Year of Mercy an invitation to joy

December 21, 2015
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

With five strong thrusts, the pope pushed open the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica, declaring, "Open the gates of justice." As the sun broke through on a cloudy, damp morning, the pope bowed his head and remained still for several minutes in silent prayer as he launched the Holy Year of Mercy. The rite of the opening of the Holy Door was preceded by a Mass with 70,000 pilgrims packed in St. Peter's Square Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

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Archbishop Smith: Share God's tender love with those in need

December 21, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The Jubilee Year of Mercy is a year-long opportunity to rejoice, Archbishop Richard Smith said while launching the archdiocesan celebration of God's merciful love. The Edmonton archbishop opened a holy door and called on churchgoers to be people of mercy in a Dec. 13 Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica. "In this Mass, let's pray for the grace to open wide the doors of our hearts to the gift of God's tender and merciful love, and the doors of love and compassion to our world."

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Belgium tries to expand grounds for euthanasia

December 21, 2015
JONATHAN LUXMOORE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Belgium's Catholic bishops welcomed a statement by top medical professors, psychiatrists and ethicists, who rejected a proposal to allow euthanasia for patients facing "psychological suffering." "We're always opposed to euthanasia, so we approve and support this initiative," Jesuit Father Tommy Scholtes, spokesman for the Brussels-based bishops' conference, told Catholic News Service Dec. 11.

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Seminary rector chosen to head Yukon diocese

Fr. Hector Vila
December 21, 2015
EVAN BOUDREAU
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Growing up, Father Hector Vila never dreamed of visiting the Yukon. But now the Redemptoris Mater priest from Peru can't stop thinking about making his first trip to northern Canada. "It never crossed my mind," said Vila, "but now I plan to make a short trip within the next few weeks." Vila will be making the trip, about a 10-hour flight from Toronto, as part of his preparation to take over as bishop of Whitehorse. "What I'm looking forward to is meeting the people," he said.

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Syrian refugee children need an education

December 21, 2015
JEAN KO DIN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Syria's civil war has seen families pulling their children out of school as they escape the growing violence and persecution. Many children have not been in school since the war started in 2012. Jenny Cafiso, executive director of Canadian Jesuits International (CJI), said this as a recipe for disaster. "Right now, kids are hanging around with nothing to do in camps or inside Syria in urban areas.

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Patriarch says hopes for Middle East dialogue diminish

December 21, 2015
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

ROME - The survival of Christianity in the Middle East has reached such a critical point that the chances of dialogue and reconciliation in the region are being threatened, said Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad. "The situation is very bad, very critical and always violent," Patriarch Sako told Catholic News Service Dec. 10.

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Christ will bring eternal salvation to Jewish people

December 21, 2015
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Catholics are called to witness to their faith in Jesus before all people, including Jews, but the Catholic Church "neither conducts nor supports" any institutional missionary initiative directed toward Jews, says a new Vatican document. How God will save the Jews if they do not explicitly believe in Christ is "an unfathomable divine mystery," but one which must be affirmed, it says. Catholics believe that God is faithful to his promises and therefore never revoked his covenant with the Jewish people, says the document.

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Polish sisters build outreach around prayer

December 21, 2015
THANDIWE KONGUAVI
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Every morning, just before 6 a.m. inside the north central Edmonton building where the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate live and work, the nuns start their day in prayer. The 10 Edmonton members of the Polish religious congregation always pray for the Church, the pope, new vocations and peace in the world. They often include special prayer requests for the sick, particular needs based on current events and, ever-patriotic, prayers for Poland.

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Pope tackles debt, death penalty in Peace Day missive

December 21, 2015
CAROL GLATZ
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Pope Francis called for abolishing the death penalty worldwide, lifting the burden of debt on poor nations, global aid policies that respect life and revamped laws that welcome and integrate migrants. The pope urged individuals, communities and nations to not let indifference, information overload or pessimism discourage them from concrete efforts "to improve the world around us, beginning with our families, neighbours and places of employment."

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Time to reconcile with natives - Anglican bishop

December 21, 2015
JEAN KO DIN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

The truth part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process is done; now is the time for Canada to enter into reconciliation, said Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald. MacDonald, who is the first national indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, spoke at Toronto's St. Gabriel's Parish Nov. 25 to reflect on how Christians can help repair Canada's relationship with indigenous people.

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