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A new brood in the Vatican

Without judging the overall year for the Church, it has certainly been an interesting one at the top. The shock announcement by Pope Benedict XVI in February that he would step down in favour of a new man was initially viewed with anxiety, but the emergence of Pope Francis has proved at least exciting and certainly novel, without knowing where it will end up.

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The sanctity of the child

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas it is good to remember that our saviour entered this world as a child—a baby, requiring attention from his parents 24/7 to preserve his life and then, as he grew to provide him with education, love and guidance so he could mature into a well rounded man.

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A century of 
war and peace

As 2013 comes to an end, the world is preparing to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. While war is not exactly something to be celebrated, the half century since Pope John XXIII penned his watershed encyclical, Peace on Earth (Pacem in Terris), is.

In a Church which today dedicates itself to preaching a message of peace, finding an appropriate way to remember war can be difficult.

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Rebuilding the Church

The gala closing of the Year of Faith held at Hong Kong Stadium on November 24 opened with two young people sharing on how they see themselves as part of a missionary Church.

One reflected on his experience at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil earlier this year and the other on her encounter with a missionary priest during the at-home programme run in Hong Kong.

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The Mason-Dixon Line

The government of Hong Kong eventually drew its long-awaited poverty line this year, but revelations in a newly released book by Leo Goodstadt make it look a bit more like a Mason-Dixon Line not to be crossed, rather than a socio-economic guide to instigating poverty relief measures.

The poverty line has been drawn at roughly half the average income for various social units and the government maintains that it will give useful information and statistics to allow it to draw up measures to combat poverty.

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Year of Learning

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King marks the closing of the Year of Faith, which celebrated 50 years since the opening of Vatican II and 20 years since the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The occasion will be marked at the Hong Kong Stadium and the bishop will launch a Year of Learning to run through 2014.

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The lay mission 

The Hong Kong Catholic Lay Missionary Association is celebrating its 25th anniversary and commissioned a lay missionary to go to Cambodia last Sunday. Over the past 25 years, the association has sent 12 people to engage in mission in African and Asian countries like Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Kenya, Cambodia, Thailand and India.

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The month of 
Holy Souls

The Chinese hold a deep reverence for their ancestors. This is evident in the visiting of the tombs of their ancestors to pay respect to them at the Ching Ming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day) during spring and the Chung Yeung Festival (Double Ninth Festival) during autumn.

This has been a cherished practice over the past 2,000 years or more. But what are the implications of such great attention being paid to these two festivals that reverence ancestors?

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A Church in 
the world

On the surface, there may be few surprises in the 270-word message Pope Francis broadcast to the 6,000 delegates from across Asia on October 18, the closing day of a new evangelisation conference in Manila, The Philippines—other than that he spoke publicly in English and of Asia for the first time in his pontificate.

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Mission Sunday

In his exhaustive interview with the editor of La Civittá Cattolica, Pope Francis speaks of the fragrance of the good news of Jesus Christ, appealing to the sense of smell to warn that a Church that gets too tied up in its own issues and forgets those of its people can really be on the nose.