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Tight security is the ‘new normal’ as Pope Francis heads to Egypt

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Despite the ongoing risk of terrorism, Pope Francis planned to travel to Egypt as a sign of being close to the people there, said Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman.

Heightened security is part of the “new normal” in many countries, but even in the wake of the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt, it is the pope’s desire “to go ahead, to also be a sign of his closeness” to those affected by violence and all the people of Egypt, Burke told journalists April 24. Read more »

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St. John Paul II and Our Lady of Fatima

April 24th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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This year, we celebrate two important anniversaries.

The first is the 100th anniversary of apparitions of Mary to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. On May 13, 1917, Mary appeared to the children, bearing the message of her son and pointing to the dire need for conversion of sinners. Read more »

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Visiting, and living with, Our Lady of Fatima

April 24th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

“I get emotional very easily,” admits Marina Yap with a smile, “especially when I’m thinking about Our Lady of Fatima. Like right now.”

A native of the Philippines, Marina has adopted Our Lady of Fatima as her personal patron. In her home chapel in North Hollywood, California, she keeps a 42-inch, beautifully decorated statue of Our Lady of Fatima, alongside an image of the resurrected Christ. Read more »

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A brief history of Our Lady of Fatima

April 24th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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This year the Catholic Church celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the events at the Cova da Iria area of Fatima, Portugal, witnessed by three shepherd children who reported that they saw visions of Mary beginning on May 13, 1917, and then again on the 13th day of five subsequent months.

While tending sheep in a field, Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto, reported seeing a woman dressed all in white, “more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.” Read more »

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Living Our Faith: Our Lady of Fatima

April 24th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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This year the Catholic Church celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, witnessed by three

A statue of Our Lady of Fatima is carried through a crowd in 2016 at the Marian shrine of Fatima in central Portugal, where Pope Francis plans to visit May 12-13 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1917 apparitions of Mary. While tending sheep in a field, Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, reported seeing a woman dressed all in white, "more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun." (CNS photo/Paulo Chunho, EPA) See MIDST March 23, 2017.

A statue of Our Lady of Fatima is carried through a crowd in 2016 at the Marian shrine of Fatima in central Portugal, where Pope Francis plans to visit May 12-13 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1917 apparitions of Mary. While tending sheep in a field, Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, reported seeing a woman dressed all in white, “more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.” (CNS photo/Paulo Chunho, EPA) 

shepherd children who reported that they saw visions of Mary beginning on May 13, 1917.

Whatever the significance of the Fatima apparitions is for each us personally, this 100-year anniversary of these apparitions is a reminder of the central message of the Gospels, calling us to conversion and bringing us closer to Christ.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fatima is, in a way, also the celebration of St. John Paul’s survival of an assassination attempt and the subsequent revelation of the third part of the Fatima secret.

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‘Free Fire’ would be better with pies instead of bullets

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Catholic News Service

The premise of “Free Fire” is that a single extended gunfight can sustain an entire film, provided the participants in the showdown keep making incongruously funny and mordant remarks.

Brie Larson and Sharlto Copley star in a scene from the movie "Free Fire."  The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling.  (CNS/24)

Brie Larson and Sharlto Copley star in a scene from the movie “Free Fire.” The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (CNS/24)

This is the genre of the siege movie. Plot and character development are ignored in favor of the presumed enjoyment of watching villains working out their issues by blasting away at each other in a decaying Boston factory.

The setup involves a deal to buy assault rifles that quickly goes bad. So, the two sides spend the rest of the run time pulling their triggers and reloading while attempting to retrieve a briefcase loaded with cash.

Think of it as an extended pie fight, but with bullets. It would work out better were the movie actually comedic. But director Ben Wheatley, who co-wrote the screenplay with Amy Jump, is instead completely vested in choreographing these scruffy, amoral characters as they pop up from hiding places to fire off a few rounds. He also has them crawl around painfully after receiving flesh wounds.

There are occasional funny moments for viewers willing to detach the violent proceedings from real life. Thus, a soothing John Denver ballad, from an 8-track tape in a battered van, plays in the background at one ominous moment. And would-be gun buyer Justine (Brie Larson) says of arms dealer Vernon (Sharlto Copley), “He was misdiagnosed as a child genius and he never got over it.”

But Wheatley also goes for the obvious in a ham-handed manner. This is an old umbrella factory, but no one has one when the sprinklers go off.

This being 1978, the characters have to rely on a single landline phone, and duck a fusillade of bullets if they want to call anyone on the outside for reinforcements.

The buyers, in addition to Justine, are Chris (Cillian Murphy), an Irish Republican Army operative, Frank (Michael Smiley), Bernie (Enzo Cilenti) and Stevo (Sam Riley). Selling, besides Vernon, are Martin (Babou Ceesay) Gordon (Noah Taylor) and Harry (Jack Reynor). The unctuous Ord (Armie Hammer) attempts to be the middleman.

Eventually, Wheatley runs out of wisecracks and has most of the characters die in a variety of gruesome ways. But there’s no resolution to the mayhem. “Free Fire,” accordingly, ends up a claustrophobic exercise in mindless conflict.

The film contains pervasive gun and physical violence, fleeting gore, drug use, occasional profanities and constant rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is L, limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

 

Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.

 

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‘ Communal reckoning’— Georgetown University, Jesuits ‘profoundly sorry’ for roles in sale of slaves

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WASHINGTON — Georgetown University and the Society of Jesus’ Maryland province apologized April 18 for their roles in the 1838 sale of 272 enslaved individuals for the university’s benefit.

More than 100 descendants attended a morning “Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope” that the university created in partnership with descendants, the Archdiocese of Washington and the Society of Jesus in the United States. Read more »

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Pope visits Egypt next week to strengthen beset Christian minorities

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis’ April 28-29 visit to Egypt, a land increasingly marked by terrorist-led bloodshed, stands as part of his mission to inspire and encourage today’s actors in theaters of violence to change the script and set a new stage. Read more »

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Viewpoint: A resurrected vision for our suffering world

April 20th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , ,

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Although it is Easter season, for much of the world it still feels like Good Friday.

Countless people throughout the world continue to carry painfully heavy crosses – crosses overwhelming due to man’s inhumanity to man.

Sin, which starts in each individual human heart, if not repented of, joins with the sins of many, forming a collective critical mass of sin which leads to the building of what St. John Paul called the “structures of sin.” Read more »

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Saint of the Week: St. Zita

April 20th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Saint Zita

Feast Day: April 27

 

At age 12 Zita began working as a domestic in the household of a wealthy weaver in Lucca, Italy, and remained there her entire life. Initially,

St. Zita (CNS)

St. Zita (CNS)

the devout and punctilious Zita antagonized her fellow servants, and drew the ire of her employers for lavish gifts of food to the poor. But she gradually won over everyone by her goodness, and was put in charge of the house. Later in life, she spent much time visiting the sick and imprisoned. At her death, she already was acclaimed a saint in Lucca and her cult spread to England through Lucchese merchants in London.

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