Southeast Michigan a bastion for Polish Christmas traditions, rituals

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (CNS) — Holiday traditions and rituals are a vital part of each family’s Christmas celebration. When celebrating the birth of Jesus, many Catholic families have their own customs passed down for centuries through the generations, and this is especially true for southeast Michigan’s Polish families. Polish Christmas traditions center on the “Wigilia,” a…

Number of refugees, displaced people at highest since World War II

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) — The explosive global refugee crisis — likely the top debate-generating news story of 2015 — seems destined to dominate domestic and foreign politics for years to come at a time when Pope Francis has been calling for a compassionate world response. Early in 2015, Pope Francis again called attention…

New ‘Star Wars’ villains not evil enough, says Vatican movie critic

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” broke box office records and restored a new hope in the franchise to the delight of fans worldwide with a few exceptions, including the Vatican’s newspaper. Emilio Ranzato, author and frequent movie critic for L’Osservatore Romano, wrote Dec. 18 that the first installment of the sequel…

Pope recognizes miracle needed to declare Mother Teresa a saint

By Carol Glatz  Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, thus paving the way for her canonization. Pope Francis signed the decree for Blessed Teresa’s cause and advanced three other sainthood causes Dec. 17, the Vatican announced. Although the date…

REVIEW — Star Wars: The Force Awakens

NEW YORK (CNS) — With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (Disney), the most popular series in film history resurfaces after a 10-year hiatus. This is the seventh installment in the franchise as well as the first feature in a planned third trilogy. Like its predecessors, it’s essentially a family-friendly piece of entertainment, with only interludes of…

Pope’s U.S. visit: Six full days in September and the impact continues

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis’ U.S. visit — Sept. 22-27 — was so full, “each day was like a week,” said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Any one of his public events would have made the trip worthwhile, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, but he noted that what…

In Peace Day message, pope addresses death penalty, debt, migrants

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called for abolishing the death penalty worldwide, lifting the burden of debt on poor nations, global aid policies that respect life and revamped laws that welcome and integrate migrants. He urged individuals, communities and nations to not let indifference, information overload or pessimism discourage them from concrete efforts “to…

Science and faith: Bridging the gap through education

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Creationism vs. evolution, scientific method vs. ethics, science vs. faith, the church’s censure and rehabilitation of Galileo Galilei. For centuries, there have been countless confusion and arguments pitting science against faith as if they were two opposing forces. In the hopes of dispelling lingering myths and misunderstandings, one ecclesiastical institute has…

Pope to visit marginalized communities in Mexico in February

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will visit some of the most marginalized communities in Mexico and seek to bring hope to a country deeply suffering from crime, corruption and inequality when he visits in February. The Vatican announced Dec. 12 details about the pope’s Feb. 12-17 trip to Mexico, during which he will stop…

Pope Francis will venerate Mary at Mexico shrine next year

VATICAN CITY (CNS) –- On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis announced that he would travel to the Marian shrine in Mexico City and pray to Mary so that Christian communities “may become oases and rivers of mercy.” “To ask her this, in a strong way, I will travel to venerate her…