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NEW YORK (AP) -- A gruesome highway accident followed by months of pain and rehab. That's no laughing matter....
IMAGE: EPABy Simone OrendainCEBU, Philippines (CNS) -- The 51stInternational Eucharistic Congress kicked off with Pope Francis'representative, Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, declaring war onpoverty."The Eucharist calls for... a third world war against poverty," said Cardinal Bo, "a thirdworld war against the cruelty of dogs getting fed with sumptuous, organic food,while poor children scramble for scraps from the table."Tens of thousands of peoplewaited at least an hour under a punishing sun to attend the Jan. 24 openingMass led by Cardinal Bo at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu. He opened hishomily with a plea for the crowd to "be patient with the heat." "Soon it will be all right. Themoon is too hot in Cebu," the cardinal quipped, as the sun was just minutesfrom setting. For a couple of hours, until the seats were opened up to the public, Lermalyn Otida, an office workerfrom Cebu, stood outside of the fenced-off area that enclosed seating fordelegates."You see the people ar...
By Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis told a group ofseminarians that seeking a so-called "normal" life in the priesthoodwould turn them into pastors who were "mediocre or worse."A priest who is tempted to live the way most people livetoday "begins to settle for getting some attention, judges his ministry onthe basis of his achievements and eases into seeking what he likes -- becominglukewarm and without any real concern for others," he said."Instead, 'normalcy' for us is pastoral holiness,giving one's life," Pope Francis said. "If a priest chooses to bejust a regular person, he will be a priest who is mediocre or worse."The pope's remarks came during an audience Jan. 25 withseminarians and staff of Rome's Sts. Ambrose and Charles Pontifical Seminary,which trains priests for Italy's Lombardy region. Cardinal Angelo Scola ofMilan, metropolitan of Lombardy, also attended the private audience. The pope told the men that preparing for the priesthoodin Rome wasn't just about ...
By Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will visit Sweden inOctober to participate in an ecumenical service and the beginning of a year ofactivities to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.Leaders from the Catholic Church and the Lutheran WorldFederation had already been set to meet Oct. 31, 2016, for the ecumenicalcelebration in Lund, Sweden, where the LWF was founded in 1947.Pope Francis "intends to participate" in thejoint ceremony to commemorate next year's anniversary, the Vatican press officesaid in a written communique. The announcement came Jan. 25, the feast of theconversion of St. Paul -- "an important day with regard toecumenism," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. It isthe last day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.Pope Francis will lead the ecumenical commemoration inLund alongside Bishop Munib Younan, president of the Lutheran World Federation,and the Rev. Martin Junge, federation general secretary, said a joi...
By Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- A growingnumber of U.S. public school districts are combining lessons in world religionswith U.S. government and politics as they grapple with closing schools forreligious holidays."The question is not shouldwe do it. We have to do it to live with one another. How do we do it is thequestion," said Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Centerof the Newseum Institute in Washington.And that's the million-dollarquestion not only for Haynes, who has written extensively about religion inpublic schools, but for many school districts across the country with diversepopulations and religious groups seeking fair recognition.Although the First Amendment'sestablishment clause bars officials from closing public schools on religiousholidays to accommodate religion, it allows them to close if it will serve alegitimate secular or educational purpose. A percentage of student absences toobserve a religious holiday is viewed as a legitimate factor, he...
The newly-installed bishop of Macau has called on local Catholics to unite and live out the Catholic faith and the Chinese values for the well-being of society.   Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang, former Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong, was installed the new bishop of Macau on Saturday at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady in Macau, which was packed with more than 1,000 Catholics, including people from Hong Kong and China's Guangdong province.  It was timed to mark the 440th anniversary of the establishment of Macao Diocese. Pope Francis on Jan. 16 appointed Bishop Lee as the bishop of Macau, replacing Bishop Jose Lai of Macao who stepped down due to ill health. Hong Kong,  a former British territory, and Macau a former Portuguese territory, reverted to China in 1997 and 1999.   Both have a high degree ‎of autonomy because of their Special Administrative Region status.At the end of the Mass, 59-year old Bishop Lee told the faithful that a...
The delegate of Pope Francis to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in the Philippines has called on Christians to wage a third world war against poverty by committing themselves to justice and devoting time to help the poor.  "The Eucharist calls for a third world war," Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, told thousands of people gathered for the opening Mass of the international gathering in Cebu City in the central Philippines on Sunday.   The Jan 24-31 International Eucharistic Congress has as its theme, “‎ “Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory.”   Cardinal Bo lamented that while dogs get sumptuous organic food, more children have no food on the table, while more weapons are produced, more than half a billion don't have enough food.   Myanmar’s first ever cardinal cited data from the United Nations Children's Fund saying some 20,000 people die of starvation and malnutrition everyday....
(Vatican Radio) The Horn of Africa is currently experiencing an intense drought brought on in significant part by the el Niño weather phenomenon, which is often followed by the la Niña phenomenon, creating a cycle of drought and flooding, which climatologists say is made more intense and more frequent by climate change. Millions of people are already affected, many of whom in the largely agriculture-based societies and economies of the region face a total and permanent loss of their livelihood.A senior technical officer with the FAO emergency and rehabilitation division, Neil Marsland, told Vatican Radio his organization urgently needs help to carry out its mission of helping vulnerable people predict, prepare for, and protect themselves against these increasingly intense phenomena and preserve their way of life. “These weather patterns – what’s going on is creating huge challenges for these agricultural systems, and what we need to d...
(Vatican Radio) The rector of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal has announced that the shrine “will be reopened” on February 2nd, the day on which the Church celebrates the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple.In a press release, Father Carlos Cabecinhas added that renovations have led to a “substantial benefit” for the faithful who wish to pay their respects and pray at the graves of Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto near the main altar.Until now, Fr. Cabecinhas admitted, “the path that led to the graves of the little shepherds was fairly tricky.”  But from now on, he stressed, new arrangements mean the burial places will be more easily accessed by people, and allow them to spend some moments in prayer beside them as well.  According to the Catholic news agency SIR, the bishop of Leiria-Fatima, mgr. António Marto, will celebrate Mass on 2 February, during which “a completely new altar” ...
 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...
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