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CELEBRATING THE SEASON - LENT

Length 12 min.
Age Group I - Intermediate
Publisher St. Anthony Messenger Press
Topics Special Seasons
Spirituality


This video explores customs, traditions, prayers and ways we can keep Lent as we walk together on the path to Jerusalem, preparing for the new life of Easter. It invites us to Fast, Do Good Works, and Remember the way Jesus lived his life.

Featured Events

Catholic News Headlines

  • IMAGE: CNS/L'Osservatore RomanoBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Help wipe out bullying and aggression by being better listeners and offering concrete gestures of tolerance and patience, Pope Francis told a group of top YouTubers from around the world. "The level of aggressiveness in our world needs to be dialed down. (The world) needs tenderness, meekness, (people) listening and walking together," he told them and others taking part in a world congress sponsored by Scholas Occurrentes. "Pride, arrogance -- eradicate them. Because pride and arrogance always have a bad ending," he said May 29 at the close of the three-day meeting at the Vatican. The pope met privately -- for an informal closed-door Q-and-A session -- with a dozen young YouTubers, people who create their own videos or vlogs, or video blogs, and share them on YouTube. The YouTube "celebrities" who were invited to meet the pope have, when tallied together, about 25 million subscribers. The pope also met privately with U.S. film stars, Richard Gere, Salma Hayek and George Clooney, who were honored at the congress for working to help marginalized young people. The pope sat in on the closing portion of the world congress, which was dedicated to dialogue and social integration. He heard personal testimonies, including from a young woman who was born in Mexico, moved to Chicago and was the victim of bullying for years. The pope called for an end to "aggression, bullying" when answering one of two questions from the audience. "Bullying is an aggression that conceals profound cruelty, and the world is cruel" with wars representing "the monuments of cruelty," he said. Recalling photographs he received from a nun picturing a child massacred in a civil war unfolding in Africa, Pope Francis said bullying is the same kind of cruelty because it "massacres" the mind. In order to build a better world, "we need to eradicate all forms of cruelty," he said. It is important to listen to others and ask questions -- not argue right away -- but inquire in order to truly understand the other person's point of view and find points in common, he said. Dialogue isn't a soccer match or a debate because "in dialogue everyone wins, no one loses," he said. "Even if I think differently, don't argue, but rather, persuade softly." It's also important people feel like they belong, which can even include "a virtual belonging" -- being part of something meaningful online, he said. "It's urgent to offer some kind of belonging," he told his audience. The pope also urged participants to work harder at practicing the "language of gestures." "Sometimes we like to talk, talk," he said, but "we risk paying lip service and this doesn't work." Talking is not enough and sometimes what is needed is "a smile that gives hope, looking in someone's eyes, gestures of approval, patience, tolerance." Of the many new initiatives Scholas organizers announced at the congress, one included an invitation for young people to ask Pope Francis a question at www.askpopefrancis.com. Selected questions and replies will then be published in a book in various languages and countries in the autumn. Scholas Occurrentes is a project Pope Francis supported as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and expanded as pope. Through schools it links students from different neighborhoods, countries, economic backgrounds and faiths to promote communication, understanding and cooperation.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • By Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The church needs the service of the many women who continue to follow Mary's example of courage and service despite the odds, Pope Francis said. Women who serve with joy to bring their families forward in life, to ensure their children's education and who "face so many adversities and who heal the sick" are courageous, the pope said May 31 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Commemorating the feast of the Visitation, when the pregnant Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, the pope said the memorial is a "breath of fresh air" that highlights the importance of joy in Christian life. Christians who are sad, he said, can seem "ugly" and although "they think they are Christian, they are not fully." Joy is the Christian message "which today's liturgy gives us as a gift." The pope noted Mary's courageous service in visiting her cousin Elizabeth despite being pregnant herself and who "gets up and goes without excuses." "Service is a Christian sign. Those who do not live to serve," serve very little purpose in life. "To serve with joy: this is the attitude that I would like to underline today. There is joy and also service; always (willing) to serve," he said. Another Christian sign, Pope Francis said, is the willingness to meet with others. Both serving and encountering others like Mary, he added, require Christians to come out of themselves. "With this service of Mary, with this encounter, the Lord's promise is renewed; it takes place in the present. And the Lord -- as we heard in the first reading: 'The Lord your God is in your midst' -- the Lord is in service, the Lord is in the encounter," the pope said.- - -Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis called on Catholics and Orthodox Christians to pray for children in Syria who are suffering because of the ongoing conflict in the country. "The children of Syria invite children from all over the world to join in their prayer for peace" on International Children's Day June 1, he said. Before praying the Angelus May 29, the pope said Catholic and Orthodox Christians would be taking part together in the special prayer for peace and that the children were "the protagonists" by inviting all the world's children to unite with them in prayer. The joint Day of Prayer for Peace, sponsored by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, is one of several initiatives meant to promote peace in Syria. The pope's invitation echoes that of Catholic leaders and Orthodox patriarchs in the country, who signed a joint message inviting Christians around the world to join them in praying for peace. The message says: "We pray to him -- the Christ, the king of the universe, who carries the world in his hand, in the arms of his mother -- to bless all the children of Syria. We implore him, who alone can bring peace: 'Protect and save the children of this land! Hear our prayers, now! Delay no longer in granting peace to our land! Look upon the tears of the children; dry the tears of the mothers; let the cries of grief at last fall silent!'" - - -Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Deacons are called to be servants who set aside their own self-serving plans and are generous with their lives, Pope Francis said. A servant "is not a slave to his own agenda," but rather always is prepared for the unexpected and responds, even if that means ignoring the parish schedule, the pope said May 29 at a Mass for the Jubilee of Deacons in St. Peter's Square. "It pains my heart when I see a schedule in the parishes -- 'from this time to that time' -- and then, the door is closed. There is no priest, no deacon, no layperson to welcome the people. This is wrong. Have the courage to ignore the schedule," he said. Thousands of deacons and their families, braving the increasingly hot and humid Rome weather, attended the final Mass of the three-day Year of Mercy celebration dedicated to the diaconal ministry. In his homily, the pope reminded them that in order to proclaim Christ, one must first imitate him and "strive to become a servant." "If evangelizing is the mission entrusted at baptism to each Christian, serving is the way that mission is carried out. It is the only way to be a disciple of Jesus," the pope said. The first step in becoming "good and faithful servants," he continued, is to be available to others and detached from living life in one's own way. A true servant doesn't "hoard his free time," but gives up "the idea of being the master of his day." "One who serves is not a slave to his own agenda but ever ready to deal with the unexpected, ever available to his brothers and sisters and ever open to God's constant surprises," he said. Reflecting on the Sunday Gospel reading, in which a centurion humbly asks Jesus to heal his servant, the pope noted the soldier's meekness. Despite his authority to insist or force Jesus to come to his house, "he was modest and unassuming, he did not raise his voice or make a fuss." "Meekness is one of the virtues of a deacon. When a servant is meek, he is a servant and doesn't try to mimic the priests. No, he is meek," the pope said. Pope Francis said that like the servant healed by Christ, deacons must have "a healthy heart" that has been healed by God through forgiveness and constant dialogue with Jesus through daily prayer and the sacraments. "You can offer the Lord your work, your little inconveniences, your weariness and your hopes in an authentic prayer that brings your life to the Lord and the Lord to your life. When you serve at the table of the Eucharist, there you will find the presence of Jesus, who gives himself to you so that you can give yourselves to others," he said. - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPABy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Immediately after the Supreme Court sent the contraceptive case back to the lower courts May 16, some called the decision a punt -- the football analogy of sending the ball back to the other team -- or in this case the lower courts.But the analogy falls short on a practical level because the seven consolidated cases in Zubik will be sent back to the lower courts with a very different look -- bearing the stamp of being vacated by the nation's high court. The 3rd, 5th, 10th and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals -- which ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate and did not see it as posing a substantial burden to the petitioners' free exercise of religion -- now must give another look at the issue equipped with the new information submitted to the Supreme Court showing a possible compromise. Although the justices' unanimous decision in Zubik v. Burwell took many by surprise, others said they saw something like this coming when the Supreme Court essentially showed its hand asking both sides to provide ways to implement the contraceptive mandate that would satisfy both sides. "Contrary to most press coverage, this was not a punt," said Michael McConnell, a law professor at Stanford Law School in California, writing about the Zubik ruling. He described the decision as "a compromise in which the Little Sisters won the case but no precedent was set for the future. This is unorthodox, but arguably Solomonic," he added. Hannah Smith, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Little Sisters of the Poor in the case, similarly didn't buy the sports analogy that grabbed headlines. "I don't see it as a punt at all," she told Catholic News Service May 27. She said the Supreme Court was not just returning the cases to the lower courts but was "very specific in its order and outlined several points" such as forbidding the government from levying fines on the groups that objected to the contraceptive coverage, erasing previous court decisions and telling the courts to essentially find a feasible resolution. In other words, when the court sent these cases back, it also sent guidelines for a new way forward. Smith said the court's decision was essentially telling the federal government: "You can do this in a different way, now you have to go back and do it." She said it is going to take some time for this to work through the courts and she couldn't predict a time frame for it. It has already been nearly five years that religious groups have been involved in challenging the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate. The Department of Health and Human Services announced an "interim final rule" in August 2011 requiring that coverage of contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration be included in most employees' health plans. The rule provided a narrow religious exemption to the mandate that only applied to houses of worship and did not include most religious universities, schools, social service agencies, outreach ministries or health care providers. The plaintiffs don't seem daunted by the time it is taking for a resolution. Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl said in a statement after the Supreme Court's decision that the court's opinion offered a path forward but "this struggle will continue." The Washington Archdiocese is one of seven plaintiffs in the consolidated Zubik case. Now the question for both sides is whether the courts follow the Supreme Court's cue and find a compromise. In a post for scotusblog.com, University of Notre Dame law professor Richard Garnett wrote that the courts could possibly "extend unwarranted deference to the government's assertions about 'compelling interests' and the least restrictive ways of accomplishing them or engage in ungenerous second-guessing of religious claimants' descriptions of the burdens imposed by government action on their religious exercise." Legal experts say the government could either decline to cooperate on a solution or could change its regulations to implement the Supreme Court's opinion and adopt a less restrictive alternative for religious employers who currently would need to have a third party to provide contraceptive coverage through their health insurance. However, the government would still need to determine how to accommodate religious objectors that self-insure. While the final outcome hangs in the balance, Garnett said the case itself highlights a troubling sign about the accommodation of religion. "To the extent, the right to religious freedom is regarded as a luxury good, a license to do wrong, or as special pleading by the culture war's losers, it is increasingly vulnerable," Garnett wrote. "This should concern us all, because believers and nonbelievers alike benefit from a legal and cultural commitment to religious freedom and have a stake in the legal regime that respects and protects it." - - - Follow Zimmermann on Twitter @carolmaczim.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.