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New bishop in Spain

July 28, 2015. The Pope accepted the resignation of Msgr. Joan Piris Frígola, bishop of the diocese of Lleida (Spain). To replace him, the Pope has appointed as the new bishop Msgr. Salvador Giménez Valls.
World

New patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church

July 27, 2015. On July 24th, the Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church convened in Beirut and elected the 80 year old Grégorie Pierre XX Ghabroyan as patriarch. Pope Francis confirmed the appointment and granted the "ecclesiastical communion” within a few hours. Until 2013, Grégorie Pierre XX Ghabroyan was the apostolic exarch for Armenian Catholics living in France, but he resigned due to his advanced age. He will become the successor to Nersés Pierre XIX Tarmouni, who died on June 25th.
World

New bishop in Colombia

July 24, 2015. The Pope appointed Victor Manuel Ochoa Cadavid to be Bishop of Cúcuta. Until now, he was bishop of Málaga - Soatá.
World

New auxiliary bishop in South Korea

July 23, 2015. The Pope has appointed John Moon Hee Jong auxiliary bishop of Suwon (South Korea). He was the diocesan director of the Department for Evangelization and a seminary professor.
Pope Francis

Appointments

Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Joseph Kodakallil as the new eparchial Bishop of Satna dei Siro-Malabaresi in India. Up until now, he served as the pastor of the St. Vicent Cathedral.
Pope Francis

New auxiliary bishops

July 21, 2015. Pope Francis has nominated three new auxiliary Bishops in the archdiocese of Los Angeles. They include, Msgr. David O’Connell and Msgr. Joseph Brennan from Los Angeles and Father Robert Barron from Chicago. The Pope also accepted the retirement of Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, Auxiliary Bishop for the San Fernando Pastoral Region.
Vatican

Heroic virtue decrees

July 17, 2015. The Pope has approvedthe heroic virtues of the following Servants of God: AndreaSzeptyckyj, from the order of St. Basil, Metropolitan of Halyc;Giuseppe Carraro, Bishop of Verona; Agustin Ramirez Barba, a diocesanpriest, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of theLord of Misericorida; Simpliciano della Natività, priest of theOrder of Friars Minor; Maria del Refugio Aguilar Torres, founder ofthe Congregation of Mercedarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament;Maria Teresa Dupouy Bordes, professed religious of the Sacred Heartof Jesus, foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of theSacred Heart of Jesus and Mary; Elisa Miceli, Founder of theInstitute of the Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart; and HerreroIsabel Mendez, professed sister of the Congregation of the Sisters ofSt. Joseph.
Vatican

Financial Report

July 16, 2015. According a financial report issued on Thursday, the Vatican City State posted a $69 million surplus in 2014. The gains were due mostly to profits from the Vatican museums and other cultural events and activities. The Holy See, reported a deficit of roughly $28 million in the report, which shows a reduction in deficit when compared to 2013.
Vatican

Wesolowski back in Vatican

July 16, 2015. Josef Wesolowski, who is accused of sexually abusing minors in the Dominican Republic, is reportedly back in the Vatican under house arrest. The former Archbishop was hospitalized a day before he was set to face a Vatican tribunal.
World

Resignation

July 15, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop of Passo Fundo, Brazil, Arch. Antonio Carlos Altieri, 63. Paulo Antonio de Conto has been appointed as the administrator of the Archdiocese.
World

New bishop in France

July, 15 2015. The Popehas appointed Laurent Camiade as bishop of the diocese of Cahors(France). Until now, he was the pastor of a church in the Lavardacregion, also in France. He replaces Msgr. Norbert Turini.
World

New auxiliary bishop in Germany

July, 15 2015. The Popehas appointed Udo Bentz as auxiliary bishop of Mainz (Germany). Untilnow, he was the rector of the Seminary of Mainz.
World

Vatican issues statement on Iranian Nuclear Deal

July 14, 2015. The Vatican has issued a statement regarding the Iranian Nuclear Program Agreement. Through a written statement, the Vatican stated: "It is hoped that those fruits will not be limited to the field of nuclear programme, but may indeed extend further."
Vatican

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI returns from his vacation at Castel Gandolfo

July 14, 2015. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI returned to Rome this morning after two weeks of rest at Castel Gandolfo. Before leaving, the Pope Emeritus blessed the city. On June 30th, Pope Francis visited him to say farewell before his vacation.
World

Appointment of Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul (South Korea)

July 14, 2015. The Pope has appointed the Rev. Benedictus Son Hee-Song as Auxilary Bishop of Seoul (South Korea).
World

Appointment of Auxiliary Bishop in Santiago (Chile)

July 14, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago (Chile) the Rev. Father Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo, O.F.M., who until now was the Provincial Minister of the Franciscans in Chile.
World

New bishop in Ghana

July 14, 2015. The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of Msgr. Francis Anani Kofi Lodonu as Bishop of Ho (Ghana). The Pope has appointed Rev. P. Emmanuel Fianu, S.V.D. to replace him.
Pope Francis

Appointments

July 8, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. José Luis Gomes de Vasconeclos, as the new Bishop of Sorbal in Brazil. Up until now, he served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Fortaleza, Brazil.
Pope Francis

Appointments

July 7, 2015. Msgr. Santiago Silva Retamales, who served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Valparaiso in Chile, has been appointed as the new military ordinariate of Chile.
World

New bishops in the Philippines

July 3, 2015. Pope Francishas nominated Msgr. Dennis C. Villarojo andFather Oscar J. L.Florencio to be the Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Cebu(Philippines). Since 2010, Villarojo has been at the parish of OurLady of the Sacred Heart in Cebu City. Florencio has been the rectorof Saint John the Evangelist School of Theology since 2013.
World

Pope weighs in on economic crisis in Greece

July 1, 2015 The Vatican is weighing in on the economic crisis that is crippling Greece. Through a written statement, the Vaticans press office issued a release that reads "the dignity of the human person must remain at the center of any political and technical debate." It goes on to say that the Pope "wishes to convey his closeness...with a special thought for the many families gravely beset by such a keenly felt human and social crisis. The Pope then "invites all the faithful to unite in prayer for the good of the beloved Greek people.”

Christmas Tree: A timeless tradition with Christian roots

2013-12-15

They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Along with Nativity scenes, the Christmas tree stands out as one of the most emblematic symbols of the Holiday season. 

But, where does this tradition come from? There are many theories, but history points to ancient civilizations.

FR. BERNARDO ESTRADA
Professor, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
"There are some people who think, for example, that the Christmas tree is a pagan symbol, and it's not! Its meaning is rooted in some very old traditions from ancient civilizations. Back then, the Chinese and Egyptians had already used trees to decorate their homes.”

During the Renaissance, Christians adopted this symbol and gave it new meaning to celebrate the birth of Jesus

The challenges was finding trees that kept their leaves during the cold winter, so they began using fir and pine trees.

FR. BERNARDO ESTRADA
Professor, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
"It was a symbol of eternity and the life of God, which is never ending. So by comparing it to the life of God, which never ends, and the Son of God, who comes to us every Christmas, it gives it this meaning of God, who makes Himself present to all of humanity.”

Decorations came next. The first signs of ornaments used on trees come from Germany. Martin Luther supported this trait

FR. BERNARDO ESTRADA
Professor, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
"Luther was a fan of this and in a way he led the tradition. He would set up his tree and as decorations he would add fruit. This was done as a reminder of the Tree of Paradise. 

Centuries later, ornaments replaced apples and oranges. And with electricity, it was only a matter of time before Christmas lights appeared. Today, the Christmas tree is more than a Holiday decoration. Around the world, it's a symbol of joy and a simple way to honor the birth of Jesus. 


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