Focolare member in Colombia pays it forward by helping fellow migrants

Focolare member Alba Rada gives directions to a Venezuelan migrant after supplying her with a sleeping bag and some food on a road leading out of Tocancipa, Colombia, June 28, 2020. (CNS photo/Manuel Rueda)

By Manuel Rueda 
Catholic News Service

TOCANCIPA, Colombia (CNS) — When Alba Rada arrived in Colombia, members of the Focolare movement gave her a warm welcome, got her kids in school and helped her with housing until she found a place to rent.

Now the 44-year-old Venezuelan immigrant replicates that kindness through a nonprofit that is helping more than 200 Venezuelans who live in Tocancipa — and many more who pass through a highway that crosses the town.

“We know what it’s like to go through tough times and face an uncertain future,” said Rada, who arrived in Colombia six years ago.

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Posted in World

Faith leaders ask Congress to boost overseas pandemic aid

The U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen in this file photo. (CNS photo/Tom Brenner, Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Three dozen faith-based organizations, including Catholic Relief Services, have asked Congress to immediately fund efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic around the world.

“If we don’t beat COVID-19 everywhere, we can’t beat it anywhere,” CRS said in a news release publicizing the letter sent July 1.

CRS, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency, said the faith leaders were seeking $10 billion to $15 billion in aid for the more than 70% of countries the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has described as ill-equipped to handle outbreaks of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

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Posted in U.S.

Soto: ‘Strenuous labor’ of ending racism shouldn’t be ‘toppled’ by looting

Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., is seen in this 2019 file photo. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Catholic News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) — By defacing and toppling a statue of St. Junipero Serra in Sacramento, protesters may have meant “to draw attention to the sorrowful, angry memories over California’s past,” but “this act of vandalism does little to build the future,” Bishop Jaime Soto said July 5.

The bishop, who heads the Sacramento Diocese, made the comments after the statue on the grounds of the California Capitol in Capitol Park was torn down by a group of demonstrators late July 4.

“There is no question that California’s indigenous people endured great suffering during the colonial period and then later faced the horror of government-sanctioned genocide under the nascent state of California,” Bishop Soto said. “This legacy is heartbreaking.”

However, he continued, “it is also true that while Father Serra worked under this colonial system, he denounced its evils and worked to protect the dignity of native peoples.”

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Posted in U.S.

At Angelus, pope backs U.N. resolution calling for global cease-fire

Pope Francis is pictured in a file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis praised the United Nations’ adoption of a global cease-fire resolution amid the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the world.

“The request for a global and immediate cease-fire, which would allow that peace and security necessary to provide the needed humanitarian assistance, is commendable,” the pope said July 5, after praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“I hope that this decision will be implemented effectively and promptly for the good of the many people who are suffering. May this Security Council resolution become a courageous first step toward a peaceful future,” he said.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Judge blocks law requiring 24-hour waiting period before getting abortion

A pro-life advocate from Iowa holds a sign during the 2017 March for Life in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Barb Arland-Fye 
Catholic News Service

DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNS) — A Johnson County district court judge has temporarily blocked the enforcement of the state’s new law requiring women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion, the Iowa Catholic Conference reported July 1.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law June 29. The injunction will continue while the suit against the law brought by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union takes its course.

Iowa Catholic leaders praised the legislation while the bill’s opponents argued the new law is unconstitutional because it violates due process and equal protection rights of pregnant women. Opponents also said the manner in which the bill passed at the end of the session did not allow for public debate, apnews.com reported June 30. The judge’s decision prevented the law from taking effect July 1.

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Posted in U.S.

John Feister of Glenmary Challenge wins St. Francis de Sales Award

John Feister, assistant editor of the Glenmary Challenge, poses for a photo outside of the Glenmary Home Missioners headquarters in Fairfield, Ohio. (CNS photo/Cassie Magnotta, courtesy John Feister)

By Chaz Muth 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — John Feister, assistant editor of Glenmary Challenge, is the recipient of the 2020 St. Francis de Sales Award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

The award — named for the patron saint of writers and journalists — recognizes “outstanding contributions to Catholic journalism” and is the highest honor given by the CPA.

The announcement was made July 2, via a pre-recorded video released as a premiere on social media during the 2020 Catholic Media Conference, which was held virtually using digital technology due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Posted in U.S.

Sunday Scripture reading, July 5, 2020: The Spirit in us

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

July 5,
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A
1) Zec 9:9-10
Psalm 145: 1-2, 8-11, 13-14
2) Rom 8:9, 11-13
Gospel: Mt 11:25-30

By Kevin Perrotta 
Catholic News Service

One of my sons lives on an unpaved country road. If I visit him on a rainy day, my car gets slathered with mud. When it dries, it’s not a pretty sight. You can hardly tell what color the vehicle is. Tired of my dust-mobile spoiling his view, my neighbor once made a point of telling me the location of the nearest car wash. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord"

Archives reveal abuse allegations against founder of Schonstatt movement

Father Joseph Kentenich, founder of the Schonstatt movement, is pictured in a file photo. (CNS photo/KNA)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Documents uncovered from the recently opened archives of the pontificate of Pope Pius XII revealed allegations of sexual abuse and abuse of power against the founder of the Schonstatt movement, Father Joseph Kentenich.

Reports of the apostolic visitation made in the early 1950s written by Dutch Jesuit Father Sebastiaan Tromp were made known by German scholar Alexandra von Teuffenbach July 2 after she wrote a letter regarding her discovery to German newspaper Die Tagespost and Italian journalist Sandro Magister.

Von Teuffenbach, a former professor of church history at Rome’s Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University, said the testimonies, letters and conversations Father Tromp had with members of the Schonstatt Sisters of Mary, as well as Father Kentenich, revealed “a situation of complete subjugation of the nuns, concealed in a certain way by a sort of family structure applied to the work.”

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Posted in Vatican, World

Vatican’s top diplomat meets about Mideast with U.S., Israeli ambassadors

A Palestinian demonstrator returns a tear gas canister during a protest near the Jewish settlement of Beit El July 1, 2020. The demonstrators were protesting Israeli plan to annex parts of the West Bank. (CNS photo/Mohamad Torokman, Reuters)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, met with the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors to the Vatican to express concern that “possible unilateral actions” on their part would further jeopardize peace in the region.

“The Holy See reiterates that the state of Israel and the state of Palestine have the right to exist and to live in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders,” said a statement from the Vatican press office July 1.

“It thus appeals to the parties to do everything possible to reopen the process of direct negotiation, on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, and aided by measures that can reestablish reciprocal confidence,” it said.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Father Val Peter, Boys Town’s leader for 20 years, dies

Father Val Peter is seen in this undated photo. He was executive director of Boys Town from 1985 to 2005. (CNS photo/courtesy Boys Town)

By Catholic News Service

BOYS TOWN, Neb. (CNS) — Father Val Peter, who was executive director of Boys Town from 1985 to 2005, died June 30 at age 85. No cause of death was given.

During his 20-year tenure leading Boys Town, Father Peter renovated much of the Boys Town campus, installed Boys Town campuses in major cities throughout the United States and increased the number of girls served by Boys Town.

He also utilized the latest research in child development to give the children under his care a better chance at a more productive future.

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Posted in U.S.