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By Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Many religious leaders viewed PresidentDonald Trump's executive order on religious freedom, which he signed in a WhiteHouse Rose Garden ceremony May 4, as a step in the right direction.In theceremony for National Day of Prayer prior to signing the executive order, Trumptold the assembled religious leaders: "We're taking big steps to protectreligious liberty" and he assured them the government "won't standfor religious discrimination."Threereligious leaders, including Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, offeredprayers during the ceremony. Just prior to the event, Cardinal Wuerl and CardinalDaniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops, met with Trump about the order.In astatement issued after the order was signed, Cardinal DiNardo said theexecutive order "begins the process of alleviating the serious burden ofthe HHS mandate," referring to the mandate issued by the federalDepartment of Health and H...
Washington D.C., May 4, 2017 / 01:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Religious freedom advocates credited President Donald Trump with taking a “first step” toward protecting religious freedom with an executive order he signed on Thursday, but stressed that there is still more work to be done.“I thought the executive order was a great step forward,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. told CNA. “[Trump] himself says this is the first step. But it’s the beginning, and we’ve waited a long time for it.”President Donald Trump signed a religious freedom executive order on Thursday in the White House Rose Garden, on the National Day of Prayer, with religious leaders – including Cardinal Wuerl – standing around him.The executive order instructs government agencies to consider issuing new regulations to address conscience-based objections to federal HHS mandate, which requires employers to offer health insurance plans that fund contracep...
Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro has challenged South Sudan President, Salva Kiir to work towards stopping the war and ensure that government soldiers behave professionally.The President of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC), Bishop Barani Eduardo Hiiboro of Tombura-Yambio Diocese challenged the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit to take a “serious lead in putting in place concrete steps, which have to hold the nation as one.”Bishop Hiiboro said this in Yambio over the weekend, during the countrywide National Day of Prayer called for by President Kiir.Bishop Hiiboro challenged South Sudanese leadership represented by President Kiir as well as citizens to repent saying, “For this prayer to become historical and meaningful for us today we must repent and sin no more!”He urged President Kiir to take responsibility and bring about positive change saying, “The whole South Sudan will be watching President Salva Kiir very cl...
(Vatican Radio)  South Sudan's President Salva Kiir called for a National Day of Prayer for peace and forgiveness on 10 March and urged citizens to turn out in high numbers.Renewed political tensions and violent clashes between government forces and the opposition have resulted in tens of thousands of vulnerable people fleeing their homes and their lands. A famine was recently declared in some states, and an estimated 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Meanwhile Pope Francis has said he is studying the possibility of an ecumenical visit to war-torn South Sudan together with the leader of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Justin Welby.On the ground, Churches of different denominations including the Catholic and Anglican Churches - which count the largest followings - are urging the people to put aside differences and commit to dialogue on nation building.Father Michael Perry, Minister General of the Order of the Friars Minor has just returned fro...
Juba, South Sudan, Mar 8, 2017 / 12:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The call by South Sudan's president for a national day of prayer was met with derision by one of the country's bishops, who called it a “political prayer” and a mockery.President Salva Kiir addressed South Sudan via state-owned media last week to announce a day of prayer on March 10. The country has been embroiled in civil war since December 2013, when Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of attempting a coup. The war has been fought between their supporters, largely along ethnic lines, and peace agreements have been short-lived.“I have been praying for South Sudan every day. This morning, I prayed for South Sudan. That prayer called by Salva Kiir; I will never and never understand. Unless they carry me as a corpse but I will never attend that prayer. It is a political prayer. It is a mockery,” Bishop Santo Loku Pio Doggale, Auxiliary Bishop of Juba, told Voice of America, according t...
Rome, Italy, Feb 8, 2017 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As human trafficking continues to be a supremely important issue during Pope Francis’ pontificate, with an estimated 20 million victims worldwide, St. Josephine Bakhita, enslaved during her own childhood, has emerged as a patron not only for her home country of Sudan, but for all victims of trafficking.St. Josephine was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of 7, undergoing immense suffering throughout her adolescence before discovering the faith in her early 20s. She was baptized, and after being freed entered the Canossian Sisters in Italy.Feb. 8, St. Josephine’s feast day, marks the third international day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking. This year the day focuses on the plight of children, with the theme: “We are children! Not slaves!”The first year, celebrated in more than 154 countries, was strongly supported by Pope Francis.If Pope Francis visits the African countries of Sout...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis appealed to government leaders to be strong in the fight against the scourge of human trafficking.Marking Wednesday’s ‘International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking’ marked annually on 8 February, and focusing this year on the trafficking of children and adolescents,  the Pope had words of encouragement for all those who in different ways, help minors who have been enslaved and abused to be freed from this terrible oppression.“I urge all those in government positions to combat this scourge with firmness, giving voice to our younger brothers and sisters who have been wounded in their dignity. All efforts must be made to eradicate this shameful and intolerable crime” he said.      He explained that the 'International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking" falls on the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakita: "this enslaved, exploited and humiliated girl in A...
Lima, Peru, Oct 25, 2016 / 06:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At the National Prayer Breakfast in Lima, Peru on Friday, the nation’s president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, consecrated the country, his family and himself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.Taking part in the National Day of Prayer at the Swissôtel in Lima, Kuczynski in his capacity as president offered the prayer of consecration, written by the Mission for the Love of God in the Whole World.“By the authority vested in me, I make an act of consecration of myself, my family and the Republic of Peru, to the love and protection of Almighty God through the intercession of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” the president said.Participating in the event were important business and political leaders in the country, including the President of Congress, Luz Salgado, who also offered a prayer asking God for his help and protection.Of the 21 prayer breakfasts that ha...
Washington D.C., Oct 12, 2016 / 05:26 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In the closing weeks of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Catholics should pray and fast for “a culture of life,” one Catholic member of Congress has said.“Like in the time of Queen Esther, the faithful and faith-filled need to pray and fast for God’s mercy, healing, justice, humane laws and policies and conversion. An outpouring of the Holy Spirit,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, told pilgrims on the International Day of Prayer and Fasting on Monday.“For a time such as this, the urgency now is for persevering prayer including the Rosary and Chaplet of Mercy, asking God in Jesus’ name for protection for the weakest and most vulnerable – unborn children, persons with disabilities, and the frail elderly,” he continued.The 24th International Week of Prayer and Fasting took place from Oct. 2-10. It culminated in an all-day prayer...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has asked for prayers for peace in a world in which war is everywhere.Speaking on Sunday morning after the Angelus prayer, the Pope said that on Tuesday he will travel to the Umbrian town of Assisi to participate in the Day of Prayer for Peace.“Today, more than ever, we need peace in this war which is everywhere in the world. Let us Pray for peace!” he said.   Explaining that he is going to Assisi in the footsteps of Saint John Paul II who called for this International Day of Prayer for Peace thirty years ago, he invited all parishes, all ecclesial associations and individual believers across the world to participate in the event with their prayers.“Following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, a man of brotherhood and meekness, we are all called to offer a strong testimony to the world of our common commitment twoards peace and reconciliation between peoples” he said.And he appealed to everyone to join in prayer o...
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