Program provides children with small gifts, shares joy of Jesus' birth

Children at a school in Mathebonite, Haiti, hold up a "Box of Joy" they each received for Christmas in this undated photo.

BOCA RATON, Fla. (CNS) — The annual Box of Joy program "is an opportunity to consciously take time out of the busy holiday season to focus on serving others and sharing the joy of Jesus' birth," said the head of the Florida-based organization that sponsors it.

Tikuna deacon prepares to become first priest from Amazonian tribe

Deacon Ferney Pereira and members of his Colombian parish take a boat on a river in the Amazon Sept. 8, 2019.

NAZARETH, Colombia (CNS) — On a Sunday morning, Deacon Ferney Pereira was leading a prayer service in this small village's Catholic Church.

U.S. officials seek greater cooperation with Vatican on religious freedom

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, his wife Susan, and Callista Gingrich, U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, listen to a tour guide as they visit the Sala Regia at the Vatican Oct. 2, 2019.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Promoting religious freedom, providing humanitarian assistance and fighting human trafficking are three major issues the Vatican and the U.S. administration agree on and on which they will continue to coordinate efforts, panelists said at a joint symposium.