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Bishops ‘cannot, in good faith, endorse’ new GOP immigration bill

Catholic Telegraph - 06/19/2018 - 8:23pm


WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. bishops “cannot, in good faith, endorse” an immigration bill submitted by the House’s Republican leadership, said Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration.

Bishop Vasquez said the bill would bring about “large structural changes to the immigration system that detrimentally impact families and the vulnerable.” He said the new bill, still without a name or number, “contains several provisions that run contrary to our Catholic social teaching.”

He made the comments in a letter dated June 18 and sent to each member of the House. It was posted June 19 on the U.S. bishops’ website

Bishop Vasquez said this unnamed bill would “undermine asylum protections by significantly raising the hurdle applicants face during the ‘credible fear’ review, lead to increases in child and family detention ‘ eliminate protection for unaccompanied minors through the proposed changes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, includes part of the DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals)-eligible population but does not include same population eligible in the USA Act and the DREAM Act, make sweeping cuts to family-based immigration and unilaterally implement a safe third country agreement without a bilateral or multilateral treaty or agreement.”

Nor would the bill “end the practice of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, he added. “Instead, this bill would increase the number of children and families in detention, which is not acceptable.” Bishop Vasquez reminded House members the Trump administration can end its family separation policy, without the need for legislation, at its own discretion.

Bishop Vasquez added, “We believe that any such legislation must be bipartisan, provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship, be pro-family, protect the vulnerable and be respectful of human dignity with regard to border security and enforcement.”

The Uniting and Securing America Act (USA) Act, which he referenced in the letter, would protect Dreamers and strengthens border security. The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which he also mentioned, primarily would offer a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other Dreamers.

In the letter, Bishop Vasquez reminded House members the Trump administration can end its family separation policy without the need for legislation through its own discretion, and that an immigration bill could secure the U.S. border and ensure humane treatment to immigrant families through alternative policies.

Given the newness of the bill, “we ask for timely consideration of our concerns,” Bishop Vasquez said, “particularly the cuts to family-based immigration, as well as the harmful changes to the asylum system and existing protections for unaccompanied children. Without such changes to these measures, we would be compelled to oppose it.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, has pledged to bring both the new bill and H.R. 4760, the Securing America’s Future Act, to the House floor for votes. Bishop Vasquez, in January, wrote to the House opposing H.R. 4760. In the June 18 letter, he said, “we respectfully urge you to reject” it.

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Editor’s Note: The full text of the letter can be found at

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Iraqi iconographer honors his Syriac roots

Catholic Telegraph - 06/19/2018 - 4:45pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy of Mothana Butres

By Doreen Abi Raad

BEIRUT (CNS) — When Islamic State fighters overran Qaraqosh, Iraq, in the summer of 2014, Mothana Butres was able to grab only a single volume from his father’s collection of thousands of Syriac books and manuscripts.

The handwritten, 600-year-old book of Syriac hymns now inspires much of Butres’ work as an iconographer.

From a modest walk-up apartment in Zahle, Lebanon, a city not far from the Syrian border, the Syriac Catholic iconographer and refugee creates his sacred art in a sparsely furnished living room. As he works, he sings the hymns he has committed to memory from the sole book he managed to save.

Butres is the creator of the Our Lady of Aradin icon, a centerpiece of the first Catholic shrine dedicated to persecuted Christians. The shrine is housed in St. Michael’s Church in New York City and was dedicated June 12.

“The inspiration when I was working on Our Lady of Aradin was that it was the Virgin Mary who was protecting the Christians,” Butres told Catholic News Service.

He chose to present Mary in the traditional wedding dress of the Aradin area of Iraq “to represent that the Virgin Mary will always be a part of the Christians in Iraq and that she is the protector of Christians in Iraq and all the Middle East,” Butres said.

He said that when faced with an ultimatum by Islamic State fighters, Iraq’s Christians gave up their land but refused to give up their faith.

“The people who were persecuted, their blood is a stronger message than anything I could ever convey,” he said. But the recent persecution and the oppression suffered by his ancestors led him “to the way I think and the way I do my work.”

Butres said he believes his icons can be an instrument for intercessory prayer. The prayers of the people who visit the shrine in New York and pray before the icon of Our Lady of Aradin are joined with those of the persecuted Christians. 

“Based on what Jesus told us, that ‘if two people are gathered in my name, I will be among them,'” he said.

The Syriac book Butres treasures from his father’s library collection also awakened him to the lost practice of writing books by hand, especially in the Syriac language, which is spoken by Christians in certain areas of Syria and Iraq, including Qaraqosh. Syriac also is used in the liturgy of some Eastern churches, including the Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox and Maronite Catholic churches. The language is related to Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

“I’m trying to revive the value of the handwritten texts. Books used to be handwritten,” Butres said.

As part of an ongoing personal project, Butres intends to write out the entire Bible in Syriac on a long scroll of leather just over a foot wide. In three months of work, the tiny, intricate text he has etched extends 16 feet in length and comprises the first five chapters of the Old Testament.

“I believe that in writing out the Bible, we can discover it in a new, deeper perspective, more than just reading it,” he said.

In his icons, Butres often incorporates streams of handwritten text related to the image, which contributes to preserving the Syriac language, heritage and spirituality. The icon of Our Lady of Aradin, for example, includes the Hail Mary in Syriac.

Butres’ introduction to iconography began at age 12; a deacon at his church in Qaraqosh taught him the ancient art as well as formulas for producing colors and varnishes from natural products, for example, using eggs and wine for shades of red, using beeswax for varnish and using deer musk to give the icon a scent.

Prayer and religious formation were part of Butres’ daily life growing up in a Syriac Catholic family as one of 16 children. 

“We were very close to the church,” said. “Every day at dusk, we went to the church to pray,” he recalled, adding that for “anyone who didn’t participate, there was no dinner.” The same went for missing Sunday Mass: no lunch and dinner.

That pious upbringing fostered vocations, he said. One of Butres’ sisters became a Dominican nun. His brother, Nimatullah, is a priest serving the Syriac Catholic Diocese of Our Lady of Deliverance, which is based in Bayonne, New Jersey. Father Butres attended the dedication ceremony for the Our Lady of Aradin shrine in New York.

The artistic Butres became a deacon at age 20 and studied theology at Holy Spirit University in Lebanon, earning a bachelor’s degree.

Butres intended to complete his master’s degree in theology, carrying out his research in Qaraqosh, but had to abandon all he had accomplished there when Islamic State attacked his childhood home.

That home, overtaken, gutted and ruined by Islamic State, is under repair now. From Lebanon, Butres created the Our Lady of Qaraqosh icon as a gift for his family, intending it as “a protector of the house where she was always present.”

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Copyright © 2018 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

Steubenville project seeks to revitalize town, connect residents and students

EWTN Latest Catholic News - 06/19/2018 - 1:55pm
Steubenville, Ohio, Jun 19, 2018 / 12:55 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- A new monthly event in Steubenville, Ohio, is hoping to revitalize businesses and build community between residents and Franciscan University students.

Synod working document: Young Catholics need church that listens to them

Catholic Telegraph - 06/19/2018 - 1:43pm

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Young Catholics are looking for a church that listens to their concerns, accompanies them in discerning their vocations and helps them confront the challenges they face, said a working document for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on young people.

The synod’s “instrumentum laboris” (working document), published by the Vatican June 19, stated that young people “want to see a church that shares their situations of life in the light of Gospel rather than by preaching.”

Quoting a presynod gathering of young people who met at the Vatican March 19-25, the working document said young Catholics “want an authentic church. With this, we would like to express, particularly to the church hierarchy, our request for a transparent, welcoming, honest, attractive, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community.”

The working document is based mainly on comments solicited in a questionnaire last June from national bishops’ conferences around the world as well as the final document of the presynod gathering.

An estimated 305 young adults participated in the weeklong presynod meeting, which allowed practicing Catholics and others to provide input for Pope Francis and the world’s bishops, who will meet at the synod in October to discuss “young people, faith and vocational discernment.” Some 15,000 young people also participated in the presynod process through Facebook groups online.

The meeting, the working document said, “highlighted the potential that younger generations represent” as well as their “hopes and desires.”

“Young people are great seekers of meaning, and everything that is in harmony with their search to give value to their lives arouses their attention and motivates their commitment,” it said.

Presenting the “instrumentum laboris” to journalists at a press briefing June 19, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary-general of the synod, said the synod’s goal is that young Catholics may find “the beauty of life, beginning from the happy relationship with the God of the covenant and of love” in a world that often robs them of their “affections, bonds and prospective of life.”

“The synod dedicated to young people gives us the opportunity to rediscover the hope of a good life, the dream of a pastoral renewal, the desire for community and passion for education,” he said.

Divided into three parts, the working document outlines the church’s need to listen to young people, to help guide them in the faith and in discerning their vocational calling, and to identify pastoral and missionary paths to be able to accompany them.

The responses collected by bishops’ conferences around the world cited a need for ways to help young men and women confront the challenges of cultural changes that sometimes disregard traditions and spirituality.

The working document also states that while the church highlights the importance of the body, affection and sexuality, many young Catholic men and women “do not follow the directions of the sexual morality of the church.”

“Although no bishops’ conferences offer solutions or indications, many (conferences) believe the issue of sexuality should be discussed more openly and without judgment,” it said.

Young people attending the presynod meeting said issues such as contraception, abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation and marriage are often debated both by young Catholics and non-Catholics.

The working document also highlighted the need to reaffirm church teaching on the body and sexuality at a time when biomedical advancements have pushed a more “technocratic approach to the body,” citing examples such as egg donation and surrogacy.

“Moreover, precocious sexuality, sexual promiscuity, digital pornography, the exhibition of one’s own body online and sexual tourism risk disfiguring the beauty and depth of emotional and sexual life,” the “instrumentum laboris” said.

Church leaders, it said, must “speak in practical terms about controversial subjects such as homosexuality and gender issues, which young people are already freely discussing without taboo.”

Also, “LGBT youths, through various contributions received by the secretariat of the synod, want to benefit from a greater closeness and experience greater care from the church,” while some bishops’ conferences are asking what they can recommend to young people who enter into a homosexual relationship, but want to be closer to the church, the document said.

Regarding the use of the initials “LGBT” in a major church document, Cardinal Baldisseri told journalists that it was a term used in one of the documents given by the bishops’ conferences “and we quoted them.”

“We are open. We don’t want the synod to be closed in itself,” Cardinal Baldisseri said. “And in the church, there are many areas, there is freedom for people to express themselves — on the right, left, center, north and south — this is all possible. That is why we are willing to listen to people with different opinions.”

The working document also said young Catholics would like more initiatives that allow further dialogue with nonbelievers and the secular world to help them integrate their faith in their dealings with others.

Young men and women from primarily secularized areas “ask nothing from the church” and “expressly asked to be left in peace, because they feel its presence as annoying and even irritating.” These feelings, the document stated, do not come from contempt but rather due to “serious and respectable reasons.”

Among the reasons are the church’s sexual and economic scandals, priests who do not know how to engage with young people, and the way the church justifies its doctrinal and ethical positions to modern society.

Young men and women are also hoping the church can help them “find a simple and clear understanding of the meaning of vocation,” which is often misinterpreted as referring only to priesthood and consecrated life.

While the church has confirmed that marriage is also a vocation, the document confirms the need for “a youth vocational ministry capable of being meaningful for all young people.”

“Called to holiness and anointed by the spirit, the Christian learns to grasp all the choices in existence in a vocational perspective, especially the central one of the state of life as well as those of a professional nature,” it said.

“For this reason, some bishops’ conferences hope that the synod will find ways to help all Christians rediscover the link between profession and vocation in all its fruitfulness … and in view of the professional orientation of young people with a vocational perspective,” the document said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Ireland: Pope Francis Names New Bishop of Meath

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 06/19/2018 - 12:04pm

Pope Francis on June 19, 2018, appointed as bishop of Meath, Ireland, the Rev. Thomas Deeniham, of the clergy of the diocese of Cork and Ross, currently diocesan secretary.

Making introductory remarks to the people of Meath, Bishop-elect Deeniham stressed the importance of the parish and local priests in serving the people:

“A time of a new bishop is a time of uncertainty. In my current Diocese, we are waiting for a new bishop too.  But while a diocese and a bishop are important, the reality for the people that we serve is that the parish and the local parish clergy are what matter.  In that sense, a bishop, I believe, must support and be with the priests of a Diocese.  Our own image of Church and, for those of us who are ordained, the seed of our vocation, depended very much on the priests that we encountered.  I was fortunate in that regard.”

Rev. Thomas Deeniham

The Rev. Thomas Deeniham was born in Blackpool, Cork, on June 20, 1967. He carried out his theological studies at the Saint Patrich College of Maynooth. He subsequently obtained a doctorate in education from the University of Hull, England, in 2003.

He was ordained a priest for the diocese of Meath on June 1, 1991.

After ordination, he served as deputy priest in Glanmire (1991-1994), Schull (1994-1995), Kealkill (1995-1999) and Bantry (2003-2006).

From 2003 to 2006 he was diocesan counselor for religious education in middle schools.

From 2006 until the present he has served as diocesan secretary and secretary for diocesan education, member of the diocesan presbyteral council, the diocesan committee for finance, and member of various committees of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.


Address by Rev. Thomas Deenihan
on his appointment as Bishop of Meath

Archbishop Okolo, Bishop Smith, priests and people of the Parish of Mullingar and the Diocese of Meath.

It is quite daunting to stand before you this morning!  Two weeks ago today, the Nuncio made contact with me and when we met the day after, he told me of the Holy Father’s wish to appoint me to this Diocese.  My initial reaction was one of fear and there have been sleepless nights since.  There is an acute sense of being unworthy for the task, the enormity of the task and a deficit too in local knowledge – be it geography or personality.  Dare I mention the difficulties that deciphering a Cork accent will cause in this historic diocese!

I know that I have much to learn from you all in the months ahead. Be patient with me!

In the midst of this turmoil, my own bishop, Bishop Buckley, reassured me by saying that Cork, Meath and Westmeath people always get along unless they meet on the football field!  Unfortunately, we could be getting on for a while!

I can claim some linkage to Meath!  Most significantly I was ordained a deacon in 1990 by Bishop Smith and I have two classmates who are priests of the diocese – Father Padraig McMahon, the Cathedral Administrator, and Father Martin Halpin, the Parish Priest of Ballinabrackey.  The Vicar General, Father Declan Hurley, was also a contemporary and, more importantly, has Cork roots!

A time of a new bishop is a time of uncertainty.  In my current Diocese, we are waiting for a new bishop too.  But while a diocese and a bishop are important, the reality for the people that we serve is that the parish and the local parish clergy are what matter.  In that sense, a bishop, I believe, must support and be with the priests of a Diocese.  Our own image of Church and, for those of us who are ordained, the seed of our vocation, depended very much on the priests that we encountered.  I was fortunate in that regard.

I always had the view that the Diocese of Meath has a unified and a talented clergy and younger too than many other dioceses.  That must be a blessing.  In the weeks and months ahead, I look forward to meeting the priests of the Diocese and visiting the various parishes.  Those parishes could not survive either without the work and expertise of the laity who live in them and give of their talents willingly and freely.  I look forward to working with those people into the future and benefiting from their expertise, commitment, and talents in supporting the Diocese, particularly in the areas of education, finance, and safeguarding.

I am conscious also that linked to Pastoral Ministry is joy!  Pope Francis referred to this in Evangelii Gaudium (85) when he stated that one of the more serious temptations which stifle boldness and zeal is a ‘defeatism that can turn us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, sourpusses’!  May I ask you to pray with me that we will keep and value that sense of joy as we work together in continually building and sustaining a welcoming and compassionate Church.

In terms of my own background, I was ordained in 1991 and worked in Glanmire, which was my first appointment.  In 1994, I was appointed to Bantry where I worked in the local Vocational School for nine years until 2003.  During that time, I also worked in the parishes of Schull, Kealkil, and Bantry.  It was, in many ways, the best of times and I enjoyed that mix of school and parish.  I still have a few weddings and baptisms to do from friendships made during that time and, unfortunately, have had to do a few funerals also.  School ministry is important and our young people are a vital congregation.  They represent a virtual parish that we must always be conscious of.  Linked to that, of course, is the continual need to promote and encourage vocations.  In that regard, I would like to congratulate the Vocations Team in this Diocese who have been particularly conscious of that and whose work is bearing fruit.

Since then, I have been working as Diocesan Secretary and in a few other roles such as General Secretary of CPSMA and as Acting Executive Secretary of the Council for Education and the Commission for Catholic Education and Formation of the Irish Episcopal Conference.  In those roles, I have liaised more than once with your own Vicar General, Father Declan Hurley, Father Brendan Ludlow and Mr. Sean Wright.  Indeed, I spoke to the Diocesan Members of Boards of Management of Community Schools and Designated Community Colleges in this Diocese last year –  another example of people giving freely of their time and talents for the good of their parish.

I must record my appreciation and admiration for the pioneering work that has already been undertaken in relation to Sacramental preparation for children not attending Catholic Schools in the Diocese.  In my work, I have referenced the success of Father Declan Hurley and the experience in Navan quite frequently.

I particularly appreciate the presence of pupils and teachers from the local parish schools here with us this morning.  Catholic schools are an important part of the ministry of the Church and we must support parents who wish to send their children to a Catholic school.  As I mentioned above, when we talk about Catholic schools, we should not talk of them in the abstract but we should talk about our own local parish schools.  Catholic schools are not a notion or an ideology but, rather, Catholic schools are the schools in our own parishes, that serve and are part of the local communities and that teach and welcome the local children.  Our schools and, particularly, the teachers who work in them, deserve our thanks and support.  I look forward to celebrating Catholic Schools Week with the schools of this Parish and Diocese next January when, throughout the country, Catholic Schools will be celebrating their work and contribution in their local communities.

Before I finish, I would like to thank the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Okolo, for his encouragement and support over the past two weeks and for his presence this morning.  His reassurance, as the representative of Pope Francis, has been important and encouraging for me.  Given the context and volume of his work for the forthcoming Papal visit to the World Meeting of Families in August, his time and patience are all the more appreciated.

I would like to thank Bishop Smith for his genuine welcome, advice, and support during that period also.  From our first phone call, the sincerity of his welcome was unquestioned and his support unfaltering.  I am glad that he will be near at hand in the months ahead and I hope I can count on that sound advice and support continuing.  Bishop Smith must also be thanked for his leadership of the Diocese over the past years.  Even for those of us outside the diocese, there was a sense about him of a father figure and a bishop who was close to his priests.  I hope the same will and can be said of me when my time comes.  And while I know that Bishop Smith deserves a long and happy retirement, I also hope that he will be present, active and feel welcome in the Diocese and in Diocesan celebrations in the years ahead.

I would like to thank my own Bishop, John Buckley, whom I have worked with as Diocesan Secretary since 2006.  During that time, I have come to realize the importance of pastoral ministry in the life of the bishop and it is a lesson that I will bring to Meath.  I look forward to meeting the people of the Diocese and, in particular, of Mullingar, the Cathedral parish.  Without that pastoral and human contact, our ministry becomes empty.  I hope that Bishop Buckley takes to visiting Mullingar when his own successor is appointed.

My appreciation also to Father Paul Crosbie, the Diocesan Secretary, and Father Padraig McMahon, the Cathedral Administrator, for organizing this morning’s announcement.  I appreciate very much their work, what they have organized this morning and their welcome.

Finally, I would like to thank you for attending this morning.  As I mentioned, I find it difficult to leave my family, friends and clerical colleagues, Cork and particularly West Cork, behind.  In that context, the welcome and kind words that I have received are much appreciated as I prepare to move to my new home here in Mullingar.  I received the news of my appointment on the Feast of Saint Boniface.  The Second reading from the Office of Readings for that day, a letter by Saint Boniface, said many things to me in relation to my own apprehension and decision to accept the invitation of the Holy Father.  Having said all that, Boniface finishes with a wish: ‘let us be careful shepherds’.  I am conscious of the trust and responsibility placed on me and I pray that I will fulfill it.

May God reward you.  I ask you to remember me in your prayers and may we all seek to do God’s will in the months and years ahead.


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Cincinnati Reds “Strike out Hunger” with St. Vincent De Paul

Catholic Telegraph - 06/19/2018 - 11:41am
Fans who donate to annual food drive on June 22 and 23 receive a free Reds ticket

St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Reds, WLWT, and 700WLW are partnering to “Strike Out Hunger” across Greater Cincinnati by hosting a food donation drive when the Reds play the Chicago Cubs on Friday, June 22 (7:10 p.m.) and Saturday, June 23 (4:10 p.m.) at Great American Ball Park.

Fans who donate a minimum of three non-perishable food items receive a free ticket to an upcoming Reds game, limit one ticket per person. Donation hours are as follows:
• Friday – 5:00-7:30 p.m.
• Saturday – 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Donation barrels are located outside the ballpark’s main entrance on Crosley Terrace.

“Summer is a critical time for struggling families,” says Mike Dunn, Executive Director, St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati. “When schools are out, too many families must choose between buying groceries and paying their rent. This drive helps keep our food pantries stocked so families don’t have to make that choice.”

Thanks to the generosity of Reds fans at the 2017 “Strike Out Hunger” Food Drive, St. Vincent de Paul collected 9,000 pounds of food, which provided 7,200 meals to struggling families in Cincinnati. St. Vincent de Paul operates food pantries throughout Cincinnati, including the Edyth and Carl Lindner Choice Food Pantry in the West End and 11 neighborhood-based pantries.

To learn more about the “Strike Out Hunger” Food Drive for St. Vincent de Paul, contact the Cincinnati Reds at 513-765-7000.

For more information about donating, visit or call 513-562-8841, ext. 011.

Be sure to share your #StrikeOutHunger photos and fun with us at: and

About St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been providing innovative, practical emergency assistance to Greater Cincinnati and Hamilton County residents in need for 149 years. The organization works personally with those in need, regardless of race or creed, to bridge the spiritual, emotional and material gaps in their lives through home visits provided by neighborhood-based volunteer groups, and groundbreaking initiatives like the Charitable Pharmacy as well as a network of nine food pantries and seven thrift stores and donation centers across Cincinnati. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul continues to be a leading community service organization and was recognized with a 2017 Henry Schein Cares Medal. For more information, visit

Guatemala: Holy Father Sends First Contribution to Volcano Victims

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 06/19/2018 - 11:33am

Pope Francis, via the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, has provided for a first contribution of 100 thousand dollars for the aid of populations suffering in the wake of the natural disaster in Guatemala, the Vatican announced June 19, 2018.

The eruption of the “Volcán de Fuego” in Guatemala, which – according to provisional estimates – has affected more than 1.7 million people, forcing around thirteen thousand people to evacuate their homes and causing more than a hundred deaths and around seventy other casualties, as well as enormous material damages. This contribution, which is intended as an immediate expression of a sentiment of spiritual closeness and paternal encouragement on the part of the Holy Father, will be divided in collaboration with the apostolic nunciature among the dioceses most affected by the catastrophe, and will be used for works to aid the people and territories afflicted by the eruption.

The contribution, which accompanies prayer in support of the beloved Guatemalan population, forms part of the aid which is being activated throughout the Catholic Church and which involves, as well as various episcopal conferences, many charitable entities.


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Pope Francis Encourages ‘Meal of Encounter’ and ‘Share the Journey’

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 06/19/2018 - 10:31am

Pope Francis on June 19, 2018, continued his enthusiastic support for the “Share the Journey” campaign with a message of blessing to the participants in the “Meal of Encounter” in the “Saint John Paul II” Caritas soup kitchen in Via Marsala, Rome.

‘With this message, I wish to encourage you to continue your journey with migrants and refugees, and to share a meal with them, like the one organized here by Caritas,” the Holy Father said.

The soup kitchen is part of World Action Week (June 17-24, 2018). Caritas is organizing opportunities for interacting with migrants around the world. The Caritas website has information about events and ways to reach out to migrants.

francis tagle ctv screenshot“Hope is what drives the hearts of those who depart,” said Pope Francis on September 27, 2017, as he opened the Caritas Internationalis ‘Share the Journey’ migration campaign. He stressed the need to build relationships between migrants, refugees, and local communities.

Speaking during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, the Pope said that hope “is also what drives the hearts of those who welcome: the desire to meet each other, get to know each other, to dialogue.”

Pope Francis warned against what he called “the enemies of hope” as he launched the Caritas two-year campaign.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis said, “If we bond with refugees and migrants, we will break down the barriers with which some are trying to separate us. The campaign reaches out to recognize, restore and share our common humanity.”

The Caritas campaign is backed by its national organizations in more than 160 countries, by the ecumenical ACT Alliance of over 140 members, by the United Nations agencies the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the UN’s refugee organization, UNCHR and its’ World Food Program, along with numerous religious and civil society organizations.

Pope Francis has been a strong and consistent advocate for the rights of migrants. In his message for the 104th World Day for Migrants and Refugees (January 14, 2018) he affirmed the need for a shared response to migrants described to four verbs: welcome, protect, promote, and integrate. He has continued to remind the world of the human face of migration.

“I would like to point out that the issue of migration is not simply one of numbers, but of persons, each with his or her own history, culture, feelings, and aspirations…,” the Pope said June 14, 2018, in his message to Second Holy See-Mexico Conference on International Migration.

“These persons, our brothers, and sisters need “ongoing protection”, independently of whatever migrant status they may have,” the Pope continued. “Their fundamental rights and their dignity need to be protected and defended. Particular concern must be shown for migrant children and their families, those who are victims of human trafficking rings, and those displaced due to conflicts, natural disasters, and persecution.”

Message of the Holy Father to Participants in ‘Meal of Encounter’

Dear brothers and sisters,

With this message, I wish to encourage you to continue your journey with migrants and refugees, and to share a meal with them, like the one organized here by Caritas.

As Caritas, you have accepted the invitation to launch a global level awareness-raising initiative in support of migrants and refugees: it is the “Sharing the Journey” campaign, which we inaugurated together 27 September last. Today, I would like to invite you all – migrants, refugees, Caritas workers, and institutions – to identify the traits of this journey that have had the most impact on you: what hope inspires your path? Try to share this thought and to “celebrate” what we have in common.

I wish, finally, to encourage you in Caritas, the community of faithful with its pastors, and all people of good will, always to create new spaces for sharing, so that from our encounters a renewed fraternity with migrants and refugees may emerge.

I heartily bless your soup kitchen, and I wish you a good lunch.

From the Vatican, 19 June 2018


© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Chaput asks Notre Dame student for youth synod advice

EWTN News - Vatican News - 06/19/2018 - 9:00am
Philadelphia, Pa., Jun 19, 2018 / 08:00 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput turned over his weekly Catholic Philly column to a University of Notre Dame student, who hopes an upcoming Vatican synod will encourage young people to take personal responsibility for the "decisive missions" of vocations and Christian discipleship.

Pope’s Morning Homily: Bless and Love Your Enemies

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 06/19/2018 - 8:06am

We are called to bless and love our enemies and those who persecute us.

According to Vatican News, the Pope gave this tough challenge during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, June 19, 2018. He was reflecting on today’s Gospel according to St. Matthew (Mt 5:43-48), in which Jesus invites his followers to a higher standard of human relations, so as to be “perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

To be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, Christians, the Pontiff underscored, should forgive, love, and bless our enemies. The mystery of Christian life, he said, is loving our enemies and praying for our persecutors.

To be forgiven, the Pope reminded, we too must forgive. A major challenge for Christians is to overcome our feelings and resistances to bless and love those who have wronged us.

“To pray for those who want to destroy me, my enemies, so that God may bless them: This is truly difficult to understand,” the Pope admitted, adding: “We can recall events of the last century, like the poor Russian Christians who, simply for being Christians, were sent to Siberia to die of cold. And they should pray for the executing government that sent them there? How can that be? Yet many did so: they prayed.

“We think of Auschwitz and other concentration camps,” the Pope said. “Should they pray for the dictator who sought a ‘pure race’ and killed without scruple, even to pray that God should bless him? And yet many did so.”

We must learn from Jesus and martyrs, the Pope said, who practiced this “difficult logic.” We see this in Jesus’ prayer for those who put Him to death on the Cross. Jesus, Francis noted, asks God to forgive them.

“There is an infinite distance between us – we who frequently refuse to forgive even small things – and what the Lord asks of us, which he has exemplified for us: To forgive those who seek to destroy us.

It is often very difficult within families, for example, when spouses need to forgive one another after an argument, or when one needs to forgive their mother-in-law.

The Pope said this is not easy.

“Rather,” he said, “we are invited to forgive those who are killing us, who want us out of the way… Not only forgive, but even pray that God may watch over them! Even more, to love them. Only Jesus’ word can explain this.”

It is a grace, the Holy Father noted, “to understand this Christian mystery and be perfect like the Father, who gives good things to the good and the bad.”

Pope Francis concluded, calling on faithful to think today of their enemy and pray for the grace to love them.

“I think all of us have one – someone who has hurt us or wants to hurt us. The Mafia’s prayer is: ‘You’ll pay me back.’ The Christian prayer is: ‘Lord, give them your blessing, and teach me to love them.’ Let us think of one enemy, and pray for them. May the Lord to give us the grace to love them.”


The post Pope’s Morning Homily: Bless and Love Your Enemies appeared first on ZENIT - English.

FORUM: ‘Celebrating the Vocation of Fatherhood’

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 06/19/2018 - 7:54am

Below is a reflection of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, entitled ‘Celebrating the Vocation of Fatherhood’ published on June 17, 2018, on Cardinal Wuerl’s blog:

The celebration of Father’s Day offers us an opportunity to reflect on the irreplaceable role fathers play in the life of the family, in society and in the Church.

In the creation story, we learn that the Lord intends for a man called to the vocation of fatherhood and made in God’s image and likeness to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:26-28). Here we find the origin of the family.

Scripture is filled with stories of the importance of fathers, and in their importance in handing on the faith in our heavenly Father. As Pope Francis points out in quoting from Psalm 78, God “‘established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children; that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children.’ The family is thus the place where parents become their children’s first teachers in the faith” (Amoris Laetitia, 16). More recently, in his exhortation on holiness, he urges fathers and grandfathers: “Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 14).

Pope Francis invites us in a particular way to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of “those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families” (Id., 7). What he then adds about the holiness of mothers growing in small gestures applies also to fathers – such as in sitting down with their children and listening and engaging with them after a long day of work even though they are tired (cf. Id., 16).

In families, “men play an equally decisive role in family life, particularly with regard to the protection and support of their wives and children,” the Pope affirms. “Many men are conscious of the importance of their role in the family and live their masculinity accordingly” (Amoris Laetitia, 55). More specifically, fathers teach what nurturing, compassion, and mercy look like in an explicitly masculine expression. Children, through the experience of the love of their earthly father, more easily recognize and trust as well the unconditional love and mercy of their heavenly Father.

Today is a day to give thanks to all of the fathers and grandfathers in our families and communities who strive to care for their children to the best of their ability. We express our heartfelt gratitude for the time spent working to provide for the material needs of the family and the time spent patiently with a child struggling to complete a homework assignment or recovering from a nightmare or making a big decision. For all the gifts of these good men who are living, and in memory of these who have died, we give thanks to God our Father.


On the NET:

To the original post on Cardinal Wuerl’s blog:

The post FORUM: ‘Celebrating the Vocation of Fatherhood’ appeared first on ZENIT - English.

Chicago Catholic Charities provides showers for homeless people

EWTN Latest Catholic News - 06/19/2018 - 7:09am
Chicago, Ill., Jun 19, 2018 / 06:09 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Two weeks ago, Chicago's Catholic Charities opened hygienic services offering homeless persons showers and a place to do laundry in the city's River North neighborhood.

7 states each have 1 abortion clinic following closures (ABC News)

Catholic News - 06/19/2018 - 7:06am
The seven are West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Arkansas.

Leading Ecuador prelate laments rising youth violence (Fides)

Catholic News - 06/19/2018 - 7:06am
“We have not been able to offer them anything else, but [the] drug trade,” said the president of the bishops’ conference. “There are some who after years and years of study and sacrifice, even after university, have to give in to corruption to have any kind of job! And we are silent, we all know.”

Israel: Christian leaders urge Netanyahu to block bill on confiscation of Church property (Fides)

Catholic News - 06/19/2018 - 7:06am
The Custos (Franciscan superior) joined the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic patriarchs in denouncing the “systematic and unprecedented attack against the Christians of the Holy Land.”

Philippine government overturns Australian nun's deportation order (Fides)

Catholic News - 06/19/2018 - 7:06am
Sister Patricia Fox has been investigating human rights abuses. “I will continue to give my life for the indigenous peoples, for the poor in urban areas and for the oppressed farmers,” she said. “I will continue the missionary work because this is my life, it is my mission.”

Caritas calls on Europe's governments to increase safe, legal pathways for refugees (Caritas Europa)

Catholic News - 06/19/2018 - 7:06am
“Resettling refugees, promoting solidarity, embodying Europe’s values” is the title of Caritas Europa’s statement for World Refugee Day.

Vatican Presents Instrumentum Laboris for Synod on Young People

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 06/19/2018 - 6:59am

The Vatican has presented the Instrumentum Laboris for the upcoming Synod on Young People.

The working instrument of the October 3-28, 2018 XVth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme “Young people, faith and vocational discernment,” was published today, June 19, 2018, in Italian.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, confirmed to Zenit that the Vatican’s official English translation, along with the other languages, will be made available in the days to come. Once released, Zenit will bring the full text to its readers.

The Instrumentum Laboris, the Cardinal highlighted, will serve as a guiding thread for the three weeks of the next synod, so as to “find ways of pastoral and missionary conversion.”

The document, dated May 8, 2018, is composed of three parts which altogether contain 13 chapters, introduction and conclusion.

The “synodal path” started immediately for the writing of the “preparatory document,” published on January 13, 2017, together with Pope Francis’ “Letter to the young people.”

This document contained a “Questionnaire” intended mainly for episcopal conferences, synods of Eastern Catholic Churches, and other organizations of the Church: 15 questions addressed to all, three specific questions for each continent, and a call to share experienced “good practices.”

Cardinal Baldisseri then mentions the “International Seminar on the situation of young people” which took place from Sept. 11-15, 2017, with the participation of experts and young people, to take account of the situation of young people today.”

There were also initiatives to “involve young people,” beginning with an “Online Questionnaire” in different languages ​​and also translated by episcopal conferences: some 100,000 young people sent their responses.

There was also the “Pre-synodal Meeting” of young people, in Rome, from March 19-24, 2018, where 300 young people from five continents were physically present, while 15,000 other young people participated in the meeting thanks to social networks. It ended on Palm Sunday, World Youth Day 2018, with the final document prepared by the young people being delivered to Pope Francis.

This initiative, Cardinal Baldisseri noted, demonstrates “the expression of the desire of the Church to listen to all young people without exclusion”.

“The material collected by these four main sources – in addition to the “0bservations “of the Secretariat of the Synod- is certainly very vast. It has been thoroughly analyzed by experts, carefully synthesized, and collected in “The Instrument of Work” approved by the XIV Extraordinary Council of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, in the presence of the Holy Father, ” he said.

Cardinal Baldisseri specified that the text takes up the themes in a “functional” way for the unfolding of the synod: “Recognize” (five chapters), “Interpret” (four chapters for four “reading keys”), “Choose” (four chapters, “to help the Synod Fathers to take a stand on the directions and decisions to be taken”).

The document concludes with “significant attention” to the theme of “holiness” so that the synod will recognize “the most beautiful face of the Church”, as Pope Francis put it in Gaudete et Exsultate” (n.9) and that he knows how to propose it today “to all young people.”


Instrumentum Laboris (in original Italian):

Here is our translation of the main titles of the document:


I.Recognize: the Church listens to reality

Ch.1 Being young today

Ch.2 Experiences and languages

Ch.3 In waste culture

Ch.4 Anthropological and cultural challenges

Ch.5 Listening to young people

II.Interpreting faith and discernment of vocations

Ch.1 The blessing of youth

Ch.2 The call to the light of faith

Ch.3 The dynamism of vocational discernment

Ch. 4 The Art of Accompanying

III. Choose: pastoral and missionary conversion paths 

Ch.1 An integral perspective

Ch.2 Immersed in the fabric of everyday life

Ch.3 An evangelized and evangelizing community

Ch. 4 Animation and organization of the pastoral



The post Vatican Presents Instrumentum Laboris for Synod on Young People appeared first on ZENIT - English.

US aid to Iraqi Christians, Yazidis on fast track via Catholic Relief Services

EWTN Latest Catholic News - 06/19/2018 - 6:52am
Washington D.C., Jun 19, 2018 / 05:52 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The United States Agency for International Development has announced it is investing $10 million into coalitions led by Catholic Relief Services and Heartland Alliance to help rebuild Christian and other minority communities in Iraq who suffered genocide under the Islamic State.

Pope donates to volcano relief efforts in Guatemala

EWTN News - Vatican News - 06/19/2018 - 6:39am
Vatican City, Jun 19, 2018 / 05:39 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Following the largest volcanic eruption in Guatemala in four decades, Pope Francis has sent $100,000 to assist in the emergency relief efforts being carried out in the central American nation.
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