Faith

VATICAN CITY - Remembering God's love is forever helps lead the faithful out of darkness and despair and toward a future of hope, Pope Benedict XVI said.

It's important to remember all of God's gifts to humanity -- from creating the earth to giving humanity his only son -- because it is that very recollection of his generosity that "becomes the strength of hope," he said during his weekly general audience Oct. 19.

Remembering God's goodness and mercy "also opens up the path of light toward the future during times of darkness," the pope said.

Assisi III: Benedict puts his own mark on prayer summit's third edition

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VATICAN CITY - Slowly and carefully, the Vatican is setting the stage for the third edition of the interreligious "prayer for peace" encounter in the Italian pilgrimage town of Assisi.

The Oct. 27 event marks the 25th anniversary of the first such gathering. As in 1986, it is expected to draw representatives from many Christian denominations and more than a dozen other faiths.

It is also being celebrated in cities throughout the world, including Toronto where the Toronto Area Interfiath Council is hosting its own event at the Church of the Holy Trinity on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Retired educator turns to drama to spread the Word

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Retired Catholic school educator Eleanor Glenn is on a different stage now, but she still has a passion for teaching others about the Catholic faith.

Instead of a classroom, Glenn — who has a religious education specialist certificate — is now spreading the Word through drama in her one-woman play that connects the sacrifice of the Mass with Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

The Servant at the Supper is about a fictitious servant girl who baked the bread and served the wine at the Last Supper. She is also present when the women bring the news of Christ’s Resurrection to the disciples and at Pentecost.

Pope announces 'Year of Faith' to help renew missionary energy

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI announced a special "Year of Faith" to help Catholics appreciate the gift of faith, deepen their relationship with God and strengthen their commitment to sharing faith with others.

Celebrating Mass Oct. 16 with participants in a Vatican conference on new evangelization, the pope said the Year of Faith would give "renewed energy to the mission of the whole church to lead men and women out of the desert they often are in and toward the place of life: friendship with Christ who gives us fullness of life."

The pope said the observance would begin Oct. 11, 2012 -- the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council -- and conclude Nov. 24, 2013 -- the feast of Christ the King.

Pope: Silence, solitude needed in 'agitated, sometimes frantic' world

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VATICAN CITY - Endless news, noise and crowds have made people afraid of silence and solitude, which are essential for finding God's love and love for others, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Progress in communications and transportation has made life more comfortable, as well as more "agitated, sometimes frantic," he said, especially in cities, where there is a constant din, even all night.

Young people seem to want to fill every moment with music and video, and there is a growing risk that people are more immersed in a virtual world rather than in reality because of the constant stream of "audiovisual messages that accompany their lives from morning to night," he said during a visit to an Italian monastery Oct. 9.

God will guide, protect those who follow him, pope says

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VATICAN CITY - God will always guide, protect and nourish those intent on following him, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Following Jesus, the good shepherd, we will be certain we are on the right path and that the Lord will always guide us, be with us and we will lack nothing," the pope said Oct. 5 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

With an estimated 20,000 people gathered in the square, the pope continued a series of talks about praying with the Psalms, focusing on Psalm 23: "The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I lack."

Looking at psalm -- "a text familiar to and loved by all" -- the pope said, "If we walk behind the good shepherd, no matter how difficult, twisting or long the path of our lives may seem, even if often it seems we are in a spiritual desert without water," we can be sure God will protect and provide for us.

The psalm is an expression of "radical trust in God's loving care," which reaches its highest expression in the death and resurrection of Jesus, who gave his life to save his flock, the pope said.

Greeting English speakers at the audience, the pope offered his "prayerful good wishes" to the 35 men scheduled to be ordained transitional deacons Oct. 6 by U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. The new deacons are preparing for the priesthood at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

Pope Benedict also greeted a delegation of Orthodox scholars from the theology faculty of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. The faculty awarded Pope Benedict its "Apostle Jason of Thessaloniki Gold Medal," which the pope said was "an eloquent sign of the growing understanding and dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox Christians."

Addressing the Orthodox in English, the pope said he hoped the improved relations would be "a harbinger of ever greater progress in our efforts to respond in fidelity, truth and charity to the Lord's summons to unity."

At the end of the audience, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock, Ark., personally handed Pope Benedict a copy of the "Catholic Study Bible," an edition released in June as part of the Little Rock Scripture Study program.

Supporting missions improves people's lives

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VATICAN CITY - Supporting the Church’s work in missionary lands with their prayers and their financial contributions, Catholics also improve the lives of the poor and promote dialogue, said the new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

“Evangelization always promotes the development of peoples,” Archbishop Fernando Filoni told L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Oct. 2.

Healing of US man key to Italian priest's canonization

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VATICAN CITY - Thanks to the healing of a young man from the United States, who was severely injured in a rollerblading accident, Italian Blessed Louis Guanella will be among three new saints proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI in late October.

William Glisson, now 30 and married, was 21 years old when he and a friend were rollerblading down the Baltimore Pike in Springfield, Pa., near Philadelphia. Glisson was skating backward, without a helmet, hit a hole and fell, hitting his head.

Alberta government recognizes sisters’ contributions to province

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EDMONTON - Alberta’s Catholic sisters are being honoured for their pioneering contributions in education, health care and social welfare.

The Catholic Sisters Legacy Recognition Project honours the legacy of 74 founding congregations who have served in Alberta.

Women religious built hospitals, schools, orphanages, soup kitchens, immigrant services and boarding schools for unwed mothers across the province as early as 1859.

From birth to death, everyone has guardian angel, pope says

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VATICAN CITY - Guardian angels exist to protect every human life from its beginning to end, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"The Lord is always near and active in human history, and he also accompanies us with the unique presence of his angels, which the church today venerates" on feast of the Guardian Angels Oct. 2, he said before reciting the Angelus.

Guardian angels are "ministers of divine care for every person," he said.

Shhh: Pope asks communicators to reflect on value of silence

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI is asking media professionals and viewers, listeners and readers to set aside a bit of time for silence.

Announcing that the pope had chosen "Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization" as the theme for World Communications Day 2012, the Vatican acknowledged it initially might appear strange to ask professional wordsmiths to focus on silence, but it said silence is essential for really processing the words people hear or read.

The Catholic celebration of World Communications Day is marked in most dioceses on the Sunday before Pentecost, which in 2012 will be May 20. A papal message for the occasion usually is released on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers, Jan. 24.