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

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.

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Catholic News Headlines

  • IMAGE: CNS/Nancy WiechecBy Nancy WiechecNOGALES, Ariz. (CNS) -- The apostolic nuncio to the United States celebrated Mass at the U.S.-Mexico border Oct. 23 offering prayers to break down the barriers that separate people. Archbishop Christophe Pierre faced the immense steel border fence in Nogales as he and the bishop of Tucson and the bishop of Mexico's Diocese of Nogales, Sonora, concelebrated the liturgy with people gathered on both sides of the border. The nuncio began the prayer of the faithful with a plea for unity. "Jesus, we come before you today as your disciples, sometimes filled with fear and doubt, even suspicion," he said. "We pray to dismantle the barriers within our hearts and minds that separate us, who are all members of your body." Following his words, young people led the congregation in prayers for "needed immigration reform," for humane treatment of migrants who don't have documents, and for "security and justice for all." They prayed especially for migrant children, "who are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse," and for all who have died in border violence, including border patrol agents, immigrants and innocent victims. The Mass was the third such one this year along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona. The liturgies were organized by Dioceses Without Borders, an effort of the dioceses of Nogales, Tucson and Phoenix to work collaboratively on issues that affect the church and people in the border region. During his homily and afterward in an interview with Catholic News Service, Archbishop Pierre echoed the sentiments of Pope Francis in regard to borders and the care of migrants and refugees, who the archbishop said all too often are looked upon as unwanted and as criminals. "Borders exist all over the world, and borders are not bad, but borders should not be just a barrier -- should not be a wall -- but should be a bridge between people," the nuncio said. "Anything that goes in the direction of understanding, helping each other, discovering the beauty of the other is what is necessary to covert hearts and transform the world," he said. "It's time to break the obstacles that exist between people." To cheers from both sides of the border, Archbishop Pierre ended his homily with, "Viva Cristo Rey! Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! Viva la iglesia santa!" ("Long live Christ the King! Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe! Long live the holy church!") Archbishop Pierre is no stranger to the people of Mexico. He served as nuncio in Mexico for nine years before being appointed as the pope's representative in the U.S. But he said this Mass was his first visit to Nogales, Arizona. In what seemed to be a spontaneous moment during the service, five young people ducked under a barrier near the border fence to hold hands and pray the Our Father with those on the other side in Mexico. They stayed at the border fence until the sign of peace, offering their hands to those on the other side. Carlos Zapien, music director for the Diocese of Tucson, said the special Mass was a statement that "faith can unite people." Zapien's original score "Misa de la Misericordia" ("Mass of Mercy") was used in the cross-border liturgy with choirs on both sides participating. "Faith and music have no borders," he said. Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson said he was grateful for to Archbishop Pierre's participation in the service. "He represents Pope Francis, whose heart is along the borders of our world, caring for immigrants and refugees," he told CNS. "The nuncio's presence is a reminder of our Holy Father's great love for those who are suffering, for those who are in need. So this was a very special celebration here in 'ambos Nogales' ('both Nogaleses') as we pray together across walls united in our prayer for one another." Among the hundreds of people that gathered for the border Mass were those that serve the Kino Border Initiative, a bi-national migrant advocacy and service organization. Bishop Kicanas expressed his pride in the group and in a group of young people, the Kino Teens, who work with the border initiative. "Their enthusiasm, their spirit is a true blessing," he said. "They believe in the Lord. They believe in the church, and to have these young people participating in our Mass here in 'ambos Nogales' was a true blessing."- - -Follow Wiechec on Twitter: @nancywiechec.- - -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/Itua Egbor, SJBy Carol GlatzROME (CNS) -- Pope Francis, speaking both as pope and a Jesuit, asked members of the Society of Jesus to continue to journey to where Christ is most needed, and always ask God for consolation, compassion and help in discernment. The Jesuits aim to "move forward, overcoming the impediments which the enemy of human nature puts in our way when, in serving God, we are seeking the greater good," the pope told more than 200 Jesuits chosen to represent the more than 16,000 Jesuits at the order's general congregation. Given that the Society of Jesus' way of proceeding for "the greater good is accomplished through joy, the cross and through the church, our mother," the pope said he wished to help revive its zeal for mission by reflecting on those three points. Instead of the usual custom of general congregation delegates going to the Vatican to meet the pope, Pope Francis went to the Jesuits' Rome headquarters Oct. 24 to meet them. He was greeted by Venezuelan Father Arturo Sosa, who was elected superior general of the order Oct. 14, as well as by other members. He spent more than three hours at the headquarters, including time devoted to a "private conversation," according to the Vatican press office. After taking part in morning prayer with the delegates, Pope Francis delivered a lengthy reflection on how the Society of Jesus can best serve God, the church and the world, while remaining true to its Ignatian identity and zeal for mission. He said the Jesuit way of journeying and moving forward as followers of the Lord requires: asking God insistently for consolation; allowing oneself to be moved by Jesus crucified on the cross for one's sins; and doing good by being led by the Holy Spirit and by thinking with the church. The true work of the Jesuits, he said, is to offer the people of God consolation and help them so that "the enemy of human nature does not rob us of joy -- the joy of evangelizing, the joy of the family, the joy of the church, the joy of creation." May this joy not be stripped from "us, either by despair before the magnitude of the evils of the world or by the misunderstandings between those who intend to do good," he said, and may it not be replaced "with foolish joys that are always at hand in all human enterprises." Even when feeling unworthy, Jesuits should still pray persistently for consolation so that they may be a sincere, joyful bearers of the Gospel, he said. "Good news cannot be given with a sad face. Joy is not a decorative 'add-on'" nor is it a cosmetic, "special effect," he said. "It is a clear indicator of grace; it shows that love is active, working and present." "This joy of the explicit proclamation of the Gospel -- through preaching the faith and practicing justice and mercy -- is that which leads the Society to go to all the peripheries," the pope said. "The Jesuit is a servant of the joy of the Gospel." Jesuits can move forward by "letting ourselves be moved by the Lord placed on the cross -- by him in person and by him present in so many of our brothers and sisters who are suffering (and are) the great majority of humankind," he said, quoting the late-Father Pedro Arrupe who said that wherever there is pain, the Society of Jesus is there. God's mercy isn't an abstract term, but "a lifestyle," Pope Francis said. Too often, people "dilute" the life-giving power of mercy with "our abstract formulations and legalistic conditions." God "looks upon us with mercy and chooses us," sending people out to bring that same mercy "to the poorest, to sinners, to 'discarded' people and those crucified in the present world, who suffer injustice and violence." Only when people experience firsthand God's healing mercy on their own wounds "will we lose the fear of allowing ourselves be moved by the immense suffering of our brothers and sisters, and will we hasten to walk patiently with our people, learning from them the best way of helping and serving them." Lastly, journeying forward in doing good requires the grace of discernment -- so that actions are inspired by "the good Spirit," which roots people to the church, he said. It is in the church that the Holy Spirit works and "distributes the diversity of her charisms for the common good," Pope Francis said. The importance of thinking with the church is what lies behind the Jesuit St. Peter Faber's insistence that "those who wanted to reform the church were right, but that God did not want to correct it through their means." Thinking with the church, "without losing peace and with joy, considering the sins we see, in us as well as in others, and in the structures that we have created, involves carrying the cross, experiencing poverty and humiliations," he said. St. Ignatius advised personal reflection before speaking or acting in response to clear contradictions in order to operate according to the good Spirit. His invitation is not so much a guideline for how to respond to controversy, but a reminder to "act against" an anti-ecclesial spirit and orient oneself fully toward the mother -- the church -- "not to justify a debatable position, but to make room so that the Spirit could act in its own time." Pope Francis said that serving the Holy Spirit with discernment "makes us men of the church -- not clerical, but ecclesial -- men for others.""We don't walk alone or comfortably, but we walk with 'a heart that does not rest, that does not close in on itself but beats to the rhythm of a journey undertaken together with all the people faithful to God,'" 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/Remo Casilli, ReutersBy Catholic News ServiceVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As a military operation in northern Iraq fights to wrest control of areas held by retaliating Islamic State forces, Pope Francis criticized the "cruelty" and heinous violence waged against innocent civilians. He invited people to pray with him, asking that "Iraq, while gravely stricken, might be both strong and firm in the hope of moving toward a future of security, reconciliation and peace." Speaking to visitors in St. Peter's Square Oct. 23 for the Angelus prayer, the pope said, "In these dramatic hours, I am close to the entire population of Iraq, especially that of the city of Mosul." "Our hearts are shocked by the heinous acts of violence that for too long have been perpetrated against innocent citizens, whether they be Muslims, whether they be Christians, or people belonging to other ethnic groups and religions." He said he was "saddened to hear news of the killing, in cold blood, of many sons and daughters of that beloved land, including many children; this cruelty makes us weep, leaving us without words." The pope's remarks came as Iraqi government troops and Kurdish fighters backed by a U.S.-led coalition were seeking to retake control of Mosul, the nation's second-largest city. As the so-called Islamic State lost control of a number of villages, it has stepped up attacks in other parts of the country. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights verified reports that IS militants were forcing residents of surrounding villages into Mosul -- presumably to be used as human shields. As humanitarian groups worked to aid those already displaced by the offensive, many were preparing for what's feared to become a mass exodus because more than 1 million people were thought to be inside Mosul. Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Iraq said they were prepared to respond quickly to the expected crisis and have already been assisting thousands of people who fled since the new offensive began Oct. 17. "We've been getting ready for Mosul for months by training additional staff and volunteers," CRS Iraq country representative Hani El-Mahdi said in a CRS press release Oct. 21. According to the United Nations, approximately 3,900 people have fled Mosul since the offensive was launched. Tens of thousands more were expected to join the some 3.3 million Iraqis who have been internally displaced since IS forces started controlling parts of Iraq in 2014. CRS and Caritas said they were ready to provide shelter, water, sanitation and cash assistance, while offering priority care and protection to women, children, the elderly and the disabled. El-Mahdi said the coming winter months will pose an additional challenge as well as the fear that aid may not reach those trapped within militant-controlled areas. It's estimated that more than 10 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid throughout the country, the CRS press statement 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/Gregory A. ShemitzBy Beth GriffinNEW YORK (CNS) -- When Donald J. Trump stepped over yet another invisible line of the contentious presidential race Oct. 20, many of the 1,500 people at 71st annual dinner of the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation broke historic precedent to boo him. Candidates Trump and Hillary Clinton flanked the host, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, on the five-tiered dais of the Grand Ballroom at the heavily secured Waldorf Astoria hotel for the charitable gala. The event has been a traditional opportunity for speakers to poke good-natured fun at themselves, one another, and prominent guests from the worlds of politics, business and philanthropy without inflicting wounds. In 1928, Alfred E. Smith, former governor of New York who was raised in poverty, was the first Catholic nominated by a major political party to run for president of the United States. Despite an introductory warning delivered as a humor-coated reminder of the evening's ground rules by emcee Alfred E. Smith IV, chairman of the dinner, Trump veered from the safety of chuckle-inducing barbs and zings. He said she is "so corrupt" she was kicked off the Watergate commission. The room erupted in a crescendo of boos and shoutouts, as he lobbed one accusation after another that his opponent is deceptive and a Catholic-hater. "She is here tonight ... pretending not to hate Catholics," he said. Decorum was restored when the Republican nominee recalled past Al Smith dinners as a special occasion to spend time with his father, developer Fred Trump. Smith, a great-grandson of the foundation's namesake, aimed jokes equally at both candidates and reflected the general discomfort of the electorate with them. He told Trump to watch his language because "even though the man sitting next to you is in a robe, you're not in a locker room." He advised Clinton to remain stoic in the face of insults during the evening by considering it a fourth debate. Noting the proximity on Fifth Avenue of St. Patrick's Cathedral to Trump Tower, Smith said Trump's appearance was historic, marking the first time the Catholic Church was not the largest tax-exempt landowner at the dinner. Trump was greeted warmly with applause. He quipped that the huge event was a small intimate dinner with friends for him, but that it counted as his opponent's largest crowd of the season. Trump gave a shoutout to politicians in the room who formerly loved him, but turned on him when he sought the Republican nomination. He said the dinner gives candidates an opportunity to meet one another's teams and those working hard to get them elected. As he spoke, he pointed out chairmen of media corporations seated on the dais and among the assembly. As an example that the media is biased against him, Trump said Michelle Obama gave a speech that everyone loved, but when his wife, Melania, delivered the exact same speech, "people got all over her case. I don't get it." Trump said he knows Clinton is very gracious because, if elected, she wants him to be her ambassador to either Iraq or Afghanistan. Trump said the presidential debates were the most vicious in the history of politics. In a rare reflective moment, he turned to Clinton and asked, "Are we supposed to be proud of it?" We need to stand up to anti-Catholic bias, defend religious liberty and create a culture that celebrates life, Trump concluded. Trump sat down to mixed applause and boos. Retaking the microphone, Smith said, "As Ronald Reagan would say, 'There you go again!'" He noted the dinner raised a record $6 million. The Democratic nominee was introduced to a standing ovation. Clinton said the fiery populist Al Smith would be proud of the money raised at the event, but if he saw the "room full of plutocrats" gathered to celebrate his legacy, he'd be confused. Clinton said she was taking a break from her rigorous nap schedule to attend, but the event was also treat for the guests because she usually charges a lot for a speech. She said she was a little amazed at the opportunity to speak, because she didn't think her opponent would be OK with a peaceful transition of power. Clinton said, "Every year this dinner brings together a collection of sensible, committed mainstream Republicans, or as we now like to call them, Hillary supporters." She said critics accuse her of saying only what listeners want to hear. "Tonight that is true. This is exactly what you want to hear. This election will be over very, very soon." Clinton said when Trump wanted her to undergo a pre-debate drug test, "I was so flattered he thought I used some sort of performance-enhancers. Actually I did. It's called preparation." Trump has questioned her stamina, Clinton said, but over the course of three debates, she has stood next to him for longer than any of his campaign managers. She said Trump is so concerned about her health, he sent a car to bring her to the dinner. "Actually it was a hearse." Nonetheless, Clinton said if elected, "I will be the healthiest and youngest woman ever to serve." Clinton said one of the things the candidates have in common is the Republican National Committee "isn't spending a dime to help either one of us." Turning serious, Clinton said it's easy to forget how far the country has come. When Al Smith ran for office, she said there were rumors that he would forbid Bible-reading in schools, annul Protestant marriages and make the Holland Tunnel into a secret passageway to the Vatican so the pope could rule the country. "Those appeals to fear and division can cause us to treat each other as 'the other.' Rhetoric like that makes it harder for us to respect each other," she said. "We need to get better at finding ways to disagree on matters of policy while agreeing on questions of decency and civility," she said. Although the candidates shook hands across Cardinal Dolan at the dinner, he jokingly attributed his nascent cold at the benediction to having spent two hours seated between them, which he said is "the iciest pace on the planet. Where is global warming when you need it?" He noted the funds raised at the dinner would provide grants for thousands of mothers and children who are most in need and least visible to society. Dinner guests in formal attire sat elbow-to-elbow at gold-covered tables in the ballroom and its two balconies. The $3,000-a plate meal included a seafood trio appetizer, tournedos of beef and a chocolate dessert duet. Metropolitan Opera soprano Nadine Sierra sang the national anthem from the dais, set against the backdrop of a huge American flag.- - -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/Erik De Castro, ReutersBy Alastair WanklynTOKYO (CNS) -- Heavy damage was reported to homes and farm land in the northern Philippines Oct. 20 after the strongest storm in three years struck overnight. Typhoon Haima barreled into northern Cagayan and Isabella provinces, ripping the roofs off homes and flattening crops. By late Oct. 21, 13 people had been reported dead, and Haima hit southern China. Nearly every building in the city of Tuguegarao was damaged, Philippine media quoted officials as saying. The city's communication links were down Oct. 20, and phone calls to the archdiocesan office in Tuguegarao did not connect. Across the district, many roads were flooded or blocked by fallen trees. Aid groups said the disruption made it difficult to assess the extent of damage, with one aid official calling it "a communications black hole." Thousands of people in neighboring Isabella province spent the night sheltering in public evacuation centers such as schools and churches. "Most of the time, the churches serve as evacuation centers if the government evacuation centers cannot accommodate some of the people," April Ann Abello-Bulanadi, a spokeswoman for Catholic aid group Caritas Philippines, said by phone from Manila. Caritas released a summary of reports from parishes of how they had prepared for the storm. Some of them reported holding stocks of relief goods. One diocese said it had been giving out disaster advice at Mass. And in one district, a church compound was designated the local relief staging ground for emergency supplies, so that residents and aid groups alike would know where to go. "The parishes are very important because they are the ones who are already present on the ground," Bulanadi said. There was no estimate of the total damage to agriculture, but northern Luzon is a center of rice and corn farming, and the storm was feared to have wiped out crops shortly before harvest. The day after the typhoon, Caritas officials were expected to monitor video from a drone flown over the disaster zone by Philippine aerial imagery startup SkyEye Analytics Inc. Such images can identify communities that are cut off and roads that may be accessible for aid teams. Haima is the 12th typhoon to strike the Philippines this year. In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan killed at least 6,300 people and forced around 5 million from their homes. The humanitarian disaster following Haiyan served as a wake-up call for authorities and residents alike. Today, aid workers say, there is a higher alertness by state agencies and greater willingness by residents to follow evacuation advisories. Caritas said Haiyan also highlighted the importance of community-led disaster risk reduction, such as identifying safe houses and checking on neighbors. In the three years since that disaster, Caritas has worked to create a more coordinated readiness by the church nationwide. "Now we are trying to include as many dioceses as possible, not just dioceses from the provinces affected, but we are also capacitating dioceses from the other provinces, so that they would also be prepared when such a typhoon like this would happen again here in the Philippines," Bulanadi said. Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' international relief and development agency, is part of the Caritas network. Matthew McGarry, country representative, said the "institutional knowledge" of responding and rebuilding structures and lives since Typhoon Haiyan have helped shape its approach today. In January 2015, Pope Francis paid a short visit to Tacloban, one of the cities badly hit by Typhoon Haiyan. At Mass in the city, he paid tribute to church and lay workers who helped those left homeless. "To those of you who housed and fed people seeking safety, in churches, convents, rectories, and who continue to assist those still struggling, I thank you," he said. "You are a credit to the church. You are the pride of your nation. "For whatever you did for the least of Christ's brothers and sisters, you did for him." But there was a reminder of the Philippines' storm-prone nature when Pope Francis cut short his visit. He said the pilots of his plane feared worsening conditions would prevent it taking off safely. - - - Contributing to this story was Simone Orendain in Chicago.- - -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.