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VATICAN CITY - The day after Christmas, Pope Francis warned Catholics about two related temptations: giving Christmas a "false, sugary coating" and not putting the faith one professes into action.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - The crying of Baby Jesus is not the only cry people should hear on Christmas; many children around the world are crying because of war, maltreatment and abuse, Pope Francis said.

Published in Vatican
December 23, 2014

A Fr. Raby Christmas

Editor's note: for nearly 50 years the late Msgr. Thomas Raby penned his The Little World of Fr. Raby column for The Catholic Register. The following, Christmas lights in September, is a Msgr. Raby classic, along with one of the Christmas poems he wrote annually.

Published in Faith

HONG KONG - Hong Kong Christian leaders urged reconciliation in their Christmas messages, issued within a week of the end of a 79-day protest.

Published in International

BETHLEHEM, West Bank - Coming to Bethlehem during Christmas is like a family reunion for Afif Hazboun.

Published in International

TORONTO - At Bishop Allen Academy’s annual charity dinner for the community Dec. 8, Vanessa Rasile was served a cocktail of emotions.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

Some ideas for an eco-friendly Christmas:

LED lights
1. Use 90- to 95-per-cent less energy.
2. Last at least seven times longer than ordinary lights.
3. Are more durable and don’t have any breakable filaments or glass bulbs.
4. Produce less heat, thereby reducing the risk of fire.

Christmas trees
1. Why not buy a potted tree this year? You can transplant it outside in the spring or let it grow on your balcony and bring it back inside for use next Christmas.
2. If you buy a real tree, find out if your municipality picks them up after Christmas for mulching.

Decorations
1. Deck your halls with handmade decorations like popcorn and fresh cranberry chains. A biodegradable choice!
2. Buy decorations you can reuse year after year. Instead of throwing out old ornaments, consider repainting them.

Gifts
1. Everyone has items that they don’t use or are as good as new. Give gifts of repaired or refurbished items.
2. Buy environmentally friendly gifts that the receivers will appreciate. Buy products certified EcoLogo or Energy Star, the symbol of high energy efficiency.

Gift wrap
1. Use cloth gift bags instead of paper. You can craft wonderful personalized bags that may be appreciated as much as the gift inside, and can be reused.
2. Or you can use old posters, photos or comics from the newspaper, or magazine pages to wrap presents.
3. To add the finishing touch to your gifts, use pine cones, evergreen branches or other colourful objects from nature instead of store-bought ribbons and bows.
4. Be gentle this year when opening your presents and save the paper and ribbon for next year!
5. Even simpler, put your presents in reusable gift bags!

Heating
1. Cooking and entertaining can really warm up your home. Before the kitchen gets too hot, turn down your thermostat. Don’t open the window.
2. In winter, use fans to circulate warm air through the house.
3. If lots of people are coming and going, make sure you close doors properly and keep the warm air inside for you and your guests.
4. If you heat with a wood stove, make sure your chimney is clean and that your wood stove is EPA-certified. Minimize use of your fireplace.

(Source: greenchurch.ca.)

Published in Arts

The following is the Christmas message from Archbishop Paul- André Durocher, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

As I write this Christmas message, barely a week has gone by since Remembrance Day, a day marked by the still fresh memory of the recent assassinations of two members of the Canadian Armed Forces. This year, Christmas in Canada will take on a different shading, muted and somber, because of these events which have saddened our hearts and our spirits.

Published in Faith

Christmas in the small town of Gandino, in the foothills of the Italian Alps, was a wondrous time for Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi.

Published in Canada

VATICAN CITY - God is knocking to come into people's lives, so be attentive, humble and courageous to let him in, Pope Francis said.

Published in Vatican

Chris Van Allsburg’s book The Polar Express is a classic Christmas tale read to many children in homes and schools. In 32 pages, Allsburg captures the magic of Christmas through the eyes of a boy who visits Santa’s Workshop via a mysterious train one snowy C hristmas Eve. The boy receives a gift from Santa Claus, a bell, which rings only to those who “believe.”

Published in YSN: Speaking Out
December 21, 2014

Away in a real manger

At some point, this Christmas season most people will almost certainly receive a Christmas card, or e-card, depicting a plump, blue-eyed baby Jesus lying in an impoverished crib lined with hay and surrounded by friendly farm animals. There might be a barn in the background, beneath an enormous star and framed by pine trees with snow bending the branches. If it's the thought that counts, somebody hasn't thought this through.

Published in International
December 19, 2014

Silent night indeed

Few Christmas hymns are more admired than “Silent Night.” The lyrics were penned by a young German priest in 1816 and a schoolteacher added the melody two years later. Together these amateur musicians wrote a simple yet powerful song that lovingly depicts the peace and joy of the holy mother and her new child.

Published in Editorial

A new Advent web app is keeping busy families focused on Christ this holiday season.

Published in Youth Speak News