• Home
  • About Us
    • Mission
    • Contact Us
    • Get a Spirit FM Decal
    • DJs
    • Shows
    • Program Schedule
    • Submit a Birthday
    • Say the Pledge
    • Spirit FM Features
    • Coverage Map
    • Contest Rules
    • Internships
    • Volunteer
    • Job Openings
    • Public Inspection File
    • EEO
  • Support
  • Concerts & Events
  • Music & Media
  • Faith
  • Listen Live
  • Give Now

Catholic News

IMAGE: CNS photo/Leah Millis, ReutersBy MCALLEN, Texas (CNS) -- President Donald Trump got a brief look at the work of a well-known Catholic Charities-run refugee center in South Texas during a daylong trip to the border.His visit to the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen Jan. 10 came less than a day after Sister Norma Pimentel welcomed the president to the border and invited him to see the work of staff and volunteers assisting people from throughout Central America who are seeking asylum in the United States.The invitation from Sister Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, appeared in an op-ed she penned for The Washington Post.The president also joined a roundtable presentation on the situation facing migrants and those who serve them during his visit to the center.The column explained the work of the center since 2014, when tens of thousands of people mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras ma...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Leah Millis, Reuters

By

MCALLEN, Texas (CNS) -- President Donald Trump got a brief look at the work of a well-known Catholic Charities-run refugee center in South Texas during a daylong trip to the border.

His visit to the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen Jan. 10 came less than a day after Sister Norma Pimentel welcomed the president to the border and invited him to see the work of staff and volunteers assisting people from throughout Central America who are seeking asylum in the United States.

The invitation from Sister Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, appeared in an op-ed she penned for The Washington Post.

The president also joined a roundtable presentation on the situation facing migrants and those who serve them during his visit to the center.

The column explained the work of the center since 2014, when tens of thousands of people mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras made their way northward to flee violence and poverty in their homeland.

Sister Pimentel said the center -- offering shelter, meals and showers for people who have been released after being apprehended by authorities as they crossed into the U.S. -- has welcomed more than 100,000 people since opening.

On some days as few as 20 people arrive, she wrote, adding, "Other days it's closer to 300."

She invited the president to see how the center cooperates with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to ensure the needs of the newcomers are met.

"We work closely with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Rio Grande Valley Sector, and our team has cultivated a culture of mutual respect and dialogue," wrote Sister Pimentel, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus. "Our center staff, in communication with the Border Patrol, prepares to receive groups of immigrants who have been released. We try to meet the need.

"It is vital that we keep our country safe, and I appreciate the work of the men and women in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection who are vigilant as to who enters our country. I pray for them daily."

She detailed daily life at the center, from early morning until bedtime in the evening, explaining the tasks staff and volunteers undertake to ensure the dignity of the immigrants.

"I am energized each day by the families I meet, especially the children," Sister Pimentel wrote. "I am energized as well by the volunteers. They come from our local communities but also from across the United States. We witness daily how, working together, people of all faiths can focus on helping the person in front of us. Regardless of who we are and where we came from, we remain part of the human family and are called to live in solidarity with one another.

"As the Most Rev. Daniel E. Flores, bishop of our diocese, says, 'We must put human dignity first,'" the op-ed concluded.

 

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican announced its plans to take a leap of faith into the wide world of sports with the creation of its first ever sports association.The Vatican Athletic sports association, which will fall under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Culture and its "Culture and Sport" section, was presented during a briefing at the Vatican press office Jan. 10.According to a press release by the association, the idea to establish a Vatican sports team began with Vatican employees who met for their daily morning runs along the Tiber River.  "The Secretariat of State allowed this 'community' of friends to be given a suitable and completely innovative legal form of Christian witness in the streets, literally 'going out' as Pope Francis asks, among the women and men who live the passion of sport," the statement said.Vatican Athletic, it continued, is not just concerned with competing with other at...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican announced its plans to take a leap of faith into the wide world of sports with the creation of its first ever sports association.

The Vatican Athletic sports association, which will fall under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Culture and its "Culture and Sport" section, was presented during a briefing at the Vatican press office Jan. 10.

According to a press release by the association, the idea to establish a Vatican sports team began with Vatican employees who met for their daily morning runs along the Tiber River.  

"The Secretariat of State allowed this 'community' of friends to be given a suitable and completely innovative legal form of Christian witness in the streets, literally 'going out' as Pope Francis asks, among the women and men who live the passion of sport," the statement said.

Vatican Athletic, it continued, is not just concerned with competing with other athletes but also committed to giving a "concrete Christian witness with spiritual initiatives" in the world of sports.

The association currently is made up of 60 athletes, ranging from 19 to 62 years old, who work in various Vatican offices or serve with the Swiss Guard. It has also welcomed "honorary members," including two young Muslim migrants and "several young people with disabilities."

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the pontifical council, told journalists the Vatican Athletic group represents a much-needed message of peace and unity in sports, which can sometimes be divisive.

The establishment of an official Vatican sports association also could open the possibility of athletes from the world's smallest state competing in future Olympic Games.

During the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a Vatican delegation, led by Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca Alameda, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the president of Vatican Athletic, was invited to take part in the opening ceremony of the Winter Games and attend its general meeting as an official observer.

While a Vatican delegation attended the opening of the Summer Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the South Korea games marked the first time the Vatican was invited to attend an annual session of the Olympic committee.

Msgr. Sanchez, who is also a former modern pentathlete, said the Vatican would not field an Olympic team anytime soon, but there may be a glimmer of hope that the gold and white colors of the Holy See may be seen one day at the global sporting event.

"A Vatican team at the Olympics? Seeing the Vatican flag fly at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is not a short or medium-term goal, but we aren't closing any doors," Msgr. Sanchez said. First, though, "I would like to participate in sporting events of symbolic value such as the Games of the Small States of Europe and the Mediterranean Games."

- - -

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/Carlos Barria, ReutersBy Rhina GuidosWASHINGTON (CNS) -- No sooner had President Donald Trump finished his Jan. 8 nine-minute speech, his first such event televised in prime time from the Oval Office, about what he called a "crisis" at the border, than Catholic groups and others began tearing apart his arguments.In email statements, via Twitter, in Facebook posts that cascaded overnight, they denounced his words as incendiary and untruthful and called on him and Congress to find different solutions to the country's immigration woes, particularly ones that do not involve building a wall and include instead more compassion.  Trump said the wall, whose lack of funding triggered the ongoing partial government shutdown that began at midnight Dec. 22, was necessary to stop drugs and violent immigrants from coming into the country, which he called a "humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.""Over the years, thousands of Americans h...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- No sooner had President Donald Trump finished his Jan. 8 nine-minute speech, his first such event televised in prime time from the Oval Office, about what he called a "crisis" at the border, than Catholic groups and others began tearing apart his arguments.

In email statements, via Twitter, in Facebook posts that cascaded overnight, they denounced his words as incendiary and untruthful and called on him and Congress to find different solutions to the country's immigration woes, particularly ones that do not involve building a wall and include instead more compassion.  

Trump said the wall, whose lack of funding triggered the ongoing partial government shutdown that began at midnight Dec. 22, was necessary to stop drugs and violent immigrants from coming into the country, which he called a "humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border."

"Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country and thousands more lives will be lost if we don't act right now," he said.

On drugs, he said: "Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border."

Fact checkers from various news organizations quickly pointed out research, including a study from the journal Criminology, that showed "undocumented immigration does not increase violence," that most drugs come to the U.S. at already existing border crossings, so more wall- or barrier-building wouldn't stop their transport. The Center for Migration Studies, a think-tank in New York connected to the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles, known popularly as the Scalabrinians, disseminated information from one of its studies in 2016 that showed the number of "undocumented in the nation had dropped to 10.8 million, a new low."

On Twitter, the Sisters of Mercy quickly responded: "Tonight's speech by President Trump was another, in a long list of speeches, rooted in untruths, fear and division."

They noted that the speech came as the Catholic Church in the United States marked National Migration Week, Jan. 6-12, to support and pray for immigrants, refugees, victims and survivors of human trafficking.

"It is particularly troubling that a speech of this nature comes while the church recognizes #NationalMigrationWeek, a moment to reflect upon the desperate and harrowing circumstances confronting migrants, immigrants, and refugees," the Mercy Sisters tweeted after the speech.

"Neither the continued government shutdown nor a declaration of national emergency aimed at funding a wall will correct years of failed U.S. immigration policy or ameliorate the U.S.'s role in the root causes of migration," the Mercy Sisters wrote in a response published quickly following the speech. "Make no mistake, there is a humanitarian crisis on the border, but it is one of the Trump administration's own making. One where asylum-seekers are forced to wait in dangerous and unhealthy conditions for weeks while their asylum claims are assessed and decided."

The following morning, without referencing the speech, a Texas border bishop, Brownsville's Daniel E. Flores -- who is facing a dispute with government officials seeking to survey church property to build a wall on -- tweeted that "mothers and children are fleeing the very criminal elements that we ourselves recognize represent a mortal danger. Are we not capable of sustaining a response that both protects the vulnerable and restrains the menace?"

More directly, Donald Kerwin, executive director of the Center for Migration Studies, urged the president and lawmakers to look at the conditions of persecution and violence in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. That, he said, is where this administration and Congress should focus, and instead fix the causes that drive the displacement of people.

"A series of measures designed to deter these vulnerable populations from fleeing their countries, including family separation, mandatory detention, zero tolerance and denial of entry at the border are undermining their legal and human rights, guaranteed under both domestic and international law," Kerwin said.

"They are handing themselves over to Border Patrol agents in search of protection, not trying to enter the country illegally," he said. "The administration and Congress should act to end these inhumane policies and provide protection to vulnerable women and children."

Instead of shutting down the government over a wall, Kerwin continued, Trump and Congress should enact a legislative package providing permanent status to those benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival and Temporary Protected Status programs, "immigrant populations who have built equities in our nation."

But neither the wall nor any other proposals to curb immigration set forth by immigration supporters seemed to gain traction after the speech. As the president and lawmakers met Jan. 9 to try to find common ground, reports trickled out about what was a failed effort.

Democrats said Trump slammed his hands on a table and walked out during the talks. Late in the afternoon of Jan. 9, the president tweeted his account of his meeting with top Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

"Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time," Trump tweeted. "I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!"

 

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Israel Gonzalez EspinozaBy Rhina GuidosWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Many will make sacrifices to attend the upcoming World Youth Day in Panama in late January, but few compare to the challenges facing young Catholics in nearby Nicaragua as the country deals with political and economic upheaval, some of it involving violent clashes with government forces that have plagued the Central American nation since last year."Some of the young Nicaraguans heading to (World Youth Day) have made extraordinary economic sacrifices, selling things, begging institutions for help, because it's a unique opportunity," said Israel Gonzalez Espinoza, a Nicaraguan journalist for Religion Digital, a Spanish-language online news site that focuses on the Catholic Church.  The Jan. 22-27 gathering in Panama City will be the first time the event, first instituted by St. John Paul II in 1985, will be held in Central America and likely the only opportunity for many of the region's you...

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Israel Gonzalez Espinoza

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Many will make sacrifices to attend the upcoming World Youth Day in Panama in late January, but few compare to the challenges facing young Catholics in nearby Nicaragua as the country deals with political and economic upheaval, some of it involving violent clashes with government forces that have plagued the Central American nation since last year.

"Some of the young Nicaraguans heading to (World Youth Day) have made extraordinary economic sacrifices, selling things, begging institutions for help, because it's a unique opportunity," said Israel Gonzalez Espinoza, a Nicaraguan journalist for Religion Digital, a Spanish-language online news site that focuses on the Catholic Church.  

The Jan. 22-27 gathering in Panama City will be the first time the event, first instituted by St. John Paul II in 1985, will be held in Central America and likely the only opportunity for many of the region's young adults and teens to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis, who arrives in Panama Jan. 23.

Past World Youth Day gatherings have taken place in Argentina, Spain, Poland, Brazil, the United States and other countries that have been cost-prohibitive to Central American youth, many who are now excited about their physical proximity to the upcoming celebration.

But it could not have come at worse time for young Nicaraguans, particularly because some have been involved in some of the clashes against the government of President Daniel Ortega, whose attempts to reduce pensions and salaries while increasing employee contributions to the social security system ignited fiery protests last April.

The situation became worse when hundreds of protesters died in the clashes against Ortega's administration, which kept moving toward getting a tighter grip on political power in the country, curbing tourism and business interests and sending the economy into a tailspin. An economy that was growing instead quickly contracted. Inter Press Service news agency reported in September that "more than 900 million dollars have fled the financial system" in Nicaragua since the conflict started.

Covering the crisis on the frontlines was Catholic journalist Gonzalez, a 25-year-old who has documented the particular role the Catholic Church has played in the drama, as the bishops' conference sought to mediate an end to the clashes, which have sent the citizenry running for cover into the country's Catholic churches and facilities. But because of it, Gonzalez has paid the price of being accused by government supporters of being an instigator and also a mouthpiece of Managua Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Baez, who has been highly critical of the government.

In a telephone interview with Catholic News Service from Managua Jan. 3, Gonzalez recounted how he was ready to give up journalism early last year and turn to a more lucrative way to make a living by opening up a small business. But he said he could not stay away when the crisis exploded in April.

"As a Nicaraguan journalist, it has been the most fruitful year but also a painful year," he told CNS.

Because of his dispatches about the role of the Catholic Church in negotiations with the government and other news he has reported, he has received threats, had his personal phone number and address published, and been threatened by pro-government supporters, who have called on police to have him arrested, he said.

Similarly, other young Catholics like Gonzalez wonder what they will risk by attempting to leave and then attempting to re-enter Nicaragua if they choose to attend World Youth Day.

"As a journalist, it's a bit risky for me to attend World Youth Day, because I have to take with me my equipment, my camera, microphone, but the problem is not leaving Nicaragua, it's coming back," he said.

Government forces, or even customs officials at the airport will ask about the equipment, his profession, what political sides he takes, whether he criticizes the government.

"All of that can put a person into a state of anxiety," he said. "And that I could have my equipment away, in my own country."

Other young Catholics, too, could face similar questioning, he said.

"Remember, that it's been the youth (of Nicaragua) who have been the vanguard of this movement," against the government, he said. "They have been the most affected by the government persecution."

Because of those fears and because of the country's deteriorating economic and political situation, which will make it difficult for many of them to afford even the short trip, only a fraction of young Nicaraguans will make it to the event. Estimates put the Nicaraguan delegation at between 5,000 to 6,000, said Gonzalez, who plans to cover the historic gathering.

Though he's put his plans to open a business on hold for the moment, Gonzalez said he decided to "bet on the side of journalism" and continue to document the church's role in Nicaraguan society, in seeking dialogue, peace and a democratic process in the country.

"I made a decision of conscience," he said. "A person with a conscience does not opt to remain silent when that person sees injustice."

It's hard to gauge, at the moment, what, if any effect, the crisis will have on pilgrims from Central American nations such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, traveling by land through Nicaragua. Gonzalez said he's heard that Panama has been in talks with officials in the country to expedite a safe passage of pilgrims traveling through and returning through Nicaragua before and after World Youth Day. He said he still recommends groups traveling by land to contact their respective embassies in the country a week before making the trip to avoid delays or problems.

 

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God is a father who never ignores his children when they call to him in times of suffering, loneliness and despair, Pope Francis said.Although at times it seems that "so many of our prayers seem to have no result," Christians are called by Christ to "insist and not give up," the pope said Jan. 9 during his weekly general audience."Prayer, prayer always changes reality, let us not forget that: It either changes things or changes our hearts, but it always changes," he said.Arriving at the Paul VI audience hall, the pope greeted thousands of cheerful pilgrims, shaking hands, embracing children and even taking a sip of mate tea offered to him by a pilgrim.Continuing his series of talks on the Lord's Prayer, the pope reflected on the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray.In teaching them to pray the "Our Father," he said, Jesus "explains to his followers in wh...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God is a father who never ignores his children when they call to him in times of suffering, loneliness and despair, Pope Francis said.

Although at times it seems that "so many of our prayers seem to have no result," Christians are called by Christ to "insist and not give up," the pope said Jan. 9 during his weekly general audience.

"Prayer, prayer always changes reality, let us not forget that: It either changes things or changes our hearts, but it always changes," he said.

Arriving at the Paul VI audience hall, the pope greeted thousands of cheerful pilgrims, shaking hands, embracing children and even taking a sip of mate tea offered to him by a pilgrim.

Continuing his series of talks on the Lord's Prayer, the pope reflected on the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray.

In teaching them to pray the "Our Father," he said, Jesus "explains to his followers in what words and with what feelings they must turn to God."

"Father -- that is such a beautiful word to say," the pope said. "We can pray just with that word, 'father,' and feel that we have a father; not a master but a father."

At important moments in his own life, Pope Francis explained, Jesus is "in an atmosphere of prayer" and guided by the Holy Spirit in his actions. He also prays for others, including "for Peter who will soon deny him."

"This consoles us, knowing that Jesus prays for us, he prays for me, he prays for each one of us so that our faith does not fail." the pope said. "We can also say to Jesus: 'You are praying for me; continue to pray because I need it.' (Pray) like that, with courage."

Even in his final moments, the pope added, Jesus is immersed in prayer, for example when consoling the women along the way of the cross, when promising the joys of paradise to the good thief and before taking his last breath.

"Jesus' prayer seems to dampen the most violent emotions, the desires for revenge and retaliation, he reconciles man with his most bitter enemy: death," he said.

When life seems incomprehensible, Pope Francis said, prayer "is ultimately the victory over loneliness and despair" because God is always present.

"What is at the end of our path, at the end of prayer, at the end of a time of prayer, at the end of life. What is there?" the pope asked. "There is a father, waiting for everything and everyone with open arms. Let us look at that father."

- - -

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/ReutersBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As it did prior to the Second World War, the rise of nationalism in the world poses a threat to peace and constructive dialogue among nations, Pope Francis said.During his annual address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, the pope said that the establishment of the League of Nations nearly 100 years ago ushered a new era of multilateral diplomacy based on goodwill, readiness among nations to deal fairly and honestly with each other and openness to compromise.However, he warned in his speech Jan. 7 that the lack of one of those necessary elements results in nations searching "for unilateral solutions and, in the end, the domination of the powerful over the weak.""The League of Nations failed for these very reasons, and one notes with regret that the same attitudes are presently threatening the stability of the major international organizations," the pope said.Clearly, he added, "relati...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As it did prior to the Second World War, the rise of nationalism in the world poses a threat to peace and constructive dialogue among nations, Pope Francis said.

During his annual address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, the pope said that the establishment of the League of Nations nearly 100 years ago ushered a new era of multilateral diplomacy based on goodwill, readiness among nations to deal fairly and honestly with each other and openness to compromise.

However, he warned in his speech Jan. 7 that the lack of one of those necessary elements results in nations searching "for unilateral solutions and, in the end, the domination of the powerful over the weak."

"The League of Nations failed for these very reasons, and one notes with regret that the same attitudes are presently threatening the stability of the major international organizations," the pope said.

Clearly, he added, "relationships within the international community, and the multilateral system as a whole, are experiencing a period of difficulty with the resurgence of nationalistic tendencies at odds with the vocation of the international organizations to be a setting for dialogue and encounter for all countries."

In his nearly one-hour speech to the diplomats, the pope warned that the re-emergence of populist and nationalist ideologies is "progressively weakening" multilateral institutions and subsequently creating a "general lack of trust, a crisis of credibility in international political life and a gradual marginalization of the most vulnerable members of the family of nations."

An essential aspect of good politics, he said, is the pursuit of the common good that would enable individuals and the international community as a whole to "achieve their proper material and spiritual well-being."

"Peace is never a partial good, but one that embraces the entire human race," he said.

Recalling the ongoing humanitarian crises in countries such as Ukraine and Syria, Pope Francis urged the international community to defend the most vulnerable in the world "and to give a voice to those who have none."

Among those most affected by instability, he noted are Christian communities in the Middle East where many people have been forced to flee from violence and persecution, particularly due to the resurgence of attempts "to foment hostility between Muslims and Christians."

The pope expressed his hope that his upcoming visits to the United Arab Emirates and to Morocco would provide an opportunity to "advance interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding between the followers of both religions."

Pope Francis also made an appeal for assistance to migrants who are forced to emigrate due to "the scourge of poverty and various forms of violence and persecution," as well as natural disasters and climate change.

"All human beings long for a better and more prosperous life, and the challenge of migration cannot be met with a mindset of violence and indifference, nor by offering merely partial solutions," he said.

Among the most vulnerable in today's world, the pope continued, are young people who face an "uncertain future" due to lack of employment.

Urging world leaders to take steps to ensure the physical, psychological and spiritual growth of children, Pope Francis acknowledged the church's failure to protect children.

Child sexual abuse, especially by members of the clergy, "is one of the plagues of our time," he said.

"The abuse of minors is one of the vilest and most heinous crimes conceivable," he said. "Such abuse inexorably sweeps away the best of what human life holds out for innocent children and causes irreparable and lifelong damage."

The church is committed to preventing clerical sex abuse and its concealment, he said, expressing hope that his Feb. 21-24 meeting with the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences will be "a further step in the church's efforts to shed full light on the facts and to alleviate the wounds caused by such crimes."

Pope Francis also urged the diplomatic community to continue to work toward building peace between nations divided by war.

While there have been significant strides in building peace in some places, such as the end of the decades-long conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea and an easing of relations between North and South Korea, the pope called for peace in areas such as Venezuela and the Holy Land which are still affected by internal strife and divisions.

Citing St. Paul VI's 1965 speech to the United Nations, the pope said that peace is not built merely through politics and protecting interests but with "the mind, with ideas, with works of peace."

- - -

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/John Shaughnessy, The CriterionBy John ShaughnessyINDIANAPOLIS (CNS) -- Tears filled Missy Brassie's eyes as she talked about the most emotional part of the five-day SEEK2019 conference involving more than 17,000 young adult Catholics from around the world.It happened the evening of Jan. 5 in a massive ballroom of the Indiana Convention Center during the conference established to give participants the opportunity to deepen their encounter with Jesus."All of these people coming together for eucharistic adoration is the best part of the conference," said Brassie, 31, a Denver resident who returned to Indianapolis, her hometown, for the gathering sponsored by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, known as FOCUS."Surrounded by thousands of their peers during adoration, they feel that they're not alone in their faith, and they feel that they're personally spoken to by the Lord," she told The Criterion, newspaper of the Indianapolis Archdioce...

IMAGE: CNS photo/John Shaughnessy, The Criterion

By John Shaughnessy

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) -- Tears filled Missy Brassie's eyes as she talked about the most emotional part of the five-day SEEK2019 conference involving more than 17,000 young adult Catholics from around the world.

It happened the evening of Jan. 5 in a massive ballroom of the Indiana Convention Center during the conference established to give participants the opportunity to deepen their encounter with Jesus.

"All of these people coming together for eucharistic adoration is the best part of the conference," said Brassie, 31, a Denver resident who returned to Indianapolis, her hometown, for the gathering sponsored by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, known as FOCUS.

"Surrounded by thousands of their peers during adoration, they feel that they're not alone in their faith, and they feel that they're personally spoken to by the Lord," she told The Criterion, newspaper of the Indianapolis Archdiocese. "People say that everyone around them disappears. It's just Jesus and that person in that moment."

The overwhelming emotion Brassie experienced has happened before at SEEK conferences. This year's event, held Jan. 3-7, was her eighth.

"My relationship with Jesus is always deepened here," Brassie said. "Even though I've been to so many conferences, there is always something that renews me."

Brassie has been a FOCUS missionary for the last seven years, striving to bring college students to a deeper relationship with God at the University of Illinois, Texas A&M University and Ave Maria University in Florida. She also works at the FOCUS headquarters, based in the Denver area.

Her role as one of the nearly 700 missionaries in 159 worldwide locations has led her to interactions with a wide range of people, from international students who have no knowledge of Jesus to lifelong Catholics seeking to become closer to him. No matter their background, her conversations involve asking people two defining questions.

"I say, 'Do you know that God loves you? Do you know he has a plan for you?'" she explained. "Our conversations go from the basic level to deep discussions. That has been really cool. I don't have to have all the answers because Jesus loves them."

Other attendees were pleased to share their faith and return to their daily lives with a renewed sense of inspiration and awe in God.

Nigerian Timi Soyoola, 20, couldn't pass up the invitation to attend.

"I was coming on a flight from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis after visiting my uncle, and a lady was talking to me about this conference," said Soyoola, a senior pre-med student at Indiana University in Kokomo. "It's a new year, and I wanted to try something new. I wanted to learn more about my faith."

It didn't matter to Soyoola that she didn't know anyone else at the conference. After all, Soyoola -- whose full first name, Oluwatimilehin, basically translates to "God's got my back" -- already knew she could count on one person.

"Jesus is the person I depend on," she said, her eyes and her smile lighting up. "When you come to a new country, you don't know anyone. He's the one I depend on. He's the most important person in my life."

The opportunity to deepen their faith drew Josh and Katie Fatzinger from their home in Flagstaff, Arizona. The young married couple arrived at the conference with their 1-year-old daughter, Ellie, and other family members. Katie is expecting the couple's second child in February.

"I'm here with my mother, my wife, one of my sisters and three of my brothers," said Josh, 27. "I'm from a big Catholic family, one of 14. I encouraged my younger brothers to come because it was a great experience for me when I came in 2013. It's a great place to encounter a lot of people, and we're all here to encounter Christ."

Standing by Ellie's stroller, Katie looked around the crowd at the convention center and noted, "There's all the hope you see and all the excitement. It's very uplifting. It's really powerful to celebrate the sacraments and be with that many people praising God. I'm waiting to see how he can impact their lives."

Louis Cain held the same hope as he led a group of 60 students from McNeese State University in Louisiana during the conference that featured opportunities for Mass, confession and eucharistic adoration as well as faith-related workshops, inspirational speakers and entertainment by Catholic musicians. In his third year as a FOCUS missionary, Cain embraced the opportunity to bring other young adults to a stronger relationship with Jesus.

"It's really cool to have this time in my life when I'm trying to get closer to Jesus and help others to do the same 24/7," Cain said. "One thing that's cool about being here is that you realize you're not alone. Everyone is here to grow in their faith. It's pretty amazing."

Cain maintained that positive attitude as he answered a question about how he thinks the clergy sexual abuse crisis has affected young adults' perspectives of the church and their faith.

"Our church needs healing," he said. "In times of crisis in the church, great saints rise up. We need to have saints rise up in our church. It should motivate us to live our faith more seriously."

Amy Gasper, 19, a sophomore at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, felt much the same.

"You get to see how hungry people are for the Lord. It makes my heart leap for joy," she said. "There are people here who are wanting to devote their life to God and grow in their relationship with him."

She said the conference allows her to grow her faith.

"I know I'm alive for one reason, and that's to answer God's call for my life. It's a never-ending joy. So many people search for that. You have to let God take over your life for the good."

- - -

Shaughnessy is assistant editor of The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

 

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/Sucheta Das, ReutersBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Generously caring for the sick and the marginalized is the best way to combat a culture of waste and indifference that seeks to control and manipulate life, Pope Francis said.In his message for the World Day of the Sick, celebrated Feb. 11, the pope said that life is "a gift from God" that is "best suited to challenging today's individualism and social fragmentation.""Precisely because it is a gift, human life cannot be reduced to a personal possession or private property, especially in the light of medical and biotechnological advances that could tempt us to manipulate the 'tree of life,'" the pope wrote in his message, which the Vatican released Jan. 8.The main Catholic celebration of the World Day of the Sick 2019 was scheduled for Kolkata, India, where Mother Teresa -- who was canonized in 2016 -- began her ministry serving the poor and the sick.St. Teresa of Kolkata,...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Sucheta Das, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Generously caring for the sick and the marginalized is the best way to combat a culture of waste and indifference that seeks to control and manipulate life, Pope Francis said.

In his message for the World Day of the Sick, celebrated Feb. 11, the pope said that life is "a gift from God" that is "best suited to challenging today's individualism and social fragmentation."

"Precisely because it is a gift, human life cannot be reduced to a personal possession or private property, especially in the light of medical and biotechnological advances that could tempt us to manipulate the 'tree of life,'" the pope wrote in his message, which the Vatican released Jan. 8.

The main Catholic celebration of the World Day of the Sick 2019 was scheduled for Kolkata, India, where Mother Teresa -- who was canonized in 2016 -- began her ministry serving the poor and the sick.

St. Teresa of Kolkata, the pope said, "is a model of charity" whose service to the sick and the marginalized "remains for us today an eloquent witness to God's closeness to the poorest of the poor."

The example set by the Albanian nun known as the "Saint of the Gutters," he added, helps Christians understand that "our only criterion of action must be selfless love for every human being, without distinction of language, culture, ethnicity or religion."

"Her example continues to guide us by opening up horizons of joy and hope for all those in need of understanding and tender love, and especially for those who suffer," he said.

Individual acts of solidarity also have an impact on wider society and political choices, the pope said. For example, by bowing down before those left to die on the side of the road, Mother Teresa "made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime -- the crimes! -- of poverty they created."

Reflecting on the day's theme taken from the Gospel of St. Matthew -- "You received without payment; give without payment" -- the pope said that caring for the sick "requires professionalism, tenderness, straightforward and simple gestures freely given, like a caress that makes others feel loved."

"'Gift' differs from gift-giving because it entails the free gift of self and the desire to build a relationship," he said. "It is the acknowledgement of others, which is the basis of society" and is "a reflection of God's love."

Pope Francis said that being generous toward the sick and needy flows from humility and from recognizing that throughout his or her life, each person experiences being "poor, needy and destitute."

"When we are born, we require the care of our parents to survive, and at every stage of life we remain in some way dependent on the help of others," the pope said. "We will always be conscious of our limitations, as 'creatures,' before other individuals and situations."

- - -

The text of the pope's message in English is posted at: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/sick/documents/papa-francesco_20181125_giornata-malato.html

The text in Spanish can be found at: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/es/messages/sick/documents/papa-francesco_20181125_giornata-malato.html

- - -

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Jesuit Colleges and UniversitiesBy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Jesuit Father Charles Currie, a social justice advocate and longtime leader in Jesuit college education, died Jan. 4 after a recent illness. He was 88.A Philadelphia native, Father Currie is described as someone who had tireless energy, a keen sense of humor and legendary storytelling skills. The Jesuit priest was the former president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities who had also served as president of Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Xavier University in Cincinnati.But many remember him not just for his leadership in higher education but for his advocacy work in response to the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador. He was named special assistant to Georgetown University's president to coordinate the school's response to the murders, and his trips to the University of Central America, where ...

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Jesuit Colleges and Universities

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Jesuit Father Charles Currie, a social justice advocate and longtime leader in Jesuit college education, died Jan. 4 after a recent illness. He was 88.

A Philadelphia native, Father Currie is described as someone who had tireless energy, a keen sense of humor and legendary storytelling skills. The Jesuit priest was the former president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities who had also served as president of Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Xavier University in Cincinnati.

But many remember him not just for his leadership in higher education but for his advocacy work in response to the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador. He was named special assistant to Georgetown University's president to coordinate the school's response to the murders, and his trips to the University of Central America, where these deaths took place, helped to inform Congress on the investigation's developments.

This work also led him to be a cofounder of the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, which initially brought students to the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, where members of the army unit that committed the murders in El Salvador had received military training.

Now, the annual gathering brings nearly 2,000 students, faculty and staff from Jesuit colleges, high schools and parishes across the country to Washington every fall for advocacy training that honors the legacy of the Salvadoran martyrs.

In response to Father Currie's death, Christopher Kerr, executive director of Ignatian Solidarity Network, which sponsors the annual teach-in, said in a Jan. 4 tweet that the "Ignatian Family lost a giant for justice today."

Jesuit Father Michael J. Sheeran, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, described Father Currie as someone who "spotted the potential in people. He saw the good that you longed to do but feared you couldn't achieve. Then, he let you know he believed in you and was counting on you. Whether you were a politician, an office staff member, or a fellow Jesuit, Charlie's confidence in you made all the difference."

While at the helm of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, Father Currie oversaw the development of JesuitNET, the nation's first Jesuit distance education network. He also created the Jesuit Leadership Seminar and coordinated a response to Hurricane Katrina that allowed students from Loyola University New Orleans to spend their fall 2005 semester at sister Jesuit institutions in the U.S.

After he retired from the association in 2011, Father Currie became executive director of Jesuit Commons, an initiative to provide online education to students in refugee camps. The program, now called Jesuit Worldwide Learning, grants diplomas and certificates accredited by two Jesuit universities: Regis University in Denver and Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

He began his academic career as part of the chemistry faculty at Georgetown specializing in photochemistry and he returned to Georgetown after serving as college presidents at two universities to direct Georgetown's Bicentennial Celebration in 1989.

The priest served on numerous boards of trustees of colleges, high schools and various organizations and associations. He had received 16 honorary degrees and other awards. In 2012, he was among a group of Catholic school leaders honored at the White House for their innovation and dedication.

While in Washington, he developed friendships with many political leaders.

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said in a statement after his death: "Father Currie believed deeply in the power of education to transform lives and dedicated his life to educating and mentoring the next generation." She described him as "a fearless voice for peace and human rights up until his final days. He strove always to see light in the darkest places and acted always on his deep belief that we have no greater responsibility than to stand up for the least among us."

Just this past summer, Father Currie offered a prayer during the 50th anniversary memorial for Robert F. Kennedy where he prayed that all those present at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, would share Kennedy's compassion for the poor, the needy, the oppressed and the frightened.

Jesuit Father Matt Malone, editor of America magazine, similarly said a prayer at the summer memorial and tweeted about it Jan. 4 saying: "Remembering tonight Charlie Currie, SJ, a generous and gentle soul. A passionate voice for social justice."

He also described Father Currie as a "great Jesuit and friend. "

Father Currie's wake will be held at Wolfington Hall at Georgetown University the afternoon and evening of Jan. 11 followed by an evening vigil service. His funeral Mass will be celebrated Jan. 12 after a viewing at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington.

 

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Full Article

post a comment

IMAGE: CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The CriterionBy Sean GallagherINDIANAPOLIS (CNS) -- Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila described the 17,000 mostly college students attending SEEK2019 in Indianapolis as "a great sign of hope for the church, that the church is alive and well among young people."He celebrated Mass on Jan. 6 for the participants in the biennial conference sponsored by the Denver-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). The group, founded in 1998, seeks to nurture the Catholic faith in college students. It currently has nearly 700 missionaries serving on 153 college campuses in 42 states and five international locations.In his homily, Archbishop Aquila said he was briefly "playing hooky" from the retreat taking place for bishops in the U.S. at Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake near Chicago to celebrate the Mass in the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.This year's SEEK gathering, Jan. 3-7, is the six...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion

By Sean Gallagher

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) -- Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila described the 17,000 mostly college students attending SEEK2019 in Indianapolis as "a great sign of hope for the church, that the church is alive and well among young people."

He celebrated Mass on Jan. 6 for the participants in the biennial conference sponsored by the Denver-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). The group, founded in 1998, seeks to nurture the Catholic faith in college students. It currently has nearly 700 missionaries serving on 153 college campuses in 42 states and five international locations.

In his homily, Archbishop Aquila said he was briefly "playing hooky" from the retreat taking place for bishops in the U.S. at Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake near Chicago to celebrate the Mass in the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

This year's SEEK gathering, Jan. 3-7, is the sixth such conference that Archbishop Aquila has attended.

"Certainly, you can see the deep faith in the young people," he said in an interview after the liturgy. "What their encounter with Christ has brought about is palpable. When you give young people the truth of Christ and Christ as the light and the one who gives meaning to life, it changes everything."

In his homily, the archbishop spoke about the reading from Isaiah where the prophet spoke of darkness covering the earth. He said this darkness today is consumerism, incivility and the "sin by certain members of the clergy."

"All of that can, at times, discourage us," he said. "But in the midst of that is the light of Jesus Christ. And it is that light that we must focus on."

He spoke about how Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household who is leading the bishops' retreat, told the bishops that society has lost the "sense of eternity" and that "when we look at the darkness of the world, when we look at the darkness within the church, we have lost the sense of eternity, that we really do not believe in Christ as the light, in Christ as the one is come to give us eternal life."

Turning to Christ and entering into a relationship with him, Archbishop Aquila said, can draw people out of this darkness.

"Jesus can heal any wound. He can restore any disorder. He can bring light into darkness."

He implored the conference participants to take the light of Christ they have received and share it with others.

"You are the light of the world today, in history," Archbishop Aquila said. "You are the ones who reflect the light of Christ to others. You are sent on mission in whatever walk of life you are in, to bring Christ to others."

Colleen Tragonski, a junior from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, said the impact of the conference is "so hard to put into words."

"The Holy Spirit is so present here, everywhere in the atmosphere," she said. "That's the best way that I can put it."

She said the conference gave her "an incredible hope," despite the challenges facing the church now.

"It's amazing to see thousands and thousands of college students celebrating the Mass, all making this journey to Indianapolis, but also to heaven," she said.

She also said she looked forward to embracing the mission that Archbishop Aquila presented to conference attendees.

"I hope that I can take everything that I've learned and use it in every single moment of my life to be the light of Christ for other people," she said. "It's so easy to be on a high when you're here. It's the biggest challenge to ... bring that to other people."

- - -

Gallagher is a reporter at The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Full Article

post a comment

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Soundcloud
© 2015 - 2019 Spirit FM 90.5 - All Rights Reserved.