Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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Jerusalem, Israel, Oct 26, 2016 / 03:50 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Suspected burglars’ desecration of the Church of the Transfiguration has prompted outcry from leading Christians in the Holy Land.

“The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, together with all Churches and the Custody of the Holy Land, condemn this desecration as a heinous crime and an act that violates the sanctity of the Holy Sites,” the patriarchate said Oct. 25.

“We also ask the police to conduct an investigation, to seriously look into the matter and apprehend the perpetrators who are culpable of these disgraceful actions.”

The Church of the Transfiguration is on Mount Tabor, near the Sea of Galilee in Israel. In the care of the Franciscans, it is held to be the site of Christ's Transfiguration.

Unknown burglars robbed the church Oct. 24. They destroyed the tabernacle, desecrated the Hosts, and stole the ciborium after throwing the Hosts on the floor.

Icons were damaged, chalices were stolen, and the donation box was robbed.

Although Jewish extremists have targeted some Christian churches and holy sites for vandalism, church officials told Agence France Presse they believe robbery was the motive in this instance. There was no graffiti painted on the church.

The church is a major pilgrimage site for Christians. At the Transfiguration, Christ went up the mountain to pray and his appearance was physically changed. He conversed with the prophets Elijah and Moses, according to the gospels. The Transfiguration revealed Christ’s divinity to his disciples Peter, James, and John.


Vatican City, Oct 26, 2016 / 10:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican will host a concert for the poor and homeless of Rome next month, not only using the concert to raise money for Pope Francis’ charities, but also inviting the poor to attend as the guests of honor.

Called “With the Poor and for the Poor,” free-will donations taken at the end of the concert will benefit Pope Francis’ charitable projects: this year, the building of a new cathedral in Moroto, Uganda, and an agrarian school in Burkina Faso.

The concert will take place Nov. 12 in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

Following the concert, volunteers of the Jubilee of Mercy and members of the choir of the Diocese of Rome will distribute a meal and a small gift to the invited guests as a reminder of the evening.

Performances at the concert will be by the Roman Symphonic Orchestra and the National Choir of Saint Cecilia, directed by Academy Award-winner Ennio Morricone. They will be performing excerpts from some of Morricone’s most famous works.

Alongside them, Msgr. Marco Frisina will direct the choir of the Diocese of Rome in performing several sacred songs and will lead those present in reflections on the theme of charity in honor of the end of the Jubilee of Mercy.

The event, organized by the Opera Nova Onlus and the choir of the Diocese of Rome, is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization and by the St. Matthew Foundation in memory of Cardinal Van Thuan, a Vietnamese cleric who was imprisoned by his nation's communist government for 13 years.

Guests of an earlier edition of the concert which took place at the Vatican May 14, 2015 included detainees from Rome’s Rebbibia prison, in addition to elderly, the sick, families and young persons from Roman parishes, particularly in poorer areas.

In his speech for the announcement of the 2015 concert, Msgr. Diego Giovanni Ravelli drew attention to the emphasis on poverty, and quoted Pope Francis, saying it is something which “calls us to plant hope!”

In reference to the event’s title, he explained that the concert will be “with” the poor because the protagonists will be those most in need.

All donations made by the sponsors of the concert as well as those who wish to make an offering will be given to Pope Francis’ charitable projects, which in 2014 boasted over one and a half million in charitable giving. Distribution of the funds is a responsibility of the papal almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski.


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