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IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Dennis Sadowski

KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) — Tara Gouldring never thought of herself as a missionary to others.

But the 18-year-old from Birmingham, England, decided it’s not such a strange idea after hearing Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, during a morning catechetical session July 28 during World Youth Day.

“It’s inspiring to see God’s mercy in so many ways and how I can bring it into my life and how (to) love people even though they do you wrong,” Gouldring told Catholic News Service.

“You can start with prayer for people who need help and hope to help more from there,” she said.

Bishop Caggiano’s talk at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church focused on the idea that anyone can become a missionary of mercy by showing compassion, love and a caring attitude toward anyone who is suffering.

He took the 150 young people in the church, most from the Archdiocese of Birmingham, England, back to the days before he became a priest. He was a sales representative for a major publisher in New York City, and on his way to work every morning he saw a homeless man in a plaza along the Avenue of the Americas. For weeks, he said, he ignored the man.

“I was so self-absorbed it took me two months to realize this was a man there. I would literally step over him,” the bishop said.

Soon, he began giving the man $1 every day.

“I thought I was giving him what he needed. I thought I was doing something good. I thought I was an OK Catholic,” he said.

Today, he realizes he was being far from merciful.

“My friends, that may be good enough for the world, but that’s not good enough for Jesus Christ. That is not what we are being called to do. We are being called to more than that,” Bishop Caggiano explained.

Then, dressed in the traditional bishop’s cassock, waist sash and zucchetto, he got down on his knees and acted out how he should have responded.

“You get down on your knees and put your hands under them and you bring them close to you and you lift them up,” he said. “And the smell of the sheep is when your heart and their heart are so close that they touch.”

Acting with mercy can occur toward anyone at any time, as long as it is done to follow the example of Jesus, he said, suggesting that World Youth Day 2016 can be the start of merciful actions on the part of everyone attending the six-day celebration of faith.

“Is it easy? No. Is it going to be something you and I will fail at? Yes. Are we going to learn from failure? Yes, because Christ will love us,” Bishop Caggiano said.

The bishop, who was the U.S. bishops’ episcopal liaison for World Youth Day, called on each member of the audience to become a missionary of mercy one person at a time.

Bridget Phiri, 20, of Wolverhampton, England, said she saw herself in Bishop Caggiano’s story of giving money to the homeless man in New York.

“Instead of just handing people money, I should get up and give them a hug and make them feel like they’re a person too, like they’re accepted in society. Something more physical than just giving them some coins and walking by,” she said.

“I think I need to re-evaluate how I look at things now and how I act toward people who are homeless or less fortunate,” Phiri said.

It comes down to letting God flow through each person’s action, concluded Toby Duckworth, 21, of Streetly, England, who will enter the Venerable English College in Rome as a seminarian in August.

“The challenge is to go beyond what the world sees as mercy. To go beyond even what we as human beings think is merciful. To me that is constant challenge, always, everywhere,” Duckworth told CNS.

Returning home to England and elsewhere, pilgrims will find it difficult to go beyond their normal circles, he acknowledged. But such work is never easy. The challenge is “be Jesus to others,” he said.

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Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

54 min 34 sec
LLAlter Principal and CEO Lourdes Lambert.

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr has approved a change in leadership at Archbishop Alter High School, a Catholic high school in Kettering operated by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Effective July 1, 2016, Alter Principal Lourdes Lambert will become the Head of School, assuming the title of “Principal-CEO” and Father James Manning will retire as President of Alter High School.

“This change emerged out of a strategic plan put together by Alter’s leadership and board,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, former Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese. “It was felt that the Principal-CEO model was in the best long-term interests of Alter High School.”

As Principal-CEO, Lambert will continue overseeing the religious, academic, and co-curricular programs of the school. She will now be the school’s chief decision maker and top supervisor as well. The position of President has been eliminated from the organizational structure of the school.

“Lourdes is an exceptional leader,” said Dr. Rigg. “She is an enormously positive, energetic presence at Alter. Lourdes is a strong instructional leader, and lives her faith by showing genuine care for each student at the school.”

Lambert became Principal of Alter in 2011. She previously served as the Assistant Director for Teachstone, Inc. in Charlottesville, VA, Principal of Acquinton Elementary School in King William, VA, and Assistant Principal at Hamilton Holmes Middle School in King William, VA. Lambert began her career as a Spanish and English as a Second Language speaker. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English instruction from Florida International University and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. Lambert’s children attend a Catholic elementary school in Dayton.

“The board and I feel that Lourdes Lambert has been called by God to this position of leadership at Alter High School,” said Fr. Manning. “There is no one I would want more to take my place than Lourdes.”

Fr. Manning has announced his retirement from Alter on July 1, 2016, but will continue serving as pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Springboro, OH.

Alter High School opened its doors to its first class in 1962 and serves a student population of 610.

Press Release/Alter High School

5 hours 25 min

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

CZESTOCHOWA, Poland (CNS) — God chose to manifest his power not by amazing feats of greatness but rather through small acts of humility, choosing to enter the world as a child born of a woman, Pope Francis said.

The Lord’s “humble love” is reflected throughout Poland’s history, particularly through “meek and powerful heralds of mercy,” such as St. John Paul II and St. Faustina Kowalska, the pope said July 28 at a Mass outside the Marian shrine of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa.

“Through these ‘channels’ of his love, the Lord has granted priceless gifts to the whole church and to all mankind,” the pope said.

The Mass marked the 1,050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland, which celebrates the Christianization of the country following the baptism of Mieszko I, the first ruler of the Polish state.

Prior to leaving Krakow for Czestochowa, the pope visited the convent of the Sisters of the Presentation and stopped at a nearby hospital to visit Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, retired archbishop of Krakow.

The 89-year-old cardinal, who is in “serious condition,” succeeded St. John Paul II as archbishop of Krakow following his election as pope in 1978.

With thick clouds gathered over the Jasna Gora Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Pope Francis arrived by car rather than helicopter, as planned. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said officials had told the Vatican it might not be safe for the helicopter to land.

In Czestochowa, hundreds of thousands of Poles lined the street leading up to the shrine, which houses the famed icon of the Black Madonna, traditionally held to have been painted by St. Luke the Evangelist.

St. John Paul had a special devotion to the famed image. After his election, the Polish pope visited the shrine on June 4, 1979, and entrusted his pontificate to Mary.

Pilgrims waving banners and flags anxiously awaited the arrival of Pope Francis who, like his predecessor and many Poles, shares a deep connection and reverence to Mary.

Viola and Evelina, two local pilgrims, journeyed with their families to the shrine hoping to catch a glimpse of “Papa Franciszek.”

“This is the first time I will see the pope; I have never been to a World Youth Day before,” Viola told Catholic News Service.

“It is very important for us to see and hear the pope, even if it was a long journey here to Jasna Gora,” Evelina said.

Viola also stressed that young people in Poland like herself are hoping for a “special word” and that the pope “tells us what we can do for our church.”

“Young people of Poland need the pope to show us what we can do with our lives and which roads can lead us to (a better) future,” Evelina told CNS, adding that young people are also hoping to learn “how we can live here in Poland with people from other countries.”

Arriving in the popemobile at the shrine, the pope made his way to the monastery that houses the image of the Black Madonna.

After the pope was welcomed by Father Arnold Chrapkowski, superior general of the monks of St. Paul the First Hermit, the image of Mary was slowly revealed with the fanfare of drums and trumpets.

The pope stood still, gazing at the Black Madonna in silence for several minutes before carrying a gold rose to the altar below the image. He was then presented with a gold chalice and a replica of the image, which he reverently touched and kissed.

Beginning the outdoor Mass, Pope Francis missed a step as he was blessing the altar and an image of Mary with incense. He stumbled and fell, but quickly was helped to his feet and continued the liturgy without problem.

At a news conference that evening, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, papal spokesman, said the pope had tripped on loose carpeting and had later insisted there was no need for hospital treatment.

In his homily, the pope reflected on the coming of God into human history not by a “triumphal entrance or striking epiphany” but rather in “the simplest of ways.”

“Thus, contrary to our expectations and perhaps even our desires, the kingdom of God, now as then, ‘does not come in a way that attracts attention,’ but rather in littleness, in humility,” the pope said.

Recalling the day’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana, the pope said that Christ’s humility is again exemplified in “a simple miracle” that “brings joy to the wedding of a young and completely anonymous couple.”

Unlike the “tragically human” attraction to power and grandeur, God manifests himself and saves humankind “by making himself little, near and real,” the pope said.

Christians are called to reflect God’s closeness by “radiating goodness through the transparency of our lives,” he said.

Poland’s history, he stressed, is marked by occasions in which God has taken them by the hand and “accompanied you in so many situations.”

“That is what we, too, in the church are constantly called to do: to listen, to get involved and be neighbors, sharing in people’s joys and struggles, so that the Gospel can spread ever more consistently and fruitfully,” the pope said.

Pope Francis also noted that Poland’s history is a testament to God’s real presence, the “contagious power of faith” and devotion to Mary.

“If there is any human glory, any merit of our own in the fullness of time, it is she. Mary is that space, preserved free from sin, where God chose to mirror himself. She is the stairway God took to descend and draw near to us. She is the clearest sign of the fullness of time,” he said.

As she did in Cana, the pope continued, Mary offers her presence and counsel in order to “avoid hasty decisions and grumbling in our communities.”

“May each one of us be able to make an interior passage, a Passover of the heart, toward the divine ‘style’ incarnated by Mary. May we do everything in littleness and accompany others at close hand, with a simple and open heart,” Pope Francis said.

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Contributing to this story was Jonathan Luxmoore.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

7 hours 25 min
U.S. Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is seen in Miami July 23. (CNS photo/Brian Snyder, Reuters) U.S. Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is seen in Miami July 23. (CNS photo/Brian Snyder, Reuters)

After Senator Tim Kaine, a Catholic from Virginia, was named Hillary Clinton’s running mate last week, several bishops spoke out on the sanctity of life – implicitly criticizing the nominee’s pro-choice stance.

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Kaine’s home diocese of Richmond, Virginia released a statement regarding Catholics in public office July 22.

“The Catholic Church makes its position very clear as it pertains to the protection of human life, social justice initiatives, and the importance of family life,” he said.

“From the very beginning, Catholic teaching informs us that every human life is sacred from conception until natural death. The right to life is a fundamental, human right for the unborn and any law denying the unborn the right to life is unequivocally unjust.”

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island also commented on the subject, mentioning Kaine by name and lamenting that “apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life.”

Kaine has been described as a devout Catholic and has attended St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Richmond for decades.

His record on the issue of abortion is complicated. While he says that he personally opposes abortion, he supports it politically.

As Governor of Virginia, he often spoke of adoption as the best solution to unwanted pregnancy, and approved the sale of “Choose Life” license plates, whose proceeds help fund pro-life clinics. He supported abstinence-only sex education for a time (although he later cut funding saying the program was not working), and backed Virginia’s informed consent law, which requires women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound of the developing fetus prior to the procedure.

However, since entering the Senate in 2010, he has maintained a consistently pro-abortion voting record, earning him a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, whose president, Ilyse Hogue, voiced her support for the candidate after he was picked.

“While Senator Kaine has been open about his personal reservations about abortion, he’s maintained a 100% pro-choice voting record in the U.S. Senate,” she said in a statement. “He voted against dangerous abortion bans, he has fought against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and he voted to strengthen clinic security by establishing a federal fund for it.”

In an interview with MSNBC, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards called Kaine “not only a solid vote but really an ally.”

Recently, Kaine has voiced support for the Supreme Court’s striking down of Texas laws that would have required abortion clinics to meet the standards of surgical centers, among other standards. In a statement, he called the ruling a “major win…(in) the fight to expand reproductive freedom for all.”

He has also supported the Affordable Care Act on numerous occasions, and spoke out against the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision after it found that the Act violated the religious freedom rights of Hobby Lobby and similar employers who were forced to comply with the federal contraception mandate against their religious beliefs.

Church teaching does not dictate which party or candidate a Catholic should choose. It does, however, offer guidelines for the faithful to use in making their decision.

In their document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” the U.S. bishops outline an understanding of political responsibility based upon developing a “well-formed conscience.”

Catholic teaching holds that the “right to life” is paramount. St. John Paul II described it as “the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights.” The bishops’ document stresses that the direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life “is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.”

In the document, the bishops also stated their opposition to “contraception and abortion mandates in public programs and health plans, which endanger rights of conscience and can interfere with parents’ right to guide the moral formation of their children.”

In his statement, Bishop DiLorenzo added that elected officials in Virginia are made aware of the Church’s stance on various issues because he and Bishop Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington advocate for Catholic policies before the Virginia General Assembly, U.S. Congress, and the Virginia Catholic Conference, a public policy advocacy organization.

“We continue to maintain an open communication with public officials who make on-going decisions impacting critical, moral and social issues. This is a responsibility I take seriously, along with my brother bishops, to reach out to public leaders to explain Catholic principles and encourage them to protect human life and dignity in all decisions they make,” Bishop DiLorenzo said in the statement.

“We always pray for our Catholic leaders that they make the right choice, act in the best judgment and in good conscience, knowing the values and teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Bishop Tobin of Providence also weighed in on Saturday on Tim Kaine’s stance on various issues in a Facebook post titled “VP Pick, Tim Kaine, a Catholic?”

“Democratic VP choice, Tim Kaine, has been widely identified as a Roman Catholic. It is also reported that he publicly supports ‘freedom of choice’ for abortion, same-sex marriage, gay adoptions, and the ordination of women as priests,” Bishop Tobin wrote.

“All of these positions are clearly contrary to well-established Catholic teachings; all of them have been opposed by Pope Francis as well. Senator Kaine has said, ‘My faith is central to everything I do.’ But apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life.”

In past election years, several bishops have stressed that Catholic politicians who support abortion should not receive Communion.

While Bishop DiLorenzo’s statement did not address Kaine specifically, he said “(i)t is the duty of all Catholics, no matter their profession, to decide through an upright and informed conscience as to their worthiness to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.”

8 hours 43 min

By Junno Arocho Esteves

KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) — Poland’s memory and identity are the two catalysts that will lead the country forward and turn hopeless situations — such as those facing migrants — into opportunities for future generations, Pope Francis said.

Cloudy skies and a light drizzle did little to dampen the spirits of pilgrims cheering loudly as the pope’s plane landed in Krakow July 27. The arrival ceremony at Krakow’s John Paul II International Airport was marked by the presence of hundreds of Polish men and women, dressed in traditional clothes and dancing.

Stepping down from his plane and before he departed for Wawel Castle, Pope Francis was greeted by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Polish President Andrzej Duda and first lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda.

Addressing civil authorities and members of the country’s diplomatic corps, the pope noted that “memory is the hallmark of the Polish people;” a notable characteristic of his predecessor, St. John Paul II.

He said being aware of identity was “indispensable for establishing a national community on the foundation of its human, social, political, economic and religious heritage,” but that people must remain open to renewal and to change. He added that while good memory can remind society of God and his saving work, bad memory keeps the mind and heart “obsessively fixed on evil, especially the wrongs committed by others,” he said.

Pope Francis called on the people of Poland to hold on to their positive memories so they can look to the future with hope in respecting human dignity, economical and environmental concerns and “the complex phenomenon of migration.”

The issue of migration, he added, “calls for great wisdom and compassion, in order to overcome fear and to achieve the greater good.”

“Also needed is a spirit of readiness to welcome those fleeing from wars and hunger, and solidarity with those deprived of their fundamental rights, including the right to profess one’s faith in freedom and safety,” he said.

Pope Francis, who has brought attention to the plight of migrants in the past, met with 15 young refugees prior to his departure to Krakow. The Vatican press office said the young refugees are currently in Italy without documents that will allow them to travel out of the country.

“The youths, accompanied by the papal almoner, wished the pope a good journey and a happy participation at WYD, to which they cannot participate but are united spiritually,” the Vatican said.

Inviting Polish people to “look with hope to the future,” the pope said the memory of their thousand-year history would create a climate of respect that fosters a better life for future generations.

“The young should not simply have to deal with problems, but rather be able to enjoy the beauty of creation, the benefits we can provide and the hope we can offer,” he said.

Social policies, he added, must also support families who are “the primary and fundamental cell of society” as well as “helping responsibly to welcome life” so that children may be seen as a gift and not a burden.

“Life must always be welcome and protected. These two things go together, welcome and protection, from conception to natural death. All of us are called to respect life and care for it.”

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

23 hours 17 min

By Junno Arocho Esteves

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO KRAKOW, POLAND (CNS) — The world, not religion, is waging a war in pieces, Pope Francis said.

While it “is not at as organic” as past world wars, “it is organized and it is war,” the pope told journalists July 27 on his flight to Krakow.

“Someone may think that I am speaking about a war of religions. No, all religions want peace. Others want war,” the pope said.

He spoke one day after the murder of a priest during Mass in a Catholic church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France. Two men, armed with knives, entered the church during Mass. The attackers murdered 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, slitting his throat.

“This holy priest who died precisely at the moment he was offering prayers for the whole church,” he said. While lamenting the priest’s death, the pope added that was one of countless innocents butchered by a war fought in pieces.

“How many Christians, how many children, how many innocents?” he said. “We are not afraid of saying this truth: The world is at war because it has lost peace.”

The pope also thanked people for their the countless condolences following the murder. He said this included French President Francois Hollande, who “wished to connect with me by telephone, like a brother.”

Pope Francis expressed his desire that young people attending World Youth Day in Krakow offer a message of hope in a chaotic world.

“Youths always give us hope. Let us hope the youths may tell us something that will give us more hope in this moment,” he said. 

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

1 day 1 hour

By Dennis Sadowski

KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) — Jesus did not stop talking about mercy even though he was nearly thrown from a cliff after his first public talk in a Nazareth synagogue, and the rest of his life can serve as an example for people of faith to follow, Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley told an energized World Youth Day audience.

Emphasizing the World Youth Day theme focused on mercy and the Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, Cardinal O’Malley called on the young people in Tauron Arena July 27 to bring God’s mercy to life as Jesus did.

The Jubilee Year is a chance to reboot or start over again, said Cardinal O’Malley, who serves on the pope’s Council of Cardinals. “We need to find a new route to take us where we need to go.”

The cardinal said he considers his first homily — to a group of inmates after he was assigned as a prison chaplain — a failure as well. He said he decided to focus on the freeing power of God after reading in a book that a homily should embrace the experience of the listeners. That night, six inmates escaped, he said.

“I was crestfallen that my sermon would be the last,” he said.

But a fellow priest consoled him, and a young Father O’Malley persevered by remembering the needs of the people to whom he ministers. Cardinal O’Malley called on the young people to do likewise.

Explaining that Jesus is “the full meaning of jubilee,” Cardinal O’Malley explained that Pope Francis’ declaration of a Jubilee Year invites the faithful “to share this wonderful sign of grace” and mercy.

He invited the audience to embrace mercy every day and participate in a community of faith to escape isolation and sadness.

To illustrate the idea of mercy, he told the story of a group of people who were on a beach and one man noticed that a tidal wave was approaching. So he ran up a nearby hill to his home and set it afire. Many left the beach to help extinguish the flames and they were saved. The people who stayed behind drowned.

“Sometimes we think we are doing God a favor when we do a work of mercy. But actually we are climbing that mountain of love, where we find mercy and salvation for ourselves. Only as a result of climbing the mountain we show mercy to others. Only by making a gift of ourselves will we find fulfillment, happiness and salvation,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

The morning catechetical program included presentations by Sister Bethany Madonna, a member of the Sisters of Life, and Jason and Crystalina Evert, a married couple who are leaders in Chastity Project — — to guide young people in their lives.

Sister Bethany offered words of encouragement to the thousands of young adults in the audience, saying they were purposely chosen by God to be in Krakow for World Youth Day so they could be an inspiration to others.

God never forgets anyone, and that realization can help overcome life’s burdens and anxieties, Sister Bethany said.

“In baptism you became one in Jesus. You belong. You’re accepted. You’re loved. You’re not alone. God made you as his own beloved daughter or his beloved son. This was not random,” she said.

“God creates with a plan and a purpose. That you exist means God as a plan for your life,” she added.

Sister Bethany encouraged the young adults to consider their vocation, whether it is in marriage or religious life. She said society needs holy and committed husbands and wives as much as it needs people who become a priest, brother or sister.

The Everts discussed the importance of living a chaste life and getting to know their future spouse through faith and love. They explained how they strayed from moral teaching — Crystalina through parties and Jason through pornography — until discovering God’s plan for their lives.

Jason Everts offered four tips for the young audience: Enjoy being single, step back and work on personal shortcomings, face fears and keep any relationships with the opposite sex pure.

Mixing Scripture with practical tips on dating and relationships, the couple stressed that one of the best ways to show love for another person is to not shape the other person to their desires.

“Marriage is not about finding the perfect person,” Jason Everts said. “Successful marriages are about perfecting yourself so you can be the person (your spouse) deserves for you to be.”

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Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

1 day 3 hours
Resurrection. The Church of the Resurrection is one of several Catholic churches benefitting from the One Faith, One Hope, One Love rebates. (Courtesy Photo)

As part of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s One Faith, One Hope, One Love capital campaign, 20 percent of the funds pledged and received in a parish up to the parish goal are returned directly to fund parish needs. In addition, each parish that exceeds its campaign goal will receive 60% of the overage contributed by its parishioners.

The use of funds are decided locally.

The One Faith, One Hope One, Love website helps tell the stories of some of those rebates at work in a recent piece that highlights: All Saints (Kenwood), Annunciation (Cincinnati), Assumption (Mt. Healthy), Resurrection (Cincinnati) and Corpus Christi (Cincinnati).

For the details on those rebates being put to work, CLICK HERE.

For more news from the One Faith, One Hope, One Love campaign, CLICK HERE.

1 day 3 hours

By Jonathan Luxmoore

KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) — St. John Paul II’s former secretary urged young Catholics to share their faith, experiences and hopes and spread a “message of divine mercy” worldwide during World Youth Day.

“We come from every nation under heaven, like those who came in great numbers to Jerusalem on Pentecost Day, but there are incomparably more of us now than 2,000 years ago, because we are accompanied by centuries of preaching the Gospel,” Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said during the July 26 opening Mass.

“We bring experience of various cultures, traditions and languages. But what we also bring are testimonies of faith and holiness of our brothers and sisters, followers of the risen Lord, of past generations as well as the current generation,” he said.

The cardinal preached to an estimated 200,000 pilgrims from 187 countries in Krakow’s Blonia Park, a day before the scheduled arrival of Pope Francis.

He said a special clock had been fitted to the front of the city’s cathedral, “counting the days, hours, minutes and seconds,” since 2013, when the city was announced as the venue for World Youth Day this year.

He added that Krakow was the city from where St. John Paul “set off to preach the Gospel,” as well as where St. Faustina Kowalska helped spread devotion to Divine Mercy worldwide in the 20th century.

“You have come from all continents and nations, from the East and West, North and South of our globe,” said Cardinal Dziwisz, who was personal secretary to St. John Paul for 39 years.

“You bring with you many experiences. You bring many desires. You speak numerous languages. But starting today, we are going to communicate with each other in the language of the Gospel — a language of love, brotherhood, solidarity and peace.”

Up to 2 million young people were expected to attend World Youth Day July 26-31. Nearly 50 cardinals, 800 bishops and 20,000 priests from around the world also were to attend.

The opening Mass was partially disrupted by heavy rain, which forced the temporary closure of Krakow’s airport. The Mass site featured giant portraits of Sts. John Paul and Faustina by the main altar.

A Catholic teacher from the pope’s native Argentina, Clara Retta, told Catholic News Service she counted on Pope Francis to encourage young people to “go out to people and do things for others” and to bring a “message of joy and simplicity.”

She added that she believed the 7,000 Argentines attending World Youth Day had been warmly welcomed in Poland and were “very excited and proud” to be seeing the pope.

Carolina Alraheb, a Catholic from the war-torn city of Homs, Syria, said she hoped her countrymen would come to see themselves as “part of one family” by somehow maintaining a “deep relationship with God.”

“I hope the pope will also ask our people to deepen their own relations with themselves and find meaning in life again,” said the 25-year-old physics student, who was among two dozen Syrian Catholics at World Youth Day with two Jesuit priests from Aleppo.

“Home is full of orphans and widows, and many people have asked where God is. But I realized he’s still here, suffering with us and staying with the young Syrians, who’ll one day rebuild their country as a house of God,” she said.

In his homily, Cardinal Dziwisz said young people had come to Krakow from peaceful countries, “where families are communities of love and life and where young people can pursue their dreams,” but also “from countries whose people are suffering due to wars and other kinds of conflicts, where children are starving to death and where Christians are brutally persecuted.”

He added that young Catholics would bring to World Youth Day their experiences of “living the Gospel in a difficult world, as well as their “fears and disappointments, hopes and yearning, and desire to live in a more human, more fraternal and solidary world.”

“Among us are young pilgrims from parts of the world that are ruled by violence and blind terrorism, and where authorities usurp power over man and nations, following insane ideologies,” the cardinal told young pilgrims, who waved flags and banners during the Mass.

“May the flame of love engulf our world and rid it of egoism, violence and injustice, so that a civilization of good, reconciliation, love and peace will be strengthened on our earth.”

Pope Francis was to arrive in Krakow July 27 on his first visit to Poland. He was scheduled to travel to the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau during his stay, as well as leading an open-air Mass at the country’s Jasna Gora national sanctuary. He planned to pray before the relics of St. Faustina at Krakow’s Divine Mercy center.

A Polish World Youth Day ambassador, Jan Mela, who founded a youth support group after losing an arm in a road accident, said he hoped Pope Francis would help young people to “find sense in life” and overcome a widespread sense of “dissatisfaction and fatalism.”

Meanwhile, a Catholic from neighboring Ukraine, Elisabeth Dotsenko, said she and other members of the 5,000-strong Ukrainian Catholic delegation had got along well with Russian pilgrims in Krakow, despite the war currently raging in their country. She said she believed “human connections” could help overcome most political conflicts.

Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg told CNS he believed the pope was able to “speak in the language of the Gospel, but not in complex theological language,” and would discourage notions that Christians were “up against a bad secular world” by showing young people that God’s love was “for everyone equally.”

Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley told CNS he was impressed by the huge numbers who had come to “the city of John Paul II,” as well as the enthusiasm of young Americans attending the festival, adding that he was sure the pope would offer “many resonating messages.”

“Participating at World Youth Day makes an enormous difference in a person’s life — over a third of our own U.S. seminarians helped discover their vocations while at World Youth Day,” the cardinal said.

“In our more and more secularized society, it’s very reaffirming for the faith of young people to be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of others like this. It can have an important long-lasting effect on their relations with the church and Holy Father, as well as on their experience of the church’s catholicity.”

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1 day 20 hours

By Jonathan Luxmoore

KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) — Polish police have raised the official security threat level at World Youth Day in Krakow, after an Iraqi man was arrested with traces of explosives.

However, a police spokesman said the category of “alpha,” or high, was not linked to any “concrete threat,” adding that security arrangements were “proceeding smoothly” for the expected arrival of 2 million young people in the southern city.

“We’re determined to assure maximum security for all, and our staffers are doing everything they should,” said Mariusz Ciarka, spokesman for Poland’s Warsaw-based police headquarters.

“But we’re also urging everyone to be vigilant and to inform the police or Youth Day volunteers if they see anything suspicious, such as baggage or packs left unattended, and to show understanding if we implement selective controls and movement restrictions. Safety of such a huge gathering of people is what’s most important,” Ciarka said July 26 ahead of the official opening ceremony World Youth Day.

Officials were expecting half a million young people to attend opening ceremonies from 187 countries in Krakow’s Blonia Park.

He said security services had so far noted only “minor incidents,” such as lost documents and small injuries, as well as a July 25 bus crash in which no one was reported injured.

He said police were using mobile X-ray devices and metal detectors, as well as using dogs trained to detect explosives, at railway and bus stations and major road hubs around the city, as well as anywhere crowds gathered.

Gas tankers and large trucks had been barred from Krakow, Ciarka said, after a 19-ton truck was driven into a celebration in Nice, France, July 15.

Security fears are high in Europe in the wake of the Nice outrage and a spate of Islamist-linked attacks in neighboring Germany, as well as the July 26 killing of French Father Jacques Hamel, 84, during an attack during a Mass at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack.

Polish police said they had arrested a 48-year-old Iraqi man July 24 in Krakow, after explosive traces were found in his luggage and his clothes, as well as at hotels where he had stayed in Krakow and Lodz.

However, a Krakow prosecutor told journalists there were no grounds for charging the man with terrorism and said not enough explosive material had been detected to cause an explosion.

Ciarka said July 26 that 200 people had so far been barred from entering the country.

The police spokesman said drones and “unauthorized flying objects” had also been banned over a 65-mile zone around Krakow, as well as over the nearby city of Czestochowa, where Pope Francis will celebrate an open-air Mass July 29.

The carrying of arms and dangerous substances had also been outlawed, Ciarka added, as well as any objects normally not permitted aboard planes.

“From today, all movements are being limited around Krakow, as well as at Blonia and the Lagiewniki suburb, where pedestrians will have total priority,” the police official said. “The Polish government has given the police the task of serving society by ensuring this huge event passes off safely, and that’s what we will do.”

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2 days 1 hour
Water damage from rain and the sprinkler system did major damage to the St. Vincent DePaul warehouse on Winchell Ave. on June 23. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)Water damage from rain and the sprinkler system did major damage to the St. Vincent DePaul warehouse on Winchell Ave. on June 23. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

When the roof collapsed on a St. Vincent DePaul (SVDP) warehouse at 2118 Winchell Ave. June 23, tens of thousands of donations were lost and the cost of the structural damage was too high to get an initial estimate.

A month later, the organization is waiting for the insurance company to determine whether the building can be saved. In the meantime, SVDP Director of Community Relations Larry Shields said the local community has come through in a big way.

“We’ve seen an overwhelming response from the community,” Shields said. “Just a real outpouring of support from people across Cincinnati who reached out to us to see what they can do. We have seen a huge increase in the amount of items that are donated this time of year.”

Exact numbers of the donations increase are hard to pin down, but Shields said one metric is the amount of pickups being scheduled.

“One way we can track statistically is when folks call us to do a pickup at (513) 421-CARE,” he said. “Our trucks are booked solid. They’re full. We have drivers on routes all the time and that’s not something we normally see a lot in the summer.”

Donations of items and money have come from a wide variety of sources, including one potentially unlikely ally.

“The Masonic Lodge in Ameila has been filling a 53 foot trailer with donations for us,” Shields said. “They started doing that when they heard about what happened to the roof. That’s someone out of the blue saying they wanted to do something to help make this right.”

A month has passed since the original collapse, which happened during a severe storm. Since then SVDP was able to salvage some hardware and store fixtures stores in the location, while waiting to see if the building can be repaired.

“It isn’t just the roof caving in,” Shields said. “The sprinkler system went off and there’s water damage throughout the building too. We’re just waiting to hear the final determination from the insurance company what the next step is going to be for us.”

The warehouse served multiple functions, including as a hub for various SVDP holiday outreaches. The coat donation program, Adopt-a-Family, Angel Toys and holiday meal distribution all operate out of the site, leaving the logistics of those operations in flux.

SVDP purchased the building in 2013. It was constructed in 1910 and is best known as the former home of the Young and Bertke Company. The building is visible from I-75 and was a long-time visual landmark along the highway because of the motorized “Tin Man” sign that once stood on the roof.

To support St. Vincent de Paul, visit, call (513) 421-HOPE, or visit one of the organizations seven retail locations.

2 days 3 hours

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The murder of a priest in northern France, taken hostage with a handful of other faithful during a weekday morning Mass July 26, is another act of “absurd violence” added to too many stories of senseless violence and death, said the Vatican spokesman.

Pope Francis was informed about the hostage situation at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen and the murder of 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

“With pain and horror” for the “absurd violence,” Pope Francis expressed his condemnation of “every form of hatred” and offered his prayers for all those involved.

“We are particularly stricken because this horrible violence occurred in a church — a sacred place in which the love of God is proclaimed — with the barbaric killing of a priest,” Father Lombardi said.

Police said two men, armed with knives, entered the church during Mass. They reportedly slit the throat of Father Hamel. They said another person present at the Mass was in serious condition at the hospital. An Interior Ministry spokesman said the attackers were killed by police, ending the hostage situation.

A nun who witnessed the attack described the scene to French radio station RMC.

“In the church, everyone screamed ‘Stop, you don’t know what you’re doing.’ They didn’t stop. They forced him to his knees; he tried to defend himself, and it was then that the drama began,” said the nun, who identified herself as Sister Danielle.

“They recorded themselves (on video). They did a little — like a sermon — around the altar in Arabic. It was a horror.”

The sister managed to escape the church and flag down a car for help, RMC reported.

She told the station about her respect for her colleague.

“It’s necessary to remember that this was an extraordinary priest,” Sister Danielle told RMC. “That’s all I want to say. He’s great, Father Jacques.”

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack via its news site, though the group’s involvement has not been confirmed by French police. French President Francois Hollande suggested the group was behind the attack.

Hollande called Pope Francis to express “the grief of the French people after the odious assassination of Father Jacques Hamel by two terrorists,” said a statement from the president’s office.

Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen, who was in Krakow, Poland, with World Youth Day pilgrims when the attacked occurred, said he would return to his archdiocese.

“The Catholic Church can take up no weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood among people of goodwill,” the archbishop said in a statement from Krakow. He said that while he would leave Poland, hundreds of young people from his diocese would remain. “I ask them not to give in to violence,” but instead “become apostles of the civilization of love.”

Msgr. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, secretary-general of the French bishops’ conference, also was in Krakow for World Youth Day. He told media: “We know now they were both terrorists.”

“We believe that evil and violence will not have the upper hand, and all the French bishops share this opinion,” he said.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, sent a message of condolence to Archbishop Lebrun. The cardinal said Pope Francis was “particularly upset that this act of violence took place in a church during Mass, the liturgical act that implores God’s peace for the world.”

In the latest event of violence, the cardinal said, the pope prayed God would “inspire in all thoughts of reconciliation and brotherhood.”

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil, Iraq, was another church leader in Krakow for World Youth Day. He told Catholic News Service the attack in France reminded him of the 2010 massacred in Baghdad’s Church of Our Lady of Deliverance “when they held the people inside the church” during Sunday evening Mass “and killed two priests and then started killing the rest.” A total of 48 people were killed and more than 100 were injured.

“This is the sort of world we are living in,” Archbishop Warda said. “We pray for the priest and everyone who was shocked and horrified.”

At the same time, “we pray for all of ISIS so they could really wake up and know the God of mercy,” he said. “We know that it is going to be harder and harder because the more you push them, they come up with more terrifying stories and events.”

“It’s shocking, it’s sad, really sad” to know they could “enter a church, a place of prayer” and commit such violence, the archbishop said. “Imagine you enter a mosque and start killing people — but that’s ISIS. That’s the way they act. Unfortunately this is the way they’ve been trained.”

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed gratitude for “the unforgettable witness of the faithful” in the church attack.

“Jesus calls us to be sisters and brothers, to strive to care for one another, and always to reject the evil that seeks to divide us,” the archbishop wrote in a July 26 statement.

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Contributing to this story were Colleen Dulle in Washington and Robert Duncan in Krakow.

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2 days 5 hours

By Dennis Sadowski

OSWIECIM, Poland (CNS) — Walking into the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, Stephanie Dalton felt a chill up and down her spine.

She called it the spirit of those who died at the hands of the Nazis more than 70 years ago.

“You could tell the people’s presence (was) still there,” she said after her group from the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, walked through the camp July 25 as part of their World Youth Day pilgrimage.

Dalton, 19, a member of Sts. Simon and Jude Parish, spoke to Catholic News Service during a break after touring the camp and the nearby Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp where nearly 1 million people were killed in secret during World War II.

Looking at forested areas at Birkenau, Dalton said she could see the people who were held “in the beauty” after arriving by train in crammed boxcars as their fate was being determined by the Nazis.

“They didn’t know what was going to happen,” she said in a solemn tone.

The Brooklyn contingent totals about 600. Forty of them filled a bus and joined thousands of others from around the world at the camps a day before the official opening of World Youth Day.

At Auschwitz, visitors walked in silence under the famous gate with the slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (Work makes you free.) Only the footsteps of the pilgrims on the dry, rocky ground could be heard.

For some of the Brooklynites, the silence echoed what it may have been like for the Jews, Roma and others identified for extermination as they left the trains and walked to their death.

Wadley Fleurime, 18, a native of Haiti and a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, compared the pain of losing friends in his homeland’s 2010 earthquake to how families must have felt when they lost loved ones and friends at Auschwitz.

“It breaks my heart that something like this could happen, because I know what the heartbreak is like,” he said.

Patricia, 22, and Gabriella Ruiz, 19, sisters who belong to Mary Queen of Heaven Church, said after leaving Auschwitz they found it difficult to comprehend the killing that occurred onsite. They expect to share what they saw and learned with parishioners at home.

“It was crazy that we were walking in the same place that they harmed people,” Gabriella Ruiz said. Her sister described her experience as “surreal.” The sisters want to research the Holocaust more deeply so that they can support their experience with additional facts and photos.

“We can say we saw it with our own eyes,” Patricia Ruiz said.

Several contingents from France stopped at various locations at the expansive Birkenau site to pray and sing hymns of atonement for the sins of humanity.

Dominick Costantino, 24, vocation program coordinator for the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was walking with a young Polish woman, Monika Hulewicz, discussing the history of the camps.

“It’s very sad that humans could have done this to other humans,” Costantino said. “It’s amazing (that) you’re walking in the suffering. In the silence you hear the stumbling, the falling, the crying of the people.”

Hulewicz, 23, said it is imperative for Poles to tell the story of the carnage at the camps.

“It is very important for us to show that this is not just Polish heritage, but that this is the heritage of the whole world,” she said. “It is a big, big reminder of how we can avoid doing it in the future.”

At the crumbling bricks of a dynamited Birkenau crematorium, Adrianna Garcia, 26, a member of St. Peter Prince of the Apostles Parish in San Antonio, stopped to discuss with a friend what she was seeing. She said that studying the Holocaust in school was far different than seeing the camps where mass executions were carried out.

“You honestly don’t get the full picture until walking the grounds,” she said.

As a fifth-grader in a Catholic school, Garcia had a Jewish teacher who would tell stories about the Holocaust. “Her stories can’t compare to seeing this,” Garcia told CNS. “She would take us to the San Antonio Jewish museum, but you can’t compare it.”

She said the pilgrims who visit the concentration camps must take home the stories home and encourage others to make the same trip if they can. She said she already had been sharing what she saw on social media.

“It’s important not to leave it in the storytelling. Stories come and stories go. But if you live it, you can help others understand it,” she said.

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Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski.

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2 days 22 hours

By Paul Jeffrey

DURBAN, South Africa (CNS) — The face of the AIDS epidemic has changed dramatically in recent years as scientists have created antiretroviral drugs that lower levels of the virus in the bloodstream, allowing those infected with HIV to live relatively normal lives.

Yet getting those drugs into the hands of everyone who needs them remains difficult. Worldwide, only 17 million of the 36.7 million people who carry the virus are receiving treatment, U.N. officials told delegates to the International AIDS Conference here. As long as those numbers do not improve, untreated carriers will continue to pass on the virus to others.

So a major point of discussion at the conference, which ended July 22, was how to get more drugs to more people. Despite what many dub “AIDS fatigue,” Catholics and other religious leaders recommitted themselves to work to expand treatment, especially among children.

Vatican officials have already begun pushing a unique project to rapidly expand the availability of antiretroviral drugs for children.

The first step was getting drug manufacturers on board. Since not many children in developed countries contract HIV these days, there’s no sizable market to recoup research and development and manufacturing costs. With only poor children needing the drugs, there’s less of an incentive to manufacture pediatric medicines or the specific diagnostic tools that are also needed.

“We have a commitment to make those medicines for children at the right dosage levels, but it’s not a very profitable business. But then none of this HIV work is,” Anil Soni, vice president for infectious diseases at Mylan, the largest producer of generic antiretroviral medicines, told a gathering of religious activists held in conjunction with the AIDS conference.

Soni was one of a handful of pharmaceutical executives invited to Rome for meetings in April and May with high-level Vatican officials and AIDS experts from the United Nations and the United States. The meetings came after years of lobbying by church officials to get governments and drug makers to take action on their own. Frustrated by the lack of progress that produced, the Vatican decided to more directly intervene. It did so by appealing to their sense of morality.

“We recognized up front that this wasn’t something companies could make a lot of money on, but we also think there’s a moral imperative for them to act,” said Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, who became the general secretary of the International Catholic Migration Commission in May. Until a successor is named, he also continues as the Vatican’s special adviser on HIV and AIDS.

Msgr. Vitillo told Catholic News Service that the Vatican did not invite Martin Shkreli, the U.S pharmaceutical boss who increased the price of an HIV-related drug by 5,000 percent. Shkreli has been indicted for fraud in a U.S. federal court. An off-Broadway musical about his greed opened in July.

Pope Francis was scheduled to meet with the group April 16, but a last-minute trip to the Greek island of Lesbos took him out of Rome.

“He did send a personal message to the group, however. It was strong motivation to these corporate executives to hear the pope state that what they’re doing is vitally important, and that they must do it together,” Msgr. Vitillo said.

Msgr. Vitillo said he found participants open to new ideas and wanting to be involved.

“I didn’t hear anyone say we can’t do this. They did share the challenges they face and a belief that if we could share some kind of united approach” that guaranteed enough of a market, their companies could participate, even if it wouldn’t be a highly profitable.

The meetings gave enough encouragement to AIDS officials that a new target for reaching children with life-saving drugs was inserted into a document signed at the High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS held at the United Nations in June. Not all of the details have been worked out yet, and Msgr. Vitillo took advantage of the presence of all the players in Durban to continue refining their plans.

He said the next steps include forming a working group with a smaller number of representative stakeholders, then bringing an action plan back to the larger group. Msgr. Vitillo said they would probably start pilot projects in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Congo.

The target numbers the group will pursue are ambitious: getting 1.6 million children under 15 on antiretroviral medications in the next two years. Msgr. Vitillo called that a major step toward eliminating AIDS as a major public health crisis by 2030.

Soni said new approaches will be necessary to meet that goal, because what has been tried with children until now simply is not working. He said he was recently in China, where some people crush adult tablets to treat children.

“It’s the wrong dosage and it’s a taste that the children can’t take,” he said.

Soni said researchers are developing new pediatric formulations that can, for example, be sprinkled on food. But these must be brought to market quickly. He said half of children born with HIV will die within 24 months of birth if not treated.

Faith-based groups, which in several countries are among the largest providers of health care, must continue to push their corporate partners, Soni said.

“From our perspective in industry, we appreciate and really look to faith-based organizations for their leadership in reaching out to communities, identifying patients and supporting them and offering both care and prevention services,” he said. “The church has shown tremendous leadership this year in encouraging all partners to reach the children who are living with or affected by HIV to receive treatment and care.”

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2 days 23 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis told hundreds of thousands of World Youth Day pilgrims on Thursday to share God’s merciful love by building bridges and by tearing down barriers, walls and barbed wire. Speaking during a welcome ceremony in the giant Blonia Park, close to Krakow’s city centre, the Pope said "mercy has a youthful face" which can move us beyond our comfort zones and make us ready to embrace everyone. A merciful heart, he said, is able to be a place of refuge for the homeless, sharing bread with the hungry and welcoming refugees and migrants. Recalling the legacy of Saint John Paul II, who began the tradition of World Youth Days, Pope Francis praised the “enthusiasm, dedication, zeal and energy with which so many young people live their lives”. He warned them not to be tempted by “dark paths” or to “run after peddlers of fond illusions”. Instead, he urged them to be like Mary, Martha’s sister in the reading from St Luke’s Gospel, who made space to listen to Jesus in the midst of her busy life. The Pope told the young people to imitate Mary of Bethany and Mary of Nazareth by welcoming Jesus, by helping the poor and by listening attentively to other cultures and peoples, "even those we are afraid of because we consider them a threat".  Please find below the English translation of Pope Francis’ prepared address to young people at the welcome ceremony of WYD in Blonie, Krakow, Dear Young Friends, good evening! At last we are together!  Thank you for your warm welcome!  I thank Cardinal Dziwisz, the bishops, priests, men and women religious, the seminarians and those who have accompanied you.  I am also grateful to all those who made it possible for us to be here today, who “went the extra mile” so that we could celebrate our faith. In this, the land of his birth, I especially want to thank Saint John Paul II, who first came up with the idea of these meetings and gave them such momentum.  From his place in heaven, he is with us and he sees all of you: so many young people from such a variety of nations, cultures and languages but with one aim, that of rejoicing that Jesus is living in our midst.  To say that Jesus is alive means to rekindle our enthusiasm in following him, to renew our passionate desire to be his disciples.  What better opportunity to renew our friendship with Jesus than by building friendships among yourselves!  What better way to build our friendship with Jesus than by sharing him with others!  What better way to experience the contagious joy of the Gospel than by striving to bring the Good News to all kinds of painful and difficult situations! Jesus called us to this Thirty-first World Youth Day.  Jesus tells us: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy (Mt 5:7).  Blessed indeed are they who can forgive, who show heartfelt compassion, who are capable of offering the very best of themselves to others.  Dear young people, in these days Poland is in a festive mood; in these days Poland wants to be the ever-youthful face of mercy.  From this land, with you and all those young people who cannot be present today yet join us through the various communications media, we are going to make this World Youth Day an authentic Jubilee celebration. In my years as a bishop, I have learned one thing.  Nothing is more beautiful than seeing the enthusiasm, dedication, zeal and energy with which so many young people live their lives.  When Jesus touches a young person’s heart, he or she becomes capable of truly great things.  It is exciting to listen to you share your dreams, your questions and your impatience with those who say that things cannot change.  For me, it is a gift of God to see so many of you, with all your questions, trying to make a difference.  It is beautiful and heartwarming to see all that restlessness!  Today the Church looks to you and wants to learn from you, to be reassured that the Father’s Mercy has an ever-youthful face, and constantly invites us to be part of his Kingdom. Knowing your enthusiasm for mission, I repeat: mercy always has a youthful face!  Because a merciful heart is motivated to move beyond its comfort zone.  A merciful heart can go out and meet others; it is ready to embrace everyone.  A merciful heart is able to be a place of refuge for those who are without a home or have lost their home; it is able to build a home and a family for those forced to emigrate; it knows the meaning of tenderness and compassion.  A merciful heart can share its bread with the hungry and welcome refugees and migrants.  To say the word “mercy” along with you is to speak of opportunity, future, commitment, trust, openness, hospitality, compassion and dreams. Let me tell you another thing I have learned over these years.  It pains me to meet young people who seem to have opted for “early retirement”.  I worry when I see young people who have “thrown in the towel” before the game has even begun, who are defeated even before they begin to play, who walk around glumly as if life has no meaning.  Deep down, young people like this are bored… and boring!  But it is also hard, and troubling, to see young people who waste their lives looking for thrills or a feeling of being alive by taking dark paths and in the end having to pay for it… and pay dearly.  It is disturbing to see young people squandering some of the best years of their lives, wasting their energies running after peddlers of fond illusions (where I come from, we call them “vendors of smoke”), who rob you of what is best in you.  We are gathered here to help one another other, because we do not want to be robbed of the best of ourselves.  We don’t to be robbed of our energy, our joy, our dreams by fond illusions. So I ask you: Are you looking for empty thrills in life, or do you want to feel a power that can give you a lasting sense of life and fulfilment?  Empty thrills or the power of grace?  To find fulfilment, to gain new strength, there is a way.  It is not a thing or an object, but a person, and he is alive.  His name is Jesus Christ.  Jesus can give you true passion for life.  Jesus can inspire us not to settle for less, but to give the very best of ourselves.  Jesus challenges us, spurs us on and helps us keep trying whenever we are tempted to give up.  Jesus pushes us to keep our sights high and to dream of great things.  In the Gospel, we heard how Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, stopped at a home – the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus – and was welcomed.  He stopped, went in and spent time with them.  The two women welcomed him because they knew he was open and attentive.  Our many jobs and responsibilities can make us a bit like Martha: busy, scattered, constantly running from place to place… but we can also be like Mary: whenever we see a beautiful landscape, or look at a video from a friend on our cellphone, we can stop and think, stop and listen…  In these days, Jesus wants to stop and enter our home.  He will look at us hurrying about with all our concerns, as he did with Martha… and he will wait for us to listen to him, like Mary, to make space for him amid the bustle.  May these be days given over to Jesus and to listening to one another.  May they help us welcome Jesus in all those with whom we share our homes, our neighbourhoods, our groups and our schools. Whoever welcomes Jesus, learns to love as Jesus does.   So he asks us if we want a full life: Do you want a complete life?  Start by letting yourself be open and attentive!  Because happiness is sown and blossoms in mercy.  That is his answer, his offer, his challenge, his adventure: mercy.  Mercy always has a youthful face.  Like that of Mary of Bethany, who sat as a disciple at the feet of Jesus and joyfully listened to his words, since she knew that there she would find peace.  Like that of Mary of Nazareth, whose daring “Yes” launched her on the adventure of mercy.  All generations would call her blessed; to all of us she is the “Mother of Mercy”.  All together, then, we ask the Lord: “Launch us on the adventure of mercy!  Launch us on the adventure of building bridges and tearing down walls, barriers and barbed wire.  Launch us on the adventure of helping the poor, those who feel lonely and abandoned, or no longer find meaning in their lives.  Send us, like Mary of Bethany, to listen attentively to those we do not understand, those of other cultures and peoples, even those we are afraid of because we consider them a threat.  Make us attentive to our elders, as Mary of Nazareth was to Elizabeth, in order to learn from their wisdom.  Here we are, Lord!  Send us to share your merciful love.  We want to welcome you in our midst during this World Youth Day.  We want to affirm that our lives are fulfilled when they are shaped by mercy, for that is the better part, and it will never be taken from us. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 hours 7 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ first full day in Poland saw him celebrating Mass at the Holy Jasna Gora Shrine in Chestokowa in the presence of over 500,000 faithful. During the afternoon he took a tram ride in Krakow with the mayor and was given the keys to the city before travelling to Krakow’s Blonia Meadows, a sprawling 48 hectar area where Pope Saint John Paul II celebrated Holy Mass as many as six times.  Blonia is the venue chosen for a World Youth Day welcome ceremony where hundreds of thousands of young people gathered to greet the Pope as they celebrate the 31st World Youth Day. Reporting on the Pope’s Apostolic visit to Poland is Lydia O’Kane who spoke about the events leading up to the Pope’s first discourse to the young people in Blonia and about some of the highlights of the Day. Listen :   (from Vatican Radio)... 2 hours 23 min
(Vatican Radio) In an interview with Vatican Radio on the first day of the Pope’s Apostolic Voyage to Poland, Greg Burke, the deputy director of the Holy See Press Office, said Pope Francis has “a lot of the parish priest in him.” Burke said the Pope’s meeting with Poland’s Bishops was kept private to maintain the atmosphere of “a family gathering,” offering the Holy Father to speak freely, in confidence, with the leaders of the local Church. But, he continued, “most of what the Pope says” in meetings with local Bishops revolves around common themes of Francis’ papacy. “It’s about being a pastor, being a father. One of the main things he talked about is being close to your people,” a theme he returned to more than once. Burke said the Pope is at his best when he speaks “off-the-cuff” – “It was very uplifting.” Burke also noted that “two-pronged” nature of the Pope’s Apostolic Voyage, focusing on his visit to Poland and on the events of World Youth Day. In particular, Burke spoke about the legacy of St John Paul II, St Faustina, and the devotion to Divine Mercy, on the one hand; and, on the other, Pope Francis with the Jubilee of Mercy and his insistence on performing acts of mercy. With regard to young people, Burke said, “World Youth Day, I think, is just something that gets the Pope excited… He obviously gets very revved up with young people.” Listen to the full interview of Greg Burke with Vatican Radio’s Lydia O’Kane:  (from Vatican Radio)... 9 hours 41 min
(Vatican Radio) As Pope Francis continues his papal visit to Poland, he answered the questions of three young people on Wednesday evening, who are participating in World Youth Day. The first girl recounted how by chance she had not been on the train which was involved in the horrific crash earlier this month. She asked Pope Francis how she can return to normality and overcome the fear she now feels. Pope Francis said that this was not a physical wound but a wound of the soul; fear.  He explained that life is full of scars and pain, but the young can learn to become wise. He expressed the importance of learning to live with both the beautiful and the ugly both with courage and with pain. Live with joy as it carries you forward and saves you from living in fear. The second girl explained how she had arrived in Italy six years ago with a very basic understanding of Italian. She became a victim of bullying which pushed her to the point of trying to commit suicide. Although she has chosen to forgive, she explained to Pope Francis that she still feels animosity towards those who hurt her. She asked how can she forgive those completely and move forward as she does not want to hate. Pope Francis first of all thanked her for telling her story. He gave her an expression that describes the cruelty of language; gossip is terrorism, it’s the terrorism of words, insulting one’s heart, dignity and in this young person’s case, nationality. We must choose silence, patience and most importantly forgiveness, however these choices are not easy. We must ask the Lord for help in choosing to forgive and forget fully, and ask Him to forgive those who hurt us. The final question came from a boy who had been in Nice during the attack on Bastille Day.  He asked Pope Francis how, as young people, can we continue to spread peace in a world that is full of hate? Pope Francis answered that peace builds bridges and hate builds walls and in life we have the choice to either build bridges or construct walls. Walls divide us, causing hate to increase, whilst bridges unite us allowing us to communicate with one another. We have the ability to build a human bridge, every time we hold someone’s hand. Even when bridges collapse, we must persevere and look for ways to rebuild them.  (from Vatican Radio)... 9 hours 42 min
The Holy Father on Thursday, has erected the Eparchy of Great Britain of the Syro-Malabar Church based in Preston and has appointed Dr. Fr. Joseph (Benny Mathew) Srampickal, a member of the clergy of the Eparchy of Palai, until now Vice-Rector of the Collegio De Propaganda Fide in Rome, as the first bishop of the Eparchy. Msgr. Joseph (Benny Mathew) Srampickal was born on May 30, 1967 in Poovarany, in the Eparchy of Palai. He entered the minor seminary and he studied philosophy at St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor, and theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, where he obtained a licentiate in biblical theology. He continued his studies at Oxford (England). He knows: Malayalam, English, Italian and German. Ordained a priest on August 12, 2000, he has held the following positions: Professor at the minor seminary and Ephrem Formation Centre of Pala; Director of the Mar Sleeva Nursing College, Cherpumkal; Director of the Evangelization Programme; Secretary of the Bishop; Pastor at Urulikunnam. From 2013, he is Vice Rector of the Pontifical Urbaniana College of the Propaganda Fide, Rome. The last thirty years have seen a growing influx of immigrants from India to the British Isles. More than 38,000 Syro Malabar faithful reside in England, Scotland and Wales. They are present in twenty-seven dioceses, concentrated mainly in the big cities: London, Birmingham and Liverpool. Twenty-three Syro Malabar priests are engaged in pastoral care, coordinated by Dr. Thomas Parayadiyil, MST, from 2013. In addition to the liturgical celebrations, training programs were established in the faith according to the Syro Malabar tradition for both, adults as well as children, with significant benefits for the involvement of the laity. The See of the circumscription is in Preston, in the Diocese of Lancaster, where the Cathedral dedicated to St. Alphonsa is located, along with the Registry and the Residence of the new Bishop Joseph (Benny Mathew) Srampickal.   (from Vatican Radio)... 10 hours 6 min
(Vatican Radio) The Holy Father has appointed Mons. Stephen Chirappanath, of the clergy of the eparchy of Irinjalakuda, as the Apostolic Visitor for the Syro-Malabar faithful living in Europe, elevating him to the episcopate and assigning him the Titular see of Slebte. Msgr. Stephen Chirappanath was born December 26, 1961 at Puthenchira. After his philosophical and theological studies at St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor, he obtained a doctorate in moral theology at the Alphonsian Academy in Rome. He speaks Malayalam, English, Italian and German. He was ordained a priest on December 26, 1987 and has also held the following positions: Priest in Padua Nagar; Tribunal ; Director of the Centers for Drug Rehabilitation; Rector of St. Paul's Minor Seminary, Irinjalakuda; Professor, and then Vice Rector of St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary in Vadavathoor. Since 2011 he is the procurator to the Major Archbishop in Rome and the coordinator for the Syro Malabar faithful in Italy, offices which he will continue to hold. In recent decades, the emigration of Indians in the West has been growing significantly. Now there are Syro Malabar communities in different European countries: Italy, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and Switzerland, as well as Ireland. The number of faithful varies from 11,125 in Italy to 7768 in Ireland, and only 30 in Denmark, with a total of about 30,000. There are 20 centers for the Celebration of ‘Qurbana’ (Liturgical Service) in Italy, 16 in Ireland, 10 in Austria and less in other countries, with about 35 priests. The Apostolic Visitor has the duty to visit the faithful of his Church living in Europe, interacting with the Ordinaries of the place to which they are entrusted, referring to the Apostolic See about their pastoral care.   (from Vatican Radio)... 10 hours 6 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday morning celebrated Mass at the Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, Poland, to mark the 1050 th anniversary of the ‘Baptism of Poland.’ Vatican Radio's Lydia O'Kane is in Poland with Pope Francis and sent this report. Listen: A sea of people stretching 7 kilometres lined the route from Czestochowa all the way to the hilltop monastery of Jasna Góra, Poland’s national shrine.  Young and old had been waiting since early morning under an overcast sky to be here at this place of pilgrimage. In the grounds of the monastery itself, which houses the revered icon of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, pilgrims carried banners with an image of Pope Francis which read in Spanish “benvenido”.  In a change to his programme, Pope Francis made the journey to Czestochowa by car instead of by helicopter to be here, and as soon as the crowds got word that he had arrived, a great applause rang out and the choir began to sing. As the Holy Father made his way to this shrine, in the fondly named Pope mobile, he was greeted every step of the way by thousands of enthusiastic people waving Polish, Vatican and even Argentinian flags along this walk of pilgrimage. On his arrival he met with a group of disabled people including a little girl, lingering to take her hand. Then it was onward to witness one of the highlights of this visit to Poland, the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. Trumpets played as this miraculous icon was unveiled from behind its golden screen as an emotional Pope Francis looked on. Following a greeting from the Superior General of the Pauline Order, the Pope presented the Madonna with a gift of golden roses and then kissed copy of the black icon which had been given to him. The Pope had come here to celebrate the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland and as he made his way to the specially constructed alter situated above the faithful below, the choir performed Poland’s most famous Marian hymm. In his Homily, Pope Francis spoke about a God who is contented by little things, unlike ourselves who, he said, “always want to possess something greater.” To be attracted by power, by grandeur, by appearances”, he added, “is tragically human”.  Highlighting those Polish sons and daughters who made the power of the Gospel shine forth, Pope Francis made special mention of “those meek and powerful heralds of mercy who were Saint John Paul II and Saint Faustina.”  God is near, God is real,” the Holy Father said, and Mary offers us her nearness and helps us to discover what we need to live life to the full. “She is a Mother who takes people’s problems to heart and acts.  She recognizes moments of difficulty and handles them discreetly, efficiently and decisively.” Please see the full text of his homily is below             From the readings of this Liturgy a divine thread emerges, one that passes through human history and weaves the history of salvation.             The apostle Paul tells us of God’s great plan: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman” ( Gal 4:4).  But history tells us that when this “fullness of time” came, when God became man, humanity was not especially well-disposed, nor was there even a period of stability and peace: there was no “Golden Age”.  The scenario of this world did not merit the coming of God; indeed, “his own received him not” ( Jn 1:11).  The fullness of time was thus a gift of grace: God filled our time out of the abundance of his mercy .  Out of sheer love he inaugurated the fullness of time.             It is particularly striking how the coming of God into history came about: he was “born of a woman” .  There was no triumphal entrance or striking epiphany of the Almighty.  He did not reveal himself as a brilliantly rising sun, but entered the world in the simplest of ways, as a child from his mother, with that “style” that Scripture tells us is like a rainfall upon the land (cf. Is 55:10), like the smallest of seeds which sprouts and grows (cf. Mk 4:31-32).  Thus, contrary to our expectations and perhaps even our desires, the kingdom of God, now as then, “does not come in a way that attracts attention” ( Lk 17:20), but rather in littleness, in humility .             Today’s Gospel takes up this divine thread delicately passing through history: from the fullness of time we come to the “third day” of Jesus’ ministry (cf. Jn  2:1) and the proclamation of the “hour” of salvation (cf. v. 4).  Time shortens, God always shows himself in littleness.  And so we come to “the first of the signs that Jesus did” (v. 11), in Cana of Galilee. There is no amazing deed done before the crowd, or even a word to settle a heated political question like that of the subjection of the people to the power of Rome.  Instead, in a small village, a simple miracle takes place and brings joy to the wedding of a young and completely anonymous family.  At the same time, the water that became wine at the wedding banquet is a great sign, for it reveals to us the spousal face of God, a God who sits at table with us, who dreams and holds communion with us.  It tells us that the Lord does not keep his distance, but is near and real .  He is in our midst and he takes care of us, without making decisions in our place and without troubling himself with issues of power.  He prefers to let himself be contained in little things, unlike ourselves, who always want to possess something greater.  To be attracted by power, by grandeur, by appearances, is tragically human.  It is a great temptation that tries to insinuate itself everywhere.  But to give oneself to others, eliminating distances, dwelling in littleness and living the reality of one’s everyday life: this is exquisitely divine. God saves us, then by making himself little, near and real .  First God makes himself little .  The Lord, who is “meek and humble of heart” ( Mt 11:29), especially loves the little ones, to whom the kingdom of God is revealed ( Mt 11:25); they are great in his eyes and he looks to them (cf. Is 66:2).  He especially loves them because they are opposed to the “pride of life” that belongs to the world (cf. 1 Jn 2:16).  The little ones speak his own language, that of the humble love that brings freedom.  So he calls the simple and receptive to be his spokespersons; he entrusts to them the revelation of his name and the secrets of his heart.  Our minds turn to so many sons and daughters of your own people, like the martyrs made the defenseless power of the Gospel shine forth, like those ordinary yet remarkable people who bore witness to the Lord’s love amid great trials, and those meek and powerful heralds of mercy who were Saint John Paul II and Saint Faustina.  Through these “channels” of his love, the Lord has granted priceless gifts to the whole Church and to all mankind.  It is significant that this anniversary of the baptism of your people exactly coincides with the Jubilee of mercy. Then too, God is near , his kingdom is at hand (cf. Mk 1:15).  The Lord does not want to be feared like a powerful and aloof sovereign.  He does not want to remain on his throne in heaven or in history books, but loves to come down to our everyday affairs, to walk with us.  As we think of the gift of a millennium so filled with faith, we do well before all else to thank God for having walked with your people, having taken you by the hand and accompanied you in so many situations.  That is what we too, in the Church, are constantly called to do: to listen, to get involved and be neighbours, sharing in people’s joys and struggles, so that the Gospel can spread every more consistently and fruitfully: radiating goodness through the transparency of our lives. Finally, God is real .  Today’s readings make it clear that everything about God’s way of acting is real and concrete.  Divine wisdom “is like a master worker” and “plays” (cf. Prov 8:30).  The Word becomes flesh, is born of a mother, is born under the law (cf. Gal 4:4), has friends and goes to a party.  The eternal is communicated by spending time with people and in concrete situations.  Your own history, shaped by the Gospel, the Cross and fidelity to the Church, has seen the contagious power of a genuine faith, passed down from family to family, from fathers to sons and above all from mothers and grandmothers, whom we need so much to thank.  In particular, you have been able to touch with your hand the real and provident tenderness of the Mother of all, whom I have come here as a pilgrim to venerate and whom we have acclaimed in the Psalm as the “great pride of our nation” ( Jud 15:9). It is to Mary, then that we, who have gathered here, now look.  In her, we find complete conformity to the Lord.  Throughout history, interwoven with the divine thread, is also a “Marian thread”.  If there is any human glory, any merit of our own in the fullness of time, it is she.  Mary is that space, preserved free from sin, where God chose to mirror himself.  She is the stairway God took to descend and draw near to us.  She is the clearest sign of the fullness of time. In the life of Mary we admire that littleness that God loves, for he “looked upon the humility of his servant”, and “lifted up the lowly” ( Lk 1:48, 52).  He was so pleased with her that he let his flesh be woven from hers, so that the Virgin became the Mother of God, as an ancient hymn, sung for centuries, proclaims. To you who uninterruptedly come to her, converging upon this, the spiritual capital of the country, may she continue to point the way.  May she help you to weave in your own lives the humble and simple thread of the Gospel. At Cana, as here in Jasna Góra, Mary offers us her nearness and helps us to discover what we need to live life to the full.  Now as then, she does this with a mother’s love, by her presence and counsel, teaching us to avoid hasty decisions and grumbling in our communities.  As the Mother of a family, she wants to keep us together .  Through unity, the journey of your people has surmounted any number of harsh experiences.  May the Mother, who stood steadfast at the foot of the Cross and persevered in prayer with the disciples in awaiting the Holy Spirit, obtain for you the desire to leave behind all past wrongs and wounds, and to build fellowship with all, without ever yielding to the temptation to withdraw or to domineer. At Cana, Our Lady showed great realism .  She is a Mother who takes people’s problems to heart and acts.  She recognizes moments of difficulty and handles them discreetly, efficiently and decisively.  She is neither imperious nor intrusive, but a Mother and a handmaid.  Let us ask for the grace to imitate her sensitivity and her creativity in serving those in need, and to know how beautiful it is to spend our lives in the service of others, without favourites or distinctions.  May Mary, Cause of our Joy, who brings peace amid the profusion of sin and the turmoil of history, obtain for us the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and enable us to be good and faithful servants             Through her intercession, may the fullness of time come about also for us.  The transition from before to after Christ means little if it remains a date in the annals of history.  May each one of us be able to make an interior passage, a Passover of the heart, towards the divine “style” incarnated by Mary .  May we do everything in littleness, and accompany others at close hand, with a simple and open heart.     (from Vatican Radio)... 10 hours 37 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday morning made a brief visit to the Convent of the Sisters of the Presentation in Krakow, Poland. During the visit, the Holy Father met with the sisters of the convent, and some students from the school associated with the facility. While there, he signed the guest book with a message for the Sisters: “With gratitude for your generous service, I give you my blessing and encourage you in your educational apostolate.  Cultivate with love the seeds of goodness, beauty and truth that God sows in every new generation.” After his visit, he left for the airport, from where he traveled to Częstochowa by helicopter. (from Vatican Radio)... 11 hours 32 min
(Vatican Radio)  During his stay in Krakow the Holy Father will be residing at the Archbishop’s residence in the heart of the city.  This was the home of the Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla before his elevation to the See of Peter.  It was from the window of this residence that Pope John Paul II greeted his fellow countrymen on his many papal visits over the course of his pontificate and on Wednesday evening Pope Francis continued that tradition speaking to crowds of young people below. He told them he could see that they were here with great joy in their hearts. Then he said to them that he had some bad news to tell them. Let us be silent, the Pope said, as he spoke to them about a 22 year old WYD volunteer who died on the 2nd of July of cancer having been diagnosed in November of last year. This boy, the Holy Father said had worked very hard for this World Youth Day and had even booked to travel with him on a tram ride during this festival. The Holy Father noted the faith of this young man and told the youth below the volunteer was looking down on them.  Pope Francis went on to ask the young people to pray in their hearts, reiterating that the young man was with them and that this was a grace. Concluding his remarks, the Pope joked that the young pilgrims should do what young people do, make noise during these nights before adding, pray for me.     (from Vatican Radio)... 23 hours 39 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has arrived in Poland at the start of a five-day apostolic journey. It’s his 15th pastoral visit abroad and features many highlights including participation in the 31st World Youth Day taking place in Krakow, where he will lead a ‘Via Crucis’,celebrate the closing Mass and meet with some of the tens of thousands of young people from across the globe in various occasions. During his visit the Pope will also visit the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, he will celebrate Holy Mass at the nation's holiest shrine at Jasna Gora and he will pray at the Shrine of Divine Mercy. After landing in Krakow this afternoon Pope Francis addressed the country’s political leaders and urged them to welcome migrants fleeing from wars and hunger. Vatican Radio’s Lydia O’Kane is in Poland reporting on the Pope’s visit. She speaks about his first steps on Polish soil and about the reception he is receiving… Listen :    (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 2 hours
(Vatican Radio) During the first official event of his five day visit to Poland, Pope Francis urged the country’s political leaders to welcome migrants fleeing from wars and hunger, while at the same time protecting human life from conception until natural death. The Pope’s words came as he met with the nation’s president, prime minister and other political leaders in the courtyard of Krakow’s historic Wawel Castle complex. Noting that this visit marks his first to central-eastern Europe, the Pope spoke about the importance of history in establishing a national identity, based on human and spiritual resources. Recalling the recent 1.050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, he said the event marked a powerful moment of national unity, reaffirming harmony, “even amid a diversity of opinions”. Pope Francis said that while negative historical memories keep the heart and mind fixed on evil, goodPope memories can help a country move forward and forge better relations between peoples and nations. He noted especially the offering of mutual forgiveness between Polish and German Church leaders after the Second World War and the more recent rapprochement between the Catholic Church in Poland and the Russian Orthodox Church. Speaking of the challenges facing the country today, including the economy, environmental concerns and “the complex phenomenon of migration”, the Pope called for “a spirit of readiness to welcome those fleeing” conflicts or deprived of their basic rights. At the same time, he said, new forms of international cooperation must be developed in order to resolve the problems that force people to leave their native lands. Please find below the English translation of Pope Francis’s address to Polish authorities in Krakow’s Wawel Castle: Mr President, Honourable Authorities, Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps, University Rectors, Ladies and Gentlemen,             I offer a respectful greeting to His Excellency the President, and I thank him for his gracious welcome and kind words.  I am pleased to greet the distinguished members of Government and Parliament, the University Rectors, the regional and municipal Authorities, as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps and the other authorities present.  This is my first visit to central-eastern Europe and I am happy to begin with Poland, the homeland of the unforgettable Saint John Paul II, originator and promoter of the World Youth Days.  Pope John Paul liked to speak of a Europe that breathes with two lungs.  The ideal of a new European humanism is inspired by the creative and coordinated breathing of these two lungs, together with the shared civilization that has its deepest roots in Christianity.             Memory is the hallmark of the Polish people.  I was always impressed by Pope John Paul’s vivid sense of history.  Whenever he spoke about a people, he started from its history, in order to bring out its wealth of humanity and spirituality.  A consciousness of one’s own identity, free of any pretensions to superiority, is indispensable for establishing a national community on the foundation of its human, social, political, economic and religious heritage, and thus inspiring social life and culture in a spirit of constant fidelity to tradition and, at the same time, openness to renewal and the future.  In this sense, you recently celebrated the 1,050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland.  That was indeed a powerful moment of national unity, which reaffirmed that harmony, even amid a diversity of opinions, is the sure path to achieving the common good of the entire Polish people.             Similarly, fruitful cooperation in the international sphere and mutual esteem grow through awareness of, and respect for, one’s own identity and that of others.  Dialogue cannot exist unless each party starts out from its own identity.  In the daily life of each individual and society, though, there are two kinds of memory: good and bad, positive and negative.  Good memory is what the Bible shows us in the Magnificat, the canticle of Mary, who praises the Lord and his saving works.  Negative memory, on the other hand, keeps the mind and heart obsessively fixed on evil, especially the wrongs committed by others.  Looking at your recent history, I thank God that you have been able to let good memory have the upper hand, for example, by celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the forgiveness mutually offered and accepted between the Polish and German episcopates, following the Second World War.  That initiative, which initially involved the ecclesial communities, also sparked an irreversible social, political, cultural and religious process that changed the history of relationships between the two peoples.  Here too we can think of the Joint Declaration between the Catholic Church in Poland and the Orthodox Church of Moscow: an act that inaugurated a process of rapprochement and fraternity not only between the two Churches, but also between the two peoples.             The noble Polish nation has thus shown how one can nurture good memory while leaving the bad behind.  This requires a solid hope and trust in the One who guides the destinies of peoples, opens closed doors, turns problems into opportunities and creates new scenarios from situations that appeared hopeless.  This is evident from Poland’s own historical experience.  After the storms and dark times, your people, having regained its dignity, could say, like the Jews returning from Babylon, “We were like those who dream… our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy” (Ps 126:1-2).  An awareness of the progress made and joy at goals achieved, become in turn a source of strength and serenity for facing present challenges.  These call for the courage of truth and constant ethical commitment, to ensure that decisions and actions, as well as human relationships, will always be respectful of the dignity of the person.  In this, every sphere of action is involved, including the economy, environmental concerns and the handling of the complex phenomenon of migration.             This last area calls for great wisdom and compassion, in order to overcome fear and to achieve the greater good.  There is a need to seek out the reasons for emigration from Poland and to facilitate the return of all those wishing to repatriate.  Also needed is a spirit of readiness to welcome those fleeing from wars and hunger, and solidarity with those deprived of their fundamental rights, including the right to profess one’s faith in freedom and safety.  At the same time, new forms of exchange and cooperation need to be developed on the international level in order to resolve the conflicts and wars that force so many people to leave their homes and their native lands.  This means doing everything possible to alleviate the suffering while tirelessly working with wisdom and constancy for justice and peace, bearing witness in practice to human and Christian values.             In the light of its thousand-year history, I invite the Polish nation to look with hope to the future and the issues before it.  Such an approach will favour a climate of respect between all elements of society and constructive debate on differing positions.  It will also create the best conditions for civil, economic and even demographic growth, fostering the hope of providing a good life for coming generations.  The young should not simply have to deal with problems, but rather be able to enjoy the beauty of creation, the benefits we can provide and the hope we can offer.  Social policies in support of the family, the primary and fundamental cell of society, assisting underprivileged and poor families, and helping responsibly to welcome life, will thus prove even more effective.  Life must always be welcomed and protected.  These two things go together – welcome and protection, from conception to natural death.  All of us are called to respect life and care for it.  On the other hand, it is the responsibility of the State, the Church and society to accompany and concretely help all those who find themselves in serious difficulty, so that a child will never be seen as a burden but as a gift, and those who are most vulnerable and poor will not be abandoned. Mr President,             As throughout its long history, Poland can count on the cooperation of the Catholic Church, so that, in the light of the foundational Christian principles that forged Poland’s history and identity, the nation may, in changed historical conditions, move forward in fidelity to its finest traditions and with trust and hope, even in times of difficulty.             In expressing once again my gratitude, I offer heartfelt good wishes to you and all present, for a serene and fruitful service of the common good.             May Our Lady of Czestochowa bless and protect Poland! (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 4 hours
(Vatican Radio)  Referring to recent acts of violence including the killing of a priest in France, Pope Francis said on Wednesday that the world is at war but stressed “it is not a war of religions but for power. "There is one word I wish to say to clarify." "When I speak about "war" I'm speaking about a war for real, not a "war of religions." It is," he continued, “a war about (economic) interests, money, natural resources and the domination of peoples." All religions, he said, "desire peace. Other people want war." Right!" The Pope was speaking to journalists accompanying him on the plane from Rome to Krakow in Poland.   Pope Francis began his remarks by noting that the word which is being repeated very often now is “insecurity” but, he said, the real word is “war.”  The world is at war, a piecemeal war. There was the 1914 war with its methods, then the 1939-45 one and now this one.” “It is not very organic (structured) but it is organized, it is war.  This saintly priest, killed right at the moment when he was offering prayers for peace.  He is one (victim), but how many Christians, how many innocent people, how many children… Let’s think about Nigeria, for example.  We say, well, that is Africa!  It’s war.  We’re not frightened to tell the truth, the world is at war because it has lost (sight) of peace.” Speaking about the World Youth Day gathering in Poland, the Pope said “Young people always tell us to have hope.  We’re hoping that young people can tell us something that gives us a bit more hope at this time.”  Pope Francis expressed thanks for the condolences he received following the killing of the priest in France, “especially” those from France’s President Hollande, who he said had spoken to him on the phone “like a brother.”  (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 5 hours
(Vatican Radio) Volunteers are keeping busy as the 31st World Youth Day gets underway in Poland. Vatican Radio’s very own Lydia O’Kane is in Krakow, and shares with us her perspective of the atmosphere on the ground. Listen: It’s all hands on deck at the headquarters of the World Youth Day organising committee in the heart of  Krakow. Staff and volunteers have been working day and night to ensure that everything goes to plan and nothing is left to chance. As I look around this office space, apart from the computers, pens and reams of paper,  ready meals take up their positions on the desks in these rooms, as busy personnel grab a snack on the go. All the volunteers, who come from all over the world have a particular job to do. Watching two girls stare intensely at their computer screens, I am told they are working in the international relations department which includes dealing with episcopal conferences around the world. In another area of this building there is more work being done on registrations. As I look for my interviewee my attention turns to two young men gathering up a bundle of World Youth Day reading material, while another volunteer receives her instructions. So why have they come as volunteers? For many, they have been to a World Youth Day before, some to Madrid, others to Brazil, a number also to both, as pilgrims.  But the overwhelming reply I hear from the volunteers here is that they want to give back what they have themselves received at World Youth Day, and where better than the city of Krakow.   (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 12 hours
(Vatican Radio) French president Francois Hollande telephoned Pope Francis on Tuesday following the death of the elderly priest Fr. Jacques Hamel , 84, who was killed when two Islamic assailants entered his Church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray as he was celebrating Mass. Hollande said “that when a priest is attacked, all of France is wounded,” according to a statement . He assured the Pope that everything would be done to protect Churches and places of worship. Recalling Pope Francis’ efforts to defend Christians in the Middle East, Hollonde said that, amid “such painful and harsh” circumstances, he “hoped that the spirit of harmony would prevail over hatred.” (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 13 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has released a video message to the young people of the US Diocese of Brownsville. The Diocese of Brownsville lies on the Mexican border and is considered one of the most impoverished areas of the United States. The gathering of young people was organized to coincide with World Youth Day, which is taking place in Krakow, Poland and to mark the Feast of Saint Anne, the patron of the Parish where the event is taking place.   Pope Francis’s message to the young people of Diocese of Brownsville (Texas): Dear young people of the Diocese of Brownsville, gathered on the feast day of Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. I know that you are gathered in Texas, very close to Mexico, very close to Latin America. And I know that you are gathered to come together spiritually with World Youth  Day in Krakow. I want to be close to you. I want to tell you to always look forward, always look towards the horizon, don’t let life put walls in front of you, always look at the horizon. Always have courage to want more, more, more … with courage, but, at the same time, do not forget to look back to the heritage you have received from your ancestors, from your grandparents, from your parents; to the legacy of faith that you now have in your hands, as you look forward. I know that some of you will ask me: “Father, yes, you tell us to look at the horizon and to remember things, but today, what do I do?” Play life to the full! Today, take life as it comes and do good to others. In the world today, a game is being played out in which there is no room for substitutes: either you’re in the team or you’re out. Take the memories you’ve inherited, look towards the horizon and today, grasp life and carry it forward, use it productively, make it fruitful. God calls you to be fruitful! God calls you to transmit this life to others. God calls you to create hope. God calls you to receive mercy and show mercy to others. God calls you to be happy. Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid. Play life to the full! That is life. I wish you a good meeting of young people, united to World Youth Day, united with young people who are in Krakow. Live enthusiastically and go forward! May the Virgin Mary take great care of you and may Jesus bless you. And please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 14 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis begins a 5-day pastoral visit to Poland tomorrow during which he will attend the World Youth Day gathering in the city of Krakow and also visit the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz–Birkenhau.  Other highlights of his journey include a visit to the revered Monastery of Jasna Gora at Czestochowa where the Pope will celebrate a Mass marking the 1050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland. Our correspondent in Krakow covering this papal visit is Lydia O’Kane and she filed this report on the atmosphere in the city on the eve of the Pope’s arrival:     (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 5 hours
Paris, 26. Schock and horror at the “absurd violence”, radical condemnation for “every form of hatred” and prayer for the victims. These were the first sentiments expressed by Pope Francis – through the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi - at yet another episode of jihadist terror in Francis, barely two weeks from the attack in Nice of 14 July. Two men armed with knives broke into a church in Saint-Étienne-du Rouvray, near Rouen, during the celebration of Holy Mass and killed the parish priest after holding him hostage along with two sisters and three members of the faithful, one of whom was also stabbed and is in critical condition. The so-called Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack, confirming that it was carried out by two “soldiers” from the fundamentalist group. Upon learning the tragic news, Pope Francis – in a telegram to the Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, signed by his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin – wished to assure him of “his spiritual closeness” and that he joined in “prayer for the suffering of family members, of the pain of the parish and the diocese of Rouen”. In his message the Pontiff “invokes God, the merciful Father, that he welcome the Abott Jacque Hamel into the peace of his light and that he bring comfort to the wounded”. The Holy Father said he was “particularly shaken by this act of violence that took place in a church, during the celebration of Mass, a liturgical act that implores God for peace on this earth. He asks the Lord to inspire all to thoughts of reconciliation and brotherhood”.... 2 days 8 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is horrified and shocked by an attack in a church in Rouen, in northern France, where a priest was slain and another hostage was seriously wounded. A statement released by Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office said: “we are particularly shocked because this horrible violence took place in a Church, in which God’s love is announced, with the barbarous killing of a priest and the involvement of the faithful”. Fr Lombardi also said the Pope shares the pain and the horror caused by this absurd violence and expresses firm condemnation of every form of hatred and prays for the victims.  Two attackers entered the church of  Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass on Tuesday morning, taking the elderly priest and four other people hostage before being shot dead by French police. The investigation was handed to the anti-terrorist unit of the Paris prosecutor's office. In his statement Fr Lombardi commented on the fact that the terrible news is unfortunately the latest in a series of violent attacks in the past days which have created immense pain and preoccupation. Father Lombardi said the Pope is close to the Church in France, to the Archdiocese of Rouen, to the local community and to the French people. Listen to this report by Philippa Hitchen on reaction from the Vatican and from French church officials to the attack:       (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 8 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Live Catholic Headlines
Krakow, Poland, Jul 28, 2016 / 12:58 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- For young people who have given up on life, or who waste their existence seeking out "empty thrills," Pope Francis proposes an alternative: Look to Christ, for only he can bring lasting fulfillment. 4 hours 1 min
Czestochowa, Poland, Jul 28, 2016 / 05:44 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Those who embrace their own littleness become the "spokespersons" of God, Pope Francis said during Mass at the shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa, celebrating the 1050 anniversary of Poland becoming a Christian nation. It was the first major event of the Pope's trip to the country for the 31st World Youth Day. 11 hours 15 min
Krakow, Poland, Jul 28, 2016 / 04:00 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Pilgrims from across the globe travel to World Youth Day by plane, train and automobile. But not Victor Jacquemont, Antoine Lescuyer, and Humbert Canot. 12 hours 59 min
Krakow, Poland, Jul 28, 2016 / 03:28 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Married couples were the focus of Pope Francis' second "balcony talk" in Poland on Thursday, receiving from him three words he has often said are key to a successful marriage. 13 hours 31 min
Krakow, Poland, Jul 28, 2016 / 01:04 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Among the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims at World Youth Day are two brothers, recently reunited. 15 hours 55 min
Rome, Italy, Jul 27, 2016 / 12:44 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- As thousands of youth gather in Krakow this week for World Youth Day with Pope Francis, hundreds of undocumented immigrants in Texas who couldn't make it got a special message from the pontiff. 1 day 4 hours
Paris, France, Jul 27, 2016 / 12:08 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Sister Danielle, one of the religious who was held hostage by ISIS at a church in France, was able to escape in a moment of inattention by the terrorists and alert the police. 1 day 4 hours
Krakow, Poland, Jul 27, 2016 / 11:40 am (EWTN News/CNA).- After landing in Krakow on Wednesday, Pope Francis told Polish leaders to take a look at their history and use it as an inspiration to take the good and leave the bad behind, including when it comes to modern-day issues such as migration. 1 day 5 hours
Vatican City, Jul 27, 2016 / 10:07 am (EWTN News/CNA).- On the flight to Poland for World Youth Day, Pope Francis on Wednesday responded to recent violence across the globe by saying that the world is at war. 1 day 6 hours
Krakow, Poland, Jul 27, 2016 / 05:51 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- On his first night in Krakow Pope Francis was already stirring things up with participants in WYD by hosting an off-the-cuff Q and A and telling them to 'make chaos' by spreading the joy of their faith. 1 day 11 hours
Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 27, 2016 / 04:54 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The Democratic Party platform has drawn the ire of critics – including a member of Barack Obama's former campaign – who say its extreme positions on abortion shut out millions of pro-life voters.

1 day 12 hours
Krakow, Poland, Jul 27, 2016 / 04:49 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Located just southeast of Krakow, the Wieliczka salt mine is famous for many things – most notably its underground chapels, made entirely out of rock salt. 1 day 12 hours
Washington D.C., Jul 27, 2016 / 01:23 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine has reportedly changed his mind on a long-standing policy preventing government funding of most abortions, less than three weeks after affirming his support for the measure. 1 day 15 hours
Krakow, Poland, Jul 26, 2016 / 12:45 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz's welcome to World Youth Day pilgrims on Tuesday had a stirring reminder: it is up to them to ensure that the Gospel of Jesus Christ reaches the world. 2 days 4 hours
Krakow, Poland, Jul 26, 2016 / 12:04 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Many special moments are anticipated during Pope Francis' visit to Poland this week for World Youth Day, especially considering his visit to Auschwitz and his meeting with 10 Holocaust survivors. 2 days 4 hours
Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 26, 2016 / 11:01 am (EWTN News/CNA).- As Democratic Party leaders met to choose a presidential nominee and party platform, Philadelphia's Catholic basilica hosted an interreligious prayer service for the United States. 2 days 5 hours
Vatican City, Jul 26, 2016 / 08:27 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis has decried the "absurd violence" which has left an elderly priest dead after his church in northern France was taken hostage during Mass. 2 days 8 hours
Krakow, Poland, Jul 26, 2016 / 07:01 am (EWTN News/CNA).- As World Youth Day approaches, the Archbishop of Krakow recently spoke with EWTN Deutschland about the "city of saints" hosting the gathering, and about its most famous son – St. John Paul II. 2 days 9 hours
Washington D.C., Jul 26, 2016 / 05:36 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- After Senator Tim Kaine, a Catholic from Virginia, was named Hillary Clinton's running mate last week, several bishops spoke out on the sanctity of life – implicitly criticizing the nominee's pro-choice stance. 2 days 11 hours
Krakow, Poland, Jul 26, 2016 / 04:44 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- In response to the murder of Father Jacques Hamel by believed Islamic State sympathizers, the French bishops have designated Sunday, July 31, as a Day of Fasting. 2 days 12 hours
Washington D.C., Jul 26, 2016 / 04:04 am (EWTN News/CNA).- When Maggie was in high school, she stayed after class to talk to ask a teacher what to do about a very personal concern she felt her physician was not taking seriously. What she learned led to the discovery of a brain tumor, and treatment for the growth which had been affecting the teen for years. The tools she needed to find and treat this growth came from an awareness of her fertility and natural cycles. 2 days 12 hours
Vatican City, Jul 26, 2016 / 03:59 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Before taking off for WYD in Krakow, Pope Francis will pray at the tomb of St. John Paul II alongside children who have cancer, and will bring their prayers to Poland in order to ask the nation's saint for healing. 2 days 13 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Reliable world news and analysis from a Catholic perspective.

French religious leaders have asked the government for increased security help in the wake of the murder of Father Jacques Hamel.

9 hours 29 min

Pope Francis made unannounced visits to pray with the sick both before and after traveling to Krakow on July 27.

9 hours 33 min

The Catholic bishops of Poland will not alter the Church's consistent teaching that Catholics who are divorced and remarried cannot receive the Eucharist, the president of the country's episcopal conference has said.

9 hours 50 min

In a question-and-answer session with young people in Poland on July 27, Pope Francis decried gossip as a form of terrorism.

9 hours 56 min

Celebrating Mass for the repose of the soul of Father Jacques Hamel, an Australian archbishop said that the French priest was killed "in odium fidei-- that is, in hatred of the faith."

10 hours 26 sec

Pope Francis frightened a congregation at the Marian shrine of Czestochowa on July 28 when he stumbled and fell headlong during the entrance procession before Mass.

11 hours 47 min

Upholding a lower court decision, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has ruled that the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society overstepped its bounds in denying accreditation to graduates of Trinity Western University, an evangelical school whose students are required to pledge to avoid sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

14 hours 15 min

Commemorating the 1050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Jasna Góra Monastery in Czestochowa on July 28 and reflected on the manner in which the Incarnation of the Son of God took place.

14 hours 31 min

A Catholic parish priest in Belfast has been named an “ecumenical canon” of the city’s Anglican cathedral.

17 hours 54 min

The bishops of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have issued a statement calling for respect for the constitution, respect for human rights, and a national dialogue in order to “avoid chaos.”

18 hours 12 min

The Sistine Chapel Choir is a winner of the 2016 Echo Klassik Prize, Germany’s highest classical music award.

18 hours 39 min

The head of the Syriac Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, said that the Iraqi members of his flock who fled the advance of ISIS two years ago “have no hope of returning home, either to Mosul or to the nearby Plain of Nineveh.”

19 hours 1 min

On the evening of July 27, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois celebrated Mass in Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris for the victims of the previous day’s attack at the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.

19 hours 33 min

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, has reversed his position on a major piece of pro-life legislation.

1 day 5 hours

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has reported that Cardinal George Pell is under investigation for sexual abuse-- a charge that the cardinal has angrily denied.

1 day 5 hours

Following his usual practice, Pope Francis visited the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major before embarking on his trip to Poland on July 27.

1 day 5 hours

A Vatican official has announced that statements on clerical abuse issued by former Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana, Guam, are not accurate indications of Church policy.

1 day 5 hours

The Catholic bishops of France have designated Friday, July 29, as a day of fasting and prayer in response to the murder of Father Jacques Hamel by Islamic terrorists.

1 day 5 hours

Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, has argued that American Catholics must not support the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, saying that the policy-- proposed by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump-- would be morally unjustifiable.

1 day 5 hours

The head of Egypt's Al Azhar University, regarded as the world's leading institution of Sunni Islam, has condemned the brutal killing of a French priest.

1 day 5 hours

One of the Islamic zealots who killed Father Jacques Hamel was under police surveillance, and had been wearing an electronic bracelet to monitor his movements.

1 day 6 hours

Pope Francis arrived in Krakow on July 27, and in his first public remarks he issued a challenge to Polish leaders on the subject of immigration.

1 day 6 hours

"The world is at war," Pope Francis told reporters accompanying him on his July 27 flight to Krakow. But, he added, "I do not speak of a religious war."

1 day 10 hours

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who served as St. John Paul II’s personal secretary for decades, was the principal celebrant at the World Youth Day opening Mass, which took place at Blonia Park in Krakow on the evening of July 26.

1 day 14 hours

Africa’s bishops gathered in Luanda, Angola, from July 18 to 25 and issued a message pledging to “protect and defend” the family “against all that could destroy its integrity.”

1 day 15 hours

Pope Francis has appeared in a video message to the youth of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, who had gathered at St. Anne Parish in Peñitas.

1 day 15 hours

In a July 26 talk to business leaders, Barbados’s bishop called for the adoption of a code of conduct to end the practice of vote buying in the Caribbean nation.

1 day 15 hours

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s reversal of the 2012 conviction of Msgr. William Lynn, a former Philadelphia archdiocesan chancery official.

1 day 16 hours

Serbia’s foreign minister, Ivica Dacic, has lodged a formal diplomatic protest following a Croatian court’s decision to annul the conviction of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, the Croatian cardinal who was convicted of treason in a show trial under Communist rule in 1946.

1 day 16 hours

A Japanese man killed 19 patients and injured 25 others at a center for the disabled outside Tokyo on July 16.

2 days 9 hours

A Texas court has dismissed all criminal charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the pro-life activists whose undercover videos exposed Planned Parenthood's involvement in the sale of fetal tissues. 

2 days 9 hours

A parish in Bowling Green, Missouri, was vandalized with human feces on the night of July 23.

2 days 12 hours

Two men with knives entered a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France, during Mass and took a priest and several worshippers hostage, according to media reports.

2 days 15 hours

The Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) has signed a working agreement with the Bank of Italy to increase cooperation in efforts to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorist organizations.

2 days 15 hours

The Philippine bishops have begun a “thou shalt not kill” campaign to counter extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals, the Philippine Star reported.

2 days 17 hours

Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has traveled to war-torn South Sudan as Pope Francis’s special envoy to foster peace.

2 days 17 hours

At a recent White House reception to mark the end of Ramadan, President Barack Obama paid tribute to Muslim values.

2 days 18 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Tristate Catholic news and features, daily
Races in August.

Races in August.

Get fit – and give alms! Some upcoming 5K races benefiting Catholic causes. 

If you don’t see your race here, send the particulars to us at


Aug. 6, Blue Jay 5K and Kids Fun Run at St. Joseph Church (Cold Spring, KY). Chip-timed 5K for teens and adults; kids run free. Part of the two-day St. Jospeh Parish Festival. For information, click here.


Aug. 6, Building Bridges Blazin’ Hot 5K at the University of Dayton, 10:30 am (Kids Half-Mile Fun Run: 10 am). Co-sponsored by the UD Law School Student Bar Association. On-site registration begins at 9 am; light breakfast follows race. For information or to register click here.


Aug. 11, Covington Catholic High School Alumni Cross County 5K Race at Devou Park (Covington), 7 pm. All alumi and friends of the CCH Cross Country program are welcome at this free 5K that begins and ends near the Drees Pavilion. For information email Coach Tom Arnold at


Aug. 12, Germanfest Picnic 5K and 10K at Carillon Park (Dayton, OH). Evening races part of one of the area’s largest German festivals. On-site parking $2 in addition to race fee; no entry fee for festival. For information click here.


Aug. 13, 34th Annual Newtown 5K Run/Walk at Moundview Park (Newtown, OH), 8:30 am. Organized by St. John Fisher Church and the Newtown Civic League. Corporate challenge for teams; free kids fun run; canned goods drive for Inter Parish Minisries. For information or to register click here.


Aug. 13: Viva la Vida, Lucas Pfander Memorial Alumni Race at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School (Dayton). Course: CJ campus, 2-mile walk and one-mile run. Cause: Lucas Pfander Scholarship, annual scholarship for a CJ rising senior. Can’t be there?  Download a Virtual Race bib and walk or run for Lucas wherever you are! To register for on-site or virual race, click here.


Aug. 18, Annual Hyde5 at St. Mary’s Church (Hyde Park/Cincinnati), 6:30 pm. Evening 5K begins and ends in front of St. Mary Church. One-mile kids’ run (ages 6-13) at 6:10 pm.  Kicks off the annual St. Mary Festival events; followed by Finish Line Party with food and music. For information or to register click here.


Aug. 19, Run with the STAGS 5K Walk and Student Mile at St. Albert the Great  School (Kettering, OH), 7 pm. Benefits students with special needs and health programs at St. Albert the Great. A challenging, scenic course in the neighborhood behind St. Albert; mile race begins at 7 pm, 5K at 7:30. Refreshments, post-race party, prizes. For information or to register click here.


Aug. 20,  Back To School St. Henry District High School 5K Run/Walk at SHDHS! (Erlanger, KY), 9 am. Kids Fun Run 10:15; free cookout following race; bounce house; Kona Ice truck; more. Ee” $20 ($25 race day), $10 Kids Fun Run ($15 race day). Donate a portion of your race registration to one of the scholarships at SHDHS! For information or to register, click here.


Aug. 20, 11th Annual St. Chris 5K Run for the Youth, St. Christopher Church (Vandalia, OH), 8:30 am. All ages. Benefits youth mission trips. Flat, certified course; individual and team medals; door prizes; more. For information or to register, click here.


Aug. 20, Marc Bohlke Memorial Run/Walk at Summit Country Day School, 8 am. Course: begins and ends at Summit Country Day; proceeds through scenic O’Bryonville and Hyde Park. Benefits scholarship fund. For information or to register click here.


Looking ahead to Labor Day Weekend:


Sept. 3, Fryberg Homecoming 5K at  St. John Church (Fryberg, OH), 7 am. Starts at St. John  Church and leads into Glacier Hills Campground. Chip timed, all ages welcome, cash prizes. Part of the the St. John Homecoming festival. For information or to register click here.


Sept. 5, 38th Annual Mercy Metric 5K and 10K at Lunken Playfield (Cincinnati). Benefits Mercy Montessori after-school sports programs. Chip timed. For information click here.

For more Catholic events, see our
Events page.

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16 hours 48 min

Tom McKiernan (second from right) received the Notre Dame Club of Cincinnati’s annual Exemplar Award at the Club’s annual Family Mass and Brunch in January.

A short trip back in time this week for Throwback Thursday: More than 150 people gahered at St. Xavier High School (Cincinnati) in January for the Notre Dame Club of Cincinnati’s annual Family Mass and Brunch. Bishop Joe Binzer celebrated Mass for the group, which presented Tom McKiernan with its annual Exemplar Award for almost 40 years of service to Seton High School as a teacher and principal and, since his retirement, service to the Holy Land with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. Mr. McKiernan has made more than 20 trips to the Middle East and more than 30 to Rome to report on the Order’s projects in the Holy Land, which include schools, churches and humanitarian aid.

Photo courtesy the Notre Dame Club of Cincinnati.

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16 hours 53 min
Easy to make exactly as you like it, sangria makes a refreshing drink for a summer wedding or party - or evening at home.

Easy to make exactly as you like it, sangria makes a refreshing drink for a summer wedding or party – or evening at home.

The tradition of toasting wine at weddings and other special occasions has Biblical roots! Think about the wedding celebration at Cana, where Christ performed his first public miracle. (John 2:1-10).

Today you don’t have to grow your own grapes, like folks of Bible days did. But you can certainly enjoy wine much like they did in Christ’s time: in its natural state or in this wonderful summer beverage.

  • 1 bottle Chablis or other kind of LESS DRY wine (I like Rose)
  • 1/2 cup ea or more to taste: tequila and orange liqueur
  • 32 oz bottle Ocean Spray white cranberry peach juice
  • 1 can Sprite
  • Fresh fruit: slice peach, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry (whatever!)

Mix wine, liqueurs and juice together. Chill.

Stir in Sprite right before serving.

Place fruit in bottom of stemmed glass. Add ice. Pour Sangria over.

Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Nader Heikenfeld writes a weekly syndicated column and blog for the Community Press, appears every Thursday on the Son Rise Morning Show, and is the author of several cookbooks. An adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, she is Certified Culinary Professional and Certified Modern Herbalist,  the Culinary Professional for Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, and a media personality with a cable show and YouTube videos. In 2014 she was inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame. She lives “in the sticks” outside Batavia, Ohio with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs. You’ll find all her previous recipes featured on The Catholic Beat here.

Rita’s Bible Foods segment airs on the Son Rise Morning Show every Thursday morning at 7:22 am (rebroadcast Friday at 6:02 am). Tune in to hear her discuss the history behind each recipe and the scripture verses that inspired it. And of course, for cooking tips!

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16 hours 54 min
The Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra (shown here at a 2015 summer concert) will present an evening of movie music next Tuesday at Seton Concert Hall. Photo courtesy the CMO.

The Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra (shown here at a 2015 summer concert) will present an evening of Broadway music next Tuesday at Seton Concert Hall. Photo courtesy the CMO.

July 27-30, UD2ND Ride for Life. Annual bicycle ride from the University of Dayton to Notre Dame, sponsored by Dayton Right to Life. For information see

July 27, Mass and Healing Service at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center (Norwood, OH), 7 pm.  Rosary at 6:45. For information see

July 27, Archdiocese of Cincinnati Annual Rural Urban Mass at the Vian farm in Celina (OH), 7 pm. Sponsored by Catholic Rural Life of St. Marys and Sidney Deaneries. Bishop Joe Binzer will celebrate with priests of the Deanery; reception to follow sponsored by Immaculate Conception and St. Teresa parishes;  Catholic Century Farm Families will be recognized. For information contact or 937.224.3026 x 5018.

July 29-31, “Finding Joy After Grief” Retreat at  the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Milford OH). Eight ways to reclaim your joy following any loss of a loved one. Fee: $235 (two nights and all meals). To register, call (513) 248-3500 ext. 10, or reserve online at

July 30, Life’s 5th Quarter Pro-Life Mass and Rosary Procession to Planned Parenthood at Holy Name Church (Mt.Auburn/Cincinnati), 8 am. Can you give two hours for the unborn? Fr. Andre-Joseph LaCasse, OP, will celebrate Mass at this event specially geared to youth. College, high school, grade school, and homeschooled youuth and their families invited to witness and pray for our most vulnerable citizens. For information see the organization’s Facebook page.

July 30, Annual Patriot 5K at Carroll High School (Dayton, OH), 9 am. New for 2016: Little Pat’s Lap (8:40 am). Course begins and ends at Carroll HS; Little Pat’s Lap held at the high school track race. Race-day registration begins at 8 am. For information click here.

July 31, 6th Annual Walk of Angels at Spring Grove Cemetery (Spring Grove Village, OH), 8 am. Fundraiser in memory of three members of the Corpus Christi Blaze soccer team who died in two car accidents. Funds go toe Driving Angels driver ed program and Walk of Angels Soccer Scholarship for players. Registration begins at 7:15 am; opening ceremonies at 8 am. To register or for information click here.

July 31, Catholic Ministry Appeal Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Remy Church (Russia, OH), 11 am. Bishop Binzer will celebrate this Mass for all who gave to this year’s Archdiocese of Cincinnati CMA collection; all welcome.

Aug. 2, Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra at Seton Concert Hall (Price Hill/Cincinnati), 7:30 pm. Part of the CMO’s “New York New York – Spotlight on Broadway” 2016 Summer Series, the concert will highlight 70 years of musical theater, from Oklahoma to Disney movie-turned musical Frozen; also featured will be a musical salute to the “Big Apple” and a rousing patriotic finale. No fee. The CMO is led by the West Side’s “Music Man,  longtime St. William and Elder High School music director Dave Allen. Made up of local musicians, the CMO has performed in Central Park in New York City, and other venues around the region and aroundthe country. For information see

Aug. 6, Blue Jay 5K and Kids Fun Run at St. Joseph Church (Cold Spring, KY). Chip-timed 5K for teens and adults; kids run free. Part of the two-day St. Joseph Parish Festival. For information, click here.

Aug. 6, Building Bridges Blazin’ Hot 5K at the University of Dayton, 10:30 am (Kids Half-Mile Fun Run: 10 am). Co-sponsored by the UD Law School Student Bar Association. On-site registration begins at 9 am; light breakfast follows race. For information or to register click here.

August 6, “The Awakening” Youth Rally at the Transfiguration Center for Spiritual Renewal (West Milton/Ludlow Falls, OH). Keynote speaker, dinner, outdoor mass, Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a concert by Nashville group His Own, and fellowship — an exciting, fun-filled, deeply Catholic experience for teens. For youth grades 7-12; tickets $20. Sponsored by Transfiguration parish; for information see

August 7, Holy Hour for Vocations to the Priesthood at The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West (Mt. Washington/CIncinnati), 5 pm. Pray for vocations in the seminary’s beautiful Chapel of St. Gregory the Great. All welcome. What can YOU do to promote the priesthood? Pray! For information call 513.231.2223 or see

For more Catholic events, see our Events page.

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Expanding government support for Planned Parenthood is part of the new Democratic Party platform. CEO Cecile Richards -- shown here speaking at the party's convention in 2012 -- spoke last night and the company's executive vice president addressed Ohio delegates yesterday morning.

Expanding government support for Planned Parenthood is part of the new Democratic Party platform. CEO Cecile Richards — shown here speaking at the party’s convention in 2012 — spoke last night and the company’s executive vice president addressed Ohio delegates yesterday morning.

Telling Ohio delegates to the Democratic National Convention that “everything, everything, everything is on the line,”  Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said that the Supreme Court, not the Presidency, is the world’s largest abortion business’s main concern – and should be theirs as well.

“We know that whoever is president, we know has one seat to appoint and likely could end up with as many as three,” she said at a breakfast address to Buckeyes, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “And that is going to shape the court not just for one presidential term, but for 40 years. That is really where our focus is.

“The election is important, but the court is forever.”

On Monday night, the Democrats voted numerous changes to the party platform that included the most radical pro-abortion language and goals ever held by a mainstream American political party.

In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times this week, Democrats for Life Executive Director Kristen Day and Fordham University professor Charles Camosy said that the platform all but explicitly expels pro-life voters from the party:

  • It calls for repeal of all “federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion.” Support for abortion rights in this platform is deemed “unequivocal.”

  • The platform asserts that “reproductive health” — which includes access to “safe and legal abortion” — is “core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing.”

  • A commitment to religious liberty in the context of abortion, which was included in the 2012 platform, has been removed.

Moreover, they said, the platform calls for the repeal of the Hyde and Helms amendments preventing taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions.

“U.S. abortion law (which permits abortion for any reason until viability, about 22 to 23 weeks) already makes many progressive countries in Europe (which set their threshold for abortion at 12 to 13 weeks) look like pro-life radicals,” they wrote. “This would force those who object to abortion to contribute to what we believe would be government-funded killing, and it would eradicate policies that have already saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”

While abortion is only one issue upon which the Democrats have taken a sharp turn Left, it is one that would mean the death of thousands more Ohioans, and tens or hundreds of thousands more Americans. And because of Ohio’s importance in the election, all those lives will depend largely on what Ohio voters do this November.

Paula Westwood, Executive Director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, agrees with Planned Parenthood’s Laguens that the next president’s Supreme Court picks will be vital — but for a very different reason.

“The Supreme Court has become Supreme Dictator, with justices overstepping the balance of power and inserting themselves in areas they never should, often against state’s rights – such as in the recent ruling against the Texas abortion health and safety law,” she said. “Judicial officials are needed at every level who can and will appropriately interpret the Constitution, not rule by personal agenda.

“But both Republicans and Democrats know the increased concern with Supreme Court justice nominees due to the length of their tenure, and thus both parties claim expected Court vacancies as a linchpin for their candidate.”

Image source: television screen shot.

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New garden paths at Our Lady of the Holy Spirt Center (Norwood) allow visitors and retreatants to enjoy the grounds.

New garden paths at Our Lady of the Holy Spirt Center (Norwood) allow visitors and retreatants to enjoy the grounds.

Once a seminary and the Archbishop of Cincinnati’s residence, Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center (Norwood, OH) is now a retreat center and headquarters for several Catholic apostolates and programs and is home to the studios of Sacred Heart Radio, a library, a book and gift store, and more. The historic buildings and grounds are slowly being restored; this spring new paths and plantings added to the courtyards greeted visitors to the Center’s many programs and events.

Photo courtesy Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center.

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Luke Spencer,

FCC’s Luke Spencer is well-known to Cincinnati soccer fans from his high school career at Winton Woods and his standout seasons at  XU. Photo courtesy Xavier University.

The following piece ran as an alumni spotlight on Xavier University’s website. For more about Spencer’s career at XU and after, see the link at the end of the story.

Luke Spencer’s time playing professional soccer for the New England Revolution was cut short by an ACL injury. But after taking some time off to recover, the former Xavier star is back on the field—this time for local pro team FC Cincinnati.

How does it feel playing professional soccer in your home city?

“It’s been a blast. I’m around a lot of high-level players and coaches, which is what you want. I’m learning a lot and enjoying it. What I missed most when not playing was the environment—what goes on in the locker room, on the bus, at hotels on away games. You build so many relationships from the start of the season.

“It’s a big benefit that [FC Cincinnati] is at home. There’s more motivation and encouragement if you’re playing in front of people you know and who support you. I get to see my family once or twice a week.”

What’s a typical day like for you?

“I start the day with breakfast. Then, I come into the locker room and prepare for practice, whether with heating, stretching or rolling out. After that, I go straight into practice. Some practices are longer than others. Afterwards, I ice or deal with whatever is sore. Then I have lunch, run some errands or relax until I coach in the afternoons and evenings. I coach CUP (Cincinnati United Premiere). Four or five other players on the team also coach. I do it mainly because I have Cincinnati connections, and I’m involved with a lot clubs.

“But it’s full-time playing soccer. The key is staying healthy, especially for someone like me who has gone through the surgeries I have. I spend the most time prepping before practice and recovering after practice.”

In what ways do you keep in touch with your Musketeer family?

“I keep in regular contact with Coach Andy Fleming. He’s seen the progress of my dreams. It’s so easy to doubt yourself. You hear people say, ‘Oh, only 1 percent can do [professional soccer]’. Xavier hadn’t had that history because it’s so small. But I hope that I’m able to motivate and inspire more players, especially from Xavier, to play at the next level, despite setbacks. Look at [former players who went professional] Nick Hagglund and Matt Walker. I want to see this process happen more and more at Xavier.”

What are your goals for the future?

“My goals have changed. I used to have a long outlook, but now I try to take it day by day. I never imagined I would be here, but the daily process led me here, and I hope that continues.”

Luke Spencer, who played soccer at Winton Woods High School and XU, was the first XU player to be drafted by a Major League Soccer team — but a torn ACL almost ended his career. Read Hannah Barker’s piece for XU about the FC Cincinnati forward here.

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Burwinkel Farms  (Ross, OH), donated 8000 ears of corn to St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati's food pantry this month.

Burwinkel Farms (Ross, OH), donated 8000 ears of corn to St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati’s food pantry this month.


“Wow! Burwinkel Farms brought a lot of joy to a lot of people when they donated nearly 8,000 ears of corn!” a spokesperson for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati wrote. “From the Liz Carter Outreach Center, the wealth was spread to many pantries throughout Cincinnati.” The Society, one of the world’s largest charities, operates through parish chapters, each of which helps families in their neighborhoods. Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky chapters operate charitable thrift stores, pharmacies, and food pantries; hold food, fan, and coat drives; provide aid with emergency expenses and material needs; and more.

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NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Insightful and in depth analysis of issues important to Catholics.

Over the last several years, the effort to make the administration of Vatican funds more transparent—and the administrators more accountable—has reached center stage in the ongoing process of curial reform. Economic and financial reform have become increasingly important with rising concerns about money laundering, particularly in support of terrorism. In addition, it has become clearer to those inside the Vatican that, in some cases, curial congregations had become economic fiefdoms with insufficient consistency in accounting and financial management.

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NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Latest News Releases from USCCB

 WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) expressed prayers and support after the latest terrorist attack on a Catholic parish in Normandy, France, that left a priest dead and another person seriously injured.

According to reports, the attack took place while Father Jacques Hamel was celebrating Mass, he and five other people were taken hostages inside the church.  

Full statement follows.

Attack on Our Catholic Church in Normandy

A Statement from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Catholic faithful around the world experienced the shock and sadness of this morning's barbaric attack on Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in France, as if the loss was in our very own parish. We pray for Father Hamel and his parishioners knowing, as St. Paul stated regarding the Body of Christ, "if one suffers, all the parts suffer with it." (1 Cor 12:26)

The Holy Mass is the most sacred and joyful act we, as Catholics, celebrate. Never are we closer to our Lord Jesus Christ than we are when we receive the Eucharist. No act of desecration – no matter how vile – can obscure the merciful presence of God.

Jesus calls us to be sisters and brothers, to strive to care for one another, and always to reject the evil that seeks to divide us. We give thanks to God for the unforgettable witness of the faithful this morning at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, tragedy, attacks, violence, France, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, terrorism

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Norma Montenegro Flynn
O: 202-541-3202

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