By: David Gibson (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9802-1/18/18

Baptism is no mere “formality” in Christian life. “It is an act that touches the depths of our existence,” Pope Francis remarked in January 2014, speaking four days before the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, when contemporary popes customarily baptize babies in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.


I do not know all the reasons Pope Francis accented the word “formality” in telling what baptism is not. But obviously, to regard baptism as a formality, something like an academic society’s initiation ceremony, would be to misunderstand it entirely. 

By: Paul Senz (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9801-1/4/18

The visit of the Magi to the newborn Jesus is commemorated as the feast of the Epiphany. This places the emphasis on what was revealed to them at this, the culmination of their long journey “from the east” (Mt 2:1).


The Magi remain mysterious figures. There are many theories as to just who these pilgrims were. There is a consensus that they travelled a great distance from the east, compelled as they were to come and do homage to the “newborn king of the Jews” (Mt 2:2).


By: Cindy Wooden (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9726-12/21/17

Vatican City (CNS) --The Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square is not getting rave reviews: The backdrop does not look like a stable and the characters in need  – hungry, naked, dead, imprisoned  – don’t exactly evoke a silent night when all was cozy, calm and bright.


Franciscan Father John Puodziunas said he didn’t like it at first. 


By: Jennifer Ficcaglia (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9726-12/21/17



One day, the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus decided to take a census of all the people living in the territories over which he ruled. 


At that time, a man named Joseph was living in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, which was an area that the Romans controlled. Joseph made plans to travel to his ancestral hometown with his pregnant wife, Mary, so they could be counted. Joseph was related to King David, so he and Mary traveled to Bethlehem, the city of David, to take part in the census. 


By: David Gibson (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9726-12/21/17

Did you ever hear a sound in the night that startled you from sleep, an unsettling sound that left you wide awake and demanded that you investigate its cause? The Gospel of Luke tells of a nighttime disturbance similar to this (2:8-14).
It startled shepherds “keeping the night watch over their flock” some 2,000 years ago in the Holy Land. “Behold,” a voice called out to them.


Luke indicates that what happened in the night really frightened the shepherds at first. It captured their complete attention, of course.


By: Father Herb Weber (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9725-12/7/17

Promises are part of our lives. As kids we extract promises from parents and friends just as we learn to make promises. Some are simple like the promise to bring a treat. Others demand more commitment like the promise to be there when our friends need us.


The most significant promises that I witness take place at marriage ceremonies. As the officiating minister I ask both the man and the woman if they will repeat after me. Then they say how they promise to be faithful in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor all the days of their lives. 

By: Jennifer Ficcaglia (CNS)



One day, God sent his angel, Gabriel, on a very important mission.


God asked Gabriel to deliver a message to a young woman, Mary, who lived in the town of Nazareth in Galilee.


Originally Appeared in : 9724-11/23/17

Detroit (CNS)
Blessed Solanus Casey always said that “as long as there is a spark of faith,” there can be no discouragement or sorrow, said Cardinal Angelo Amato, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes.


His words were accompanied by “the concrete practice of faith, hope and charity in his everyday life,” said the cardinal in his homily during the November 18 beatification Mass for the beloved Capuchin Franciscan friar who was known for his cures and wise counsel.


Originally Appeared in : 9724-11/23/17

St. Louis (CNS)
Sister Mary Antona Ebo, a Franciscan Sister of Mary whose courageous words during the 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, became a rallying cry for many in the civil rights movement, died November 11 at a retirement community outside St. Louis. She was 93.


St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will celebrate her funeral Mass November 20 at St. Alphonsus Liguori Church in St. Louis. A private burial will take place in Resurrection Cemetery in St. Louis.


By: David Gibson (CNS)
Originally Appeared in : 9724-11/23/17

“Let us see your face.” The whole church repeats this five-word, heartfelt plea to God four times during Masses on Advent’s first Sunday. Heard in the responsorial psalm after the first biblical reading, it echoes this repeated plea to God in Psalm 80: “Light up your face and we shall be saved.”


Does it make sense for the Christian family to beg God at the Advent season’s beginning to reveal his face? Doesn’t the memory of the one born 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem reveal this – the one frequently described as God’s face in this world?



Subscribe to RSS - CNS
Go to top