Protection urged for nation’s ‘vulnerable,’ especially migrants, refugees

A boy in Mexico looks through the border fence at Border Field State Park in San Diego Nov. 18.  (CNS/Reuters)

A boy in Mexico looks through the border fence at Border Field State Park in San Diego Nov. 18. (CNS/Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As the nation made preparations to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed gratitude for “the gift of immigrants and refugees to the country,” but also appealed for their protection.

“As we do every year, we will pause this coming Thursday to thank God for the many blessings we enjoy in the United States,” Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said in a statement Nov. 20, a week after the U.S. bishops opened their annual fall assembly.

The longest and most passionate discussion on the first day of the fall assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 13 focused on immigrants, on how to help them but also how to drive home the point that they, too, are our brothers and sisters and should not be demonized.

Cardinal DiNardo said his Thanksgiving Day statement was prompted by the bishops urging he “speak out on their behalf.” Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Friar lived out faith, hope, charity every day, says cardinal at beatification

Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, concelebrates the beatification Mass of Blessed Solanus Casey Nov. 18 at Ford Field in Detroit. At least 60,000 attended the beatification of the Capuchin Franciscan friar. (CNS photo/Jeff Kowalsky, courtesy Michigan Catholic)

Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, concelebrates the beatification Mass of Blessed Solanus Casey Nov. 18 at Ford Field in Detroit. At least 60,000 attended the beatification of the Capuchin Franciscan friar. (CNS photo/Jeff Kowalsky, courtesy Michigan Catholic)

By Mike Stechschulte
Catholic News Service

DETROIT (CNS) — A humble priest and porter, Blessed Solanus Casey thanked God daily for the gift of those who came to his door in his small corner of the world.

On Nov. 18, tens of thousands of those whom he touched gathered to thank God in return for the gift of the holy Capuchin’s life.

“Others, above all the poor, were seen by him not as a weight or obstacle to his climb to perfection, but as a way to the light of the splendor of God,” Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, told the tens of thousands of people gathered at Detroit’s Ford Field for Blessed Solanus’ beatification Mass.

A congregation of more than 60,000 — young, old, clergy and laity, those of all races and ethnicities — flooded into Ford Field for the Mass, with tens of thousands more watching live on TV or the internet.

Countless others visited the Solanus Casey Center and St. Bonaventure Monastery over the weekend to pray and leave prayer intentions at the tomb of a saintly friar known for miraculous healings, intercessions and a compassionate listening ear.

True to Blessed Solanus’ spirituality, a special VIP section of the main floor was set aside for those with illness and disabilities. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Youth urged to remember they’re ‘beloved children of God, called by name’

Youth from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles process into Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Nov. 16 for the opening general session of the National Catholic Youth Conference. The biennial conference draws some 20,000 Catholic teenagers from across the country. (CNS/Natalie Hoefer, The Criterion)

Youth from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles process into Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Nov. 16 for the opening general session of the National Catholic Youth Conference. The biennial conference draws some 20,000 Catholic teenagers from across the country. (CNS/Natalie Hoefer, The Criterion)

By Natalie Hoefer
Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — The sound of more than 20,000 teens screaming and singing along with racuous music of Christian hip-hop band TobyMac was loud.

The sound of the same number of youths in silent prayer was deafening.

These external and internal forms of praise formed bookends to the opening general session of the National Catholic Youth Conference Nov. 16 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

After two hours of music, entertainment — including cultural dancing by the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement — and an entrance procession of banners from each diocese present, the participants were greeted by Indianapolis Archbishop Charles C. Thompson. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Pope criticizes police brutality, denounces dangerous drivers

Vatican police offers protect Pope Francis during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sept. 20. The Vatican police force was established 200 years ago, but its origins were in the fourth century. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Vatican police offers protect Pope Francis during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sept. 20. The Vatican police force was established 200 years ago, but its origins were in the fourth century. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Putting the brakes on dangerous and distracted driving, Pope Francis criticized using mobile phones when at the wheel and treating roads like racetracks.

While praising the work and sacrifice of police officers dealing with transit and highway patrol, he also cautioned them against turning the just use of force into brutality.

“Wisdom and self-control are needed, especially when the police officer is viewed with mistrust or seen almost as an enemy, instead of as a guardian of the common good,” he said.

The pope made his remarks in a speech Nov. 20 to staff and managers of the central administration of the Italian police in charge of traffic and highway patrol and of the railways. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Pope Francis calls Benedict’s teaching ‘precious heritage’

Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis at a Vatican event in 2014. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis at a Vatican event in 2014. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The theological work and papal teaching of retired Pope Benedict XVI “continue to be a living and precious heritage for the church,” Pope Francis said.

The pope met Nov. 18 with the winners of the 2017 Ratzinger Prize, named for the retired pope to honor those who make significant contributions to theology and culture.

The three winners had met the day before with Pope Benedict in his residence in the Vatican gardens. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Vatican investigating abuse at pre-seminary

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests demonstrate in Philadelphia in 2015 during Pope Francis' visit to the United States. (CNS/Joshua Roberts)

Members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests demonstrate in Philadelphia in 2015 during Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. (CNS/Joshua Roberts)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican announced it had launched a new investigation into reports about sexual abuse in a pre-seminary for young adolescents run by the Diocese of Como, Italy, but located inside the Vatican.

Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, issued a statement Nov. 18 saying that beginning in 2013 when “some reports, anonymous and not,” were made, staff of the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary and the bishop of Como both conducted investigations.

“Adequate confirmation was not found” regarding the allegations, which involved students and not staff. Some of the students already had left the pre-seminary when the first investigations were carried out, the statement said.

However, “in consideration of new elements that recently emerged, a new investigation is underway to shed full light on what really happened,” the statement said. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

‘Invest in love,’ pope says on first World Day of the Poor

Pope Francis eats lunch with the poor in the Paul VI hall after celebrating Mass marking the first World Day of the Poor at the Vatican Nov. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — People have a basic choice in the way they live: either striving to build up treasures on earth or giving to others in order to gain heaven, Pope Francis said.

“What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes,” the pope said in his homily Nov. 19, the first World Day of the Poor.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 poor people attended the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica as special guests, the Vatican said. While almost all of them live in Europe, they include migrants and refugees from all over the world.

Among the altar servers were young men who are either poor, migrants or homeless. The first reader at the Mass, Tony Battah, is a refugee from Syria. Those presenting the gifts at the offertory were led by the Zambardi family from Turin, whom the Vatican described as living in a “precarious condition” and whose 1-year-old daughter has cystic fibrosis.

In addition to the bread and wine that were consecrated at the Mass, the offertory included a large basket of bread and rolls that were blessed to be shared at the lunch the pope was offering after Mass. Some 1,500 poor people joined the pope in the Vatican’s audience hall for the meal, while the other special guests were served at the Pontifical North American College — the U.S. seminary in Rome — and other seminaries and Catholic-run soup kitchens nearby. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican