St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Text of Joint Declaration Signed by Pope and Ecumenical Patriarch

Vatican City, November 30, 2014

Here below is the Vatican-provided text of the joint declaration signed by Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew this morning in Istanbul:


We, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, express our profound gratitude to God for the gift of this new encounter enabling us, in the presence of the members of the Holy Synod, the clergy and the faithful of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to celebrate together the feast of Saint Andrew, the first–called and brother of the Apostle Peter. Our remembrance of the Apostles, who proclaimed the good news of the Gospel to the world through …

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Advent Meditation This Week

Think about the annunciation. The angel Gabriel comes to Mary to announce the good news of Jesus, the Word becomes flesh.

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.l28And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”m29But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31n Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 32o He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,* and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, 33and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”p34But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”*35And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.q36And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived* a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; 37for nothing will be impossible for God.”r38Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.  (Luke 1:26-38)

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Liturgy of the Eucharist, Part 42

  The priest is preparing to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, so should we. The priest presents to us Jesus Himself. He presents to us our Savior in the words of John the Baptist in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.” John points out Jesus as being the lamb of sacrifice. This lamb takes away the sins of the entire world. He not only takes away the sins of a particular people in a particular time, this mercy is available for all, though not all receive it. Continue reading

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Pope at Audience: What Lies Ahead Is Not ‘Annihilation,’ But Fulfillment

Vatican City, November 26, 2014

In the Christian perspective, the distinction is not between “those who are already dead and who are not, but between those who are in Christ and who are not.”

Pope Francis said these words during his weekly general audience this morning in a foggy St. Peter’s Square, adding, “This is the decisive factor, really decisive for our salvation and for our happiness.” …

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St. Louis Archbishop Responds to Grand Jury Decision in Ferguson Case

Washington, D.C., November 25, 2014

Here is a statement from Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, released Monday in response to the Ferguson grand jury decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson.

Wilson is a white police officer who on Aug. 9 shot and killed an 18-year-old black man, Michael Brown. The details surrounding the death were examined by the grand jury to determine if Wilson should be charged in a crime. On Monday, the jury handed down their decision not to indict him.

Monday night and into this morning, Ferguson was the scene of looting and violence as protesters responded to the decision. …