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The Catholic Capodanno

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In Italy, many New Year's wishes begin with Buon Capodanno - literally translated it is a wish for a good "head of the year." In ancient times "Janus" represented by a two-faced god looking backward and forward epitomized the New Year's Eve character by looking back on the old year and ahead to the future.

Catholics across the globe will be looking back at 2013 as an historic year - one where, citing health reasons, Pope Benedict XVI resigned his position, and on March 13, Pope Francis was elected as the new head of the Catholic Church.

Catholics bid a bittersweet farewell to their German-born pope and wholeheartedly welcomed the first Latin-American pope.

World Youth Day was an extraordinary event as Pope Francis visited Rio de Janeiro during the last week of July.

Pope Francis began reforms within the church by example - adhering to simplicity in his papacy and reaching out to the poor and sick.

An increase in persecutions against Christians in Syria, Egypt and throughout the world took the dim and occasional spotlight in the news.

As the Year of Faith concluded, Pope Francis urged Catholics to revisit the roots of faith and to live in accordance with the teachings of the gospel.

Looking ahead to 2014, one of the most anticipated events is the canonization of two popes: John XXIII, and John Paul II on April 27.

Though specific dates have not been set, Pope Francis is expected to visit the Holy Land in 2014, and to continue his mission to reform the church for the world in which it lives, by enacting the New Evangelization from within.

At the head of the year, the Catholic Church looks back on the blessings that change can bring and foresees reforms, charismatic leadership, and an invigorated Body of Christ to carry the gospel into the future. Buon Capodanno, Happy New Year, and God Bless!

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