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Showing posts from December, 2013

Pope asks people if they used 2013 to help others

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis used his year-end prayer service on Tuesday evening to urge people to ask themselves a tough question: Did they mainly spend 2013 promoting self-interests or helping others?

That’s what we all should consider as New Year’s celebrations get under way, the pontiff said as he led the service in St. Peter’s Basilica to give thanks, a Vatican year-end tradition.

“Let us courageously ask ourselves: How did we live the time (God) gave us?” Francis asked in his homily. “Did we use it above all for ourselves, for our interests, or did we know how to spend it for others as well?”

He also encouraged people to reflect on whether they used 2013 to improve the place where they live. “This year did we contribute, in our own small ways, to make it more livable, orderly, welcoming?”

There are “so many people marked by material and moral poverty, poor people, unhappy, suffering, who appeal to the conscience not only of public authorities but of every citizen,” Francis said.

St. Sylvester I, pope

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The Saint of the day for December 31st is St. Sylvester I, pope.

St. Sylvester, a native Roman, was chosen by God to govern His holy Church during the first years of Her temporal prosperity and triumph over Her persecuting enemies. Pope Melchiades died in January, 314. St. Sylvester was chosen as his successor. He governed the Church for more than twenty-one years, ably organizing the discipline of the Roman Church, and taking part in the negotiations concerning Arianism and the Council of Nicaea. He also sent Legates to the first Ecumenical Council.

During his Pontificate were built the great churches founded at Rome by Constantine — the Basilica and baptistery of the Lateran, the Basilica of the Sessorian palace (Santa Croce), the Church of St. Peter in the Vatican, and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs. No doubt St. Sylvester helped towards the construction of these churches. He was a friend of Emperor Constantine, confirmed the first General Council of Nicaea…

The Pope's Prayer Intentions for January 2014

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The Holy Father's prayer intentions for January 2014 are:

Universal: That all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all peoples.

For Evangelization: That Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ.



Blessed Eugenia Ravasco

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The Saint of the day for December 30th is Blessed Eugenia Ravasco (1845 - 1900).

Eugenia Ravasco was born on  January 4, 1845 in Milan, Italy, the third of Francesco Matteo and Carolina Mozzoni Frosconi's six children. When she was three years old her mother died and her father moved to Genoa where his two brothers lived, taking with him his eldest son, Ambrose, and the youngest daughter, Elisa. Eugenia remained in Milan with her Aunt Marietta Anselmi, who became a second mother to her and carefully educated her in the faith.

In 1852, the family was reunited in Genoa and following her father's death in March 1855, Eugenia went to live for some time with her uncle Luigi Ravasco and her aunt Elisa and their 10 children. Luigi Ravasco was careful to give his nephews and nieces a Christian upbringing. He was well aware of the anticlericalism on the rise in Italy at the time and of the efforts of the Freemasons, and was especially worried about Eugenia's brother, Ambrose, who …

Book Review -- Walking with Mary: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross

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Written by Edward Sri

In Walking with Mary, Edward Sri examines the key Scripture passages in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, taking us on a step-by-step Scripture study of her life. In a very readable format, he illuminates our understanding of the mysteries of her life, providing profound insights.

Walking with Mary is a captivating book that nourishes both the mind and the soul. In 172 pages, Sri gives us a comprehensive analysis of the events in Mary’s life, beginning with her fiat at the annunciation and ending with her coronation as the Queen of heaven and earth. Sri takes us through Mary’s joys and sufferings via his synthesis of the original Greek texts and related Scripture passages, revealing Mary’s virtues and God’s promises to her.

As a result of reading this book, I have gained a deeper, clearer, and a more comprehensive understanding of the events that took place in Mary’s life, her responses to God’s will in her life, and how to emulate her virtues in my own life. T…

Pope Francis' prayer to the Holy Family

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Pope Francis on Sunday invited the faithful to join him spiritually in prayer for the upcoming Consistory and for the next Synod of Bishops which will focus on the theme of the Family.

Celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family on this first Sunday after Christmas, the Pope entrusted the work of the bishops to Jesus, Mary and Joseph and recited this prayer:

PRAYER TO THE HOLY FAMILY
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love, to you we turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
g…

Top Ten Catholic Fire Posts for 2013

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2013 was a memorable year for Catholic Fire, as our readership continued to increase. The year’s ten most read blog posts reflect our Catholic readers' interests in: Pope Francis, spirituality and prayer, marriage and the family, and the hot button issues of the HHS mandate, abortion, religious liberty, and Syria. It is encouraging to see that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, heads up this list.
1.  Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God 
2.  Prayer for Pope Francis  
3.  Peter Kreeft Interview - The Simultaneous Rise of Militant Islam and Homosexuality 
4.  Devout Catholic Couple die within hours of one another after 65 years of Marriage 
5.  Interesting Information about our new Pope
6. BREAKING NEWS: U.S. CATHOLIC BISHOPS AGREE TO RESIST MANDATE 
7.  12 Tips for Making Advent a More Spiritual Season 
8.  A Father's Day Prayer
9.  Tips on Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Syria on Saturday
10. Pope Francis - "Thrift Shop" Macklemore Parody 
Thank you to all those who lin…

OUR LADY OF PONTOISE

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December 28th is the feast of Our Lady of Pontoise.

Pontoise is an old town in France, built around a bridge across the Oise; and its shrine dates from some time before the 13th Century; though its exact beginnings are lost in legend.

The statue of Our lady of Pontoise is of marble, and was, according to the legend, carved by a pious youth in the quarry at Blangis, near Abbeville and brought to Pontoise.  In 1226 it was made a parish church, and the statue was placed outside, over the main entrance.  It was visited by the saint-king, Louis XI; and did not figure greatly in history until after 1431 when it was destroyed by the English.

From this time on, the shrine had a violent history.  The English, who were at that time still militantly Catholic determined to rebuild the shrine they had destroyed.  It was partly finished when the French reconquered the territory.  They finished the rebuilding in 1884.

During the years of 1580 and 1650, when the plague was destroying the country, pe…

The Feast Of the Holy Innocents and Our Holy Innocents Today, Martyrs

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Today we commemorate the Holy Innocents. Children under the age of two in Bethlehem were massacred by Herod the Great in an attempt to kill the child Jesus. We call these Holy Innocents, martyrs, because they died in the place of Christ. St. Augustine called them "buds, killed by the frost of persecution the moment they showed themselves."

In modern times, we have our own "holy innocents" -- those children who are killed daily in the place that should be the safest and most protective environment of all for them -- their mother's wombs. On this day, we recall the over 55 million children in our country alone (since 1973) and the vast number of children throughout the world who have been killed under the insane laws permitting abortion. Let us pray daily for an end to this tragedy.

The Holy Innocents

Today, dearest brethren, we celebrate the birthday of those children who were slaughtered, as the Gospel tells us, by that exceedingly cruel king, Herod. Let the ea…

2013: A year that rocked the Church

The year 2013 saw dramatic events in the life of the Catholic Church.

St. John the Apostle

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Today is the feast day of my Community -- the feast of St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist. St. John is also my patron saint and the saint I try most to emulate in my daily life.

St. John, a fisherman, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Great, was called to be an Apostle by our Lord in the first year of His public ministry, and he travelled everywhere with Him.

St. John is known as the Beloved Disciple, the Apostle of Love. Why was he identified in this way? John loved Jesus greatly, and he demonstrated a meek, mild, tender, humble, and peaceable disposition that made him very much like Our Lord himself. Also, his singular privilege of chastity, his virginal purity rendered him worthy of this more particular love.

As St. Augustine explains, "He was chosen by our Lord, a virgin, and he always remained such. Christ was pleased to choose a virgin for his mother, a virgin for his precursor, and a virgin for his favorite disciple. His church suffers only those who …

Christmas Messages from Pope Francis

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12/26/2013
Before the Nativity scene, may we pray in a particular way for those suffering persecution for the faith.
~ Pope Fancis

12/25/2013
Christ comes among us at Christmas: it is the perfect time for a personal encounter with the Lord.
~ Pope Fancis

Pope's Urbi et Orbi Blessing: A Call for Peace

Thousands of people flocked to St. Peter's Square to see Pope Francis' first Urbi et Orbi Christmas blessing. As expected, the Pope put his personal style in the message.

POPE FRANCIS
"God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.”
It's a time of joy, but the Pope also understands that many people face stark challenges during this time of year.  In particular, Christians who live in the Holy Land, where Jesus was born.

POPE FRANCIS
"Looking at the Child in the manger, our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick… Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!  Bless the land where you chose to come into the world, and grant a favorable outcome to the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Heal the wounds of the belo…

St. Stephen, Deacon and First Martyr

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On the day after the solemnity of Christmas, we celebrate today the feast of St. Stephen, deacon and first martyr. All that we know of him is contained in the Acts of the Apostles, chapters 6 and 7. In Acts 6:5 seven men were selected and specially ordained by the Apostles to take care of the temporal relief of the poorer members. Of these seven, Stephen, is the first deacon mentioned and the best known. The Church had, by selecting him for a deacon, publicly acknowledged him as a man "of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). He was "a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost" (vi, 5), "full of grace and fortitude."

Certain Jews, members of the Synagogue of Roman Freedmen, debated with Stephen but proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke. They persuaded others to make the charge of blasphemy against him. He was seized and carried before the Sanhedrin.

Stephen spoke to the crowd and recalled the mercies of Go…

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Blessings to all of you and your loved ones! Venite Adoremus! 

Pope Francis visits Benedict XVI to wish him a Merry Christmas

Christmas is a time for friends and family.  So it makes sense that Pope Francis visited Benedict XVI, to wish him a Merry Christmas.

-Merry Christmas
-It's great to see that you're doing so well
-Thank You
-Merry Christmas

At 86, the Pope emeritus looked healthy and alert. He carried a black cane to help him move along. Together with Pope Francis, they walked into the Mater Ecclesiae chapel, where they stood and prayed.

After talking for a few minutes, Pope Francis individually meet the group of consecrated women who live at the former monastery and help care for Benedict XVI.

Just like old friends, after a good conversation and a warm embrace, the Pope Emeritus walked to the door to thank his guests for the Christmas visit, waiting outside to make sure his friend and Pope, took off safely.

Pope's Mass: Our souls should not have a 'do not disturb' sign

In his daily morning Mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis talked about what it really means to prepare for Christmas. Amid all the parties and celebrations, he said, there must be room for God.

POPE FRANCIS
"Is there a place for the Lord, or is there only room for parties, shopping and noise? Is our soul wide open, just like our Holy Mother Church and Our Lady? Or is our soul closed off, with a 'Do not Disturb' sign at the door? Now, let's repeat our call to the Lord many times, 'Come, Lord Jesus! May our souls not turn into a soul that reads: Do not disturb!"

The Pope then added that God isn't just present during Christmas, but rather every single day. He then emphasized that to feel the presence of God, one must first open the door.

SUMMARY OF POPE'S MASS
(Source: Vatican Radio)

"Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. He focused his remarks after the readings of the day on th…

Pope visits children's hospital to wish kids a Merry Christmas

For about three hours, Pope Francis visited the Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital in Rome. It was a his way of wishing the young patients a Merry Christmas. Some waited for the Pope right at the entrance and others in their hospital rooms.

"You're all great..."

The Pope thanked the doctors and all the caregivers at the hospital. He said their work is much more than just work. Above all else, he said, it represents hope.

Then came the moment to directly greet the children and their families. The Pope went by himself, without his team and without photographers.

Then these two patients decided to take the lead of the tour. They took Pope Francis by the hand, to the hospital's chapel.

POPE FRANCIS
"Thank you for [sharing] your dreams and your prayers [with me] in this basket. Thank you very much! Together, we will give this to Jesus. He knows what's deep in your heart. Especially with you children, Jesus has a special bond: He is always close to you.”

It wa…

A Saint in New Jersey?

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Venerable Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, SC (1901-1927)
Pope Francis recently approved a decree attributing a miracle to the intercession of a New Jersey nun, thus paving the way for her beatification.
According to the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, Venerable Miriam Teresa Demjanovich (1901-27) is a candidate for sainthood “because of her saintly life, her striving for perfection in her religious life, her spiritual writings, the mystical privileges accorded her by God during life, and the favors received by others after her death through her intercession with God.”
Who is Sister Miriam Teresa?

Teresa Demjanovich, a 20th Century American girl, was born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1901, the youngest of seven children of Alexander and Johanna (Suchy) Demjanovich, Ruthenian immigrants to the United States from what is now Eastern Slovakia. Teresa received Baptism, Confirmation, and her First Holy Communion in the Byzantine-Ruthenian rite of her parent…

St. Thorlak Thorhallsson

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The Scandinavian island nation of Iceland celebrates its national patron, St. Thorlak Thorhallsson, on Dec. 23.

Although Iceland's national assembly declared him a saint in 1198, only five years after his death, this “unofficial” canonization did not become an official part of the Church's liturgical calendar until Pope John Paul II confirmed him as the country's patron in January 1984.

Thorlak was born in 1133, less than two centuries after German and Norwegian missionaries began the first effective evangelization of Iceland. The pagan nation's conversion had involved a dramatic national struggle, as many Icelanders clung fiercely to their ancestral religion despite its customs of idol worship and infanticide.

The Catholic Church in Iceland had solidly established its presence by the time of Thorlak's birth. However, it had fallen into some disarray, particularly due to local clergy disregarding the rule of clerical celibacy, selling church positions for personal…

Coming Home to the 'Catholic Church' for Christmas

I came "Home" for Christmas many years ago and it was the happiest Christmas of my life!



In different parts of the globe, it's the same story that's being heard over and over again.

Distanced Catholics are going back to Church and embracing their faith. Some call it the 'Francis effect' others say it's the result of the  New Evangelization. Either way, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales is jumping on board with an initiative called: 'Come Home for Christmas.'

It's website www.comehomeforchristmas.co.uk encourages Catholics who never or rarely attend Mass, to go back and rediscover their faith.  It includes the personal stories of Catholics who for different reasons, distanced themselves from the Church for months, years or even decades...but eventually they all decided to go back.

Every person brings a unique story. In an increasingly secular country like the UK, Bishops want to invite their flock, young and old, back t…

Catholic Fire's 10th Anniversary

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Today, December 21st is the 10th anniversaryof this blog. A big thank you to all my readers for their loyal support, encouragement and following over the past ten years.  God bless you!

Pope Francis sends out his Christmas cards

St. Peter Canisius

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The Saint of the day for December 21 is St. Peter Canisius, priest and doctor.

Peter Canisius was born in Holland on May 8, 1521. Peter was a brilliant, but humble, young man, who studied at Cologne and received his license as doctor of civil law; he then went to Louvain (Belgium) to learn canon law. After he attended a retreat given by Blessed Peter Faber, the first disciple of St. Ignatius, he decided to become a Jesuit. On the day of his final vows, as he knelt in St. Peter's, Our Lord showed him a vision of His Sacred Heart. From that time forward, he never failed to make an offering of all his work to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sent to Germany, he worked strenuously for many years by his writings and teachings to confirm the Catholic faith. Of his numerous books, the Catechism is most renowned. It remains a monument of the triumph of the Church over error in the time of Luther.

A man of great energy, he taught in several universities, founded 18 colleges, and authored 37 book…

Best Christmas Gifts for the Entire Family

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Books!

Gifts for Women:




Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle
Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhoodby Pat Gohn
Catholic Mom’s Café: 5-Minute Retreats for Every Day of the Year by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle
A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul   by Lisa M. Hendey




Gifts for Children:

Angels for Kidsby Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle (a beautiful and comprehensive book for 7-12 year olds)


Gifts for Men:

The Miracle of Father Kaupan by Roy Wenzel and Travis Heying

For any Adult:

The Miraculous Medal by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle
The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vowsby Mother Dolores Hart
The Miracle of Father Kaupan by Roy Wenzel and Travis Heying

Pope Francis to children: the birth of Jesus is not a fairytale

"Thank you.”

With joy and much enthusiasm, children belonging to Italy's Catholic Action group welcomed Pope Francis.

Their meeting was noticeable because the Pope excelled in this environment. He asked the children to become "living rocks, united to Christ.” He also told them that "the birth of Jesus is not a fairytale.”

The Pope greeted each child individually. They all gave the Pope a gift. He listened closely to their explanations as they sang along Christmas carols. A young girl from the Piedmont region, where the Pope's parents were born, took him several traditional foods.

"We're from Piedmont, close to your grandparents' house. This is a small gift.”

"No, this is a big gift!”

Some of the children even used this time to give him a Christmas and a birthday present. Pope Francis turned 77 on December 17. The kids gave the Pope a new pair of shoes.

They also gave him pasta, but they told him it was a work of art. The Pope then joked with t…

Fr. Barron comments on The Nativity of Luke's Gospel

Pope's Mass: To understand God's Mystery, embrace silence, reflection

During his daily morning Mass, Pope Francis talked about the importance of silence. He explained that it was amid shadows and silence that God decided to reveal Himself to humankind.

POPE FRANCIS
"The Lord always took care of the mystery and hid the mystery. He did not publicize the mystery. A mystery that publicizes itself is not Christian; it is not the mystery of God. Rather, it's a fake mystery!”

The Pope then explained that one's relationship with God and one's spiritual journey is personal. He explained that to nourish this relationship one needs to get away from all the noise, and instead, embrace silence.

SUMMARY OF POPE'S MASS:
(Source: Vatican Radio)

"Only silence guards the mystery of the journey that a person walks with God, said Pope Francis in his homily at Mass on Friday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. May the Lord, the Pope added, give us "the grace to love the silence”, which needs to be guarded from all publicity.

In the history of sa…

St. Dominic of Silos

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The Saint of the day for December 20 is St. Dominic of Silos, a Benedictine abbot born in 1000 in Cañas, Navarre, Spain, a shepherding town in the Pyrenees.

As a shepherd boy, Dominic enjoyed looking after his father's flocks as well as the solitude of the fields. He entered the Benedictine monastery in Navarre, where he became prior. When Dominic refused to hand over the monastery’s property and possessions to the King of Navarre, he and two other monks were exiled to Castille. There the king of Castille appointed him to be the abbot of the monastery of St. Sebastian at Silos.

The monastery was in terrible shape physically, financially, and spiritually. Dominic rebuilt the dilapidated building, and restored its finances. He also renewed the spirit of the monastery, increasing its works of charity. Dominic died on December 10, 1073 in Silos, Spain.

About 100 years after his death, a young woman made a pilgrimage to his tomb and prayed that she would conceive a child. There St. Do…

The importance of brightness in Christmas

Ireland's Bishop Brendan Leahy approaches his first Christmas as leader of the Limerick Diocese with a mission to help his flock appreciate a season of light.

Pope's Mass: With Humility comes Fruitfulness

During his daily morning Mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis talked about humility, explaining that a humble Christian always has a fruitful life. As an example, the Pope talked about Elizabeth, who despite being sterile, managed to give birth.

POPE FRANCIS
"With this humility, the humility of the desert, the humility of a sterile soul, may we receive this grace. The grace to flourish, to give fruit, and to give life.”

Symbolically speaking, the Pope said that it's not the  humble, but the proud who end up having sterile souls.

SUMMARY OF POPE'S MASS:
(Source: Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis said at Mass this morning in the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father said that the intervention of God overcomes the sterility of our life and makes it fruitful. Then he put us on guard against the attitude of pride that makes us sterile.

Often in the Bible we find women who are sterile, to whom the Lord gives the gift of life. That was the starting point of Pope Francis’ homily on the day’s…

Pope at General Audience: If we wan't to be like God, we must be more humble

Pope Francis talked about Christmas and the birth of Jesus, during Wednesday's General Audience. He explained that God was humble enough to come down to be with the people, in the form of his Son, to serve others. If Christians want to be like God, he added, they must be more humble.

The Pope said that to be more like God, all Christians must be close and attentive to others, especially the poor.

POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In these last days of Advent we prepare ourselves spiritually to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Christmas is a feast of joyful hope, for God has become one with us in the person of his Son, true God and true man.

He showed his love for us by becoming part of our world, with all its conflicts, its suffering and its poverty.  Jesus is truly Emmanuel: God among us.  This is the great "gift” which he brings: a divine love which heals and transforms our hearts, overcoming all uncertainty and pessimism.

Our joyful contemplation…

Blessed Pope Urban V

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The saint of the day for December 19th is Blessed Pope Urban V.

Blessed Pope Urban V was born Guillaume de Grimoard at Grisac in Languedoc, 1310. He studied canon law and theology in Avignon and became a Benedictine monk. He was named abbot of his monastery in 1352, served as a papal diplomat and was sent as an ambassodor to various locations. He also served as a bishops around Italy and throughout Europe.

He was elected pope in 1362 while on diplomatic business, even though he was not a cardinal. His reign was blessed by his peacekeeping activity between the French and Italian kings, the founding of many universities, his zeal for the crusades and his decision to return the papacy to Rome and end the Avignon exile of the popes.

However, the breakout of war between England and France, forced him to return to Avignon on a peacekeeping mission. On his return to Avignon he died, and his body, which had been buried at Avignon was then transferred to Marseille according to his own wishes,…

Saint Gatian

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The Saint of the day for December 18th is Saint Gaitian, bishop.

Saint Gatian (also known as Gatianus) came from Rome with Saint Dionysius of Paris, about the middle of the third century, and preached the faith principally at Tours in Gaul, where he fixed his episcopal see. The Gauls in that part were extremely addicted to the worship of their idols. But no contradictions or sufferings were able to discourage or daunt this true apostle; and by perseverance he gained several to Christ. He assembled his little flock in grots and caves, and there celebrated the divine mysteries. For he was obliged often to lie hid in lurking holes a long time together in order to escape a cruel death, with which the pagans frequently threatened him, and which he was always ready to receive with joy if he had fallen into their hands. Having continued his labors with unwearied zeal, despite frequent sufferings and dangers for near the space of fifty years, he died in peace at Tours in 301, and was honored…

NY judge orders first permanent block against HHS mandate

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Hurray! CNA shares some Christmas cheer with us this evening:

 A federal judge in New York has issued the first permanent injunction against the federal contraception mandate, a ruling that religious freedom advocates are praising as a major victory.

“There is no way that a court can, or should, determine that a coerced violation of conscience is of insufficient quantum to merit constitutional protection,” wrote Judge Brian Cogan of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn in a Dec. 16 ruling.

He explained that the controversial mandate “burdens plaintiffs’ religion by coercing them into authorizing third parties to provide this coverage through the self-certification requirement, an act forbidden by plaintiffs’ religion.”

Read the entire story.

THE POPE CELEBRATES HIS 77TH BIRTHDAY

Vatican City, 17 December 2013 (VIS) – Today Pope Francis celebrates his 77th birthday and congratulations have arrived in the Vatican from all over the world. However, also in his city of birth, Buenos Aires, citizens are celebrating the birthday of their former archbishop: the parishioners of the diaconate of Boca-Barrajas, one of the most popular and troubled areas of the city, will spend the day in Plaza Constitucion where a “missionary tent” has been erected to welcome the “invisible” inhabitants of the capital. The area hosts a large railway station and the principal bus terminal, where the “street people” of the city gather - migrants, the unemployed, the homeless, prostitutes – and where every year the then Archbishop Bergoglio used to celebrate Mass for the victims of human trafficking.

In Italy, the Constitutional Court sent a telegram to the Pope, through the secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, congratulating him for his “profound and intense pastoral work in th…

Pope canonizes Peter Faber, the co-founder of the Jesuits

One of the few people Pope Francis has expressed sincere and deep admiration for is Peter Faber, the first Jesuit priest in history.

In the interview with 'Civiltà Cattolica,' the Pope said he looked up to Faber because of

"...his careful interior discernment, the fact that he was a man capable of great and strong decisions but also capable of being so gentle and loving.”

Jesuit Father Marc Lindeijer deals with canonization process of Jesuits. He says it's not a coincidence that Pope Francis highlighted those three features in Peter Faber.

FR. MARC LINDEIJER
Vice Postulator of Jesuit Sainthood Causes
"I think when the Pope uses these words to characterize Peter Faber, we can see what he is doing himself. What strikes people, everytime again, is his tenderness with people, his sweetness, embracing the disabled persons, kissing the ill, taking on the children of people...”

Peter Faber was born in Villaret, France, in 1506. He shared a room with Ignatius of Loyola …

St. Olympias of Constantinople, Deaconess

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The Saint of the day for December 17th, St. Olympias, was born into a wealthy noble Constantinople family in 368. Her parents died when she was young, and left her an immense fortune.

Olympias married Nebridius, the newly appointed prefect of Constantinople. Within a short time, Nebridius died, and Olympias was left a childless widow. Determined to devote herself to the service of God and works of charity, she refused several offers of marriage, and had her fortune put into a trust until she was thirty. When her husband died, the Emperor Theodosius attempted to pressure her into marrying him by seizing control of her properties and when that failed, he banned her from going to Church or associating with the clergy. However, he gave up one after one year and she regained her estate. In 391, she was consecrated deaconess by Nectarius, the Bishop of Constantinople. She founded a convent, near the Basilica of St. Sophia, which attracted fifty women. Along with her, they consecrated their…

Pope Francis celebrates his birthday with children treated at Catholic clinic

Pope Francis arrived at the Vatican's Pediatric Dispensary of Santa Marta, a small children's clinic, but with a big mission.

-Good morning.
-Good morning.
-Here I am!

The hospital offers treatment and services to some of the poorest families in Rome and the world. It's run by volunteer doctors, as well as the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

Following in the footsteps of Benedict XVI, Pope Francis visited the dispensary, and witnessed first hand how they are changing lives.

He then welcomed the patients' families and the clinic volunteers at Paul VI Hall.

The children at the dispensary lost no time in wishing Pope Francis a happy birthday. First, they gave him a cube picture frame, as Michael Jackson's "Heal the World” played in the background.

Then they sang "Happy Birthday” and gave him a white and yellow cake, the Vatican colors.

One, two, and three! Everyone!

The children's last gift was a white dove, which everyone wanted to hold. T…

The Trappist Monks and their Fruitcakes

The Trappist monks of Assumption Abbey near Ava in southwest Missouri make their living baking fruitcake. The Kansas City Star has their amazing story HERE.

Christmas Novena: December 16 - 25

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Opening Prayer (for each day)

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment

At which the Son of God was born

Of a most pure Virgin

At a stable at midnight in Bethlehem

In the piercing cold

At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee,

To hear my prayers and grant my desires

(Mention your intentions here).

Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.

December 16:

O Shepherd that rulest Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep, come to guide and comfort us.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

December 17:

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

December 18:

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

St. Adelaide: The Royal Saint

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The Saint of the day for December 16th is St. Adelaide of Burgundy. St. Adelaide was a marvel of grace and beauty, according to her spiritual director and biographer, St. Odilon of Cluny. She was born a princess in 1931 and was to became not only the Queen of Italy, but the Empress of Italy. More importantly, this woman of grace lived a holy life, which wasn't an easy endeavor, given her circumstances in life, and was later canonized a saint.

The daughter of King Rupert II of Burgundy, France, at age 16, she married Lothar of Italy, who eventually became king of Italy. She was widowed in 950 while still a teenager. Lothair was thought to be poisoned by his successor to the throne, Berengarius. As part of his attempt to solidify his grip on power, Berengarius ordered Adelaide to marry his son; she refused, and was imprisoned.

It is believed that a priest came and dug a tunnel to where she was being kept and helped her escape. She remained hidden in the woods until the Duke of Cano…

Gaudete Sunday: Rejoice in the Lord Always

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By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. 
For anyone who seeks out the real meaning of the holidays, the last few days before Christmas are the most powerful period of Advent and an intensely beautiful time of year. This weekend we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, with its spirit of joy and its rose liturgical vestments as an alternative to the season’s violet.
The day takes its name from the opening words of the Introit at the beginning of Mass: Gaudete in Domino semper, or “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4:4,5).  And it’s followed just a few days later by the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, the time of the “O Antiphons.”
In Christian worship, an antiphon is a special prayer recited or chanted before a psalm or canticle. The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons recited before the Magnificat during Vespers in the Liturgy of the Hours. They entered the Church’s liturgy as early as the fifth century. By the eighth century they were a regular part of Christian liturgical life in Ro…