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April 18, 2015. Pope Francis will preside the ceremony of the Lord's Passion at 17.00. At 21.15, he will take part in the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum.
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Papal Appointments
April 17, 2014. Pope Francis appointed Fr. José Augusto Traquina Maria as an auxiliary bishop for the Patriarchate of Lisbon (Portugal). He also named Fr. José Trinidad Fernández Angulo as an auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese of Caracas (Venezuela), and Fr. Francisco José Villas-Boas Senra de Faria Coelho as the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Braga (Portugal).
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Decree for Sainthood Causes
April 16, 2014. After meeting with Card. Angelo Amato, the prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saint, Pope Francis promulgated a decree on several sainthood causes. He recognized the miracles attributed to: Italian friar Ludovico da Casoria; and Italian Tertiery Amato Ronconi. The Pope also recognized the heroic virtues of two Servants of God: French missionary priest Alano Maria Guynot de Boismenu, and Austrian priest Guglielmo Janauschek.
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Pope's Schedule
April 15, 2014. On Tuesday, Pope Francis met with Msgr. Charbel Georges Merhi, from the congreation of the Missionary Lebanese Maronites, and bishop emeritus of San Charbel in Buenos Aires. He also met with Msgr. Marcello Semeraro, bishop of Albano, and secreatry of the Council of Cardinals.
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Papal Appointments
April 15, 2014. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Msgr. Egidio Nkaijanabwo, and appointed Acquirino Francis Kibira as the new bishop of the dioecese of Kasese (Uganda). He also named Msgr. Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo as the bishop of the diocese of Abeokuta (Nigeria).
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Pope send message, prayers to fire victims in Chile
April 14, 2014. Pope Francis sent out a telegram today to the Bishop of Valparaiso Chile, where he expresses his condolences for the victims killed in a wildfire.
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April 14, 2014. Pope Francis will meet today with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Afterwards, he will receive Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General of Rome's diocese. He will also have an audiencie at the Vatican's Clementine Hall with a delegation of the Pontifical College "Leoniano" of Anagni.
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Papal Appointments
April 8, 2014. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Msgr. Nicola De Angelis, and appointed Msgr. William Terrence McGrattan as the new bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough (Canada).
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Pope to make two summer trips within Italy
April 7, 2014. In between his two international trips this year, the Vatican announced Pope Francis will visit two Italian cities during the summer. On June 21, he will travel to the diocese of Cassano all'Jonio in the region of Calabria. Then on July 5, the Pope will visit the diocese of Campobasso and Isernia in the Molise region.
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Pope's Schedule
April 7, 2014. On Monday morning, Pope Francis met with Card. Fernando Filoni, the prefect for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Then, he welcomed Msgr. Francis Assissi Chullikatt, Permanent Observer to the United Nations and the Organization for American States. At 11AM, the Pope welcomed the remaining group of bishops from Tanzania, on their 'ad limina visit,' and addressed the entire group. Pope Francis met at 12:45 with the organizing committee for World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. His last event was at 4PM; he welcomed King Abdullah from Jordania at Casa Santa Marta.
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Pope's Schedule
April 4, 2014. Pope Francis met with Msgr. Adolfo Tito Yllana, apostolic nuncio to the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed by Msgr. Erwin Kräutler, bishop of Xingu (Brazil), and the bishops from Tanzania on their 'ad limina' visit to the Vatican.
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Papal Appointments
April 4, 2014. Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Michel Aupetit as the new bishop of the diocese of Nanterre (France). He also named Fr. Pierre-Yves Michel as the bishop of Valence (France), as well as Fr. Stefan Oster as the bishop of Passau (Germany).
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Pope's Schedule
April 3, 2014. On Thursday morning, at 10:30AM Pope Francis met with José Maria Pereira Neves, the prime minister of Cape Verde. Half an hour later, he welcomed Card. Angelo Amato, prefect for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints. At 11:30, the Pope met and addressed with the bishops from Rwanda, on their 'ad limina' visit to Rome. Then on Thursday afternoon, at 3PM, he will meet with Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, at the papal office in Paul VI Hall.
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Papal Appointments
April 2, 2014. Pope Francis named Arch. Franco Coppolo as the apostolic nuncio to Chad. Up until now, Msgr. Coppola was the apostolic nuncio to the Central African Republic.
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March 24, 2014. On Monday, at 10:30AM, Pope Francis will meet with Card. Fernando Filoni, prefect for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Poeples. At 11:15, he will welcome Guinean bishops on their "ad limina apostolorum" visit. Then, at 12:15, the Pope will address the Plenary Assembly for the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care).

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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