Philly’s On A Roll

Kat Clark, 25, has chosen to make a home in West Philadelphia after graduating in 2012 from Swarthmore College.

“It’s just a great place to live,” she said as she sipped coffee at La Colombe in the shadow of City Hall. Though the Chicago-area native considered relocating to New York City after school, the lure of Philadelphia’s cultural offerings, combined with the city’s comparative affordability, proved too tempting.

“There are a lot of artistic people around and this great academic scene,” she said, ticking off a laundry list of attributes that drew her to move here. “It’s not too large, but you can still do everything else you would do in a big city.

“In Philly, there’s still a lot going on, but you have space to grow,” echoed her friend, 24-year-old Tayarisha Poe.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Philly_is_on_a_national_roll.html

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Pope’s Christmas Wish: Hope For A Better World

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis offered a Christmas wish Wednesday for a better world, praying for protection for Christians under attack, battered women and trafficked children, peace in the Middle East and Africa, and dignity for refugees fleeing misery and conflict around the globe.

Francis delivered the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (Latin for “to the city and to the world”) speech from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to 70,000 cheering tourists, pilgrims and Romans in the square below. He said he was joining all those hoping “for a better world.”

In his first Christmas message since being elected pontiff in March, he asked for all to share in the song of Christmas angels, “for every man or woman … who hopes for a better world, who cares for others,” humbly.

Among places ravaged by conflict, Francis singled out Syria, which saw its third Christmas during civil war; South Sudan; the Central African Republic; Nigeria; and Iraq.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131225/popes-christmas-wish-hope-for-a-better-world

U.S. Catholics Back Pope Francis On Changing Church’s Focus

CHICAGO, IL — Pope Francis‘ comments that the Catholic Church should not focus so much on homosexuality, abortion and contraception have met with strong approval from U.S. Catholics, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Friday.

Sixty-eight percent of American Catholics agree with comments the Pope made to that effect in an interview published last month in the Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica, while 23 percent disagreed, according to the poll. There was little difference in opinion between observant and less-observant Catholics, women and men, and among age groups, the poll found.

American Catholics also like their new pope, with 89 percent having a “favorable” or “very favorable” opinion, and only 4 percent voicing an unfavorable opinion, the poll found.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/mc-usa-catholics-pope-francis-20131004,0,236895.story#ixzz2gleE6dyM
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Pope Francis Leads Massive Peace Vigil For Syria

VATICAN CITY — Tens of thousands of people answered Pope Francis’ call for a four-hour Syria peace vigil in St. Peter’s Square late Saturday, joining Christians and non-Christians alike in similar vigils around the world.

About 70,000 people, according to an estimate by the Vatican, were present at the start of the vigil. It was believed to be one of the largest rallies in the West against proposed U.S.-led military action against the Syrian regime following the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus.

Francis spent most of the vigil in silent prayer, but during his speech he issued a heartfelt plea for peace, denouncing those who are “captivated by the idols of dominion and power” and destroy God’s creation through war.

“This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: Violence and war are never the way to peace!”

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/814491/Pope-leads-massive-peace-vigil-for-Syria