Though snubbed by Women’s March, pro-life groups will still participate

President-elect Donald Trump smiles as he and his family take part in the "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration" at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington Jan. 19, the eve of his swearing-in as the country's 45th president. (CNS/Reuters)

President-elect Donald Trump smiles as he and his family take part in the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington Jan. 19, the eve of his swearing-in as the country’s 45th president. (CNS/Reuters)

By Rhina Guidos
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Like many concerned about what Donald Trump has said about women and his various and changing positions on abortion, Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa decided she wanted to take part in the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Washington, protesting the new president on the day after his inauguration as the country’s 45th leader.

She and about 50 others from the New Wave Feminists, a pro-life group against abortion, war, the death penalty and other issues, had planned to join the crowd to make their voices heard and even wanted to be listed as partners in the march’s official roster.

“We were going to send a message that we were going to be holding Trump accountable,” Herndon-De La Rosa said in a Jan. 19 interview with Catholic News Service. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

The ecology of burial: Choices reflect beliefs about life after death

Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli set up a sample biodegradable burial pod developed by their company, Capsula Mundi, at their design studio in Rome. Recent Vatican guidelines on cremation and burial address the growing trend of "green burials." (CNS/Paul Haring)

Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli set up a sample biodegradable burial pod developed by their company, Capsula Mundi, at their design studio in Rome. Recent Vatican guidelines on cremation and burial address the growing trend of “green burials.” (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Robert Duncan
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a craftsman’s workshop on the edge of Rome’s Campo Verano cemetery, two designers are working to revive what they see as a dying art: burial.

Unlike the masons who make the cemetery’s gravestones and memorials, Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel are fashioning biodegradable burial pods.

Their prototype is an egg-shaped sarcophagus that can hold a corpse in the fetal position. A young tree, chosen ahead of time by the deceased, will be planted over the pod in place of a headstone. Citelli and Bretzel imagine a future where “sacred forests” co-exist with cemeteries. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

In visit to Kurdistan, U.S. bishop hears priorities of Iraqi Christians

An Iraqi woman carries humanitarian aid alongside her children Dec. 23 at a camp for displaced people near Irbil, Iraq. (CNS photo/Kamal Akrayi, EPA)

An Iraqi woman carries humanitarian aid alongside her children Dec. 23 at a camp for displaced people near Irbil, Iraq. (CNS photo/Kamal Akrayi, EPA)

By Dale Gavlak Catholic News Service

AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — After meeting with church leaders in northern Iraq, a U.S. bishop said he will advocate differently for Iraqi religious minorities.

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, told Catholic News Service by phone that the Iraqi Catholic clergy do not want to see a safe corridor set up for Christians, as some in Washington have suggested.

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Posted in U.S., World

U.S. doctors, nurses treat Syrian refugees for free in Jordan

Dr. Anas Safadi, a cardiologist with the Syrian American Medical Society, checks his Syrian refugee patient Jan. 11 at Gardens Hospital in Amman, Jordan, after performing free heart catheter surgery the previous day. (CNS photo/Scott R. Carey)

Dr. Anas Safadi, a cardiologist with the Syrian American Medical Society, checks his Syrian refugee patient Jan. 11 at Gardens Hospital in Amman, Jordan, after performing free heart catheter surgery the previous day. (CNS photo/Scott R. Carey)

By Dale Gavlak Catholic News Service

MAFRAQ, Jordan (CNS) — American doctors and nurses on a medical mission to Jordan are performing badly needed surgeries and other medical treatment free of charge to thousands of Syrian refugees who can no longer afford basic health care.

Dr. Bassel Atassi of the Little Company of Mary Hospital, a not-for-profit Catholic community hospital on Chicago’s South Side, led the 80-member mission.

Fanning out across Jordan, under the auspices of the Syrian American Medical Society, teams provided cardiac, eye and orthopedic surgeries; others offered care in pediatrics, obstetrics, dentistry, pain management and nephrology for refugees, inside camps and in the community. They also aided poor Jordanians.

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Posted in U.S., World

In Holy Land visit, bishops see problems related to Israeli settlements

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., kneels by a stone that reads "We Refuse To Be Enemies" Jan. 16 at the entrance to the Tent of Nations in the West Bank, near Bethlehem. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill)

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., kneels by a stone that reads “We Refuse To Be Enemies” Jan. 16 at the entrance to the Tent of Nations in the West Bank, near Bethlehem. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill)

By Judith Sudilovsky Catholic News Service

TENT OF NATIONS, West Bank (CNS) — Bishops from Europe and North America lauded this 100-year-old hilltop family farm southwest of Bethlehem as an example of the nonviolent resistance needed to oppose Israeli expansion onto Palestinian land.

“This farm is what we want to encourage — a peaceful resistance … a moral voice to the international and local community,” said U.S. Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace.

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Posted in U.S., World

Bishops visiting Holy Land: Christians must oppose Israeli settlements

Bishops from the U.S, Canada and Europe walk through a street Jan. 16 in Hebron, West Bank. (CNS photo/Marcin Mazur, Bishops' Conference of England and Wales)

Bishops from the U.S, Canada and Europe walk through a street Jan. 16 in Hebron, West Bank. (CNS photo/Marcin Mazur, Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales)

By Catholic News Service

JERUSALEM (CNS) — Christians have a responsibility to oppose the construction of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, said bishops from the U.S., Canada and Europe.

“This de facto annexation of land not only undermines the rights of Palestinians in areas such as Hebron and East Jerusalem but, as the U.N. recently recognized, also imperils the chance of peace,” said bishops who participated in the Holy Land Coordination Jan. 14-19.

“So many people in the Holy Land have spent their entire lives under occupation, with its polarizing social segregation, yet still profess hope and strive for reconciliation. Now, more than ever, they deserve our solidarity,” said the statement, issued Jan. 19, at the end of the visit.

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Posted in U.S., World

Working with Iraqi refugees stretches, strengthens priest’s faith

Father Khalil Jaar distributes hygiene packs to Iraqi Christian refugees sheltering at his church compound Jan. 8 in Marka, Jordan. (CNS photo/Dale Gavlak)

Father Khalil Jaar distributes hygiene packs to Iraqi Christian refugees sheltering at his church compound Jan. 8 in Marka, Jordan. (CNS photo/Dale Gavlak)

By Dale Gavlak Catholic News Service

MARKA, Jordan (CNS) — Working with displaced Iraqi Christians has stretched and strengthened the faith of a priest who came to Jordan as a refugee.

Father Khalil Jaar said the Iraqi Christians, who escaped the Islamic State invasion for initial sanctuary in Jordan until they find a permanent home, have become like family for him, with some even living on the compound of his parish, Our Lady Mother of the Church, in this crowded suburb of the Jordanian capital, Amman.

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Posted in World