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Ex-Nuncio to Dominican Republic, accused of sexual abuse, found dead

August 28, 2015. The Vatican has issued a statement saying that ex-Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic Józef Wesolowski was found dead in his room this morning. He is believed to have died of natural causes, according the Vatican authorities. A Vatican prosecutor has asked that an autopsy be performed today. The statement further specifies that the results will be announced as soon as possible and that Pope Francis has been informed of the situation.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends a message to organizers and participants of the Rimini Meeting

August 19, 2015. On the occasion of the 36th edition of the Rimini Meeting, Pope Francis sent a message to participants and organizers through Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. He told them that the void we sometimes feel in our hearts reminds us that we are called to great things. The event is also known as "the Meeting for friendship among peoples,” and it is organized by the Communion and Liberation movement. During the meeting shows, conferences, exhibitions and sporting events are organized.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis “deeply saddened” by the tragedy in Bangkok

August 19, 2015. Pope Francis is "deeply saddened” by the terrorist attack in Bangkok, which killed at least 20 people, according to the Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. In a telegram sent to the King of Thailand on behalf of the Pope, the cardinal said Pope Francis expressed his sorrow and his closeness to all those affected by the attacks.
World

Erection of Apostolic Exarchate in Canada

Pope Francis has erected the Apostolic Exarchate for the Syro-Malabar in Canada. He has appointed Fr. Jose Kalluvelil to be its first Exarch, assigning him the titular of Tabalta.
World

New bishop in India

Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Antony Prince Panengaden to be bishop of the eparchy of Adilabad of the Syro-Malabar (India). His appointment comes after the resignation of Msgr. Joseph Kunnath.

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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