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Feast of the Holy Family

Image: Giorgio Vasari and Andrea del Sarto. A Word from Pope Francis The message that comes from the Holy Family is first of all a message of faith. In the family life of Mary and Joseph, God is truly at the center, and He is so in the Person of Jesus. This is why the Family of Nazareth is holy. Why? Because it is centered on Jesus. When parents and children together breathe in this climate of faith, they have an energy that allows them to face even difficult trials, as the experience of the Holy Family shows, for example, in the dramatic event of their flight to Egypt: a difficult ordeal.
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A Christmas Miracle

Catholic and Jewish people people are kindred spirits. We worship the same God, and honor God as the creator and sustainer of all life—especially that of our own human family. We both celebrate endless years of God’s saving actions among us. As Pope St. John XXIII famously said upon welcoming Jewish leaders to a meeting, recalling the Genesis story, “I am your brother, Joseph.” Of course, we all know that this brotherhood and sisterhood has not been observed for most of Christian history. Ours has been a long and horrible story of distrust and finger-pointing, of jealousy, discrimination, and violence against Judaism. The low point of this sad history, we all know, is the Nazi attempt to eliminate Jews completely.
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The Tale of a Classic Christmas Song

Although the names of Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne may not be familiar, they composed many popular songs together, including “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” recorded by Bobby Vinton. Their masterpiece, however, is “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Many people mistakenly assume this Christmas classic has been around for years and that it is of European origin. But it was written in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis as a powerful plea for peace by a man who had experienced the horrors of war. The song’s message of peace is as desperately needed today as it was then.
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“O Emmanuel,” We Want to See Your Face!

  A Word from Pope Francis This week the Church is like Mary: she is awaiting a birth. The Virgin sensed within herself, in body and in soul, that the birth of her child was near. Surely in her heart she said to the baby she was carrying in her womb: “Come, I want to see your face, for they have told me you will be great!”
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Following Jesus in Perfect Joy

Image: Tyler Mullins. The human heart desires joy. We all desire joy, every family, every people aspires to happiness. But what is the joy that the Christian is called to live out and bear witness to? It is the joy that comes from the closeness of God, from his presence in our life. From the moment Jesus entered into history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity received the seed of the Kingdom of God, like the soil receives the seed, the promise of a future harvest.
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Advent: The Beginning of a New Year

This week we begin our celebration of Advent. This time of year can bring to mind really great memories of childhood Christmases spent opening presents and visiting family. But it can also bring up memories that maybe you’d rather not have. Maybe a loved one died at this time of year or you experienced some other kind of negative emotion that you always associate with Advent and Christmas.
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An Advent Reflection with Kelly Wahlquist

                        Enjoy this Advent reflection from author Kelly Wahlquist! I love the season of Advent. I like the colors, the smells, the rituals, all the good things that come with it. And at the end, we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus. With all the festivities and commitments attached to the season of Advent and Christmas I often forget that this is the beginning of a new year.
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What Are Your Blessings?

Image: Benjamin Combs. This past summer, my kids and I decided to grow a garden. We planned on growing pumpkins, zucchini, corn, sunflowers and carrots—planned being the key word. By the end of August, our garden consisted of a few carrots, some dead zucchini and pumpkin plants, no corn and some gigantic sunflowers. The carrots never quite made it to maturity because the kids kept feeding them to their rabbits. I forgot to plant the corn at the appropriate time. And the other plants fell victim to a heat wave and my brother-in-law’s puppy.
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Franciscan Ministry Gives Back to Cincinnati

A ministry of St. John the Baptist Province, OFM, St. Francis Seraph Ministries serves those in need in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. From their website: “We believe every member of the Over-the-Rhine community has the right to enjoy the benefits of good health, prosperity, and well-being and has the capacity to contribute positively to the neighborhood. Through compassion, collaboration, and community building, we provide programs designed to achieve this vision.”
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Franciscans Reach Out to Detroit’s Downtrodden

St. Aloysius Community Center had its beginning with the arrival of the Franciscan friars of St. John the Baptist Province in 1992. Encouraged by Archbishop Vigneron, the Friars are dedicated to following Jesus by living and working among the poor through the community of St. Aloysius Parish. We are situated in a widely diverse area of downtown Detroit. We work with all of the people in the neighborhood to address needs of companionship, food, clothing, and emergency shelter. We also focus on the critical needs of the tenants of many low-income housing buildings in the area. Our parish nurse works to address health and wholeness issues within our community-at-large. After the closing of our Community Center a few years ago, we are now attempting to provide all of these services in a smaller fashion—on the streets and in the community housing areas. This ad gentes style of ministry means we are now more focused on going to the people, rather than them coming to us.
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