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Return of Christmas Mass welcomed with joy in Mosul

December 27th, 2017 Posted in International News Tags: ,

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MOSUL, Iraq — Cries of joy and seasonal hymns once again filled St. Paul Cathedral in Mosul as Christmas Mass was celebrated there for the first time in three and a half years, following the northern Iraqi city’s liberation from Islamic State militants.

The Iraqi national anthem opened the Mass as women wailed with emotion. Armored police outside protected the worshippers.

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Faith-filled children’s Christmas books to read this season

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One of the best ways that parents and children can get into the Christmas spirit is to spend time reading Christmas books! There are many excellent choices. Here are just a few that are definitely worth a look.

“The Clown of God,” written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola is a beautifully illustrated book that retells a traditional story. Giovanni is an orphaned beggar boy who earns his food by juggling. Before long, Giovanni becomes a famous performer who travels across Italy. Read more »

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Indonesia tightens security for Christmas, New Year celebrations

December 22nd, 2017 Posted in International News

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia planned to deploy 250,000 security personnel across the country ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations, particularly in Christian-majority areas.

The number deployed will be almost double that of last year and will include 80,000 troops, authorities said Dec. 22. Many volunteers from moderate Muslim groups also will be on hand if needed, they said.

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Living Our Faith: Epiphany

December 22nd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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In the faces of the Magi, the presence of the shepherds, in Joseph’s eyes, in Mary’s arms, “the glory of the Lord” had come to the world (Is 60:1).

The adoration of the Magi is depicted in this icon by artist Ayman Fayez. The visit of the Magi to the newborn Jesus puts them in continuity with other pilgrims throughout salvation history who have traveled, sometimes great distances, to reach their holy destinations. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Tradition reveals the names of the Wise Men — or Magi — as Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.

They bring gifts to Christ: gold, a symbol of kingship; frankincense, a symbol of his priesthood; and myrrh, an embalming oil, a reminder of his death to come.

In the pilgrimage of the Magi to pay homage to the newborn Jesus lies the ultimate expression of these journeys: God come down to earth, and man journeying great distances to see God face to face.

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Living Our Faith: Christmas: The Prince of Peace

December 22nd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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The song of the angels in the Nativity story promises peace on earth. But, the reality is that peace seemingly breaks down with ease in this world.

“The Adoration of the Shepherds” by Gerard van Honthorst (Wikimedia Commons)

Christ, the Prince of Peace, was born into the messy, gritty, troubled reality of human life. He promised a peace that the world cannot give.

To be a true Prince of Peace, Christ must rule over all people, for the peace he brings will be realized when all accept his reign.

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Memories of loss can allow for time to face the grief

December 21st, 2017 Posted in International News Tags: ,

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EDMONTON, Alberta — When Gina Marini and her family gather for Christmas dinner, they will continue the tradition they started more than two decades ago: leaving an empty chair for the family patriarch, Giuseppe Arlia.

“This is a trying time for us,” said Marini, whose father died around Christmas.

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Cardinal Bernard F. Law dies at age 86

December 20th, 2017 Posted in National News Tags:

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VATICAN CITY — 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.

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DACA is national discussion, but real-life survival to many

December 19th, 2017 Posted in National News Tags: ,

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SPRINGFIELD, Ky. — 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.

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Canadian sculptor: “I am the 911 of wax Jesuses!”

December 19th, 2017 Posted in International News

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MONTREAL — 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.

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Oral arguments heard on religious exemption to mandate

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PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. District Court in Philadelphia heard oral arguments Dec. 14 in a suit that aims to take away the exemption granted in October to the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious employers allowing them to refuse to cover contraceptives for their employees on moral grounds.

A similar hearing took place Dec. 12 in U.S. District Court in Oakland, California. Read more »

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