Jan 10-11: Meetings, Chancery, Oakland
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Jan 12: College of Consultors, Chancery, Oakland
Catholic school principals, Chancery, Oakland
Presbyteral Council, Chancery, Oakland
Jan 13: Meetings, Chancery, Oakland
Jan 17-27: On duty with the Navy
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Bishop says Mass for Carmelites
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, delivers his homily, facing the open Communion window in the grille at the Carmelite Monastery in Kensington on the Feast of St. John of the Cross, Dec. 14. "John had to experience the dark night of the soul before he could experience the light and consolation and love of God," the bishop said. "Without trial there is no advance in the spiritual life," he said. "Sailors don't pray when the sea is calm. But when there's a storm and dangerous seas, they pray a lot."
Michele Jurich/The Catholic Voice
Christmas Eve Mass
Pope Francis burns incense as he celebrates Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 24.
3.9M Jubilee pilgrims
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More than 3.9 million pilgrims visited and attended papal events, liturgies or prayer services during the Holy Year of Mercy in 2016, the Vatican said. The Prefecture of the Papal Household, the Vatican office that coordinates the audiences and distributes the free tickets to papal audiences and liturgies, said a total of 3,952,140 people attended a papal event at the Vatican.
Complaining is prayer
To complain to God in moments of doubt and fear like Abraham did is not something bad but rather is a form of prayer that requires the courage to hope beyond all hope, Pope Francis said. While in life there may be times of frustration and darkness, "hope is still there and it moves us forward," the pope said Dec. 28 during his weekly general audience.
Cardinal Santos Abril Castello, the Vatican's former vice chamberlain, has retired as archpriest of the Rome Basilica of St. Mary Major, the Vatican announced. Pope Francis named Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to the post, according to a Vatican news release Dec. 28.
Order of Malta
Following the forced resignation of the grand chancellor of the Order of Malta, Pope Francis has authorized the creation of a special working group to help foster dialogue and resolve any concerns. Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, who was made grand chancellor in 2014, was removed "due to severe problems which occurred during Boeselager's tenure as grand hospitaller of the Order of Malta and his subsequent concealment of these problems from the Grand Magistry," the Vatican said.
Pope Francis furthered the sainthood causes of seven men and women as well as recognized more than 100 martyrs who were killed during the Spanish civil war. At a meeting Dec. 21 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, the pope signed the decrees, which included recognizing a miracle needed for the canonization of Blessed Faustino Miguez.
Advice to priests
Priests are called to be mediators between God and God's people, offering their time and their very lives in service; they are not God's "intermediaries" or functionaries, who go to work to get paid or, worse, enter the priesthood in search of status, Pope Francis said. Priests who only want to dress the part end up looking ridiculous, he said Dec. 9 during his homily at Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Women employees' group
Women — lay and religious — make up almost 20 percent of the Vatican workforce, and a group of them have formed an association designed as a forum for collaboration, sharing and outreach. "D.VA" — for "Donne in Vaticano" — "Women in the Vatican" — was approved as an association by the Vatican City governor's office in September, according to a press release issued Dec. 7. So far, about 50 women have joined the association that a dozen Vatican employees started organizing several years ago. They say 750 women — 19 percent of the Vatican work force — are eligible to join.
— Catholic News Service