Unexpected friendships bloom as Vatican rolls out haircuts for homeless

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2015 / 04:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As homeless men and women line up under the massive arms of Saint Peter's colonnade waiting to take advantage of the Vatican's newly-christened showers and barbershop, volunteers who assist them say they are deeply moved by their encounter with a population often rejected by society. “Initially when they offered me this (job) I thought I would find myself confronted with grouchy, perhaps mean people,” said volunteer … [Read more...]

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Meet the Christians in Syria who want to stay, despite the war

Homs, Syria, Feb 17, 2015 / 02:01 am (Aid to the Church in Need).- “Fortunately, the battles are over for now. There was fierce fighting in Al Nabek all through Advent. No one was able to flee. The people were trapped. Peace was then finally restored in the week before Christmas. But you never know.” Sister Houda Fadoul sounds relieved. The Syrian Catholic nun presides over a congregation of women religious near Al Nabek, a city of around 50,000 inhabitants, located 50 miles south … [Read more...]

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Chinese New Year bumps Ash Wednesday fasting for Asia’s Catholics

Bangkok, Thailand, Feb 17, 2015 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Since Ash Wednesday coincides this year with Chinese New Year – also known as Lunar New Year – many bishops in East Asia are granting dispensations from the fasting and abstinence normally required on the day which begins the season of Lent. This year, Ash Wednesday falls on Feb. 18, which is the eve of the day which begins the Year of the Goat in the Chinese calendar. “In view of the celebration of the Chinese … [Read more...]

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What are the challenges facing family catechesis in India?

Shillong, India, Feb 16, 2015 / 09:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Indian Catechetical Association held its ninth annual convention last week to evaluate the central challenges to both the evangelization and catechesis of families on the subcontinent. “The family, this basic cell of society and the Church, is going through a social and ecclesiastical evolution,” said Fr. Gilbert Choondal, S.D.B., president of the Indian Catechetical Association. “It is our task to reflect, … [Read more...]

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Federalism, same-sex marriage, and what a bishop has to say about it

Washington D.C., Feb 16, 2015 / 07:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The head of the U.S. bishops’ marriage committee is backing new legislation that thwarts the federal government from bypassing state marriage laws. “Various agencies of the Executive Branch” are effectively, if not intentionally, trying “to circumvent state laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” wrote Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco in a letter to Sen. Ted Cruz … [Read more...]

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A Presidents Day reminder: rights are a gift from God

Washington D.C., Feb 16, 2015 / 05:34 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Past presidents have seen God and religion as an inherent part of Americans’ rights and freedoms, according to a Presidents Day commercial from the Knights of Columbus. “The idea that our rights come from God and that religion has a role to play in our nation’s public life is not partisan or sectarian, it is quintessentially American,” Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said Feb. … [Read more...]

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In sight of the nation’s capitol, a massive Bible museum underway

Washington D.C., Feb 16, 2015 / 04:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A vast Bible museum is currently under construction in Washington, D.C. and has had strong support since its beginning phases from the Vatican, officials for the project revealed last week. “When we introduced the Museum of the Bible, the first place we introduced it was at the (Vatican) Embassy here in Washington, D.C., for a private gathering,” the president of the museum Cary Summers told reporters at the official … [Read more...]

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