Vatican announces pope will attend reconciliation events in Colombia

Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, apostolic nuncio to Colombia, and Domenico Giani, Pope Francis' lead bodyguard, look at a newspaper during a May 8 walk through the streets in downtown Bogota. The pope is scheduled to visit four Colombian cities in September. (CNS/EPA)

Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, apostolic nuncio to Colombia, and Domenico Giani, Pope Francis’ lead bodyguard, look at a newspaper during a May 8 walk through the streets in downtown Bogota. The pope is scheduled to visit four Colombian cities in September. (CNS/EPA)

By Rhina Guidos
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Days after rebels in Colombia announced turning in the last of their cache of weapons over to international observers, the Vatican announced June 23 details of Pope Francis’ September trip to the war-torn South American country.

The pope is scheduled to visit four cities, starting his trip in the Colombian capital of Bogota Sept. 6, followed by day trips to Villavicencio and Medellin Sept. 8 and 9, respectively, and heading back to Rome from Cartagena after Mass Sept. 10. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Under the radar: South Sudan needs media attention, immediate action

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis is first of all a shepherd who makes seeking out the lost and forgotten his top priority. But he also knows that wherever he goes, the cameras and news coverage will follow.

Sister Yudith Pereira-Rico is a member of the Religious of Jesus and Mary and associate executive director of Solidarity with South Sudan. (CNS/Carol Glatz)

Sister Yudith Pereira-Rico is a member of the Religious of Jesus and Mary and associate executive director of Solidarity with South Sudan. (CNS/Carol Glatz)

He leveraged his pull on the media spotlight early in his papacy when he went to Lampedusa for his very first trip as pope, tossing a funeral wreath onto the vast, unmarked cemetery known as the Mediterranean Sea — where thousands of migrants die each year escaping from economic distress, political crises or persecution.

His visits to the Central African Republic, refugee centers, prisons, homes for the elderly and ill have all been key stops in his mission to reach out to the neglected peripheries, encourage those who are suffering and the hidden heroes helping them, and wake up the world to their presence and plight.

South Sudan was meant to be next on that list, to red-flag the disastrous effects of civil war — millions of people facing violence, displacement, chronic hunger and mass starvation — and to nudge conflicting parties toward peace.

However, mounting doubts over security and how ready those parties may be for negotiation have put a boots-on-the-ground papal visit on hold. And now some Catholic aid and development agencies are wondering, with no pope, how does this tragedy get on the world radar now? Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Bishop: ‘Fundamental defects’ persist in Senate’s version of health bill

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price conducts a health care listening session June 21 at the White House in Washington. “An acceptable health care system provides access to all, regardless of their means, and at all stages of life,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., said in a June 22 statement. (CNS photo/Shawn Thew, EPA)

By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act contains “many of the fundamental defects” that appeared in the House-passed American Health Care Act “and even further compounds them,” said the bishop who heads the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

The Senate released its health care reform bill in “discussion draft” form June 22.

“As is, the discussion draft stands to cause disturbing damage to the human beings served by the social safety net,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, said in a statement released late June 22. “It is precisely the detrimental impact on the poor and vulnerable that makes the Senate draft unacceptable as written.”

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Posted in U.S.

Scorsese says a boyhood of church and movies continues to inspire him

Film director Martin Scorsese speaks with New York Times journalist Paul Elie in front of an audience at the Catholic Media Conference in Quebec City June 21 following a screening of his new movie “Silence.” (CNS photo/Chaz Muth)

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

QUEBEC CITY (CNS) — Faith and films have been lifelong obsessions for director Martin Scorsese, obsessions that he said have given him moments of peace amid turmoil, but also challenges and frustrations that, in hindsight, he will accept as lessons in humility.

“For me, the stories have always been about how we should live who we are, and have a lot to do with love, trust and betrayal,” he said, explaining that those themes have been with him since his boyhood spent in the rambunctious tenements of New York and in the peace of the city’s St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where he was an altar server.

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Posted in U.S., World

Holiness means being open to God, pope says

Pope Francis kisses a baby as he arrives for his general audience June 21 in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS/Reuters)

Pope Francis kisses a baby as he arrives for his general audience June 21 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (CNS/Reuters)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Being a saint doesn’t require spending long hours in prayer, but rather living life open to God in good times and in bad, Pope Francis said.

Christians should live with the “hope of becoming saints” and with the desire that “work, even in sickness and suffering, even in difficulties, is open to God,” the pope said June 21 during his weekly general audience.

“We think that it is something difficult, that it is easier to be delinquents than saints. No! We can become saints because the Lord helps us. It is he who helps us,” he told the estimated 12,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

New priests follow many paths to answering call to serve God’s people

By Josephine von Dohlen
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — After almost 12 years as an Episcopal priest, Deacon Jonathan Erdman entered into full communion with the Catholic Church along with his family in 2016 and a year later, he is becoming a Catholic priest.

He will be ordained a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter June 29.

This spring, 590 men entered the priesthood in dioceses throughout the United States, according to a report released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. The report is based on an annual study that the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate conducted for the USCCB. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Pope: Don’t pretend to be teens; help youths see blessings of adulthood

Pope Francis is seen during the Rome Diocese’s annual convention at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome June 19. (CNS photo/Giorgio Onorati, EPA)

By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — Instead of “pretending to be adolescents,” parents must help young people see the blessing of growing into adulthood, Pope Francis told priests, religious, catechists and parish council members from the Diocese of Rome.

The belief that youthfulness is a model of success “is one of the most dangerous ‘unwitting’ menaces in the education of our adolescents” that hinders their personal growth because “adults have taken their place,” the pope said June 19, opening the Rome Diocese’s annual convention.

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Posted in Vatican