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Pope Francis

Pope Francis has promulgated new decrees regarding future saints

April 27, 2016. Pope Francis has recognized the heroic virtues of the Spanish woman, Montse Grases; the martyrdom of 38 priest in Albania, and has also authorized the beatification of the Irish Jesuit, John Sullivan.
Vatican

Pope names new archbishop of Havana. Also new bishops for Mexico and Spain

On April 26 , 2016. Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Juan de la Caridad García, the new archbishop of San Cristobal of Havana after the resignation of Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino for having turned 75. Juan de la Caridad Garcia , 67, was until now archbishop in Camagüey, Cuba. After the resignation of Ulises Macías, the Pope appointed Bishop Ruy Rendon, 62, archbishop of Hermosillo, Mexico on Tuesday. Tuesdays bulletin announced the appointment of Manuel Herrero as bishop of Palencia, Spain; John Alphonsus Ryan as Bishop of Mzuzu, Malawi; and Edward M. Rice, Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in the US. On the diplomatic section, Francisco Montecillo has been named apostolic nuncio in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Vatican

The Pope has appointed Archbishop Christophe Pierre as the Vatican nuncio to the U.S.

April 12, 2016. The French-born Archbishop will be replacing Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis will travel to Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan

April 9, 2016. The Vatican officially announced Pope Francis new international travels. They will be to Armenia (June 24-26), and to Georgia and Azerbaijan (September 30- October 2).
Pope Francis

The Pope will travel to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 7, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, April 16th. It will be a one day trip to visit the refugees arriving in the Greek coast fleeing war and violence. He will be accompanied the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew and Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, Ieronymos II.

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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