Nation and World News

Titles and traditions help us better understand Mary, Mother of God

Marian devotees from Vietnam participated in a procession at the start of a Marian vigil led by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 8.

The Blessed Mother has had a way of connecting with people throughout the ages. Through thousands of examples in Scripture, art, writing, and her private revelations to mankind, Mary has been known to many by her various faces and titles.

Pope: ‘Fear of God’ isn’t fright, it’s being humble, childlike

VATICAN CITY — God reveals His mysteries, not to the wise and learned, but to those who are childlike, that is, to people who are humble and fear the Lord, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.

"Fear of the Lord isn't fright. No. It is living the command God gave our father Abraham, 'Walk in my presence and be blameless.' Humble. This is humility. The fear of the Lord is humility," the pope said Nov. 29.

Tennessee bishops asks for prayers, relief help for victims of wildfires

Smoke plumes from wildfires were seen Nov. 29 along the Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tenn. Raging wildfires fueled by high winds claimed the lives of at least three people, forced the evacuation of thousands and damaged hundreds of buildings in the popular resort town.

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Catholic parishioners in the Diocese of Knoxville are among those who have lost homes and businesses in the wildfires that ravaged tourist areas in the Great Smoky Mountains region, said Bishop Richard F. Stika of Knoxville.

Midday Nov. 30, the diocese was still awaiting word on the condition of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Gatlinburg, he said in a statement posted on the diocesan website. Earlier, the diocese reported that the pastor, Father Antony Punnackal, had to evacuate but was safe.

Miami archbishop recalls Catholic persecution in Cuba, prays for peace

Pope Francis and former Cuban President Fidel Castro grasped each other’s hands at Castro’s residence in Havana Sept. 20, 2015. Castro, who seized power in a 1959 revolution and governed Cuba until 2006, died Nov. 25 at the age of 90.

MIAMI — In a video message, Cuban President Raul Castro announced the Nov. 25 death of his 90-year-old brother and longtime Cuban leader and Communist icon whom many in Latin America known by just one name: Fidel.

"It is with great sorrow that I come before you to inform our people, friends of our America and the world, that today, November 25, 2016, at 10:29 p.m., the commander in chief of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz passed away," said his brother Raul, who took over control of the island in 2006, after Fidel Castro became too sick to govern.

Time of mercy: Holy doors close, but mission of mercy continues

A tapestry of St. Teresa of Kolkata was seen on the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica as Pope Francis celebrated her canonization Mass Sept. 4 at the Vatican. St. Teresa’s canonization was a highlight of the Year of Mercy.

VATICAN CITY — The Year of Mercy brought more than 20 million pilgrims to Rome, but for Pope Francis, the idea always was that the celebration of God's mercy would be local: Have people experience God's love in their parishes and send them out into the world to commit random acts of mercy.

Message of mercy continues in example of Christ the King

Pope Francis closed the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the closing of the jubilee Year of Mercy at the Vatican Nov. 20.

VATICAN CITY — Following Christ the King, whose regal power is love and mercy, means the whole Church and each Christian must "follow his way of tangible love," Pope Francis said.

Celebrating the feast of Christ the King Nov. 20 and officially closing the extraordinary jubilee celebration of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis declared, "we have received mercy in order to be merciful."

On a warm, late fall morning, St. Peter's Square was filled with an estimated 70,000 people for the Mass, which was concelebrated by the new cardinals Pope Francis had created the previous day.

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