First came the Year of Mercy, followed by the U.S. election and now the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. It’s as if, in encouraging mercy, Pope Francis anticipated this Trumpian age before any of us saw it coming.

No doubt many of you have read the article from Catholic News Service about the Maltese bishops’ response to Amoris Laetitia that appeared last week on The Catholic Register web site.

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the Church marks the feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron of journalists and the Catholic press. St. Francis was a bishop of Geneva who died in 1622, facts that would seem to remove him far from the hustle and bustle of modern journalism.

Calgary Bishop Fred Henry said he knew it was time to retire when his pain became constant and his posture became stooped to the point that “my feet are much more familiar to me than the sky.”

I have crossed paths with Bishop Frederick Henry for nearly 20 years on visits to my family in Calgary. He has always been kind to me, made me welcome in his diocese and I have enjoyed the occasions we have had time to talk.

Visiting Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change several years ago, I overheard a small black boy ask his mother: “Why were white people so bad to us?”

Montreal was not quite 250 years old when Mark Twain, scanning a skyline of church steeples, called it the city of a hundred bell towers.

Another year over, a new one just begun. For 55 newsroom employees at the Halifax-based Chronicle Herald, almost the entire year was spent on the picket line. A year is a long time to be on strike.

An iconic soft drink commercial in 1971 invited the world to sing in perfect harmony. But the ad was hardly original. It came three years after Pope Paul VI made a profound pitch to teach the world to live in peaceful harmony.

It’s that time of year again. For Christians, the time from Christmas day until the Baptism of the Lord is the true Christmas season. It is, however, also the time for New Year’s resolutions.

I just read about a priest in Italy who took down a crèche because he feared it would offend non-Christians. There was no indication he was forced to do it, but it seems he decided to be proactive just in case.