‘Game’ over: the five stages of being a ‘Thrones’ fan

People in Moscow prepare to watch the final episode of Game of Thrones at RZD Arena May 20, 2019. (CNS photo/Maxim Shemetov, Reuters)

Commentary.

By Elizabeth Rackover Clancy 
Catholic News Service

RICHMOND, Calif. (CNS) — Eight years ago, “Game of Thrones” began on HBO and the worlds of water-cooler conversations, fire-breathing dragons and social media haven’t been the same since. To say it’s been a wild ride is the least of it.

Fans of the show have had to put up with crushing losses as multiple narratives careened as wildly as a dragon flying out of a sports coliseum riddled with javelins. A show this short on tender moments somehow still managed to make us care, sometimes desperately, about disparate characters so wild, unruly, crafty, sneaky, snaky, ruthless and cruel that we could not believe our own eyes as certain scenes unfolded (looking at you, Lord Walder Frey).

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Posted in U.S., World

Prayer not possible without Holy Spirit, pope says at audience

Pope Francis wears a hat as he poses for a photo with children during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 22, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Holy Spirit gives Christians the courage and the strength needed to engage in a loving dialogue with God that is like the dialogue of a child with his or her father, Pope Francis said.

“Do not forget this: The protagonist of all Christian prayer is the Holy Spirit. We can never pray without the strength of the Holy Spirit; it is he who moves us to pray well,” the pope said May 22 during his weekly general audience.

Greeting an estimated 20,000 pilgrims as he toured St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile, Pope Francis occasionally stopped to kiss children’s foreheads and drink mate tea offered to him.

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Posted in Vatican

Pope prays for Spanish missionary murdered in Central African Republic

Pope Francis prays during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 22, 2019. The pope led thousands of pilgrims in prayer for Daughter of Jesus Sister Ines Nieves Sancho, a 77-year-old Spanish missionary who was killed May 20 outside her convent in Nola, Central African Republic. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis led thousands of pilgrims in prayer for a Spanish missionary sister killed in Central African Republic.

While greeting French pilgrims attending his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square May 22, the pope said he was saddened to hear of the brutal murder of Daughter of Jesus Sister Ines Nieves Sancho, a 77-year-old Spanish missionary who was killed May 20 outside her convent in Nola, Central African Republic.

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Posted in Vatican

As migrants continue streaming into Mexico, donor fatigue sets in

A man, part of a convoy of Central American migrants, is escorted into a van by National Institute of Migration officers, after being detained at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Tapachula, Mexico, May 19, 2019. (CNS photo/Andres Martinez Casares, Reuters)

By David Agren 
Catholic News Service

TAPACHULA, Mexico (CNS) — Sister Bertha Lopez was buying 55-pound sacks of rice, when the cashier asked: “Where do they want the rice? For Guatemala or for whom?”

Sister Bertha informed the cashier, “We’re buying it to feed our migrant brothers” who are stranded in this city near the Guatemala border. The cashier responded: “Why are you doing that? What you’re doing isn’t right.”

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Posted in World

Dominican combines music, Scripture for unique parish mission experience

Dominican Father Bill Garrott gestures as he leads a parish mission at Jesus the Divine Word Church in Huntingtown, Md., March 26, 2019. He has conducted 177 parish missions throughout the United States. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Jacob Comello 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Upon hearing the word “mission,” most Catholics visualize hospitals or schools run by nuns in poor areas of the world, or small, tightknit parish communities in areas where Catholicism is still an alien or marginalized religion.

But Dominican Father Bill Garrott knows all too well that American Catholics have their own spiritual problems that deserve the healing power of a mission.

“Perhaps most Catholics are deprived of the word of God,” Father Bill declared.

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Posted in U.S.

Officials say Vatican must continue to monitor financial activity

Rene Brulhart, president of the Financial Intelligence Authority, arrives for a news conference at the Vatican in this April 28, 2016, file photo. The leaders of the Financial Intelligence Authority said May 21 the Vatican has made great strides in reducing risks of financial impropriety. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Any time money changes hands, there is a potential for financial misconduct, but the leaders of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority said the Holy See has made enormous strides in reducing its risks.

Rene Brulhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza, respectively president and director of the office, released the FIA annual report May 21 at a Vatican news conference.

Vatican City State’s unique status as an independent state and the headquarters of the Catholic Church — with missions and religious orders around the world — required the establishment of a “tailor-made system mainly to prevent illicit financial activities,” Brulhart said.

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Posted in Vatican

El Salvador lays to rest another priest presumably assassinated by gangs

Priests carry the casket of Father Cecilio Perez Cruz during a May 20, 2019, funeral for the Salvadoran priest in Sonzacate, El Salvador. Parishioners found Father Perez dead in his residence in Juayua early May 18 with a note nearby that said he had not paid “rent,” a euphemism for extortion money. Preliminary Salvadoran police reports presume he was killed by gangs. (CNS photo/courtesy of Father Edwin Banos)

By Rhina Guidos 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Thousands attended the May 20 funeral of a Salvadoran priest found by his parishioners in what some presume is a gang killing.

Parishioners found Father Cecilio Perez Cruz, a 35-year-old priest and pastor of San Jose La Majada parish in Juayua, shot dead in his residence May 18 with a note nearby that said he had not paid “rent,” a euphemism for extortion money, according to preliminary reports from Salvadoran police.

“He was a well-loved son of the Virgin (Mary) … a humble priest, simple, devoted to his people,” said Father Edwin Banos of the Diocese of Santa Ana, El Salvador, in a video posted May 18 on Facebook.

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Posted in World