Pope Francis: “Christmas is an encounter”

From his daily homily today: In his homily at the Santa Marta guesthouse on this, the first Monday of Advent, Pope Francis recalled that as we proceed towards Christmas, we embark on a journey of faith and prayer in preparation for our encounter with the Lord. “Because Christmas,” he said, isn’t just a temporal celebration [Read More…]

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Pope blesses sculpture of Jesus as a homeless man

You may remember this story from last spring, about Timothy Schmalz’s sculpture of a homeless Jesus that, itself, was homeless. Now, an update:  For two years, it was the sculpture nobody would take: a life-sized Jesus sleeping on a park bench with his bare feet, wounded from his crucifixion, poking out from under a blanket. [Read More…]

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Co-exist: Pope underlines importance of interreligious dialogue

  An overview from the Vatican news site:  Speaking to the participants of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pope Francis underlined the importance of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions.He noted that due to increasing movement of peoples because of phenomena such as migration, Christians [Read More…]

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Meet the pope’s almoner: “The Holy Father told me, ‘You can sell your desk. You don’t need it.'”

Some weeks back, I posted an item on this position’s unique diaconal dimension. Now, here’s more about the job, and the man carrying it out: When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis was known to sneak out at night and break bread with the homeless, sit with them literally on the street and [Read More…]

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“I, too, must think about a conversion of the papacy…”

One more striking excerpt from “The Joy of the Gospel”:     32. Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy. It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the [Read More…]

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“We need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church…”

From Pope Francis’s “The Joy of the Gospel”:  102. “Lay people are, put simply, the vast majority of the People of God. The minority – ordained ministers – are at their service. There has been a growing awareness of the identity and mission of the laity in the Church. We can count on many lay [Read More…]

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It’s here: “The Joy of the Gospel”—with homily hints from the pope

From Vatican Radio:  “The Joy of the Gospel” is the title Pope Francis has chosen for this first major document of his pontificate, putting down in print the joyous spirit of encounter with Christ that characterizes every public appearance he has made so far. The man who has constantly kept the media’s attention with his [Read More…]

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Pew: No “Francis Effect” in U.S.

From Reuters:  The popularity of Pope Francis, who became pontiff in March, has failed to draw more U.S. Catholics to attend Mass, according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Monday. While media reports indicate a significant rise in church attendance in some European countries in recent months, the United States saw a slight [Read More…]

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Putin meets pope, venerates icon of Mary

Details from AP:  Russian President Vladimir Putin showed off his religious side during a visit Monday to the Vatican, stopping to cross himself and kiss an icon of the Madonna that he gave to Pope Francis. But Moscow’s improving relations with the Vatican went only so far: Putin didn’t invite Francis to visit. The Vatican [Read More…]

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Papa, don’t preach: Pope Francis, the nudge

CNS takes note of an interesting papal characteristic: nagging.  To wit: When Pope Francis mills through the crowds, especially during a Wednesday general audience, people notice his warmth and tenderness, whether he’s caressing a baby, comforting an older person or hugging someone with a disability. But he also has a “nagging” side, a playful side [Read More…]

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