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HOUSTON (AP) -- For more than half a century, the unsolved killing of a young schoolteacher and beauty queen who was last seen at church haunted the Texas city of McAllen....
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Twitter set out to build a virtual town square bustling with billions of people. But it's starting to look more like a novelty stand as the masses flock to other services that strike a more personal chord....
By Mark PattisonDRIGGS,Idaho (CNS) -- Father Adrian Vazquez bolted out of his rectory in St. Anthonyon a cold November morning, brushed a thin layer of snow off of his SubaruOutback, started the engine and raced down the road to make the 50-mile driveto his mission chapel in Driggs.Thescenery along the way was stunning, with spectacular vistas of the Grand Tetonmountain range.FatherVazquez said he never gets tired of being surrounded by the rustic beauty ofrural eastern Idaho.It'sthe amount of driving he does each week that wears on him.Hemakes the 100-mile round-trip drive to Driggs at least twice a week to tend tohis flock.That'sin addition to 30-mile-round-trip drive Father Vazquez makes to another missionchapel in Rexburg and the 85-mile-round-trip drive to another in Island Park.That'sright, this priest is the administrator of Mary Immaculate Catholic Church inSt. Anthony and three mission chapels located in about a 200-mile radius.Seemlike an enormous job for one U.S. priest?...
By BOISE,Idaho (CNS) -- In the 1980s, a wave of migrants from Mexico and other LatinAmerican countries began to settle in Idaho.Theagricultural industry made the state a prime location for these immigrants, whocould work on the farms and ranches, often without having to know too much Englishor provide legal documents to secure employment.Italso presented the statewide Diocese of Boise -- one of the Catholic home missiondioceses in the U.S. -- with a set of challenges.Beforethe big migration, Idaho had a predominantly white population and there waslittle need for Spanish-speaking priests, religious sisters or deacons.Thechurch, schools and government were not prepared for their arrival, said FatherJesus Camacho, parochial vicar of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Boise, who wasordained in his native Mexico in 1975.WhenFather Camacho arrived in Boise in 1981, he was one of only two priests fromMexico in the diocese and there was no Hispanic ministry.Hehad been invited to come to Idaho by...
IMAGE: CNS photo/How Hwee Young, EPABy VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a video message one week before hisapostolic visit, Pope Francis asked the people of Mexico for some time aloneduring his visit to pray before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe."I would like to ask -- as a favor from you -- thatthis time, which will be the third time I will step on Mexican soil, to leaveme alone a fewminutes in front of the image. That is the favor I ask. Can you do that forme?" he said in the video released Jan. 3 by the Mexican news agency NotiMex. The video featured men and women from different cities inMexico asking thepope questions about thevisit he has planned to their country Feb. 12-17. "I'm going to Mexico not as a wise man bearing things,messages, ideas or solutions to problems," he responded, but as a pilgrimin search of something from the Mexican people."I am not going to pass around the collection basket sodon't worry about that," the pope said. "But I will seek the wealthof faith that yo...
By VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God doesn't want to condemn anyone;he wants to save every person in the entire world, Pope Francis said."The problem is letting him enter one's heart" totransform one's life, the pope said during his weekly general audience in St. Peter'sSquare Feb. 3."This is the heart of God, the heart of a father wholoves his children and wants them to live rightly and justly and, therefore, tolive in fullness and be happy," he said.The pope continued a series of talks dedicated to divinemercy, looking specifically at how divine mercy and divine justice go hand inhand."It might seem that they are two things thatcontradict each other," he said, but they don't because "it is preciselyGod's mercy that brings true justice to fruition."God's justice is different from the human administration oflegal justice, which is "retributive, that imposes a penalty on the guilty,"the pope said."This path still does not lead to true justicebecause it doesn't actually conquer evil but simpl...
IMAGE: CNS photo/Gregory A. ShemitzBy VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Although the number is not high, it isno longer "exceptional" to have priests turn down an appointment asbishop, said Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation forBishops.Speaking Feb. 1 about the annual course his office sponsorsfor new bishops, the cardinal was asked about rumors that more and more priestsare saying they do not want to be a bishop and declining an appointment evenwhen the pope, on the recommendation of Cardinal Ouellet's office, has chosenthem."Yes, that's true. Nowadays you have people who do notaccept the appointment," he said, adding that he would not providestatistics on how often it happens, although he insisted the number was nothuge.Priests decline for a variety of reasons, Cardinal Ouelletsaid, pointing to the example of a priest who was chosen, but then informed thecongregation that he had cancer and had not told others of his illness."It was a sign of responsibility not to acce...
By VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- More than 1,000 "missionariesof mercy" from all over the world will receive a special mandate from PopeFrancis to preach and teach about God's mercy, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella.About 700 of the missionaries who were chosen by PopeFrancis will be in Rome to receive their special mandate in person during anAsh Wednesday ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 10, said the president ofthe Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, the office organizingevents for the Year of Mercy.For the holy year, which runs until Nov. 20, Pope Francissaid he would designate "missionaries of mercy" to be unique signs ofGod's mercy. He is also giving them special authority to pardon sins that carrypenalties that only the Holy See can lift.During a news conference at the Vatican Jan. 29,Archbishop Fisichella said there had been a huge response from priests andreligious men who -- with permission from their bishops or superiors --requested to serve as these special m...
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis marked the beginningof the church's Lenten journey by sending off several hundred religious anddiocesan priests on their own special path as "missionaries of mercy"in local parishes. "Look upon your servants, Lord, that we are sendingas messengers of mercy, salvation and peace. Guide their steps" andsustain them with "the power of your grace," the pope said during aspecial Ash Wednesday liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 10."May Christ's voice resound in their words and Christ'sheart in their gestures," he said.More than 700 of the 1,142 missionaries speciallyappointed by the pope attended the Mass. Dressed in white vestments and purplestoles, the men received the pope's mandate to preach about God's mercy and specialauthority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See.Their mission was echoed in the day's second reading fromSt. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians, in which he proclaims, "Weare ambassadors for...
By VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A jubilee year that does not openpeople's wallets to share what they have with others is not a true jubilee,Pope Francis said."This pope isn't inventing that," he insisted."It's in the Bible."At his weekly general audience Feb. 10 in St. Peter'sSquare, Pope Francis spoke about the description of a jubilee year in theBook of Leviticus. The religious feast also had serious social implications, hesaid, because it proclaimed a forgiveness of debts, the freedom of indenturedservants and special generosity toward the poor and the stranger."It was a kind of 'general amnesty,' which permittedeveryone to return to their original situation with the cancellation of everydebt, the restitution of land and the possibility of enjoying once again thefreedom proper to members of the people of God," he said.For God's chosen people, who are called to holiness, thepope said, the jubilee prescriptions help "to combat poverty andinequality, guaranteeing a dignified life for all a...
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