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Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – December 18, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on December 18

4:00 – Reflections on the Christian Life: How Our Story is
God’s Story
In our hearts, we know that every event in our lives is providential and that each of us plays a critical role in the unfolding of the story God has written. We believe that God’s will is anchored deep within our soul, and so too is the desire to know it and to live it. Acclaimed Catholic author Anthony Esolen claims that the story of your life has already been written and can be discovered by considering the life and person of Jesus. Only in God does the world possess meaning, and therefore, only in relation to God, are our lives genuine stories. He is here to discuss his proposition.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

5:20 – Having an Incredible Impact on the Poor This Christmas
In Kenya, the Sacred Mercy Schools are located in the thick of abject poverty, where children beg on the streets and where a generation of parents has been virtually wiped out by AIDS. This is work done “in the trenches” where hunger, illiteracy and despair must be battled by the Catholic Church for hope to prevail. But Cross Catholic International Outreach is there to welcome children off the streets and provide them with a quality education, daily nutritious lunches and a firm grounding in Catholic moral values. Jim Cavnar of is here to talk about their partnership with Ave Maria Radio to provide scholarships for Kenyan children. And other practical ways to serve the poor this Christmas season with their catalogue of need. You select an item on the catalog and that item gets shipped to a poor family in need overseas. Shoes, powdered milk, Catholic children’s books, vitamins, seeds and more. Things we take for granted that they are overjoyed to receive for Christmas.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

For the Pope’s Birthday, the Vatican Releases a Photo Album


Just in time for Pope Francis’ birthday, the Vatican Internet Office created this special photo album.
Click here to see the entire 32-page album, featuring some of L’Osservatore Romano‘s best shots of the Holy Father at prayer, with children, waving to crowds…. in short, doing what he does every day. 
Happy Birthday, Papa Francesco!

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – Dec. 17, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on December 17

4:00 – Kresta Comments – Will Dissident Theologians and Cultural Leftists Regret Claiming Pope Francis as Their Own?
  
4:20 – “Christian privilege” Out – “Christian Bigots” In

It’s settled, then: Christian conservatives use religion as a justification for their discriminatory behavior, and Americans will only enjoy true religious freedom when their so-called “religious liberty” claims are defeated. That was the consensus at a panel discussion recently sponsored by the Center for American Progress. We talk about how we got here and what can be done about it with Joel Gehrke of the Washington Examiner.

4:40 – What happened to Catholic & Protestant literature?
With much of the world’s attention focused on Pope Francis, matters concerning the Catholic Church and its teachings are attracting increased interest. Overlooked, however, is the decline of Christian influence on American culture, especially its literature. This, says Dana Gioia, a celebrated poet and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, is not only a demographic paradox — Catholics constitute the largest religious group in America — but it also marks a major historical change. “Sixty years ago,” says Gioia, Catholics played a prominent, prestigious, and irreplaceable part in American literary culture. Today, however, the only ones with significant influence are lapsed Catholics or ex-Catholics hostile to their former Church. Dana is here to discuss it.

5:00 – Kresta Comments – Will Dissident Theologians and Cultural Leftists Regret Claiming Pope Francis as Their Own?

5:20 – The Catholic “Hobbit”

Before you visit theatres for the second installment of the film based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved “The Hobbit,” brush up on your elvish and pack your “Baggins,” because Tolkien Scholar Joseph Pearce is here to take you on an extensive tour of the Catholic themes found in “the Hobbit” and in the life of JRR Tolkien

Church of the Nativity Gets a Facelift for Christmas


Pilgrims visiting the Holy Land this Christmas season will encounter an unfamiliar sight:  The historic Church of the Nativity, wrapped in scaffolding. 
The church was erected by St. Helena over a cave which is believed to have been the place where Mary gave birth to the Christ Child.  The Emperor Justinian I, Byzantine emperor who ruled from 527 to 565 AD, constructed most of the church as it is visible today. 
Parts of the Church of the Nativity date back more than 1,500 years; the last significant repair was in 1478, when Venetian carpenters painstakingly restored the ceiling.  Today, after 600 years of wind and weather, the rooftop is leaking—threatening the priceless mosaics and other artwork and sacred items in the church, as well as the plaster, floors and frescoes. 
First on the “To Do” list, according to the Palestinian engineering consultants hired to develop a plan for the repairs, are the rooftop and windows.  Once the building is protected from the elements, work can begin on the external facade, internal plastering, wall mosaics and paintings and wooden works.
The budget for the first phase of the project is expected to reach $3 million.  Of that, the Palestinian government has agreed to cover $1 million, with another $800,000 raised by private donors.  The rest will come from European nations including France, Hungary, Russia and Greece. 
According to a report in the Deseret News:

The first phase, expected to last one year, is being carried out by “Piacenti,” an Italian firm that specializes in the renovation of historical sites. One by one, experts will repair the hundreds of wooden beams in the roof.

Company president Giammarco Piacenti said the rooftop was masterfully restored by Venetian carpenters in 1478. He said the project would be conservative and seek to keep as many original pieces as possible.

“We’ll save as many parts, even those in bad conditions, as we can,” he said. “We’ll only replace pieces that are no longer functional and can no longer help hold the roof. They will be as few as possible and will be made of a compatible wood, of aged wood of the same type and quality.

Aside from the roof and windows, other elements that will need repair in the future are the external facade, internal plastering, wall mosaics and paintings and wooden works. If funding is secured, the work could take four to five years.

Not included in the restoration project is the area under the altar crypt.  On that spot, the highlight of the pilgrims’ visit to Bethlehem, a 14-point silver star marks the spot where, according to long tradition, the Baby Jesus was born. 

"No–They’re ROSE."

What else might Cardinal Dolan be saying?

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – December 16, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on December 16

4:00 – Rebuilding Catholic Culture

Rarely does a book come along that so succinctly explains the decline of modern culture, articulates a defense of the Church’s teachings, and offers a hope-filled path for building a civilization grounded in Catholic truth. In Rebuilding Catholic Culture, Dr. Ryan Toppingdoes all three, pulling back the curtain on the false philosophies of the secularists and showing that in the West today the most formidable threat to freedom is not failing economies or Islam, but secularism. Our best defense, he claims, is a vibrant Catholic culture, and our best hope for creating it lies in the principles found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  You will discover sensible ways to begin restoring Catholic culture — right now — in your own life and family, and in our larger communities as well: in the theater, the classroom, in our hospitals, and even in the public square. Ryan joins us.


5:00 – Innocence: A Novel
He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen. She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found. But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching. It’s the latest novel from the Catholic bestselling author Dean Koontz who blends mystery, suspense, and acute insight into the human soul in a masterfully told tale that will resonate with readers forever. He joins us.

5:40 – Kresta Comments: New Interview with Pope Francis Published by La Stampa

Pope Paul VI May Be Beatified Soon, After Healing of Child In Utero

By Kathy Schiffer

Pope Paul VI, author of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), will likely be beatified in the next few months, according to a report by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli.
Writing in the Italian newspaper La Stampa,Tornielli reports that the Medical Commission of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has declared that the former pope’s healing of an unborn child is “unexplainable.” Patrizio Polisca, Benedict XVI and Francis’ personal doctor, is chair of the Medical Commission.
The alleged miracle will now be studied by theologians and cardinals, before the case is forwarded to the Holy Father for approval.
The case involved a pregnant woman in California in the early ‘90s.  Doctors advised the mother to abort, after they found an abnormality in the developing fetus which normally results in brain damage.  The woman refused and continued the pregnancy, praying for the intercession of Pope Paul VI.
When the child was born, the medical team was surprised to find no evidence of defects.  However, only after the child reached puberty could doctors assert with absolute confidence that he had made a full recovery.  Finally last year, Father Antonio Marrazzo, C.Ss.R., postulator for the cause of canonization for Paul VI, said with confidence that “a truly extraordinary and supernatural event had occurred, thanks to the intercession of Paul VI.”
Several years ago, Father Marrazzo had received a list of a number of possible miracles; and from the list, he felt that the strongest case could be made for healing of the unborn child who appeared to be healed in utero.
And last year—on December 20, 2012—Pope Benedict approved the declaration of Pope Paul as a person of “heroic virtue”, granting him the title of “Venerable”.
According to Catholic News Agency:
The debate over the late Pope’s cause has intensified over the past year, with doctors exchanging medical opinions until yesterday’s final verdict. Speaking at a conference on Paul VI’s visit to the Holy Land last November, the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, said the former Pope’s beatification “should be relatively imminent.”

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – December 13, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on December 13

4:00 – Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith
Six years ago our friends Fr. John McCloskey and Russell Shaw wrote Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith. Based on the great success and influence that Father McCloskey has had in helping instruct many converts to Catholicism, especially numerous high profile DC figures, this book is a powerful combination of the methods, theology, and theories that McCloskey uses in his evangelization efforts. In addition to his compelling insights on how to teach or share the faith in a winning, inspiring way, this work includes the contributions of several dozen converts of Fr. McCloskey who give their own moving testimonies of why they converted to Catholicism, and how that life-changing journey happened for each of them. We revisit this inspirational book today with Fr. McCloskey.

5:00 – Innocence: A Novel
He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen. She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found. But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching. It’s the latest novel from the Catholic bestselling author Dean Koontz who blends mystery, suspense, and acute insight into the human soul in a masterfully told tale that will resonate with readers forever. He joins us.

5:20 – The Catholic “Hobbit”
Before you visit theatres for the second installment of the film based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved “The Hobbit,” brush up on your elvish and pack your “Baggins,” because Tolkien Scholar Joseph Pearce is here to take you on an extensive tour of the Catholic themes found in “the Hobbit” and in the life of JRR Tolkien

WATCH LIVE: Conference on Religious Persecution – December 13-14 in Rome

Religious freedom is under siege.  Around the world, from Cairo and Damascus to Tehran and Beijing, Christianity finds itself increasingly persecuted.
Beginning today the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University, together with Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, is hosting a two-day conference in Rome to highlight Christianity’s contributions to the understanding and practice of freedom for all people.  At the conference, new findings will be presented from a two-year study by dozens of scholars concerning Christianity’s contributions to freedom.
The Sorbonne’s Rémi Brague, winner of the 2012 Ratzinger Prize, and His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphaël I Sako of Baghdad, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldean Catholic Church, will deliver keynote addresses. Other speakers will include Baylor University President Ken Starr, former solicitor general of the United States, and Marcello Pera, former president of the Italian Senate.
CLICK HERE to watch the LIVE WEBCAST from Rome on Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14 from 3:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST at the Aleteia website.
Following is a detailed agenda. 
AGENDA
Friday, December 13, 2013, 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
9:30-10:00 a.m. | Welcoming Remarks
Thomas Farr
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Christians and Religious Freedom
Marcello Pera, Why We Should Call Ourselves Christians (Even if We Aren’t)
10:00-11:15 a.m. | The Terrible Facts: What is Happening to the World’s Christians?
11:15-11:30 a.m. | Coffee break
11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. | The First Thousand Years: Christianity’s Early Relationship to Freedom (as Persecuted and as Persecutor) 
1:00-3:00 p.m. | Lunch
3:00-4:15 p.m. | Christian Views on Dignity, Slavery, Proselytism, and Democracy
4:15-4:30 p.m. | Coffee break
4:30-5:45 p.m. | Religious Freedom in the Lion’s Den?
6:00-7:30p.m. | Keynote Address by Professor Rémi Brague, God and Freedom: Biblical Roots of the Western Idea of Liberty.
Saturday, December 14, 2013, 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
9:30-10:00 a.m. | Opening address by Ken Starr
10:00-11:15 a.m. | Christians Among the Most Vulnerable: Empowering Women and the Poor in Developing Societies 
11:15-11:30 a.m. | Coffee break
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Christianity and Freedom in Asia
1:00-3:00 p.m. | Lunch
3:00-4:15 p.m. | Would Europe or America Exist Without Christianity?
4:15-4:30 p.m. | Coffee break
4:30-5:45 p.m. | A conversation on Christianity and Freedom in the Future of the West
Matthew Franck (Moderator)
Roger Trigg
David Novak
Remi Brague
John Allen
6:00-7:30 p.m. | Keynote Address by Archbishop Louis Raphael Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Iraq, Christianity Matters: What Middle Eastern Societies Will Lose If Christians Flee
This event is made possible by a grant from the Historical Society’s Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs Program.

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – December 12, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on December 12

4:00 – If Aristotle’s Kid Had an iPod
Parenting is hard . . . but it’s not impossible. As a parent, you know that raising children presents greater questions every day. Aristotle has the answers . . . you just have to know how to find them. Conor Gallaghermasterfully weaves Aristotle’s ancient philosophy, scientific studies, pop culture, and parenting tales together making If Aristotle’s Kid Had an iPod a funny, rich, and informative read, and an indispensable guide for any parent who wants to pass on the secrets of a happy life to their kid. He joins us today

5:00 – Education in Virtue
The Disciple of Christ- Education in Virtue is a Christian curriculum structured on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas regarding the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  It aims to provide a consistent structure and systematic instruction for youth to learn about the virtues so that they can form the habits and dispositions necessary to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.  This curriculum emphasizes Christian discipleship as indispensable toward human flourishing and the quest for joy.  It has been developed in response to the call for a New Evangelization, firmly conveying the reality that happiness is found in a life of holiness. The genesis of the project, Sr. John Dominic of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, is here to discuss it

5:40 – Kresta Comments

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