Through serving, people continue to ‘Walk With Francis’ a year after trip

Pope Francis celebrates Mass and the canonization of Junipero Serra outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington one year ago. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis celebrates Mass and the canonization of Junipero Serra outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington one year ago. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Kelly Seegers
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As Pope Francis boarded the plane after his visit to Washington a year ago, he carried with him a book containing more than 100,000 pledges that people in the Archdiocese of Washington had made to “Walk With Francis” by either praying, serving or acting to improve their community.

Leading up to the pope’s visit, the Archdiocese of Washington, along with Catholic Charities, launched the Walk With Francis initiative, which encouraged people to prepare for the pope’s visit by following in his example of love and mercy.

People were asked to make pledges to pray regularly for the pontiff, to serve by caring for those in need and supporting charitable efforts, or to act to promote human life and dignity, justice and peace, family life and religious freedom, care for creation and the common good. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Vatican revises norms for examining alleged miracles

St. Peter's Basilica is seen during sunset in Rome in a 2011 file photo. Pope Francis has approved revised norms for the Congregation for Saints' Causes regarding medical consultations on healings alleged to be miracles. (CNS/Paul Haring)

St. Peter’s Basilica is seen during sunset in Rome in a 2011 file photo. Pope Francis has approved revised norms for the Congregation for Saints’ Causes regarding medical consultations on healings alleged to be miracles. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In an effort to ensure transparency as well as historical and scientific accuracy, Pope Francis has approved revised norms for the Congregation for Saints’ Causes regarding medical consultations on healings alleged to be miracles.

Among the regulations published by the Vatican Sept. 23 was the requirement that the medical panel have a quorum of six experts and that a two-thirds majority is needed to approve a statement declaring a healing has no natural or scientific explanation. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Palestinian Catholic chef says he expresses his identity through cooking

Bassem Hazboun, a Catholic Palestinian chef from Bethlehem in the West Bank is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS/courtesy Bright Stars of Bethlehem)

Bassem Hazboun, a Catholic Palestinian chef from Bethlehem in the West Bank is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS/courtesy Bright Stars of Bethlehem)

By Rhina Guidos
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — When he was a child, Bassem Hazboun loved helping his mother prepare French delicacies in their Bethlehem kitchen. But it was his father who kept trying to steer him to study engineering as he reached his teens.

“You don’t need this,” his father said when Hazboun told him he wanted to take a cooking course. But the passion he found while cooking by this mother’s side never left.

“My food is my identity,” said Hazboun, a Catholic Palestinian who traveled in September from his native Bethlehem in the West Bank to showcase food from his homeland to various U.S. locales, including Washington and Connecticut, part of the “Room for Hope” festival. The festival aims to raise money for scholarships to help youth in the Holy Land study music, dance, cooking and other arts. Continue reading

Posted in U.S., World

Sniffing out a good bishop: Improving the process is papal priority

Pope Francis lays his hands on Archbishop Peter B. Wells, papal nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia, during his March 19 ordination to the episcopate in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis lays his hands on Archbishop Peter B. Wells, papal nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia, during his March 19 ordination to the episcopate in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. (CNS/Paul Haring)

(Backgrounder and analysis)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — To say a bishop “smells like his sheep” is considered high praise today and is one of the top characteristics Pope Francis says he wants in bishops and candidates for the position of guiding a diocese.

But like many of the other traits Pope Francis says he is looking for, there is no foolproof smell test and, in fact, a variety of sheep with varied scents are present in most dioceses.

Pope Francis’ instruction — almost a plea — to the world’s apostolic nuncios Sept. 17 to “cast the nets” wider when identifying potential new pastors for a diocese and his continuing discussion with his international Council of Cardinals about “the spiritual and pastoral profile necessary for a bishop today” make it clear that providing good shepherds for every diocese is a responsibility the pope takes seriously. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Charlotte bishop calls all to pray for peace, justice

A man confronts riot police during Sept. 21 protests in Charlotte, N.C., after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of an apartment complex. (CNS/Reuters)

A man confronts riot police during Sept. 21 protests in Charlotte, N.C., after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of an apartment complex. (CNS/Reuters)

(Updated Sept. 23)

By Patricia L. Guilfoyle
Catholic News Service

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CNS) — After two nights of violence in Charlotte, Bishop Peter J. Jugis called on men, women and children in the Diocese of Charlotte to join him in prayers for “peace and justice” for all victims of violence and for law enforcement personnel who have been victims of “unjust violence.”

“Let us pray for all men and women of good will to be instruments of harmony and the always-shining light of Christ in our neighborhoods, workplaces, schools and public places,” the bishop said in a statement Sept. 22. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Pope Francis, MD: Using medical metaphors to provoke, explain

Pope Francis gives a vaccine to Rodrigo Lopez Miranda, 5, held by Mexico's first lady Angelica Rivera during a visit to the Federico Gomez Children's Hospital of Mexico in Mexico City last February. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis gives a vaccine to Rodrigo Lopez Miranda, 5, held by Mexico’s first lady Angelica Rivera during a visit to the Federico Gomez Children’s Hospital of Mexico in Mexico City last February. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has proven to be a master of metaphor and, as fall approached, he increasingly turned to the field of medicine to make his points.

Of course, probably his most famous medical metaphor is his repeated description of the church today as a “field hospital.”

In his 2013 interview with the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, he said: “I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds.”

At his early morning Mass Sept. 22, he showed that while triage might be his specialty, he is familiar with a range of ailments. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Retired Archbishop Gerety of Newark dies at 104

Retired Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark, N.J., the world's oldest Catholic bishop, died at age 104 Sept. 20. He is pictured in a 2010 photo. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Retired Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark, N.J., the world’s oldest Catholic bishop, died at age 104 Sept. 20. He is pictured in a 2010 photo. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

(Updated Sept. 22)

By Catholic News Service

TOTOWA, N.J. (CNS) — Retired Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark died Sept. 20 while in the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor at the order’s elder-care facility in Totowa. He was 104.

Archbishop Gerety’s body will be received at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart the afternoon of Sept. 25 for the viewing, which will last until 6:30 p.m. local time.

On Sept. 26, a 3 p.m. funeral Mass will follow a four-hour period for viewing. Newark Archbishop John J. Myers will be the main celebrant of the Mass, to be followed immediately by internment in the crypt of the cathedral basilica.

According to a remembrance of Archbishop Gerety posted Sept. 21 by the Archdiocese of Newark on its website, he¬†was the world’s oldest Catholic bishop at the time of his death. By 2007, when he was 95, he was already the oldest living U.S. bishop. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.