‘9 Days for Life’ prayer, action campaign takes place Jan. 21-29

Pictured is promotional material for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual “9 Days for Life” prayer and action campaign, which takes place Jan. 21-29. The pro-life novena is sponsored by the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities and coincides with the annual March for Life marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion across the country. This year’s march takes place Jan. 24. (CNS)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholics across the country are invited to take part in the 9 Days for Life is a novena for the protection of human life. Each day’s intention is accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life.

The pro-life novena, sponsored by the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, coincides with the annual March for Life that takes place in Washington every January to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion across the country. This year’s march takes place Jan. 24.

But “even if you can’t come to D.C., you can join others to witness and pray for an end to abortion,” said Kat Talalas, assistant director for pro-life communications at the USCCB. “We ask all of the faithful to unite in prayer to protect the rights of unborn children, to end the violence of abortion, and for greater respect for human life.”

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Posted in U.S.

Sunday Scripture reading, Jan. 19, 2020: Here I am, Lord

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

Jan. 19, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A
1) Is 49:3, 5-6
Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-10
2) 1 Cor 1:1-3
Gospel: Jn 1:29-34

By Kevin Perrotta 
Catholic News Service

Lovely melodies have been written for today’s responsorial psalm (the response is “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will”), which make for pleasant congregational singing. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord"

Gratitude to God should expand hearts, lead to hospitality, pope says

Pope Francis, Lutheran Bishop Teemu Laajasalo of Helsinski, left, and other members of an ecumenical delegation from Finland leave the papal library following a meeting at the Vatican Jan. 17, 2020. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Every Christian should be grateful for the gift of his or her baptism, and that gratitude should draw them together to recognize that they are brothers and sisters and called to pursue holiness together, Pope Francis said.

Welcoming an ecumenical pilgrimage from Finland to the Vatican Jan. 17, Pope Francis told the Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian leaders that all Christians are called “to witness to the good news in the midst of their daily life.”

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Posted in Vatican, World

Protect your health, physically and spiritually, pope says

Pope Francis delivers the homily as he celebrates morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican Jan. 17, 2020. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Jesus healed people of all sorts of physical ailments, but he always started with the essential — forgiving their sins, Pope Francis said.

“We should take good care of our bodies, but also our souls,” the pope said Jan. 17, preaching about the Gospel of Mark’s account of Jesus healing the paralytic.

“Jesus teaches us to go to what is essential,” the pope said at morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. “What is essential is health, complete, body and soul.”

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Posted in Vatican

President Trump issues new guidance on prayer in public schools

U.S. President Donald Trump attends an event in the Oval Office of the White House to announce his administration’s new guidance on prayer in public schools on National Religious Freedom Day Jan. 16, 2020. At left is William McLeod, a student at a public school in Utah. (CNS photo/Tom Brenner, Reuters)

By Carol Zimmermann 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — President Donald Trump announced his administration’s new guidance on prayer in public schools during a Jan. 16 event in the Oval Office on National Religious Freedom Day.

Primarily, it will require states to report cases where public school students have been denied their right to pray.

Ahead of the event — which was delayed from a 2 p.m. (EST) start to about 4 p.m. — material on the guidance was provided to reporters in a background briefing the morning of Jan. 16.

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Posted in U.S.

Hearing cites successes, undone work in protecting trafficking victims

Limnyuy Konglim, head of the International Catholic Migration Commission’s U.S. Liaison Office in Washington, is pictured in an undated photo. During a Jan. 15, 2020, hearing on human trafficking on Capitol Hill, Konglim testified that “faith-based actors” play a “critical role” in protecting both communities and individuals. (CNS photo/courtesy U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.)

By Mark Pattison 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — On the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a Jan. 15 hearing to celebrate the act cited numerous successes — including the passage of four subsequent bills to further clamp down on trafficking — but noted work yet to do to keep both children and adults safe from others who would exploit them for sex or cheap labor.

Rep. Christopher Smith, R-New Jersey, co-chair of the House’s Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, said few in Congress signed on when he first sponsored the bill. “For most people at that time — including lawmakers — the term ‘trafficking’ applied almost exclusively to drugs and weapons, not human beings,” he said.

The act, Smith said, included a number of “sea change” provisions, “including treating as a victim — and not a perpetrator of a crime — anyone exploited by a commercial sex act who had not attained the age of 18 and anyone older where there was an element of force, fraud or coercion.”

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Posted in U.S., World

The greater the sinner, the greater God’s love, pope says

Pope Francis celebrates morning Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, at the Vatican Jan. 16, 2020. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God shows the greatest love and compassion for the greatest sinners, Pope Francis said.

The Lord “has come precisely for us sinners and the greater the sinner you are, the closer the Lord is to you because he has come for you, the greatest sinner; for me, the greatest sinner; for all of us,” the pope said in his homily Jan. 16 at morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

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Posted in Vatican