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Pope at Mass: Let us allow ourselves to be consoled by God

VATICAN CITY—At the Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis speaks about consolation, which he says should be the normal state for Christians. But in today’s world, he says, the word “tenderness” has effectively been removed from the dictionary. In his homily at the daily Mass, Pope Francis encouraged us to allow ourselves to be […]


Surprise! Pope makes several impromptu visits

ROME—Pope Francis made surprise visits Dec. 7 and 8 to people receiving medical care far from their homes, to a dozen intellectually challenged young people and to the staff of a major Rome newspaper. The late-afternoon visits Dec. 7 to the CasAmica residence for families with a member needing long-term medical care far from home […]


Marking feast day, pope asks Mary’s care of refugee families

ROME—In the heart of Rome, near streets of fancy shops already blinged out for Christmas shopping, Pope Francis prayed for Romans struggling to survive and for families in the city and around the world who face the same lack of welcome that Mary and Joseph experienced. The pope concluded his public celebration of the feast […]


As U.N. declaration hits 70, push to include ‘new’ rights called troubling

UNITED NATIONS—Seventy years after its adoption, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was lauded Dec. 4 as a seminal, yet imperfect achievement of the nascent United Nations. Speakers at a panel honored the foresight of the declaration’s framers, but also warned that recognition of “new and deeply troubling rights” will contradict the document’s noble intent. […]


Feast of Immaculate Conception does not get weekend dispensation

WASHINGTON—Just last year, Catholics were required to attend separate Masses two days in a row for the Sunday obligation and Monday’s Christmas Mass. Now, they have a similar opportunity this year with the feast of the Immaculate Conception falling on a Saturday — Dec. 8. The vigil Mass on Saturday evening is not a “two-for-one” […]


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Christmas spirit in the air as Vatican unveils Nativity scene, tree

VATICAN CITY—The annual unveiling of the Vatican’s Christmas tree and Nativity scene brought some much-needed warmth to people’s hearts as winter approached. Hundreds of people in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 7 applauded as white curtains unfurled, revealing a 52-foot wide artistic representation of Jesus’ birth made entirely of sand and dubbed the “Sand Nativity.” The […]


Loving our neighbor means getting attached

A few words from a judge ended our time with the toddler yesterday afternoon. The little boy that had been my shopping buddy, who I had packed lunch notes for and who I had prayed with every night for the last five months walked into a courthouse with me and walked out with his family. Before […]


Catholic groups see major harm for immigrants in changing public benefits

WASHINGTON—A proposal by the Trump administration to deny green cards to legal immigrants using public assistance “will dramatically change the process of legal migration and make it increasingly difficult for low-income and working-class individuals to legally migrate to the United States.” That’s the view of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA […]


Advent calendars: Old tradition and modern commercialism, same message

WASHINGTON—The Advent calendar with one tab or box to open each day for 24 or 25 days taps into something people really like: countdowns. It also highlights the anticipation that is at the heart of the four-week liturgical season of Advent. These calendars, which are religious in nature, hence always with the name Advent, also […]


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Retirement Fund for Religious is a gift of thanksgiving

CHARLESTON—A special collection to help retired religious will be held in the Diocese of Charleston on Dec. 8. The Retirement Fund for Religious collection benefits orders such as the Monas­tery of St. Clare in Travelers Rest, whose sisters use the money to help provide the skilled medical care their sisters may need. “There are so many sisters […]


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