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Vatican newspaper: World will end, but not because of Mayan calendar

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A papal astronomer gave his reassurances that the world will not end Dec. 21.

While the universe eventually will come to a "cold and dark" demise billions of years from now, Christians know God is always with his creation and welcomes everyone to eternal life, said Jesuit Fr. Jose Funes, the head of the Vatican Observatory.

The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published the priest-astronomer's article Wednesday under the headline "The end that won't come -- at least for now."

Use 'weapons' of love, prayer in cultural war, participants say

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In the battle to defeat the culture of death and preserve Christian values throughout the Americas, Christians need to adopt the "unconventional weapons" of Our Lady of Guadalupe: love and prayer, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore told participants at a Vatican congress.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver, who led a small group discussion Monday at the congress marking the 15th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops for America, told the same participants that an encounter with Christ, through Mary, is essential for ensuring a "transformation of culture."

Church must highlight women's vital role in ministry, says US speaker

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To counteract the widespread perception that women don't have a vital role in the church, Catholics need to learn more about the historical importance of women in ministry and retell those stories to younger generations, said a prominent U.S. Catholic speaker.

Catholics need "to take these young people, sometimes adults, under our wing and talk about these things and share our own life story of ministry," said Vicki Thorn.

Fund offers matching grants to projects helping West Virginia's poor

A new matching grant fund established by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston aims to help address "the grief and anguish of the poor among us," especially the children living in poverty, said Bishop Michael J. Bransfield.

Announcing the fund at a Nov. 29 news conference, he said it will provide matching grants for parishes, schools and agencies in the diocese that wish to implement local programs and outreach to address issues he identified in a pastoral letter he issued in early November.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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