VATICAN – Christians can turn Christmas into a "pagan" or "mundane" holiday by focusing on the gifts and the tree rather than on the birth of Jesus and his promise to come again, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis leads prayers with Aid to the Church in Need for peace in 'tormented' Syria

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VATICAN – Leading thousands of pilgrims in prayer, Pope Francis lit a candle in remembrance of the people of Syria, especially innocent children tormented by the country's eight-year conflict.

God's word on Sunday: God will provide courage to persevere

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1st Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2 (Year C) Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36


Fr. Yaw Acheampong: Advent is a season of new beginnings

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As we begin a new liturgical year and also the season of Advent, here is a short quiz:

Pilgrims are the most important part of Catholic shrines, Pope Francis says

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VATICAN – People who visit Catholic shrines must find a place of warmth and welcome, as well as good priests who enjoy being with and listening to the faithful, Pope Francis said.

Christ's kingship based on death on the Cross, not abuse of power, Pope says

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VATICAN – Jesus showed his authority as king not through the power of weaponry, violence or deceit but by the power of his love for the world through his death on the cross, Pope Francis said.

The Church, world need cloistered religious dedicated to prayer, Pope says

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VATICAN – Pope Francis asked people to give thanks to God for the gift of so many men and women living a cloistered life of total dedication to prayer.

Serving others will change the world, Pope Francis says to youth

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VATICAN CITY – In a video message to young men and women around the world, Pope Francis called on them to provoke an uprising of change by serving others.

People must recognize their weaknesses, beg God for mercy, Pope Francis says

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VATICAN – God handed down his commandments not for people to hypocritically follow the letter of the law with a proud and righteous heart, but for people to recognize the truth of their weaknesses and acknowledge their need for help, healing and salvation, Pope Francis said.

Helping the poor is duty, not a fad, Pope Francis says

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VATICAN – As the rich get richer, the increasing misery and cries of the poor are ignored every day, Pope Francis said.

God's Word on Sunday: Treat every day as a day of judgment

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Nov. 18 (Year B) Daniel 12:1-3; Psalm 16; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; Mark 13:24-32