There will be no Christmas tree or traditional festivities in the place of Jesus Christ’s birth this year in response to the thousands killed in the conflict in the Holy Land. Instead, the focus in the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square in Bethlehem will be on praying for peace.
Hear Angels Cry
Amidst the rubble and ruins, a poignant voice rises to declare that the light of hope will persist in the small West Bank town where the Christmas story unfolded.
Youstina Safar, a resident of Bethlehem and a student at Bethlehem University, has collaborated with the London-based band Ooberfuse to deliver a powerful message through their Christmas song, Hear Angels Cry. The song resonates with the belief that there is hope for a better future, born in the hearts of humanity.
A World Day of Children, in the wake of World Youth Day, will be held in Rome on 25-26 May 2024. Pope Francis made the announcement, “with joy”, at the Angelus on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The initiative responds to the question: What kind of world do we want to leave to the children who are growing up now?
On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis returned to the window of the Apostolic Palace for the Angelus. During remarks after the Marian prayer, the Pope looked ahead to his visit in the afternoon to Santa Maria Maggiore and then to Piazza di Spagna to pray to Our Lady and intercede for a world without war.
“I ask everyone, especially the faithful of Rome, to unite themselves spiritually to me in this act of entrustment to our Mother,” the Pope said, “praying particularly for peace, peace in Ukraine, peace in Palestine and Israel, and in every land wounded by war. Let us ask for peace, that hearts might be at peace, that there be peace!”
The Holy Father has decided that 2025 will be a year of Jubilee, something which happens every 25 years.
The theme is “Pilgrims of Hope”, and it will be a year of hope for a world suffering the impacts of war, the ongoing effects of COVID-19 pandemic, and a climate crisis.
Preparations for the 2025 Year of Jubilee will begin in Advent 2023, which will mark the start of a year of prayer. The Bishops’ Conference will be producing resources for the preparatory year of prayer, focusing on the Our Father, as well as resources about Jubilee in the Catholic Church.
For use by parishes, priests, religious, laypeople, and more, these resources will help guide you as you ready yourself for this most vital year in the Church’s life.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols gave the welcome address at a special seasonal gathering at the home of football, Wembley Stadium, to mark the contribution Christians make to the beautiful game.
Sporting a 1977 Liverpool FC shirt to celebrate the club’s first European Cup win, the Cardinal allowed his passion for his home-city Reds to come through as he drew comparisons between the life of faith and the life of a football fan.
In his video message, the Holy Father expressed his regret for not being present at COP28 and emphasized the inauguration of the Faith Pavilion, as this is the first time that a religious pavilion has been set up within a UN climate change conference.
Advent comes from the Latin adventus, meaning 'arrival' or 'coming'. It's the season before Christmas we use to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love.
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