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New Bishops
May 27, 2015 Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Pedro Carlos Cipolini as the new Bishop of Santo Andre in Brazil. Msgr. Guerrino Riccardo was appointed as the new Bishop of the diocese of Janauba, Brazil. 
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New auxiliary bishops in Brooklyn (USA)
May 19, 2015. Pope Francis has named James Massa and Witold Mroziewski, who is Polish, auxiliary bishops of Brooklyn (USA). The area has about 4.8 million residents, and 1.5 million are Catholic.
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Oscar Romero becomes patron of Caritas Internationalis

May 18, 2015. Msgr. Oscar Romero was adopted as a patron of Caritas Internationalis, according to an announcement that came just after the organization's General Assembly in Rome ended. The former Archbishop of San Salvador will be beatified on May 23, more than 35 years after he was assassinated while performing Mass.

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Appointments
May 15, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Domenico Pompili as the new Bishop of Rieti, Italy. He will take the post previously held by Bishop Delio Lucarelli.
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Appointments
May 11, 2015. Pope Francis has nominated Fr. Jorge Enrique Izaguirre Rafael as the New Bishop of Chuquibamba, Peru. He will take over the post previously held by Msgr. Mario Busquets Jordá. 
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New bishops in Brazil, Spain and the Democratic Republic of Congo
May 6, 2015. The Pope has appointed Tarcísio Scaramussa, to be the Bishop of Santos (Brazil). Until now, the position was held by Jacyr Francisco Braido. Also in Brazil, the Pope has appointed Edson de Castro Homem to be the Bishop of the Diocese of Iguatu and Agenor Girardi to be Bishop of the Diocese of Uniao da Vitoria.

The Vatican also announced that the Pope has appointed Manuel Sánchez Monge bishop of the Diocese of Santander (Spain). Emery Kibal Mansong'loo will become the Bishop of Kule (Democratic Republic of Congo).

Further, there is a new Vicar Apostolic of Bontoc-Lagawe (Philippines) and two new members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Archbishop of Dijon Roland Minnerath and Anthony Colin Fisher, Archbishop of Sydney.
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Raúl Castro to meet with Pope
May 6, 2015. Cuban President Raúl Castro will meet privately with Pope Francis on Sunday morning, May 10. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi  said, "President Raúl Castro has publicly thanked the Pope for his role in fostering the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States of America."

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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