Consecrated life means living for God, others, pope says at audience

VATICAN CITY - Consecrated life entails giving oneself completely to God and living for others, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Speaking at his weekly general audience Jan. 25, the Pope continued his catechesis on Christian prayer, looking at the Last Supper, when Jesus instituted the Eucharist and the ministerial priesthood.

The Pope said Jesus prayed for God's intercession for his disciples, who, like himself, "do not belong to the world."

    Miss America knows gifts are from God

    MILWAUKEE — All smiles, Susan Kaeppeler, fourth-grade teacher at Kenosha’s St. Joseph Academy’s lower campus, was greeted with the red-carpet treatment when she arrived to class Jan. 16 after a whirlwind weekend where she saw her oldest daughter, Laura, crowned Miss America.

    The 23-year-old brunette won the Miss America title in Las Vegas Jan. 14. “Some of the parents decorated her classroom, and made some posters and put them up in the gym as the school day began,” said Pauline McTernan, St. Joseph development director.

      Silence is key ingredient to meaningful communication, pope says

      VATICAN CITY - Amid the deluge of information and nonstop chatter in today's media, the church needs to help people find safe havens of silence, Pope Benedict XVI said.

      Far from being the enemy of calm and quiet, social media and the Internet can lead people to virtual sanctuaries that offer silent reflection, thoughtful dialogue and true meaning in life, he said.

      "Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God," he said in his message for the 2012 celebration of World Communications Day.

        Pope says neocatechumenal celebrations must lead members to parish Mass

        VATICAN CITY - As the Vatican approved the Neocatechumenal Way's unique rite, Pope Benedict XVI underlined that its celebrations were not "strictly liturgical" and that their aim must be to encourage members to partake fully in the liturgical life of the parish.

        The pope encouraged the movement's members to continue "to offer your original contribution to the cause of the Gospel," and he urged them to always make sure their "precious work" was in "profound communion with the Apostolic See and the pastors of the local church in which they're inserted."

          Pope says virginity and martyrdom of St. Agnes example of faith

          VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI held up the life of a young virgin and martyr as an example to seminarians of the total commitment to Christ required by young men seeking to enter the priesthood.

          The Pope also said that a solid cultural background and intellectual understanding of faith was essential in the formation of priests as spreaders of the word of God.

            As Tet nears, migrants return to Vietnam, get chance to renew faith

            HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam - Catholic migrant workers based in Laos are returning home to be with their families in time for the Tet New Year holidays and, for many, the trip will offer a chance to renew their faith.

            Others, however, even within Vietnam, will not make the traditional journey to be with their family for the lunar new year, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News.

            Paul Le Quoc Hai, a Catholic who works as a carpenter in Laos' Khammouan province, said he will take advantage of this Tet holiday to get his two children baptized.

              Pope urges agreement between Christians on ethical questions

              VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI said Christians of all denominations should come to agreement on ethical matters, especially regarding human life, family and sexuality.

              The Pope, in a meeting Jan. 19 with an ecumenical group of Catholic and Lutheran leaders from Finland, said that differences among Christians regarding the "proper understanding of human nature and its dignity" had grown in recent years.

                Christian divisions, including on morality, weaken witness, pope says

                VATICAN CITY - Divisions among Christians, including on moral issues, weakens their credibility and their ability to respond to the spiritual yearning of many men and women today, Pope Benedict XVI said.

                While "there is more that unites us than divides us" on the basic tenets of faith -- belief in Christ, the son of God and savior of humanity -- "divisions remain and regard many practical and ethical questions, giving rise to confusion and mistrust, weakening our ability to transmit the saving word of Christ," Pope Benedict said Jan. 18 at his weekly general audience.

                  Pope prays for migrants, refugees seeking a better life

                  VATICAN CITY - The millions of refugees and migrants in the world are not numbers but people in search of a better life for themselves and their families, Pope Benedict XVI said.

                  "They are men and women, young and old, who are looking for a place they can live in peace," the Pope said Jan. 15, which the Vatican marked as the World Day for Migrants and Refugees.

                    Eucharist gives strength to those who are weak, weary, lost, pope says

                    VATICAN CITY - The Eucharist sustains those who are tired, worn out or lost in the world and transforms human sin and weakness into new life, Pope Benedict XVI said.

                    Speaking at his weekly general audience Jan. 11, the Pope focused on Jesus and the Last Supper, where he instituted the Eucharist, "the sacrament of his body and blood."

                    "Jesus' gift of himself anticipates his sacrifice on the cross and his glorious resurrection," the Pope said.

                      Pope baptizes 16 infants, says sacraments help parents raise kids right

                      VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI baptized 16 infants and told their parents and godparents that prayer and the sacraments will give them the strength and guidance they need to promote a child's true well-being.

                      Presiding over the annual liturgy in the Sistine Chapel Jan. 8, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Pope said the sacraments and putting one's trust in God through prayer offer "that light of truth" that illuminates the right path to take in their child's education and upbringing.