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Francis the pope

 The founder of the Franciscans, St. Francis of Assisi, came into this world in 1189. St. Francis Xavier, from the Society of Jesus and patron of Catholic Mission, was born in Spain in 1506.

Our new pope—Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina—chose the name Francis after being elected as the 265th successor to St. Peter.








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A new pope in 
the Year of Faith

Since Pope Benedict XVI stepped down, the children of God have been preparing to welcome a new pope. What light does this historic moment in the life of the Church shed for us?

The College of Cardinals met in the general congregations from March 4 up to the setting of March 12 as the date for the convening of the conclave to elect a new pope.








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I will not renounce the cross

POPE BENEDICT XVI held his final general audience in St Peter’s Square a day before his resignation took effect on February 28. In front of about 200,000 people, including some Chinese, he recalled that the acceptance of God’s call to serve as the successor of St. Peter had taught him not to renounce the cross.








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Living with faith

The Rite of the First Scrutiny for those receiving the sacraments of initiation at Easter is held on this, the third Sunday of Lent. Godparents are also asked to be present at this rite as people prepare to enter new life in God.








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It is all Greek to the pope

THE ROAD TO hell may be paved with good intentions, but Pope Benedict XVI has erected Caution—Potholes signs on all roads leading towards the truth.


He said on January 19, “From the union between a materialistic view of man and the great development of technology, an anthropology that is essentially atheistic has emerged. It presupposes that man is reduced to autonomous functions—the mind to the brain, human history to a destiny of self-realisation.”








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Church seeking to 
be young again

On February 6, the Pontifical Council for Culture was rocked into another world, as its closed-door three-day study on Emerging Youth Cultures got underway with a concert by rock band, The Sun.








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The call of the moon

The moon is a powerful influence on our world. It commands the mighty oceans to rise and calls them to withdraw, as well as being a source of light to those who venture out at night and providing guidance to ships that bob on the high seas.

It is also a subject of wonder for poets, a mellow gift to young lovers and a bedeviled curiosity for scientists.








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Voice of the people is the voice of the Church

 

The fight for the hearts and minds of the people may have become a bit of a cliché in today’s political world, but it is not a bad description of the year-long battle that the Church in Asia’s only majority Catholic country has been involved in as it unsuccessfully pitted itself against the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of the president of The Philippines, Noynoy Aquino.








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Freedom of the press

The feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron of writers and journalists, is on January 24. Known as The Gentleman Saint, This gentle and humble Doctor of the Church is well known for his writings on spiritual formation and pamphlets in defence of Catholic doctrine. As a Chinese saying goes, “A person of noble virtue speaks with actions and acts for a just cause.” St. Francis is also an inspiration and reminder to be righteous in word and deed, and to pursue the truth.








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The Year of Faith and Christian Unity

One of the principal aims of the Year of Faith is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. A milestone of the Catholic Church in modern times, it brought tremendous dynamism to the ecumenical movement in the Church while the conciliar document, Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio), showed the pathway to promoting this work.