Pope: God gives hope for the future despite present-day suffering

Pope Francis receives a gift from a newly married couple during his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 23. (CNS/Reuters)

Pope Francis receives a gift from a newly married couple during his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 23. (CNS/Reuters)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While the world reels from terrorism, natural disasters and division, God weeps with those who suffer and offers the hope of a future full of joy and consolation, Pope Francis said.

Recalling the victims of a terror attack in Barcelona Aug. 17, a devastating landslide Aug. 16 in Congo, and “many other” tragic global events, the pope urged Christians to meditate on God’s tenderness when “they report sad news, which we are all at risk of becoming accustomed to.”

“Think of the faces of children frightened by war, the cry of mothers, the broken dreams of many young people, the refugees who face terrible journeys and are exploited so many times,” the pope said Aug. 23 during his weekly general audience. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Bishops form new body to address ‘sin of racism’ that ‘afflicts’ nation

Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, is pictured in a 2016 photo. (CNS file/Bob Roller)

Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, is pictured in a 2016 photo. (CNS file/Bob Roller)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Saying there is an “urgent need” to address “the sin of racism” in the country and find solutions to it, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has established a new Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and named one of the country’s African-American Catholic bishops to chair it.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, initiated the committee Aug. 23 “to focus on addressing the sin of racism in our society, and even in our church, and the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions.”

He appointed Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education, to chair the new ad hoc committee. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Venerable church a natural place to view heavens during solar eclipse

Pete Hamlin, Greg Clemmons and John Hedlund view the solar eclipse Aug. 21 in front of historic St. Paul Church in St. Paul, Ore. (CNS/Ed Langlois, Catholic Sentinel)

Pete Hamlin, Greg Clemmons and John Hedlund view the solar eclipse Aug. 21 in front of historic St. Paul Church in St. Paul, Ore. (CNS/Ed Langlois, Catholic Sentinel)

By Ed Langlois
Catholic News Service

ST. PAUL, Ore. (CNS) — Hundreds of solar eclipse viewers Aug. 21 watched the sky grow dim and then witnessed the spectacular dancing white corona of the sun’s edge from alongside Oregon’s oldest Catholic church.

Built in 1846, St. Paul Church in the small town of St. Paul was already venerable the last time it was in an eclipse path of totality in 1918. The brick building, restored after a 1993 earthquake, stood silent and strong Aug. 21 as the crowd around it cheered and cried out during the eerie minute that the moon blotted out the sun’s light.

“God puts on the best shows!” one woman called out.

While the heavens were creating awe, Msgr. Gregory Moys was providing for creature comforts of visitors. Some towns in the eclipse zone provided portable bathrooms, but that was a bit much for the city of St. Paul to afford. Msgr. Moys, pastor of St. Paul Parish, opened up the back door of the 171-year house of worship so viewers could find relief in a set of rooms once used by Oregon’s pioneer priests. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Polish archbishop thinks Vatican will recognize Medjugorje apparitions

Pilgrims pray around a statue of Mary on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this 2011 file photo. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pilgrims pray around a statue of Mary on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this 2011 file photo. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Jonathan Luxmoore
Catholic News Service

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — A Polish archbishop who inspected Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Medjugorje shrine for the pope predicted the Vatican will soon recognize its Marian apparitions.

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has passed all documentation to the Secretariat of State — everything suggests the apparitions will be accepted before the year ends,” said Archbishop Henryk Hoser.

“It’s difficult to believe the six visionaries have been lying for 36 years,” the archbishop said. “What they say is coherent, and none is mentally disturbed, while the apparitions’ faithfulness to church doctrine is also a powerful argument for their authenticity.” Continue reading

Posted in World

Two die in earthquake on Italian island

A man stands in front of a damaged house Aug. 22 after an earthquake hit Ischia, Italy. (CNS/Reuters)

A man stands in front of a damaged house Aug. 22 after an earthquake hit Ischia, Italy. (CNS/Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — One of the two women who died when an earthquake struck the Italian island of Ischia was killed by falling debris from a 19th-century church. The other died in her home, which was destroyed by the quake Aug. 21.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, which struck at 8:57 p.m. local time, measured a magnitude of 4.3. Ischia is located off the coast of Naples.

As of late Aug. 22, Italian authorities had not released the names of the two women who died. The Italian bishops’ television station, TV2000, said the destroyed church was Santa Maria dei Suffragio, more commonly known as the “Purgatory Church.” The church in the village of Casamicciola was built in the 19th century after a quake in 1883 destroyed the previous church on the site. Continue reading

Posted in World

Cardinal Parolin visits Russia, focuses on ecumenism and peace

Cardinal Pietro Parolin (CNS file/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Pietro Parolin (CNS file/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Although he said planning a papal trip to Russia was not on the agenda, the Vatican secretary of state said his visit to Moscow was designed to build on the meeting Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill had in Cuba in 2016.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state, was visiting Moscow Aug. 21-24 and was scheduled to meet with the patriarch and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as with leaders of Russia’s Catholic community.

The list of topics for the meetings ranged from ecumenical dialogue and interreligious cooperation to current world affairs and climate change, he said in a series of interviews before leaving Rome. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Eclipse thrills, inspires viewers to admire the precision of creation

Father Richard Meredith, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hopkinsville, Ky., catches the partial phase of the total solar eclipse on parish grounds Aug. 21. The town was near the point of maximum eclipse. (CNS/Dennis Sadowski)

Father Richard Meredith, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hopkinsville, Ky., catches the partial phase of the total solar eclipse on parish grounds Aug. 21. The town was near the point of maximum eclipse. (CNS/Dennis Sadowski)

By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (CNS) — Science teacher Jane Irwin isn’t often left without words, but the total solar eclipse left her in a quiet reflective mood.

“Awesome. God’s amazing” was the best she could muster after the sun reappeared from behind the moon after totality Aug. 21.

“I’ve got to synthesize this myself,” she said minutes after the sun reappeared as the moon moved away from obscuring Earth’s closest stellar neighbor. “How can people deny the existence of God after seeing this? I’m not a terribly emotional person, but I got choked up seeing it.” Continue reading

Posted in U.S.