‘Crowning jewel’ of national shrine — Trinity Dome Mosaic — dedicated

People take pictures of the completed mosaic in the Trinity Dome during a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Dec. 8. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

People take pictures of the completed mosaic in the Trinity Dome during a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Dec. 8. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The overflowing congregation at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception hardly needed reminding to raise their “eyes to the heavens” during a dedication of the Trinity Dome Mosaic Dec. 8.

Before Mass began, all eyes were already on the newly completed gold dome above the front central section of the Upper Church.

When it was blessed during Mass, incense rose above the congregation and bright lights were turned on to give a better view of the newly finished dome that includes the words of the Nicene Creed encircling the base and a depiction of the Holy Trinity, Mary, the four Evangelists, angels and more than a dozen saints connected to the United States or the shrine. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Vatican renews call for peace, negotiated solution on Jerusalem

Israeli security forces get orders in Bethlehem, West Bank, as Palestinians protest U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (CNS/Debbie Hill)

Israeli security forces get orders in Bethlehem, West Bank, as Palestinians protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (CNS/Debbie Hill)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Following days of violence and backlash after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Vatican appealed for “wisdom and prudence” to prevail.

The Holy See “reiterates its own conviction that only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians can bring a stable and lasting peace and guarantee the peaceful coexistence of two states within internationally recognized borders,” the Vatican said in a Dec. 10 statement.

President Trump announced his decision Dec. 6 to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, fulfilling a promise he made during his presidential campaign.

The announcement sparked anti-U.S. protests throughout Asia and the Middle East, including a four-day protest in the Palestinian territories, Reuters reported. An Israeli security guard in Jerusalem, the report said, was in critical condition after he was stabbed by a Palestinian man at the city’s bus station. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Fundraising starts to aid victims of Southern California fires

Firefighters battle flames as they try to keep a wildfire contained Dec. 4 at a residence in Santa Paula, Calif. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles started a fund for victims of the wildfires that have raced through the archdiocese in Southern California and as of late Dec. 7 were threatening to spread to locations in the nearby Orange and San Diego dioceses. (CNS photo/Gene Blevins, Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has started a fund for victims of the wildfires that have raced through the archdiocese and were threatening to spread to locations in the nearby Orange and San Diego dioceses.

“Friends, as the wildfires continue, the needs of our neighbors continue to increase,” said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles on the archdiocesan webpage that hosts the fundraising campaign, https://tinyurl.com/yaa4qlu2.

“In this season of giving, let us open our heart to our brothers and sisters in need,” he added. “Let us keep praying for an end to the fires and let us keep praying for the safety of our police, fire and emergency workers — and all those who are in harm’s way.”

In a Dec. 8 statement from Washington, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked prayers for all those in danger, “both those whose homes are in the fire’s path and those courageous first responders and firefighters who are putting their lives at risk.”

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Posted in U.S.

Trinity student studies, works to create her preferred future

Daniela poses for a photo at Trinity Washington University Dec. 5. She came to the United States from El Salvador when she was 3 years old. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Daniela doesn’t remember much about coming to the United States from her native El Salvador with her parents when she was 3 years old.

“The only thing I remember is the dress I wore when I got on the plane,” she said.

Daniela, now 19, is a sophomore at Trinity Washington University. Her college costs are paid for in large part by a scholarship from “TheDream.US” fund. She is one of about 100 “Dreamers” enrolled at the Catholic college, which is women-only for its undergraduate studies but admits men to its graduate programs.

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Posted in U.S.

Mother of three Dreamers holds fast on Hill for passage of DREAM Act

Daniel Galan and Antonia Alvarez advocate for the passage of the DREAM Act near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington Dec. 5. They were fasting and praying for 10 days to draw attention to the immigration issue. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard)

By Kelly Sankowski 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Antonia Alvarez, the mother of three DACA recipients and one U.S. States citizen, began a 10-day fast Dec. 4 outside of the Capitol in Washington to advocate for the passage of the DREAM Act.

The measure would allow her children and 800,000 other Dreamers to remain in the country and gain a path to citizenship.

Alvarez is originally from Mexico City and said she immigrated to the United States 16 years ago because of dangerous conditions in Mexico. She currently lives in New Brighton, Minnesota, where she has done similar fasts throughout the past few years.

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Posted in U.S.

Sunday Scripture readings, Dec. 10, 2017: The Advent blahs

scripture-purple

The Catholic News Service column “Speak to Me Lord” offers reflections on the Sunday Scripture readings. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Dec. 10, Second Sunday of Advent

      Cycle B readings:

      1) Is 40:1-5, 9-11

      Psalm 85: 9-14

      2) 2 Pt 3:8-14

      Gospel: Mk 1:1-8

 

By Kevin Perrotta
Catholic News Service

Kevin Perrotta writes for the Catholic News Service Scripture column, "Speak to Me Lord." (CNS photo/courtesy Kevin Perrotta)

Kevin Perrotta writes for the Catholic News Service Scripture column, “Speak to Me Lord.” (CNS photo/courtesy Kevin Perrotta)

Advent: time to figure out which commandments I’ve been breaking and squeeze in confession before Christmas.

Is that the message of today’s readings?

Sure, that’s part of it. But primarily an announcement is being made. God is going to do something!

He’s going to comfort (Is 40:1) and forgive (Is 40:2) and care for the needy (Is 40:11). Ultimately, he is going to transform everything for the good of humanity (2 Pt 3). In the meantime, he’s going to come himself, as Jesus of Nazareth (Mk 1). And Jesus is going to give the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:8).

Today, though, it’s easier for me to swipe past the announcements and focus on doing a little something to clean up my act before Christmas.

Perhaps this is because today nothing in the announcements feels terribly real. “Comfort” sounds like a greeting card word. Forgiveness is for big sinners (not me). It looks like there are a lot of needy people who aren’t getting their needs met. Jesus seems to be somewhere out there in the distance. And the Holy Spirit — who is that? Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Nativity scene, Christmas tree are visible signs of God’s compassion, pope says

The Christmas tree is seen after a lighting ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 7. (CNS/Paul Haring)

The Christmas tree is seen after a lighting ceremony in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 7. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A Nativity scene and Christmas tree, like those displayed in St. Peter’s Square, are visible reminders of God’s benevolence and closeness to all men and women, Pope Francis said.

The traditional Christmas displays are “the signs of the heavenly Father’s compassion, of his participation and closeness to humanity who experience not being abandoned in dark times, but instead visited and accompanied in their difficulties,” the pope said.

“Every year, the Christmas Nativity scene and tree speak to us through their symbolic language. They make more visible what is captured in the experience of the birth of the Son of God,” Pope Francis said Dec. 7 in a meeting with delegations from Poland and Italy, responsible respectively for the 2017 Vatican Christmas tree and Nativity scene.

The centerpiece of the Vatican’s Christmas holiday decorations is the towering 92-foot spruce tree. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican