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Whom did Jesus call friend?

 |  NCR Today

Was this notice timed to coincide with the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene?

The Vatican press office announced today that Pope Benedict XVI has written a children's book called, The Friends of Jesus. His friends were 12 men, acccording to the book.

The prologue, by Spanish Fr. Julian Carron, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, begins: ""One upon a time there was a small group of men who, one day two thousand years ago, met a young man who walked the roads of Galilee . Each had his own job and family but, in an instant, their lives changed. They were called Andrew and John, Peter, Matthew, Thomas, etc. They were twelve and we know them today as the 'Apostles'. ... In Jerusalem at that time everyone knew that they were Jesus' 'friends'. ... Later they were joined by St. Paul ..."

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Carron writes that Benedict XVI "takes us by the hand and accompanies us as we discover who Jesus' first companions were, how they met him and were conquered by him to the point that they never abandoned Him." [What about that "three times you will deny me" bit and who went to the grave first on that first Easter?]

The 48-page book is illustrated by the Italian artist Franco Vignazia and is published by San Giuliano Milanese. The text is based on passages from the pope's catecheses in his Wednesday general audiences

English and Spanish versions are expected within the next year.

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July 4-17, 2014

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