U.S. Catholic parishes, schools happy to be in path of solar eclipse

People will be wearing solar-eclipse sunglasses like these across the United States Aug. 21. (CNS/Reuters)

People will be wearing solar-eclipse sunglasses like these across the United States Aug. 21. (CNS/Reuters)

By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — U.S. Catholic parishes and schools located in the 70-mile-wide path of the total solar eclipse Aug. 21 plan to take part in this rare event with everything from providing parking spaces or viewing sites to offering overnight retreats or all-day events with family activities or scientific lectures.

The total eclipse — to be viewed only with proper eyewear — begins Aug. 21 in Oregon at 10:18 a.m. PDT and ends in South Carolina at 2:43 p.m. EDT after going over Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

How long viewers will see the moon covering the sun depends on where they will be on its coast-to-coast path. Some may only see it for a few seconds, others for a couple of minutes. Maximum eclipse — at two minutes and 40 seconds — takes place in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

But no matter the length  of time extent, this historic event is drawing thousands to places where they can get a better view if just for a few minutes and to also celebrate for the day or even a long weekend.

And while they are in the path of the eclipse, some hope they will stay awhile and visit. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Kosovo to dedicate cathedral named for Mother Teresa

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan celebrates a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of St. Teresa of Kolkata at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City in September 2016. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan celebrates a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of St. Teresa of Kolkata at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in September 2016. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Jonathan Luxmoore
Catholic News Service

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — A cathedral named for St. Teresa of Kolkata is scheduled to be dedicated in Kosovo on the 20th anniversary of her death.

The cathedral will be dedicated Sept. 5 in Pristina. Albanian-born Cardinal Ernest Simoni will represent Pope Francis at the dedication. Celebrations of the neo-classical cathedral, on Pristina’s Bill Clinton Boulevard, will begin Aug. 26, the saint’s birthday.

“This will be a great event for our church and all people, whatever their faith and background,” said Msgr. Shan Zefi, chancellor of Kosovo’s Prizren-based Catholic apostolic administration. Continue reading

Posted in World

Ohio community cafe responds to hunger while building a following

Ken Ahrens and Robbie Floriana, both of Port Clinton, Ohio, and unemployed, joined the free community meal offered by Bistro 163 Aug. 14. (CNS/Dennis Sadowski)

Ken Ahrens and Robbie Floriana, both of Port Clinton, Ohio, and unemployed, joined the free community meal offered by Bistro 163 Aug. 14. (CNS/Dennis Sadowski)

By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service

PORT CLINTON, Ohio (CNS) — Bow tie pasta with Chardonnay cheese sauce, fresh focaccia topped with herbs, a salad of fresh locally grown greens and made-from-scratch bread pudding aren’t the usual fare for people in need of a free meal.

At Bistro 163 in this lakefront town 38 miles east of Toledo, such tasty delights are the norm though.

Part of the growing community cafe movement, the nonprofit restaurant with a modern, clean decor in the heart of Ohio’s Lake Erie vacationland seeks to connect good food with good fellowship while beginning to address the needs of hungry, lonely and elderly people.

Mary Leucht, 52, of nearby Oak Harbor, has been coming for the meal since winter. The housekeeper at a local hotel said the free meal helps to make ends meet on her modest income. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Papal envoy calls Blessed Romero ‘martyr of hope’

A painting of Blessed Oscar Romero is seen on a wall in San Salvador, El Salvador, March 24. (CNS/EPA)

A painting of Blessed Oscar Romero is seen on a wall in San Salvador, El Salvador, March 24. (CNS/EPA)

By Catholic News Service

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (CNS) — Blessed Oscar Romero, the murdered archbishop of San Salvador, is a martyr of hope, said Chilean Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, Pope Francis’ envoy to the celebration of the centennial of the archbishop’s birth.

Blessed Romero “is a true martyr of hope … a great martyr of hope,” said the Santiago cardinal. “He is so for the continent’s poor, he is so for the people of El Salvador, he is so for the hope of our beloved church, for all who struggle for justice, reconciliation, peace and affectionately call him ‘St. Romero of America.'”

Cardinal Ezzati gave the homily Aug. 15 at the Salvadoran cathedral, where people gathered for a special Mass. He said Blessed Romero’s “closeness to the poor … led him to see, with his eyes, the injustice the peasants were suffering.” Continue reading

Posted in World

Pope prays for victims of ‘devastating’ mudslide in Sierra Leone

A man walks in a flooded street in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Aug. 14. (CNS/DawnCharris, Instagram via Reuters)

A man walks in a flooded street in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Aug. 14. (CNS/DawnCharris, Instagram via Reuters)

(Second update 12:30 p.m. ET)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis offered his condolences and his prayers to the people of Sierra Leone after flooding and a major mudslide Aug. 14 led to the deaths of hundreds of people and displaced thousands.

“Deeply saddened by the devastating consequences of the mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, His Holiness Pope Francis assures those who have lost loved ones of his closeness at this difficult time,” said a message sent to Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles of Freetown by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Upcoming Aug. 21 solar eclipse thrills astronomers, Kentucky parishioners

A combination photograph shows the beginning to the end of a total solar eclipse as seen in 2016 from the beach of Ternate Island, Indonesia. The United States will experience its first coast-to-coast total eclipse in 99 years Aug. 21. (CNS photo/Beawiharta, Reuters)

By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — For the first time in 99 years, the summer sky will turn to night at midday Aug. 21 during a solar eclipse along a 70-mile wide path from coast to coast.

Sweeping through the country’s heartland, the eclipse will give millions of people the opportunity to step back from everyday concerns and appreciate how the universe works, said Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, director of the Vatican Observatory.

While there have been other total eclipses in the U.S., they have only crossed through a handful of states.

Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Genocide of Christians continues in Middle East, says new U.S. report

Yezidis in Sinjar, Iraq, attend a commemoration Aug. 3 to mark three years since the Islamic State launched what the United Nations called a genocidal campaign against them. The Trump administration has renewed its commitment to protecting religious minority groups threatened by IS in the Middle East, says a new State Department report on international religious freedom released Aug. 15. (CNS photo/Suhaib Salem, Reuters)

By Josephine von Dohlen
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Trump administration renews its commitment to the protection of religious minority groups threatened by the Islamic State in the Middle East, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the preface of the annual State Department report on international religious freedom, released Aug. 15.

“ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled,” Tillerson said in a statement Aug. 15. “ISIS is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases against Sunni Muslims, Kurds and other minorities.”

Continue reading

Posted in U.S., World