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Celebrate a Birthday on the Air!

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Daily Scripture Reflections

Daily Scripture Reflections

Grow in your faith and in your love of God's Word with original Scripture reflections written by the staff here at Spirit FM.

Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration and Bishops from Texas Dioceses Issue Statement on the Death of Jakelin Caal Maquin

WASHINGTON--On December 8, seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin died in the custody of United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). She and her father had been apprehended the evening of December 6 in a remote stretch of the U.S./Mexico border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, along with Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz, Bishop of El Paso and Most Reverend Gerald Kicanas, Administrator of the Diocese of Las Cruces, issued the following statement:"We are extremely distressed at the news of seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin's death shortly after crossing the U.S./Mexico border with her father and turning themselves into CBP in search of asylum in the United States. Our prayers and heart-felt condolences go out to Jakelin's family. The death of a child is always a moment of great sadness, a jarring disruption of the natural order of life. From this tragedy, we must remember this profound h...

Scapegoating migrants in political speeches is unacceptable, pope says

By Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In today's climate of mistrust, rejection and nationalism, the world urgently needs peacemakers and politicians who protect and lovingly serve others, Pope Francis said in his annual message for the World Day of Peace Jan. 1."Terror exerted over those who are most vulnerable contributes to the exile of entire populations who seek a place of peace," he said, and "political addresses that tend to blame every evil on migrants and to deprive the poor of hope are unacceptable."Instead, political life can and should be "an outstanding form of charity" when it is exercised with a "basic respect for the life, freedom and dignity of persons," the pope said.Holding political office and having political responsibility "constantly challenge those called to the service of their country to make every effort to protect those who live there and to create the conditions for a worthy and just future," he said."...

At Christmas, Peruvians try to make Venezuelan migrants feel at home

IMAGE: CNS photo/Oscar DurandBy Oscar DurandLIMA, Peru (CNS) -- Elide Pena, 55, grins when she talks about her favorite Christmas memory: the time when she fell under Santa's sleigh attempting to grab a toy for one of her grandchildren during a Christmas party in her native Venezuela.For Pena, this year's celebrations will be different. She is in Peru, looking for work far from her family. And instead of spending Christmas at home, she is staying at the Scalabrini welcome center, a home run by the Scalabrinians to help respond to the wave of Venezuelans arriving in Peru.The shelter opened its doors Aug. 6 and has room for 80 people, who can stay for up to seven days. People in particularly vulnerable situations may stay longer. Most of its residents are Venezuelans, though there are also migrants from other countries.With more than half a million Venezuelan migrants and refugees, Peru is the second-largest host country after Colombia. Hyperinflation, power outages, political instabi...

Ask for grace to dream and to be silent like St. Joseph, pope suggests

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican MediaBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- While St. Joseph was a practical, down-to-earth man, he had enough faith to be open to God speaking through dreams, Pope Francis said at morning Mass."Joseph had his feet on the ground. But he was open-minded," the pope said Dec. 18 during his homily at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.On a cushion at the base of the altar were four large Christmas ornaments made for the pope by Slovakian children who have disabilities."They made them with their own hands," the pope said at the beginning of Mass. "I thought the Lord Jesus would like having them here."The day's Gospel reading (Mt 1:18-25) recounted how Joseph, being a righteous man, wanted to quietly break off his relationship with Mary when he found out she was pregnant, but was told in a dream that the child was conceived through the Holy Spirit and he should marry Mary.The Gospels recount Mary saying yes to God, the pope noted, but w...

Christmas Eve marks 200th anniversary of beloved carol 'Silent Night'

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy www.stillenacht.comBy Richard SzczepanowskiWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Exactly 200 years ago this Christmas Eve -- Dec. 24, 1818 -- in a little church in what is now Austria, the world heard for the first time a poem set to music that eventually would be hailed as one of the most popular and beloved Christmas carols of all time."Silent Night" was sung for the first time that Christmas Eve at a midnight Mass at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire. The lyrics were written by a young Catholic priest, Father Joseph Mohr, and the music was composed by Francis Xavier Gruber, an organist and school master.There is a popular legend that "Silent Night" was composed because the organ at Father Mohr's parish church, St. Nicholas, was broken.According to the story, the priest wrote the lyrics to "Silent Night" -- "Stille Nacht" in the original German -- and asked Gruber to compose the tune for guitar so tha...

True Christmas celebrates Jesus, who is tender, humble, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Giuseppe Lami, EPABy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With Christmas just over a week away, visitors came to St. Peter's Square with their Baby Jesus figurines for a traditional blessing by the pope.Many children came with small figurines for their family Nativity scene, others held delicate sculptures, and one group set a giant statue of the Baby Jesus on top of stacks of hay bales. "All the joy in a crib," said the banner in front of the display.Blessing the statues after reciting the Angelus prayer Dec. 16, Pope Francis told the little ones, "Dear children, may you feel wonder when you gather in your homes in prayer before the Nativity, gazing at Baby Jesus."To see God is to feel amazement, "wonder at the great mystery of God made man. And the Holy Spirit will put humility, tenderness and the goodness of Jesus in your hearts," he said."Jesus is good, Jesus is tender, Jesus is humble. This is the real Christmas!" he said.Be...

Pope celebrates his birthday with clients of Vatican pediatric clinic

IMAGE: CNS photo/Giuseppe Lami, EPABy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- If the Holy Family lived in Rome and the baby Jesus had a cold or flu, Mary and Joseph certainly would bring him to the Vatican pediatric clinic for help, Pope Francis said.The Vatican's St. Martha Dispensary was founded in 1922 and, staffed by volunteers, it provides medical care and basic necessities to any child in need; most of the clients are immigrants.Dozens of children, their parents and the clinic volunteers anticipated Pope Francis' 82nd birthday, singing for him and giving him a large cake Dec. 16. His birthday was the next day."I wish you all a merry Christmas, a good holy Christmas, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do. Really," the pope said. "And, I also hope that no one gets indigestion from a cake that big. Thank you!"In brief comments to the women religious who run the clinic and to the doctors and others who volunteer there, Pope Francis said, &q...

After 25 years, Alaska priest still loves his Russian Far East mission

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob RollerBy Mark PattisonWASHINGTON (CNS) -- It has been 25 years and counting, but Father Michael Shields doesn't have any plans to leave the mission of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska, in Magadan, Russia, at least any time soon.Father Shields, 69, loves his ministry in the Russian Far East city of 100,000. Magadan and Anchorage are sister cities. The mission came into being in 1989 at the initiative of then-Anchorage Bishop Francis Hurley as the former Soviet Union was in its "glasnost" and "perestroika" era under Mikhail Gorbachev.There are only about 250 registered members of the mission -- Russia is still a predominantly Orthodox country -- and perhaps 50 to 80 of them come to Mass on a given Sunday. But "there's not a heart or a soul that I don't know deeply" among his congregants, Father Shields told Catholic News Service in a Dec. 14 interview in Washington.Father Shields has been in the United States since late fall for ...

Update: Itinerant papal preacher: Capuchin will lead U.S. bishops' retreat

IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For more than 38 years, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa has preached to the pope and top officials of the Roman Curia. In early January, he will lead the weeklong retreat of the U.S. bishops.As they continue to study and discuss ways to respond to the clerical sexual abuse crisis, the bishops will gather for the retreat Jan. 2-8 at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago.Pope Francis suggested the bishops hold the retreat and offered the services of the 84-year-old Father Cantalamessa, who has served as preacher of the papal household since 1980.In an email Dec. 6, the Capuchin declined to be interviewed about the retreat, saying, "At this delicate moment in the life of the U.S. church, I don't believe it would be opportune for me to give interviews."The theme of the U.S. bishops' retreat will be "the mission of the apostles and of their successors" and will draw from Mark 3:14, which says Jesus "appoi...

Education key to solving migration crisis, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican MediaBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As the celebration of Christmas draws near, the plight of the Holy Family calls to mind the sufferings of the many men, women and children escaping war and persecution, Pope Francis said.Meeting with organizers and artists participating in a benefit Christmas concert at the Vatican, the pope said the holy season is an invitation to come together to help those in need, especially young migrants who "instead of sitting in school desks, like many of their peers, spend their days doing long marches on foot, or on makeshift and dangerous means of transportation."Educating young migrants will give them the tools to find "work in the future and participate in the common good as informed citizens. At the same time, we educate ourselves in order to welcome and show solidarity so that migrants and refugees do not meet indifference or, worse, intolerance on their journey," he said Dec. 14.The procee...

Thought of the Day

Be my rock of refuge, my stronghold to give me safety; for you are my rock and fortress.

Psalms 71:3


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