Dec. 16: Mass, lunch, Chancery employees Christmas celebration
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Dec. 18: Priests' Christmas celebration, Bishop's residence
Dec. 24: 10 p.m., Christmas Midnight Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland
Dec. 25: 10 a.m., Christmas Day Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland
Dec. 26: 9 a.m., Christmas Mass for prisoners, Santa Rita Jail, Dublin
Dec. 28-Jan. 3: Annual retreat
Jan. 4-10: Navy duty
Bishop Michael J. Barber, SJ, made these appointments:
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Rev. Rafal Duda, from St. Margaret Mary, Oakland, to parochial vicar for the Catholic Community of Pleasanton, effective Nov. 1.
Rev. Glenn Naguit, from St. Callistus, El Sobrante, to parochial administrator of St. Margaret Mary Parish, Oakland, effective Nov. 1.
Rev. Stanislaus Zak has resigned as pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish, Oakland, and has retired. He will be living at Bishop Begin Villa, Oakland.
Rev. Alexander Snyder, retired, has moved to Bishop Begin Villa, Oakland.
Christmas Day, Dec. 25 and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, Jan. 1, are Holy Days of Obligation.
The U.S. bishops on Nov. 17 endorsed the sainthood causes of a Spanish missionary regarded as a mystic who served in the American Southwest, a Native American and his companions who were martyred in colonial Florida, and a Pennsylvania native who in 1974 became the first quadriplegic priest to be ordained for the Catholic Church. The bishops' action came in a voice vote at the end of a canonically required consultation that took place the second day of their bishops' annual fall general assembly in Baltimore. Their endorsement was needed for the causes to move forward. The three sainthood candidates are Father Aloysius Ellacuria, a Claretian Missionary priest;
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Antonia Cuipa and more than 80 companions; and Augustinian Father William Atkinson.
The bishops also approved a statement that pornography "is gravely wrong …"Producing or using pornography. It is a mortal sin if it is committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent." The bishops also approved financial aid to decorate the central dome of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington with mosaic art. They also overwhelmingly approved priorities and strategic plans for 2017-2020 in a 233-4 vote. The document focuses on five major areas: evangelization; family and marriage; human life and dignity; religious freedom; and vocations.
— Catholic News Service
This year's Vatican Christmas stamps feature a 15th-century manuscript illumination of the Holy Family. Flanked by a lowing ox and a donkey, Mary and Joseph pray over baby Jesus as angels sing above and poor shepherds approach. The image, painted by an unknown artist, is from the Codices Urbinates Latini 239 (1477-1478) from the Vatican Library. The special edition stamps went on sale Nov. 19 in two denominations of 80 euro cents and 95 euro cents in sheets of 10. The Vatican post office and Philatelic and Numismatic Office also offer a collector's booklet containing four 95 euro-cent stamps and commemorative cover for 3.80 euro. All order requests should be made by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Vatican stamp office will then send a proper order form and methods of payment.
Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office/cns
'Call me Francesco'
Rodrigo de la Serna stars in a scene from the movie "Call Me Francesco," the first movie based on the life of Pope Francis, shown in the Vatican audience hall Dec. 1. "To this exceptional premiere, the Holy Father wished to invite the poor, the homeless, refugees and the people most in need, together with the volunteers, religious and lay people, who work daily in charity," a statement from the papal almoner's office said. Parishes and charitable associations in Rome were given 7,000 tickets for the poor to attend the premiere at the Vatican. The night also included a concert featuring the Pontifical Swiss Guard's musical band. The papal almoner's office said that many of the Swiss Guards offered to play during their free time as a gift to the homeless.
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Vatican Christmas tree
The Christmas tree was positioned in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 19. The tree is an 82-foot spruce fir from Germany's Bavarian region. It arrived earlier than usual to be ready for the Dec. 8 opening of the Holy Year of Mercy.