Templeton Prize winner believes science, spirituality are complementary

Marcelo Gleiser, a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., was announced March 19 as the 2019 Templeton Prize Laureate. The Templeton Prize is one of the world’s largest annual individual awards and honors a person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery or practical works. Gleiser is pictured in a 2015 photo. (CNS photo/Eli Burakian, Dartmouth College)

By Catholic News Service

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. (CNS) — A Dartmouth College cosmologist and theoretical physicist, who considers himself a religious agnostic even though he has devoted his career to examining link between science, philosophy and spirituality in exploring the mystery of creation, is the 2019 Templeton Prize winner.

Marcelo Gleiser, 60, often describes science as an “engagement with the mysterious” because he believes it cannot be separated from humanity’s relationship with the natural world.

A native of Brazil, he is the first Latin American to be named a Templeton Prize Laureate.

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On the trail of El Salvador’s St. Oscar Romero

Visitors stop by a large statue of St. Oscar Romero Jan. 30, 2019, at Centro Romero, which overlooks the village of El Mozote, El Salvador. The center, run by the Communio Sanctorum religious community, is close to the site of a 1981 massacre and serves as a place for contemplation featuring life-size murals and other artwork depicting St. Romero and other saints. (CNS photo/Rhina Guidos)

By Rhina Guidos 
Catholic News Service

EL MOZOTE, El Salvador (CNS) — The clouds over the town of El Mozote looked as if they had been carefully placed in the sky that day, an arrangement of cotton in the baby-blue landscape overlooking the green valley below the feet of a large statue of El Salvador’s first Catholic saint.

With arms outstretched, the bronze figure, an unmistakable image of St. Oscar Romero, looks as if it is blessing the space below, much like Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Christ the Reedemer. The statue was purposely placed over the remote village in the highlands of El Salvador where, in 1981, about 1,000 men, women and children who lived below were tortured and subsequently massacred by death squads.

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Cardinal Parolin celebrates 150th anniversary of children’s hospital

Pope Francis greets a patient during an unannounced visit to the Palidoro Bambino Gesu Hospital, in Fiumicino, outside Rome, in this Jan. 5, 2018, file photo. Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin attended a ceremony March 19 marking the 150th anniversary of the hospital. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital in Rome is a sign of the Catholic Church’s commitment to caring for and protecting the dignity of the sick, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state.

Commemorating the hospital’s 150th anniversary March 19, Cardinal Parolin said that the identity of Bambino Gesu Hospital is rooted in Jesus’ call to care for the ever-evolving needs of the sick in a “prophetic” way.

“Even if the situation has radically changed since the time of its first pioneering experiences, the church will never stop paying attention to the sick with that look of love and with that ‘prophetic’ attitude,” Cardinal Parolin said.
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In Syria, Caritas works to promote understanding among neighbors

A young Syrian refugee holds a watermelon at his shop in the Zaatari refugee camp near Mafraq, Jordan, June 22, 2018. “A lot of young men left Syria because they didn’t want to fight in the conflict,” Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, told Catholic News Service. (CNS photo/Muhammad Hamed, Reuters)

By Dale Gavlak 
Catholic News Service

RAMTHA, Jordan (CNS) — As Syria’s civil war enters its ninth year, citizens in and outside the country find themselves in limbo. Catholic and other aid agencies are urging a swift resolution to the crisis.

Caritas Syria is campaigning for “an immediate end to the violence and suffering” and calling for “all sides of the conflict to come together to find a peaceful solution,” chiefly through reconciliation work.

“We are initiating reconciliation among the various communities to correct misconceptions in the minds of those living in Damascus, Ghouta, Aleppo and elsewhere about people outside their religious community,” said Sandra Awad, communications director for the Catholic aid agency Caritas Syria.

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For Chaldeans who fled Iraq, New Zealand attacks brought back memories

Members of the Chaldean Catholic community in Papatoetoe, New Zealand, placed flowers and a tribute outside Ayesha Mosque after the March 15, 2019, attacks on two mosques in Christchurch. The message reads in part: “Please accept our prayer and condolences in this terrible, painful time. God have mercy on the people and we pray for the injured ones. Your brothers, St. Addai Catholic Church, New Zealand.” (CNS photo/courtesy NZ Catholic)

By Michael Otto 
Catholic News Service

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (CNS) — The St. Addai Chaldean Catholic community in suburban Auckland felt the impact of the Christchurch mosque killings with a special poignancy, because many members have experienced the sufferings inflicted by terrorism.

“There is a lady in my community — they beheaded her son in front of her,” Chaldean Father Douglas Al-Bazi told NZ Catholic. “Another man, they killed his parents in front of him.”

Father Al-Bazi, who was kidnapped for nine days by Islamic militants in 2006 in Iraq, suffering serious injuries — including being shot in the leg by an assailant wielding an AK-47 — said that when he heard of the events in Christchurch, he was “really angry.”

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Counselors offer ‘loving sources of hope’ for women seeking abortions

Sidewalk counselor Sheryl Dye speaks with a person pulling into the driveway at the Planned Parenthood abortion center in Indianapolis Feb. 20, 2019, a day when abortions were performed at the facility. (CNS photo/Natalie Hoefer, The Criterion)

By Natalie Hoefer 
Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — Two women stood near the busy road on a chilly February morning in Indianapolis. A steady, penetrating mist — and sometimes an icy splash from a speeding car — made for a dampness that digs deep and lingers despite layers of clothes. The temperature hovered just above freezing.

“It’s always 10 degrees colder here than anywhere else,” Sheryl Dye said with a patient grin. Her companion, Ann Clawson, nodded in agreement.

By “here” she meant the entrance of the driveway of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility on the northwest side of Indianapolis. It is the state’s largest abortion provider.

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Posted in U.S.

Pope leads pilgrims in prayer for victims of mosque attack

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called on Christians to unite in prayer for the victims of two mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 50 people dead and dozens wounded in one of the worst mass shootings in the country’s history.

“I am close to our Muslim brothers and sisters and their entire community. I renew my invitation to unite with them in prayer and gestures of peace to counter hatred and violence,” the pope said March 17 during his Sunday Angelus address.

Around the world, thousands have joined in praying for the victims of the March 15 attack. The gunman, Brenton Tarrant, left a 74-page manifesto posted on social media, identifying himself as a 28-year-old Australian and white nationalist who wanted to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims.

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