Is 2020 the year that gets young people to polls in bigger numbers?

A volunteer poll site worker at the Edmondson Westside High School polling site in Baltimore sanitizes a write-in ballot station after it was used during a special election in Maryland April 28, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS photo/Tom Brenner, Reuters)

By Betty Araya 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Steven Millies, a scholar who explores the Catholic Church’s relationship to politics, feels more optimistic today than he has in a long time about young people in this country voting in a national election.

The reason for his optimism? The young people who continue to protest the May 25 death of George Floyd, an African American, at the hands of white police officers, and demand racial justice. Millies predicts this activism will motivate young people to go to the polls Nov. 3.

“I’m frankly more encouraged than I have been in a long time by what we’ve seen on the streets in the last six weeks or so, because it’s a lot of different kinds of people who have taken to the streets since George Floyd,” said Millies, an associate professor of public theology and director of The Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union.

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Czerny: Pandemic made people grasp role of migrants as essential workers

Migrant workers wearing masks and practicing social distancing trim red cabbage at Mayfair Farms in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, April 28, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNS photo/Shannon VanRaes, Reuters)

By Sarah Mac Donald
Catholic News Service

DUBLIN (CNS) — The coronavirus pandemic “opened our eyes to the peripheries in our midst,” specifically to the contribution of migrant workers in essential services such as health care, transportation, sanitation and agriculture, said Cardinal Michael Czerny.

The undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development noted that, “paradoxically we had to be as shocked and stuck” during lockdown before “our eyes began to open.”

On World Day Against Trafficking in Persons July 30, the Canadian prelate took part in a webinar, “Overcoming Indifference to Migrants and Refugees,” organized by the international Catholic weekly The Tablet.

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Religious brother uses gifts as liturgical artist to heal wounds of racism

Oblate Brother Mickey McGrath, a liturgical artist attempting to foster healing and justice in the struggle against racism through his work, holds his artistry tools in his Camden, N.J., studio in this undated photo. (CNS photo/courtesy Oblate Brother Mickey McGrath)

By Gina Christian 
Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — As the nation continues to grapple with the issue of racism, an acclaimed liturgical artist and retreat leader is using his gifts to foster healing and justice.

Oblate Brother Mickey McGrath has created a series of images that take a faith-based look at the struggle for racial equality. From his studio in Camden, New Jersey, Brother McGrath has been posting his recent work on Facebook, often in the form of coloring pages that viewers can download and use as meditative art exercises.

One image in particular has received international attention: a striking portrait of Christ falling under the weight of the cross, above which the words “I can’t breathe” are painted in red.

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COVID pandemic should raise questions about faith, pope says

A woman wearing a protective mask prays during Mass at the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in London July 4, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNS photo/Isabel Infantes, PA Images via Reuters)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Besides the immediate considerations of trying to stay healthy, to mourn the dead and protect others, the coronavirus pandemic should be prompting Christians to reflect on their faith, Pope Francis wrote.

“The pandemic poses fundamental questions about happiness in our lives and about the treasure of our Christian faith,” he wrote in the preface to a short book of initial theological reflections prompted by COVID-19 and its global impact.

Originally published in German with the title, “Being Christians in the Coronavirus Crisis,” the book was curated by Cardinal Walter Kasper and Pallottine Father George Augustin, director of the Cardinal Walter Kasper Institute for Ecumenism, Theology, and Spirituality.

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Archbishop: Mass burials common as Nigerians face daily violence

People leave St. Gabriel Catholic Church following Mass in late March in Abuja, Nigeria. (CNS photo/Afolabi Sotunde, Reuters)

By Bronwen Dachs 
Catholic News Service

Faith communities in Nigeria face daily violence and persecution, a U.S.-based rights group said. It called for U.S. intervention after a terrorist group executed five men abducted while providing assistance in northeastern Nigeria.

While Christians, particularly preachers, “are clearly the targets” of militants in the West African country, Muslims are killed too, said Archbishop Matthew Ndagoso of Kaduna, who chairs the bishops’ committee on justice, development and peace.

Militants and also bandits act with impunity, he said, noting that all Nigerian civilians feel vulnerable and “let down by the government.”

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Extraordinary times in Ordinary Time: Public Masses amid a pandemic

A bottle of hand sanitizer is seen on the altar prior to Mass at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Washington July 11, 2020. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Mark Pattison 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — To resume public Masses during the coronavirus pandemic, dioceses have issued guidelines to be followed by parishes. The Archdiocese of Washington’s series of protocols, for instance, runs 14 pages.

This story aims to be not quite that long.

With worshippers’ health the key concern, there’s a different way of doing things in U.S. churches, where hand sanitizer has become the new holy water.

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D.C. Catholic food pantry: Months of long lines with no end in sight

A woman waits in line at Catholic Charities’ Spanish Catholic Center parking lot in Washington July 15, 2020, to pick up free food supplies. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth)

By Carol Zimmermann 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — When the coronavirus pandemic first hit the Washington area in mid-March, shuttering many local restaurants and businesses, the lines at a weekly food pantry sponsored by the Spanish Catholic Center immediately jumped from about 60 people to hundreds.

And now, four months into this time of job loss, sickness and social distancing, this previously small pantry — part of Catholic Charities in the Washington Archdiocese and previously led by a handful of senior volunteers — is equipped with a large team of helpers to regularly serve meals and give groceries to about 600 people each week.

These workers say the line for the food pantry often starts forming well before dawn and is not showing any signs of letting up.

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Faith leaders criticize Trump’s plan to reject new DACA applicants

President Donald Trump is seen at the White House in Washington July 29, 2020. (CNS photo/Leah Millis, Reuters)

By Carol Zimmermann 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Faith leaders and immigrant advocates have denounced the Trump administration’s plan to reject first-time applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, and limit DACA renewals to one-year extensions instead of two.

Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California, said the administration’s action, announced July 28 in a memo issued by the Department of Homeland Security, was “irresponsible and recalcitrant.”

The memo was written by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and issued more than a month after the Supreme Court ruled against efforts by the Trump administration to end DACA.

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Parishes are not ‘businesses’ that can be led by anyone, cardinal says

A family enters the parish hall at San Isidro Church in Santa Fe, N.M., July 26, 2020. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The recent Vatican instruction on pastoral care clarifies the responsibility of every member of the church community to work together in the shared mission of evangelization and warns against turning the parish into a mere provider of services, said Cardinal Beniamino Stella.

The document included “a warning signal” against notions of the parish “as a ‘business’ that provides different kinds of services — sacramental, social, charitable — and not as a missionary community, a family,” in which everyone contributes his and her part according to their vocation, availability and abilities, said the cardinal, who is prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, which released the document July 20.

“Seen in this light, the priest would have to be assisted precisely in not getting lost in administration and bureaucracy, but rather to be focused on the priorities of his ministry — the Eucharist, proclamation of the Word, spiritual direction, confession, the promotion of charity, being close to the faithful, especially those most in need — and be accompanied with the assistance of and encouraged by the example of other members of the community,” he said.

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U.S. data group: China hacked computers of Vatican, other church entities

Catholics celebrate Mass at Hong Kong’s Catholic Cathedral with protective masks Feb. 2, 2020. (CNS Photo/Francis Wong)

By Catholic News Service

China has been accused of hacking Vatican computers as well as those in the Diocese of Hong Kong and other Catholic organizations in May.

The hacking appears to be an attempt to gain an advantage in talks between the Vatican and China, due to resume as early as this week, about a fresh deal on the appointment of bishops.

U.S. data monitoring group Recorded Future and its Insikt Group used sophisticated data analysis tools to uncover the cyber espionage, reported ucanews.com.

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