Christ’s love gives hope to forgotten ones, cardinal says

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, is pictured at the Vatican May 11, 2018. In a world where many are often marginalized and discriminated against, the message of Jesus’ love must continue to be proclaimed, Cardinal Parolin wrote on behalf of Pope Francis. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a world where many are often marginalized and discriminated against, the message of Jesus’ love must continue to be proclaimed, a Vatican official wrote on behalf of Pope Francis.

In a message sent Aug. 16 to the 40th Meeting in Rimini, an annual event sponsored by the Communion and Liberation movement, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said that countless men, women and children, especially those fleeing war and poverty, “are often treated as statistics and numbers” rather than as human beings with faces, names and stories.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Sustainable land use urged to ease growing threats to food, water

Jason Warrer and Rich Rome, both Conventual Franciscan friars in formation, plant an oak tree in the Robinson Forest in eastern Kentucky in June as part of a reforestation effort on land being reclaimed from the effects of mountain top removal coal mining. The planting experience was part of the order’s summer service program designed to help men preparing for the priesthood to explore the connection that people have with the land. (CNS photo/courtesy Franciscan Friars Conventual)

Backgrounder

By Dennis Sadowski 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Leading five friars in formation on an eight-week summer service program largely through Appalachia and South America, Conventual Franciscan Father Michael Lasky saw a new awareness rising in the young men’s minds.

It started by talking with visitors to the Shepherd’s Table meal program at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Coal Township, Pennsylvania, outside of the eastern town of Shamokin, and learning about people’s sense of place in the once-burgeoning coal mining region.

From there, they moved on to planting trees in Robinson Forest in eastern Kentucky in an effort to reclaim a mountaintop stripped bare by coal mining. They learned, too, that the forests were shrinking because of the mining, leaving fewer nesting areas for the migrating Cerulean warblers from Colombia.

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Posted in U.S., World

Sunday Scripture readings, Aug. 18, 2019: Jesus’ feelings

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

Aug. 18, Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C
1) Jer 38:4-6, 8-10
Psalm 40:2-4, 18
2) Heb 12:1-4
Gospel: Lk 12:49-53

By Kevin Perrotta
Catholic News Service

For the times when it’s hard to do the right thing, the author of today’s second reading makes a suggestion. Keep looking at Jesus, he says. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Vatican official: Church must be prudent judging Medjugorje apparitions

Pilgrims pray around a statue of Mary on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this 2011 file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Sarah Mac Donald 
Catholic News Service

KNOCK, Ireland (CNS) — Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, is a place of prayer, conversion and pilgrimage for millions of people, but the church must be prudent and not rush to any judgment on the alleged Marian apparitions there, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.

Speaking to Catholic News Service at Knock Shrine in County Mayo Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption, Archbishop Fisichella spoke of attending the first officially approved church festival at Medjugorje in early August.

“I confess the experience was very beautiful, seeing about 70,000 young people praying and living together and listening to catechesis,” he told CNS, describing it as a mini-World Youth Day.

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Posted in Vatican, World

‘You cannot be a Catholic and sit on the sidelines,’ archbishop says

Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory answers questions and listens to the young people of the archdiocese Aug. 13, 2019, as the special guest speaker at DC Catholic’s monthly Theology on Tap. (CNS photo/Andrew Rozario, Catholic Standard)

By Josephine von Dohlen 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a crowded bar, bustling with young adult Catholics from the Washington area for the monthly Theology on Tap, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory shared his pain over what this archdiocese suffered in the past year due to priestly abuse scandals, and encouraged the young adults to turn to the Eucharist as a source of healing.

“I’m not quite as young as you, but I, too, am let down by the leadership in the church,” Archbishop Gregory said. “I’ve been embarrassed. I’ve been embarrassed as a Catholic, as a priest, and as a bishop, because of the behavior by some of my fellow clerics.”

“When the family has been embarrassed, everyone in the family feels embarrassed, and I do too,” said the 71-year-old archbishop. “I know this past year has been an extraordinarily painful year for Washington.”

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Posted in U.S.

In Colombia, bishops, religious listen to Amazonians before synod

Isidoro Jajoy, a shaman from Colombia’s Inga tribe, blesses people in Bogota Aug. 14, 2019, during a preparatory meeting for the October Synod of Bishops for the Amazon. (CNS photo/Manuel Rueda)

By Manuel Rueda 
Catholic News Service

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNS) — Bishops, nuns, priests and residents of the Amazon basin met in Colombia’s capital city in mid-August to prepare for a special Synod of Bishops for the Amazon this fall at the Vatican.

The meeting gave bishops who will be attending the synod a chance to develop proposals and listen to residents of the Amazon region, before they head to the Vatican in October for the gathering. Similar pre-synod meetings have been held recently in Peru and Brazil.

Pope Francis “wants to give visibility to the people of the Amazon and listen to their concerns, their teachings, their spirituality,” said Bishop Joaquin Pinzon Guiza of Puerto Leguizamo-Solano, a vicariate deep in the world’s largest rainforest. “As bishops we don’t just want to take our thoughts to the synod, but also what lies within our peoples’ hearts.”

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Posted in World

Assumption feast invites people to look to heaven with hope, pope says

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Aug. 15, 2019, the feast of the Assumption. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Mary’s assumption into heaven calls people to put aside all those insignificant, mundane and petty concerns competing for their attention and instead be drawn to God and his greatness, Pope Francis said.

After reciting the Angelus prayer on the feast of the Assumption Aug. 15, Pope Francis also blessed thousands of rosaries that will be given to Catholics in Syria “as a sign of my closeness, especially for families who have lost someone because of the war.”

“Prayers made with faith are powerful. Let us keep praying for peace in the Middle East and the whole world,” said the pope, who explained that Aid to the Church in Need spearheaded the initiative to send some 6,000 rosaries to Catholic communities in Syria.

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Posted in Vatican