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A Christmas message from Cardinal Tong

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Christmas is approaching. As we contemplate the beautiful scene of the Holy Family, immersed in peace and serenity, with the Infant Jesus in a manger, we cannot but recall the many events that, in sharp contrast, have taken place in Hong Kong, our home, over the past several years.

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Mideast patriarchs express hope in the midst of uncertainty

BEIRUT (CNS): In their Christmas messages, the Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East—with hope, despite uncertainty in the region—called for peace, security, prayer and solidarity. 
 
From Baghdad, Iraq, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, expressed his hope for a new phase for the country and that the recent triumph over the Islamic State, along with the termination of terrorist control of Mosul and other cities, will marked a step toward security and stability. 
 

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Christmas Mass celebrated in a liberated Mosul

MOSUL (CNS): In a display of unity, both Christians and Muslims attended the first Christmas Mass to be celebrated in Mosul in three-and-a-half years at St. Paul Cathedral, following the city’s liberation from Islamic State militants.
 
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, from Baghdad, urged the faithful to pray for “peace and stability to reign in Mosul, Iraq and the world.”
 

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A protected Christmas in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AsiaNews): Christmas celebrations went off without a hitch in Pakistan as people in the cities of Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta marked the birth of Jesus under military protection.
 
Following the December 17 attack on a Methodist church in Quetta, authorities beefed up security around all Christian places of worship to prevent other terrorist attacks and allow Christian celebrations to go ahead without any problems.
 

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Local paper touts Christmas in China

HONG KONG (SE): “In China, Christianity is still a minority religion, but it has come a long way since first being introduced by missionaries in the seventh century. Over the past 200 years, it has gained significant influence,” a short article published by the Global Times in China in the after shadow of the Christmas celebrations notes.
 

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What would Jesus make of our Christmas?

If Jesus were to visit us again, how puzzled he would be with our Christmas. He would be wondering, who is this Santa who seems to be everywhere, a feel-good guy certainly, but wanting us to spend up big.
 
Yet for all the commercialism of this season, for many people around the world, whatever their belief or religion, Christmas is rather a hopeful celebration of good will among peoples and a time for families and friends to gather, often expressing their love and esteem in gift-giving.








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Fourth Sunday of Advent; Christmas; Octave of Christmas

DECEMBER 24 – FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 
Creed, preface for Advent II, Mass of the Sunday (violet).  
Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38.
 
DECEMBER 25 – CHRISTMAS. 
Mass of  Christmas, Gloria, Creed, preface for Christmas (white). 
Readings (Christmas Eve): Isaiah 9:1-6; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14. 
Readings (Morning): Isaiah 62:11-12; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:15-20; 








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Fourth Sunday of Advent; Christmas; Octave of Christmas

DECEMBER 24 – FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. 
Creed, preface for Advent II, Mass of the Sunday (violet).  
Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38.
 
DECEMBER 25 – CHRISTMAS. 
Mass of  Christmas, Gloria, Creed, preface for Christmas (white). 
Readings (Christmas Eve): Isaiah 9:1-6; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14. 
Readings (Morning): Isaiah 62:11-12; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:15-20; 








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Nazareth cancels Christmas

Nazareth (SE): The mayor of Nazareth, Ali Salam, announced on December 14 that all Christmas celebrations in the hometown of Jesus Christ have been cancelled in response to the announcement by the president of the United States of America (US), Donald Trump, that he intends to move his embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognising it as the capital city of the land.
 

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The Christmas lights of the hill

Hiking uphill through the hot tropical afternoon to the Aeta village of Baliwit, San Marcelino, carrying our loaded backpacks was a challenge in itself. But the happy thought of bringing some Christmas cheer into the lives of the extremely poor indigenous people kept us going.

Our mission was to bring Christmas lights into their lives. For us, we discovered it to be inspiring and encouraging.