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Nominations
December 12, 2014. Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Vicente Jimenez Zamora as the new Archbishop of Zaragoza, Spain. Up until now, he served  as the Bishop of the Diocese of Santander. In Ecuador, Fr. Adelio Pasqualotto has been nominated as the new  Vicariate Apostolic of Napo. Pope Francis also appointed Rev. Fr. Pietro Bovati, as the new Secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. 
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Vatican releases new questionnaire on the Synod on the Family
December 9, 2014. The Vatican has published a new questionnaire containing 46 questions pertaining to the family and the modern day challenges it faces. It’s meant to be a further reflection for the second phase of the Synod on the Family, which will take place in October 2015. The questions are divided in three sections. In the following days, it will be distributed to many groups, including Episcopal Conferences, Eastern Church and Curia Departments.
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The Jesuits to start new General Congregation on October 2016
December 9, 2014. The General Superior of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, has called a new General Congregation. This assembly, which will include representatives from all over the world, will start on October 2, 2016. In a letter, Fr. Pachon called on  all Jesuits to take part in this "serious process of spiritual discernment" on which the future and mission of the Society relies. 
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New Archbishop of Kenya
December 9, 2014. Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Martin Musonde Kivuva as new Archbishop of Mombasa (Kenya). He previously served as bishop of the diocese of Machakos (Kenya). 

Also, Adolfo Ramon Canecin was appointed coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Goya (Argentina).

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Community of Sant'Egidio reelects its president
December 9, 2014. Marco Impagliazzo has been reelected as president of the Community of Sant'Egidio by an assembly of 220 delegates from around the world. 
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Colombian bishop, resigns
December 1, 2014. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Msgr. Luis Alberto Parra Mora, Bishop of Mocoa-Sibundoy (Colombia). He is 70 years old.
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First message of Pope Francis in Turkey
November 28, 2014. Pope Francis signed the so-called Golden Book at Ataturk's Mausoleum in Ankara. There he wrote this message: "I express my sincerest good wishes so that Turkey, the natural bridge between two Continents, may not only be a crossroad, but also a place of encounter, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among men and women of good will of every culture, ethnicity and religion."
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Pope on Haiti
November 25, 2014. Five years have passed since the deadly earthquake devastated the island of Haiti. In light of this anniversary, Pope Francis has called for a Vatican meeting to take place. The goal is for the Church to look into what can be done to help out victims and the country as it tries to re-build itself. 

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Cardinal Robert Sarah, new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
November 24, 2014. Pope Francis has named Cardinal Robert Sarah as new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Up until recently, he served as the President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

Sarah, 69, a native of Conakry, Guinea, also held a prominent role in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

He is taking over the post previously held by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, who was recently named Archbishop of Valencia, Spain.
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Synod on the Family 2015
November 21, 2014. The following Cardinals will be delegate presidents during the second part of the Synod on the Family, from October 4th to the 24th, 2015. The Archbishop of Paris,  Cardinal André Vingt-Trois. From the Philippines, Luis Antonio Tagle. From Aparecida Brazil, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis. From Durban, South Africa, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier. 

The Relator General will be Cardinal Peter Erdo, who serves as the Archbishop of Budapest. The Secretary General, will be Italian Msgr, Bruno Forte. 

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New Bishop in Broken Bay (Australia)
November 20, 2014. Pope Francis has appointed Peter Andrew Comensoli as the New Bishop of Broken Bay, Australia. Up until now, he served as the auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Sydney. 

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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