Sunday Scripture readings, June 28, 2020: Newness in Christ

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

June 28,
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A
1) 2 Kgs 4:8-11, 14-16
Psalm 89:2-3, 16-17, 18-19
2) Rom 6:3-4, 8-11
Gospel: Mt 10:37-42

By Jem Sullivan
Catholic News Service

In this month of June, the church has returned to Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar. Our return to Ordinary Time followed soon after the great solemnity of Pentecost when we celebrated the gift of the Holy Spirit who inaugurates the age of the church. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Maryknoll Father Robert Astorino, founder of UCA News, dies at age 77

Maryknoll Father Robert Astorino, founder of UCA News and executive director of the agency for 30 years, died at age 77 June 25, 2020, in a hospital near the mission society’s headquarters in New York State. Father Astorino is pictured in a file photo. (CNS photo/Christopher Khoo)

By Catholic News Service

HONG KONG (CNS) — Maryknoll Father Robert Astorino, founder of the Asian Catholic news agency UCA News and executive director of the agency for 30 years, died June 25 at Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, New York. He was 77 and a priest for 50 years.

Ucanews.com reported he went to Hong Kong in 1971 and, after language studies, was part of a Maryknoll team that researched the situation of youth, many of them children of refugees from mainland China, in the Kwun Tong area of Kowloon.

Father Astorino, who earned graduate degrees in sociology from Fordham University and in journalism from Columbia University, both in New York City, saw that the churches of Asia needed a means of communicating their experiences and missions with one another without passing through Western filters. After conducting a feasibility study on church information needs in Asia, he launched UCA News in 1979 to provide news of and for the Catholic Church in Asia.

Continue reading

Posted in U.S., World

Rohingya refugees threatened by pandemic, Caritas warns

Rohingya refugees are evacuated from a boat by locals near the coast of Seunuddon beach in Aceh, Indonesia, June 25, 2020. (CNS photo/Antara Foto, Rahmad via Reuters)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Flimsy shelters and inadequate space in Bangladeshi refugee camps amid the COVID-19 pandemic have compounded the sufferings of the already beleaguered Rohingya community, a representative of Caritas said.

“One of the key measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is social distancing. But if you live in a refugee camp, you don’t have the luxury of space to do this,” Inmanuel Chayan Biswas, communications officer for Caritas Bangladesh’s Rohingya Response Program, said in a June 26 statement.

The Caritas program is based in Cox’s Bazar, the southern Bangladeshi city hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled Myanmar to escape a Myanmar military crackdown in Rakhine that began in August 2017.

Continue reading

Posted in Vatican, World

DACA ruling called ‘a beautiful moment’; concern about future remains

DACA recipient Brisa Rios poses for a selfie with her husband, Juan Rios, and her son, Yahir Rios, in Branson, Mo., in this handout photo June 18, 2020, the same day the Supreme Court ruled against efforts by the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (CNS photo/Reuters)

By Juan Carlos Ramirez 
Catholic News Service

PHOENIX (CNS) — For Cinthia Padilla Ortiz, the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the DACA program was “an unexpected and beautiful moment” and left her feeling “that sense of hope in our community.”

“When I read the decision — there are moments where there are no words to describe the feelings,” the recent law graduate from Loyola University New Orleans told Catholic News Service.

“There was a mixture of feelings because I felt thankful and optimistic about this decision due to the fact that earlier this week we had a favorable decision on another civil rights case for federal workers who identified as part of the LGBT community,” she added.

Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Uncertain times are a call to build a better world, bishop tells police

Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, delivers his homily July 1, 2018, at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle in San Juan, Texas. Bishop Flores celebrated a Blue Mass June 24, 2020, for police officers and first responders in the same basilica at a time when law enforcement is being scrutinized nationally during racial injustice protests. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

As tensions continue to mount in the United States, law enforcement, police officers and first responders should not be disheartened and work to better themselves in service to their local community, said Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas.

Much like the Catholic Church, law enforcement “seems to only make the news when something bad happens,” Bishop Flores said in his homily June 24 during the diocese’s annual Blue Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle in San Juan, Texas.

“And while that is a call for us all to examine ourselves and make things better for the future, we know that every day, much goodness happens. We shouldn’t forget that,” he told the estimated 300 officers and first responders present.

Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Don’t ‘blackmail’ kids into coming to church, archbishop says

Young people process into St. John of God Church in Central Islip, N.Y., in 2019, before receiving the sacraments of initiation — baptism, confirmation and first Communion. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Although he said, “I would never go to war” over the proper age to administer the sacrament of confirmation, Archbishop Rino Fisichella said too often it seems that the sacrament is delayed to “blackmail” young people into continuing to come to church.

The archbishop, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, made the comment June 25 at the Vatican presentation of the updated “Directory for Catechesis.”

In his prepared remarks, he said the directory hoped to promote “a ‘pastoral conversion’ in order to free catechesis from some chokeholds that prevent its effectiveness.”

Continue reading

Posted in Vatican, World

Catechesis is about a relationship, not just information, Vatican says

Counselor Joe Leoncavallo leads a classroom session during a catechetical camp in Central Islip, N.Y. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Teaching the faith is a work of evangelization meant to lead people to a deeper relationship with Jesus and not just impart information, said the updated “Directory for Catechesis.”

The directory, released by the Vatican June 25, lists the goals and essential elements of catechesis and is meant to guide the drafting of national catechisms and catechetical directories that take into account specifics of the local culture and the needs of Catholics at different ages and stages of life.

Previous versions of the directory were approved in 1971 by St. Paul VI and in 1997 by St. John Paul II.

Continue reading

Posted in Vatican, World

Priests are on front lines of COVID-19 as they minister to the sick, dying

Father Albert Ranallo, coordinator for Pastoral Care for Health Facilities in the Diocese of Providence, R.I., puts on COVID-19 protective gear at HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence June 16, 2020. (CNS photo/Rick Snizek, Rhode Island Catholic)

By Rick Snizek 
Catholic News Service

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CNS) — Arriving in the early evening at Fatima Hospital, Father Richard Narciso — his anxiety level already raised due to the circumstances — listened intently as Gloria, the nurse assigned to guide him, detailed the procedures he would need to follow to mitigate his risk of falling prey to COVID-19, the same illness afflicting the patient he had arrived to anoint.

Although the pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Providence has eased the passing of countless sick and dying throughout his ministry in offering the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, he had never encountered such a tense visit to a patient on their deathbed.

He had received a call late that afternoon from the hospital asking that the woman’s daughter had requested — if possible — that their loved one receive the sacrament.

Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Bishops praise Bolivians who seize drug-trafficking plane at airstrip

A file photo shows an indigenous woman holding up coca leaves in La Paz, Bolivia. (CNS photo/Gaston Brito, Reuters)

By Barbara Fraser
Catholic News Service

LIMA, Peru (CNS) — Bishops in Bolivia’s Amazon region praised residents of a small town who seized a light plane, apparently owned by drug traffickers, that had violated their ban on landing at the local airstrip.

“Drug trafficking in Bolivia is widespread, and this situation has made that clear,” Bishop Eugenio Coter of Riberalta, who heads the Pan-Amazonian Church Network in Bolivia, told Catholic News Service. “It indicates that drug traffickers have control of small communities.”

In March, Bolivia imposed a strict lockdown to control the coronavirus pandemic. To help avoid contagion, residents of Bella Vista, a town of about 5,000 people near the Brazilian border, prohibited light planes from landing on the local airstrip.

Continue reading

Posted in World

God listens to everybody — sinner, saint, victim, killer, pope says

Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican June 24, 2020. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Everyone lives a life that is often inconsistent or a “contradiction” because people can be both a sinner and a saint, a victim and a tormentor, Pope Francis said.

No matter what one’s situation is, people can put themselves back in God’s hands through prayer, he said June 24 during his weekly general audience.

“Prayer gives us nobility; it is able to protect one’s relationship with God, who is the true companion along humanity’s journey, amidst thousands of hardships in life, good or bad, but always with prayer,” he said.

Continue reading

Posted in Vatican