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Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

By Norma Montenegro FlynnGRAPEVINE,Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in thehistory of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to rise and continuethe work of building the church, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez saidSept. 23.Hemade the comments during the closing Mass of the Fifth National Encuentro inGrapevine."TheEncuentro has made us see our missionary reality and responsibility as HispanicCatholics in the United States," he said. "But most important, the Encuentrohas made us reflect on the personal 'encounter' with Jesus Christ."ArchbishopGomez, who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wasthe homilist. The USCCB's president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo ofGalveston-Houston, was the main celebrant of the Mass. Concelebrants wereArchbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States; BishopMichael F. Olson of Fort Worth, the hosting diocese; and Archbishop GustavoGarcia-Siller of San Antonio.Archbish...

Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGBheadquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victimsof totalitarianism and of warning Lithuanians to be attentive to any signs ofanti-Semitism or hatred.The walls of the KGB building -- a former jail and executionsite -- echo the cry of Jesus on the cross, "My God, my God, why have youforsaken me?" the pope said.Although thousands of people filled the square in front ofthe building, the mood was somber for the pope's visit Sept. 23. And it waspunctuated by long pauses for silent prayer.He had toured the museum with 79-year-old Archbishop SigitasTamkevicius, whose photo is featured prominently on a wall display honoring thepriests and bishops who endured imprisonment in the building's basement.The archbishop had been imprisoned from 1983 to 1988 for"anti-Soviet propaganda." As a Jesuit priest, in 1972 he beganpublishing the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuan...

?Statement in Response to Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Immigrants and Public Benefits

WASHINGTON--On September 22, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that dramatically alters certain longstanding government policies related to legal immigrants' access to essential safety net programs.  Bishop Joe Vasquez, Chair of the Committee on Migration and Bishop of Austin, Texas, together with Bishop Frank Dewane, Chair of Committee on Domestic and Social Development and Bishop of Venice, Florida stated:  "Yesterday's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking undercuts decades of administrative policies and guidelines on how immigrants are treated by the United States government. This further compounds strict eligibility guidelines already in place preventing many immigrants from receiving federal aid. While just beginning to review the Proposed Rule, upon initial analysis, it appears that this will be very harmful to families, raising fear among immigrant families already struggling to fulfill the American Dream. Further, it is likely to preve...

Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation thatexperienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visitwith a plea to break down walls of suspicion and fear."If we look at the world scene in our time, more andmore voices are sowing division and confrontation -- often by exploiting insecurityor situations of conflict -- and proclaiming that the only way possible toguarantee security and the continued existence of a culture is to try toeliminate, cancel or expel others," the pope said Sept. 22.Going directly from the airport to the Lithuania'spresidential palace, Pope Francis' first appointment was with the president,government authorities and civic leaders.He acknowledged the country's painful past, which included"numerous trials and sufferings: detentions, deportations and evenmartyrdom." But he also praised the country's culture and people fortenaciously resisting attacks on its freedom.The pope's visit Sept...

Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

IMAGE: CNS photo/Wu Hong, EPABy Cindy WoodenVILNIUS,Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishopsin China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced.Pope Francislifted the excommunications or irregular status of seven bishops who had beenordained with government approval, but not the Vatican's consent, the Vaticanannounced Sept. 22. A few hours earlier, representatives of the Vatican and theChinese government signed what they described as a "provisionalagreement" on the appointment of bishops."With a viewto sustaining the proclamation of the Gospel in China, the Holy Father PopeFrancis has decided to readmit to full ecclesial communion the remaining'official' bishops ordained without pontifical mandate," the Vatican said,listing their names. The pope alsoincluded in the list Bishop Anthony Tu Shihua, who, before dying Jan. 4, 2017,"had expressed the desire to be reconciled with the Apostolic See,"the Vatican said.Regularizing thebish...

God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians inVilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they weresitting in a pub drinking "a beer or a gira," a slightly alcoholicbeverage made from fermented rye bread.Yet the stories two young adults shared with him Sept. 22and his responses to their concerns were not casual.Monika Midveryte spoke about growing up with an alcoholicfather who beat her and eventually committed suicide. A young man, identifiedonly as Jonas, spoke about being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and howserious illness made him and his young wife realize just how serious theirwedding vows were.Meeting the teens and young adults outside the city'sCathedral of Sts. Stanislaus and Ladislaus, which has been destroyed andrebuilt several times, Pope Francis urged the two and all their peers to thinkabout how God has been close to them, too, even amid tragedy.Almost always, he said, it is through oth...

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Administrative Committee Statement on Sex Abuse Scandals; Committee Releases Actions to be Taken Within Its Au...

WASHINGTON--TheU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Administrative Committee hasissued the following statement today in response to the recent sex abusescandals. In the statement, the bishops say they pledge to "heal and protectwith every bit of the strength God provides us."Turning to the Lord"Wheneach of us was ordained as a bishop, we were told: 'Keepwatch over the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you toshepherd the Church of God.'We,the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of CatholicBishops, assembled last week in Washington at this time of shame andsorrow. Some bishops, by their actionsor their failures to act, have caused great harm to both individuals and theChurch as a whole. They have used their authority and power to manipulate andsexually abuse others. They have allowed the fear of scandal to replace genuineconcern and care for those who have been victimized by abusers. For this, we again ask forgiveness from boththe Lord a...

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Administrative Committee Statement on Sex Abuse Scandals; Committee Releases Actions to be Taken Within Its Au...

WASHINGTON--TheU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Administrative Committee hasissued the following statement today in response to the recent sex abusescandals. In the statement, the bishops say they pledge to "heal and protectwith every bit of the strength God provides us."Turning to the Lord"Wheneach of us was ordained as a bishop, we were told: 'Keepwatch over the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you toshepherd the Church of God.'We,the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of CatholicBishops, assembled last week in Washington at this time of shame andsorrow. Some bishops, by their actionsor their failures to act, have caused great harm to both individuals and theChurch as a whole. They have used their authority and power to manipulate andsexually abuse others. They have allowed the fear of scandal to replace genuineconcern and care for those who have been victimized by abusers. For this, we again ask forgiveness from boththe Lord a...

Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler OrsburnBy Norma Montenegro FlynnGRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Avideo message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crossesrepresenting all of the participating episcopal regions were the highlights duringthe first day of the National Fifth Encuentro gathering taking place Sept.20-23 in Grapevine.With hearts full of excitementand joy, about 3,000 Hispanic ministry leaders cheered as they welcomedrepresentatives for each of the 14 episcopal regions approaching the stage andcarrying the same crosses and colorful banners that accompanied theirgatherings during the multiyear process of discernment and consultation thatbegan at their parishes. The crosses were placed on the stage by the bishopswho served as chairs for each region.Pope Francis captivated theaudience with a video message that was received with a standing ovation."I see that the Fifth Encuentrois a concrete way for the church in the U.S. to respond to the challenge ofgoing beyond what is comforta...

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Administrative Committee Statement on Sex Abuse Scandals; Committee Releases Actions to be Taken Within Its Au...

WASHINGTON--TheU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Administrative Committee hasissued the following statement today in response to the recent sex abusescandals. In the statement, the bishops say they pledge to "heal and protectwith every bit of the strength God provides us."Turning to the Lord"Wheneach of us was ordained as a bishop, we were told: 'Keepwatch over the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you toshepherd the Church of God.'We,the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of CatholicBishops, assembled last week in Washington at this time of shame andsorrow. Some bishops, by their actionsor their failures to act, have caused great harm to both individuals and theChurch as a whole. They have used their authority and power to manipulate andsexually abuse others. They have allowed the fear of scandal to replace genuineconcern and care for those who have been victimized by abusers. For this, we again ask forgiveness from boththe Lord a...

Thought of the Day

Plot no evil against your neighbor, against one who lives at peace with you. Quarrel not with a man without cause, with one who has done you no harm.

Proverbs 3:29-30

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