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Pope denounces ‘homicidal madness’ after attacks in Berlin, Ankara

VATICAN CITY—Expressing his condolences to victims and their families, Pope Francis called for an end to terrorism following a string of deadly attacks in Berlin and Ankara. Similar to an attack with a truck that took place in July in Nice, France, a tractor-trailer veered into the crowded Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin and plowed […]

Refugees, migration a front-burner topic throughout 2016

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of year-end stories recapping key events of 2016.    WASHINGTON, D.C.—American artist Jacob Lawrence detailed the plight of black Americans in the South who were discriminated against, exploited for their labor, threatened with death and sometimes killed, and who lived in substandard conditions until they made their way […]

Open your heart to that small splendor born in Bethlehem

VATICAN CITY—Christmas is a time to open your heart to the little and wondrous things found in baby Jesus — born poor and defenseless so he could be near and bring hope to everyone, Pope Francis said. “The most beautiful joy of Christmas is that inner joy of peace: the Lord wiped away my sins, […]

Politics, courts involved in U.S. health care’s 2016 diagnosis

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of year-end stories recapping key events of 2016. WASHINGTON—U.S. health care seemed stuck in the waiting room for part of the year, holding out for its future prognosis from courtroom and political decisions. During the election year, health care as a whole was not a top issue […]

Vatican sets up emails, hashtag to send birthday greetings to Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY—Even though Pope Francis was planning a “normal” workday for his birthday, well-wishers can help brighten it up with special tweets and emails. The pontiff turns 80 on Dec. 17 and plans to start the day with Mass together with cardinals living in Rome, according to the Vatican press office. The Vatican made the […]

Pope writes to Syrian president, urging him to end war

VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to do everything possible to end the war in his country, to protect civilians and to ensure humanitarian agencies can deliver emergency aid to the people. Syria’s SANA news agency reported Assad met Dec. 12 with new Cardinal Mario Zenari, the papal nuncio to Syria, and that […]

Byzantine Catholics prepare for Christmas with 40-day fast

A 40-day period known as the Philip’s Fast, which began Nov. 15, is accompanying the faithful of the Byzantine Catholic Church as they prepare to celebrate the feast of the Nativity. These periods of preparation teach that in order to feast, we must fast. Named for the feast of the apostle celebrated the day before, […]

Thousands gather to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe

WASHINGTON—People on the sidewalks of Washington momentarily stopped their holiday shopping and paused in the cold on Dec. 10 to take in the sight of hundreds of pilgrims processing through the streets alongside images of Mary. One procession began at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart and another at Holy Name Church, and the two […]

2016: The year racism and fear make a comeback

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of year-end stories recapping key events of 2016. WASHINGTON—It began with the fatal shootings of unarmed black men and women by police. It was exacerbated in the summer when, on July 7, a gunman in Dallas opened fire on police during a march, killing five officers in […]

Pope Francis calls Coptic Pope Tawadros to share condolences

VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis phoned Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria Dec. 12, expressing his prayers and condolences for the previous day’s terrorist attack at the Cairo cathedral that left 25 people dead. “We are united in the blood of our martyrs,” the pope told the Orthodox patriarch, according to a Vatican statement. The patriarch […]

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