CNA STAFF, Dec 21, 2008 (CNA) - Catholic Mobile has announced it is now offering Christmas ringtones and wallpapers to help users prepare for the Christmas season.
As a way of helping users to enter more deeply into the Advent and Christmas seasons, Catholic Mobile is offering ringtones such as “Jingle Bells,” “The First Noel,” “Oh Christmas Tree, “Little Drummer Boy” and many other favorites, as well as wallpapers, that can be downloaded at www.catholicmobile.com.
The initiative aims to help users live the true spirit of Advent and Christmas.
More information can be found at www.catholicmobile.com.
CNA STAFF, Dec 21, 2008 (CNA) - The Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land has launched an initiative that allows people around the world to send their prayers to the Holy Land for their loved ones and at the same help maintain the presence of Christians in the Holy Land.
The project consists of a new Memorial Hall where the faithful can have their names and the names of loved ones engraved on a plaque that will be placed on the wall of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Thanks to an agreement with CNA, the commemorative plaques and the inscriptions in the Book of Remembrance can now be acquired with a credit or debit card via the internet through a secure server.
The press office of the Franciscans in the Holy Land has explained that despite the current economic difficulties, "This is a win-win agreement because at the same time that we are offering constant prayer for loved ones who are living or deceased, we are ensuring a Christian presence in the Holy Land, which is increasingly threatened by radicalism."
Thanks to the plaques at the Memorial Hall and the inscriptions in the Book of Remembrance, the Franciscans will be able to offer free elementary-level education for the children of Christian families that are suffering economic hardship. In addition, their School Grant Program will help Christian children to receive free education for four years. The program offers assistance to students who are more academically advanced to continue on with their studies.
The Foundation also helps adults and young Christians "in their search for employment in the Holy Land, both in the public and in the private sector. Most of our graduates from school now work in medicine, business, engineering, architecture and education."
The project will also enable the Franciscans to build affordable housing to prevent the exodus of Christians. "We have completed more than 300 units in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho and Nazareth. We also maintain hundreds of apartments in Old Jerusalem for our Christian families," the press office has indicated.
The Franciscans also operate the "Franciscan Center for the Family in Bethlehem," where counseling, food, clothing and marriage preparation are provided. They also maintain the "Franciscan Home for Youth," where Christian children aged 6-13 from dysfunctional families can find "a healthy psychological and spiritual atmosphere."
"The great majority of our young people attend our schools and reside at the House in Bethlehem. The House provides all the necessary personnel and it has social workers and a child psychologist. Each child has his or her own room and the meals are included. All the expenses are paid by the Franciscan Foundation."
To learn more about the "Memorial Hall" project that helps save the Christian presence in the Holy Land, visit: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/holyland/
CNA STAFF, Dec 21, 2008 (CNA) - Beginning Monday, December 22, CNA will briefly suspend its news service until 2009. During this time, members of the CNA staff will be working to improve our services in order to accommodate the 100% increase in our readership since last year.
The year of 2008 has been one of great growth for CNA. Not only has the site’s readership doubled, but we also added several new columnists touching on topics such as politics, life issues, St. Paul, and the Sunday readings.
For 2009, we plan on adding a few new columnists, increasing the content in our “resource” and “documents” sections and continuing to improve upon the services that we offer to you.
We ask you to keep CNA in your prayers this Christmas Season and would like to take this time to graciously thank our donors who have contributed financially this past year. It is because of your generosity that we have been able to reach an increasing number of readers.
In the present state of the economy, we know it can be tempting to omit “extra” contributions from your budget. However, please consider supporting CNA financially in 2009. Through your charitable giving, we are able to reach more readers with the “Good News” of Christ and build a true culture of life.
To contribute to CNA (501c3) please click here.
May Christ bless you and your families this Christmas! It is our hope that the humble example of our Lord in the manger will guide us all in the coming year.
See you on January 5, 2009!
The CNA team
Vatican City, Dec 21, 2008 (CNA) - With thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer today, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about today’s Gospel, in which the Virgin Mary was invited by the Angel to conceive Jesus. The Holy Father then went on to note that the mystery of Christmas has a cosmic dimension in addition to its historical one.
The Pontiff commented briefly on the Gospel for this Fourth Sunday of Advent, the account of the Annunciation. Just a few days from the feast of Christmas, the Pope explained, “we are invited to fix our eyes on the ineffable mystery that Mary kept for nine months in her virginal womb: the mystery of God who becomes man.”
“This is the first hinge of the redemption. The second is the death and resurrection of Jesus, and these two inseparable hinges manifest a single divine plan: to save humanity and its history by assuming them to the utmost, taking on the entire weight of all the evil oppressing them."
“Christ is the son of grace, who, with his light, ‘transfigures and ignites the expectant universe,’” Benedict XVI recalled. “The feast of Christmas is connected to the winter solstice, when the days, in the northern hemisphere, start to get longer. In this regard, it may be that not everyone knows that St. Peter's Square is also a meridian: the obelisk, in fact, casts its shadow along a line that runs along the pavement toward the fountain under this window, and in these days the shadow is at its longest of the year.”
“This reminds us of the function of astronomy in marking out the rhythm of prayer. The Angelus, for example, is recited in the morning, at noon, and in the evening, and with the meridian, which was used in ancient times to identify 'true noon', clocks were adjusted."
The Holy Father then greeted all those who will participate in various ways in the initiatives for the world year of astronomy, 2009, declared at the 400th anniversary of the first telescopic observations of Galileo Galilei. He said, "My predecessors of venerable memory included devotees of this science, like Sylvester II, who taught it, Gregory XIII, to whom we owe our calendar, and St. Pius X, who knew how to make sundials."
"If the heavens, according to the beautiful words of the psalmist, 'proclaim the glory of God,' then the laws of nature, which over the course of the centuries many men and women of science have helped us to understand better, are also a great stimulus to contemplate with gratitude the works of the Lord,” the Pope continued.
He then concluded, “Let us turn then our eyes toward Mary and Joseph, who are awaiting the birth of Jesus, and let us learn from them, the secret of recollection, in order to savor the joy of Christmas. Let us prepare ourselves to welcome with faith the Redeemer who comes to be with us, Word of the love of God for the humanity of every age."