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S+L BLOG: Noel Ocol



A giant nativity scene and Christmas tree was inaugurated at St Peter’s Square in a public ceremony that drew thousands. The nativity scene featured 2-meter tall statues, in 18th-century Neapolitan costumes inspired by the theme of the Works of Mercy and was donated by an Abbey from southern Italy.The annual Christmas tree itself is a giant 28-meter red fir, provided by the Archdiocese of Elk in Poland and was transported over 2000 kilometers across Europe and Italy, before arriving at the Vatican. The tree was decorated with stars and ornaments designed and made by young cancer patients from several Italian hospitals.  Both the tree and the nativity scene will remain in St Peter’s Square until the evening of January 7th, as the Church ends the Christmas season with the feast of The Lord’s Baptism. ...read more
WYD organizers announced this morning that the WYD Cross has been fitted with a GPS so that its pilgrimage around the world can be followed on their website. ...read more
"I was crying, but tried to hide it. They were crying, too. Listening to them was emotional and I couldn't let them leave without saying something" to them and so I also apologized for all they had suffered. ...read more
Addressing the audience, Pope Francis said that "Only through sincere dialogue and respect for legitimate diversity, can a people reconcile divisions, overcome unilateral perspectives and recognize the validity of differing viewpoints because true dialogue looks to the future. It builds unity in the service of the common good and is concerned for the needs of all citizens, especially the poor, the underprivileged and those who have no voice." ...read more
We begin with some highlights of day three of the Pope’s visit to Myanmar with three major events. In the morning, Pope Francis celebrated the first ever public papal mass on Burmese soil where he said, "I know that many in Myanmar bear the wounds of violence, yet the way of revenge is not the way of Jesus." He then met with the Sangha Supreme Council of Buddhist monks, where he told them that Christians and Buddhists are called by faith, to overcome evil with goodness and violence with peace. ...read more
The Pope’s message to Myanmar’s leaders was very clear: Unity, not uniformity, is the secret to peace. Let’s not be afraid of differences and respect the rights of all groups. ...read more