Every Sunday and on main liturgical feasts, the Pope recites the Angelus prayer with pilgrims gathered at St. Peter’s Square and then he delivers a brief reflection. And today, being All Saints Day, is no exception. After the Angelus, Pope Francis prayed for victims of the terrorist attack in New York, and victims of all terror attacks around the world, condemning harshly, the murder of innocent people in the name of God. Here now is the summary.
In the US, the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl just released an important pastoral letter called: “The Challenge of Racism Today”, in which he calls for unity among all people to confront the “persistent evil of racism”.
"Tragically," the Cardinal says," the divisive force of this sin continues to be felt across our land and in our society. It is our faith that calls us to see each other as members of God’s family. It is our faith that calls us to confront and overcome racism. This challenge is rooted in our Christian identity as sisters and brothers, redeemed by the blood of Christ.”
Introducing the letter on his blog, Cardinal Wuerl encourages everyone to read, reflect and share the letter with others. “It is my further hope that all of us in this Church might join together in a renewed effort to confront what continues to be a grave evil and sin in our society and to drive it and other intolerance out of our hearts, our lives and our community. We are all aware of incidents both national and closer to home that call attention to the continuing racial tensions in our society,” Cardinal Wuerl notes in the letter. “In spite of numerous positive advances and the goodwill of many, many people, too many of our brothers and sisters continue to experience racism.”
A pastoral letter is typically released by a bishop to mark a specific event in the Church or to highlight a significant issue in the Church or culture. The full pastoral letter is available at the Archdiocese of Washington’s website listed here.
With the season of Advent just four weeks away, the Vatican is buzzing with all the preparations for the display of the annual Nativity scene to be displayed at St. Peter’s square for this upcoming season. This year, the Vatican's Christmas tree and the Nativity scene will feature traditional designs and decorations centered on the theme of mercy. A towering 92-foot spruce tree will be the centerpiece of the Vatican's Christmas holidays, according to a recent note released by the governing office of Vatican City.The tree, which measures about 33 feet in diameter, will be donated by the Archdiocese of Elk, Poland, and transported to the Vatican on a flat-bed truck traveling over 1,240 miles across central Europe.
This year's Nativity scene will be donated by the Benedictine Abbey of Montevergine and will cover a surface of over 860 square feet. It will be "inspired by the works of mercy and will feature 20 terracotta figures." Like last year, the Christmas tree will be decorated with ornaments made by children receiving treatment at several Italian hospitals and children from the central Italian Archdiocese that was devastated by earthquakes in 2016. The official tree-lighting ceremony will be held on December 7th and will remain in St. Peter's Square until the feast of the Lord's Baptism on Jan. 7th.
Finally, organizers of the upcoming World Youth Day in Panama 2019, have just released their new monthly video about updates and preparations for this huge event. I have some of that video for you now.
That is all for today. Join us again tomorrow when I bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.
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