Christian Today: Natwivity gets off to flying start

December 5th, 2012

Below is an extract of a report on Christian Today about ‘Natwivity’ – the story of Christmas being told in the form of tweets during the Advent season. The project is being coordinated by Share Creative and Tearfund.

“Twitter is abuzz this Advent season with the story of Christmas being told in the form of tweets.

The annual social media project is looking to have its best year yet, with most tweets being re-tweeted around 30 times.

The Natwivity is a Facebook and Twitter project coordinated by Share Creative and Tearfund. Tearfund said it saw record numbers of hits on its homepage – – last weekend.

“It’s been an incredible start to the Christmas season, and one of the most successful social media projects we’ve ever been part of,” says Andrew McCracken, Tearfund’s UK Director.

“I’m very excited that Natwivity, which has been immensely popular over the last three years as well, is this year brought to life by some beautiful images that we’ve collected from around the world.”

Follow Natwivity on Twitter: @Natwivity

From Christian Today

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CNA: Pope Benedict will make Twitter debut with @pontifex

December 4th, 2012

Below is an excerpt of an article on CNA about the upcoming launch of Pope Benedicts Twitter account in 12th December.

“The Pope’s Twitter account will be @pontifex and will start on Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Vatican representatives announced.

The news of the 85-year-old tweeting came out weeks ago, but officials finally revealed the account’s name and that it will be launched on the Marian feast day, which they said was a coincidence.

But instead of informing people of his favourite band and other trivia, the Pope’s goal will be to impart spiritual messages to people around the globe.

Greg Burke, who was recently appointed media advisor to the Holy See’s Secretary of State, explained that the name was chosen because pontifex means both “Pope and bridge builder,” and the Holy Father desires to reach out to everyone with the initiative.

On Dec. 12, Pope Benedict will personally tweet, but after that assistants will tweet content he approves.

The Pope’s account is expected to be launched at around noon, after the weekly general audience, and the inaugural day will feature answers to a handful of chosen questions related to faith, in honour of the ongoing Year of Faith.

The account will include tweets in seven languages besides English. Those languages are Spanish, Arabic, German, Polish, French, Portuguese and Italian.”

By Estefania Aguirre

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CiNews: Vatican joins new centre to foster dialogue among Christians and Muslims

November 28th, 2012

Below is an excerpt of a report on CiNews about the launch of a new centre for Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims, that was inaugurated on Monday in Vienna.

“The Holy See has accepted an invitation to be a founding observer at a new centre for Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

On Monday (November 26) a Vatican delegation attended the inauguration ceremony in Vienna of the new, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue, (KAICIID).  The centre is the initiative of the King of Saudi Arabia and has three founder States, viz. the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Austria and the Kingdom of Spain.

The Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. said that the new institution will foster dialogue among religions and cultures.

“This goal is to be regarded favourably with a view to fostering understanding and peaceful coexistence among populations, a matter of fundamental urgency for humanity today and in the future.  The King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and the Holy Father discussed these aims during their meeting on November 6 2007 in Vatican City,” he said.

“The Holy See should take the opportunity to be present, to offer experience and trusted expertise in the field of inter-religious dialogue.  The status of founding observer is most apt to guarantee just such a presence, respecting the nature of the Holy See and permitting the Holy See to express specific concerns and expectations.”

By Ann Marie Foley

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Rome Reports: New Cardinals – What will the College of Cardinals look like?

November 23rd, 2012

Below is an excerpt of a report on Rome Reports about the appointment of six new cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI tomorrow.

“On Saturday November 24th, the Pope will appoint six new cardinals. He made the announcement a few weeks ago, during a general audience in St. Peter’s Square. The new appointments will lower the average age of cardinals and it will give an international touch to the Pope’s closest advisers.

The new cardinals are American, James Harvey, who currently serves as the Prefect of the Papal Household and will also be the future Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

The list also includes Maronite Patriarch Raï Béchara, who serves as Lebanon’s main Catholic leader. Third on the list is Indian  Baselios Thottunkal, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Church. From Nigeria, there’s John Onaiyekan, the Archbishop of Abuja. From Colombia, there’s Ruben Salazar, the Archbishop of Bogota. From the Philippines, there’s Luis Antonio Tagle, who serves as the Archbishop of Manila.

The new appointments give a greater representation of the Universal Church.  In addition to advising the Pope, cardinals younger than 80, will be in charge of electing a new Pope in an eventual conclave. “

From Rome Reports

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Vatican Insider: The Church of England says no to women bishops

November 22nd, 2012

Below is an excerpt of a report from Vatican Insider about the recent vote by the Church of England regarding women bishops.

“The Church of England has voted narrowly against the ordination of women as bishops.  The vote took place at its General Synod, November 20, with the laity vote being decisive.

The General Synod is the Church’s governing body, and for the motion to succeed it required a two-thirds majority in the synod’s three houses: the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity.

After years of heated debate and discussion, the motion came up for a final vote at this General Synod.  The vote was a defeat for the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and his newly appointed successor, Bishop Justin Welby, who had both spoken strongly in favor of a compromise motion that sought to bridge the divisions within the Church on this controversial step. “

By Gerard O’Connell

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CNA: Bono thanks Vatican for helping with debt forgiveness

November 20th, 2012

Below is an excerpt of an article on the CNA website reporting on a recent meeting Bono had with the Vatican to thank the Church for the work it has done to free the worlds lease developed countries from world debt.

“The famous U2 vocalist Bono traveled to the Vatican Nov. 16 to thank the Church for its work to free the world’s least developed countries from their foreign debt, enabling them to invest in education.

On Friday, Bono spent nearly an hour speaking with Cardinal Peter K. Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, according to Vatican Radio.

In 2000, the Church was an important backer of the “Drop the Debt” campaign, which coincided with the Church’s jubilee year. Bono was one of the leading figures in the campaign, and is known for his activism for world’s poorest people.

Drop the Debt was an effort to persuade first-world nations to forgive the debt owed them by the poorest countries. The success of that effort has made possible “an extra 52 million children going to school,” Bono told Vatican Radio, since governments were able to use the money they would have had to pay back for investment in schools.

Bono said the Church deserves “incredible credit” for their role in securing debt forgiveness, and that Catholics should be made aware of how their faith was central in the efforts.”

From CNA

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Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

CNS: US bishops, Catholic bloggers discuss how tweets, blogs help evangelize

November 13th, 2012

Below is an excerpt of a report on CNS about a recent discussion session that was held between a group of US bishops and Catholic bloggers on how best to use social media to spread the Gospel.  The discussion centred on a new study, “Catholic New Media Use in the United States, 2012,” which was conducted by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate

“A group of U.S. bishops and Catholic bloggers discussed — and tweeted about — how to use social media to spread the Gospel message during a Nov. 11 session prior to the start of the U.S. bishops’ annual general assembly in Baltimore.

In the nearly three-hour session, the group of two dozen bishops and even more bloggers talked about the challenges in keeping up with the all-pervasive social media but also acknowledged the absolute necessity of doing so in order to reach people and connect them more deeply with their faith — or put simply: to evangelize.

In question-and-answer sessions, a panel discussion and in small groups, the bloggers repeatedly urged the bishops to use social media tools at their disposal such as blogs and Twitter or Facebook accounts as a means to communicate a living faith in the modern world.

If the bishops had any doubt about the number of people, Catholics in particular, who use social media, a new study by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, confirmed that there is indeed a big audience out there, and that audience wants material that is relevant and also entertaining.

Mark Gray, director of Catholic polls and a research associate at CARA, gave the bishops and bloggers highlights of the study, “Catholic New Media Use in the United States, 2012″ commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Communications.

The survey, of 1,047 Catholics from Sept. 10-18, showed that 62 percent of adult U.S. Catholics, representing an estimated 36.2 million people, have a profile on Facebook; 58 percent of Catholics age 30 and under share content such as pictures, articles and comments at least once a week on social media; and nearly a third of all surveyed said they would like their pastors and bishops to blog.

An immediate takeaway from the survey was that the sheer number of Catholics online cannot be ignored.”

By Carol Zimmerman

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Catholic Herald:John McAreavey sets up Catholic foundation

November 12th, 2012

Below is an excerpt from an article in the Catholic Herald about a new Catholic foundation that is being set up by John McAreavey in memory of his late wife Micahela, who was murdered on their honeymoon last year.

“A Catholic man whose wife was murdered on their honeymoon last year said his faith has helped him come to terms with his loss.

John McAreavey, 28, has set up a charitable foundation in memory of his late wife, Michaela, to help young people celebrate their Catholic faith.

Michaela McAreavey, 27, was murdered as the couple honeymooned in Mauritius just 12 days after the wedding. Two hotel workers charged with her murder were acquitted after a lengthy trial earlier this year.

Asked if the murder of his wife had led him to question his faith, John McAreavey said: “Quite the opposite. My faith gave me great resolve. Thank God I have my faith.”

His wife, a religion teacher in a Catholic school, had “an unwavering faith”, he said.

Mr McAreavey established the Michaela Foundation so that “the values which Michaela lived in her life should live on, and [so] that young people can succeed in life fulfilment and happiness with faith, confidence and fun as their foundation”.

The campaign received a huge boost with a charity Gaelic football match in Belfast, Northern Ireland, last Sunday. The “Match for Michaela” drew an estimated 20,000 fans to raise funds for the foundation.”

By Michael Kelly

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Church of England: Announcement of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

November 9th, 2012

Below is an excerpt of the recent announcement made by the Church of Enlgand press office on the appointment of the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

“The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Justin Welby for election as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

He will succeed Dr Rowan Williams who is retiring at the end of December after ten years as Archbishop.

The Right Reverend Justin Welby, aged 56, is currently Bishop of Durham.  He will be enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral on 21st March 2013.

He said today: “I don’t think anyone could be more surprised than me at the outcome of this process. It has been an experience, reading more about me than I knew myself. To be nominated to Canterbury is at the same time overwhelming and astonishing. It is overwhelming because of those I follow, and the responsibility it has. It is astonishing because it is something I never expected to happen.”

From Church of England website

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Vatican Insider: Choosing Rowan Williams’ successor

November 6th, 2012

Below is an excerpt of an article in the Vatican Insider, which confirms the names of the potential successors to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams and speculates that the new leader will be announced before Christmas.

“It is now only a question of weeks, if not days, before the name of Rowan Williams’ successor is revealed. The press office of the Church of England has confirmed that the identity of its new leader will be announced before Christmas and has also confirmed the list of names newspapers have been publishing. The press has presented the list of candidates – from which the Crown Nominations Commission will have to choose two to and present to the British prime minister – as certain.

Other than the Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby – who lived in Africa for many years and supports the ordination of women bishops – other potential successor to Rowan Williams are: the Ugandan Archbishop of New York, John Sentamu, who is in favour of traditional values but not completely against women bishops and whose style is miles away from that of the English establishment and the Archbishop of London, Richard Chartres, a friend of Prince Charles’ who has lukewarm feelings about the ordination of women bishops.

Other favourites include the 52 year old Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth, who is close to the Church of England’s evangelical sphere and the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, who clashed with the government over same-sex marriage and welfare cuts.”

From Vatican Insider

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