Singing does good for the soul, pope tells young choristers

December 31, 2015 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Singing is good for one’s soul and, as St. Augustine says, Christian life is not a sad path but a joyous one that is done “singing and walking,” Pope Francis said. “Remember this: Sing and walk,” the pope said Dec. 31 to 6,000 young choristers, their families, friends…

Pope prays for natural disaster victims in U.S., U.K., Latin America

December 31, 2015 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called on Christians to pray for victims of several natural disasters that have hit parts of the United States, Great Britain and Paraguay. “I invite you to pray for the victims of disasters that in recent days have struck the United States, Great Britain and South…

National Geographic shutterbug recalls photographing Pope Francis

December 29, 2015 WASHINGTON (CNS) — A year ago on Christmas Day, National Geographic photographer Dave Yoder got an unexpected Christmas gift that he will never forget. Over a six-month period, he had taken tens of thousands of photos for a planned cover story on Pope Francis for his magazine. But while he had taken…

Advocates for homeless remember men, women who died on the streets

December 29, 2015 GREEN BAY, Wis. (CNS) — The first day of winter, Dec. 21, is also known as the winter solstice. It is the shortest day and longest night of the year. For people who are homeless, it’s a night that represents the harsh challenges of living on the streets. For the past seven…

After shooting, Catholics in north Minneapolis hope to pave path to peace

December 23, 2015 MINNEAPOLIS (CNS) — More than a month has passed since the November shooting death of Jamar Clark, a black man, by a white police officer. While protesters, led by the group Black Lives Matter, have moved on from their encampment at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct, their questions and those of…

Southeast Michigan a bastion for Polish Christmas traditions, rituals

December 23, 2015 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…

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

December 21, 2015 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…

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

December 21, 2015 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…