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  • Roll up! Roll up for the magical 'Mystery Journey'!
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Parents looking to purchase a game that is safe as well as fun — for older kids and teens at least — can rest assured: "Layton's Mystery Journey" (Level-5) fits the bill.
  • Joan of Arc comes to Portland
    Portland Youth Philharmonic performs an oratorio called “Voices of Light” to accompany the 1928 silent film classic “The Passion of Joan of Arc” by Carl Dreyer. It is part of the Northwest Film Center's 34th Reel Music Festival this month. This is a collaboration between the Portland Youth Philharmonic, In Mulieribus, Portland State University choirs and four local soloists.
  • Hostiles
    NEW YORK (CNS) — “Hostiles” (Entertainment Studios) works from the premise that not only were white soldiers in the 1890s aware of their complicity in the decades-long genocide of Native Americans, they could feel immense, paralyzing guilt about their actions.
  • The Commuter
    NEW YORK (CNS) — If you think your trip back and forth to work is trying, consider the plight Liam Neeson finds himself in as “The Commuter” (Lionsgate).
  • Nativity collection shows students universality of Christ’s birth
    Two millennia ago, an infant Jesus was welcomed by Mary, Joseph — and an elephant.
  • Lego kit brings mystery of the Mass into homes
    ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) — Stephen and Jennifer Maas' family business, Domestic Church Supply Co., carries one product: a Lego kit that brings the mystery of the Mass into the living rooms of families around the world.
  • Five decades later, still they sing
    A choir that formed five decades ago at now-closed Marycrest High School in Portland gave what may be one of its last concerts Dec. 8 at the Grotto. The Allegras took shape in the innovative hands of Dominican Sister Diane Bridenbecker, who allowed them to belt out popular music at a time when most Catholic school choirs were strictly classical.
  • Italian mosaic artist's dream realized with completion of Trinity Dome
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Giovanni Travisanutto's mosaic career began when he was an 11-year-old boy standing on a step stool to reach the workbench at the mosaic school in Spilimbergo, Italy.
  • Gregorian chant called seminarian to Catholicism
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — As Gabe Bouck enters Advent, a season in which Catholics are urged to answer God's call for conversion, the seminarian is reminded of the melodic voice that inspired him to become Catholic.
  • Irish bishop recalls Cranberries' musician for her faith, inspiration
    DUBLIN (CNS) — The Cranberries' frontwoman, Dolores O'Riordan, has been described as a woman of soul and courage by the bishop of Limerick, where she honed her musical talent at a Catholic school in the 1980s. O'Riordan, 46, died suddenly Jan. 15 in London, where she had been due to record material for a new release. Police were investigating her death, calling it “unexplained.”
  • Cardinal offers profound thoughts on importance of silence
    The ancient psalm, "Be still and know that I am God," is a challenge in today's world of constant noise and distraction. But it is necessary if we wish to know God — and ourselves and our purpose in this world — fully. Cardinal Robert Sarah, in an unusual and far-ranging interview by the French journalist Nicolas Diat, offers profound observations about silence and why we must seek it.
  • Young Catholic invites readers to explore church's truth, goodness
    Catholic wunderkind Brandon Vogt, who joined the church in 2008, is one of the go-to spokesmen for both Catholic and secular media when they need an articulate young Catholic to interview.
  • Insidious: The Last Key
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The easiest way to judge the quality of an "Insidious" film is to gauge how quickly the actors get into a poltergeist-haunted house. On that score, "Insidious: The Last Key" (Universal), the fourth installment in the franchise, does not disappoint, since it opens in one.
  • Paddington 2
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Unlikely as it seems, "Paddington 2" (Warner Bros.), an endearing blend of animation and live action, sends the much-loved bear of its title (voice of Ben Whishaw) to the slammer. More predictably, once imprisoned — in a grim Victorian fortress of a jail — he still manages to exert his trademark charm on all around him.
  • Actress who played nun liked 'Lady Bird' script 'the moment I read it'
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — It's safe to say that Lois Smith has "a performative streak" within her. That phrase is the most memorable line Smith has in playing the character of Sister Sarah Joan in the movie "Lady Bird," which nabbed a couple of Golden Globe nominations while Oscar buzz is building.
  • 'This Is Us,' 'Game of Thrones' top viewing choices for people of faith
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — It's probably no surprise that people who go to church watch TV. What may be a surprise are their prime-time favorites.
  • Father Figures
    NEW YORK (CNS) — About the funniest joke in the threadbare comedy "Father Figures" (Warner Bros.) concerns the fact that, in childhood, its two main characters — now-grown and estranged fraternal twins Kyle (Owen Wilson) and Peter (Ed Helms) Reynolds — had a pet cat named Chairman Meow.
  • Sound of music: Vatican offers ordinary choirs extraordinary venues
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Fifteen-year-old show choir member Molly Biggs of Topeka, Kansas, thought her biggest singing break would be performing in Kansas City.
  • Downsizing
    NEW YORK (CNS) — An odd combination of elements makes up the offbeat drama "Downsizing." But the residue that remains with viewers is ultimately a positive one.
  • All the Money in the World
    NEW YORK (CNS) — By turns suspenseful, darkly comic and stridently moral, "All the Money in the World" (Sony), a slightly fictionalized account of a famous kidnapping, makes a strong case that immense wealth not only can't buy happiness, it also imposes depths of misery that few ever know. As scripted by David Scarpa from John Pearson's 1995 book "Painfully Rich," it's an outstanding example of multilayered, mature filmmaking from director Ridley Scott.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
    NEW YORK (CNS) — More than a few parents have, no doubt, had occasion to be alarmed at how easily –- and how often — kids become absorbed by gadgetry these days.
  • The Greatest Showman
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The life of pop entertainment pioneer P.T. Barnum provides the subject matter for the big, brash musical "The Greatest Showman" (Fox).
  • Cappella Romana performs 12 Days at St. Mary's Cathedral
    St. Mary's Cathedral is the venue for a Christmas feast of music at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6.
  • Pitch Perfect 3
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The third time's not a charm for "Pitch Perfect 3" (Universal), a discordant and exceedingly unfunny musical comedy.

  • Musician Matt Maher to youth: Waste spare time at the feet of Jesus
    SYDNEY (CNS) — U.S. Catholic musician Matt Maher has advice for young people: Waste more time at the feet of Jesus, and the rest of your life should go according to God's plan.
  • Books offer Christian moral frameworks for judging immigration issues
    With last names like Ramirez, Garcia and Sanchez filling up baseball lineups; and tacos, empanadas and guacamole spicing up fast-food menus, one could ask if Latinos are as American as apple pie.
  • Franciscans helped with 'The Sultan and the Saint' documentary
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — The encounter in 1219 between St. Francis of Assisi and Malek al-Kamil, the sultan of Egypt, during yet another flashpoint in the long history of the Crusades has been made into a documentary.
  • BBC miniseries praised for balanced approach to Gunpowder Plot
    OXFORD, England (CNS) — When BBC TV concluded a graphic peak-time drama, "Gunpowder," Nov. 4, its tone and content surprised many Catholics.
  • Late author's essays give insight into daily realities, towering truths
    Brian Doyle was a lover of words and stories — probably in that order.
  • The 12 Days of Christmas in the East
    Westerners celebrate Christmas every year on the same day, but it’s usually on Jan. 7 for the Orthodox — an old tradition, based on the Julian calendar and therefore called “Old Christmas Day.”
  • Keeping the garden green:
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Roughly half of the Vatican’s 110 acres is devoted to gardens, and a major project is underway to keep them as “green” as possible.
  • The Disaster Artist
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The fact-based comedy "The Disaster Artist" (A24) is certainly not a film for everyone. Wholly unsuitable for kids, it also includes elements that many adults will prefer to avoid.
  • Priest makes documentary with survivors of Canada's residential schools
    VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CNS) — Father Larry Lynn was wrapping up a visit to the Northwest Territories, interviewing aboriginal survivors of residential schools about their experiences, when he thought to ask his tour guide about her life.
  • Director makes vocation, faith 'The Star' of Christmas movie
    TUCSON, Ariz. (CNS) — For Tim Reckart, filmmaking started when he was growing up in Tucson, shooting amateur video death scenes using ketchup as fake blood.
  • Table talk: Author shares stories from his meals with St. John Paul II
    ROME (CNS) — For some 25 years as pope, St. John Paul II would invite people to his table each day — sharing breakfast, lunch, dinner and conversation with a wide variety of cardinals, bishops, theologians, writers and friends.
  • Writer's work touches on ongoing search for personal moral standards
    TORONTO (CNS) — Catholic writer Philip Caputo shot to literary prominence in 1977 with release of his Vietnam war memoir, "A Rumor of War."
  • 'Godless,' streaming, Netflix
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Viewers haven't seen Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) of "Downton Abbey" fame quite like this. In a stunning transformation, Dockery swaps her well-born English accent for a flat American one to play the pivotal role of tough New Mexico frontierswoman Alice Fletcher in Netflix's new western "Godless."
  • Ferdinand
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Generations of children have fallen in love with the peace-loving protagonist of Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson's 1936 classic "The Story of Ferdinand."
  • Just Getting Started
    NEW YORK (CNS) — There's bad, there's awful and then there's "Just Getting Started" (Broad Green). This dismal attempt at comedy is so epically empty that it makes the average "Porky's" sequel seem like a scintillating masterpiece.
  • Cancer deters comedian McDonald's NCYC gig, but not her faith or humor
    INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — A common sight among the excited youths and silly hats at the biennial National Catholic Youth Conference is comedian Judy McDonald and her service dog Daisy.
  • Three new books offer prayers to help Catholic couples
    Whether they know it or not, married couples today need lots of prayer to live their vocation well. They always have, but perhaps today they may need it more than ever. Three recently published books approach this need in rather different ways.f
  • Book says nuns found John Paul I dead, could help on path to sainthood
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Two women may hold the key to clearing up questions still surrounding the death of Pope John Paul I and to overcoming the first hurdle on his path to canonization.
  • Italian philosopher writes 'intellectual biography' of Pope Francis
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The "snobbery" of some self-professed intellectuals who seem to think Pope Francis does not have the philosophical and theological prowess to be pope, and the writings of Pope Francis that seem to echo the work of Father Romano Guardini gave Italian philosopher Massimo Borghesi an idea.
  • The same craftsmen as the Vatican
    The same craftsmen who make ornaments and ceramics for the Vatican have sent a batch to Oregon, where they are on sale at the Grotto, the Catholic sanctuary at Northeast 85thand Sandy. Rampini Ceramics makes and paints ornaments by hand.
  • Learning about God through holy creation
    “To talk about God, we need to take reality into account as known via science,” Holy Cross Father Thomas Hosinski told a crowd at University of Portland on All Saints Day. The no-nonsense professor of theology has written a new book that does just that.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Despite the high price of a movie ticket these days, patrons are unlikely to come away from a showing of the engrossing sci-fi epic "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (Disney) feeling shortchanged.
  • Folks raised Catholic
    A naturally curious man, Chicago Sun Times investigative writer Bob Herguth has done yeoman’s work, interviewing 40 famous people who were raised Catholic, from Bianca Jagger to House Speaker Paul Ryan. All, Herguth maintains, can teach us something important.
  • 'Alias Grace,' streaming, Netflix
    NEW YORK (CNS) — From the outset, viewers of the Netflix miniseries "Alias Grace," which began streaming Nov. 3, will be under Sarah Gadon's spell.
  • Meeting Archbishop Sheen
    “The Archbishop and I” tells a rarely heard story of a woman and her childhood friendship with world renowned speaker Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.
  • Joyeux Noël with In Mulieribus
    In Mulieribus’ performance of medieval French carols, songs of the nativity and other seasonal favorites has become a holiday tradition.
  • Reflections from the road
    Beaverton Catholic attorney Allen Reel was a columnist for the Catholic Sentinel for a decade, writing on estate planning and other matters. Few knew the man was a poet.
  • The worth of outsiders
    In “Sacred Strangers,” author Nancy Haught leads readers through six biblical accounts of outsiders, some of them well known, some unfamiliar. In each, Haught considers how the outsider teaches. Her graceful writing helps us reflect on those lessons and want to talk over the points with others.
  • Must-read book details genocide in birthplace of Christianity
    This remarkable book should be read by all Catholics, indeed all Christians who care about the fate of Christianity in the lands of its origin, the Middle East and North Africa. Christianity predates Islam in these places by some seven centuries and the Bible, the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament form the basis of Islam's most holy book, the Quran.
  • Ring Christmas Bells!
    Part of the Grotto’s Festival of Lights is its unique calendar of choirs from churches and schools and other musical groups from across the Northwest, including some locally famous choruses and ensembles.
  • Cappella Romana celebrates Christmas at St. Mary’s Cathedral
    Cappella Romana, Portland’s vocal ensemble that performs early and contemporary sacred classical music, will give audiences at taste of Orthodox Christmas at St. Mary’s Cathedral the weekend of Dec. 16–17. The show, directed by the group’s associate music director, John Michael Boyer, consists of Byzantine chants for Christmastide in Greek, Arabic, and English. The show features Lebanon-born guest soloist, Rev’d Deacon John (Rassem) El Massih, and the release of a new CD of the program.
  • Sermon on the screen
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Part of a voice-over in the trailer for "Lady Bird" — playing over scenes from the movie and in between dialogue — comes from a homily delivered to Catholic high school students attending a school Mass in the beginning of the movie.
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Its rather ill-chosen title notwithstanding, "The Man Who Invented Christmas" (Bleecker Street) involves no denial of the Nativity.
  • Coco
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Will "Coco" (Disney) be your cup of tea? That largely depends on how well equipped you are to interpret this visually rich animated fantasy's presentation of the afterlife, one which owes little to Christianity and much to the pre-Columbian beliefs associated with Mexico's Day of the Dead.
  • Books highlight papal advice on ministry, diaconate as 'vocation of joy'
    During his first chrism Mass as pope, March 28, 2013, Pope Francis used the phrase "with the smell of the sheep" for the first time in his pontificate.
  • Organ recital at Mount Angel
    Christopher Wicks will play his 8th annual Advent Organ Recital Sunday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. in the Mount Angel Abbey Church in St. Benedict.
  • Catholics have fared worse than Protestants in China

    In "The Souls of China," author Ian Johnson shows how China does, indeed, have more than one soul. The religious landscape is dynamic yet chaotic, as the Chinese people carry not only a 5,000-year history behind them, but also the excesses of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, the year of Mao's death.

  • Children's books show Christmas' true joy with beautiful stories, art
    The following books are suitable for Christmas giving: "The Watcher" by Nikki Grimes; "Be Yourself: A Journal for Catholic Girls" by Amy Brooks; "Look! A Child's Guide to Advent and Christmas" by Laura Alary; "Anointed: Gifts of the Holy Spirit" by Pope Francis; "That Baby in the Manger" by Anne E. Neuberger; "Angel Stories from the Bible" by Charlotte Grossetete; "The Secret of the Santa Box" by Christopher Fenoglio; "Contemplating Scripture in Color" by Sybil MacBeth; "Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper" by Jean Schoonover-Egolf.
  • Roman J. Israel, Esq.
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Writer-director Dan Gilroy's drama "Roman J. Israel, Esq." (Columbia) is a generally intriguing character study pitting idealism against the hard realities of contemporary life and the allure of wealth and comfort.