Latest News
Pope Francis

Pope will consider to remind bishops to respond directly to sex abuse victims

February 8, 2016 The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors asked the Pope to remind all bishops and authorities in the Church of the importance of responding directly to victims and survivors who approach them; and the finalization of a Universal Day of Prayer. On Saturday, the commission asked one of its members, Peter Saunders of Great Britain, who was abused by a priest when he was young, to temporarily suspend his collaboration "to reflect on how he can best contribute to the work of the Commission.” Read more...
Pope Francis

Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow will meet

February 5, 2016.Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will meet on February 12 next. Their meeting will take place in Cuba, where the Pope will make a stop on his way to Mexico, and where the Patriarch will be on an official visit. It will include a personal conversation at Havana’s José Martí International Airport, and will conclude with the signing of a joint declaration.This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church will be the first in history.
World

Christian missionary kidnapped by al Qaeda appears in video

January 27, 2016. BeatriceStockly, a Christian missionary from Switzerland, has surfaced in avideo published by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. She was kidnappedin Mali earlier this month, after having already been kidnapped in2012.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis will travel to Lund, Sweden, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

January 25, 2016. Pope Francis intends to participate in a joint ceremony of the Catholic Church and the World Lutheran Federation to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, scheduled to take place in Lund, Sweden on Monday October 31, 2016.
Vatican

New decrees from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

January 22, 2016. On January 21, Pope Francis authored the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to publish the following decrees: - The miracle attributed to the intercession of the Polish Blessed Stanislaus of Jesus Mary. (1631 - 1701) - The miracle attributed to the intercession of the Argentine Blessed Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero. (1840 - 1914) - The miracle attributed to the intercession of the Mexican Blessed layman and martyr José Sánchez del Río. (1913 - 1928) - The miracle attributed to the intercession of the Italian Servant of God Francesco Maria Greco. (1857 - 1931) - The miracle attributed to the intercession of the Italian Servant of God Elisabetta Sanna. (1788 - 1857) - The martyrdom of the German Servant of God Engelmar Unzeitig. (1911 - 1945) - The martyrdom of the Spanish Servant of God Fr. Genaro Fueyo Castañón and three lay partners in 1936. - The martyrdom of the Japanese Servant of God Justo Takayama Ukon. (1552-1553) - The heroic virtues of the Italian Servant of God Arsenio da Trigolo. (1849 - 1909) - The heroic virtues of the Italian Servant of God Maria Luisa Blessed Sacrament. (1826-1886)
Pope Francis

Pope Francis will visit the Mosque of Rome on January 27

January 19, 2016. The Imam, Izzedin Elzir, announced that the Pope will visit the Grand Mosque of Rome on the 27th of January.

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. 


IZA/KLH 
RR
JM
-PR
Up:PM