Pope entrusts to Mary victims of disasters, conflict, social tension

Pope Francis gives a blessing during his Angelus prayer on the feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15, at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a week in which natural disasters, war and racial conflicts dominated the headlines, Pope Francis prayed that Mary would bring peace to a divided world.

After reciting the Angelus prayer on the feast of the Assumption, the pope asked Mary to obtain “for everyone consolation and a future of serenity and harmony.”

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Posted in Vatican, World

Catholics on Guam pray for peace amid threats by North Korea

Msgr. James Benavente blesses a boy after Mass at Santa Barbara Church on the island of Guam Aug. 13. (CNS/Reuters)

Msgr. James Benavente greets a boy after Mass at Santa Barbara Church on the island of Guam Aug. 13. (CNS/Reuters)

By Tony C. Diaz
Catholic News Service

HAGATNA, Guam (CNS) — The Catholic Church on Guam is urging its members and all people on the island to be prayerful and stay centered in Christ amid threats of missile attacks by North Korea.

Coadjutor Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes of Agana asked all priests to promote prayers of peace at all Masses Aug. 13 as tensions continue, following threats by North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un to attack this American territory in the Marianas Islands.

“In your Masses this Sunday, especially in the prayer of the faithful, please offer prayers for peace between our nations, just resolution of differences, and prudence in both speech and action,” Archbishop Byrnes said in a message to all priests of the Archdiocese of Agana Aug. 11. Continue reading

Posted in World

Cling to the Lord, not horoscopes, fortunetellers, pope says

Pope Francis prays during a Pentecost vigil marking the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the Circus Maximus in Rome June 3. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis prays during a Pentecost vigil marking the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the Circus Maximus in Rome June 3. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When passing through the storm of life’s difficult moments, Christians must latch on to Christ and not the false sense of security offered by psychics and soothsayers, Pope Francis said.

Speaking to pilgrims before reciting the Angelus Aug. 13, Pope Francis talked about the day’s Gospel passage, which recounts the story of Jesus walking on water. Jesus tells St. Peter to come to him, but his lack of faith when walking on the water toward Jesus during a storm leads to him slowly to start sinking in the sea.

Christians today, Pope Francis said, also can doubt the assurance of Christ’s presence when confronting life’s “turbulent and hostile waters.” Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Archbishop says Blessed Romero could be canonized next year

Women look at relics and other items of Blessed Oscar Romero at Divine Providence Hospital in San Salvador in 2015. (CNS/Octavio Duran)

Women look at relics and other items of Blessed Oscar Romero at Divine Providence Hospital in San Salvador in 2015. (CNS/Octavio Duran)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The archbishop officially promoting Blessed Oscar Romero’s cause for sainthood said he hopes the process will conclude within a year and Catholics around the world will honor St. Oscar Romero, martyr.

“Keeping alive the memory of Romero is a noble task, and my great hope is that Pope Francis will soon canonize him a saint,” Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the postulator of the Salvadoran archbishop’s cause, said in a homily Aug. 12 in London.

In an interview with Vatican Radio’s English program, Archbishop Paglia was more specific: “We could hope that in the next year perhaps it is possible” that the Congregation for Saints’ Causes will have completed its review of an alleged miracle attributed to Blessed Romero’s intervention and present its findings to the pope. Recognition of the miracle would clear the way for canonization. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Bishops ask for peace after white nationalist rally turns deadly

White nationalists carry torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11 over a plan to remove the statue of a Confederate general from a city park. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, condemned the ensuing violence and hatred Aug. 12 and offered prayers for the family and loved ones of the person who was killed, and for all those who were injured. (CNS photo/Alejandro Alvarez, News2Share via Reuters)

(Fourth update)

By Rhina Guidos
Catholic News Service

 

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In the aftermath of a chaos- and hate-filled weekend in Virginia, Catholic bishops and groups throughout the nation called for peace after three people died and several others were injured following clashes between pacifists, protesters and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 11 and 12.

A 32-year-old paralegal, Heather D. Heyer, was killed when a car plowed into a group in Charlottesville Aug. 12. The driver was identified as James Alex Fields, who allegedly told his mother he was attending a rally for President Donald Trump. Reports say the car allegedly driven by Fields plowed into a crowd during a white nationalist rally and a counter-rally the afternoon of Aug. 12.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said early Aug. 14 the “evil attack” meets the legal definition of domestic terrorism and suggested pending federal charges for Fields, who was arrested and was being held without bail. Fields was formally charged Aug. 14 by a Charlottesville judge with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.

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Posted in U.S.

Experts say law-abiding migrants at greater deportation risk under Trump

Seven-year-old Walter Escobar of Texas holds a photo of his family, including his deported father, Jose Escobar, during a late March news conference in Washington. Experts say law-abiding migrants are at greater risk of deportation under President Donald Trump. (CNS/EPA)

Seven-year-old Walter Escobar of Texas holds a photo of his family, including his deported father, Jose Escobar, during a late March news conference in Washington. Experts say law-abiding migrants are at greater risk of deportation under President Donald Trump. (CNS/EPA)

(Backgrounder)

By Rhina Guidos
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The stories come in dribs and drabs on the evening news or in timelines via Twitter, but they’re steady.

On Aug. 2, two young popular soccer players, brothers living in Bethesda, Maryland, were deported to their native El Salvador. In mid-July, Jesus Lara Lopez, a 37-year-old father of four in Cleveland, was deported to Mexico. On Aug. 1, Lourdes Salazar Bautista, a Michigan mom with three U.S. citizen children also was deported to Mexico.

At some point, they all had contact with immigration authorities, but none had criminal records or a violent past, and regularly checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, to inform the agency of their whereabouts. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Sunday Scripture readings, Aug. 13, 2017: God speaks in silence

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

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

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

      Cycle A Readings

     1) 1 Kings 19:9A, 11-13A

      Psalm 85:9-14

      2) Romans 9:1-5

      Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33

 

By Jem Sullivan
Catholic News Service

Jem Sullivan writes for the Catholic News Service Scripture column, "Speak to Me Lord." (CNS photo/courtesy Jem Sullivan)

Jem Sullivan writes for the Catholic News Service Scripture column, “Speak to Me Lord.” (CNS photo/courtesy Jem Sullivan)

“God is a friend of silence,” said St. Teresa of Kolkata.

Amid the noise and busyness of each day moments of silence are sacred spaces in which God speaks his love, mercy and wisdom. We grow in friendship with God in times of silence, however brief and fleeting.

The saints discover the soul’s need for silence as they grow closer to God in prayer and through love of neighbor. They arrive inevitably at the experience of the prophet Elijah who encounters God in a tiny, whispering sound, bathed in silence, as recounted in today’s first reading.

Obeying the Lord’s command, Elijah stands on the mountain of Horeb to meet God. He knows where God will be revealed, but not how.

One can imagine Elijah’s fear, eagerness and curiosity as he waits. For like Elijah, we too feel that deep, interior longing for God, a desire that only God satisfies. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns