Part of the appeal and notoriety that Pope Francis gained during the first two years of his pontificate came from his penchant for using his cellphone to call people out of the blue, from a struggling single mother to his cobbler back in Argentina to an ostracized bishop, and even the odd journalist.

Published in Vatican

JERUSALEM - On Christmas Eve, the entrance to the West Jerusalem YMCA was decked out in colorful lights against the night sky, and a Christmas tree sparkling with ornaments stood in the lobby. Jewish Israelis and international visitors, guests at the YMCA's popular restaurant, stopped to take pictures in front of the tree.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Christmas is a reminder that through the birth of Christ, hope and peace are possible and that only through his grace can humanity find peaceful solutions to the world's most difficult problems, Pope Francis said.

Published in Christmas

The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has videotaped his message for Christmas and the New Year. Entitled Goodness abounds, Bishop Crosby refers similarly to the theme of mercy which the Church celebrates this month and throughout the coming year as the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The production of this video has been made possible thanks to the collaboration with Salt + Light Television.

Published in Canada

December means curtains up for church Christmas pageants, hand-bell concerts, caroling kiddie choirs and Nativity displays on the front lawns.

Published in Christmas

Christmas practices are developed and celebrated in different ways in families, and certain tasks and jobs become traditions. So how did it happen that growing up in my large family I became the one to go out into the forest and get the annual Christmas tree?

Published in Christmas

It will be a sadder Christmas for Rick Campanelli and his family this year as they celebrate their first Christmas without family matriarch Antoinette, who passed away over the summer. Antoinette was the heart of the Campanelli family holidays. She prepared everything from the gifts to decorating the family home in Hamilton, Ont., and, of course, cooked Christmas brunch and dinner. The whole family rallied around Antoinette’s love for Christmas.

Published in Christmas

VATICAN CITY - If Pope Francis sees the Church as a field hospital after battle, then his annual Christmas address to the Roman Curia often looks like the triage tent, with him holding the charts.

Published in Faith

My hands are covered in flour and my mom is wrist deep in dough. The oven is preheated and the cookie trays are lined with parchment paper. She asks me to choose the cookie cutter for this year, and I select the angel.

Published in Christmas

TORONTO - To curb the commercialization of Christmas, Alice Chan has made a tradition of volunteering with her two sons over the Christmas holidays.

Published in Christmas

TORONTO - After watching friends and families with children come together to create a Christmas tradition making decorative wreathes, Sarah Fairley finally decided to give it a go herself.

Published in Christmas

From the very beginnings of Christianity the grotto where Jesus was born has been revered as one of the most sacred places in the world. Today it is designated a World Heritage Site and Roman Catholics from all over the world gather here every Christmas Eve for Midnight Mass.

Published in Christmas

Christmas poems and stories, like “The Night Before Christmas” or “The Gift of the Magi,” are remarkable in the way they enchant young people from generation to generation. But there is one Christmas story that never grows stale, that is fresh to all ages and places, to young and old, to men and women. Here is how it goes.

Published in Christmas

The lives of the saints are a huge part of Christian tradition and there are many who we associate with the Christmas season. You probably know the story of St. Nicholas. There’s also, of course, the Nativity story and the birth of Christ, with Mother Mary, St. Joseph and St. Gabriel the Archangel.

But do you recall the least known Christmas saints of them all? Here are just a few.

Published in Christmas
December 19, 2015

A world of creches

KLEINBURG, ONT. - For more than 30 years, Msgr. Gregory Ace has been fascinated by Nativity scenes from around the world. He has collected more than 1,000 Nativity sets from 126 countries worldwide and every Advent, his pieces are displayed in schools, city halls and other churches.

Published in Christmas