship that mattered for him, but rather our citizenship in heaven. That is one passport that can never be taken from us or denied us.

Our citizenship is in heaven. But it is not a “natural born” citizenship. No, by nature, we are not citizens of heaven. We are natural born sinners, doomed to die and caught in the net of the evil one. We need a new citizenship, a new birth, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. We received this new birth at our baptism – our real citizenship day when we promised to walk as children of the light and allowed ourselves to be marked with the sign of the cross and sealed with the oils of gladness. Baptism is our Nexus or Global Entry card that never has to be renewed every five years.  It is a life membership that makes us citizens of heaven.

What are the duties and obligations of such a citizenship? First of all, it reminds us that on this earth, we have no lasting city.  We will forever be sojourners, strangers and pilgrims passing through on the way to the heavenly Jerusalem. We are in the world and not of it. There will always be a certain sense of discomfort of dis-ease in us as we realize that we just don’t fit in to many of the world’s ways. Paul himself reminded us of that fact: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” “Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth.”

Heavenly citizenship, however, does not remove our responsibilities duties and obligations during our earthly sojourn. Could this be what President John Kennedy had in mind when during his inaugural address he said: “With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forward… asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”                         

There is significant work to be done by us during this earthly sojourn. There are people to love and serve while we journey. We have our various vocations to fulfill while we wait for our Lord Jesus to return: husband, wife, parent, child, church member, employer or employee, and yes, even citizen of this country. And as Americans, we have certain duties and responsibilities that go with that. We must pray for our governing officials, especially when we disagree with them.

Pope Francis has provided for us three good manuals to help us live as good citizens on earth as we prepare for our heavenly homeland. We know those guides or manuals by the names of Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si and Amoris Laetitia. I consider the three guides to be this: EG is the playbook of how we live on earth- offering us a framework for relating to God and to one another and teaching us about priorities. LS is the home that God has given us: the earth and its riches and resources.  AL offers us some important points on how to live within that home.

We must take to heart the piercing questions of Pope Francis in his encyclical letter on the Care of our Common Home: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (#160). This question is at the heart of Laudato si’. This question does not have to do with the environment alone and in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal. This question leads us to ask ourselves about the meaning of existence and its values at the basis of social life: “What is the purpose of our life in this world? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us?” Unless we struggle with these questions, we will not be good citizens. As Christians who are good citizens, we do not just withdraw into our little shell and ignore what is going on around us.  Because we are citizens of heaven, we can handle whatever comes our way here on earth. The Church to which we belong must shine with the light that lives within itself, it must go out and encounter human beings who – even though they believe that they do not need to hear a message of salvation – often find themselves afraid and wounded by life.

Pope Francis tells us time and time again that today more than ever, we need “a church that is again capable of restoring citizenship to so many of its children that walk as if in exodus. Christian citizenship is above all the result of God’s mercy. Pope Francis wants the church to be an instrument of reconciliation and welcome, a church capable of warming hearts, a church that is not bent over on herself but always seeking those on the periphery and those who are lost, a church capable of leading people home.

How can we forget the magnificent address Francis gave to the special joint session of the Congress of the United States last September 24, 2015. It was an electric moment and a profound teaching moment on good citizenship. In extolling the valiant virtues and qualities of the American people, the South American Pontiff zeroed in on four American citizens who embodied the best of our culture and history: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. Lincoln, according to Francis, was “the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”.  

Dr. Martin Luther King embodied the “compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.” Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.”

When Francis named as one of his heroes and our heroes the servant of God, Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, I had tears in my eyes.  Of this great woman Francis said: “Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.”

And to complete the quartet of heroes, Pope Francis offered Thomas Merton to the powerful and mighty gathered that morning in the congressional joint session. Merton for Francis, “…remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. …Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.”

“Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God. Four representatives of the American people.”

Pope Francis concluded his stirring address with these words: “A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.”

Let us hope and pray that we can imitate such good citizens and hold them up as role models for the people we love and serve during our earthly sojourn in the Church and in the City of brotherly love.

1 day 5 hours

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) are jointly releasing resources to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017.

The resources are entitled Together in Christ — Lutherans and Catholics Commemorating the Reformation.

The process of developing these resources has itself involved an ecumenical dialogue and a deepening of relations between the two churches in Canada. Over the course of two years, a joint CCCB-ELCIC working group has prepared the materials which are intended to encourage the faithful in reflecting prayerfully on the past 500 years; in offering thanksgiving to God for the progress made in the efforts toward reconciliation; and in praying for pardon and peace whenever words or actions have fallen short of what Christ demands of Christians.

Related: Pope Francis Kicks Off Apostolic Visit to Sweden

The resources have been developed particularly for the use of parishes and study groups, as well as ecumenical officers of both Catholic and Lutheran traditions. The materials will also be of interest to institutes of consecrated life as well as for ecumenical meetings and days of prayer for Church unity. The resources include two key elements:

1. A five-part parish study guide entitled Together in Christ. Designed to foster mutual prayer, study, and conversation among Catholics, Lutherans and other Reformed traditions, the guide can be used either in segments or as a whole by individual or joint ecumenical study groups.

2. A homily resource for January 29, 2017, the concluding Sunday of the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the date proposed for launching this parish study guide. Other digital resources are also available.

The letter introducing the resources is signed by the Co-Chairs of the joint working group, the Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Winnipeg, and the Reverend Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) have also issued a jointly developed Common Prayer for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, entitled “From Conflict to Communion Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017”.

Links to the resources:
Together in Christ – Cover letter by the two Co-Chairs (introducing the materials)
Together in Christ – Promotion poster
Together in Christ – Leader’s Guide (instructions on how to organize the discussion sessions)
Together in Christ – Participant’s Guide
Together in Christ – Video script (written text of the audio visual material)
Together in Christ – Homily Resources

Link to the Common Prayer by the Pontifical Council and the Lutheran World Federation (PDF)

1 day 5 hours

“An ethic of responsibility for nuclear security” was the theme of an address given by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States, at the International Conference on Nuclear Security, organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency, underway in Vienna, Austria, from 5 to 9 December.

The prelate recalled that Pope Francis, in his address to the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2015, urged the international community “‘to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.”

The Vatican official said the “logic of fear and mistrust that is epitomised by nuclear deterrence must be replaced with a new global ethic. We need an ethic of responsibility, solidarity, and cooperative security adequate to the task of controlling the power of nuclear technology.”

Here is the full text:

 

Intervention of Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for Relations with States

Mr. President,

I have the honour of conveying to you and to all the distinguished participants at this second International Conference on Nuclear Security of the International Atomic Energy Agency the best wishes and cordial greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis.

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015, Pope Francis urged the international community “to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.” The Holy See is, therefore, most pleased to attend this Conference, thereby lending its support to advancing nuclear security.

Mr. President,

The promotion of nuclear security – preventing, detecting and responding to criminal or intentional unauthorized acts involving, or directed at, nuclear material, other radioactive material, associated facilities or associated activities – is of significant importance to the Holy See. On the one hand, nuclear security advances peace and security by contributing towards strengthening the non-proliferation regime and making much-needed progress toward nuclear disarmament. On the other hand, nuclear security – so closely linked to nuclear safety and a broader “safety culture” – promotes social and scientific development by the peaceful application of nuclear technologies to promote sustainable development by improving agriculture, water management, nutrition and food safety, infectious disease control, and efforts to fight cancer.

Considerable progress has been made in strengthening nuclear security and safety: UN Security Council Resolution 1540, the Nuclear Security Summits, the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, and the IAEA’s Codes of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and on Research Reactors are some of the important mechanisms already in place. The very existence and the professional activity of the International Atomic Energy Agency also constitute crucial aspects of the work towards nuclear safety, and the Holy See takes this opportunity to thank the Director General and the entire staff of the Agency for their labours in this regard.

At the same time, we should not be complacent. The promotion of nuclear security faces significant challenges, including the limited, insufficient and often stalled efforts to prevent proliferation and move toward a world free of nuclear weapons. Therefore, to respond adequately to the challenges of nuclear security, the Holy See believes it to be essential that the international community embrace an ethic of responsibility, in order to foster a climate of trust, and to strengthen cooperative security through multilateral dialogue.

The logic of fear and mistrust that is epitomized by nuclear deterrence must be replaced with a new global ethic. We need an ethic of responsibility, solidarity, and cooperative security adequate to the task of controlling the power of nuclear technology. Threats to nuclear security represent serious technical and diplomatic challenges. These must be tackled by addressing the wider security, political, economic and cultural dynamics that lead state and non-state actors to seek security, legitimacy, and power in nuclear weapons. Therefore, the critically important work of strengthening nuclear security must be done in the context of much broader efforts to promote socio-economic development, political participation, respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law, and cooperation and solidarity at the regional and international level.

Among the particular fields where increased efforts are necessary, my Delegation would emphasise two:

1) The physical protection of nuclear material: ensuring that nuclear and other radioactive material is safely contained must remain central for the work of nuclear security, as failure to control nuclear material could have catastrophic consequences.

2) Counteracting insider threats as well as preventing cyber attacks on sensitive data and facilities: increasing attention has to be paid to the strengthening of information security and computer security as well as to ensuring the confidentiality of information which pertains to nuclear security.

On both issues, it must be recalled that although the responsibility for maintaining effective nuclear security of all nuclear and radioactive material within a State rests primarily with that State, cooperation between States is essential as so many threats to nuclear security do not respect borders and are facilitated by the political instability and crises that sadly plague numerous parts of our world. The Holy See is, therefore, pleased that great efforts have been made by the IAEA and its member states to strengthen the security regime, to assign a high priority to it and to improve and complement the regulations and the legal framework for it. These efforts have to be continued.

Mr. President,

Much of the IAEA’s success in fulfilling its responsibilities depends on the commitment of Member States to live up to their legal and ethical obligations. Therefore, the responsibilities of the Member States must remain at the heart of our discussions. This burden of responsibility falls most heavily, of course, on those Member States that possess nuclear capacity, especially those with nuclear weapons.

In conclusion, the Holy See would like to point out that it has no illusions about the challenges that lie before the international community. However, it is precisely because of these challenges related to nuclear security that the Holy See wishes to reiterate its support for the IAEA as it seeks to fulfil, in ever more effective ways, its indispensable role in ensuring nuclear security as part of a wider effort to strengthen cooperative security. As Pope Francis has said, “The security of our own future depends on guaranteeing the peaceful security of others, for if peace, security and stability are not established globally, they will not be enjoyed at all.” (Message of Pope Francis to the aforementioned Vienna Conference, 2014)

Thank you, Mr President.

 

1 day 7 hours

Allow Christ to transform and re-create you.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, drawing from today’s readings, and reflecting on the renewal that the Lord brings.

Yet, the Pope warned, we cannot paint over our sins without truly being ashamed in our hearts. Only by calling sins by their name, he said, will we be able to allow God to make us new women and men.

Recalling that in the first reading, the Prophet Isaiah speaks to us about renewal, that “Everything will be changed, from ugly to beautiful, from wicked to good.” A change for the better: this, he said, is what the People of Israel were expecting from the Messiah.

Reflecting on today’s Gospel which speaks of how Jesus went about healing people, the Jesuit Pope pointed out that they followed Him because He helped them “to see a path of change,” not because He was some “sort of novelty.”

“They followed Him because the message of Jesus touched their hearts,” he said. 

Not Make up

What Jesus did, Pope Francis underscored, was not only change things from ugly to beautiful or from wicked to good: “Jesus made a transformation.”

“It’s not a problem of making something beautiful, it’s not a problem of cosmetics, of make-up,” he said, noting, “He changed everything from the inside!”

“He made a change that was a re-creation: God had created the world; man fell into sin; Jesus came to re-create the world. And this is the message, the message of the Gospel, that we can clearly see: before healing that man, He forgave his sins. Go that way, to a re-creation, He re-creates that man, [changing him] from a sinner to a just man: He re-creates him as a just man. He makes him new, totally new.”

“Jesus,” he said, “is capable of making us – us sinners – new persons.” It is something, Pope Francis said, “that Mary Magdalen intuits.”

While she was healthy, he noted,“she had a wound within: she was a sinner.” Yet, he highlighted, she had an intuition that Jesus was able to heal not only the body, “but the wounds of the soul. He could re-create it!”

For this reason, Francis stressed, great faith is needed.

The Lord, the Pope said, “helps us to prepare ourselves for Christmas with great faith” because “for the healing of the soul, for the existential healing the re-creation that Jesus brings requires great faith in us.” Being transformed, he said “is the grace of salvation that Jesus brings.”

Stop Thinking: ‘I Can’t Do It’

“We need to overcome the temptation to say “I can’t do it,” and to allow ourselves instead to be transformed, to be re-created by Jesus. “Courage” is the word of God.”

Instead, especially as we move toward Christmas, Francis noted, we must admit and name our sins, those which make us ashamed, and say: ‘Lord, Re-create me’

The Pope concluded, encouraging us to let Him cancel our sins in order to make us truly new.

Francis concluded, emphasized a passage, which told the story of a Saint, a great Bible scholar, who had a very strong character. The Saint, talking to the Lord said: ‘Are you content, O Lord’ – ‘No!’ – ‘But I have given you everything!’ – ‘No, there’s something missing…’ And this poor man did another penance, said another prayer, did another vigil: ‘I have done this for you, O Lord. Is everything ok? – ‘No! Something’s missing…’ – ‘But what is missing, Lord?’ – ‘Your sins are lacking! Give me your sins!’

“This is what the Lord is asking of us today. ‘Courage! Give me your sins and I will make you a new man, a new woman.’ May the Lord give us faith, to believe this.”

2 days 9 hours

Pope Francis on Friday recognized Oklahoma priest Father Stanley Francis Rother as a martyr, clearing the way for his beatification. He is the first person born in the US to be recognized as a martyr.

The Positio on the life and martyrdom of Father Rother previously had been discussed and approved by a panel of nine theologians and more recently by a group of 15 Cardinals and Archbishops who voted affirmatively to recognize his martyrdom in odium fidei (in hatred of the faith). The Positio refers to the volume containing the evidence that was collected from witness testimonies in both Oklahoma and Guatemala, and supporting documents during an inquiry conducted by a special tribunal of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, created to carry out this investigation.

 

The beatification ceremony could come as early as next fall.

“We’re just thrilled, and grateful to God and to all those who have worked to promote the cause of Father Rother,” said Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City. “The Church needs heroic witnesses to advance the mission of Christ, and Father Rother was truly a heroic witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He gave his life in pastoral service to his people. I am looking forward to the celebration of his beatification.”

Father Stanley Francis Rother was born in Okarche, Oklahoma, in 1935 where he grew up on a farm just northwest of Oklahoma City. After graduating from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Father Rother was ordained on May 25, 1963. He served in several parishes in Durant, Tulsa and Oklahoma City before volunteering for mission service in Santiago Atitlan in Guatemala in June 1968.

Father Rother was well-loved by the local people and helped establish a school, radio station and health clinic, and worked to translate the Gospels into their native dialect. By the late 1970s, the village was experiencing political and military unrest with parishioners disappearing and being found dead days later along roadsides. Father Rother made one last trip home to Oklahoma to see his parents in January 1981, and then, despite knowing his name was included on “hit lists,” returned to Guatemala to stay with his people, telling his family he must return because “the shepherd cannot run.”

On July 28, 1981, in his rectory, three masked men shot Father Rother, killing him. Days later, his body was returned to Oklahoma, but his heart stayed behind to be buried at his parish in Santiago Atitlan.

In October 2007, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City under the direction of Archbishop Eusebius Beltran opened a Cause of Canonization for Father Rother.

“My heart and my soul rejoice at the announcement regarding the beatification of Father Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma martyr,” said the archbishop emeritus of Oklahoma City. “I thank Almighty God for the inspiration to initiate the cause for the canonization of Father Rother. I thank the many faithful people of our archdiocese and beyond who labored so diligently on the acts of this cause, and also for the many people whose prayers have helped to make this possible. Father Stanley Rother, pray for us.”

In September 2014, Archbishop Coakley presented the Positio of Father Rother to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome. In 2015, the Theology Commission of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints voted to recognize Father Rother a martyr.

Once beatified, the next step of Father Rother’s cause will require a verified miracle before he can be canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church.

For information on Father Rother’s life and the process for sainthood, go online to www.archokc.org/cause-for-beatification-of-father-stanley-rother/home or visit the Rother Guild website at http://rotherguild.org.

2 days 9 hours

“Amid the challenges of our day, see the human face of those you earnestly seek to help.”

Pope Francis said this when addressing participants of the Fortune-Time Global Forum, which brings together Fortune 500 and Time 100 leaders.

Addressing them as friends, he said he was pleased to welcome them and expressed his appreciation for their work the two preceding days. According to Vatican Radio, they exchanged information and ideas on various themes representing elements related to poverty alleviation, including jobs, technology, health care, the environment, food and water, energy, financial inclusion and commitment to communities.

Reflecting on their theme of “The 21st-Century Challenge: Forging a New Social Compact,” Francis said it is very appropriate and points to the urgent need for more inclusive and equitable economic models.

Need to Make Abstract, Concrete

While applauding their collaborative efforts thus far, the Pontiff stressed, “what is required now is not a new social compact in the abstract, but concrete ideas and decisive action which will benefit all people and which will begin to respond to the pressing issues of our day.”

He thanked them for promoting the centrality and dignity of the human person within institutions and economic models, and drawing attention to the plight of the poor and refugees, “who so often are forgotten by society.”

Can’t Ignore

“When we ignore the cries of so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we not only deny them their God-given rights and worth, but we also reject their wisdom and prevent them from offering their talents, traditions and cultures to the world.”

In doing so, the Pope stressed, the poor and marginalized suffer even more, and we ourselves “grow impoverished, not only materially, but morally and spiritually.”

Moment of Hope

While lamenting that our world today is marked by great unrest and inequality, he urged the business leaders to acknowledge they live in a moment of hope.

“When we finally recognize the evil in our midst, we can seek healing by applying the remedy,” he said, noting, “Your very presence here today is a sign of such hope, because it shows that you recognize the issues before us and the imperative to act decisively.”

“This strategy of renewal and hope calls for institutional and personal conversion; a change of heart that attaches primacy to the deepest expressions of our common humanity, our cultures, our religious beliefs and our traditions.”

This fundamental renewal, he explained, does not have to do simply with market economics, figures, and materials.

“No, what we are speaking about is the common good of humanity, of the right of each person to share in the resources of this world and to have the same opportunities to realize his or her potential, a potential that is ultimately based on the dignity of the children of God, created in his image and likeness.

Since “our great challenge” is to respond to global levels of injustice by promoting a local and even personal sense of responsibility so that no one is excluded from participating in society, he noted, “the question before us is how best to encourage one another and our respective communities to respond to the suffering and needs we see, both from afar and in our midst.”

Personal Conversion Required

“The renewal, purification and strengthening of solid economic models depends on our own personal conversion and generosity to those in need.”

The Argentine Pontiff encouraged them to “seek ever more creative ways to transform” our institutions and economic structures so that they may be able to respond to today’s needs and be in the service of the human person.

“I pray too,” Pope Francis concluded, “that you may involve in your efforts those whom you seek to help; give them a voice, listen to their stories, learn from their experiences and understand their needs. See in them a brother and a sister, a son and a daughter, a mother and a father.”

***

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full Text:  https://zenit.org/articles/popes-address-to-fortune-time-global-forum/

 

2 days 9 hours

“You have opened a fissure in my breast, Lord. It is a dark abyss, a universe that longs for you. I lose myself in it and suffer.”

“Grant me to love you very much, Lord.”

“The Christian’s weapon is prayer.”

These are some of the prayers, reflections, poems and thoughts that Kiko Argüello annotated in a small notebook over the course of nearly 25 years and which have now been published in a book. “Annotations,” the title of the volume of the initiator of the Neo-Catechumenal Way – the second after the 2012 “The Kerygma in the Shacks with the Poor — was published by Cantagalli with a Preface by Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez, president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference.

The book was presented in late November at Rome’s Olympic Theater by Argüello himself together with Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and with Graziano Delrio, Minister of Infrastructures and Transports. Before the meeting, Argüello gave an exclusive interview to ZENIT.

* * *

ZENIT: How would you describe your book? And what was the need to publish these reflections that in parts are so intimate?

Argüello: They were the sufferings I had, moments of spiritual “regurgitation,” of outburst, during which I began to have a dialogue with myself writing in a notebook. I wrote these annotations year after year … I never thought of publishing them! From 1988 I carried these papers in my bag and given that they were being destroyed I asked a friend to transfer them onto a computer. He said to me: “Kiko, these are very intense, why don’t you publish them? It would do much good to the brothers of the Way, because your soul is <revealed> here.” I thought about it and also on the instigation of BAC (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos) [Library of Christian Authors], I then decided to write the book, which I consider a sort of “spiritual testament,” a gift for my Communities founded at Madrid, at Rome <and> in the world, which I love very much. Here it is (he shows me the volume). I am embarrassed to read it because it is very intimate … But perhaps it will do someone good. In that case, blessed be the Lord!

ZENIT: Did Carmen’s death in July contribute to it in some way? [Carmen Hernández, the co-initiator of the Neo-Catechumenal Way]

Argüello: It certainly sped up the publication, because it made me realize that soon I will also die. Then I thought that someone might find these sheets. Who would publish them? Who would present them? Perhaps, I reflected, it’s better that I do so before dying.

ZENIT: In connection with Carmen, there are so many without and within the Way who wonder if she will be replaced …

Argüello: We thought about it and weighed thousands of hypothesis, but we decided not, while I and Father Mario (Pezzi, the priest <and> third leader of the international team of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, ndr) are in <good> health, we go forward as two apostles. Some brothers help us in evangelization and in other everyday practical things. But we are not thinking of replacing Carmen, also because she is irreplaceable.

ZENIT: Do you miss her?

Argüello: O yes and not a little.

ZENIT: What memories do you have of her who was your companion of evangelization for such a long time?

Argüello: Carmen was wonderful. <She had> an immense love for Christ. God joined us and prepared us for this great work among the poor. We took Christian initiation to the parishes, at least to those who wanted it, and people discovered what it means to be Christians. To be Christians is the greatest thing there can be in life. It is participation in Christ’s life, in divine life, in the love of God who loves in an astonishing way to the point of dying crucified as the least of the earth.

ZENIT:  In a few years the Neo-Catechumenal Way will celebrate its 50th anniversary. What is the first thing that comes to mind in reviewing this half-century?

Argüello: I think above all of the fact that, together with Carmen, we travelled throughout the world: the whole of America, the whole of Asia, the whole of Europe preaching the Gospel in Churches, in Squares, in Stadiums. How many young people we met – thousands! How many vocations to the priesthood, to consecrated life, to the mission the Lord awakened! Truly, God did not want us to stop for an instant … He did everything, with His zeal to save humanity, and we were only instruments.

ZENIT: Are you satisfied?

Argüello: Yes, I’m happy, but always suffering! I consider myself a sinner, a poor thing, I don’t know why God gives me these sentiments …

ZENIT: Honestly, what do you believe is the contribution that the Way has given to the Church?

Argüello: It was the popes themselves who always recognized the great contribution of the Neo-Catechumenal Way to the Church, not least Pope Francis who loves us very much and has described it as “a gift.” I believe that the Way also served to come out of the limits of clericalism that, as the Holy Father often says, is one of the “cancers” of the Church. Fifty years after the Council, there are so many who do not endure a layman saying certain things; it’s an anomaly, or that the Lord can give a charism to a layman, because this means to have “power.” This still makes us suffer somewhat today, but Christ suffered much more than us.

ZENIT: Is a novelty foreseen for the future?

Argüello: The future? The future is in God’s hands! We continue with evangelization in the parishes: there are so many new ones in the world that have opened the doors to this reality of Christian initiation, and then, the missio ad gentes, which are an aid especially for families, so that they remain united.

ZENIT: Does evangelization continue in Asia?

Argüello: Absolutely! The Pope has already sent some 400 families to Asia: Mongolia, Laos, Vietnam and also, little by little, China is opening up. A few days ago I was speaking with the Archbishop of Beijing who said to me: “We need you, because we have an urgent need for a new catechumenate.” They have opened so many churches, but there are Chinese that know nothing about Christ, about Christianity; they don’t know how to educate them, how to bring them close to the Church …. I said: “We are preparing 20,000 priests for the Church in China, but we are still very few, what to do? On the other hand, what are 20,000 priests for more than 300,000 Churches? Nothing. China is immense, but now it is in a kayros moment, it is in need of apostles. And we try, in so far as possible, to foster evangelization. I said we are preparing a group for China, in the Redemptoris Mater seminaries, to take Jesus Christ <there>. In China, in fact, now there is only money … Money, money, money …And, as the Pope always says, money is anti-God.

ZENIT: Instead in Europe, he has said on several occasions, there is a risk of apostasy …

Argüello:  No, no, there isn’t a risk of apostasy; Europe is already in apostasy. And this is a grave fact, it’s the preparation of the anti-Christ. In the Second Letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul says: “First there will be rebellion and then the man of lawlessness will be revealed,” but “the Lord will slay him with the breath of His mouth.” We think that this breath is the proclamation of the kerygma. Therefore, for the coming months we are preparing a mission worldwide of thousands of apostles who, two by two, “without a purse or money,” will proclaim the love of God on the street.

[Translation by ZENIT]
2 days 11 hours

Below is a reflection of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, entitled ‘Being Prepared for the Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Published on November 30th, it is from Cardinal Wuerl’s blog:

***

The Church lifts up the Advent season leading up to Christmas as a time of anticipation and waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus.  We look forward to celebrating his birth in Bethlehem, and we also meditate on the Parousia, the definitive second coming of Christ in glory when all will come to triumphant completion.  Longing for this in confident hope, the Church prays, “Marana tha (our Lord come)” and “thy kingdom come.”

In this spirit of eager anticipation, we want to be prepared for the Lord’s arrival.  We want to be ready and worthy of the promises of Christ for when we appear before the King of Glory and give an account of ourselves.  In the words of the second reading for the first Sunday of this holy season, Advent is meant to be a wake-up call, a summons to “throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:11-12), it is a time to turn ourselves in the right direction and clean out the dirt and grime in our lives.

As we make our way in the human condition, being prepared can be a challenge for a variety of reasons.  For example, we can easily get caught up in worldly concerns or put off for tomorrow what we should do today, thinking we will have time later.

However, we do not know the day and the hour when the Lord will come again, so we would be wise to be vigilant and always ready.  “Stay awake,” said Jesus, “you must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (Matthew 24:42, 44).

It can sometimes be difficult to live as “children of light” even when we are prudent and actively desire and try to do good and avoid evil.  Saint Paul described how he struggled and at times did not do the good he wanted, but the wrong he did not want to do (Romans 7:18-19).  This battle to overcome sin is compounded with what is perhaps a greater challenge in even discerning right and wrong.

As we read in the opening pages of scripture, our human parents were led astray from good into sin by the “father of lies” (Genesis 3:1-6).  Since then, it has been the scourge of humanity that people have all too often fallen prey to false ideas and false teachers.

Aware of this sad history, Saint Paul expressed his concern that “just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may be led astray from your simple and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).  He and the other Apostles, like the Lord before them, frequently warned people of the grave danger of being seduced by strange teachings and deceptive empty arguments (e.g. Hebrews 13:9; Ephesians 5:6).

“See that no one deceives you,” Jesus said when speaking of his second coming (Matthew 24:4).  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

The Apostles Peter and John similarly cautioned people to be on guard against false teachers who introduce destructive ideas and fabrications which revile the way of truth (2 Peter 2:1-22; 1 John 4:1).  Among his final instructions near the end of his life, Saint Paul said, “the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

In our day, how many people have been tossed about and carried away by the waves of aggressive secularism and its ally relativism (cf. Ephesians 4:14)?  The challenge of the New Evangelization is to confront and counter these ideas with a living witness to the truth and love of the Gospel.  This is also the challenge of the Advent season in which we prepare for the coming of Christ who is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

To be vigilant in Advent and in our lives the rest of the year means an active waiting for the Lord.  Being ready for Jesus our King and Savior means paying attention to what is going on in the world around us and persevering in faith to the end (Matthew 24:13; Romans 2:7; James 1:12).  It means welcoming in our hearts the Lord who wishes to transform our lives into a reflection of his own and living out our Gospel mission of loving him and one another.

The awareness that Christ will come again is for us a joyful hope of that new creation when he ends all sorrow and pain, and brings his people to the fulfillment of all their hopes and dreams.  Looking forward to that day, our hearts cry out, “Come Lord Jesus.”

***

To the original post on Cardinal Wuerl’s blog: http://cardinalsblog.adw.org/

2 days 11 hours

A little over a month after the earthquake that devastated southeastern Umbria, the Basilica of Santa Rita in Cascia reopened to the public. Yesterday afternoon, Archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia, Monsignor Renato Boccardo, presided over Mass in the basilica.

“Cascia, with the reopening of the Basilica di Santa Rita, is the first link in a long chain of reconstruction of houses and churches – said the prelate – We are here to say all together that to start again is possible and to thank the firefighters for their service to us. We admire and are moved to see such great solidarity and humanity.”

The celebration was held to coincide with the feast of Saint Barbara, the patron saint of the Fire Department, who was present, and was working these days in the Valnerina territory, after contributing to the safety of the basilica of Santa Rita.

According to local press reports, throughout the Diocese of Spoleto-Norcia, almost 250 religious buildings were damaged by the earthquake.

Monsignor Boccardo celebrated another Mass in a tensile structure in Norcia, with an altar and a wooden cross made by firefighters.

“We are here to celebrate the beauty of solidarity and to say thank you to the fire brigade for all that you are doing at the service of our populations,” said the archbishop.

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Below is the Vatican-provided translation of Pope Francis’ address Saturday morning in the Vatican to participants of the Fortune-Time Global Forum, on the theme “The 21st-Century Challenge: Forging a New Social Compact.” The forum brings together Fortune 500 and Time 100 leaders.

***

Dear Friends,

I am very pleased to welcome all of you who are participating in the Fortune-Time Global Forum, and I express my appreciation for your work these past two days. I thank Mrs Nancy Gibbs and Mr Alan Murray for their kind words. The theme you have chosen, “The 21st-Century Challenge: Forging a New Social Compact”, is very opportune and points to the urgent need for more inclusive and equitable economic models. Your time together has allowed for a substantive exchange of ideas and sharing of information. Important as this is, what is required now is not a new social compact in the abstract, but concrete ideas and decisive action which will benefit all people and which will begin to respond to the pressing issues of our day.

I would like to offer a particular word of thanks for all that you are doing to promote the centrality and dignity of the human person within our institutions and economic models, and to draw attention to the plight of the poor and refugees, who are so often forgotten by society. When we ignore the cries of so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we not only deny them their God-given rights and worth, but we also reject their wisdom and prevent them from offering their talents, traditions and cultures to the world. In so doing, the poor and marginalized are made to suffer even more, and we ourselves grow impoverished, not only materially, but morally and spiritually.

Our world today is marked by great unrest. Inequality between peoples continues to rise, and many communities are impacted directly by war and poverty, or the migration and displacement which flow from them. People want to make their voices heard and express their concerns and fears. They want to make their rightful contribution to their local communities and broader society, and to benefit from the resources and development too often reserved for the few. While this may create conflict and lay bare the many sorrows of our world, it also makes us realize that we are living in a moment of hope. For when we finally recognize the evil in our midst, we can seek healing by applying the remedy. Your very presence here today is a sign of such hope, because it shows that you recognize the issues before us and the imperative to act decisively. This strategy of renewal and hope calls for institutional and personal conversion; a change of heart that attaches primacy to the deepest expressions of our common humanity, our cultures, our religious beliefs and our traditions.

This fundamental renewal does not have to do simply with market economics, figures to be balanced, the development of raw materials and improvements made to infrastructures. No, what we are speaking about is the common good of humanity, of the right of each person to share in the resources of this world and to have the same opportunities to realize his or her potential, a potential that is ultimately based on the dignity of the children of God, created in his image and likeness.

Our great challenge is to respond to global levels of injustice by promoting a local and even personal sense of responsibility so that no one is excluded from participating in society. Thus, the question before us is how best to encourage one another and our respective communities to respond to the suffering and needs we see, both from afar and in our midst. The renewal, purification and strengthening of solid economic models depends on our own personal conversion and generosity to those in need.

I encourage you to continue the work you have begun at this Forum, and to seek ever more creative ways to transform our institutions and economic structures so that they may be able to respond to the needs of our day and be in service of the human person, especially those marginalized and discarded. I pray too that you may involve in your efforts those whom you seek to help; give them a voice, listen to their stories, learn from their experiences and understand their needs. See in them a brother and a sister, a son and a daughter, a mother and a father. Amid the challenges of our day, see the human face of those you earnestly seek to help.

I assure you of my prayer that your efforts will bear fruit, and of the Catholic Church’s commitment to be a voice for those who otherwise are silenced. Upon you, your families and all your colleagues, I invoke the divine blessings of wisdom, strength and peace. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian] [Vatican-provided translation]
2 days 13 hours

Pope Francis has named Msgr. Adam Parker, vicar general and moderator of the Curia at the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Msgr. Mark Brennan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, as auxiliary bishops of Baltimore. He also accepted the resignation of Bishop Dennis Madden, 76, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore.

With the resignation, the two new auxiliaries will be the only active auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese.

Adam Parker was born January 13, 1972. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications from the University of Maryland, 1994. He pursued seminary studies at Saint Mary’s Seminary and University, 1994-1995. He holds a bachelor degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, 1998, where he also earned a licentiate in sacred theology, 2001. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore on May 27, 2000.

Mark Brennan was born in Boston, Massachusetts, February 6, 1947. He holds a bachelor of arts from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 1969; and pursued seminary studies at Christ the King Seminary in Albany, New York, 1969-1970. In 1972 he received a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, 1972; he also pursued a graduate degree at the Gregorian, 1974. He was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington on May 15, 1976.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore comprises 1,854 square miles in the state of Maryland. It has a total population of 3,232,949 people of which 503,084 or 16% are Catholic. Archbishop William E. Lori is the archbishop of Baltimore since 2012.

2 days 13 hours

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(Vatican Radio) At his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis began a new series of catecheses on “Christian Hope”. In our times, which seem so dark, the Pope said we often feel “lost in the face of the wickedness and the violence that surround us.” We may even feel “discouraged, because we feel powerless, and it seems the darkness might never end.” Click below to hear our report But we should never give up hope, he continued, “because God, with His love, journeys with us, He does not leave us alone, and the Lord Jesus has overcome evil, and opened up the path of life.” It is important to reflect on hope during this season of Advent, when we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. Pope Francis based his reflection primarily on a passage from Isaiah, in which God tells the prophet, first, to console his people, and then to “make straight the path of the Lord.” This prophetic message was addressed to the people of Israel when they were living the tragedy of the exile in Babylon, when they had been taken out of their own land and deprived of their freedom and dignity, and even their trust in God. But the call of the prophet, the Pope said, “opens their hearts anew to faith.” It is precisely in the desert that they hear his call, it is precisely there that a new journey “can be made in order to return not only to their homeland, but to God.” This passage, Pope Francis continued, was the starting point for the preaching of John the Baptist, “a voice crying out in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord.” In Jesus time, the Israelites were once again living a kind of exile, living as strangers in their own land because of the oppression of the Romans. But it was not the powerful who made history, the Pope continued; rather, history is the story of what God has done together with his little ones, people like Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, and the shepherds, the simple, humble people who gathered around Jesus at his birth. “These are the little ones,” Pope Francis said, made great by their faith,” the little ones who know that they must keep hope alive. “Let us allow ourselves, then,” the Pope concluded, “to teach hope, to faithfully await the coming of the Lord, and whatever desert we might have in our life will become a flowering garden.” (from Vatican Radio)... 9 hours 14 min
(Vatican Radio) Some 80 Mayors from across the globe will gather in the Vatican this week to discuss solutions that aim to respond to the needs of the some 125 million displaced people in the world today and to propose sustainable measures host countries can adopt in welcoming them.   The Summit entitled “Europe: Refugees Are Our Brothers and Sisters” will take place on 9 and 10 December in the Casina Pio IV. Please find the informative note on the event below:  “Europe: Refugees Are Our Brothers and Sisters” Pope Francis, in his encyclical letter Laudato Si’, pleaded for a greater conversion of heart towards “the least of our brothers and sisters”, arguing that we need to do more to prevent humanitarian crises before they occur; and when they do occur, to ensure that our response is both adequate to the enormity of the challenge and timely according to the urgency of the need. Supplying tents and drinking water that arrive after everyone is dead of cold and dehydration is totally unacceptable. The Pope asks us in his encyclical specifically to prioritise whichever approaches result in discernable changes to those excluded and marginalised needing our help the most. This Summit has been called to bring immediate attention to the threat posed to global stability by the growing presence on our planet of over 125 million refugees. These are persons — in need of urgent humanitarian assistance — who have been displaced from their own homelands through war, famine, the great number of natural disasters – many caused by human activities based on fossil fuels – that have increased in both number and magnitude in recent years, as well as other causes. Three quarters of all humanitarian emergencies today result directly from war. Ending all war — and successfully preventing future ones — would do more to diminish the above mentioned humanitarian crises than any other single action we could possibly take, and at a single strike we would eliminate the major cause of all mass refugee exoduses. The causes of war are legion and not always just: national pride, greed for gain, anger, lust for power, laziness to do good, envy of neighbours. In summary, the root causes of war trace themselves to a human nature inclined to selfishness and egotism. It therefore stands to reason that the solutions to these causes of war find themselves in nourishing the corresponding virtues: a visible love towards one’s enemies, greater manifestations of humility and temperance. Justice specifically, leaning upon international law, can help defuse tension by focussing awareness on the duties owed to humankind. The remaining quarter of humanitarian emergencies stem from natural disasters, a large proportion of which derive from environmental crises such as famine, flooding, severe meteorological anomalies etc. Of these environmental crises, many have at their roots anthropic causes, such as the well-¬noted effects arising from mankind’s careless use of fossil fuels or the environmental consequences resulting from aggressive farming techniques or deforestation. Environmental disasters always strike hardest at the poor. This is because the poor are inevitably the least-¬equipped to deal with such blows. Clearly, the greatest duty of moral care for assisting such victims lies with those responsible for having originally generated the causes of environmental catastrophes in the first place. It is worth underlining therefore that while many people do find themselves displaced due to ‘natural causes’ the vast majority are merely the innocent victims of the actions and decisions taken by others, and therefore of circumstances entirely avoidable. With both the natural and the bellicose causes of humanitarian crises, one factor is sadly common to each: prevention is better than cure. It is for this reason that the COP21 Paris Agreement on climate change can rightly be heralded as a humanitarian triumph. Jesus Christ made a revolutionary promise: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” This is an injunction that has universal appeal. This Summit will seek new ways to make peace, ways appropriate to our own times with all the opportunities that are available to us to bring people together, ways that underline the human dignity of all refugees — in pitiable situations already exacerbated through social exclusion — and that assert them in their own identities. Modern man has created wealth like in no other period of time. We therefore have an extra moral responsibility placed on our shoulders to use this potential to stop war and avoid its human consequences. No effort should be spared from encouraging all people of goodwill to participate in this endeavour. This is not an optional priority that can be breezily delegated to our political leaders, NGOs or international philanthropists: each one of us must find a way to make his or her institutional and personal contribution, each according to his or her capabilities and abilities. As a Mexican MP, Ana María Jiménez, once said at the Casina Pio IV, no one is so poor that they have nothing to give or nothing to share; no one is totally deprived of the ability to exercise charity…everyone can be a protagonist in contributing towards the common good. It is with this insight in mind that we call on everyone to contribute what he or she can to totally eliminate the scourge of war, climate change and exploitation from the face of the earth, for all time, starting from today. There is nothing we could do that would do more to help those most in need of our help. It is what we would want others to do for us were we in that situation. Dwelling on this observation, no one can escape the Golden Rule to do unto others as would have them do unto us. So what exactly should be done, in concrete terms? The forthcoming Summit will suggest and evaluate a number of proposals, both to reduce the risks of catastrophic feedback loops in the short term — and to maximise and entrench the benefits of reform in the long term: First — stop the refugee surge at its source by ending the Syrian war immediately. Second — don’t punish Britain for Brexit, with its dynamic of concern over unmanageable influxes of refugees and joblessness. It means thinking instead in terms of a higher, more creative and fruitful union, and also of a “healthy dis-¬‐union”. It implies granting greater independence and freedom to the countries of the European Union in general and, more in particular, regarding the refugee issue, policing national and EU borders to provide shelter to needy economic migrants “as they come”. Priority must be given to saving lives. It is crucial to establish robust refugee care systems, allowing them to seek asylum, addressing their requests fairly, resettling the most vulnerable and meeting basic needs such as education and health care. Third, internationally recognised safe humanitarian corridors should also be established not only in the European Union member states, where present claims are already straining welfare state infrastructure beyond sustainability, but also in the less populous countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, USA and the Middle East. The principle of non refoulement of refugees must be respected and, in any case, the possibilities of accessing the job market in the host country must be examined. Four — offer an amnesty or other solution to the victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, in terms of forced labour, prostitution and the organ trade. Many undocumented persons, including minors, are tricked into being trafficked into the sex trade (especially women) or enslaved through false promises of a regularisation of legal status. Tragically, professional crime syndicates then either use the threat of expulsion to keep victims of prostitution and forced labour under control; or keep physical possession of the passport and/or other papers once it has been granted, trapping the victim in perpetual bondage. All countries should investigate and prosecute trafficking gangs who exploit refugees and migrants in any form, and consider above all the dignity and safety of those people. Five — restore a sense of fairness and opportunity for the disaffected working class, unemployed youth and those whose livelihoods have been undermined by financial crises and the outsourcing of jobs. This might involve projects pursuing ample social spending on health, education, training, apprenticeships, and family support, financed by closing tax havens (which are gutting public revenues and exacerbating economic injustice). It might also mean granting Greece debt relief, in the hope of ending the long-¬‐running Eurozone crisis. Six, last but not least, focus resources, including additional aid, on economic development rather than war, in low-¬‐income countries. Uncontrolled migration from today’s poor and conflict-¬‐ridden regions will eventually become overwhelming, regardless of migration policies, if climate change, extreme poverty, and lack of skills and education undermine the development potential of Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Central Asia. All of this underscores the need to shift from a strategy of defence and war to one of sustainable and integral development, especially led by the developed countries. Walls and fences won’t stop millions of migrants fleeing violence, extreme poverty, hunger, disease, droughts, floods, and other ills. Only global cooperation towards social justice can do that. Finally, as the authorities closest to the general public, Mayors must be provided with the ability to meet the needs, accommodate and regularize all types of migrants or refugees. Mayors must raise their voices to promote bridges and not walls and their authority must be placed at the service of sustainable and integral development, justice and peace.   (from Vatican Radio)... 10 hours 13 min
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has granted an interview to Tertio , a Catholic weekly newspaper in Belgium, on themes ranging from the fruits of the Jubilee of Mercy to his hopes for a synodal Church. In the wide-ranging interview, Pope Francis reflected on the openness to transcendence inherent in the human person, the scourge of religious fundamentalism, the price of war, the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and his desire for a synodal Church. Healthy laicité vs. laicisme The desire to separate religion from public life, he said, “is an antiquated stance”, recalling the distinction between laicité and laicisme . The Pope said: “There is a healthy laicité , for example, the laicité of the state. In general, a state organized on the principle of laicité [ el estado laico ] is a good thing. It’s better than a confessional state, because confessional states end poorly.” However, he said, laicisme “closes the doors to transcendence, both transcendence towards others and, above all, transcendence towards God”.  Openness to transcendence, he said, “is a fundamental part of a human being”. Thus, when a political system does not respect this, it “prunes, cuts off the human person”. War and religious fundamentalism Moving to the theme of war and religious fundamentalism, Pope Francis said “no religion as such can foment war”. He said terrorism and war are not related to religion; rather, they “use religious deformations to justify their acts”. He said “all religions have fundamentalist groups; all; even our own… But those small religious groups deform, sicken their religion, and from there they quarrel, make war, or cause division within the community, which is form of war.” Third World War fought piecemeal Turning to Europe, the Holy Father said that 100 years after the First World War we are still in a state of world conflict, a “Third World War… fought piecemeal”. “We say ‘Never again war’ but at the same time we produce weapons and sell them to those who are at war with one another.” He said had read an economic theory which advances the idea that, when a state’s finances aren’t going well, it wages a war to balance the budget. “This is an easy way to grow rich, but the price is very steep: blood.” Jubilee of Mercy inspired by the Lord An important part of the interview was dedicated to the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Pope Francis said the idea of a Year of Mercy did not come to him “in a flash”. He said it had been prepared by his predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II, as well as by St. Faustina and the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday. The Pope recalled that the idea for an Extraordinary Jubilee came out in a conversation with Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. “I felt that the Lord was asking this of me”, he said. “I don’t know how the idea formed in my heart… I believe the Lord inspired it. And evidentially it did much good.” Unity in diversity: a synodal Church The interview then turned to the issue of Vatican II in the world today and the synodality of the Church. “The Church,” he said, “is born from the base, from the community.” Thus, “there is either a pyramidal Church, in which what Peter says is done, or a synodal Church, in which Peter is Peter but he accompanies the Church and helps it grow – he listens. Further on, he learns from her and seeks to harmonize, discerning that which comes from the churches and returns it.” The Pope said the last two Synods on the family were the “best experience of this” because they express the “unity in diversity” of the Church. “Everyone [at the Synod] said what they thought without fear of being judged. And all actively listened, without condemning. Afterwards, we discussed like brothers in groups.” “A synodal Church means this movement from above to below, from below to above”, affirming that the Church “needs to advance in this synodality”. A word for priests Pope Francis' final reflection was for priests, whom he invited to always love the Virgin Mary, to allow themselves to be gazed upon by Jesus, and to “seek the suffering flesh of Jesus in their brothers; there you will find Jesus”. (from Vatican Radio)... 10 hours 24 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday drew attention during his General Audience to two commemorations being promoted by the United Nations in the coming days. The International Anti-Corruption Day is on 9 December and Human Rights Day is observed on 10 December. “These two realities are closely linked: Corruption is the negative aspect against which we must fight, starting with individual consciences and keeping a watchful eye on areas of civil life, especially on those most exposed to risk; Human rights are the positive aspect to staunchly and tirelessly promote, in order that no one be excluded from effective recognition of the fundamental rights of the human person,” – Pope Francis said – “May the Lord sustain us in this twofold commitment.” (from Vatican Radio)... 10 hours 37 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis began a new series of catechesis at his General Audience on Wednesday, focusing on the theme of “Christian hope.” It is especially important to reflect on this theme, he said, during the season of Advent, “a time of expectation, in which we prepare to welcome once more the consoling mystery of the Incarnation and the light of Christmas.” Here is the full text of the English summary of Pope Francis’ catechesis for the General Audience of 7 December 2016: Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Today we begin a new series of catecheses dealing with Christian hope.  In these times, when evil often seems to have the upper hand, hope comforts us with the assurance of Christ’s lordship, his victory over sin, and his constant presence in our midst.  In this Advent season, we hear once more the great message of consolation spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “Comfort, comfort my people”.   The prophet tells us that God promises to bring his people home from their exile in a foreign land and that he desires that a way be prepared for him through the desert.  This summons to renewed faith and trust in God’s saving power is also addressed to us.  Saint John the Baptist, preaching in the desert of Judea, echoed these words as he prepared the way for the coming of Jesus.  The Scriptures show us how Christ’s birth was prepared for by men and women – like Mary, Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth – who never lost their trust in God’s promises.  May we imitate their hope, and await the coming of the Saviour, who turns the desert of our lives into a garden of delight.   (from Vatican Radio)... 12 hours 32 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the participants in the XXI Joint Meeting of the Pontifical Academies. The Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, read the Message to participants gathered in the Apostolic Chancery on Tuesday afternoon to explore theme: sparks of beauty to give  a more human visage to our cities , chosen and directed by the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. “Taking care of people, starting with the smallest and weakest, and of their daily bonds," writes Pope Francis, “necessarily also means taking care of the environment in which they live. Small gestures, simple actions, small sparks of beauty and love can heal, 'mending' the often lacerated and divided human fabric [of society], as well as that of a city and of the environment, representing a concrete alternative to indifference and cynicism.” The Holy Father’s Message was addressed to Cardinal Ravasi, who also serves as President of the Coordinating Committee for the Pontifical Academies. Eleven in all, the Pontifical Academies exist to further research and to encourage dialogue within and among scientific, artistic, professional and cultural disciplines.  (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 6 hours
(Vatican Radio)  He who does not know the tenderness of God does not know the Christian doctrine.  This was the concept at the core of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, a homily focused largely on the figure of Judas. Judas, an evangelical image of the lost sheep Taking his cue from the Gospel reading of the day which recounts the Parable of the lost sheep, Pope Francis spoke of how the Lord never stops looking for us. Describing the Lord as a kind of a judge, a judge who caresses and is full of tenderness, he said God does everything to save us. “He does not come to condemn, but to save” the Pope said, and he loves each and every one of us personally. He knows us by name and loves us for what we are. And speaking of the lost sheep Francis explained that it did not get lost because it didn’t have a compass but because it "had a sick heart" and was running away “to be distant from the Lord and was satiating an inner darkness”. And pointing out that the Lord knows these things and never neglects to go out and look for the lost sheep, the Pope said the Lord’s attitude towards Judas is so symbolic: “Judas is the most perfect lost sheep in the Gospel: a man with a bitter heart, someone who always had something to criticize in others, he was always ‘detached’.  He did not know the sweetness that comes of living without second ends with others. He was an unsatisfied man!” he said. The Pope said that because of the darkness in his heart Judas was separated from the herd. He said – more in general - that darkness can lead to living a double life: “a double life that, perhaps painfully, many Christians, even priests and bishops lead...”   Pointing out that Judas himself was one of the first bishops, the Pope recalled a beautiful sermon given by Father Mazzolari in which he described Judas as a lost sheep: “Brother Judas, he said, what was happening in your heart?”  Francis said we need to understand lost sheep: each and every one of us has something in us of the lost sheep. The Repentance of Judas The Pope went on to explain that is not so much a mistake but a disease of the heart that makes a sheep wander and he said it is something the devil exploits. Just as it was with Judas whose heart was ‘divided’. And finally when Judas saw what harm his double life had wreaked in the community, when he saw the evil he had sown because of the darkness in his heart that caused him to run away, looking for a light that was not the light of the Lord, but artificial lights like Christmas decorations, he was thrown into despair: The Pope said that the Bible tells us that “the Lord is good, he never stops looking for the lost sheep” and it tells us that when Judas hanged himself he had repented. “I believe that the Lord will take that word [repentance] and bring it with Him” he said. And it tells us that right until the end God’s love was working in that soul.  He said that this is the message, the good news that Christmas brings asking us to rejoice with a sincerity that brings with it a change of heart that leads us to take comfort in the Lord, and not in other ‘escapist’ consolations. God's power is in His tenderness When Jesus finds the lost sheep he does not insults it although it caused so much harm, the Pope said, and in the Garden of Olives He calls Judas with the appellative ‘friend’. These, he said, are God's caresses: "He who does not know the caresses of the Lord does not know Christian doctrine! He who does not allow himself to be caressed by the Lord is lost!” he said. Pope Francis concluded saying that the consolation that we seek is in God’s tenderness that saves us and brings us back to the fold of his Church. “May the Lord give us the grace to sincerely recognize our sins as we await Christmas, as we wait for the power of God who comes to console us with the tenderness” he said. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 6 hours
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Tuesday said the “logic of fear and mistrust that is epitomized by nuclear deterrence must be replaced with a new global ethic” during a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “The promotion of nuclear security – preventing, detecting and responding to criminal or intentional unauthorized acts involving, or directed at, nuclear material, other radioactive material, associated facilities or associated activities – is of significant importance to the Holy See, said Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for Relations with States. The IAEA is holding the “International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions” in Vienna this week. The full statement is below Intervention of Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for Relations with States Mr. President, I have the honour of conveying to you and to all the distinguished participants at this second International Conference on Nuclear Security of the International Atomic Energy Agency the best wishes and cordial greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015, Pope Francis urged the international community “to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.” The Holy See is, therefore, most pleased to attend this Conference, thereby lending its support to advancing nuclear security. Mr. President, The promotion of nuclear security – preventing, detecting and responding to criminal or intentional unauthorized acts involving, or directed at, nuclear material, other radioactive material, associated facilities or associated activities – is of significant importance to the Holy See. On the one hand, nuclear security advances peace and security by contributing towards strengthening the non-proliferation regime and making much-needed progress toward nuclear disarmament. On the other hand, nuclear security – so closely linked to nuclear safety and a broader “safety culture” – promotes social and scientific development by the peaceful application of nuclear technologies to promote sustainable development by improving agriculture, water management, nutrition and food safety, infectious disease control, and efforts to fight cancer. Considerable progress has been made in strengthening nuclear security and safety: UN Security Council Resolution 1540, the Nuclear Security Summits, the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, and the IAEA’s Codes of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and on Research Reactors are some of the important mechanisms already in place. The very existence and the professional activity of the International Atomic Energy Agency also constitute crucial aspects of the work towards nuclear safety, and the Holy See takes this opportunity to thank the Director General and the entire staff of the Agency for their labours in this regard. At the same time, we should not be complacent. The promotion of nuclear security faces significant challenges, including the limited, insufficient and often stalled efforts to prevent proliferation and move toward a world free of nuclear weapons. Therefore, to respond adequately to the challenges of nuclear security, the Holy See believes it to be essential that the international community embrace an ethic of responsibility, in order to foster a climate of trust, and to strengthen cooperative security through multilateral dialogue. The logic of fear and mistrust that is epitomized by nuclear deterrence must be replaced with a new global ethic. We need an ethic of responsibility, solidarity, and cooperative security adequate to the task of controlling the power of nuclear technology. Threats to nuclear security represent serious technical and diplomatic challenges. These must be tackled by addressing the wider security, political, economic and cultural dynamics that lead state and non-state actors to seek security, legitimacy, and power in nuclear weapons. Therefore, the critically important work of strengthening nuclear security must be done in the context of much broader efforts to promote socio-economic development, political participation, respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law, and cooperation and solidarity at the regional and international level. Among the particular fields where increased efforts are necessary, my Delegation would emphasise two: 1) The physical protection of nuclear material: ensuring that nuclear and other radioactive material is safely contained must remain central for the work of nuclear security, as failure to control nuclear material could have catastrophic consequences. 2) Counteracting insider threats as well as preventing cyber attacks on sensitive data and facilities: increasing attention has to be paid to the strengthening of information security and computer security as well as to ensuring the confidentiality of information which pertains to nuclear security. On both issues, it must be recalled that although the responsibility for maintaining effective nuclear security of all nuclear and radioactive material within a State rests primarily with that State, cooperation between States is essential as so many threats to nuclear security do not respect borders and are facilitated by the political instability and crises that sadly plague numerous parts of our world. The Holy See is, therefore, pleased that great efforts have been made by the IAEA and its member states to strengthen the security regime, to assign a high priority to it and to improve and complement the regulations and the legal framework for it. These efforts have to be continued. Mr. President, Much of the IAEA’s success in fulfilling its responsibilities depends on the commitment of Member States to live up to their legal and ethical obligations. Therefore, the responsibilities of the Member States must remain at the heart of our discussions. This burden of responsibility falls most heavily, of course, on those Member States that possess nuclear capacity, especially those with nuclear weapons. In conclusion, the Holy See would like to point out that it has no illusions about the challenges that lie before the international community. However, it is precisely because of these challenges related to nuclear security that the Holy See wishes to reiterate its support for the IAEA as it seeks to fulfil, in ever more effective ways, its indispensable role in ensuring nuclear security as part of a wider effort to strengthen cooperative security. As Pope Francis has said, “The security of our own future depends on guaranteeing the peaceful security of others, for if peace, security and stability are not established globally, they will not be enjoyed at all.” (Message of Pope Francis to the aforementioned Vienna Conference, 2014) Thank you, Mr President. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 8 hours
(Vatican Radio) Let us allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ; let us allow ourselves to be able to be re-created, freeing us from our sins. That was the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, centred on the theme of the renewal that the Lord brings. The Pope put us on guard about painting over our sins without truly being ashamed in our hearts. Only by calling sins by their name, he said, will we be able to allow God to make us new women and men. The desert will bloom, the blind will see, the deaf will hear. The first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, speaks to us about renewal, the Pope said. Everything will be changed, from ugly to beautiful, from wicked to good.” A change for the better: this, he said, is what the People of Israel were expecting from the Messiah. The change that Jesus brings is not simply make-up Turning then to the Gospel of the day, Pope Francis noted that Jesus went about healing people, helping them “to see a path of change” and this is why they followed Him. They didn’t follow Jesus because He was some sort of novelty; “they followed Him because the message of Jesus touched their hearts.” And “the people saw that Jesus healed, and they followed Him” for that reason as well: But what Jesus did was not only change things from ugly to beautiful, from wicked to good: Jesus made a transformation. It’s not a problem of making something beautiful, it’s not a problem of cosmetics, of make-up: He changed everything from the inside! He made a change that was a re-creation: God had created the world; man fell into sin; Jesus came to re-create the world. And this is the message, the message of the Gospel, that we can clearly see: before healing that man, He forgave his sins. Go that way, to a re-creation, He re-creates that man, [changing him] from a sinner to a just man: He re-creates him as a just man. He makes him new, totally new. And this gives scandal: this gives scandal! For this reason, the Pope said, the Doctors of the Law, “began to discuss, to murmur,” because they weren’t able to accept His authority. Jesus, he said, “is capable of making us – us sinners – new persons.” It is something, Pope Francis said, “that Mary Magdalen intuits.” She was healthy, “but she had a wound within: she was a sinner.” She had an intuition that Jesus was able to heal not only the body, “but the wounds of the soul. He could re-create it!” And for reason “great faith” is needed. Opening the heart before the Lord: calling sin by its name The Lord, the Pope said, “helps us to prepare ourselves for Christmas with great faith” because “for the healing of the soul, for the existential healing the re-creation that Jesus brings requires great faith in us.” Being transformed, he said “is the grace of salvation that Jesus brings.” We need to overcome the temptation to say “I can’t do it,” and to allow ourselves instead to be transformed, to be re-created by Jesus. “Courage” is the word of God: We are all sinners, but look to the root of your sin, and that the Lord goes there and re-creates it; and that bitter root will flourish, flourish with works of justice; and you will be a new man, a new woman. But if we [say]: ‘Yes, yes, I have some sins; I go, I confess myself… two little words, and then I go on as before,” I don’t allow myself to be re-created by the Lord. Only two coats of paint, and we believe that with this the story’s over. No! Naming my sins, with name and surname: I’ve done this, and this, and this, and I am ashamed at heart. And I open my heart: ‘Lord, the only thing I have. Re-create me! Re-create me! And so we have the courage of going with true faith – as we asked – towards Christmas.’ The Pope said we always “seek to hide the gravity of our sins.” For example when we diminish envy. This, on the other hand, said Pope Francis, “is a very ugly thing. It is like the venom of a serpent” that seeks “to destroy the other!” Let us allow the Lord to cancel our sins in order to make us truly new And so the Pope encourages us “to get to the bottom of our sins and then give them to the Lord, so that He will cancel them and help us go forward with faith.” And he emphasized this passage, telling the story of a Saint, a great Bible scholar, who had a very strong character, who was often moved to anger, and who sought forgiveness from the Lord, doing so many acts of renunciation and penance: The Saint, talking to the Lord said, ‘Are you content, O Lord’ – ‘No!’ – ‘But I have given you everything!’ – ‘No, there’s something missing…’ And this poor man did another penance, said another prayer, did another vigil: ‘I have done this for you, O Lord. Is everything ok? – ‘No! Something’s missing…’ – ‘But what is missing, Lord?’ – ‘Your sins are lacking! Give me your sins!’ This is what the Lord is asking of us today. ‘Courage! Give me your sins and I will make you a new man, a new woman.’ May the Lord give us faith, to believe this.  (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 9 hours

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From: Insightful and in depth analysis of issues important to Catholics.
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One way to retreat from vexing situations, without failing to grow in our ability to handle them well, is to turn our attention to Mary, who faced so many of these situations without being able to change the unpleasant outcomes—outcomes which had their own role to play in Divine Providence. In thinking about this, I was reminded of how wonderful it would be to know more about Our Lady than we find in Scripture. And then I noticed the new book by Michael Hesemann from Ignatius: Mary of Nazareth: History, Archeology, Legends.

1 day 6 hours

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WASHINGTON—The Vatican has released information to broadcasters for the worldwide telecasts of Christmas events presided over by Pope Francis. All times are UTC/GMT (Coordinated Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time) and are as follows:

- Saturday, December 24, Christmas Eve, 20:25-22:30 hours, Christmas Mass at Night presided over by Pope Francis, St. Peter's Basilica.

-Sunday, December 25, Christmas Day, 11:00-11:30 hours, Christmas message and "Urbi et Orbi" Blessing of Pope Francis, St. Peter's Square.

Televised commentaries from the Vatican in English, Spanish and French will be offered on satellite and audio channels of Eurovision World Feed with satellite coordinates: www.eurovision.net/wf/worldfeeds.php. Various satellites and frequencies are also posted online at www.pccs.it/tj/telecasts.htm.  

Those unable to receive the broadcasts through the above service providers should contact telecast@pccs.va for alternative satellite reception possibilities.  

For the latest updates on the broadcast schedule, please visit: www.ctv.va/content/ctv/it/worldtelecast/mondovisione-dicembre-2016.html. Additional questions can be addressed to: worldtelecast@ctv.va.
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Keywords: Vatican, Holy See, Pope Francis, Christmas Eve, Mass at Night, Christmas message, Blessing, Urbi et Orbi, St. Peter's Basilica, broadcast, telecast, satellite information, audio feeds

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1 day 11 hours

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Msgr. Adam Parker, vicar general and moderator of the Curia at the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Msgr. Mark Brennan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, as auxiliary bishops of Baltimore. He also accepted the resignation of Bishop Dennis Madden, 76, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore.  
The appointments and resignation were publicized in Washington, December 5, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.  

Adam Parker was born January 13, 1972. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications from the University of Maryland, 1994. He pursued seminary studies at Saint Mary's Seminary and University, 1994-1995. He holds a bachelor degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, 1998, where he also earned a licentiate in sacred theology, 2001. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore on May 27, 2000.

Assignments after ordination include: priest, Saint Peter Parish, Westernport, and other parishes in Western Maryland, 2000-2001; associate pastor, Saint Peter Parish, Saint Gabriel Parish, Barton, Saint Michael Parish, Frostburg, 2001-2005; administrator, Church of the Ascension, 2005-2006, and pastor, 2006-2007; vice chancellor and priest secretary to Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, 2007-2012; priest secretary to Cardinal O'Brien, 2012-2013; vice chancellor, 2013-2014; vicar general and moderator of the curia, 2014-present.

Mark Brennan was born in Boston, Massachusetts, February 6, 1947. He holds a bachelor of arts from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 1969; and pursued seminary studies at Christ the King Seminary in Albany, New York, 1969-1970. In 1972 he received a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, 1972; he also pursued a graduate degree at the Gregorian, 1974. He was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington on May 15, 1976.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar, Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Potomac, Maryland, 1976-1981, and Saint Pius X Parish, Bowie, 1981-1985; parochial vicar, Saint Bartholomew Parish, Bethesda, 1986-1988, pastoral care to Hispanic community, 1988-1989; director of vocations and priest programs, 1988-1998; pastor, Saint Thomas the Apostle parish, Washington, 1998-2003, Saint Martin of Tours Parish, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 2003-present. Other assignments include: member, priest council, 1978-1981, 2009-2015; member, College of Consultors, 1998-2001, 2011-2016; vicar forane, 2002-2005; advocate, Metropolitan Tribunal, 2006.

Bishop Dennis Madden was born on March 8, 1940 in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. He was ordained a priest on April 1, 1967. On May 10, 2005, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and ordained a bishop on August 24, 2005.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore comprises 1,854 square miles in the state of Maryland. It has a total population of 3,232,949 people of which 503,084 or 16 percent are Catholic. Archbishop William E. Lori is the archbishop of Baltimore since 2012.

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