WCR This Week

After turmoil in Iraq, family eager for quiet Christmas

Kristel Matti

December 19, 2011
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Due to the persecution of Christians in Iraq, Ziyad Matti and his wife Dalia Hikmat haven't had a proper Christmas in years.

Now they are looking forward to their first peaceful Christmas since 1993, when the persecution and killing of Christians in Iraq began full scale. For them, Christmas is about the birthday of Jesus and a time to show love and forgiveness to others.

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L'Arche pageant offers unexpected turns in oft-told tale

December 19, 2011
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

There are no rehearsals for the actors, no flashy pyrotechnics during the performance and no cost for admission. Yet for many people, the L'Arche Association of Edmonton hosts the city's best Christmas pageant.

"Often people will say this is their favourite Advent event," said Sister Pat Desnoyers, community leader for L'Arche Edmonton.

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Irish priests feel tarred by minority's sins

Archbishop-designate Charles Brown

December 19, 2011
SARAH MACDONALD
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

DUBLIN – Father Damien McGroarty, 29, is one of the youngest diocesan priests in Ireland. Ordained just over a year ago, he should still be at the honeymoon stage of his vocation.

Instead, an independent audit of clerical sexual abuse in his Raphoe Diocese left him soul-searching about the public's perception of the priesthood.

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Nativity scenes evolve, enchant

December 19, 2011
THERESA HANLEY
THE NEW FREEMAN

Nativity scenes are one of the most recognizable and loved Christmas customs today and the words crèche and manger have come to describe the depiction of Christ's birth.

The word crèche is the French word for nativity scene which translates into crib in English. That and other translations are derived from the Latin word cripia, meaning manger.

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Ornament tells vets they are never alone

December 19, 2011
SHEILA DABU NONATO
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

TORONTO – Christmas ornaments featuring a kneeling soldier and the words "Never Alone/Jamais Seul" are being sold in a campaign to raise awareness of Canada's new war veterans.

The campaign is run by Jane Twohey, a Military Christian Fellowship of Canada volunteer from Port Perry, Ont., northeast of Toronto.

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Local pastor backs efforts to track down Attawapiskat cash

December 19, 2011
VANESSA SANTILLI
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

It's a good thing the federal government wants to know where millions of dollars given to the Attawapiskat community has gone, says the pastor on the northern Ontario reserve.

"All of us want to check where all of our tax money is going," said Oblate Father Rodrigue Vézina, pastor of Attawapiskat's St. Francis Xavier Parish, which receives support from Catholic Missions In Canada.

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Nativity scene mish-mash defies Scripture

December 19, 2011
MICHAEL SWAN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

A glance at the mantle this time of year can give the average Catholic entirely the wrong idea about the Bible.

"You see crèche scenes – they cram everything from both Gospels (Matthew and Luke) in there, not realizing that if you line both those Nativity stories up there are inconsistencies and contradictions," said Jesuit New Testament scholar Father Scott Lewis.

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Christ's birth date challenged pagan gods

December 19, 2011
FR. THOMAS RYAN, CSP
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

That theme of light in the darkness is at the heart, not only of the feast of the Nativity of Jesus, but of the determination of the date as well.

The primitive Church seems to have had little interest in the date or circumstances of Jesus' birth. The community's expectation of an immediate consummation of history and a final coming of Christ took priority.

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Pray before you preach – Cantalamessa

December 19, 2011
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY – The Catholic Church's project of "new evangelization" faces two dangers: people thinking others will do the work and people so fired up to preach the Gospel, they forget to pray, said Father Raniero Cantalamessa.

Cantalamessa, who preaches to the pope and top Vatican officials on the Fridays of Advent and Lent, dedicated his December 2011 series to lessons the Church can learn from its own history of evangelization.

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New cathedral opens in Saskatoon

December 19, 2011
KIPLY LUKAN YAWORSKI
PRAIRIE MESSENGER

SASKATOON – The doors of a new diocesan cathedral and Catholic Pastoral Centre will open this week in Saskatoon.

The Cathedral of the Holy Family has been under construction in northeast Saskatoon since the fall of 2009.

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