CBN REPORT: Entire families camped out Saturday night in California in order to participate in the 29th annual "Miracle on 1st Street" at the Hollenbeck Youth Center in Los Angeles.
Some Hollywood celebrities were also there to hand out free toys and help bring some big smiles to several thousand needy children's faces.
The event spanned more than five blocks. Members of the local community donated the Christmas gifts and volunteers made sure each child went home with a present.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cloris Leachman and Tom Sizemore were among the celebrities who personally distributed the toys to the children.
"I see so much love around them. Somebody's around them, taking care of them. They look well taken care of and loved," Leachman said.
"Not only do they get a gift to go home with, they get a day they're going to remember for the rest of their lives," explained Daniel Hernandez, founder and CEO of the Hollenbeck Youth Center.
"Just to get off yourself and help someone. I was a poor kid, and I know how much it meant to me. It's just been a great experience for me," Sizemore said.
A local police business council and the Oscar de la Hoya Foundation sponsored the event.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Mgr Wei Jingyi, underground bishop of the diocese of Qiqihar (Northeast China), today expressed his support for the statement against the Eighth Assembly of the representatives of Chinese Catholics published yesterday by the Vatican.
In a pastoral letter Msgr. Wei urged the faithful to pray more for the Church in China which is going through “a particularly difficult time", as expressed last December 1 by the Pope in his call for the Chinese Church.
Besides the convocation of the assembly, Bishop Wei cited the illicit ordination in Chengde held before the Christ the King feast day, which gravely violated Church regulations and doctrine. The act of ordaining illicitly “seriously wounded the Church and cast a wound in the Body of Christ. We also have to admit the Chinese religious policy is a serious setback,” he said. The Bishop points out that in the face of the convocation of the Dec 7-9 assembly, during which the leaders of the two organizations were elected (the president of the council of Chinese bishops and leader of the Patriotic Association), “we expressed sympathy and concern” for those were coerced to take part in the illicit ordination and the assembly.
In response to the Pope’s call to prayer for the Church in China, Mgr. Wei called for his faithful to have adoration of Blessed Sacrament, to recite the rosary and to ask to Mary, Help of Christians and Our Lady of China, as well as to St Joseph to make intercessions for the Church in China. Meanwhile, a priest in mainland China told AsiaNews today that the Holy See has shown some “gesture of firmness in Church principles”, and that it will “restore confidence” in the authority of the Holy See as faith is the heart of the Church.
Another priest also said the communiqué is “like a ray coming out before Christmas”, a good time for the Church in mainland and the government to reflect. Some of the faithful are concerned, however, about the intervention of the authorities during the Christmas celebrations and stressed that it would have been better if the message were released after the holidays.
ALL AFRICA REPORT: Religious leaders in Ivory Coast have called for six days of prayer and fasting for peace.
In a joint statement released on December 9 the leaders said, "Therefore, in the name of God, we recommend six days of fasting and prayer for peace in country, from December 13-18, 2010."
The religious leaders "further stated, "Faced with the looming threat, we make this solemn appeal not to yield to provocations and violence from whatever side they come from; not to utter words of ethnic, religious and nationalistic exclusion; not to commit acts of intimidation, threat and unproductive provocation."
"After having rejoiced about how the first round of elections occurred, we are now concerned about the turn of events in the few days leading up to the second round," they said.
Côte d'Ivoire now has two Presidents with two respective Prime Ministers and their governments.On December 3, the Constitutional Council annulled the results declared on December 2 by the Election Commission under which the winner of the election was Alassane Ouattara with 54 percent of the vote, and instead they declared that the winner of the ballot held on November 28 was the outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo.
While the international community has recognized the victory of Ouattara, fear of fresh violence in the country is growing, also fuelled by ethnic division.
Today the European Union should establish "restrictive measures against Côte d'Ivoire, which refers to those who are obstructing the peace process, and in particular, those who do not want to accept the election results," the leaders said.
The country has been suspended from the activities of the African Union.
NEWS.COM.AU REPORT: THE Catholic Church is instructing parishioners to lobby federal MPs against voting for gay marriage, suggesting they base arguments on the natural order and the importance of a biological relationship with children rather than on marriage being a religious institution.
As pressure mounts inside the Labor Party for a change in the party's policy officially banning such marriages, both the gay lobby and now the Catholic Church are intensifying their efforts to win the debate.
MPs are consulting their constituents after a Greens motion urging politicians to seek the views of their electorates on changing marriage laws was passed last month in the House of Representatives with Labor's support.
In an open letter, the church tells its members that as "the Greens continue their assault on the culture of life . . . every Catholic should let federal legislators know that marriage and family, the cornerstone of society, must be protected at all costs."
"Marriage between a man and a woman is not a religious construct but a natural institution found across all cultures and religions. The "talking points" to be used by parishioners have been prepared by the Sydney Archdiocese, the Catholic Women's League and the Knights of the Southern Cross.
"Marriage is a unique kind of sexually complementary union with a natural orientation to life," reads the key argument.
To counter the argument used by the gay lobby that children are an optional extra for marriage and marriage is not connected to having children, the church suggests that heterosexual married couples that are infertile have a greater right to be married "because their lovemaking is designed to give life".
"Allowing two men or two women to marry would involve a fundamental change in our understanding of marriage, from a life-giving and sexually complementary union to a personal, romantic relationship with no true communion or connection to procreation," it says.
The church also said allowing gay marriage would trivialise the meaning and dignity of motherhood and fatherhood.
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national/catholics-told-lobby-against-gay-marriage/story-e6frfkvr-1225973609160#ixzz18bCXehmb
Fr Maasburg announced the launch of the “Priests from three continents” collection, at the initiative of Missio, which will take place on 6 January 2011 throughout the Country. This initiative aims to ensure the “spiritual supply” from nations in the southern hemisphere. Each year the Pontifical Society supports more than 80,000 seminarians and novices around the world on their path to the priesthood.
“Material assistance can only ensure immediate survival, but they do not give meaning to life. Priests assist and view the person in an integral way and assist, as it were, with drinking water and holy water!” says Fr Maasburg.
In Countries in the southern hemisphere there is no shortage of vocations. In Africa, Asia and Latin America the number of requests for admission to seminaries is high. Often good candidates have to be rejected because they lack the funds for training and places to house them. In Europe there is, on average, a priest for every 3,525 people but the support for the formation of new priests is lacking, especially in countries where a greater number of priests is needed. In Oceania there is a priest for every 7,340 inhabitants, one in Latin America for every 8235, one in Africa for every 27,335 and in Asia one in 50,030.
Bl. Urban V
Feast: December 19
|Matthew 1: 18 - 24|
|18||Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit;|
|19||and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.|
|20||But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;|
|21||she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."|
|22||All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:|
|23||"Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us).|
|24||When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife,|