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Time for forgiveness has begun, pope says as holy doors open worldwide

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — With the opening the Holy Door at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis declared that the time for tenderness, joy and forgiveness had begun. As holy doors around the world were opened at city cathedrals, major churches and sanctuaries Dec. 13, the pope said this simple gesture of opening…

Advent is God’s “prime time”

Q. How can families make Advent more meaningful? A. The liturgical season of Advent most powerfully focusses the church’s attention on time: the many centuries during which Israel, God’s chosen people, awaited the coming of the Messiah, and now, the time (how long?) between his first coming and his final coming. Advent reminds us that…

Prayer books for Advent, Christmas, Year of Mercy

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Here is a list of new books suitable for reading during Advent, the Christmas season and the Year of Mercy: “Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Pope Francis” by John Cleary. Liguori Publications (Liguori, Missouri, 2015). 136 pp., $11.99. “Goodness and Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas” edited by Michael Leach, James Keane…

Come Lord Jesus! An Advent reflection

By Father Eric Hollas Come Lord Jesus! I don’t often draw inspiration from comedians, but you have to give them their due. Great comics succeed because of their keen insight into human behavior, and they get us to laugh at ourselves, even when it hurts. A case in point is a guy I heard recently…

Advent’s focus is waiting for Christmas but also includes lots of feasts

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Although the four weeks of Advent focus on waiting for Christmas, the church does not just sit around and wait for the main event. It celebrates plenty of major feasts with lots of customs, traditions and even special foods during the month of December. Early in the Advent season, Dec. 6, the…