LIGHTING THE PATH TO CHRISTMAS!

LIGHTING THE PATH TO CHRISTMAS!

St. Peter’s Square, December 9, 2016 – Official unveiling

of the Vatican Nativity Scene and lighting of Christmas Tree.

The spruce tree is a gift from the northern Italian region of Trentino

and the Nativity Scene was offered to the Vatican by the bishops

and government of Malta. It was designed by Manwel Grech

(you’ve seen my photos and videos of his team) and executed

by him and 7 teammates from Gozo, Malta.

I also posted a Facebook Live video as the ceremony was underway!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!

How are thy leaves so verdant!

Not only in the summertime,

But even in winter is thy prime. O C

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, How are thy leaves so verdant!
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O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,

Much pleasure dost thou bring me!

For ev’ry year the Christmas tree,

Brings to us all both joy and glee.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, Much pleasure dost thou bring me!

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O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,

How lovely are thy branches!

Not only green when summer’s here

But in the coldest time of year.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, How lovely are thy branches!

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O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,

How sturdy God hath made thee!

Thou bidd’st us all place faithfully

Our trust in God, unchangingly!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, How sturdy God hath made thee!

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O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,

Thy candles shine out brightly!

Each bough doth hold its tiny light,

That makes each toy to sparkle bright.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, Thy candles shine out brightly!

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VATICAN INSIDER RETURNS TO PARADISUS DEI – POPE THANKS DONORS FOR VATICAN CHRISTMAS TREE, NATIVITY SCENE

In minutes I will be leaving for St. Peter’s Square for the lighting of the Christmas tree and the official unveiling of the Nativity Scene. I’ll obviously try to get some good photos and video – maybe even do a Facebook Live! – and will post those as soon as I have the chance.

In the meantime, here’s a heads-up about my Vatican Insider guest this weekend, and the Pope’s words this morning to the donors of both the Christmas tree and the Nativity scene.

VATICAN INSIDER RETURNS TO PARADISUS DEI

Join me this weekend on Vatican Insider for Part II of my interview with Steve Bollman, founder of Paradisus Dei, a ministry that helps families discover what he calls “the superabundance of God within marriage and family life.” Since its inception, Paradisus Dei has grown rapidly (largely by word of mouth), and has established itself as a large nationwide ministry helping families vis-a-vis husband/wife relationships and parent/children relationships. It has particular strengths in developing compelling programming and helping individuals discover the presence of God in the midst of communion.

During the Great Jubilee, Steve experienced a personal call to found a ministry dedicated to finding God within the context of marriage and family life. In 2001, he founded Paradisus Dei as a lay Catholic ministry and in 2002 he set aside his professional interests as an energy derivatives trader in Houston, Texas to dedicate himself full time to the development of the ministry. (https://www.paradisusdei.org/

As he was about to hold the first meeting at 6am on a weekday morning, he was told no one would show up. However, 150 men came to the meeting. And it kept on growing. The growth has been amazing since then and today Paradisus Dei is in well over 500 parishes in the U.S.

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00 am (Eastern time). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK FOR YOUR TIME ZONE.

POPE THANKS DONORS FOR VATICAN CHRISTMAS TREE, NATIVITY SCENE

(Vatican Radio) In the Paul VI hall this morning, Pope Francis met with the donors of the Vatican Christmas tree and the nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, telling them that these gifts “form a message of hope and love.”

Welcoming the donors, Pope Francis thanked them for their gifts which he said, would be admired in Saint Peter’s Square “by pilgrims from around the world during Advent and the Christmas holidays.”

The 25-meter (82-feet) high spruce tree was donated by the Lagorai Forests Association in the Trentino region of northern Italy. The Pope remarked that, “the beauty of those views is an invitation to contemplate the Creator and to respect nature, the work of his hands.”

Francis had special thanks for the children who decorated the tree, with the support of the “Lene Thun Foundation” that organizes the ceramic therapy workshops in various Italian hospitals for children undergoing treatment for cancer and other illnesses.

He told them that, “the multicolored ornaments you have created represent the values of life, love and peace that Christ’s Christmas proposes to us anew each year.”

This year’s Nativity scene was donated by the bishops and government of Malta and is the work of artist Manwel Grech from Gozo.

The Nativity scene features 17 figures dressed in traditional Maltese costume as well as a replica of a traditional “Luzzu” Maltese boat.

The Holy Father said that this typical Maltese vessel, recalled “the sad and tragic reality of migrants on boats making their way toward Italy,” and he expressed the hope that “those who visit this nativity scene would be invited to rediscover its symbolic value”, which, he said, was “a message of fraternity, of sharing, of welcome and solidarity.”

Pope Francis concluded by telling his guests that, “the crib and the tree form a message of hope and love, and help create a Christmas spirit that can draw us closer to living with faith the mystery of the birth of the Redeemer who came to this earth in simplicity and meekness.”

 

HAPPY FEAST DAY, MARY IMMACULATE! – POPE URGES CHRISTIANS TO IMITATE MARY: SAY “YES” TO GOD – HOLY FATHER PAYS HOMAGE TO MARY IMMACULATE

Mass this morning in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at the North American College was, as is every liturgy as NAC, truly splendid. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was the main celebrant but there were at least 100 in the sanctuary at the offertory, including cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, and acolytes.

Lunch later was a wonderful moment as well – a great menu, lots of terrific conversation and untold laughs as well. I cherish every moment I can spend with these young men, the newly ordained priests and deacons or the men now in their first, second or third year from dioceses around the U.S. and also Australia.

I did not take a single photo today, just enjoyed every moment. I prayed for everyone who has asked me for prayers for whatever reason and I handed those petitions over to Mary!

HAPPY FEAST DAY, MARY IMMACULATE!

December 8, the Solemnity of the Immacolata, the day devoted to the Immaculate Conception, is a holy day and a national holiday in Italy and hugely important for Italian families. Occurring as it does this year on a Thursday, many working Italians will take Friday off as well, creating a ponte or bridge to a long weekend.

Several main streets in the center of Rome are closed for the traditional afternoon visit by the Pope to both St. Mary Major basilica and to the Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, to pay homage to the image of Mary there. This famous square in the heart of Rome is named for the Palazzo di Spagna, a magnificent building on the piazza that has housed the Spanish embassy to the Holy See since 1647.

Every year, early in the morning of December 8, Roman firemen place a garland atop the statue of Mary Immaculate and by day’s end, thousands of Romans will have followed in their footsteps, offering floral homages to Mary. The column and statue were originally erected with the help of 220 firemen, which is why the floral tributes always include a garland of flowers placed in Our Lady’s arms by a member of Rome’s fire department. The tradition of offering flowers to her image here on this feast day was begun by Pope Pius XII.

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Single flowers as well as bouquets are placed on a table at the foot of the column bearing the statue and, for many hours, Conventual Franciscan Friars and Minim Friars arrange them in an orderly fashion, often creating elegant wreaths.

The ancient Roman column of cipolin marble was found in 1777 in the monastery of Our Lady of the Conception in central Rome and brought to Piazza di Spagna on September 8 (birthday of the Virgin Mary), 1857 to celebrate the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception three years earlier.

Here is the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception as declared on December 8, 1854 by Pope Pius IX in his Bull Ineffabilis Deus: “We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from every stain of original sin is a doctrine revealed by God and, for this reason, must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.”

POPE URGES CHRISTIANS TO IMITATE MARY: SAY “YES” TO GOD

At the Angelus on Thursday, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s readings about the Fall of Adam and Eve and the Annunciation, saying “The readings of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary are two crucial passages in the history of the relationship between man and God:  We might say they lead us to the origins of good and evil.”

The first reading, hr said, tell us about the origins of sin, man’s first ‘no’ to God, when “he preferred to look at himself, not his Creator, thus shattering communion with God. … This makes sin, but the Lord does not leave man at the mercy of his evil; He immediately seeks him out and asks a question full of apprehension: ‘Where are you?’ It is the question of a father or a mother searching for a lost child…and this God does with much patience, in order to bridge the distance which arose at the beginning.”

The, we have the Annunciation, said Francis, when “God comes to dwell among us, [and] he becomes man like us. … And this was made possible by ‘a great yes,’ that of Mary at the Annunciation. Through this ‘yes’ Jesus began his way along the road of humanity; it began in Mary, spending the first months of his life within mother’s womb; not appearing already an adult and strong, but by following the entirety of the path of what it means to be human.”

Pope Francis underscored the fact Mary is described as “full of grace,” meaning there is “no room for sin…without a shadow of evil.”

The Holy Father then encouraged Christians to give their “Yes” to God, as this allow the Lord to create for us a “new story,” as opposed to sin, which makes us “old inside.”

In Advent, especially, said the Pope, “God desires to see us and awaits our ‘yes’.'”

After reciting the Marian prayer, Pope Francis offered his prayers for the victims and families of the 6.5 earthquake that the Aceh Province of Indonesia on Wednesday, killing at least 100 people. The same region of Indonesia was hit by the December 2004 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that killed over 100,000 people in just this one province and tens of thousands more in faraway lands.

“I wish to assure you of my prayers for the victims and their families, for the injured and for those who have lost their homes. May the Lord give strength to the population and support the rescue efforts.”

HOLY FATHER PAYS HOMAGE TO MARY IMMACULATE

Pope Francis visited the Piazza di Spagna in Rome on Thursday for the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, where he laid a bouquet of white roses near the Column of the Immaculate Conception and prayed especially for families and for workers. He made his way to Rome’s Spanish Square to pay homage to the Immaculate Virgin, just as the Bishop of Rome has annually for the past 50 years.

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Flanked by the Rome’s mayor, Pope Francis placed a bouquet of white roses at the base of the column of the Immaculate Conception and led those present in a prayer for her feast day. He prayed especially for abandoned children, for families struggling to make ends meet, and for men and women in search of work.

He said, “We have need of your immaculate heart, to love freely, without secondary aims but seeking the good of the other, with simplicity and sincerity, renouncing masks and tricks.”

Above all, the Holy Father prayed Our Lady to “Let us not give in to discouragement, but that, trusting in your constant help, we may engage ourselves fully in renewal of self, of this city and of the entire world.”

After the prayer, the Pope greeted many of those gathered in the square and blessed the sick and elderly. He then made a short stop at the Basilica of St. Mary Major’s, before returning to the Vatican, to pray silently before the image of Maria Salus Populi Romani, the protectress of the people of Rome.

Click here for his full prayer: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/12/08/pope_makes_traditional_visit_to_immaculate_conception_statue/1277760

VATICAN ISSUES NEW GUIDELINES FOR PRIESTLY FORMATION

VATICAN ISSUES NEW GUIDELINES FOR PRIESTLY FORMATION

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy has issued an updated instrument for the formation of priests. The document, entitled Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis or ‘The Gift of Priestly Vocation’, was promulgated on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8 and published in L’Osservatore Romano.

“The gift of the priestly vocation, placed by God in the hearts of some men, obliges the Church to propose to them a serious journey of formation,” the opening line of the document reads. In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, says the updated Ratio Fundamentalis is meant to provide guidelines for the formation of priests, which “needed to be revamped, renewed, and restored to the center.”

Click here to read the full interview.

Updated norms

The last Ratio was published in 1970 and updated in 1985. Cardinal Stella said the new norms seek to take into account the rapid evolution in “historical, socio-cultural, and ecclesiastical contexts.”

He said inspiration was drawn from Pope Francis’ teachings and spirituality, especially regarding “temptations tied to money, to the authoritarian exercise of power, to rigid legalism, and to vainglory.”

Innovation and continuity

Cardinal Stella said the guidelines take up “the content, methods and orientation produced up to this day in the field of formation”, while at the same time building on the “existing patrimony” of the Church. He said that, “in the life of the Church innovations are never separate from Tradition, but, on the contrary, integrate it, and enhance it.”

The document, he said, draws on Pastores dabo vobis from 1992 to promote an “integral formation,” that is, “the ability to unite, in a balanced way, the human, as well as the spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions, through a gradual instructional personalized course.”

One important innovation is the introduction of a “propaedeutic period upon entrance to the Seminary.”

The Ratio Fundamentalis proposes the propaedeutic stage of formation be “not less than one year or more than two” and is meant to validate the vocation of candidates. The document also emphasizes the need for dioceses and religious orders to guard against admitting potential sex abusers to the priesthood.

“The greatest attention must be given to the theme of the protection of minors and vulnerable adults,” it says, “being vigilant lest those who seek admission to a seminary or a house of formation, or who are already petitioning to receive Holy Orders, have not been involved in any way with any crime or problematic behavior in this area.”

Ratio Fundamentalis restates the language of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the ordination of persons with homosexual tendencies.

“The Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’. Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” (cf. Ratio Fundamentalis 199; CCC nn. 2357-2358).

Cardinal Stella said the guidelines have added three stages to priestly formation: “the “stage of discipleship,” “configuration stage,” and “pastoral stage,” each of which has a corresponding itinerary and formative content, orientated toward an assimilation with the image of the Good Shepherd.”

In brief, he said, “to be a good priest, in addition to having passed all the exams, a demonstrated human, spiritual and pastoral maturation is necessary.”

Humanity, spirituality, discernment

Cardinal Stella told L’Osservatore Romano the three keywords he would choose to describe the document are: ‘humanity, spirituality, and discernment.’

He recalled Pope Francis’ recent address to the Society of Jesus: “I am noticing,” he said, “the lack of discernment in the formation of priests. We are risking, in fact, becoming accustomed to ‘black and white’ and to that which is legal. We are quite closed, by and large, to discernment. One thing is clear, today in a certain quantity of Seminaries, a rigidity has been re- established which is not related to situational discernment.”

Word for priests

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy concluded with a word for priests. He said, “To each one of them I would like to say above all: do not become discouraged! The Lord never offers less than his promises, and if you have called upon him, he will make his light shine upon you, whether you live in darkness, aridity, fatigue or a moment of pastoral failure. I would like to recommend to priests that they not let the healthy disquiet, which maintains their progress on the right path, be extinguished!”

 

DICASTERY FOR LAITY, FAMILY AND LIFE LAUNCHES WEBSITE – 75 YEARS LATER: MEMORIES OF PEARL HARBOR

What a fun day this has been so far, in addition to the sheer joy of a splendid day weatherwise! I always have to make sure my phone is charged because I never know when a good Facebook Live moment will occur – and I had two such moments today in St. Peter’s Square!

The first was when I stopped by the just-unveiled Nativity Scene and spoke to my friends from Gozo, Malta who built the scene: these are the eight men whom, if you recall, I met at La Vittoria restaurant about ten or twelve days ago. In particular, I videoed a brief conversation with the head of the building crew, Manwel who told me they will be on the scene through Friday’s official unveiling of the Nativity Scene and the lighting of the Vatican Christmas tree, after which most will remain in Italy for a vacation period.

My second FB Live moment was minutes after the first when I encountered a colorfully dressed group of Mexicans, in Rome to mark the December 12th feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On that day, in fact, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. The group had been marching up Via della Conciliazione as I was interviewing Manwel and when I walked over to them, they were no longer playing the music but still were very colorful, as you will see if you go to FB.

This evening, as I do every December 7th, I will join the Marian Fathers for First Vespers of the vigil of the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Order, followed by a celebratory dinner. This evening will also be an expression of gratitude for the canonization last June 5th of the founder of the Marian Fathers, St. Stanislao Papczynski. Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will preside vespers and be the guest of honor at dinner.

Probably the most well known Marian Father for EWTN viewers is Fr. Joe Roesch whom you see whenever there are wonderful stories of Divine Mercy to be told., especially at Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, Ma.

Tomorrow, solemnity of the Immaculata, a holy day and holiday in Italy, I will attend Mass at the North American College presided over by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, followed by lunch. More on that later.

DICASTERY FOR LAITY, FAMILY AND LIFE LAUNCHES WEBSITE

The website of the new Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life: www.laityfamilylife.va  is now online.

A message from the dicastery explains that one “can find news about us, updates on social happenings, and videos. Just like our dicastery, the site has just been born and is evolving, but we would like it to increasingly become a place of listening and dialogue with the Christian laity and families around the world. The sites of the Pontifical Councils for the Laity and for the Family will no longer be updated, but all the material published there over the years will remain accessible at the following links:

LaityFamily

Links to the projects of the Pontifical Council for the Family: Children, The Meeting Point, and The Great Mystery, can also be found on www.laityfamilylife.va.

Contact the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life

www.laityfamilylife.va

Email: info@laityfamilylife.va

Twitter @laityfamilylife

Instagram laityfamilylife

75 YEARS LATER: MEMORIES OF PEARL HARBOR

The Japanese strike at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 became more than a lesson in a history book for me on one of my first visits to Honolulu. My friend Jan, wife of a retired Navy officer, has brought me to Pearl Harbor a number of times, In fact, when I am a guest with Trip and Jan at their home on a hill in Aiea, the first thing I see in the morning and the last at night from my bedroom is Pearl Harbor! It’s magnificent and awesome at the same time.

I did the following videos on one of my first trips to Honolulu

THE STORY OF A JAPANESE ENSIGN WHO SPIED ON PEARL HARBOR:

https://youtu.be/WNqpkQdydwA

ON OUR WAY TO THE ARIZONA MEMORIAL, PEARL HARBOR:
https://youtu.be/yhtcYDturP8

REMEMBERING A DAY IN INFAMY – DECEMBER 7, 1941 – ON THE ARIZONA MEMORIAL:

ON THE ARIZONA MEMORIAL, PEARL HARBOR:

https://youtu.be/4puFaZWqDv0

A VISIT TO PUNCH BOWL CEMETERY

:https://youtu.be/dHdl-k8Inzs

SMALL GESTURES, SPARKS OF BEAUTY AND LOVE CAN HEAL – PONTIFICAL COMMISSION TO PROTECT MINORS LAUNCHES WEBSITE – ASTOUNDING: MYSTERIOUS ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD DISCOVERED AT TOMB OF CHRIST

ChurchPOP, part of the EWTN network, is an online Christian brand that’s fun, informative, and inspiring with editions in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. It is under the spiritual patronage of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Brantly C. Millegan is the founder and editor-in-chief of ChurchPOP and you can learn more about him on his personal website brantlymillegan.com.

I have posted stories from ChurchPOP before and offer one today – the third story below – that I think you’ll find fascinating.

POPE FRANCIS TWEETED DECEMBER 6: Jesus gives meaning to my life here on earth and hope for the life to come.

SMALL GESTURES, SPARKS OF BEAUTY AND LOVE CAN HEAL

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin this afternoon read a Message from Pope Francis to participants in the XXI Joint Meeting of the Pontifical Academies as they ponder the meeting’s theme, “Sparks of beauty. Giving a more human face to our cities.” Participants met in the Apostolic Chancery on Tuesday afternoon to explore this theme chosen by the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.

The Holy Father wrote, “Taking care of people, starting with the smallest and weakest, and their daily needs necessarily also means taking care of the environment in which they live. Small gestures, simple actions, small sparks of beauty and love can heal, ‘mending’ the often lacerated and divided human fabric [of society], as well as that of a city and of the environment, representing a concrete alternative to indifference and cynicism.”

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The papal Message was addressed to Cardinal Ravasi, who also serves as president of the Coordinating Committee for the Pontifical Academies and who opened Tuesday’s gathering.

There are eleven Pontifical Academies whose aim is to further research and encourage dialogue within and among scientific, artistic, professional and cultural disciplines.

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION TO PROTECT MINORS LAUNCHES WEBSITE

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] is launching a new website to provide information on the Commission and its Mission.

The website –currently in a ‘beta’ format – has resources divided into four categories: “Healing and Care”, “Guidelines”, “Education”, and the “Day of Prayer [for the Victims and Survivors of Sexual Abuse]”.

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It also provides news and information about the Commission in an easily accessible format.

Pope Francis formally appointed the first eight members of the “Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors” on March 22, 2014 upon the suggestion of the Council of Cardinals.

In a ‘Chirograph’ issued the same day, the Holy Father wrote that the Commission’s task is to advise the Roman Pontiff on effective policies for the protection of minors and vulnerable adults and educational programs for all who are involved in this work.

The website – www.protectionofminors.va – is currently available in English, but will be expanded to Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese in the near future.

ASTOUNDING: MYSTERIOUS ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD DISCOVERED AT TOMB OF CHRIST

Is this hard evidence of the Resurrection?

As you may have heard, a team of scientists were recently permitted to open up the place believed to have been the tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The slab had been sealed off long ago and hadn’t been opened – even partially – since the early 19th century.

There was at least one, possibly two, astounding discoveries made.

First, for the unconfirmed discovery: there are rumors that the scientists immediately smelled a sweet aroma when they opened the tomb. Those rumors haven’t been confirmed, but something similar was reported the last time the tomb was opened in 1809.

Second, and this is the most incredible: Marie-Armelle Beaulieu, editor-in-chief of the french magazine Terre Sainte, has received confirmation from a scientist from the team that the tomb had a strong, unexplainable electromagnetic field that messed up their equipment.

“The phenomenon was confirmed by one of the scientists authorized to access the tomb,” Aleteia reports. “Later, one of the heads of the building and construction team, Antonia Moropoulou, indicated that it is really hard to imagine that someone would be willing to put in danger his or her reputation just because of a “publicity stunt.” Moreover, the journalist testifies to the scientists’ surprise during the opening of the slab: they hoped that the grave would be much lower than it was. Their conclusion: previously performed analyses with the instruments seemed to have been distorted by an electromagnetic disturbance.”

The website uCatholic speculates that this electromagnetic field may lend credence to one theory that the Shroud of Turin was created by an impossibly strong electromagnetic burst.

So maybe the Resurrection left behind an electromagnetic field?

https://churchpop.com/2016/12/05/astounding-mysterious-magnetic-readings-at-recently-opened-tomb-of-christ/

Here are links to stories by National Geographic whose photographers were allowed to chronicle the restoration of the tomb of Christ:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/jesus-christ-tomb-burial-church-holy-sepulchre/
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2016/11/oded-balilty-qa/
https://churchpop.com/2016/12/05/astounding-mysterious-magnetic-readings-at-recently-opened-tomb-of-christ/

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS PARADISUS DEI – JUBILEE DOORS IN THE HOLY LAND TO CLOSE DECEMBER 3 AND 9 – THE LITTLE KNOWN MARIAN SHRINE OF ANJARA IN JORDAN

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS PARADISUS DEI

My guest this weekend on Vatican Insider is Steve Bollman, founder of Paradisus Dei, an amazing organization that helps families discover the superabundance of God within marriage and family life. Since its inception, Paradisus Dei has grown rapidly (largely by word of mouth), and has established itself as a large nationwide ministry. It has particular strengths in developing compelling programming and helping individuals discover the presence of God in the midst of communion.

As you will see on the organization’s website (https://www.paradisusdei.org/), during the Great Jubilee, Steve experienced a personal call to found a ministry dedicated to finding God within the context of marriage and family life. In 2001, he founded Paradisus Dei as a lay Catholic ministry and in 2002 he set aside his professional interests as an energy derivatives trader in Houston, TX to dedicate himself full time to the development of the ministry.

steve-bollman-2

As he was about to hold the first meeting at 6am on a weekday morning, he was told no one would show up. Except, 150 men came to the meeting. And it kept on growing. The growth has been amazing since then and today Paradisus Dei is in well over 500 parishes in the U.S.

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00 am (Eastern time). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK FOR YOUR TIME ZONE. Past shows are in VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

JUBILEE DOORS IN THE HOLY LAND TO CLOSE DECEMBER 3 AND 9

(Vatican Radio) Following the closure of the Jubilee of Mercy, the Holy Doors in Jerusalem and Nazareth will be closed respectively on December 3 and 9, during Solemn Masses in the Church of All Nations and the Basilica of the Annunciation.

The Masses will be presided by Patriarchal Vicars Bishop William Shomali in Jerusalem, Bishop Giacinto Marcuzzo in Nazareth and by Fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land.

The Apostolic Administrator of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa spoke to Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni of the meaning of the event in the Holy Land.

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa points out that the Holy Door will also be closed in Anjara in Jordan that together with Getsemane and Nazareth are the three most significant Holy places in the Holy Land.

“The meaning is the same as it is all over the world: first of all to close the Jubilee Year but also to remind the community that the commitment to mercy for us Christians isn’t over, but must continue, especially here in the Holy Land where divisions and hatred are so evinent – mercy is the language that we Christians have to talk” he said.

Abp. Pizzaballa says that the Holy Year of Mercy has not had any visible effects at the macro level of politics and high level decisions, but he says at a ground level “with the people, in the communities, in the schools we have seen many initiatives of encounter and dialogue between Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims.”

THE LITTLE KNOWN MARIAN SHRINE OF ANJARA IN JORDAN

As I read the preceding article, I realized I knew nothing of Anjara and so looked up various sties about this shrine. Here is some information I culled from several web sites.

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Anjara is a biblical city in Jordan that is on most biblical tours of the nation and it is here that we find the shrine of Our Lady of the Mountain (sometimes written Mount). The church itself consists of a large hall to receive pilgrims who come venerate the life-size wooden statue of the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus that was placed in a newly built grotto.

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It is believed that Jesus Christ and his disciples, including the Virgin Mary, passed through Anjara and rested in a cave in the Ajloun mountains during a journey between Jerusalem and Galilee. The cave in Anjara has long been a holy place for pilgrims and has now been commemorated with a modern shrine, precisely, the Church of Our Lady of the Mountain. The cave was also designated by the Catholic Churches of the Middle East as one of the five pilgrimage sites (the others being Mount Nebo, Machaerus, Tell Mar Elias near Ajloun, and the Jordan River region at Bethany beyond the Jordan) in Jordan.

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Anjara, a little-visited archaeological site, is believed to be the birthplace of the prophet Elijah.

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Here’s a link to a great story in the National Catholic Register about this shrine – a shrine I now have placed on my list of places the visit the next time I am in Jordan: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/jordans-devotion-to-our-lady