Scalia, Staubach among seven who receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

U.S. President Donald Trump awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach Nov. 16 in the White House. Staubach and the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, both Catholics, were among this year’s honorees. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach, both devout Catholics, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in a White House ceremony.

President Donald Trump presented the awards to five others as well Nov. 16.

Calling Scalia “one of the greatest jurists ever to serve our country,” Trump said the one-time U.S. Supreme Court justice was admired for “his towering intellect, brilliant wit and fierce devotion” to the country’s founding principles.

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Posted in U.S.

Helping the poor is not a papal fad, but a duty, pope says

Pope Francis eats lunch with poor people as he marks World Day of the Poor at the Vatican Nov. 18. Some 1,500 people joined the pope for lunch in Paul VI hall. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As the rich get richer, the increasing misery and cries of the poor are ignored every day, Pope Francis said.

“We Christians cannot stand with arms folded in indifference” or thrown up in the air in helpless resignation, the pope said in his homily Nov. 18, the World Day of the Poor.

“As believers, we must stretch out our hands as Jesus does with us,” freely and lovingly offering help to the poor and all those in need, the pope said at the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. About 6,000 poor people attended the Mass as special guests; they were joined by volunteers and others who assist disadvantaged communities.

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Posted in Vatican

Pope offers prayers for victims of wildfires; death toll climbs

A house destroyed by the Camp Fire is seen in Paradise, Calif., Nov. 17. Pope Francis at his Angelus Nov. 18 prayed for the victims of the California wildfires. (CNS photo/Terray Sylvester, Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) — Cal Fire officials reported that the death toll had reached 77 in the Camp Fire north of Sacramento, one of the deadliest blazes in the state. The number of people who are missing has reached almost 1,000.

At the Vatican Nov. 18, Pope Francis said, “A special prayer goes to those affected by the fires that are plaguing California. … May the Lord welcome the deceased in his peace, comfort their families and support those who are involved in relief efforts.

As of Nov. 19, 150,000 acres had been scorched and 12,794 structures destroyed by the Camp Fire. Containment of the fire was 65 percent to date and full containment was expected Nov. 30.

“The tremendous loss from the Camp Fire ravaging parts of the diocese is devastating,” said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento. “The families in Paradise and the surrounding communities affected by the fire can rely on the support of our prayers.”
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Posted in U.S.

Army of volunteers provides turkey, all the trimmings for those in need

Art Gamotis, a member of the Edward Douglass White Knights of Columbus Council in Arlington, Va., stirs a pot at the annual Thanksgiving dinner at the council’s home in Arlington, Va., in 2009. For the past 34 years, the Knights council, has hosted Thanksgiving for folks in the community who might need a little help or a little company. (CNS photo/Arlington Catholic Herald files)

By Ann M. Augherton
Catholic News Service

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) — Picture the first Thanksgiving: a community coming together, one person bringing the fowl, another the bread, others sharing the fruits of their harvest, all gathering for a meal. The gratitude palpable for a plentiful harvest, for family and friends, for the opportunity to rest, reflect and break bread with others.

For the past 34 years, the Edward Douglass White Knights of Columbus Council in Arlington has hosted Thanksgiving for folks in the community who might need a little help or a little company.

Similar to an Amish barn-raising, the community comes together to provide turkey and all the trimmings, but with a side of organizing buses to pick up the dinner guests, gathering donated paper products and vegetables, and scheduling an army of volunteers to cook, carve and carry the meals to the homebound.

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Posted in U.S., Vatican

Catholic, international aid agencies press for end of war in Yemen

A malnourished child receives treatment at a medical center in Sanaa, Yemen. Catholic and international aid organizations are pressing for an end to Yemen’s worsening war, where the United Nations says one child dies every 10 minutes. (CNS photo/Yahya Arhb, EPA)

By Dale Gavlak
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic and international aid organizations are pressing for an end to Yemen’s worsening war, where the United Nations says one child dies every 10 minutes.

David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program, called Yemen “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster in 100 years.” Half of Yemen’s 28 million people are on the brink of starvation and the country is suffering from the worst cholera epidemic in modern history.

“The humanitarian disaster in Yemen is of horrific proportions,” Kevin Hartigan of Catholic Relief Services told Catholic News Service, describing the crisis erupting in the impoverished nation at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula which is embroiled in a nearly four-year-old conflict.

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Posted in World

Sunday Scripture readings, Nov. 18, 2018: True inheritance


The Catholic News Service column, “Speak to Me Lord,” offers reflections on the Sunday Scripture readings. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Nov. 18, Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle B
1) Dn 12:1-3
Psalm 16:5
2) Heb 10:11-14, 18
Gospel: Mk 13:24-32

By Jem Sullivan
Catholic News Service

Family feuds often revolve around inheritance. Decisions on who inherits family property and possessions bring out the best and the worst in family relationships. One hears of siblings with strong family bonds who are torn apart by inheritance disputes, while other families draw closer together to make amicable decisions to share inherited family possessions. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

University helps former foster youth, homeless find a new beginning

Maria Coleman is currently a student at the University of San Diego and part of the Torero Renaissance Scholars program. Established in 2012, the university program offers comprehensive support specifically to students who were once in the foster care system and those at risk for homelessness. (CNS photo/Denis Grasska, The Southern Cross)

By Dennis Grasska
Catholic News Service

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — The University of San Diego has a message for students who were once in the foster care system, homeless or at risk for homelessness.

“We recognize that things have happened to you in your past,” said Cynthia Avery, the Catholic university’s assistant vice president for student life, “but this is a time to rewrite your story.”

And the university is ready to assist with those rewrites.

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Posted in U.S.