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  • Julliard-trained violinist returns to N.J. roots to record first album
    CAMDEN, N.J. (CNS) — In recent months, violinist Alana Youssefian has performed at New York City's Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Yale University and venues in Texas, California, Washington and Canada.
  • Priest-author tells story of Catholicism in the American heartland
    Imagine, if you will, that the most important Catholic in the world decided to visit your diocese. How would you plan for such a visit? Where would you hold a Mass for, say, 350,000 people? That was the challenge and the opportunity embraced by Bishop Maurice Dingman when he learned that Pope John Paul II would honor the people of Iowa and the American heartland with a visit Oct. 4, 1979.
  • 'Pure,' Jan. 23, WGN America
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The crime drama "Pure," which originally aired on Canada’s CBC two years ago, has found new life on the WGN America cable channel. The first season of the fitfully engaging, affecting, if somewhat preposterous limited series de-buts Wednesday, Jan. 23, 10-11 p.m. EST. The six-hour program will continue in that time slot through Feb. 27.
  • Books offer antidote to religious stereotypes in difficult times
    Lutheran Bishop Krister Stendahl, a pioneer in ecumenism, famously offered three rules for interfaith dialogue: 1) When trying to understand another religion, ask the adherents of that religion and not its enemies. 2) Don't compare your best to their worst. 3) Leave room for "holy envy."
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
    NEW YORK (CNS) — "If Beale Street Could Talk" (Annapurna) is a faithful, evocative and reverent adaptation of James Baldwin's 1974 novel about a struggling young African-American couple, with many of the attendant weaknesses such careful film realizations can bring with them.
  • The Kid Who Would Be King
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The Arthurian legend gets an inventive updating in "The Kid Who Would Be King" (Fox), a thrilling adventure that casts schoolchildren as latter-day Knights of the Round Table, destined to save the world.
  • Glass
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Those willing to entertain the real-life existence of superheroes as well as those well-versed in the previous films of director M. Night Shyamalan would appear to be the target audience for his thriller "Glass" (Universal).
  • Spider-Man
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Volunteering at a homeless shelter, serving an unpaid internship and saving his city are all in the day's work for Peter Parker (voice of Yuri Lowenthal) in "Spider-Man" (Sony Interactive Entertainment).
  • Vatican leaps into the world of sports
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican announced its plans to take a leap of faith into the wide world of sports with the creation of its first ever sports association.
  • Faustina to play at St. John the Apostle
    OREGON CITY — “Faustina, Messenger of Divine Mercy” will show at St. John the Apostle Parish Friday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. The showing is free, with a free-will offering requested. Parish staff say the presentation is suitable for ages 13 and up. For more information call Ryan Mainard at (503) 742-8228.
  • Replicas
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The scientist who serves as the main character of the dull sci-fi misfire "Replicas" (Entertainment Studios) has clearly failed to heed the wisdom of Motown.
  • The Upside
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Take the "white savior" formula of 2009's "The Blind Side," in which a Caucasian of considerable means changes the life of an impoverished African-American, mix in a little of "Driving Miss Daisy" from 1989, and you have "The Upside" (STX).
  • A Dog's Way Home
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Fans of 2017's "A Dog's Purpose" may be anxious to catch the quest-based adventure "A Dog's Way Home" (Columbia). Both movies are based on novels by W. Bruce Cameron (who co-wrote the current screenplay with his wife, Cathryn Michon) and canine cuteness abounds in both.
  • 'Blood,' streaming, Acorn
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Ancient family history collides with contemporary tragedy in the overwrought and dreary limited series “Blood.” Having premiered on Virgin Media in October, the six-hour crime melodrama is currently streaming on Acorn.
  • On the Basis of Sex
    NEW YORK (CNS) — From "On the Basis of Sex" (Focus) one learns that even though a tax case may be destined to serve as a landmark for equal treatment under the law — as well as a breakthrough for future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) — it's nearly impossible to keep stodginess at bay.
  • The Favourite
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Hollywood and history have always been uneasy partners, the former taking liberties with the latter when it comes to the truth.
  • Escape Room
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The routine thriller "Escape Room" (Columbia) may leave discerning moviegoers looking for their own means of egress. A high quotient of panic-driven transgressions against the Second Commandment and the rules of verbal propriety aside, there’s not much to object to about director Adam Robitel's film. Yet his project ultimately amounts to little more than a less disturbing take on the dreaded "Saw" franchise.
  • Virginia teen draws on faith to create saintly digital illustrations
    DUMFRIES, Va. (CNS) — For high school student Rebecca Pohlmeier, it all started with her love of St. Therese of Lisieux and drawing.
  • Historian provides riveting account of WWII chaplains from Notre Dame
    This riveting account of the heroic contributions of 35 chaplains and missionaries during World War II is nearly impossible to put down. The author, John F. Wukovits, is a renowned military historian who melds rigorous research with expert storytelling. The result is an inspiring and richly detailed narrative that reveals the challenges that these religious — priests along with some brothers and sisters of Notre Dame's Congregation of Holy Cross — faced.
  • Update: Catholic Herald brings magazine's 'beauty, brains, faith' to U.S.
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Michael Warren Davis says he is still pinching himself that at age 24 he is the U.S. editor of the Catholic Herald, a British publication that launched a U.S. edition in mid-November.
  • Book shows human faces of IS victims, atrocities of Islamic caliphate
    The atrocities of the Islamic State are manifold. While trying to form an Islamic caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria its activities included genocide, religious persecution, sexual slavery, the brainwashing of teen prisoners, forced conversions and training teens in the savagery of warfare and terrorism. Although the caliphate is disappearing, its scars remain.
  • Holmes & Watson
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective and his doctor sidekick are given a comedic makeover in "Holmes & Watson" (Columbia). A successful result, however, is far from elementary.
  • Joriad North American Truffle Dog Championship
    What’s the proper paring for the state’s most beloved fungi? For many attendees of the Oregon Truffle Festival in Eugene it’s the chance to watch pups of all breeds sniff out the culinary treasure —Tuber oregonense.
  • Welcome to Marwen
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The story behind the fact-based tale "Welcome to Marwen" (Universal) is a compelling one. And it provided the subject matter for "Marwencol," a highly-regarded 2010 documentary by filmmaker Jeff Malmberg.
  • Author says we don't know everything about biblical hero Samson
    METUCHEN, N.J. (CNS) -- The story of Samson from the Book of Judges -- the extraordinarily strong Israelite who saved his people from the Philistines' rule -- may be familiar to most people, but according to the author of a new book about him, there is still a lot to learn.
  • Sister Wendy Beckett, art critic and British TV star, dies at age 88
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Sister Wendy Beckett, who gained fame in the 1990s for television shows and books explaining art, died Dec. 26 in Norfolk, England, at the age of 88.
  • With color, Salvadoran photographer transmits message of hope, solidarity
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Miguel Servellon remembers that his mother's prayers during difficult times of war in his native El Salvador included the phrase "life always has color," words of comfort she used to transmit to her children the message that there is always beauty in the world even when times are hard.
  • Vice
    NEW YORK (CNS) — In 2008, Oliver Stone, a director not always associated with calm and impartial reflections on recent history, helmed a biopic of George W. Bush that was neither flattering nor abusive. Instead, Bush was presented in a balanced and shaded way that made the film absorbing for viewers.
  • Woman hopes exhibit of her creches will help all focus on gifts of Jesus
    CONYERS, Ga. (CNS) — Nativity scenes on display at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers feature a multitude of colors and sizes, reflect various cultures and are crafted from materials such as ceramics, shells, pewter, paper-mache, alabaster, corn husk and wax, to name a few.
  • Newport Seafood and Wine Festival
    Winter isn’t a time when tourists generally flock on Oregon’s picturesque coast. But the beauty of the area only transforms and doesn’t disappear for the season.
  • Second Act
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The appealing workplace comedy "Second Act" (STX) which posits that street smarts should rate at least as highly as an educational pedigree, is not so much #Metoo as #Whynotme.
  • Catholic Christmas carols not in danger in Quebec, specialist says
    QUEBEC CITY (CNS) — In the province of Quebec, one of the most secular societies in the world, debates around Christmas carols are not so much about faith and religion as they are about culture. A choir and sacred music specialist believes these carols remain beloved because people especially preserve the emotion associated with them.
  • Masses, prayers, talent on gridiron take Catholic college to title game
    ATCHISON, Kan. (CNS) — The Benedictine College Ravens made a historic run through the football playoffs this year and found themselves in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Football Championship game in Daytona Beach, Florida.
  • Video game roundup: Some are naughty, others are nice
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Video games involving harmless brawls, combat on the battlefields of World War II, an adventure in ancient Greece and a tale of revenge are all in high demand this shopping season. Whether these products make appropriate Christmas gifts varies considerably from title to title.
  • Christmas Eve marks 200th anniversary of beloved carol 'Silent Night'
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Exactly 200 years ago this Christmas Eve — Dec. 24, 1818 — in a little church in what is now Austria, the world heard for the first time a poem set to music that eventually would be hailed as one of the most popular and beloved Christmas carols of all time.
  • Mortal Engines
    NEW YORK (CNS) — The phrase "a city on the move" is usually just an expression. Not so in "Mortal Engines" (Universal), director Christian Rivers' screen version of Philip Reeve's novel for young adults.
  • Winter whale watching in Tillamook County
    While Oregon humans fuss about presents and prepping for New Year’s Eve, the giants of God’s creation are swimming past to warmer climes, thrusting to the surface of the Pacific every five minutes or so for air. 
  • Mary Poppins Returns
    NEW YORK (CNS) — It has taken more than half a century, but at long last "Mary Poppins Returns" (Disney). The result is a delightful sequel to the 1964 classic that will divert all but the youngest and most skittish members of the family.
  • Once Upon a Deadpool
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Somebody over at 20th Century Fox — or, perhaps, someone in Marvel Comics' real-life universe — came up with the following idea: Let's slightly rework this year's "Deadpool 2" in order to have it qualify for a less restrictive rating from the Motion Picture Association of America than the original R, let's market it to a broader audience over the holidays and let's give away a portion of the proceeds to charity.
  • The Mule
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Old people are inherently cute and Drug Enforcement Administration agents reflexively racist in "The Mule" (Warner Bros.).
    This ambling, fact-based story of an octogenarian drug runner who becomes a success at it because no one, evidently, believes he's capable of such a dangerous task is more than a little morally tone deaf.
  • Bumblebee
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Does "Bumblebee" (Paramount) deserve a lot of buzz? While it shares the slightly preposterous premise of all the "Transformers" movies — being concerned, as they are, with alien robots who can shapeshift into cars — this installment of the sci-fi action franchise ranks above average thanks to an emotionally appealing story line.
  • Aquaman
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Though he may lack a pineapple in which to dwell, "Aquaman" (Warner Bros.), as his name suggests, spends much of his time under the sea.
  • During Advent, Trinidad musicians visit houses to sing of Jesus' birth
    The instruments ranged from Latin scratchers and mandolins, to African-inspired skin drums and a rustic-looking box-bass — literally, a large wooden box just shy of two feet, with a stout, cylindrical mast protruding from one corner normally to the bassist's breast. A lone, thick string connected the box's center and mast-top; when plucked, it sounded like a cannon with a cold.
  • The PBS documentary "Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago" follows pilgrims as they hike from southern France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The trek takes about 30 days. Santiago de Compostela is a famous Catholic pilgrimage site because what are believed to be the remains of St. James were discovered there. (CNS photo/courtesy CaminoDocumentary.org)
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — What a long, strange trip it's been. Not walking the 500 miles in a pilgrimage from southern France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, that Lydia B. Smith first did a decade ago. Not even making a documentary about "the Camino," as the pilgrimage is called, when she returned a year later with a camera and film crew.
  • Astoria Film Museum for a rainy day
    Astoria’s museums make it perfect for winter visits. The Columbia River Maritime Museum, with its dramatic exhibits, gets the top vote on Tripadvisor. However, the Oregon Film Museum should not be missed, especially for Oregonians. 
  • Two new books give parents ideas to help raise kids Catholic
    Throughout his papacy, St. John Paul II called on parents to recommit themselves to the vows they made in matrimony and again during their children's baptisms: to raise their children in the faith. He called parents "the first and foremost educators of their children."
  • New children's books help little ones know Jesus with prayer, Bible
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — The following books are suitable for Christmas giving.
  • Christmas preparation overwhelms Advent's, church musicians say
    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Have a holly, jolly ... Advent?
  • From beach to basilica: 'Sand Nativity' brings unique style to Vatican
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — From the beach town of New Smyrna, Florida, just a stone's throw away from Daytona Beach, Rich Varano never imagined his unique talent of sculpting sand would take him to the heart of Christianity.
  • The Heart and Essence of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
    Jerry Schindler, a former priest of the Archdiocese of Portland now living in Mount Angel, has long spoken to audiences on matters of faith. 
  • Comfort and Joy: A Classical Christmas presented by the Oregon Symphony
    What better to revel in the Christmas season than by enjoying a special Christmas concert with the Oregon Symphony? Attendees can expect to hear light classics, a merry sing-along and seasonal favorites. The concert is billed as a family-friendly event with a price to reflect that. For the performance, both a choir and orchestra will perform and the audience will be invited to sing along with the orchestra in the medley finale.
  • Stan & Ollie
    NEW YORK (CNS) — To reinforce the proposition that Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were, and still are, sacred icons of film comedy, the pitch-perfect, affectionately nostalgic "Stan & Ollie" (Sony Classics) reproduces their 1953 arrival in Cobh, Ireland, during what would be their last tour of British music halls.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
    NEW YORK (CNS) — Traditionalists be warned: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" (Columbia) has little to do with your father's Peter Parker.
  • Amid church's abuse crisis, music can unite the faithful, says composer
    IJAMSVILLE, Md. (CNS) — "How can we pray when we feel betrayed?"