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placeholder December 16, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA

Dec. 16: Christmas gathering for diocesan seminarians, Rectory

Dec. 17: College of Consultors, Chancery

       Diocesan budget meeting, Chancery

Dec. 18: 65th Ordination Anniversary Mass, dinner for Father Clement Davenport,
San Francisco

Dec. 19: Bishop's Administrative Council, Chancery

Dec. 19: Bishop's Christmas luncheon for Chancery staff , Event Center

Dec. 24: 3 p.m., Mass, Santa Rita Jail

      11 p.m., Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Light

Dec. 25: 10 a.m., Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Light

Jan. 5: 10 a.m., Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Light

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Jan. 1 holy day

Reminder: The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, Jan.1, is a holy day of obligation.

Diocesan Choir Festival

Choirs from throughout the diocese are invited to participate in a Diocesan Choir Festival at the Cathedral of Christ the Light at 8 p.m. Feb. 8. Each parish is invited to register one choir for participation this year, and the choir can range from full SATB choir, to unison choirs, to small vocal ensembles, children's choirs, youth choirs, adult choirs, senior choirs etc. Each choir is invited to sing a piece/song they know really well and would normally sing during Ordinary Time. For more information, see an upcoming issue of The Catholic Voice or watch www.ctlcathedral.org.

December concerts
Listen to the voices of the San Francisco Boys Chorus singing music by Mozart, Bach and Palestrina alongside special holiday favorites and carols as they perform their Winter Concert at 8 p.m. Dec. 21. For tickets, visit www.sfbc.org. Cathedral tours will be available one hour prior to concert for $5 each.

William Vaughn, the cathedral's assistant organist, will play a number of selections including Marcel Duprè's virtuosic masterpiece "Variations on a Noel" from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 22. Free-will offering. More information: www.ctlcathedral.org.

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Black Catholics' heritage

WASHINGTON — Black Catholics have made their mark on the Catholic Church in its more than 2,000-year history and the U.S. church's observance of Black Catholic History Month each November calls to mind those contributions, an official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said as the special observance for 2013 was coming to a close. The month celebrates the lives and contributions of black saints through the centuries and the ministry of leading African-American laypeople and religious, some of whom are candidates for sainthood. It is important for black Catholics to remember that "many well-known people came before us," said Donna Toliver Grimes, assistant director of African American affairs for the USCCB's Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church. "We have made our mark and have been part of the church and have also enhanced it," she said Nov. 22. In 1990 the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States designated November as Black Catholic History Month to celebrate the history and heritage of black Catholics. The month was chosen, distinct from the U.S. civil observance Black History Month in February.

Mandate counters faith

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Defending the religious rights of the Catholic Church against the government's contraceptive mandate is tied to the church's ministry to those in need, Baltimore's archbishop told an audience Nov. 29. The church's worship life and its faith-driven ministries to the poor and others cannot be separated from one another, Archbishop William E. Lori said in a presentation to members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, the parish of his youth.

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The cover of Time magazine's Person of the Year issue, featuring Pope Francis
Time Inc./cns
Pope Francis is Time's
Person of the Year

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis is not seeking fame or accolades, but being named Time magazine's Person of the Year will make him happy if it helps attract people to the hope of the Gospel, said the Vatican spokesman.

"It's a positive sign that one of the most prestigious recognitions in the international press" goes to a person who "proclaims to the world spiritual, religious and moral values and speaks effectively in favor of peace and greater justice," said the spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.

The choice of Pope Francis "is not surprising, given the wide appeal and huge attention" to his pontificate so far, Father Lombardi said in a written statement Dec. 11, shortly after Time announced it had named the pope for the annual feature.

"Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly — young and old, faithful and cynical — as has Pope Francis," Time said on its website.

Vatican Christmas tree
A worker erects scaffolding for the Nativity scene as the Vatican Christmas tree is positioned in St. Peter's Square Dec. 5. The 82-foot-tall tree is a gift from people in the town of Waldmunchen in Germany's Bavarian region near the Czech border. It arrived a day earlier than expected in order to beat the threat of bad weather in Germany.
Paul Haring/cns

2013 Christmas stamp
This Christmas stamp, one of the official holiday stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service, features Mary and the Christ child. The image is a detail from Jan Gossaert's 1531 oil-on-wood painting "Virgin and Child" from the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
U.S. Postal Service/cns

'The Joy of the Gospel'

Controversy on economy

In enunciating the principles of Catholic social teaching, popes have long stressed the church's special concern for the poor and the need for state intervention to promote economic justice. Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel"), published Nov. 26, has excited ardent praise and criticism especially for its words condemning an "economy of exclusion and inequality" based on the "idolatry of money." The pope wrote the new document in response to the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization, but declined to work from a draft provided by synod officials. Pope Francis' voice is unmistakable in the 50,000-word document's relatively relaxed style.

Opposition to abortion

Defending human dignity and protecting society's most vulnerable necessarily means protecting the unborn and defending their right to life, Pope Francis said in his apostolic exhortation. Pope Francis said the church's opposition to abortion is not a "conservative" political position, but is a key part of its claim that God created and loves each person and that believers have an absolute obligation to defend those whose basic right to life is under attack.

Women have a role

The Catholic Church is not going to change its position on the inadmissibility of women priests, Pope Francis wrote, but it does have to stop linking all decision making to ordination and allow women to have a voice in deliberations. He wrote that the involvement of all Catholics is needed — both as missionaries and in revising structures and pastoral programs to ensure they are focused on mission.

Map for the future

Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation is a call to faith-filled optimism, recognizing challenges but knowing that God's love and lordship will prevail, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Pope Francis wrote it himself in Spanish, mostly during his August vacation.

Pope marks terror-famine

The day before he was to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis greeted Ukrainians marking the 80th anniversary of the "Holodomor" or "Terror-Famine of Ukraine" that killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33. At the end of his Angelus address Nov. 24, the pope greeted the Ukrainian pilgrims remembering "the great famine provoked by the Soviet regime that caused millions of victims."

— Catholic News Servicee

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