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Indiana town embodies Santa Claus/St. Nick, and his spirit of love, peace and joy

SANTA CLAUS, Ind.–Belief in that iconic Christmas figure, the rotund merry man with a bag full of presents, inspires thousands of children to write letters addressed to “Santa Claus” each year. Surprisingly, many of these wish lists actually do get delivered to Santa Claus. But rather than landing in a magical workshop at the North […]

Court seems divided in cake case examining religious rights, expression

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Supreme Court seemed equally divided in the long-anticipated oral arguments Dec. 5 about the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs. Even Justice Anthony Kennedy’s comments went right down the middle, from expressing concern for those who would be shut out of services […]

Pope concerned by U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

VATICAN CITY–Following reports that U.S. President Donald Trump planned to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Pope Francis expressed his concern that such a move would further destabilize the Middle East. Pope Francis said he could not “keep silent about my deep concern” for Jerusalem and urged respect for “the status quo of the […]

St. Nicholas and his link with Christmas

On Dec. 6, the faithful commemorate a bishop in the early church who was known for generosity and love of children. Born in Lycia in Asia Minor around the late third or fourth century,  St. Nicholas of Myra is more than just the inspiration for the modern day Santa. As a young man he is said […]

Learning the best way to observe Advent

DENVER, Colo.–With the first Sunday of Advent behind us, the liturgical season of preparing for Christmas is well underway. But what does it actually mean to “observe Advent?” The observation of other liturgical seasons may be more readily apparent – Lent is clearly a time for prayer, sacrifice and almsgiving, while Christmas and Easter are […]

Don’t wait to be perfect to answer vocational call, pope says

VATICAN CITY–Men and women contemplating a vocation to the priesthood, consecrated life or marriage should not be afraid because God wants only for them to experience the joy that comes from serving others, Pope Francis said. “Our slowness and our sloth” should not delay a response and Christians need not be “fearful of our limitations […]

Immigrant Families Initiative helps with various needs

COLUMBIA—Three neighborhoods in Beaufort County that are home to mostly Hispanic immigrants are part of Narenda Sharma’s ongoing efforts to help poor families leave poverty behind. He is founder and director of the Neighborhood Outreach Connec­tion, a non-profit organization that helps low-income people around the Hilton Head and Beaufort areas. “We see our mission as […]

Advent is a time to reflect on our paths, see Christ in others

VATICAN CITY–Advent is a time to be watchful and alert to the ways that one strays from God’s path, but also to see signs of his presence in other people and in the beauty of the world, Pope Francis said. Reciting the Angelus prayer Dec. 3, the first Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis told people […]

Catholic Charities helps 300th family recover from disaster

MYRTLE BEACH—Catholic Charities recently reached a milestone in its ongoing mission to help people after floods, hurricanes and other weath­er events that have hit the state hard in the past two years. In early November, the agency an­nounced it had helped its 300th fam­ily move back into safe, clean, secure housing since fall 2015. When […]

Vietnamese martyrs are a durable link to faith

GREER—More than 300 adults and children filled Our Lady of La Vang Church Nov. 19 to offer praise and prayer for the 117 Catholic Vietnamese martyrs who faced persecution and death some 200 years ago. “Your presence here makes a difference,” Franciscan Father David Phan, pastor of Our Lady of La Vang, told the crowd […]

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