Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY – Make time to get ready for what Christmas really is about – the child born in Bethlehem signalling that "God is with us," Pope Francis said.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill that bans abortion in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but also vetoed a bill that would have made abortion illegal when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually at about the sixth week of pregnancy.

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Catholic bishops and the state's Catholic cemeteries are working together on efforts to provide a proper burial for children lost to abortion.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Legislature has sent two abortion bills to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

JOHANNESBURG – Pax Christi International, the Catholic peace movement, said it will build up young people to contribute to peace and justice in Africa, noting that children are the continent's greatest resource.

CHUR, Switzerland – A Swiss bishop has instructed Catholic priests not to give last rites to people suspected of seeking assisted suicide, following a sharp rise in the practice in his country.

VATICAN CITY – Women – lay and religious – make up almost 20 per cent of the Vatican workforce, and a group of them have formed an association designed as a forum for collaboration, sharing and outreach.

MANDALAY, Myanmar – A Catholic church was bombed in the conflict-torn northern Shan state as renewed fighting intensified between the Myanmar military and armed ethnic groups, reported ucanews.com.

OAKLAND, Calif. – The local Catholic community in Oakland – parishioners, priests, school students and Catholic Charities' workers – have been offering prayers and support for victims of the Dec. 2 fire that erupted in an Oakland warehouse, killing 36.

KINSHASA, Congo – Congolese President Joseph Kabila expressed support for Catholic bishops' efforts to mediate a constitutional crisis after he extended his term in office.