Pre-synod meeting is a chance to change the world, say young Africans

Tinyiko Joan Ndaba, a pre-synod youth delegate from South Africa, speaks during a media opportunity at the Vatican March 20. Youth delegates are meeting at the Vatican in preparation for the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment this October at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Robert Duncan)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — If the Catholic Church at every level — and governments, too — would listen to young people and give them a voice in decision-making, they could unleash great potential, said two African young adults.

Vincent Paul Nneji, a pre-synod youth delegate from Nigeria, speaks during a media opportunity at the Vatican March 20. (CNS photo/Robert Duncan)

Vincent Paul Nneji of Nigeria and Tinyiko Joan Ndaba from South Africa were among the 305 young adults participating in a weeklong meeting designed to allow young people — involved Catholics and others — to provide input for Pope Francis and the world’s bishops, who will meet in a synod in October to discuss “young people, faith and vocational discernment.”

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Posted in Vatican, World

Pope accepts resignation of communications prefect

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Msgr. Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication, after a controversy over blurred lines in a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After a very public controversy involving the use of a letter by retired Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Msgr. Dario Vigano as prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication.

Announcing the move March 21, the Vatican published Msgr. Vigano’s letter to Pope Francis asking to resign and Pope Francis’ reply accepting it.

However, Pope Francis asked Msgr. Vigano, 55, to remain at the secretariat as “assessor” to “make your human and professional contribution” in assisting whoever is named the new prefect as the Vatican continues its long and complicated work of unifying its communications efforts and various media outlets.

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Posted in Vatican

Supreme Court examines freedom of speech at crisis pregnancy centers

Pro-life advocates and a counter-demonstrator gather March 20 outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington as the court hears oral arguments in NIFLA v. Becerra, a case about freedom of speech at crisis pregnancy centers. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

By Carol Zimmermann 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In oral arguments before the Supreme Court March 20, justices seemed skeptical about a California law that requires pro-life pregnancy centers in the state to visibly display information about abortions to their clients that the centers say violates their right to free speech.

A few of the justices asked about the state’s motivation to put the law in place, wondering if it was more about educating women about state-provided services or if it was meant to specifically target centers offering pregnancy-related services that clients might assume are medical facilities.

Justice Elena Kagan said it would be a problem and a First Amendment issue if the law was “gerrymandered” to only apply to certain types of service providers.

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Posted in U.S.

South Carolina artist honors memories of Holocaust victims with drawings

Mary Burkett works on a sketch Feb. 2 near a window in her home in West Columbia, S.C. Burkett has created a collection of portraits of children killed in the Holocaust that she calls “Beloved: Children of the Holocaust.” (CNS photo/Christina Lee Knauss, The Catholic Miscellany)

By Christina Lee Knauss 
Catholic News Service

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (CNS) — Mary Burkett never had formal art lessons. Drawing was something she resolved to try as a hobby in January 2017.

She decided to sketch the face of a little boy she saw in a black and white photo on the internet.

To her surprise, Burkett was able to produce his image on the paper with amazing ease.

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Posted in U.S.

Imitate St. Pio’s life, don’t forget poor, marginalized, pope says

Pope Francis gives the homily as he celebrates Mass at the Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, March 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy (CNS) — Many people admire St. Padre Pio, but too few imitate him, especially in his care for the weak, the sick and those who modern culture treats as disposable, Pope Francis said during Mass at Padre Pio’s shrine.

“Many are ready to ‘like’ the page of the great saints, but who does what they do?” the pope asked March 17. “The Christian life is not an ‘I like,’ but an ‘I give myself.'”

Pope Francis celebrated the Mass outside the Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina with about 30,000 people after visiting children in the cancer ward of the hospital St. Pio founded, Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (House for the Relief of Suffering). Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Irish-born religious recall leaving homeland to devote lives to U.S. kids

By Jerri Donohue 
Catholic News Service

Sister Fabian Quigley, a member of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word, stands before an American flag at Assumption Academy in Broadview Heights, Ohio, where she works part time. The Irish-born sister came to the U.S. in 1949 as a 15-year-old postulant, arriving in Cleveland. Sister Quigley became a U.S. citizen five and a half years after she arrived in the States. (CNS photo/Jerri Donohue)

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio (CNS) — When Sister Anne McCrohan said goodbye to her parents and most of her 10 siblings at a train station in County Kerry, she thought it was forever.

At age 18, Sister McCrohan had agreed to go to America to teach parochial school students.

“I just had the desire to do something special with the life God gave me,” the 86-year-old Religious Sister of Mercy said of her youthful commitment.

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Posted in U.S., World

Delegate sees accompaniment, relationship building critical for ministry


Katie Prejean-McGrady of the Diocese of Lake Charles, La., is one of three young adult delegates selected by the U.S. bishops to attend a pre-synod gathering in Rome March 19-25. She is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/Katie Prejean-McGrady)

Backgrounder. Third in a series.

By Anna Capizzi
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — For Katie Prejean-McGrady, youth and young adult ministry is about building relationships.

Prejean-McGrady, 28, is one of three delegates representing the United States at a pre-synod gathering at the Vatican March 19-25 in preparation for this October’s Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment.

Gearing up for the pre-synod gathering, Prejean-McGrady, a youth minister, wife and mother, has been reflecting on her own ministry’s best practices and reading the fall synod’s preparatory document. Continue reading

Posted in U.S., Vatican