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Religion

  • The season of Lent and Easter

    Spring is eagerly anticipated, as many people look forward to enjoying the great outdoors once more. Spring is also a special time of year for practicing Christians.
    Beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays until the arrival of Easter Sunday, the Lenten season is a very important time of year for Christians. During Lent, Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, self-denial, and spiritual discipline. While the Bible does not reference Lent, the practice of observing Lent has become a standard.
    The following focuses on each of the special days of this church season as they pertain to Western Christianity.
    Ash Wednesday
    The Day of Ashes commemorates the repentance of sin. On Ash Wednesday, Christians have ashes placed on their foreheads in the shape of a cross in recognition of their need to repent.
    Palm Sunday
    On what is now called “Palm Sunday,” Jesus Christ rode a donkey into Jerusalem while villagers welcomed him and waved palm branches. This is mentioned in each of the Biblical Gospels and occurs a week before His subsequent resurrection. Jesus possibly rode a donkey rather than a horse as a sign of peace, as a war-waging king might ride a horse.
    Holy Thursday

  • Upcoming Events

    Saturday, March 11
    • Purim Megillah Reading with special refreshments at 7:15 p.m. at the Santa Fe Jewish Center-Chabad, 230 W. Manhattan Ave., Santa Fe. For more information visit santafejcc.com or call 505-983-2000.
    Sunday, March 12
    • Purin in Italy at the Santa Fe Jewish Center-Chabad, 230 W. Manhattan Ave. in Santa Fe begins at 12:15 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and a children’s drum circle. Then, at 1 p.m. is mulitmedia Megillah reading, followed by Italian-themed lunch, masquerade, live music with Fred Simpson and the African drummers, dancing, Hamentashen, Lechayim and adult drum circle. Cost  is $20. For more information visit and rsvp: santafejcc.com or call 505-983-2000.

  • Saint Job to host Blini Breakfast

    Saint Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Christian Church will host Blini Breakfast from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.
    Traditional blini, a type of thin pancake, will be served in the traditional style with smoked salmon, herring, butter and sour cream. Vegetable caviar, eggs, cheese and a variety of berry preserves will also be available.
    Blini are traditionally served in Slavic households during the week before the beginning of the Lenten Fast.
    The thin, crepe-like pancakes are eaten together with fish, sour cream and butter in order to consume all these foods before the beginning of Great Lent.
    These foods – that is, fish and dairy products, along with meat – are not eaten during the 40-day Great Fast period preceding Easter or Pascha, as it is called among Orthodox Christians.
    The practice of fasting, or abstaining from certain foods, dates to Judaism. The practice was recorded in Biblical times, Christ having fasted in the desert for 40 days.
    “Lent” comes from the ancient English word for spring – that  time of natural rebirth which corresponds to the process of inner spiritual regeneration, which every Christian should strive to experience in his or her preparation for celebrating the feast of Christ’s Resurrection.

  • Explore the most charitable nations in the world

    Philanthropic efforts are meant to help the less fortunate, but the benefits of being charitable also extend to those doing the giving. The National Institutes of Health found research participants who chose to donate a portion of the $100 they were provided enjoyed activated pleasure centers in the brain. Being charitable also can motivate others to give, including children who realize the benefits of philanthropy.
    Another benefit of being generous is that it can recharge a person’s life for the better. Donating time or money can create opportunities to meet new people who support the same causes. This may be the driving force behind countries around the world that have established themselves as the most giving per capita.

  • Create religious Easter traditions

    Easter is on the way, and practicing Christians across the globe have spent the Lenten season preparing for the day when they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent is a season best spent in the company of close friends and family, and the following are a few ways for Christians to celebrate their faith in the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday.
    • Give Easter eggs a different meaning. Easter eggs are popular among youngsters, and that popularity can be used to teach kids about their faith. Eggs are frequently viewed as a symbol of new life, so parents can use them to show their children how Christ died and was born anew. Eggs can be filled with small items that symbolize something related to Christ’s story. Or they can be left empty to represent the empty tomb after His resurrection.
    • Eat food that conveys Biblical stories. For Easter dinner, enjoy foods that are mentioned in the Bible. A fish dinner can convey the story of how Jesus multiplied fish to feed the crowds, or dine on lamb and share the story of Passover.

  • Saint Job of Pochaiv to start inquirers classes

    Saint Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Christian Church will hold inquirers classes for anyone who is curious about the ancient Christian Faith, on Thursday evenings in February.
    The classes will begin at 5:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
    The first class on Feb. 2 will be on Church History.
    For more information, visit stjobla.org, or call Father Theophan Mackey at 575-915-6535.

  • Santa Fe archbishop using ‘Social Gospel’ to fight poverty

    BY RUSSELL CONTRERAS
    Associated Press

  • White House Christmas theme: ‘The Gift of the Holidays’

    WASHINGTON (AP) — For her family’s final Christmas in the White House, Michelle Obama used the holiday decor to highlight her core initiatives as first lady: military service, education and health.
    The familiar crowd-pleasers are still part of the annual show:
    • A towering tree dominates the Blue Room, trimmed as it has been in the past to honor the U.S. military and their families, an issue Mrs. Obama has emphasized.
    • Larger-than-life replicas of family dogs Bo and Sunny will greet tens of thousands of holiday visitors shortly after they enter through the East Wing.
    • And no White House Christmas would feel complete without the annual gingerbread version. This year’s replica on display in the State Dining Room weighed in at more than 300 pounds, including 150 pounds of gingerbread covered in 100 pounds of bread dough to form the white exterior. Models of Bo and Sunny sit out front, and Mrs. Obama’s revamped vegetable garden is represented.
    Downstairs in the library, education is the theme. Ornaments on two trees are written with the word “girls” in 12 languages, honoring the first lady’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative to help countries educate tens of millions of adolescent girls around the world. Other trees in the library are made out of crayons or pencils.

  • Pope OKs priests to absolve ‘grave sin’ of abortion

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Saying nothing is beyond the reach of God’s mercy, Pope Francis told Catholics worldwide he is allowing all priests to absolve the faithful of abortion — women and health workers alike — even while stressing that it is a grave sin in the eyes of the church to “end an innocent life.”
    In an Apostolic Letter made public Monday, Francis said he was extending indefinitely the special permission he had granted to all rank-and-file priests during the just ended Holy Year of Mercy.
    “There is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled” with God, the pope wrote in the 10-page letter, signed Sunday, the day the Holy Year ended.
    But, he added: “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life.”
    Because the Roman Catholic Church holds abortion to be such a serious sin, absolution had long been a matter for a bishop, who could either hear the woman’s confession himself or delegate it to a priest considered an expert in such situations, a potentially intimidating scenario for many of the faithful.

  • Catholic pro-life offices torched

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The FBI and Albuquerque Fire Department need help finding the person responsible for arson at a pro-life Catholic organization on Wednesday.
    Authorities say someone set several fires at the office of Project Defending Life, a Catholic-based ministry that offers help to pregnant women.
    The office and a chapel inside the building were damaged.
    Firefighters quickly put the blaze out and nobody was injured.
    The office is on San Mateo and Lomas boulevards.