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Christmas proclaims hope, charity where fear reigns, pope says

12/24/2017 - 10:43pm

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christmas calls believers to see God’s presence where he is often perceived as absent, especially in the “unwelcomed visitor, often unrecognizable, who walks through our cities and our neighborhoods, who travels on our buses and knocks on our doors,” Pope Francis said.

“Christmas is a time for turning the power of fear into the power of charity,” the pope said Dec. 24 as he celebrated Christmas Mass.

The evening silence enveloping St. Peter’s Square was broken by the pealing of church bells following the proclamation of Jesus’ birth during the Christmas Mass.

Pope Francis walked toward the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, and stood while the cantor sang the solemn “Christmas proclamation,” recounting the timing of Christ’s birth in human history.

He then removed a cloth that revealed a statue of the baby Jesus and gently leaned forward, reverently kissing it.

In his homily, Pope Francis said the “simple story” of Jesus’ birth recounted in St. Luke’s Gospel brings Christians to “the heart of that holy night” and “plunges us into the event that changes our history forever.”

“Everything, on that night, became a source of hope,” the pope said.

While Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem was full of expectation and hope for the coming birth of Jesus, the pope said, it was also a journey full of the same uncertainties and dangers that await those “who have to leave their home behind.”

In Mary and Joseph’s footsteps, he said, “so many other footsteps are hidden.”

“We see the footsteps of entire families forced to set out in our own day. We see the footsteps of millions of people who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones,” he said.

For some people, the departure is filled with hope for the future, he said. “Yet for many others, this departure can only have one name: survival. Surviving the Herods of today who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood.”

On that Christmas night, he continued, the announcement of “the one who had no place to be born” was proclaimed to poor shepherds — men and women who “had no place at the table or in the streets of the city.”

Although feared and considered “pagans among the believers, sinners among the just and foreigners among the citizens,” the pope said, it was the shepherds who were chosen to receive the good news of Christ’s birth from the angel.

“This is the joy that we tonight are called to share, to celebrate and to proclaim. The joy with which God, in his infinite mercy, has embraced us pagans, sinners and foreigners, and demands that we do the same,” the pope said.

Pope Francis called on all Christians to be “messengers of hope” to those who cast aside in the world, and he prayed that the cry of the little child of Bethlehem would “shake us from our indifference and open our eyes to those who are suffering.”

“May your tenderness awaken our sensitivity and recognize our call to see you in all those who arrive in our cities, in our histories, in our lives,” the pope prayed. “May your revolutionary tenderness persuade us to feel our call to be agents of the hope and tenderness of our people.”

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Copyright © 2017 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.

Photo Essay: Awaiting on the Fourth Sunday of Advent

12/23/2017 - 7:45pm

I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm. (2 SM 7)

Temperatures dropped in the Ohio Valley as churches awaited the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the Glorious Christmas Season

A wreath adorns the main entrance to St,. Rose Parish Cincinnati (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The Nativity awaits the arrival of the Baby Jesus at St. Rose (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)The Nativity awaits the arrival of the Baby Jesus at St. Rose (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Winter chill has arrived as we await the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Winter chill has arrived as we await the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) In the grip of winter, growth occurs. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)In the grip of winter, growth occurs. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Wreaths stand vigil before the Fourth Sunday of Advent (CT Photo./Greg Hartman)Wreaths stand vigil before the Fourth Sunday of Advent (CT Photo./Greg Hartman) Known as the little church, parishioners arrive at St. Jerome at dusk (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Known as the little church, parishioners arrive at St. Jerome at dusk (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The Nativity at St. Jerome on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. CT Photo/Greg Hartman)The Nativity at St. Jerome on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. CT Photo/Greg Hartman) In the darkness a wreath emits light at St Thomas More. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)In the darkness a wreath emits light at St Thomas More. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Lights for the Queen of Heaven at St. Thomas More (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Lights for the Queen of Heaven at St. Thomas More (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) In the quiet and solitude at St. Thomas More parish (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)In the quiet and solitude at St. Thomas More parish (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The Athenaeum of Ohio in the quiet (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)The Athenaeum of Ohio in the quiet (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

O Come O Come Emmanuel at Guardian Angels Parish Cincinnati

All is in ready at Guardian Angels Parish on the Fourth Sunday of Advent (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)All is in ready at Guardian Angels Parish on the Fourth Sunday of Advent (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The Guardian Angel surrounded by seasonal Poinsettias awaiting the Christmas Season (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)The Guardian Angel surrounded by seasonal Poinsettias awaiting the Christmas Season (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Decorations almost complete for the Joyous Season of Christmas at Guardian Angels (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Decorations almost complete for the Joyous Season of Christmas at Guardian Angels (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) The Grotto bathed in light at Guardian Angels. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)The Grotto bathed in light at Guardian Angels. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

Paul VI could be canonized in 2018, diocesan newspaper says

12/22/2017 - 3:01pm

IMAGE: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Blessed Paul VI could be declared a saint in 2018, perhaps during the Synod of Bishops, an institution he re-established after the Second Vatican Council, according to the newspaper of his home diocese.

La Voce del Popolo, the newspaper of the Diocese of Brescia, Italy, reported Dec. 21 that the medical commission and theological commission of the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes both gave positive opinions about a healing that could be the miracle needed for the pope’s canonization.

The cardinals and bishops who are members of the congregation still need to vote for recognition of the miracle, and Pope Francis also must recognize it before holding a consistory to formally approve the canonization.

But the headline in the diocesan newspaper proclaimed, “It will be the year of St. Paul VI.”

“The rumors are so insistent and the steps so quick that everything indicates 2018 will be the year of the canonization of Blessed Paul VI,” the newspaper reported.

The theological commission met Dec. 13 and voted to recognize the intercession of Blessed Paul in healing an unborn baby and helping her reach full term, the newspaper said. The baby’s mother, who was told she had a very high risk of miscarrying the baby, had prayed for Blessed Paul’s intercession a few days after his beatification by Pope Francis in 2014.

The Italian baby girl was born healthy and still is healthy today, La Voce del Popolo said.

The canonization in 2018 “is more than a hope,” the newspaper said. “The month of October could be the right one,” given that the Synod of Bishops will be meeting at the Vatican Oct. 3-28 to discuss young people and helping them discern their vocations.

“What better occasion could there be to canonize, before such a significant portion of the College of Bishops, the other pope of the Second Vatican Council?” the paper asked. St. John XXIII, who opened the council and presided over its first session, was canonized in 2014.

Blessed Paul succeeded him as pope in 1963, presided over the last three sessions of the council and began the process of implementing its decisions. He died in 1978 at the age of 80.

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Copyright © 2017 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.

Gingrich formally begins service as U.S. ambassador to Holy See

12/22/2017 - 2:34pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Callista L. Gingrich presented her letters of credential to Pope Francis, formally assuming her duties as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.

Gingrich met privately with the pope Dec. 22 after introducing her husband, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and members of her staff.

Neither the Vatican nor the U.S. embassy provided details about their private discussion.

In a statement, the embassy said, “Ambassador Gingrich looks forward to working with the Holy See to defend human rights, advance religious freedom, combat human trafficking and to seek peaceful solutions to crises around the world.”

But in the weeks before her papal audience, Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump had very public disagreements on other issues. Pope Francis had asked Trump to respect the “status quo” of Jerusalem by not recognizing it as the capital of Israel until the city’s status was determined by a peace process.

Also, the Vatican expressed disappointment that the Trump administration pulled out of the U.N. process for drafting global compacts on migration and on refugees and that the administration withdrew U.S. support for the Paris Accord on reducing climate change.

Meeting Pope Francis, Gingrich gave him a collection of sacred music recorded by the choir she was a longtime member of at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, the embassy said. She also gave him a donation for the charity of his choice.

After meeting the pope and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, the new ambassador was accompanied to St. Peter’s Basilica by Msgr. Francis Kelly, a priest of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, and a canon of St. Peter’s Basilica.

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Copyright © 2017 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.

Today’s Video: Salve Regina

12/22/2017 - 11:55am

Men at The Athenaeum of Ohio circa 2014 singing “Salve Regina”

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,Our life, our sweetness and our hope.To thee do we cry,Poor banished children of Eve;To thee do we send up our sighs,Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.Turn then, most gracious advocate,Thine eyes of mercy toward us;And after this our exile,Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.O clement, O loving,O sweet Virgin Mary.

THOUSANDS OF OHIOANS TELL CONGRESS TO PROTECT YOUNG IMMIGRANTS

12/22/2017 - 10:56am

 

Letters were delivered to Senator Rob Portman's Office (CT Photo/ E L Hubbard)Letters were delivered to Senator Rob Portman’s Office (CT Photo/ E L Hubbard)

The nine Catholic dioceses in the State of Ohio, in collaboration with other faith-based and advocacy groups, executed an advocacy effort in support of young immigrants on Monday, December 18, 2017, International Migrants Day. The effort was coordinated by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Catholic Social Action Office.

Over 15,000 individual letters have been sent to Congress through this campaign asking them to pass the DREAM Act, or similar legislation, to provide a path to regularize the status of immigrants brought to the United States when they were very young. The effort is part of a two-year, worldwide “Share the Journey” campaign launched by Pope Francis on September 27, 2017, inviting all to share the difficult journey of migrants and refugees through prayer and support.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the many churches, schools, faith communities, advocacy groups, and other people of goodwill who united in support of DREAMers,” said the Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati and Chair of the Catholic Conference of Ohio.

“We are deeply concerned by the many years of failure by Congress, whether controlled by Democrats or by Republicans, to address the plight of immigrants who were brought to the United States as children in the arms of their parents and who have no legal means to regularize their status. With such an outpouring of support from thousands of Ohioans, we urge Congress to finally provide a solution to this crisis and a path to citizenship for DREAMers.”

On Tuesday, December 19, non-emailed letters from constituents were delivered to the offices of Congressional delegates in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The delivery of letters will began with a short press conference, involving DREAMers and faith community representatives, outside Senator Rob Portman’s Cincinnati office building (312 Walnut St., Cincinnati) at 9:00 a.m.

Letters in support of DACA (CT Photo/EL Hubbard)Letters in support of DACA (CT Photo/EL Hubbard) In support of DACA (CT Photo/EL Hubbard)In support of DACA (CT Photo/EL Hubbard) (CT Photo/ EL Hubbard)(CT Photo/ EL Hubbard)

The ‘hurt is still there,’ says Cardinal O’Malley at news conference

12/21/2017 - 6:42pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Gregory L. Tracy, the Pilot

By Mark Labbe

BRAINTREE, Mass. (CNS) — Journalists crowded into a room in the Archdiocese of Boston’s Braintree headquarters Dec. 20 as Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley answered questions following the death of Cardinal Bernard F. Law, whose death was officially announced by the Vatican earlier that day.

The former archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Law resigned in 2002 amid allegations of mishandling cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests in the archdiocese. In 2004, the cardinal was named archpriest of a basilica in Rome, where he died at age 86.

“This is a very difficult day for survivors and all of us in the Archdiocese of Boston and for me,” said Cardinal O’Malley at the news conference.

“We have anticipated this day, recognizing that it would open a lot of old wounds and cause much pain and anger in those who have suffered so much already, and we share in their suffering,” he continued.

“As the church must always do, we seek forgiveness for the sins of the past and for all the things that were done or not done that have contributed to the suffering of so many,” he said.

The archdiocese has a continued commitment to “provide for the assistance and support for victim survivors and their families, and to strive to maintain safe environments in all of our churches, schools, institutions, and agencies,” said Cardinal O’Malley, who succeeded the late cardinal as Boston’s archbishop.

For victims, the “hurt is still there, the healing is still necessary,” said Cardinal O’Malley. “We must all be vigilant, particularly for prevention of child abuse and to create safe environments and to be constantly monitoring how we’re doing following our policies, our commitment to the whole community to take this very seriously and do whatever we can to guarantee safe environments for our children.”

Asked to comment on Cardinal Law’s appointment as archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore following his resignation in Boston, a move that many victims saw as almost a reward, Cardinal O’Malley said he doesn’t believe that would happen today.

“I think there’s been enough growth and consciousness of this problem in the Holy See that that would not happen,” he said.

Responding to a journalist’s question on a statement issued earlier that day in which Cardinal O’Malley touched briefly on the positive aspects of Cardinal Law’s legacy, which has angered some victims, Cardinal O’Malley said, “All of us are more than one-dimension. To be realistic, we have to recognize there was more to this man than his mistakes.”

“We tried to craft a statement that would be fair and, at the same time, sensitive to the particular suffering of people in the archdiocese,” he said.

In response to a question on whether he can forgive Cardinal Law, Cardinal O’Malley said that “forgiveness is what Christianity is all about, and that doesn’t make it easy.”

“Christmas is about healing, relationships and forgiveness, and a big part of healing is being able to come to grips with our own difficulty in forgiveness,” he said.

Asked if he believes Cardinal Law’s soul will be welcomed into heaven, Cardinal O’Malley said he doesn’t know if anyone can answer that question, but added, “I hope that everyone goes to heaven.”

“This is what the mission of the church is, to work so that everyone will go to heaven, but I am not here to sit in judgment of anyone,” he said.

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Labbe is a reporter at The Pilot, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston.

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Copyright © 2017 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.

Creche crush: D.C. couple has collection of 500 Nativity scenes

12/21/2017 - 3:06pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) — For Roger and Marguerite Sullivan of Washington, Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Thanks to their travels throughout the world over the past 40 years — he for the World Bank, she for the State Department — the Catholic couple has collected at least 500 Nativity scenes.

Every December, they spend a few days unpacking about 100 or so of the creches for display around their home.

This year, though, about 150 of their Nativity scenes are on exhibit at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington. The Sullivans had been friends of the Franciscans there for many years, but it wasn’t until last year, when the Sullivans told them, that the Franciscans knew of the extent of their collection.

The exhibit, on display through Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany, is already drawing more people to the monastery, said Franciscan Father Greg Friedman, who was tasked with curating the exhibit.

“We started the week before Thanksgiving” arranging the creches, Father Friedman told Catholic News Service. “We worked over Thanksgiving weekend, and into the week after that. We put in some very long days.” He also crafted a slide show featuring nearly half of the creches in the exhibit.

The couple sees their collection as one expression of their Catholic faith. “I think it’s a wonderful way to show our Catholic faith, and to be one with Catholics around the world,” Roger Sullivan said.

The Sullivans look for Nativity scenes that reflect the culture of the people who live in the countries they visit. “We don’t have any ‘Made in China’ scenes,” Marguerite Sullivan said.

The creches chosen for the exhibit show not only the breadth and variety of the Sullivans’ collection, but also the skill of the artisans who assembled them. One creche from Slovakia seems to be made entirely from wire. One from Albania is formed out of cast iron. Another from the Philippines was made from rolled-up newspapers.

The toughest Nativity scene to procure, according to Roger, was a heavy but not unduly tall creche from Lithuania. “We had to buy a new suitcase to take it home in, and we had to buy new air tickets for the flight home,” he said.

In this respect, size does matter. Many of their Nativity scenes are small, and some are downright miniature. The smallest, said Father Friedman, comes from San Marino, a 24-square-mile republic surrounded entirely by Italy. Tellingly, the creche fits inside a spoon.

The whole thing started when Roger went to Bolivia on a work assignment, saw a Nativity scene he liked and brought it home. Soon afterward, he went to Peru and picked up another creche. Thus was a tradition begun.

Churches are great places to find Nativity scenes to buy. “If they don’t have them, they know where to go get them,” Marguerite told CNS. The artisans who make these creches — save for those on a street in Florence, Italy, where individual pieces can sell for thousands of dollars — aren’t making a bundle making and selling Nativity scenes. “Often, they’re quite poor,” she added.

With 500 or so creches in their collection, most countries with a Christian population are represented. Roger Sullivan has visited 105 countries in his travels; Marguerite has been to 110. Friends who have seen their December displays have given them Nativity scenes to add to the collection. “We’ve bought a few online,” Marguerite noted, as their travels have slowed somewhat in their retirement — although they’ve already got an international itinerary through the first half of 2018.

One place they’ve never collected a creche from? “Believe it or not, the Vatican,” Marguerite said.

The Sullivans also have some distinctive Nativity scenes from the United States. There’s one from Alaska showing Eskimos, one showing Pueblo Indians from Colorado, a straw-hut rendering from Hawaii, a scene from South Carolina made of finger puppets, and a Cape Cod creche with a maritime theme: Mary as a mermaid, and the Wise Men as sea creatures, including an octopus.

The most controversial, by the Sullivans’ own admission, is a modern-day telling of Jesus’ birth, with Joseph wearing his hair in a “man bun” and taking a selfie and Mary — with her blouse off one shoulder — and the Christ Child in the manger. The magi, instead of riding camels, are all on Segways and carrying gifts in Amazon.com boxes.

“Some people say it’s controversial, but we have to think of what the Christmas story would be like if it happened in our day and time,” Roger said.

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Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison.

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Copyright © 2017 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.

Curia exists for service, not for glory, pope says

12/21/2017 - 12:10pm

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The people who work at the Vatican and in the Roman Curia are supposed to be “sensitive antennas” that faithfully transmit the desires of the pope and receive information from dioceses and Eastern Catholic churches around the world, Pope Francis said.

Remembering that the Curia exists exclusively for the service of the Gospel, the pope and the church is the only way to counter “that imbalanced and degenerate logic of conspiracies or little cliques that, despite all their justifications and good intentions, represent a cancer,” the pope said Dec. 21.

Holding his annual pre-Christmas meeting with top officials of the Roman Curia and Vatican City State and with cardinals living in Rome, Pope Francis said he wanted to build on his previous talks about the reform of the Curia by focusing on its relationship to the world outside the Vatican walls.

His reflections, he said, were based on principles and church laws governing the Curia, but also “on the personal vision I have tried to share” as the process of reforming the Curia has unfolded.

The process began a month after he was elected in March 2013 and is ongoing, which brings to mind, he said, a saying attributed to a 19th-century Belgian cleric and Vatican statesman: “Carrying out reform in Rome is like cleaning an Egyptian Sphinx with a toothbrush.”

Still, he said, the process must continue for the good of the Curia itself, the good of the church and, ultimately, the good of the world.

Pope Francis cited as a sign of the work left to be done the danger posed by “traitors of the truth or profiteers of the church’s motherhood,” meaning personnel hired to give their expertise to the Vatican, but who “let themselves be corrupted by ambition or by vainglory and, when they are delicately let go, erroneously declare themselves to be martyrs of the system, of the ‘uninformed pope’ or of the ‘old guard’ rather than reciting a ‘mea culpa,'” in admitting their faults.

Repeatedly in his talk, Pope Francis spoke of “diaconal primacy” or the primacy of service, which must characterize his ministry and the work of all in the Curia in imitation of Jesus, who came to serve and not be served.

The focus of the Curia, he said, must be on service and not on self-preservation or maintaining areas of influence and power.

Quoting a third-century Christian treatise, Pope Francis said the Curia, like a deacon, must be “the ears and the mouth of the bishop, his heart and his soul.”

Listening to the local churches and to the needs of the poor comes first, he said. “I don’t think it’s an accident that the ear is the organ for hearing, but also for balance.”

Looking more closely at the church’s relation with the world outside itself, Pope Francis spoke about the new section he created in the Vatican Secretariat of State to oversee the training, assigning and ministry of Vatican nuncios and diplomats around the world.

Vatican diplomacy has no “mundane or material interest,” he said, but seeks only to build “bridges, peace and dialogue among nations.”

Pope Francis listed as diplomatic priorities “the importance of safeguarding our common home from every destructive selfishness; to affirm that wars bring only death and destruction; to draw from the past the necessary lessons to help us live better in the present, solidly build a future and safeguard it for new generations.”

Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue also are essential forms of outreach to the world, the pope said.

The search for Christian unity, he said, “is a journey, but as my predecessors also repeated, it is a journey that is irreversible and with no putting the brakes on.”

“The Curia works in this area to promote encounters with our brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said, “to untie the knots of misunderstandings and hostility, to counter the prejudices and the fear of the other that have prevented us from seeing the richness of and in diversity and the depths of the mystery of Christ and of the church, which remain greater than any human expression.”

Pope Francis told the cardinals and other Curia officials that the faith celebrated at Christmas must be a living, lively faith that provokes conversion in all who call themselves believers.

“A faith that doesn’t put us in crisis is a faith in crisis,” he said. “A faith that doesn’t make us grow is a faith that must grow; a faith that doesn’t question us is a faith that must be questioned; a faith that doesn’t enliven us is a faith that must be enlivened; a faith that doesn’t shake us is a faith that must be shaken.”

If faith does not provoke the faithful to change and grow, the pope said, it really is something that is simply lukewarm or just an idea.

Faith becomes real, he said, only when it “allows God to be born or reborn in the manger of our hearts, when we let the star of Bethlehem lead us to the place where the son of God lies, not among kings and luxury, but among the poor and humble.”

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Copyright © 2017 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.

Advent Reflections by our Women Religious

12/21/2017 - 2:52am

Advent Reflection for December 23rd – Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
O Emmanuel
Mal. 3:1-4, 23-24 / Ps. 25: 4-5AB, 8-9, 10, 14 / Luke 1: 57-66

Invitation to Prayer: To begin our prayer on this O Antiphon day completing Advent, hum quietly O Come, O Come Emmanuel or listen to this song, and then rest with God in silence for 1-2 minutes.

Reflection: In today’s reading from the prophet Malachi, we are told a messenger will come to prepare the way who will be like a “refiner’s fire…refining and purifying silver.” Pure silver is a precious metal but it’s softer liquid version can be used as a disinfectant wound cleaner and purifier. Zechariah was struck mute by God when his faith was found lacking while praying at the temple, and the time before his child was born became a period of purification and refinement for him. What could Zechariah do but listen in silence and wait for God? When Elizabeth’s baby was born and Zechariah wrote, “he will be called John,” his voice returned. God blessed Zechariah and deepened his faith with seeing, hearing, and finally proclaiming the fulfillment of God’s plan in the birth of John. Remember a time when God refined and purified your faith. Did you require silence to help you during that time while you waited on God? How was your faith renewed by this experience?

Prayer: Zechariah and Elizabeth, pray with me to God to show me the way of faith as we complete this Advent season. God, please strengthen my faith and help me to wait patiently in silence for the birth of Your Son, Jesus.

Closing: Bless yourself with the sign of the cross and rest in silence with God for another 1-2 minutes. Try to take 1-2 minutes of silent periods throughout your day today and tomorrow through Christmas eve to help you wait and prepare for Jesus’s birth.

Alice Ann O’Neill is a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati. Her ministry is teaching cello at Mount St. Joseph University and teaching children Suzuki cello at Mount St. Joseph Talent Education.

Advent Reflection for December 24th – Sunday of the Fourth Week of Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8B-12 / Ps. 89:2-5,27,29 / Romans 16:25-27 / Luke 1:26-38

Invitation to Prayer: Loving God, as we celebrate this last day of Advent, prepare our hearts and our minds to welcome and also to birth the presence of Jesus into our world.

Reflection: This is the night. Our time of waiting in joyful hope is coming to an end. Soon we will celebrate the Incarnation – God taking on flesh and dwelling among us so that we might have life and have it to the full. It is an amazing truth we acknowledge. God chose to be one of us – to be born and walk among us so that our world might know the love of God. As we enter the celebration of Christmas, let us not forget that our world continues to need knowledge of God’s love made manifest in Jesus. Meister Eckhart, a fourteenth century Dominican monk, once said, “We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I also do not give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time. When the Son of God is begotten in us.” May Jesus be begotten by each of us in our day and time so that all might come to abundant life.

Prayer: As our time of Advent comes to a close, may we always be ready to bring to birth the presence of Jesus.

Closing: Bless yourself with the Sign of the Cross praying that Jesus may continuously be born in your heart and in our world.

Nicole Trahan is a Marianist Sister in Dayton, OH. She serves as their Vocation Director and on their leadership team; she also works in Ministry and Service at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School.

December 25th- Christmas Day 2017
(Begin this day by asking the Holy Spirit for a heightened awareness of Christ’s presence).

Christmas invites us to recognize what it means to be most deeply human. Whether by welcoming people who have no one to share this feast with to our tables; or spending the day with those who would otherwise be alone or go hungry; or taking delight in offering just the right gift to someone we dearly love; or even by reveling in the wonder we see on the faces of children–all are ways we re-discover that to be human means to find our own fullness in the fullness of others! This is the life God knows as Trinity…a life we share in because of Jesus’ presence among us, our participation made possible in the first place because “From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace…” (John 1:16).

A Blessed and Merry Christmas to all!

Ask the Spirit for the gift of seeing the people and world around you through Jesus’ eyes.

Cross your hands over your heart. Use this simple gesture to repeat this prayer throughout the New Year.

Sister Lucy Zientek, a Sister of Divine Providence and Pastoral Associate at St. Ignatius of Loyola Church in Cincinnati.

Advent Calendar 2017

12/21/2017 - 1:09am
UD Band lines up for entertainment beneath the Christmas Tree. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)UD Band lines up for entertainment beneath the Christmas Tree. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) ADVENT 2017

Friday, November 24th through January 1st

Live Nativity at St. Francis Seraph
St. Francis Seraph Nativity exhibit at Christian Moerlein Taproom
Map

Monday, November 27th through Friday, January 5th

“At the Manger” Créche display at the University of Dayton
Map

Friday, December 1st –Sunday, January 7th

Nativity Set and Advent Calendar
Display at the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics
Map

Beginning Friday December, 15th through Saturday December 30th

70th Annual Nativity Experience at the Comboni Mission Center (Anderson Twp)
Map

Monday, December 18th through Friday, December 22nd

Christmas Novena Service at St. Anthony of Padua Maronite Catholic Church (Walnut Hills)
6:30 p.m.
Map

Sunday, December 24th Fourth Sunday of Advent

Bilingual Mass for Advent at Holy Family (Price Hill)
10 a.m.
Map

Friday, January 5, 2018 Twelfth Night
Epiphany Concert at St. Charles Borromeo (Kettering)
7:00 p.m.
Map

Tax bill passes amid concerns about future effects on poor

12/20/2017 - 7:03pm

By Dennis Sadowski

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Republican lawmakers joined President Donald Trump in cheering passage of the most significant overhaul of the federal tax system in three decades even as the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ domestic policy committee called on the president to work with Congress to fix “unacceptable problems” in the law.

Republicans hailed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as the stimulus needed to get the economy rolling into high gear as they expected corporations to reinvest in America with the middle class benefiting from lower taxes, higher wages and greater job opportunities.

Critics contend the law will provide a windfall for people with the highest incomes and corporations that already are seeing record profits and that there will be limited benefit to low- and middle-income families, who will see their taxes rise beginning in 2025.

Meanwhile, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the bishop’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said that while the law “achieves some laudable things,” it also “contains a number of problematic provisions that will have dramatic negative consequences, particularly for those most in need.”

In a statement released minutes after the bill passed the House for the second day in a row after fixes were needed to match what the Senate passed early Dec. 20, Bishop Dewane expressed concern that the law will raise taxes for people and families with lower incomes while cutting taxes for the wealthy.

“This is clearly problematic, especially for the poor,” he said. “The repeal of the personal exemption will cause larger families, including many in the middle class, to be financially worse off.”

The bishop cited a concern that the country’s deficit will grow and that some members of Congress may argue that cuts in programs that aid poor and vulnerable people are needed to balance the federal budget.

The law “also is likely to produce up to a $13 billion drop in annual charitable giving to nonprofits that are relied upon to help those struggling on the margins. This will also significantly diminish the role of civil society in promoting the common good,” Bishop Dewane added.

Advocates for poor and elderly people echoed the bishop’s worries about the possibility of deep cuts in spending on Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other social services.

“As you move forward, we urge you to reject efforts to use the deficit created by this bill as a pretext for even greater cuts to programs for low-income communities,” Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, wrote in a Dec. 19 letter to members of Congress.

She also called on Congress to “address the shortcomings in this bill and recommit yourselves to the bipartisan solutions needed to lift people out of poverty.”

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Catholic social justice lobby Network, said the tax bill ignores the common good in provide tax cuts for wealthy people and corporations at the expense of people in poverty.

“We know what will happen now that this tax plan is law: The budget shortfall created by outrageous tax cuts for the wealthiest will pressure Republicans in Congress to, once again, balance the budget on the backs of people in poverty,” Sister Campbell, a member of the Sisters of Social Service, said in a Dec. 20 statement.

She called for “reasonable revenue for responsible programs” that serve as “lifelines for families and individuals struggling to make ends meet.”

The legislation passed along party lines in both chambers, with Democrats unanimously lining up against it.

The Senate passed the bill 51-48 early Dec. 20. In the House hours earlier, the measure passed 227-203, as 12 Republicans — eight of them Catholic — joined Democrats in opposing the bill.

However, the House was forced to revote on the legislation Dec. 20 after the Senate parliamentarian determined that certain provisions violated guidelines on what types of legislation can pass with a simple 50-vote majority.

Senators tweaked the bill, took the vote and returned it to the House, where it passed 224-201. Again, 12 Republicans voted against the bill.

Trump signed the measure within hours of passage.

Eleven of the 12 House Republicans voting against the bill were from the high tax states of California, New Jersey and New York. They cited concerns that constituents would see their overall tax liability rise because of limits on the state and local tax, or SALT, deductions contained in the bill.

The bill caps the SALT deduction at $10,000 and eliminates it altogether in eight years.

“Capping this deduction, which has been part of the U.S. tax code since 1913, will increase taxes and harm the already unaffordable housing market in my district,” Rep. Dan Donovan, R-New York, who is Catholic, said in a statement after the Dec. 19 vote.

Other Democrats pointed to analyses that showed highest earners would benefit most from the changes and estimates that the measure would add up to $1.5 trillion to the country’s debt over the next decade.

The tax reform plan affects virtually every American family. An analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center released Dec. 18 found that 95 percent of taxpayers would see lower taxes in 2018 with 5 percent paying more next year.

Families earning less than $25,000 annually would see $60 in tax savings, while those earning $733,000 would see a cut of $51,140 on average, the analysis showed.

In 2025, 9 percent of taxpayers would pay more; by 2027, 53 percent — largely middle- and low-income earners — would pay more, according to the analysis. Higher earners would continue to see cuts in 2027 compared with current law, although at a lower rate.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, told reporters after the Dec. 19 vote that the rollback of the cuts was necessary by 2027 in order to comply with Senate rules. Ryan, who is Catholic, said he expected a future Congress to keep the cuts in place.

Other provisions of the law include doubling of the standard deduction while ending the personal exemption; reducing the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and making it permanent; expanding the child tax credit; a cap on deductions for state and local taxes; and reducing the deduction for mortgage interest.

The bill also ends the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act that required people to buy health insurance or face a penalty. The provision will save the federal government $300 billion in subsidies over the next decade, but could find as many as 13 million people without health insurance.

Before the first House vote, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, House minority leader, spent several minutes criticizing the tax package, citing Pope Benedict XVI and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In particular, Pelosi, who is Catholic, pointed to a Nov. 9 letter from the chairmen of three USCCB committees to House members. Standing in front of a poster quoting the letter, Pelosi charged that the bill was an example of “moral obscenity and unrepentant greed.”

“As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said early on, here it is, ‘This proposal appears to be the first federal income tax modification in American history that will raise income taxes on the working poor while simultaneously providing a large tax cut to the wealthy.’ The bishops go on to say, ‘This is simply unconscionable,'” she said.

She also recalled Pope Benedict’s encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” (“God is Love”), in which St. Augustine was quoted about the responsibilities of the state.

“Pope Benedict quoted the urgent moral wisdom of St. Augustine 17 centuries ago, my colleagues,” she said. “Seventeen centuries ago, St. Augustine said, ‘A state that does not govern according to justice is just a bunch of thieves.’ Pope Benedict went on to say, ‘The state must inevitably face the question about how justice can be achieved here and now.’ And he cautioned against, in his words, the danger of a ‘certain ethical blindness caused by the dazzling effects of power and special interests.'”

Pelosi questioned whether the bill met such standards.

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Follow Dennis Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski.

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Copyright © 2017 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.

Today’s Video: Father Alex McCullough

12/20/2017 - 11:25am

In Today’s Video thoughts from Father Alex McCullough and his reflections on ordination and the priesthood.

Cardinal Law, whose legacy was marred by sex abuse scandal, dies

12/20/2017 - 6:39am

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who had been one of the United States’ most powerful and respected bishops until his legacy was blemished by the devastating sexual abuse of minors by priests in his Archdiocese of Boston, died early Dec. 20 in Rome at the age of 86.

Before the abuse scandal forced his resignation in 2002, Cardinal Law had been a leading church spokesman on issues ranging from civil rights to international justice, from abortion to poverty, from Catholic-Jewish relations and ecumenism to war and peace.

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston said in a statement Dec. 20, “As archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Law served at a time when the church failed seriously in its responsibilities to provide pastoral care for her people, and with tragic outcomes failed to care for the children of our parish communities.”

Cardinal O’Malley also recognized that his predecessor’s death “brings forth a wide range of emotions on the part of many people. I am particularly cognizant of all who experienced the trauma of sexual abuse by clergy, whose lives were so seriously impacted by those crimes, and their families and loved ones. To those men and women, I offer my sincere apologies for the harm they suffered, my continued prayers and my promise that the archdiocese will support them in their effort to achieve healing.”

Although full details of the funeral had not been released, Cardinal O’Malley said Cardinal Law would be buried in Rome, where he had his last assignment.

Bernard Francis Law was born on Nov. 4, 1931, in Torreon, Mexico, where his father, a career Air Force officer, was then stationed. He attended schools in New York, Florida, Georgia, and Barranquilla, Colombia, and graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

He graduated from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before entering St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, Louisiana in 1953. He later studied at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Worthington, Ohio.

He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson (now Jackson), Mississippi, in 1961. After serving two years as an assistant pastor, he was made editor of the Mississippi Register, the diocesan newspaper. At the same time, he held several other diocesan posts, including director of the family life bureau and spiritual director at the minor seminary.

A civil rights activist, he joined the Mississippi Leadership Conference and Mississippi Human Relations Council. He received death threats for his strong editorial positions on civil rights in the Mississippi Register.

His work for ecumenism in the Deep South in the 1960s received national attention, and in 1968 he was tapped for his first national post, as executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

In 1973 Blessed Pope Paul VI named him bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He made headlines in 1975 when, amid an influx of Vietnamese refugees arriving in the United States, he arranged to resettle in his diocese all 166 refugee members of the Vietnamese religious order, Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix.

Continuing his ecumenical work, he formed the Missouri Christian Leadership Conference. He was made a member of the Vatican’s Secretariat (now Pontifical Council) for Promoting Christian Unity and served in 1976-81 as a consultor to its Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. He also chaired the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in the late 1970s.

In 1981, when the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith approved a special program for welcoming into the Catholic priesthood former U.S. Episcopalian priests who became Catholics, he was named the Vatican delegate to develop the program and oversee it. In the program’s first year 64 former Episcopalian priests applied for acceptance.

St. John Paul II made him archbishop of Boston in January 1984 and the following year made him a cardinal.

Soon after his arrival in Boston, Cardinal Law became well-known for his work for immigrants and minorities.

He often led the Massachusetts bishops in struggles to maintain or increase funding for programs for the poor and most vulnerable segments of the population and in the fight against abortion and the death penalty.

A constant advocate of the right to life of the unborn, he denounced the pro-abortion stance of the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Geraldine Ferraro — a Catholic, during the 1984 presidential race.

While he called abortion “the critical issue of the moment,” in 1995 he urged a moratorium on abortion clinic protests after a gunman attacked two Boston clinics, killing two people and wounding five.

It was his proposal for a worldwide catechism, in a speech at the 1985 extraordinary Synod of Bishops, that led to development of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” Cardinal Law also oversaw the first drafting of an English translation of the catechism — and unsuccessfully defended the inclusive-language version that the Vatican ultimately rejected and ordered rewritten.

The collapse of Cardinal Law’s authority and status began in January 2002 with the criminal trial of serial child molester John Geoghan, who had been allowed to stay in active ministry for three decades before he was finally removed and subsequently laicized, and the court-ordered release of archdiocesan files on Geoghan to the media.

The released files showed that when complaints against Geoghan were made in one parish he would be removed, but soon assigned to another parish. The files gave firsthand proof of how such complaints were handled and demonstrated a pattern of protecting and transferring abusive priests by the cardinal and his aides.

In the first weeks following the revelations, Cardinal Law publicly apologized on several occasions and announced a series of major policy changes — most importantly, removing permanently from ministry any priest ever credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor and turning over to district attorneys the names of all priests against whom any abuse allegation had been made.

A series of investigative reports on the issue by the Boston Globe made national headlines and other newspapers and television news teams across the nation began investigating how their local dioceses dealt with abusive priests.

At the time of his resignation from the Boston Archdiocese, Cardinal Law was 71 years old and, as a cardinal since 1985, the senior member of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy. His resignation did not affect his standing as an active cardinal. He retained membership on several Vatican congregations and, before he turned 80, he entered the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.

St. John Paul appointed Cardinal Law in 2004 to be the new archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of the four major basilicas of Rome.

While he oversaw the administration and liturgical life of the basilica until his retirement in 2011, he kept a relatively low profile in the city.

His death leaves the College of Cardinals with 217 members, including 120 cardinals who are under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.

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Copyright © 2017 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.

An Advent tradition: Making wax figures of Jesus for mangers

12/19/2017 - 5:35pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Francois Gloutnay, Presence

By Francois Gloutnay

MONTREAL (CNS) — For sculptor Sylvette Chanel, Advent is the busiest time of the year. She is among the few people left who keeps alive the ancient New France craft of making and repairing wax Jesus figures for Nativity scenes.

This art was brought to Canada by the first female religious congregations more than three centuries ago, Chanel explained Dec. 17 at a conference at Maison Saint-Gabriel, a Montreal museum. The nuns practiced it, preserved it and passed it on to some of their members. But with the decline of these congregations, Chanel, 77, is doing her part to preserve it.

She learned the basics of this tradition from Misericordia Sister Sylvia Rondeau, who died in 2013 at the age of 92. In the mid-1980s, for three years, Chanel regularly went to the Misericordia motherhouse in Montreal to watch Sister Rondeau work.

Chanel said she has created hundreds of baby Jesus figurines over the years.

“Every child Jesus needs a good day’s work,” she said.

On her desk were a variety of wax baby Jesus figures, just like the ones so many parishes and families own.

“Some parents still ask me today to prepare a wax Jesus for each of their children, using a lock of their (children’s) own hair when they were very young.” Specialists also order figurines.

Chanel starts by preparing and melting beeswax and pours it into a mold. When it solidifies, she unmolds the figurine, gently removes the excess wax, dresses it, prepares its hair, places his halo, and paints its eyes. Her primary tool is the little knife Sister Rondeau gave her.

The artist likes to give a smile to the figurines she molds, to give Jesus a serene look.

“I am convinced that he was not born sad,” she said.

Every year, in November and December, people ask her to repair a wax Jesus that fell or was improperly stored.

“Some come to me all broken. I am the 911 of wax Jesuses!” she added. “I work miracles, it seems,” especially since some figurines were made many years ago.

“Time and light affect the color,” she explained. But after Chanel’s touch, they’re back in the crib, with a serene smile.

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Gloutnay is a reporter for Presence info, based in Montreal.

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Copyright © 2017 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.

Pope puts founder of Rosary Crusade one step closer toward sainthood

12/19/2017 - 2:27pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Family Theater Product

By

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton and St. John Paul II’s mentor, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski.

The pope approved the decrees recognizing their heroic virtues during an audience Dec. 18 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.

The pope also recognized the miracles needed for the beatification of: Jesuit Father Tiburcio Arnaiz Munoz of Spain; Father Jean-Baptiste Fouque of France; and Sister Maria Carmen Rendiles Martinez of Venezuela. He also recognized the martyrdom of Father Teodoro Illera del Olmo, a member of the Congregation of St. Peter in Chains, and 15 companions, who were killed during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and 1937.

Father Peyton, known worldwide as “The Rosary Priest,” was a Catholic media pioneer in the 1940s, using radio and later television to produce popular programs featuring Hollywood stars and other celebrities to promote family prayer.

His ministry produced more than 600 radio and television programs and 10,000 broadcasts. The priest also conducted rosary crusades for millions of people in dozens of countries. He had two especially famous mottos: “The family that prays together stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”

Father Peyton emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1928 when he was 19, with his heart set on becoming a millionaire after his dream of becoming a priest was thwarted when a seminary turned down his scholarship request.

He found a job as a sexton in the cathedral of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and he and his brother joined the seminary and were ordained in the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1941.

Father Peyton’s first assignment was as chaplain in Albany, New York, where he launched a project to promote praying the rosary and family life. He had a special devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary after attributing his recovery from tuberculosis to her intercession.

He founded Holy Cross Family Ministries, which includes Family Rosary, Family Theater Productions, Father Peyton Family Institute and Family Rosary International.

Father Peyton died in 1992. After the pope’s decree recognizing his heroic virtues, in general, a miracle is needed for his beatification and a second one for his canonization.

Cardinal Wyszynski was primate of Poland from 1949 until his death from cancer in 1981. He was Poland’s youngest bishop when he was installed as archbishop of Warsaw and Gniezno during the imposition of communist rule.

Despite Vatican misgivings, Cardinal Wyszynski signed the first church accord in 1950 with a communist government, which promised the church protection in return for encouraging “respect for state authorities.”

Although the accord was quickly violated, he defended the intentions behind it in posthumously published diaries, compiled while he was imprisoned without formal charges from 1953 to 1956 by Poland’s ruling communists.

“I was of the opinion the modern world needed the martyrdom of work, not of blood,” the cardinal wrote.

“It seemed possible, as well as indispensable, to establish several points in a ‘modus vivendi’ if the church was to avoid a new — perhaps accelerated and drastic — annihilation,” he wrote.

In later years, Cardinal Wyszynski vigorously defended human rights and reminded Vatican diplomats they should secure local religious freedoms before signing top-level international agreements.

Acknowledged by Poland’s ex-communists and anti-communists as one of their country’s greatest modern leaders, Cardinal Wyszynski was credited by former President Lech Walesa with laying the groundwork for the rise of the Polish trade union, Solidarity, and the eventual fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

Among his proteges was the future St. John Paul II. When then-Father Karol Wojtyla was appointed auxiliary bishop of Krakow, the cardinal presented him to a group of priests, saying “Habemus papam” (“We have a pope”).

“In the light of later events, one could say those were prophetic words,” the pope wrote.

Cardinal Wyszynski also told him at the 1978 conclave, “If they elect you, do not refuse it.”

The newly elected Pope John Paul told the cardinal there would have been “no Polish pope” without his “faith, heroic hope and limitless confidence in the Mother of God.”

Among the other decrees Dec. 18, Pope Francis recognized the heroic virtues of three priests, three religious women and one Italian laywoman.

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Copyright © 2017 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.

A picture says a thousand words: The Joy of Giving

12/19/2017 - 11:01am

Each year the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has a toy drive for children from newborn through 12 years old. In today’s A picture says a thousand words, a look at the Joy of Giving. Many toys were in other offices in boxes and bags. Tis the Season of Joy!

Joy of Giving at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Central Offices (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Joy of Giving at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Central Offices (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Joy of Giving Archdiocese of Cincinnati Central Offices (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Joy of Giving Archdiocese of Cincinnati Central Offices (CT Photo/Greg Hartman) Joy of Giving 2017 Central Offices, Archdiocese of Cincinnati. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Joy of Giving 2017 Central Offices, Archdiocese of Cincinnati. (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

 

Today’s Video: The Blessed Mother in Two Minutes

12/19/2017 - 10:47am

Throughout Advent, Four times we’ve read Luke’s Gospel of the Annunciation (Luke 1: 26-38). Today’s video takes a look at The Blessed Mother in Two Minutes

Latest Priest Assignments

12/19/2017 - 10:01am

Archbishop Schnurr appointed Fr. Alexander McCullough as Pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenhills, St. Matthias Parish, Forest Park, and St. James of the Valley Parish, Wyoming, effective February 1, 2018 for a period of six years.

Father Alex McCullough.

 

 

 

 

Archbishop Schnurr appointed Fr. Adam Puntel as Parochial Administrator of St. Peter Parish, New Richmond and St. Mary Parish, Bethel effective January 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018.

For ‘Dreamers,’ U.S. is the only home they know

12/18/2017 - 9:50pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Ruby Thomas, The Record

By Ruby Thomas and Jessica Able

SPRINGFIELD, Ky. (CNS) — In response to Pope Francis’ call for Catholics to “Share the Journey” of their lives with one another under a two-year program introduced in September, the following stories relate the experiences and hopes of young Catholic immigrants who worship at St. Dominic Church in Springfield, Kentucky.

For now, they are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, but that program is set to end in March unless Congress passes the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act.

Yuliana Ortega, 15, is a student at Washington County High School. Ortega came to the U.S. from Jalisco, Mexico, when she was just a year old.

Ortega said she fears having to leave her friends and family in Springfield once the DACA program ends.

“I don’t know anything about Mexico. I don’t know where I would go to,” she told The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Ortega, who juggles school and work at the restaurant her family manages, said she wished she wasn’t judged because of her race. Following high school, she hopes to work one day as an interpreter.

“We have goals and things in our lives we want to reach,” she said.

– – –

Wendy Hernandez, 21, is an English language tutor for Washington County Schools. Hernandez, who came to the U.S. when she was 6 years old with her mother and two siblings. She said her mother fled Cuernavaca, Mexico, to escape physical abuse.

She considers the U.S., and Springfield, in particular, her home.

Since Hernandez learned of President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel DACA, she has found her future to be uncertain.

“It’s kind of scary because I don’t know what is going to happen,” she said. “My career, everything, is in their (lawmakers) hands.”

Hernandez said there are several misconceptions concerning Dreamers, as DACA youth are sometimes called.

“We don’t get all the benefits everyone believes we do. We have to work harder than others to be able to go to school or to get a job sometimes,” she explained.

She said she worries about being forced to return to a country she does not know. If she could speak to legislators, she would tell them to “get to know us.”

“Get to know a little about us and see how we are trying to help our community. We have ambition and goals in our life for our future.”

– – –

Carlos Guzman, 26, is owner and operator of Longview Roofing in Lebanon, Kentucky. Guzman, said ending the DACA program would have a devastating ripple effect in his life.

Not only would he be taken away from his home, family and faith community, but he would be stripped of his livelihood, a business he has worked hard to build, he said.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize we work hard to have a better future. We try our best to contribute to this country. We pay our taxes, we create jobs and we contribute to the economy,” he said.

Guzman, who was brought to the U.S. from Sonora, Mexico, at 14, said people should not judge each other solely based on what others are saying.

“I’m sure every parent wants a better future for their children. Some may think it was probably wrong (for our parents) bringing us here, but what would you do for your child?” he said.

Guzman’s parents decided to bring him and his three brothers to the U.S. to avoid the constant violence they faced.

“It’s a big sacrifice because they left behind their parents and family. When family members die, it’s hard for them not being able to go back,” he said.

– – –

Dora Lozano, 18, is a student at Elizabethtown Technical and Community College, where she is studying Spanish and special education. Lozano said she has no memories of her native Mexico City, which she left with her family for the U.S. when she was 3 years old.

“I’m scared to lose everything. This is all I know,” she said.

If given the opportunity, Lozano said, she would ask legislators to try to understand the situation from her point of view.

“We didn’t come here to harm anyone; we came here to have a better life. This program (DACA) helps us to reach our goals. We don’t want it to be taken away.”

– – –

Juan Saucedo, 16, is a junior at Washington County High School and wants to become a diesel mechanic. He came to the U.S. from Aguas Calientes, Mexico, when he was 4 years old.

Saucedo applied for DACA status earlier in 2017 and was in the application process when the Trump administration announced the end of the program. He is unsure of the status of his application.

“Our future is in their hands, but there’s nothing we can do,” the teen said. “We have goals like everyone else. Just because we’re Hispanic or a different race doesn’t mean we don’t have goals.”

– – –

Manuel Hernandez, 25, is a senior at Eastern Kentucky University where he is studying computer networking and security. He came to the U.S. with his two siblings, including sister Wendy, and their mother, when he was 13 years old.

Hernandez said he and other DACA youth contribute “to this country in many ways.”

“We’re students; we have jobs,” he said. “This is our home; I don’t think any of us want to go back.”

He said it’s difficult to fight against a narrative that depicts immigrants as ones who take jobs from others and demeans them.

“We’re not just a stereotype. We don’t steal jobs. We’re not criminals. We’re trying to contribute as much as possible.”

– – –

Thomas and Able are on the staff of The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

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Copyright © 2017 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.