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‘Rise of the Guardians’ Brings Together Santa’s Sidekicks to Save the Day (2187)

A positive message is weakened by secularism in the latest seasonal offering from Dreamworks Animation.

12/26/2012 Comments (6)

Last year’s animated Arthur Christmas revealed that Santa Claus had a son — actually two. In Rise of the Guardians, the newest offering from Dreamworks Animation, we learn that he is also part of a superhero team sworn to protect Earth’s children.

Based on the fantasy book series by William Joyce, the movie brings together a group of iconic childhood characters, collectively known as “The Guardians,” led by Alec Baldwin’s North, a.k.a. Santa — only, here, he’s not jolly St. Nick, but a rough-and-tumble Russian swordsman, with “naughty” and “nice” tattooed on his brawny forearms, reminiscent of Robert Mitchum’s inked knuckles in Night of the Hunter.

Standing alongside him are Hugh...READ MORE

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Pope’s 2012 Urbi et Orbi Address: ‘Open the Door of Faith’ (3406)

Addressing thousands of pilgrims at St. Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father recalled those suffering from conflicts across the world and expressed hope that China’s new leaders will respect the contribution of religions.

12/25/2012 Comments (4)
Franco Origlia/ Getty Images News

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his 'urbi et orbi' blessing (2011).

– Franco Origlia/ Getty Images News

VATICAN CITY — In his Christmas urbi et orbi ("to the city of Rome and to the world") address, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on how the birth of Christ has allowed truth to “spring out of the earth,” bringing kindness, justice and peace, but that man must, for his part, “open the door of faith.”

Addressing thousands of pilgrims from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father also recalled those suffering from conflicts across the world and expressed his hope that China’s new leaders will respect the contribution of religions.

Taking Psalm 85:12 as his starting point — “Veritas de terra orta est!” (Truth has sprung out of the earth!) — the Pope said that, today, these prophetic...READ MORE

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Children’s Music Group Wishes World Merry Christmas (1409)

The Austrian-based group of Catholic children and teens play in the snow, bake Christmas treats and place a baby doll in a manger while wishing a musical Merry Christmas ‘to every child on earth.’

12/25/2012 Comment

 

 

VIENNA — An Austria-based singing group of children and teens has made a music video wishing a merry Christmas to the world as part of their mission to tell stories of faith through music.

The group KISI - God’s Singing Kids has released the video “We sing merry, merry Christmas.” It shows the children and teens singing in cheerful settings and styles inspired by the classic movie “The Sound of Music.”

They play in the snow, bake Christmas treats and place a baby doll in a manger while wishing Merry Christmas “to every child on earth.”

The Catholic music group has over 400 members from five countries who use their music to evangelize. They practice singing and dancing...READ MORE

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A Canadian Christmas (1756)

Knights of Columbus Crèche Exhibit 2012 Displays Beautiful Nativities

12/25/2012 Comments (1)
Knights of Columbus Museum

'Shepherd Boy Visits the Holy Family'

– Knights of Columbus Museum

Editor's note: Click on the links below to see the crèche pictures.

For the past eight years, ever since the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn., presented its first crèche exhibit for the Advent-Christmas season, scores of people have seen the wonders of crèches from all parts of the world. Each year has had its own theme. This year: “Joyeux Noel: Christmas in Canada.”

Filling three galleries with more than 80 crèches of various styles (a fourth gallery adds international crèches from the Knights’ own collection), the Canadian exhibit ranges from small crèches framed within ceramic jugs and bells to tall and even long ones, like the tremendous village scene that spans an ...READ MORE

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Pope’s Childhood Letter to Baby Jesus Shows his Faith (4872)

In the 1934 Christmas letter, 7-year-old Joseph Ratzinger asked for a book of Mass prayers, clerical clothing and ‘a heart of Jesus.’

12/25/2012 Comments (10)
Photo courtesy of Ignatius Press

Georg (l) and Joseph Ratzinger during their first Mass processional in Traunstein, Germany, in 1951.

– Photo courtesy of Ignatius Press

MARKTL AM INN, Germany — A Christmas letter that Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Baby Jesus when he was 7 demonstrates his devotion to the Sacred Heart and his desire to be a priest.

The letter was on display this Advent in the village of Marktl am Inn in Bavaria, where he was born.

“Dear Baby Jesus, quickly come down to earth. You will bring joy to children. Also bring me joy,” he wrote in the 1934 letter, published on the Church-affiliated Italian website Korazym.org.

“I would like a Volks-Schott (a Mass prayer book), green clothing for Mass (clerical clothing) and a heart of Jesus. I will always be good. Greetings from Joseph Ratzinger,” he wrote in German cursive handwriting called...READ MORE

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Pope Benedict’s Midnight Mass Homily (5125)

The Holy Father began his homily by stressing the beauty of Luke’s Gospel on the birth of Jesus that ‘touches our hearts: a beauty that is the splendor of truth.’

12/24/2012 Comments (7)

– Wikicommons

VATICAN CITY — Just as there was no room for Mary and Joseph at the inn, so in today’s frenetic societies people increasingly think they have no room for Christ, leading to social exclusion, discord and violence, Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of pilgrims at Christmas midnight Mass in Rome.

In his homily in St. Peter’s Basilica, he also warned of the consequences to society of rejecting God and religion, prayed for peace in the Middle East and called on Christians and Muslims to build up their countries side by side, in God’s peace.

The Pope began his homily by stressing the beauty of Luke’s Gospel on the birth of Jesus that “touches our hearts: a beauty that is the splendor of...READ MORE

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Christmas: A Cure for Cynicism and Irony (2248)

COMMENTARY

12/24/2012 Comments (5)

In a sermon broadcast on the BBC on Dec. 25, 1950, Msgr. Ronald Knox observed that “we make a holiday of Christmas only if we have the strength of mind to creep up the nursery stairs again and pretend that we never came down them.”

In my case, the stairs in question led, not to a nursery, but to the children’s bedroom I shared with my brother at 1 Regester Ave. in the Baltimore suburb of Rodgers Forge. And down the stairs we slid, Christmas morning, to discover what had arrived (or, as we later learned, what had been assembled, often with the aid of my Grandfather Weigel) the night before.

The day that followed was one of unmitigated happiness; and from the distance of more than half...READ MORE

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Waiting for Christmas in the Holy Land (1351)

Christians living in Bethlehem face many challenges, but some say they wouldn’t want to celebrate the birth of Jesus anywhere else.

12/24/2012 Comments (2)
ACN www.acnuk.org

Bethlehem Church of the Nativity grotto

– ACN www.acnuk.org

BETHLEHEM — Rhema Halabi, a Christian Arab resident of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, planned to attend her evangelical church’s Christmas play on the weekend before Dec. 25 and to participate in a communal dinner following the congregation’s Sunday prayer service.

But speaking just days before one of the holiest days in the liturgical season, Halabi, the mother of five grown children, couldn’t say where she will be spending Christmas Day itself.

That’s because part of her family lives in the West Bank, under Palestinian control, while other members live in Jerusalem, which Israel rules. Her holiday plans depend on whether Israel grants her and Bethlehem-based kin visitor...READ MORE

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