FRANCIS’ LETTER TO ILL CHILD READ AT HER FUNERAL – HOW MADRID’S ARCHBISHOP RESCUED A PROSTITUTE – RAFFLE TICKETS FOR PAPAL CHARITIES ON SALE IN VATICAN, ONLINE – HOW TO OBTAIN INDULGENCE FOR FATIMA’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY – FOR ALL YOU KIDS OUT THERE – AND THOSE WHO ARE KIDS AT HEART….

Today’s column is an eclectic mixture of news stories from the very touching papal letter to an ill child to how to follow Santa’s sleigh in the skies!| I hope you learn, are moved and enjoy! And good luck in the lottery!

FRANCIS’ LETTER TO ILL CHILD READ AT HER FUNERAL

(Vatican Radio) On November 23, in the small Italian village of Massafra, a funeral Mass was offered for a young Italian girl, 10-year-old Paolina, who had died of a terrible illness.

The Requiem Mass took place in the church of Saint Leopold Mandic,, with many parishioners present, including the local mayor.

During the homily at the Mass, the pastor, Father Michele Quaranta read a letter sent to Paolina by Pope Francis. Paolina’s mother had written to the Holy Father to ask his blessing and his prayers for her daughter. Pope Francis had hoped to welcome to the young girl to the Vatican to meet her in person, but Paolina was already too sick to make the voyage.

The full text of the Pope’s letter to Paolina can be read here:

Dearest Paolina,

Your photos are on my desk, because in your truly special gaze I see the light of goodness and of innocence. Thanks for sending them to me! Read this letter together with your and the kiss that I will give you now will be the kiss of the Pope. I join my hands to yours and to those of all those who are praying for you. And so we will make a long chain that, I’m sure, will reach to heaven. But remember that the first link in this chain is you, because you have Jesus in your heart! Remember that! So speak to Him, tell Him about yourself, but also talk about your mom and dad who have so much need of help and comfort in the face of the very difficult steps they are facing. You will certainly be a very good girl by suggesting to Jesus what to do for them! Remember, too, to tell Him what He should do for me, too, while I remember the things He ought to do for you. I give you a very, very big hug, and I bless you, together with your parents and your loved ones, with all my heart.

Francis

HOW MADRID’S ARCHBISHOP RESCUED A PROSTITUTE

An amazing story told to Rome Reports by Cardinal Carlos Osoro, atchbishop of Madrid who was recently elevated to the red hat by Pope Francis. http://www.romereports.com/2016/12/01/carlos-osoro-the-cardinal-who-rescued-a-prostitute-in-a-club

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RAFFLE TICKETS FOR PAPAL CHARITIES ON SALE IN VATICAN, ONLINE

The Governatorate of Vatican City State is pleased to announce that that lottery tickets for Pope Francis’ charities are on sale. The funds collected will be distributed in part to assist those affected by the earthquakes that struck central Italy on August 24 and October 30, and in part to aid the homeless.  The winning tickets will be drawn on Tuesday, February 2, 2017.

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Tickets cost 10 euros each and are on sale on Vatican territory at stores, post offices, the pharmacy, etc. and on the website: www.vaticanstate.va (https://beneficenza.vatican.va/index.php?id_lang=2) For further information you can write to the Events Co: eventi@scv.va.

HOW TO OBTAIN INDULGENCE FOR FATIMA’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY

Fatima, Portugal, Dec 1, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- For the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, Pope Francis has decided to grant a plenary indulgence opportunity throughout the entire anniversary year, which began Nov. 27, 2016, and will end Nov. 26, 2017.

The rector of the Fatima Shrine in Portugal, André Pereira, explained to CNA that the plenary indulgence can be obtained during the entire Jubilee Year. There are three ways of obtaining the indulgence, detailed in a statement on the shrine’s website. To obtain the plenary indulgence, the faithful must also fulfill the ordinary conditions: go to Confession and Communion, be interiorly detached from sin, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

1. Make a pilgrimage to the shrine The first way is for “the faithful to make a pilgrimage to the Fatima Shrine in Portugal and participate in a celebration or prayer dedicated to the Virgin.” In addition, the faithful must pray the Our Father, recite the Creed, and invoke the Mother of God.

2. Pray before any statue of Our Lady of Fatima The second way applies to “the pious faithful who visit with devotion a statue of Our Lady of Fatima solemnly exposed for public veneration in any church, oratory or proper place during the days of the anniversary of the apparitions, the 13th of each month from May to October (2017), and there devoutly participate in some celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary.”

Regarding this second way, the rector of the Fatima Shrine told CNA that the visit to the statue of the Virgin, “does not necessarily have to be only at Fatima or exclusively in Portugal,” but can be done anywhere in the world. Those seeking an indulgence must also pray an Our Father, recite the Creed and invoke Our Lady of Fatima.

3. The elderly and infirm The third way to obtain a plenary indulgence applies to people who, because of age, illness or other serious cause, are unable to get around. These individuals can pray in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima and must spiritually unite themselves to the jubilee celebrations on the days of the apparitions, the 13th of each month, between May and October 2017. They also must “offer to merciful God with confidence, through Mary, their prayers and sufferings or the sacrifices they make in their own lives.”

FOR ALL YOU KIDS OUT THERE – AND THOSE WHO ARE KIDS AT HEART….

This is part of an email I got yesterday from NORAD about an event that starts today!

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating the 61st Anniversary of tracking Santa’s yuletide journey! The NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org that launches December 1, features Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

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Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are also available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores, so parents and children can countdown the days until Santa’s launch on their smart phones and tablets! Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.

Starting at 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight.  NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Then, at 6 a.m. ET, trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com

Any time on Dec. 24, Windows Phone users can ask Cortana for Santa’s location, and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa.

NORAD Tracks Santa is truly a global experience, delighting generations of families everywhere.  This is due, in large part, to the efforts and services of numerous program contributors.

Also Twitter: https://twitter.com/noradsanta

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FOURTH ANNUAL PAPAL LOTTERY TO BENEFIT EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS, HOMELESS – POPE FRANCIS WINS AT “PEACEFUL” TIC-TAC-TOE

FOURTH ANNUAL PAPAL LOTTERY TO BENEFIT EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS, HOMELESS

A communiqué from the Governorate of Vatican City State announces that, “once again this year we announce a special project of solidarity: the fourth annual lottery on behalf of the Holy Father’s charities. The project coincides with the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy and with this year’s Christmas festivities, a time for gestures of solidarity and sharing. The Holy Father expressed his wish that the funds collected be used, in part, to assist those affected by the earthquakes that struck central Italy on August 24, in part, to aid the homeless, and to this end he personally donated some of the prizes. The lottery will open during the upcoming weeks and will close on February 2, 2017 with the winning tickets being drawn in the presence of a commission set up for this purpose in order to guarantee fairness. Tickets will be sold at €10 apiece in the Vatican, at the pharmacy, the post offices, the telephone services, the Annona or supermarket, the train station department store, the sales points of the philatelic and numismatic office and the bookshop at the Vatican Museums. New this year – thanks to the efforts of the directorate of communications – Vatican Internet service provider and the accounting directorate  – is the possibility of purchasing tickets online at www.vaticanstate.va

For further information, contact the events coordinator of the governorate of Vatican City State: eventi@scv.va

POPE FRANCIS WINS AT “PEACEFUL” TIC-TAC-TOE

One fun story that has dominated some of the news here involves a new graffiti rendering of Pope Francis on the outside wall of a building on Borgo Pio, a small street not far from St. Peter’s Square that shows a Tic-tac-toe match between the pontiff and a Swiss Guard. As the Swiss Guard looks around the corner, the Pope, standing on a ladder, is beating him at the game by scoring three in a row with the peace symbol instead of the letter “O”.

This is by the same street artist Maupal who, over a year ago, on a similar Borgo Pio wall, depicted Francis as Super Pope, a “flying” Pope with a cape on his back.

This photo was taken by CNA’s Alan Holdren:

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The previous depiction lasted several days but this drawing was taken down very soon after it was completed. As some of the media wrote here: It’s too bad people can’t be as quick to remove some of Rome’s ubiquitous and often offensive graffiti.