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Winning Wednesday

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Celebrate a Birthday on the Air!

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.

Algerian martyrs bear witness to dialogue, peace, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/EPABy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The lives of 19 religious men and women martyred during the Algerian civil war are a testament to God's plan of love and peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims, Pope Francis said.In a message read Dec. 8 at the beatification Mass for the six women religious and 13 clerics, Pope Francis said it was a time for Catholics in Algeria and around the world to celebrate the martyrs' commitment to peace, but it was also a time to remember the sacrifices made by all Algerians during the bloody war.Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, celebrated the Mass in Oran, Algeria, for the martyrs who were killed between 1994 and 1996.Both Christians and Muslims in Algeria "have been victims of the same violence for having lived, with faithfulness and respect for each other, their duties as believers and citizens in this blessed land. It is for them, too, that we pray and express our gr...

Surprise! Pope makes several impromptu visits

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican MediaBy Cindy WoodenROME (CNS) -- Pope Francis made surprise visits Dec. 7 and 8 to people receiving medical care far from their homes, to a dozen intellectually challenged young people and to the staff of a major Rome newspaper.The late-afternoon visits Dec. 7 to the CasAmica residence for families with a member needing long-term medical care far from home and to Il Ponte e l'Albero, a therapeutic rehabilitation home, were part of the pope's continuing "Mercy Friday" activities.Pope Francis began the Friday visits to hospitals, clinics, schools and residential communities during the 2015-16 Year of Mercy to demonstrate that mercy involves concrete acts of kindness and solidarity.Both the CasAmica and Il Ponte e l'Albero are on the extreme southern edge of Rome.The Vatican said most of the guests at the CasAmica are Italian families, mostly from the south, who cannot afford to stay in a hotel or rent an apartment while their family members are rec...

Marking feast day, pope asks Mary's care of families seeking refuge

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenROME (CNS) -- In the heart of Rome, near streets of fancy shops already blinged out for Christmas shopping, Pope Francis prayed for Romans struggling to survive and for families in the city and around the world who face the same lack of welcome that Mary and Joseph experienced.The pope concluded his public celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8, by making the traditional papal visit to a statue of Mary erected in Rome's historic center to honor Catholic teaching that Mary was conceived without sin.The statue is located near the Spanish Steps and Rome's most expensive clothing and jewelry stores; it is also next to the building housing the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.Instead of making a speech near the statue, the pope composes and reads a prayer, and he leaves a basket of roses at the statue's base.In the prayer addressed to Mary, he said, "In this Advent time, thinking of the days whe...

Feast of Immaculate Conception does not get weekend dispensation

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler OrsburnBy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON -- Just last year, Catholics were required to attend separate Masses two days in a row for the Sunday obligation and Monday's Christmas Mass. Now, they have a similar opportunity this year with the feast of the Immaculate Conception falling on a Saturday -- Dec. 8.The vigil Mass on Saturday evening is not a "two-for-one" Mass for both days.Last year, the U.S. bishops gave Catholics a heads-up about the back-to-back Sunday and Christmas liturgies 10 months in advance in a newsletter issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship. It also referenced what would occur this year and will recur when Dec. 8 falls on a Monday.The newsletter specifically noted that the Saturday vigil does not count for both the holy day and Sunday in the very rare circumstances when two of the church's six holy days of obligation -- the feast of the Immaculate Conception or Christmas -- fall the day before ...

In times of trouble, hold fast to God, Capuchin tells pope

IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When storm clouds gather and the Catholic Church is tossed by the scandalous behavior of some of its members, Catholics must repeat what St. Francis of Assisi repeated: "God is and that suffices," the preacher of the papal household told Pope Francis and his aides."Let us also learn to repeat these simple words to ourselves when, in the church or in our lives, we find ourselves in circumstances similar to those of (St.) Francis, and many clouds will disperse," said Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa Dec. 7.The preacher of the papal household leads the pope and Roman Curia officials in a spiritual reflection on most Fridays of Advent and Lent. For his 2018 Advent reflections, Father Cantalamessa said he would "set aside every other theme and any reference to current problems" and focus on each individual's need for a personal relationship with God."We know from experience that an authenti...

San Francisco Archdiocese celebrates newly written Mass of the Americas

IMAGE: (CNS photo/Gregory A. ShemitzBy SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) -- San Franciscans will celebrate the recently commissioned "Mass of the Americas" Dec. 8 for the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe at the archdiocese's Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption.The liturgy, scheduled for 2 p.m., is the first new Mass commissioned for the cathedral since it was dedicated in 1971."The Mass embodies the way Mary, our mother, unites all of us as God's children," San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said in a statement announcing celebration the Mass, which he said is a "simultaneous tribute to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe," whose feast days are Dec. 8 and Dec. 12, respectively.San Francisco composer Frank La Rocca wrote the Mass, which includes music in Spanish, Latin, English and Nahuatl, the Aztec language Mary used when she spoke with St. Juan Diego in Mexico in the 16th century.The Mass is...

Christmas spirit in the air as Vatican unveils Nativity scene, tree

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The annual unveiling of the Vatican's Christmas tree and Nativity scene brought some much-needed warmth to people's hearts as winter approached.Hundreds of people in St. Peter's Square Dec. 7 applauded as white curtains unfurled, revealing a 52-foot wide artistic representation of Jesus' birth made entirely of sand and dubbed the "Sand Nativity."The bas-relief sculpture, which weighed over 700 tons, was made with sand from Jesolo, an Italian seaside resort town roughly 40 miles north of Venice.Shortly after, as the sun set behind St. Peter's Basilica, the sounds of "Silent Night" filled the square before the lights of the Vatican's towering Christmas tree were lit.The 42-foot-tall red spruce tree, donated by the Diocese of Concordia-Pordenone in the northern Italian region of Veneto, was unveiled at the Vatican's annual tree lighting ceremony.Among those present at the annual Christmas tree...

Pope to make historic visit to United Arab Emirates in February

IMAGE: CNS photo/EPABy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will visit the United Arab Emirates next year, becoming the first pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula, the Vatican announced.In a Dec. 6 statement, the Vatican said the pope will "participate in the International Interfaith Meeting on 'Human Fraternity'" after receiving an invitation by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi."The visit will take place also in response to the invitation of the Catholic Church in the United Arab Emirates," the Vatican said.The trip Feb. 3-5 will take place less than a week after Pope Francis returns from his Jan. 23-28 visit to Panama for World Youth Day.Shortly after the announcement, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, welcomed the announcement of the pope's visit in a post on his personal Facebook page.The visit, he said "will strengthen our ties and underst...

Pope revamps Vatican City State structures, laws to boost oversight

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Carol Glatz and Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis approved a new set of laws concerning the structure and governance of Vatican City State in an effort to simplify the many offices and activities of the world's smallest nation and to boost oversight, transparency and budgetary controls.The measures, issued "motu proprio," on the pope's own accord, were published Dec. 6.In his letter, the pope said the reorganization was necessary to make it "suitable to current needs" while ensuring its mission to serve the pope and the specific aims of the departments and activities within Vatican City State.He said the time was right to "proceed with a systematic legislative reform enlightened by the principles of rationalization, cost-effectiveness and simplification as well as pursuing the criteria of functionality, transparency, regulatory consistency and organizational flexibility."The pope approved the legislati...

Deacon: From wildfires come acts of kindness for those trying to recover

IMAGE: CNS photo/Christina Gray, Catholic San FranciscBy Christina GraySAN FRANCISCO (CNS) -- Deacon Ray Helgeson left his home in Paradise on the morning of Nov. 8 with his wife, Donna, for daily Mass at the close-knit Butte County town's only Catholic church. They never arrived.On the short drive to St. Thomas More Church, where the deacon assists at Mass and heads the parish's adult faith formation program, the Helgesons saw billowing smoke and a nearby peak in flames. They continued warily in the direction of the church but were soon intercepted by emergency crews, who diverted them from what would become California's most destructive wildland fire.The Camp Fire burned more than 153,000 acres, destroyed more than 14,000 homes and caused 85 fatalities, with several people still reported missing as of Dec. 6.The fire left more than 80 percent of Paradise residents, including the Helgesons, essentially homeless and had a devastating impact on St. Thomas More parishioners, with an e...

Thought of the Day

Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, "We have seen incredible things today."

Luke 5:26

 

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