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Baby Jesus reminds us of painful plight of migrants, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The Christmas tree and Nativity scene are symbols of God’s love and hope, reminding us to contemplate the beauty of creation and welcome the marginalized, Pope Francis said.

Baby Jesus, whose parents could find no decent shelter and had to flee persecution, is a reminder of the “painful experience” of so many migrants today, he said Dec. 9, just before the Vatican Christmas tree was to be lit and its Nativity scene was to be unveiled.

A boat representing migrants is pictured in the Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 9. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A boat representing migrants is pictured in the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 9. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Nativity scenes all over the world “are an invitation to make room in our life and society for God, hidden in the gaze of so many people” who are living in need, poverty or suffering, he told people involved in donating the tree and creche for St. Peter’s Square.

The northern Italian province of Trent donated the 82-foot-tall spruce fir, which was adorned with ceramic ornaments handmade by children receiving medical treatment at several Italian hospitals.

The 55-foot-wide Nativity scene was donated by the government and Archdiocese of Malta. It features 17 figures dressed in traditional Maltese attire as well as replica of a Maltese boat to represent the seafaring traditions of the island.

The boat also represents “the sad and tragic reality of migrants on boats headed toward Italy,” the pope said in his speech in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall.

“In the painful experience of these brothers and sisters, we revisit that (experience) of baby Jesus, who at the time of his birth did not find accommodation and was born in a grotto in Bethlehem and then was brought to Egypt to escape Herod’s threat.”

“Those who visit this creche will be invited to rediscover its symbolic value, which is a message of fraternity, sharing, welcoming and solidarity,” the pope said.

The beauty of the pristine forests of northern Italy where the tree grew “is an invitation to contemplate the creator and to respect nature,” he said, adding that “we are all called to approach creation with contemplative awe.”

The Nativity scene and tree will remain in St. Peter’s Square until the feast of the Lord’s Baptism Jan. 9.

Archbishop Lauro Tisi of Trent, speaking at the tree-lighting ceremony as the sun set, told people in St. Peter’s Square that the towering tree had lived decades, decades that saw thousands of people from the region emigrate in search of work in the early 1900s. It’s unconscionable, he said, that people today refuse to welcome those coming from poorer places with the same needs and dreams.

Manwel Grech, a sculptor of religious statues from Gozo, Malta, won a contest to make the Nativity scene. It was dream to create art for the Vatican and have it exhibited in the square where thousands of people from around the world will see it.

With more than a dozen statues of people and a menagerie of animals and other elements in the scene, Grech is a bit of a traditionalist: Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus are his favorites among the resin sculptures.

He wanted Mary to have a peaceful face because “when you see Jesus, you relax,” he said, and he tried to give Joseph a look of pride.

Grech included several very Maltese touches in the Nativity scene: A traditional balcony decorated with a Maltese cross; a statue of St. George Preca, the country’s only canonized saint; and a “luzzu,” the traditional Maltese fishing boat, which also reminds people of the journeys of migrants across the Mediterranean Sea.

Between the Nativity scene and the Christmas tree, the Vatican placed the cross and chunks of the facade of the Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia, Italy. The basilica was destroyed by an earthquake in October and dozens of other churches in central Italy crumbled or were heavily damaged. Money left at the Nativity scene by visitors will be donated to the church rebuilding effort in Norcia.

 

Contributing to this story was Cindy Wooden at the Vatican.

St. Thomas More girls suffer first loss on trip to Hodgson

By

Dialog reporter

 

GLASGOW – St. Thomas More made a valiant comeback effort on Dec. 9 at Hodgson, but in the end, the Ravens missed on too many opportunities, and Hodgson came through when needed to take a 45-36 nonconference girls basketball victory.

The young Ravens played with just eight girls, only one of whom was not a freshman or sophomore. St. Thomas More gave the Silver Eagles too many second and third chances on offense, and numerous Ravens shots would not fall as they fell to 1-1 on the season. Sophomore Kayla Braxton-Young, after being held scoreless in the first quarter, led the Silver Eagles the rest of the way, putting up a game-high 18 points. Read more »

‘Office Christmas Party’ is sleazy and generic as its title

December 9th, 2016 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

By

Catholic News Service

Cubicle drones cuts loose in “Office Christmas Party.” The result is a sleazy soiree, an “Animal House” toga wingding for the spreading-middle and receding-hairline set.

T.J. Miller and Courtney B. Vance star in a scene from the movie "Office Christmas Party." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS photo/Paramount)

T.J. Miller and Courtney B. Vance star in a scene from the movie “Office Christmas Party.” The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. (CNS photo/Paramount)

What matters here is that seemingly respectable bourgeois business types should be emboldened, via the consumption of vast amounts of alcohol, to Xerox their bare backsides and use a 3-D copier for a still more vulgar purpose. What most emphatically does not matter is the plot that gets them there.

Nonetheless, here goes: To impress Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance), a potential client who thinks their company suffers from low employee morale, Clay Vanstone (T.J. Miller), the laid-back branch manager of a family-owned internet firm, and Josh Parker (Jason Bateman), his chief tech officer, defy their uptight CEO, Clay’s sister Carol (Jennifer Aniston), by going ahead with the office Christmas party she had ordered them to cancel.

Predictably, things get out of hand with destruction and debauchery running rampant. Cocaine winds up in a fake-snow blower; Nate (Karan Soni), the resident geek, hires a call girl named Savannah (Abbey Lee) to pose as his girlfriend; and we get a peek of group sex going on in a bathroom stall.

As all that suggests, directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon’s grossly stupid get-together is a regrets-only affair that viewers concerned either with taste or morality or, better yet, with both will happily decline to attend.

The film contains brief sacrilegious humor, strong sexual content, including full nudity and implied aberrant behavior, drug use, a prostitution theme, several uses of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O, morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R.

 

Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

 

John Glenn — fighter pilot, astronaut, senator — dies at 95

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Astronaut legend and decorated World War II pilot John H. Glenn, who served for 24 years in the U.S. Senate and inspired young people to pursue careers in sciences and engineering, died Dec. 8. He was 95.

Born in Cambridge and raised in nearby New Concord, Glenn was propelled to fame after being one of seven military test pilots  chosen as the country’s first astronauts. He was the third American in space and the first to orbit earth when he flew aboard the Mercury Friendship 7 capsule, traversing the globe three times in a flight that lasted just less than five hours Feb. 20, 1962.

U.S. astronaut John Glenn, pictured in a 2012 photo, died Dec. 8 at age 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. (CNS photo/Bill Ingall, courtesy NASA)

U.S. astronaut John Glenn, pictured in a 2012 photo, died Dec. 8 at age 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. (CNS photo/Bill Ingall, courtesy NASA)

Among those watching Glenn’s first space flight was St. John XXIII, who asked to be kept regularly informed about the progress of flight.

Glenn became the oldest man to fly in space, when at age 77 and still a senator, he blasted into orbit on the Space Shuttle Oct. 29, 1998, after lobbying the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for two years that he could serve as a “guinea pig for geriatric studies.”

While on the fourth day of the mission, Glenn, a Presbyterian, said, “I pray every day. To look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is, to me, impossible. It just strengthens my faith.”

Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, then-secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, praised Glenn the day after the shuttle took off. “Just think of it,” the archbishop said. “A man as old as the pope is now orbiting the world.”

The phrase “Godspeed, John Glenn”was in common use for both missions.

Glenn died surrounded by family at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where he been hospitalized for about a week. His wife of 73 years, Annie, was with him.

In a guest sermon, Glenn told a Virginia Presbyterian congregation that the “orderliness of the whole universe,” from the structure of atoms to the arrangement of galaxies, was “one big thing in space that shows me there is a God, some power that put all this into orbit and keeps it there. It wasn’t just an accident.”

Glenn later told a Senate subcommittee he thought it would be foolish to assert that God could be pinpointed to “one particular section of space.” “I don’t know the nature of God any more than anyone else, nor would I claim to because I happened to have made a space ride that got us a little bit above the atmosphere,” he said. “God is certainly bigger than that. I think he will be wherever we go.”

After his astronaut career, the former Marine Corps pilot started a career in business, but subsequently turned to politics, becoming a senator representing his home state in 1976. He served four terms before retiring in 1999. His Senate tenure included the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. He also served on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Foreign Relations Committee, Armed Services Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging.

Reaction to Glenn’s death came from across the country.

NASA immediately posted a tribute on its website to the space hero after his death was announced. The space agency had renamed its Lewis Research Center in Cleveland the John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in 1999.

President Barack Obama, who awarded Glenn the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, said in a statement that the country had lost an icon.

“John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond; not just to visit, but to stay,” Obama said.

“The last of America’s first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their example we know that our future here on earth compels us to keep reaching for the heaves. On behalf of a grateful nation, Godspeed, John Glenn,” the statement concluded.

The son of a plumber, Glenn flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific during World War II, taking direct hits several times but always returned to his airbase. He also was assigned to fly a jet interceptor in the Korean War. For his 149 combat missions in both wars, he was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross six times and the Air Medal with 18 award stars.

He was a winner of the Legion of Honor medal, the highest award of the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, an interfaith organization dedicated to four Army chaplains who died together in World War II.

Glenn also completed the first supersonic transcontinental flight, from California to New York, in 1957.

On the eve of his retirement from the Senate, Glenn placed fifth among the world’s most admired men in an annual Gallup poll, placing behind only President Bill Clinton, St. John Paul II, evangelist Billy Graham and basketball star Michael Jordan.

After politics, he founded the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy, now known as the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University. He taught at the school as an adjunct professor.

Besides his wife, Glenn is survived by two children, David and Carolyn Ann, and two grandchildren.

Bishop Barres, a former priest of Wilmington, named bishop of Rockville Centre, N.Y. — updated

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Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and appointed as his successor Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Bishop Malooly, Bishop John Barres and the late Bishop Michael Saltarelli laugh during the press conference about Bishop Barres' appointment as bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, May 28, 2009. at the Cathedral of St. Peter. The Dialog/Don Blake

Bishop Malooly, Bishop John Barres and the late Bishop Michael Saltarelli laugh during the press conference about Bishop Barres’ appointment as bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, May 28, 2009. at the Cathedral of St. Peter. The Dialog/Don Blake

Bishop Barres, 56, has headed the Diocese of Allentown since 2009. Bishop Murphy, who has been Rockville Centre’s bishop since 2001, is 76. Canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope when they turn 75.

The 1,200-square-mile Rockville Centre Diocese has a total population of over 2.9 million people, of whom 50 percent, or 1.45 million are Catholic.

The changes were announced Dec. 9 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Barres’ Mass of installation will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Agnes in Rockville Centre Jan. 31. Until that time, Bishop Murphy will serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese.

In Wilmington, Bishop Malooly issued the following statement:

“We are very pleased and proud to learn that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown.

Bishop John Barres greets a priest friend after a press conference at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena in Allentown on May 27, 2009. when Bishop Barres was named to Allentown. The Dialog/Don Blake

Bishop John Barres greets a priest friend after a press conference at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena in Allentown on May 27, 2009. when Bishop Barres was named to Allentown. The Dialog/Don Blake

“Bishop Barres was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wilmington in 1989, and served the people of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore faithfully for 20 years as a parish priest, vice-chancellor, and chancellor. He was my mentor in my first year as bishop of Wilmington and a wonderful companion and example to me of a dedicated priest and servant.

 “God has truly blessed the Diocese of Rockville Centre with a wonderfully talented servant-shepherd. I have no doubt that the people of Long Island, like the people of Allentown and Wilmington, will come to love this holy and cheerful man. We congratulate the clergy, religious, and laity of Rockville Centre, as Bishop Barres brings his dedication and enthusiam to Long Island.

“The faithful of the Diocese of Wilmington join me in offering our heartfelt congratulations to Bishop Barres on the occasion of this appointment. We pledge our continued prayers and affection.”

 

“It is my deep conviction that he will be a bishop for all of us without exception,” Bishop Murphy said of his successor in a statement. “He has shared with me his love of youth and his care for the elderly. He has a keen sense of parish life and has a special expertise in education. He has a deep love for the poor.”

Bishop Barres will support Catholic Charities, parish outreach as well as Catholic hospitals, he added.

Bishop Murphy also said Rockville Centre’s new bishop “will be a good neighbor to our brothers and sisters” in other Christian denominations as well as members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, and the many civic and political leaders with whom the church works “in building up Long Island for future generations.”

He described Bishop Barres as “a man of prayer” above all.

Born in Larchmont, New York, Sept. 20, 1960, Bishop Barres was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wilmington, Del., Oct. 21, 1989. On May 27, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop of Allentown. He was installed as that diocese’s fourth bishop July 30, 2009.

During his tenure in Allentown, he has initiated a pastoral planning process for parishes across the Diocese of Allentown. He has called on every parish to establish a parish council and has made support for Catholic schools a priority; enhanced evangelization and pastoral ministries; and encouraged use of social media to spread the Gospel and evangelize.

On the national level, he is a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis and is the USCCB’s episcopal liaison to the Pontifical Mission Societies.

Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pa., offers a blessing at the end of a Mass he concelebrated with Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., Dec. 9 at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre. Earlier in the day Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Murphy and appointed Bishop Barres as his successor. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)

Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pa., offers a blessing at the end of a Mass he concelebrated with Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., Dec. 9 at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre. Earlier in the day Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Murphy and appointed Bishop Barres as his successor. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)

He has a bachelor of sacred theology and a licentiate in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington; he received his seminary formation at the university’s Theological College.

He has a licentiate in canon law and a doctor of sacred theology degree from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He has a bachelor of art’s degree in English literature from Princeton University and a master’s in business administration, focusing on management, from New York University’s School of Business Administration in 1984.

After his priestly ordination, he had assignments as associate pastor at two Delaware parishes, then went to Rome for further studies. After his return to the Wilmington diocese in 1999, he served as vice chancellor, then chancellor.

A native of Boston, Bishop Murphy was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Boston Dec. 16, 1964. He was named a Boston auxiliary bishop in 1995. St. John Paul II appointed him to Rockville Centre June 26, 2001.

 

 

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Youth brings excitement to Padua basketball

By

Dialog reporter

 

WILMINGTON — Last year was a tough one for Padua, as the Pandas struggled with inconsistency on the way to a 9-12 record and a first-round exit from the state tournament. They rebounded from a 1-5 start, defeating Conrad in triple overtime and falling to St. Elizabeth by just four points late in the year, but Conrad got the best of them in the tournament in double overtime. Read more »

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Last season’s early exit motivates Vikings girls basketball

By

Dialog reporter

 

WILMINGTON — The 2015-16 season ended prematurely for St. Elizabeth, which went 17-4 but was upset by Conrad in the second round of the state tournament. Coach Dan Cooney looks to have another state title contender this season, as he returns Alanna Speaks, Lexi Bromwell and Alexis Lee, along with contributors Sarah Metz, Dymond Collins and Julie McCarron. A freshman to keep an eye on is Sha’Nia Davis. Read more »

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Auks girls get points from 10 players in win over St. Mark’s

By

For The Dialog

 

CLAYMONT – Archmere’s girls basketball team played solid defense and received scoring from 10 different players in its 54-25 win over St. Mark’s on Dec. 8 at Moglia Fieldhouse. The Auks improved to 3-0 on the season.

Senior Danaziah Brown scored seven quick points to help key a 10-0 run in the first quarter, giving the Auks a 12-2 lead. It was 13-4 after the first quarter, but they were just getting started. Read more »

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Parishes building, renovating with funds from Sustaining Hope for the Future campaign

By

Dialog Editor

Sustaining Hope for the Future funds are helping to improve parish facilities throughout the diocese

It sounds like a Christmas list — a new rectory for St. John the Apostle Parish in Milford, a renovated parish hall for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Bear, an air conditioning system for St. Bernadette in Harrington.

However, those renovation and building projects and others in process throughout the diocese are being delivered without Santa’s help. Read more »

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St. Matthew’s celebrates 75 years in Woodcrest

By

Dialog reporter

Parish established in 1941 to serve growing population adjusts to change, but remains ‘vibrant’

WILMINGTON — Although it is not as large as it once was, St. Matthew’s Parish in the Woodcrest section of Wilmington can still draw a crowd.

The parish celebrated its 75th anniversary Dec. 3 with a Mass and gala dinner. Father Michael Darcy, who arrived as pastor in June, said they were hoping to have 100 people attend the dinner, but more than 250 responded. Read more »

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