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placeholder  January 5, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA

World Day of the Sick Feb. 7

The sixth annual World Day of the Sick will honor the ill and their caregivers at a special Mass in the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland at 11 a.m. Feb. 7.

Persons living with any serious or acute illness and their families and caregivers are invited to participate.

This World Day of the Sick will include Mass presided by Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, the Sacrament of the Sick, a blessing of caregivers and health care providers, the distribution of holy water from the Marian shrine at Lourdes, France and a reception.

World Day of the Sick was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and is held annually worldwide on the date nearest the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, Feb. 11. The event is a ministry of the Diocese of Oakland and is supported by the Order of Malta.

The Cathedral of Christ the Light is at 2121 Harrison St., Oakland. No RSVP is necessary. For more information: www.oakdiocese.org/WDS.

Members of the Order of Malta will be available to assist with special mobility requirements.

The Order of Malta serves the sick, and assists with many charities, including a medical clinic in the cathedral center.

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Growing as artists
Pupils at St. Patrick School in Rodeo participate in art classes through the years. At fifth grade, the pupils embark on a study of the elements and principles of art. Examples of the work of fifth- through eighth-graders are on display in the art hall, on the first floor of the Cathedral Event Center at 2121 Harrison St., Oakland. The eighth-graders' work, for example, includes depictions of masks — one showing their old insecurities, the new displaying their new-found optimism — as well as poetry on the theme of Gandhi's "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
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Filipinos say pope's visit brings hope
Filipino Catholics living in the United States say the pope's upcoming visit to the Philippines will be a big boost for their homeland that has experienced so much suffering. "After all the travesties" the country has faced, the visit will provide a "flicker of light and a glimmer of hope," said Deacon Bernie Nojadera, head of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, whose parents were born in the Philippines. He also said the Jan. 15-19 visit, for many, will be an answer to prayers.
Frida Larios/cns graphic

Christmas at
St. Peter's

The Christmas tree and Nativity scene decorate St. Peter's Square at the Vatican after a lighting ceremony Dec. 19. New LED lighting was also unveiled on the facade and dome of the basilica during the ceremony.
Paul Haring/cns

Pope Francis' birthday
Pope Francis greets one of eight poor people at his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 17, the pope's 78th birthday. A group of the poor were invited to the audience in celebration of the pope's birthday.
Paul Haring/cns

Challenge to curia

Pope Francis' Christmas greeting to the Vatican bureaucracy this year was an extended warning against a host of spiritual ills to which he said Vatican officials are prone, including "spiritual Alzheimer's," "existential schizophrenia," publicity-seeking, the "terrorism of gossip" and even a poor sense of humor. The pope made his remarks Dec. 22, in a biting half-hour speech to heads of the Roman Curia, the church's central administration, and to cardinals in resident in Rome.

Popes have often used their annual Christmas speech to review events of the previous year and lay out priorities for the next. Pope Francis' nine-member Council of Cardinals is currently working on an overhaul of the Curia, but the pope's speech did not address specific reforms. Instead, he spoke in general terms of virtues and values, saying he hoped his words might serve officials as a "support and stimulus to a true examination of conscience" in preparation for the sacrament of reconciliation.

The pope, who has made criticism of the church's leaders a common theme of his preaching, called the Curia a "dynamic body" naturally vulnerable to "maladies, to dysfunction, to infirmities."

After the speech in the Vatican's Clementine Hall, the pope spent about half an hour exchanging Christmas greetings with individual cardinals and curial members.

Church not a business

A church concerned with power and self-interest ends up looking like a business rather than what it is called to be: a generous mother open to the surprise and life-giving miracle of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis said. "The church is mother and it becomes a mother only when she is open to the newness of God, to the power of the Spirit," he said Dec. 19 at his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Differences on life

Christianity has something to say about human dignity, and "it would be a shame" if differing positions on the sanctity of all human life or on marriage were to increase the divisions among Christian churches and communities, Pope Francis said. "Questions related to the dignity of the human person at the beginning and end of life, as well as those related to the family, marriage and sexuality, cannot be concealed or overlooked just because we do not want to jeopardize the ecumenical consensus already reached," he said Dec. 18 during a meeting with German Catholics and Lutherans.

New cardinals

Pope Francis will create new cardinals Feb. 14, following a two-day meeting of the world's cardinals that will discuss reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, among other issues. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, made the announcement Dec. 11. The names of the new cardinals are likely to be announced in mid-January, he said. If Pope Francis respects the limit of 120 cardinals under the age of 80 and, therefore, eligible to vote for a pope, he will have 10 such openings in February. As of Dec. 11, the College of Cardinals had 208 members, 112 of whom were under 80.

Synod questionnaire

To help set the agenda for the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the family, the Vatican is sending the world's Catholic bishops' conferences a list of questions on a range of topics, including matters of marriage and sexuality that proved especially controversial at the 2014 family synod. Together with the final report of the 2014 assembly, the 46 questions published by the Vatican Dec. 9 comprise a preparatory document, known as a "lineamenta," for the Oct. 4-25 synod, which will have the theme: "The vocation and mission of the family in the church and the modern world."

Catholic News Service

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