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Noel

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Life-affirming holiday drama about five people struggling with personal pain -- including a lonely, middle-aged divorcee (Susan Sarandon) taking care of her ailing mother and a hotheaded cop (Mike Walker) whose uncontrollable jealous fits have driven a wedge between him and his beautiful fiancee (Penelope Cruz) -- as their lives intersect and are forever changed on Christmas Eve. Director Chazz Palminteri manages to elicit good performances from his ensemble cast and strikes the right balance between the stories' sweet-and-sour elements. But the film, though falling short of its Capraesque pretensions, imparts an uplifting message about faith, forgiveness and finding the miraculous in our everyday lives. An implied sexual encounter, some sexual comments and a few crude expressions. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested.

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Ludovico of Casoria: Born in Casoria (near Naples), Arcangelo Palmentieri was a cabinet-maker before entering the Friars Minor in 1832, taking the name Ludovico. After his ordination five years later, he taught chemistry, physics and mathematics to younger members of his province for several years. 
<p>In 1847 he had a mystical experience which he later described as a cleansing. After that he dedicated his life to the poor and the infirm, establishing a dispensary for the poor, two schools for African children, an institute for the children of nobility, as well as an institution for orphans, the deaf and the speechless, and other institutes for the blind, elderly and for travelers. In addition to an infirmary for friars of his province, he began charitable institutes in Naples, Florence and Assisi. He once said, "Christ’s love has wounded my heart." This love prompted him to great acts of charity.
</p><p>To help continue these works of mercy, in 1859 he established the Gray Brothers, a religious community composed of men who formerly belonged to the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he founded the Gray Sisters of St. Elizabeth for the same purpose.
</p><p>Toward the beginning of his final, nine-year illness, Ludovico wrote a spiritual testament which described faith as "light in the darkness, help in sickness, blessing in tribulations, paradise in the crucifixion and life amid death." The local work for his beatification began within five months of Ludovico’s death. He was beatified in 1993.</p> American Catholic Blog Father, there are so many times when I attempt to do something good, and disturbing situations arise, as if someone or some power is trying to stop me. Give me the grace never to be afraid or avoid doing good for fear of Satan. In Jesus's name, Father, I ask for this grace, Amen.


 
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