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Christians in Lebanon: United in the Cross View Comments
By Jennifer Scroggins

A cross on the stairs leading up to St. George Melkite Catholic Church in Yaroun is a fitting reminder
of the church’s own resurrection. Located a few miles from the Israeli border, St. George was nearly destroyed by bombing in 2006.

I am a Catholic. But I had to travel halfway across the world to understand that I am also a Christian.

Despite the fact that I was raised Roman Catholic, the idea of being a Christian was merely that—an idea, a concept without a true, meaningful reality in my daily life.

In Lebanon, I found that identity made manifest.

And as Christians around the world prepare for Easter, the call to unity in the love of Jesus Christ comes through to us all, loud and clear.

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Jennifer Scroggins is the division director of Content Creation and Services for St. Anthony Messenger Press. She has a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University and previously worked for newspapers in Fort Wayne, Lexington and Cincinnati. She visited Lebanon in November 2010.

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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog We all have fears, but we don’t have to be afraid. Jesus is always with us to protect us and give us courage. We only have to remember that the battle is the Lord’s. When Jesus gives us the victory, let’s be sure to thank Him and praise Him for what He has done.

 
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