West Virginians meet their new Catholic bishop as humble, holy man

Bishop Mark E. Brennan greets people following his installation Mass Aug. 22, 2019, in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling, W.Va. Bishop Brennan, a former auxiliary in Baltimore, became the ninth bishop to head the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Christopher Gunty
Catholic News Service

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) — People from around the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston already have a good feeling about their new shepherd, Bishop Mark E. Brennan, who was installed Aug. 22 as the ninth bishop of the diocese.

Ron and Jenny Gaither came from Fairmont, southwest of Morgantown, for the installation of the bishop because they believe he is an honest and holy man. The parishioners of St. Anthony in Fairmont said they were hoping to get someone who could help Catholics in West Virginia forget about the scandals in the church. They said they had heard from priests who already met Bishop Brennan that he is a wonderful man.

John Neely of St. John Neumann Parish in Marlinton, a town with a population just over 1,000, said he hopes the bishop will be concerned with the rural parts of the state. “It’s very important to get someone down to the parishes,” he said, noting that they haven’t had bishops visit in 20 years.

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Posted in U.S.

Sunday Scripture readings, Aug. 25, 2019: A spiritual marathon

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

Aug. 25, Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C
1) Is 66:18-21
Psalm 117:1,2
2) Heb 12:5-7, 11-13
Gospel: Lk 13:22-30

By Jem Sullivan
Catholic News Service

When a neighbor announced she planned to run a marathon, her motivation impressed us all. Even more remarkable was the transformation of her daily life as she prepared to achieve her goal.

In the months leading to the marathon, she kept to a rigorous running schedule, made changes to her diet, ensured she got plenty of rest, and fought through the physical aches and pains that come with an intense training routine. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Latin American bishops urge action to save burning Amazon rainforest

Smoke near Humaita, Brazil, billows during a fire in the Amazon rainforest Aug. 17, 2019. Leaders of the Latin American bishops’ council urged international action Aug. 22 to save the rainforest as massive fires continued to burn. (CNS photo/Ueslei Marcelino, Reuters)

By Lise Alves
Catholic News Service

SAO PAULO (CNS) — “Crying out to the world for solidarity,” leaders of the Latin American bishops’ council urged international action to save the Amazon rainforest as massive fires continued to burn.

“We urge the governments of the Amazonian countries, especially Brazil and Bolivia, the United Nations and the international community to take serious measures to save the lungs of the world,” said the statement Aug. 22 by the top officers of the council, known by its Spanish acronym, CELAM.

“What happens to the Amazon is not just a local issue, but is of global reach,” the bishops said. “If the Amazon suffers, the world suffers.”

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Posted in World

Matters of life and death: Pope to bring his message to southern Africa

A woman in Ibo, Mozambique, stands outside a house damaged by Cyclone Kenneth May 1, 2019. Pope Francis will visit Mozambique on the first leg of a three-nation trip Sept. 4-10 that includes Madagascar and Mauritius. (CNS photo/Mike Hutchings, Reuters)

Backgrounder and analysis

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Rejecting violence, promoting interreligious harmony, caring for the environment and stamping out government corruption are expected to be high on the agenda Sept. 4-10 when Pope Francis visits Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.

“The pope’s very presence will be his principle message to the people of Mozambique,” said Father Giorgio Ferretti, an Italian missionary and pastor of the cathedral in Maputo, Mozambique. “Just the fact of him walking these streets, meeting the people, speaking to them will be a great message of peace.”

After 15 years of civil war in Mozambique, a peace agreement was signed in 1992, concluding a two-year mediation process facilitated by the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio, the Catholic archbishop of Beira and representatives of the Italian government.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Australian pro-life leaders organize to block bill legalizing abortion

Pro-life supporters gather while holding signs outside the New South Wales Parliament House in Sydney Aug. 1, 2019. (CNS photo/Giovanni Portelli, courtesy Right To Life NSW)

By Catherine Sheehan
Catholic News Service

SYDNEY (CNS) — Thousands of pro-life supporters demonstrated in the streets of Sydney, expressing their opposition to a bill in the New South Wales state parliament that would permit abortion until birth for any reason.

The demonstration Aug. 20 called on members of parliament (MPs) to defeat the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill that was introduced Aug. 1.

The bill passed Aug. 8 in the Legislative Assembly, the lower house of the state parliament, 59-31, following a limited three-day period for comment.

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Posted in World

Is it time for regional synod for U.S. church to address abuse crisis?

Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, right, is pictured with Cardinals William J. Levada, retired prefect for the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Blase J. Cupich of Chicago at the spring general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore June 11, 2019. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Russell Shaw
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Reacting to the scandal of clergy sex abuse and cover-up 17 years ago, eight bishops offered a bold proposal.

The conference of bishops, meeting in Dallas, had lately adopted a charter and norms for the protection of children. Now the eight called for something more.

Convene a plenary council or regional synod, they urged their fellow bishops, and use it to get at the roots of what had happened so as to prevent anything like that from ever happening again. The signers of their joint letter included Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, then bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, and now president of the national bishops’ conference, and Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, an auxiliary bishop there back then.

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Posted in U.S.

Fly tying gives Vermont religious brother a supportive connection to vets

Edmundite Brother Francis Hagerty, a spiritual and retreat director based at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., ties flies with Vermont’s Burlington Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing group July 30, 2019. The project is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. (CNS photo/Cori Fugere Urban, Vermont Catholic magazine)

By Cori Fugere Urban
Catholic News Service

BURLINGTON, Vt. (CNS) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Burlington was quiet on a steamy summer day except for the sound of a fan and occasional banter among the veterans who concentrated on the tiny pieces of feathers, fur and thread in front of them.

Their hands worked diligently, yet carefully, illuminated by adjustable desk lamps. Their task: Tying fishing flies.

The therapeutic task and the camaraderie are what has them hooked on their weekly get-together sponsored by Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Inc.

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Posted in U.S.