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USCCB president praises pope for ‘powerful words’ calling all to holiness

Posted April 26, 2018 at 10:28 am

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said he is grateful to  Pope Francis for “his powerful, straightforward words” in “Gaudete et Exsultate” (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), his apostolic exhortation on “the call to holiness in today’s world.”

“Pope Francis is very clear,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. “He is doing his duty as the vicar of Christ, by strongly urging each and every Christian to freely, and without any qualifications, acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be – that is ‘to be holy, as he is holy’ (1 Pt 1:15).

“The mission entrusted to each of us in the waters of baptism was simple – by God’s grace and

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    Rev. Graham remembered for deep faith

    Bishop Robert W. Muench expressed sadness when he learned of the death of Rev. Bill Graham and offered prayers for the beloved evangelist, his family and followers.  

    Rev. Graham died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina on Feb. 21 at the age of 99. 

    Rev. Bill Graham

     

    “Dr. Graham was a powerful evangelist for Jesus who touched the hearts and

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    Congress gets calls to save DACA

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – As Congress reconvened after a 10-day recess, members of both chambers received calls from Catholics around the country Feb. 26 urging them to find a legislative solution to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

    The U.S. Catholic bishops asked people to call their senators and representatives and urge them to protect “Dreamers” from deportation; provide them a path to citizenship; and to avoid “any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process.”

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    Fixing immigration system doesn’t mean demonization

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski said laws need to be changed to fix the country’s broken immigration system, but in the process, immigrants should not be demonized.

    “Fixing illegal immigration does not require the demonization of the so-called ‘illegals,’ ” said Archbishop Wenski, addressing an audience at a Nov. 28 event in Miami sponsored by the Immigration Partnership and Coalition Fund. 

    “America has always been a land of promise and opportunity for those

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    Congress urged to ‘fix fundamental flaws’ in final tax reform bill

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Congress must “fix the fundamental flaws” in both the Senate and House versions of the tax reform proposal as lawmakers try to reach an agreement on a final bill, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

    Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, the chairman, issued a statement Dec. 2 in response to Senate passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in a 51-49 vote at 1:50 a.m. Washington time. Both chambers must meet in conference

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    Puerto Rico archbishop sees spiritual rebirth after storm’s wrath

    BALTIMORE (CNS) – Almost two months after the devastating winds and rains of Hurricane Maria pummeled the island of Puerto Rico, there is still no clear path to recovery. 

    Although some power and phone service have been restored and relief supplies are slowly filtering in, the cleanup and rebuilding is only just beginning. 

    “You go day by day, but it’s overwhelming and traumatic,” said Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves of San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

    The archbishop, who attended the U.S.

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    Liturgical leaders discuss pastoral care to the sick

    Nearly 150 leaders from 85 dioceses gathered in Bloomington, Minnesota from Oct. 3-5 for the 48th annual national meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC), of which vicar general Father Tom Ranzino is a past president and the current Region 5 director.

    The meeting focused on “Touching the Hem of His Garment: The Pastoral Care of the Sick.” Specifically, members examined the rites of the

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    With prayer, Catholics deal with Maria’s wrath

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Authorities say it may take months for electricity to fully return to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island and its infrastructure as it made landfall Sept. 20.  

    When the hurricane hit the island with winds of up to 155 miles per hour, it tore out cables, roofs from homes and buildings, uprooted palm trees and even bent a cross anchored to a cement post at the entrance of a Jesuit school.  

    It has been difficult to communicate with the

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    Church leaders offer prayers after earthquake

    MEXICO CITY (CNS) – Mexican church leaders offered prayers and urged generosity after an earthquake struck the national capital and its environs, claiming more than 240 lives – including at least 20 children trapped in a collapsed school.  

    The magnitude 7.1 earthquake Sept. 19 added to the misery of Mexicans who suffered a magnitude 8.1 earthquake 12 days earlier. That quake left nearly 100 dead in the country’s southern states and left thousands more homeless.  

    “We

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    Bishops form new body to address ‘sin of racism’

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Saying there is an “urgent need” to address “the sin of racism” in the country and find solutions to it, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has established a new Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and appointed one of the country’s African-American Catholic bishops to chair it. 

    Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, initiated the committee Aug. 23 “to focus on addressing the sin of racism in our society, and even in our church, and the urgent need to come together as a society to find

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    Bishop asks for peace after deadly rally

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – In the aftermath of a chaos- and hate-filled weekend in Virginia, Catholic bishops and groups throughout the nation called for peace after three people died and several others were injured following clashes between pacifists, protesters and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 11 and 12.

    A 32-year-old paralegal, Heather D. Heyer, was killed when a car plowed into a group in Charlottesville Aug. 12. Various news outlets have identified the driver as James Alex Fields, who allegedly told his mother he was attending a rally

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    Q-and-A on the Vatican’s recent instruction on bread, wine for Communion

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The Vatican recently published a circular letter, “On the bread and wine for the Eucharist,” sent to diocesan bishops at the request of Pope Francis. Dated June 15 –the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ – the letter was made public by the Vatican July 8.

    Because bread and wine for the Eucharist are no longer supplied just by religious communities, but “are also sold in supermarkets and other stores and even over the internet,” bishops should set up guidelines, an oversight

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    House members approve measure to repeal D.C. assisted suicide law

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The House Appropriations Committee voted July 13 in favor of an amendment to repeal the District of Columbia’s assisted suicide law.

    The day before the vote, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan sent a letter to members of the committee urging them to “nullify the D.C. City Council’s deceptively named ‘Death with Dignity Act’ that legalizes the dangerous and unethical practice of doctor-assisted suicide.”

    The amendment to the fiscal year 2018 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations

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    Partial travel ban worries bishops, Catholic groups

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration said the country’s Catholic bishops are “deeply concerned” about the consequences of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow a partial ban on foreign nationals as it reviews the constitutionality of a wider ban.

    “Today’s decision will have human consequences,” said Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, of Austin, Texas, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that in October it will hear a case involving President

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    Roundtable says church must ‘recruit, empower’ diverse lay leaders

    ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS)  Over 100 Catholic leaders attending the Leadership Roundtable’s annual convening in Orlando said the church needs to go beyond “engaging laity” to “appointing, recruiting, promoting and empowering diverse lay leaders.”

    “This requires laity and ordained being in right relationship as co-responsible for the mission” of the Catholic Church, said the group in a statement released after the close of its June 29-30 meeting.

    The Washington-based National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management held its annual convening just

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    Bishops: Loss of affordable health care with GOP plan ‘simply unacceptable’

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in its analysis of the Senate health care bill, said late June 26 the measure would leave 22 million more people without insurance.

    “This moment cannot pass without comment,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

    “Today, the Congressional Budget Office released a report on the ‘discussion draft’ of the Senate health care proposal, indicating that

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    NBCC to explore the call to live the Gospel

    WASHINGTON (CNS) Delegates attending Congress XII of the National Black Catholic Congress in Orlando, Florida, in July will take on new responsibilities this time around.

    Rather than working from a draft of a pastoral plan developed prior to the congress as per tradition, the 2,000 attendees will be tasked with developing a pastoral plan during the July 6-9 gathering and taking it home to their parishes and dioceses.

    “We’re interested in what the people have to say, what’s in their hearts. It’s

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    Deportation feared as program protecting parents of citizen children ends

    WASHINGTON (CNS)  Advocates for immigrants expressed concern that millions of illegal alien parents of U.S. citizens and other permanent legal residents will be subject to deportation after Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly rescinded a memo that protected them.

    Kelly’s action June 15 revokes DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, a 2014 memo from President Barack Obama that protected law-abiding parents who are in the country illegally from deportation.

    It also follows through on

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    Papal envoy impressed with spirit of Louisiana; to convey message to pope

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator

    Bishop Marcelo Sanchez-Sorondo was silent, reflecting on what had been a whirlwind visit to Baton Rouge.

    Bishop Marcelo Sanchez-Sorondo, a top adviser to Pope Francis and the pontiff’s point person on human trafficking, speaks at the dedication of Metanoia Manor on April 26. Bishop Sanchez-Sorondo said he was impressed with the welcoming attitude of the people of

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    Portuguese businessman sends free Fatima statues throughout world

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa – (CNS) Every time Jose Camara thinks his ministry is completed, somebody else needs a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to spread the devotion.

    Camara, a retired Portuguese businessman, has donated more than 1,000 of the statues, handmade in Fatima, to parishes around the world since January 2013. He even covers the cost of transport, including to South Africa, Madagascar, Australia and the United States.

    “I started out just over four years ago

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    Georgetown University, Jesuits apologize for roles in sale of slaves

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Georgetown University and the Society of Jesus’ Maryland province apologized April 18 for their roles in the 1838 sale of 272 enslaved individuals for the university’s benefit.

    More than 100 descendants attended a morning “Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope” that the university created in partnership with descendants, the Archdiocese of Washington and the Society of Jesus in the United States.

    “Today the Society of Jesus, who helped to establish Georgetown University and whose leaders enslaved and

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    Congolese priest: Demand for cellphone metals thwarts efforts to end war

    MANCHESTER, England – (CNS) Global demand for metallic ores used in cellphones is thwarting efforts to end war and violence in Congo, said an African priest.

    Any person who possesses a cellphone or other electronic device with components derived from such “conflict minerals” is benefiting from bloodshed, said Father Richard Muembo, rector of a Congolese seminary firebombed earlier this year.

    “Anyone who uses modern technology nowadays is in some way using the

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    Refugee ban draws mixed reactions

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Within hours of President Donald Trump’s new executive order March 6 banning arrivals from six majority-Muslim nations, Catholic and other religious groups joined secular leaders in questioning the wisdom of such a move, with others vowing to oppose it outright.

    Bill O’Keefe, vice president for advocacy and government relations at Catholic Relief Services, said in a statement, “As the world’s most blessed nation, we should be doing more to provide assistance overseas and resettle the most vulnerable, not less. It is wrong, during this

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    Trump urged to protect religious liberty

    WASHINGTON – (CNS) Catholic Church leaders in a Feb. 16 statement said they were encouraged that President Donald Trump may be considering an executive order to protect religious freedom and said they would be grateful if he would move forward with the pledge that his administration would “do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty.”

    “As Christians, our goal is to live and serve others as the Gospel asks. President Trump can ensure that we are not forced from the public square,” said the

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    Archdiocese of Military Services takes up special collection for victims

    Catholics in the Armed Forces and members of the Archdiocese for Military Services have donated $63,383.39 in humanitarian assistance to victims of the historic flooding this past August.

    The AMS sent the donation on Jan. 27 to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which will distribute the funds, along with many other donations received from throughout the country, to south Louisiana flood victims through Catholic Charities USA.

    The donations were taken up

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    NCEA leader says school choice support can help Catholic parents

    SAN FRANCISCO – (CNS) The Trump administration’s apparent endorsement of parental school choice could present a “huge opportunity” for Catholic school parents, the president of the National Catholic Educational Association told a group of Catholic high school teachers in San Francisco.

    “This could be a huge opportunity for parents wanting to choose the right school for their children,” Thomas Burnford, NCEA president, told participants at the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s annual high school teachers’ consortium Feb. 3.

    “Whatever your politics,

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    Religious, political leaders condemn shooting at Quebec mosque

    QUEBEC CITY – Faith and political leaders condemned a shooting at Quebec's main mosque that left at least six people dead.

    Vigils were scheduled Jan. 30 in Quebec City and Montreal, the evening after two men entered the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center and opened fire, killing at least six men who were praying and injuring 19 more. Police later arrested two suspects, two men aged between 20 and 30. The motive behind the attack remained unclear.

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    Bishop opposes death sentence for killer

    CHARLESTON, S.C. (CNS) – Jurors unanimously agreed to sentence Dylann Roof to death for killing nine black churchgoers.

    In closing statements before the deliberation Jan. 10, the unrepentant 22-year-old told jurors that “I still feel like I had to do it,” the Associated Press reported.

    Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of Charleston said in a statement that the Catholic Church opposes capital punishment and reminded people that all life is sacred.

    “We are all

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    The year racism and fear make a comeback

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – It began with the fatal shootings of unarmed black men and women by police. It was exacerbated in the summer when, on July 7, a gunman in Dallas opened fire on police during a march, killing five officers in a presumed act of retaliation.

    Catholic Church leaders such as Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta in August called on others “to resolve to address the issues that lie beneath these acts of violence.” But

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    Refugees, migration a front-burner topic

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – American artist Jacob Lawrence detailed the plight of black Americans in the South who were discriminated against, exploited for their labor, threatened with death and sometimes killed, and who lived in substandard conditions until they made their way north in hopes for a better life in his landmark work “The Migration Series.”

    The final panel of Lawrence’s 60-panel series, which had its first showing in 1941, reads simply: “And the migrants kept coming.”

    Today, 75 years

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