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Man charged with burning down New Jersey parish (

The parish, Most Blessed Sacrament Church, is located in Franklin Lakes, a town of 11,000.

Priest, ex-spokesman for 9 Indian dioceses, arrested, accused of fraud (CNS)

Father Anand Muttungal, 47, has been charged with “cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust,” according to the report.

Illinois court dismisses Catholic school principal's retaliatory discharge claim (Religion Clause)

Mary Rehfield sued the Diocese of Joliet in 2017. She alleged she was fired “because she had reported threatening conduct from a parent to the police” and that diocesan officials were “making her a scapegoat for a situation they found embarrassing and problematic.”

No eulogies at funeral Masses, Cardinal Cupich affirms (National Catholic Reporter)

“Eulogies, stories, and favorite songs are most appropriately shared during this time of visitation at the Evening Vigil,” the Archdiocese of Chicago’s revised guidelines state. During the funeral Mass, “the pastor of the parish may allow a reflection by one individual. This is to take place between the Post-Communion prayer and the end of Mass. The personal reflections should be limited to 3 minutes and are to be presented in writing to the pastoral minister assisting the family in advance of the service.”

Chaldean patriarch calls for muted Christmas celebrations in Iraq (AP)

“It’s not normal to celebrate our joy and happiness while others are dying,” said Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako, referring to the killing of hundreds of demonstrators.

Independent abortion clinics bemoan their shrinking numbers (National Right to Life News)

The number of independent abortion clinics in the US—that is, those not affiliated with Planned Parenthood, hospitals, or physician’s offices—has fallen over 32% since 2012.

USCCB awards $1.6M to projects in Central, Eastern Europe (USCCB)

A subcommittee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has granted funds to 100 projects in 22 formerly Communist nations. The grants are funded by a collection that is taken up in many dioceses on Ash Wednesday.

St. Lucy

St. Lucy is a virgin and martyr of Syracuse in Sicily, whose feast is celebrated on December 13th. According to tradition, Saint Lucy was born to rich and noble parents in the year 283. Her father was of Roman origin, but his early death left her dependent upon her mother, whose name, Eutychia, seems to indicate that she was of Greek heritage.Like so many of the early martyrs, Lucy had consecrated her virginity to God, and she hoped to devote all her worldly goods to the service of the poor.Her mother, Eutychia, arranged a marriage for her, but for three years she managed to postpone the marriage. Lucy prayed at the tomb of Saint Agatha to change her mother’s mind about her faith. As a result, her mother's long haemorrhagic illness was cured, and she consented to Lucy's desire to live for God. Saint Lucy’s rejected bridegroom, Paschasius, denounced Lucy as a Christian. The governor planned to force her into prostitution, but when guards went to fetch her, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. The governor ordered her to be killed instead.After a gruesome torture which included having her eyes torn out, she was surrounded by bundles of wood which were set afire, but the fire quickly died out. She prophesied against her persecutors, and was then executed by being stabbed to death with a dagger.According to later accounts, Lucy warned Paschasius he would be punished. When the governor heard this he ordered the guards to gouge out her eyes; however, in another telling, it was Lucy who removed her eyes in an attempt to discourage a persistent suitor who greatly admired them. When her body was being prepared for burial, they discovered her eyes had been restored. This and the meaning of her name ("light" or "lucid") led to her patronage with eyes; the blind, eye trouble, and other eye ailments.

'Avoid ecumenical Christmas celebrations during the Advent season,' Indonesian archbishop advises (UCANews)

“A number of Catholics attend many ecumenical Christmas celebrations held by clans from early December,” said Archbishop Kornelius Sipayung of Medan. “This has seen the number of Catholics attending Christmas Masses decrease significantly because people become tired of going to many Christmas celebrations.”

Pope calls idea of declaring Mary co-redemptrix 'foolishness' (Crux)

Pope Francis made the comment during his Spanish-language homily at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (video, booklet).