We begin in Rome where earlier today, 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.
Also today, the Pope met with the new president of the Lutheran World Federation, Nigerian Archbishop Musa Panti-Filibus, where he focused his message on “Common prayer as the key to Christian unity”. Recalling his own visit to the Swedish cities of Lund and Malmo last year for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Pope said: “praying together purifies, strengthens and lights our way forward”. Prayer, he insisted, “is the fuel for our ecumenical journey”. In his words to the Pope, Archbishop Musa gave thanks for the past 50 years of progress ‘from conflict to communion’, acknowledging in a special way the importance of praying together to commemorate the Reformation anniversary.
On the occasion of its 175th anniversary, the University of Notre Dame has announced the launch of: "Grotto Network". It is a digital media platform for young adults who identify as Catholics searching for meaning and spiritual sustenance.
Coming to Salt + Light TV next week is a new documentary called: “Saving The Little Kids of Manila”. It’s a heart-provoking look at the lives of the forgotten street kids in the Philippines and how the Church in Manila is working to give them hope. Have a look.
And finally, the Salt and Light staff had the great pleasure of welcoming teachers from the Dante Alighieri School last Friday for a visit to our studios for a day of professional development, workshops and a time for personal reflection. The day started with morning prayer and a short history of Salt + Light by Fr. Thomas Rosica followed by a tour of our facilities and a series of workshops and sessions given by some of the staff on topics such as social media, television production, and a sneak-peek on what’s coming to Salt and Light. They even had an opportunity to fully participate in the Salt + Light experience by appearing on TV. We want to thank Dante Alighieri School for spending the day with us. It was certainly a day of great fun for all of us.
That is all that we have time for this week.Join us again on Monday, when I bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.