Catholic leaders welcome PEPFAR reauthorization in Congress

Girls hold U.S. and Kenyan flags as they wait to greet U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec as he visits a President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief project for girls’ empowerment in early March in Nairobi, Kenya. Two Catholic leaders Oct. 15 applauded congressional reauthorization of PEPFAR, opening the door for final passage of a bill to keep the program in place for another five years. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Two Catholic leaders applauded congressional committees for reauthorizing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, opening the door for final passage of a bill to keep the program in place for another five years.

Citing how the 15-year-old program has saved millions of lives around the world and prevented millions of new infections, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, said in a statement Oct. 15 the program ensures U.S. leadership in the campaign against HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Funds under the program, known as PEPFAR, support numerous services such as providing free antiretroviral medicines for eligible patients, support for families devastated by AIDS, after-school programs for children whose parents died from the disease and their caregivers, transportation for health services and counseling.

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Posted in U.S., World

Baltimore Archdiocese, Catholic Charities help launch Parish ID in city

Rebecca Kitana of St. Matthew Church in Northwood, Md., talks during an Oct. 10 announcement at Sacred Heart of Jesus-Sagrado Corazon de Jesus in Baltimore about an identification card program to be coordinated through Catholic parishes and other congregations in the city of Baltimore. Seated, from left, are Father Bruce Lewandowski, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus; Mayor Catherine Pugh; and interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)


By Paul McMullen 
Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) — This generation of immigrants to Baltimore will continue to find a haven in the Catholic Church.

That was the message Oct. 10 from the steps of Sacred Heart of Jesus-Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, where Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, Archbishop William E. Lori and Catholic pastors who minister to those from foreign countries attended the announcement of the establishment of a Parish ID program.

The program’s priority is “focused on helping residents to feel comfortable interacting with the Baltimore City Police Department,” according to BUILD, or Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, which helped organize the initiative.

Even though the enforcement of immigration laws falls primarily under federal jurisdiction rather than municipal jurisdiction, many the city’s immigrants who are living in the U.S. without legal documents remain hesitant to report crimes committed against them, for fear of their own arrest, and possible deportation and separation from their families.

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Posted in U.S.

Superiors general see no reason why women shouldn’t have vote at synod

Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, superior general of the Society of Jesus, prays at the start of a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 11. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Although bishops should make up the majority of voting members at a Synod of Bishops, the fact that the body is only consultative means women should be included as full members just as priests and religious brothers are, said three priests who are voting members.

The superiors general of the Dominicans, the Jesuits and the Conventual Franciscans — all priests who are voting members of the synod — spoke to reporters at a Vatican briefing Oct. 15.

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Posted in Vatican, World

El Salvador celebrates its first saint, whose legacy continues

People attend a ceremony at Gerardo Barrios Square in San Salvador, El Salvador, Oct. 14, as Pope Francis celebrates the canonization Mass for St. Oscar Romero and six other new saints in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Jose Cabezas, Reuters)

By David Agren 
Catholic News Service

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (CNS) — Near the end of his homily at a Mass just prior to St. Oscar Romero’s canonization, Jesuit Father Jose Maria Tojeira yelled to the crowd outside the Metropolitan Cathedral: “Viva Monsenor Romero!” (Long live Bishop Romero!)

The overflow crowed lustily yelled back, “Que Viva!” (Long live!)

“We’re not venerating a body,” Father Tojeira said, “rather someone who is alive, together with God and in the hearts of all Christians that want to continue with the reality of the Gospel.”

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Posted in World

St. Romero’s brothers rejoice at his canonization

Gaspar Romero, brother of St. Oscar Romero, poses for a photo in late May at his brother’s grave in San Salvador, El Salvador. Pope Francis celebrated the canonization Mass for St. Oscar Romero and six other new saints in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 14 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Jose Cabezas, Reuters)

By Melissa Vida 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Before the sun rose in Rome Oct. 14, 88-year-old Gaspar Romero and his brother, 93-year-old Tiberio Romero were at the head of the line of thousands of people waiting to get into St. Peter’s Square.

The two were at the Vatican for the canonization of their brother, St. Oscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador who was assassinated in 1980.

In the glow of the lights under the colonnade surrounding St. Peter’s Square, the Romero brothers and other family members waited with a group of priests from El Salvador.

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Posted in Vatican, World

For Catholics, St. Oscar Romero’s canonization a dream come true

Women wait for the start of the canonization Mass for seven new saints celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 14. Among those canonized were St. Paul VI and St. Oscar Romero. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Melissa Vida and Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — For many pilgrims from El Salvador and for many Catholics who focus on the tie between faith and justice, waiting for the canonization of St. Oscar Romero was an exercise in patience.

The declaration of the sainthood of the Salvadoran archbishop, who was assassinated while celebrating Mass in 1980, teaches men and women that “holiness is first and foremost a gift” that doesn’t come quickly, said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines.

“In Oscar Romero, we saw how he struggled, how he took the painful path of reconciling his previous understanding of the Gospel and the performance of the church’s mission with the openness that Vatican II presented,” the cardinal told Catholic News Service after celebrating a vigil Mass Oct. 13.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Saints risk all for love of Jesus, pope says at canonization Mass

Milandro DeJesus holds a picture of St. Oscar Romero before Pope Francis’ celebration of the canonization Mass for seven new saints in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 14. Among the new saints were St. Paul VI and St. Oscar Romero. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Carrying Pope Paul VI’s pastoral staff and wearing the blood-stained belt of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, Pope Francis formally recognized them, and five others, as saints of the Catholic Church.

Thousands of pilgrims from the new saints’ home countries — Italy, El Salvador, Spain and Germany — were joined by tens of thousands of others Oct. 14 in St. Peter’s Square to celebrate the universal recognition of the holiness of men and women they already knew were saints.

Carolina Escamilla, who traveled from San Salvador for canonization, said she was “super happy” to be in Rome. “I don’t think there are words to describe all that we feel after such a long-awaited and long-desired moment like the ‘official’ canonization, because Archbishop Romero was already a saint when he was alive.”

Each of the new saints lived lives marked by pain and criticism — including from within the church — but all of them dedicated themselves with passionate love to following Jesus and caring for the weak and the poor, Pope Francis said in his homily. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican