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By Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Welcoming thousands of migrants and refugees tothe Vatican for their own Year of Mercy celebration, Pope Francis urged them toresist everything that would rob them of hope and joy."Each of you is the bearer of a history, culture and preciousvalues and, unfortunately, also often of experiences of poverty, oppression andfear," the pope said Jan. 17. But gathering in St. Peter's Square for theHoly Year "is a sign of hope in God. Don't allow yourselves to be robbedof hope and the joy of living, which spring from the experience of divinemercy, also thanksto the people who welcomed and helped you."The pope prayed that passing through the Holy Doorand attending a special jubilee Mass "will fill your hearts with peace." He also thanked the inmates of a maximum security prisonin Milan who prepared the hosts consecrated at the Mass. According to theItalian news agency, ANSA, an estimated 7,000 migrants from 30 countries werepresent. The group pass...
(Vatican Radio) Methodist Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, Vice Moderator of the World Council of Churches' (WCC) Central Committee, says Christian congregations have a vital role to play in helping to respond to the current refugee crisis but more still could be done by them. Bishop Swenson was among the participants at a high-level conference hosted by the WCC in partnership with the UN agencies to discuss how they can proactively influence and shape coordinated collective practical responses to the crisis. The 2-day conference in Geneva was attended by some 80 leaders of governments, UN agencies and NGO’s from countries affected by the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.Listen to the interview with Methodist Bishop Mary Ann Swenson:   Bishop Swenson said the various Christian denominations have a vital role to play in responding to the refugee crisis and are doing a great deal.  However she said she believed that probably they "could s...
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said he “imagines that even the Pope has some desire to escape out of the Vatican” during an interview on the Italian television programme La Strada dei Miracoli [“The Road of Miracles”] that was scheduled to be aired on Tuesday evening.He gave the example of a recent trip to an optician near Rome’s famous Spanish Steps to get his lenses replaced for his glasses.However, Cardinal Parolin said the Holy Father’s sojourns outside the Vatican Walls are “mostly for work.”During the interview, the Cardinal said the Pope has always enjoyed a “truly great freedom,” even if “it has had to be adapted a little to life in the Curia.”“Even the fact of his moving into the Casa Santa Marta, where he finds himself most at ease, has obviously helped him feel at home,” Cardinal Parolin said.“From what I can see, the Pope seems to be doing...
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archibishop of Yangon (Myanmar) and papal legate for the event, introduces the 51st International Eucharistic Congress saying,  “Asia is a confluence of major religions”, a part of the world that “has not embraced secularism as the West has done. And spiritual fervor witnessed at the community level is a way of  evangelizing the others”.  According to the first cardinal of the history of Burmese Church, the event will be an occasion to work in three directions. “Dialogue with religions, with culture, and poor”. “Asia  remains a common task for the church - he said - so the challenge is to see what is God saying through these realities”.The celebration of the Congress in the Philippines, the only predominantly Catholic country in Asia, is a major challenge to strengthen the missionary perspective. The theme revolves around the “hope” that joins the task of “the...
 WASHINGTON-Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York called on everyone "concerned about the tragedy of abortion" to recommit to a "vision of life and love, a vision that excludes no one" on January 14. His statement marks the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Cardinal Dolan chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."Most Americans oppose a policy allowing legal abortion for virtually any reason - though many still do not realize that this is what the Supreme Court gave us," wrote Cardinal Dolan. "Most want to protect unborn children at later stages of pregnancy, to regulate or limit the practice of abortion, and to stop the use of taxpayer dollars for the destruction of unborn children. Yet many who support important goals of the pro-life movement do not identify as 'pro-life,' a fact which should lead us to examine how we present our pro-life vision to others.""Even as Americans rema...
LANDSTUHL, Germany (AP) -- Pale but smiling, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati recounted Tuesday how disbelief turned to joy when he and three fellow Americans realized that they were being released as part of a deal with Iran and reunited with their families after spending years in Iranian prison....
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court stepped into a boiling political dispute over immigration Tuesday, setting up a likely decision in the middle of a presidential campaign marked by harsh rhetoric about immigrants....
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The latest news on the influx of asylum-seekers and other migrants in Europe. All times local:...
BEIJING (AP) -- The slowdown of China's once-sizzling economy has fueled anxiety over its impact on the rest of the world. Yet when Beijing reported Tuesday that its economy grew last year at the slowest pace in a quarter-century, the reaction seemed to be mainly relief it wasn't worse....
LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Only a year ago, Rick Snyder began his second term as Michigan governor promoting the same achievements that had propelled him to victory in 2014: The state was at last in the midst of an economic comeback, and Detroit had emerged from bankruptcy....
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