Armenia is a small country in south-west Asia with a population of only 3 million people. But it has a sizable place in spiritual history: most historians believe that in 301 AD, it became the first country in the world to adopt Christianity.
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Entrusting the needs of migrants and refugees to the maternal concern of Mary, the pope led the crowd in reciting a traditional Marian prayer: "Under thy protection we seek refuge, holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our needs, but from all dangers deliver us always, Virgin, Glorious and Blessed."
Archbishop Justin Welby has sent a personally signed copy of his ecumenical Christmas letter to the Pope, who has said that his message for World Communications Day will call for studying the causes and consequences of baseless information and will promote "professional journalism" as opposed to fake news.
This Christmas, those who can rely on warmth and shelter are perhaps especially ready to give thanks. For the bleakness of life has encroached on an ever greater number of their neighbours. In Britain, the number forced to live on the streets is rising as is the number of families that rely on food banks.
The Rohingya, people of the medieval Arakan kingdom, have been complaining of persecution in their own homeland due to ethnic, religious, and cultural differences with the predominantly Buddhist people of Myanmar. The kingdom became a province of the then Burma in 1784. The Rohingya people have been living in western Myanmar since ancient times. In 1982, however, the government stripped them of citizenship, leading to the growing persecution they are experiencing now.
"On the Brexit discussions, once again I would urge caution," Archbishop Martin added. "We talk a lot about hard borders and soft borders economically, but sometimes the language we use, the positions, the moral high ground we take on either side can be inflammatory when it comes to people on the ground."
For 94-year-old Joseph Tran Minh Nhu helping ethnic villagers in remote mountainous areas of northwest Vietnam learn about Catholicism is one of the most satisfying things in his life. With his gentle sense humor, Nhu regularly visits villages in Yen Bai province providing villagers with Catholic material and invitations to attend Mass.
Pope Francis has gone a step further and is keen for the Church to take a more active role internationally in trying to rid the world of nuclear arms. Pope Francis outright condemnation of nuclear weapons today marks an evolution in the Catholic position on this topic.
Pope Francis celebrated a two-hour open-air Mass for at least 150,000 people in Yangon early on Nov. 29, preaching forgiveness and praising the efforts of small churches across the country. The service, the largest single crowd for an organized event in Myanmar, included about 150 cardinals, bishops and priests on stage. English, Burmese, Latin and Italian were used during Mass.
Thousands of excited Catholics and well-wishers gathered on the streets of Yangon as Pope Francis' plane touched down Nov. 27 for the most politically controversial trip of his papacy. The immediate fear of the trip-organizers was not related to the pontiff's possible use of the controversial term 'Rohingya,' but had instead refocused on multiple open-air public events scheduled for his three-and-a-half day visit.
“Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad because the Lord judges the world... with his justice.” It is also easy to set the message Jesus wants to convey: the years of man’s life are precious, a treasure to be managed well. No one can go wrong because life is one: Jesus suggests how one must live.
Jesus tells us that in the end we will be judged on how we dealt with the poor in our lives, but there are already dangers now, in this life, in not reaching out to the poor. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned. We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated.
Bishop Thien said the shrine was a place where many Catholics and missionaries were executed for their faith. Among them were three Spanish Dominicans – Bishops Jeronimo Hermosilla Liem and Valentino Berrio Ochoa Vinh, and Father Pedro Almato Binh – who were killed Nov. 1, 1861 and Vietnamese Dominican Brother Joseph Nguyen Duy Khang who was killed on Dec. 6 of the same year.
Football is infamous for corruption and cheating, but it can also be a powerful force for good. For young boys and girls growing up in the poorest areas of Brazil, Kenya or Liberia, they may not ever become famous footballers, but their love of those and other pursuits – and the lessons they learn while enjoying them in Cafod-funded projects – could be their best hope of surviving and overcoming their troubled childhoods.
We are called to build a Europe in which we can meet and engage at every level, much as in the ancient agorá, the main square of the polis. The latter was not just a marketplace but also the nerve centre of political life, where laws were passed for the common good. The presence of a temple dominating the square was a reminder that the horizontal dimension of daily life ought never to overlook the transcendent, which invites us to see beyond the ephemeral, the transitory and the provisional.
A convent of Spanish nuns is facing a steep bill for having a priceless church organ repaired without the state's permission. The sisters of Santa Ines in Seville, southern Spain, decided that the instrument in their convent church needed to be fixed, and accepted an offer from a local charity to have it restored it for free.
This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter. God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded.