Rome’s near-abandoned Guadalupe shrine marks feast

Rome, Italy, Dec 12, 2013 / 03:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Several hundred yards from the heart of the ancient forum, devotees are gathering in the run-down Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere today where one of the first copies of the Virgin of Guadalupe is on display. “Practically, this icon of our lady isn't the original but the second icon of Our Lady that was brought with some difficulty to Italy,” recounts Fiorella Silvestri after the 11a.m. Mass. She's one of several … [Read more...]

Pope highlights ‘joy of the Church’ on Twitter anniversary

Vatican City, Dec 12, 2013 / 03:08 pm (CNA).- One year after the official opening of the papal Twitter account, Pope Francis invited his nearly 11 million followers on the social media site to remember the joy that characterizes the Catholic Church. “We cannot think of a Church without joy. This is the joy of the Church: announcing to all the name of Jesus,” tweeted Pope Francis on Dec. 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the one-year anniversary of the papal presence on … [Read more...]

Puerto Rico layman could become second black saint from Americas

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dec 12, 2013 / 12:24 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has approved the heroic virtues of Servant of God Rafael Cordero Molina, a layman from Puerto Rico who dedicated his life to fighting racism and educating black children. If canonized, Molina would be the second black layman from the American continent to be made a saint, following St. Martin de Porres. Molina, whose beatification cause is now moving forward, devoted more than 58 years of his life to teaching. He … [Read more...]

Pope names two new bishops for Mississippi and Texas

Vatican City, Dec 12, 2013 / 11:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has named two U.S. priests as the next bishops of the Dioceses of Jackson, Miss. and San Angelo, Texas. Father Joseph R. Kopacz, a priest of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., will head the Jackson diocese, while Monsignor Michael J. Sis of the Diocese of Austin will lead the west central Texas diocese. Bishop Joseph Bambera of Scranton said the announcement brought “great joy” to Fr. Kopacz’s home … [Read more...]

Fraternity is the ‘foundation’ of peace, Pope’s message says

Vatican City, Dec 12, 2013 / 10:26 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis' first message for the World Day of Peace was issued today by the Vatican, revealing the pontiff's special emphasis on fostering greater global fraternity in the process of obtaining peace. The Dec. 12 presentation of the Pope's message showed how he refers to fraternity as “an essential human quality,” which he elaborates on in several key areas of society. The theme of the upcoming day, which … [Read more...]

God speaks to us ‘with the voice of a child,’ Pope reflects

Vatican City, Dec 12, 2013 / 07:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his daily Mass Pope Francis reflected on how God lowers himself to converse on our level, and encouraged those present to make more moments of silence in order to prepare for the birth of Jesus. “When we look at a father or a mother who speaks to their little child,” the Pope explained in his Dec. 12 daily homily, “we see that they become little and speak with a voice of a child and with the manners of … [Read more...]

Congressman highlights ongoing Philippines recovery efforts

Washington D.C., Dec 12, 2013 / 04:35 am (CNA).- Despite facing a long path to recovery after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, the people of the Philippines have not given up hope, says a U.S. Congressman who recently visited the country. “I met with numerous survivors who told us heartbreaking stories yet radiated a calm and inner peace,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s global health panel. “One man told us how … [Read more...]

Thai community pays tribute to ‘unsung hero’ Father Ray Brennan

Pattaya, Thailand, Dec 12, 2013 / 12:06 am (CNA).- Observing the tenth anniversary of the death of Fr. Ray Brennan, a Redemptorist missionary from the U.S., the Thai community has launched fundraising initiatives to support the orphanage he founded. Fr. Brennan was an extraordinarily “zealous, friendly, and exemplary” priest who fell in love with his mission and was in turn “loved by all,” Fr. Mathew Vrasak Buranapol, a Redemptorist and missionary companion to Fr. … [Read more...]

Zimbabwean bishops concerned by polarization after elections

Harare, Zimbabwe, Dec 12, 2013 / 12:02 am (CNA).- The bishops of Zimbabwe have released a proposal for restoration and peace in the country following the national elections which were held in July and which have polarized the nation's people. “We write this Pastoral Letter three months after the national elections were conducted, when the dust from those elections has settled down somewhat,” the bishops wrote in their Dec. 3 letter, released by charity Aid to the Church in … [Read more...]

Catholics joyful at Pope’s ‘Person of the Year’ recognition

Washington D.C., Dec 11, 2013 / 05:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholics from around the U.S. have welcomed Pope Francis' selection as Time Magazine's 2013 “Person of the Year,” the third pontiff to win the American magazine's yearly honor since its start in 1927. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York said in a Twitter post after the Dec. 11 announcement that he was “delighted” by the news. He elaborated in a statement on his blog, saying that Pope Francis … [Read more...]