Pope names Cardinal Tagle to lead evangelization congregation

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, is pictured in Rome May 6, 2018. Pope Francis has named Cardinal Tagle prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a move that may signal Pope Francis’ plan for the reform of the Roman Curia is close to completion, the pope has named Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The 62-year-old cardinal succeeds Cardinal Fernando Filoni, 73, who since 2011 had led the Vatican office overseeing the church’s vast mission territories.

Announcing Cardinal Tagle’s appointment Dec. 8, the Vatican also announced that Cardinal Filoni would become grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Cardinal Filoni succeeds U.S. Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, 80, as grand master of the organization that supports Catholics in the Holy Land.

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Posted in Vatican

Immaculate Conception is feast of hope for sinners, pope says

Pope Francis leads a prayer service at a Marian statue overlooking the Spanish Steps in Rome Dec. 8, 2019, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Mary, conceived without sin, is a “masterpiece” who reflects “the beauty of God who is all love, grace and self-giving,” Pope Francis said on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Reciting the Angelus prayer with visitors in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 8, Pope Francis focused on the feast day that celebrates how Mary was conceived in the womb of St. Ann without original sin.

Several hours after the noon prayer, the pope joined thousands of people near the Spanish Steps in central Rome to pay homage to the Immaculate Conception at a Marian statue atop a tall column. The statue was erected in 1857 to commemorate Pope Pius IX’s declaration three years earlier of the dogma that Mary was conceived without sin. Continue reading

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Call me ‘Father’: Pope’s priestly vocation is his favorite gift

Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio is pictured cooking in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Pope Francis will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood Dec. 13, 2019. (CNS photo/courtesy of Maria Elena Bergoglio via Reuters)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In Caravaggio’s painting of Matthew, the sinful tax collector being called by Jesus to “Follow me,” Pope Francis sees the same unexpected, grace-filled moment found in his own call to the priesthood.

A 17-year-old Argentine student headed to a school picnic on Sept. 21, 1953, the feast of St. Matthew, Jorge Bergoglio felt compelled to first stop by his parish of San Jose de Flores.

It was there, speaking with a priest he had never seen before and receiving the sacrament of reconciliation, he was suddenly struck by “the loving presence of God,” who, like his episcopal motto describes, saw him through eyes of mercy and chose him, despite his human imperfections and flaws.

This gift from a “God of surprises,” a God who offers unexpected, unlimited and unmerited mercy, would change the young man’s life.

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Sunday Scripture readings, Dec. 8, 2019: Surprise, surprise

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

Dec. 8, Second Sunday of Advent

Cycle A
1) Is 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
2) Rom 15:4-9
Gospel: Mt 3:1-12

By Kevin Perrotta
Catholic News Service

The readings today announce good news that answers some of our greatest desires. But it is surprising in more ways than one. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Sister recalls vaudeville days and her family as ‘Nine Dancing Donahues’

Sister Barbara Donahue, a member of the Sisters for Christian Community, poses Oct. 10, 2019, at her residence in Tucson, Ariz., with memorabilia from her childhood when she and her siblings formed the vaudeville troupe “Nine Dancing Donahues.” Sister Barbara, who turned 90 in September, was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. (CNS photo/Michael Brown)

By Michael Brown 
Catholic News Service

TUCSON, Ariz. (CNS) — Sister Barbara Donahue, 90, was only 10 minutes into an interview about the vaudeville group made up of her and her siblings when she broke out in “The Donahue Song.”

The ditty was written by her mom for the group, which became its signature piece, emphasizing the importance of family.

“We were just ordinary people trying to do extraordinary things,” said Sister Barbara Donahue, who is a member of the Sisters for Christian Community.

She was talking to Catholic Outlook, Tucson’s diocesan newspaper, as she looked back looking back on memorabilia from her childhood when she and her siblings were the “Nine Dancing Donahues.”

Sister Barbara, who had her 90th birthday in September, lives at El Rancho Encanto assisted living center in Tucson. She was diagnosed recently with lung cancer. She’s the last survivor of the troupe.

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Posted in U.S.

Pope says he is ‘scandalized’ by anti-migrant rhetoric

Pope Francis meets with Jesuits in Tha Kham, Thailand, Nov. 22, 2019, during his apostolic trip to the Asian country. In his customary question-and-answer session with his Jesuit confreres, Pope Francis spoke about resistance to addressing climate change and about hostility to migrants and refugees. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis told Jesuits in Thailand he was “scandalized” by some of the anti-migrant rhetoric he hears in Europe, and he is convinced people are being manipulated into thinking the only way they can preserve their lifestyles is by building walls.

“The phenomenon of migration is compounded by war, hunger and a ‘defensive mindset,’ which makes us think only from a state of fear and that by reinforcing borders we can defend ourselves,” Pope Francis said Nov. 22 when he met 33 Jesuits in Thailand.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Rise in populism due to lack of listening, dialogue, pope says

Pope Francis. (CNS file photo/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Ignoring the reality lived by men and women today has caused a resurgence of old ideologies, such as populism, that inevitably do more harm than good, Pope Francis said.

Speaking off-the-cuff with staff and members of the Italian Jesuit magazine, “Aggiornamenti Sociali” (“Social Updates”) Dec. 6, the pope said that prejudices, certain “schools of thought and positions taken do so much harm” in the world.

“Today for example in Europe, we are experiencing the prejudice of populism, countries who close in on themselves and turn to ideologies,” he said. “But not just new ideologies — there are a few — but to the old ones, the old ideologies that created the Second World War.”

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Posted in Vatican