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Pope Francis prayed with relic of St. Thérèse of Lisieux before surgery
Posted on 06/7/2023 09:37 AM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Jun 7, 2023 / 04:37 am (CNA).
One of Pope Francis’ last gestures before undergoing abdominal surgery on Wednesday was to pray before a relic of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
A relic of the French Carmelite nun, also known as St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, was present on the platform in front of St. Peter’s Basilica during the pope’s weekly general audience June 7.
Before beginning the audience, Francis venerated the relics of St. Thérèse in a moment of silent prayer. He also placed a single, white rose on the table in front of the reliquary.
Pope Francis was taken to Rome’s Gemelli Hospital for abdominal surgery under general anesthesia at the end of the morning audience, shortly after 11 a.m. Rome time, the Vatican said.
Relics of St. Thérèse’s parents, Sts. Louis and Zélie Guérin Martin, were also present at the meeting with the public June 7. The relics of all three saints will visit different churches in Rome through June 16.
Pope Francis said Wednesday he intends to publish an apostolic letter on St. Thérèse of Lisieux, “patroness of the missions,” to mark the 150th anniversary of her birth.
“She was a Carmelite nun who lived her life according to the way of littleness and weakness: She defined herself as ‘a small grain of sand,’” he said in St. Peter’s Square.
“Having poor health, she died at the age of only 24,” he added. “But though her body was sickly, her heart was vibrant, missionary.”
“Here before us are the relics of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, universal patroness of missions,” he said. “It is good that this happens while we are reflecting on the passion for evangelization, on apostolic zeal. Today, then, let us allow the witness of St. Thérèse to help us. She was born 150 years ago, and I plan to dedicate an apostolic letter to her on this anniversary.”
🎥HIGHLIGHTS | Before commencing the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis shared a beautiful moment of prayer before the sacred relics of St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church and Patroness of the Missions. As a symbol of his devotion, the Holy Father… pic.twitter.com/lRJeWuSx8n— EWTN Vatican (@EWTNVatican) June 7, 2023
St. Thérèse of Lisieux was born on Jan. 2, 1873, in Alençon, France. Her mother died when she was 4, leaving her father and older sisters to raise her. She received papal permission to enter the Carmelite Monastery at the young age of 15, where she lived until her death from tuberculosis at the age of 24.
She was proclaimed a doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997 and is the patron saint of missions.
Pope Francis reflected on the saint’s life as part of a series of lessons on evangelical zeal.
“She is patroness of the missions, but she was never sent on mission,” Francis explained in his catechesis. “She recounts in her ‘diary’ that her desire was that of being a missionary and that she wanted to be one not just for a few years, but for the rest of her life, even until the end of the world.”
St. Thérèse did this, he said, by becoming a spiritual sister to several missionaries, whom she accompanied through her prayers, letters, and sacrifices from within the monastery walls.
“Without being visible, she interceded for the missions, like an engine that, although hidden, gives a vehicle the power to move forward,” the pope said.
“Missionaries, in fact — of whom Thérèse is patroness — are not only those who travel long distances, learn new languages, do good works, and are good at proclamation,” he added. “No, a missionary is anyone who lives as an instrument of God’s love where they are.”
Pope Francis recounted two episodes from St. Thérèse’s life that help to explain the source of her zeal and missionary strength.
The first happened during Christmas 1886, when Thérèse was almost 14 years old.
St. Thérèse was pampered as the youngest child of the family, he explained. But her father was tired after midnight Mass for Christmas and did not feel like being present when his daughter opened her gifts, so he said he was glad it was the last year she would receive gifts.
“Thérèse, who was very sensitive and easily moved to tears, was hurt, and went up to her room and cried,” the pope said.
“But she quickly suppressed her tears, went downstairs and, full of joy, she was the one who cheered her father,” he said. “What had happened? On that night, when Jesus had made himself weak out of love, her soul became strong: In just a few moments, she had come out of the prison of her selfishness and self-pity; she began to feel that ‘charity entered her heart’ — so she said — ‘with the need to forget herself’ (cf. Manuscript A, 133-134).”
“From then on, she directed her zeal toward others, that they might find God.”
The second event happened after St. Thérèse became a Carmelite. Pope Francis said the nun became aware of a hardened criminal, Enrico Pranzini, who was sentenced to death by guillotine for having murdered three people.
Thérèse had a special zeal for saving sinners, and so “she took him into her heart and did all she could: She prayed in every way for his conversion, so that he, whom, with brotherly compassion she called ‘poor wretched Pranzini,’ might demonstrate a small sign of repentance and make room for God’s mercy,” Francis said.
The day after his execution, she read in the newspaper that before laying his head on the chopping block, Pranzini had, “‘all of a sudden, seized by a sudden inspiration, turned around, grabbed a crucifix that the priest handed to him and kissed three times the sacred wounds’ of Jesus,” he continued.
“Then his soul,” St. Thérèse wrote, “went to receive the merciful sentence of the One who declared that in heaven there will be more joy for a single sinner who repents than for the 99 righteous who have no need of repentance!”
Pope Francis said: “With so many means, methods, and structures available, which sometimes distract from what is essential, the Church needs hearts like Thérèse’s, hearts that draw people to love and bring people closer to God.”
“Let us today ask this saint, whose relics we have here,” he added, “let us ask this saint for the grace to overcome our selfishness and for the passion to intercede that Jesus might be known and loved.”
Pope Francis’ health: Here’s a timeline of his medical issues in recent years
Posted on 06/7/2023 08:51 AM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Jun 7, 2023 / 03:51 am (CNA).
Pope Francis will undergo abdominal surgery under general anesthesia on Wednesday afternoon, the Vatican has said.
The 86-year-old Francis, who has spent most of his 10 years as pope in relatively good health, has dealt with several painful medical conditions over the last few years.
Here is a timeline charting Pope Francis’ recent health concerns:
A bout of sciatic pain in the final days of 2020 kept Pope Francis from presiding at the Vatican’s liturgies on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Francis has suffered from sciatica for a number of years; he spoke about it during an in-flight press conference returning from a trip to Brazil in July 2013.
“Sciatica is very painful, very painful! I don’t wish it on anyone,” he said about the condition, which starts in the lower back and can cause pain running down the back of the thigh and leg to the foot.
📹 VIDEO | Sound on! Listen to thousands of pilgrims encouraging Pope Francis as he makes a huge effort to stand up and walk at the end of the general audience. He is undergoing treatment for a torn ligament in his knee. Stay strong, dear Holy Father! pic.twitter.com/iejCLYtBlF— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) May 4, 2022
Pope Francis was also forced to cancel three more public appearances at the end of January due to sciatic nerve pain.
A problem with his colon landed the pope in the hospital on July 4, 2021.
According to the Vatican, Francis underwent surgery to relieve stricture of the colon caused by diverticulitis. The three-hour surgery included a left hemicolectomy, the removal of one side of the colon.
During his 11-day stay in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital, the pope made “normal clinical progress” in his recovery, the Vatican said.
At meetings in January, Pope Francis shared that he was having problems with his knee.
“Excuse me if I stay seated, but I have a pain in my leg today ... It hurts me, it hurts if I’m standing,” the pope told journalists from the Jerusalem-based Christian Media Center on Jan. 17.
He explained further at a general audience the following week, saying the reason he would be unable to greet pilgrims as usual was because of a temporary “problem with my right leg,” an inflamed knee ligament.
At the end of February, Pope Francis canceled two public events due to knee pain and doctors’ orders to rest.
In the month that followed, he received help going up and down stairs but continued to walk and stand without assistance.
During a trip to Malta on the first weekend of April, Pope Francis used a lift to disembark the papal plane. A special lift was also installed at the Basilica of St. Paul in Rabat, so that Francis could visit and pray in the crypt grotto without taking the stairs.
On the return flight on April 3, he told journalists that “my health is a bit fickle, I have this knee problem that brings out problems with walking.”
At the Vatican’s Good Friday service, the pope did not lay prostrate before the altar, as he has done in the past.
He also did not preside over the Easter Vigil Mass on April 16 or participate in the paschal candle procession but sat in the front of the congregation in a white chair.
On April 22 and April 26, Francis’ agenda was cleared for medical checkups and rest for his knee, the Vatican said. The following day, the pope told pilgrims at his general audience that his knee prevented him from standing for very long.
Pope Francis also started to remain seated in the popemobile while greeting pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
On April 30, he said that his doctor had ordered him not to walk.
The pope said at the beginning of May that he would undergo a medical procedure on his knee, “an intervention with infiltrations,” by which he may have meant a therapeutic injection, sometimes used to relieve knee pain caused by ligament tears.
Two days later, he used a wheelchair in public for the first time since his July 2021 colon surgery. Throughout May he continued to use the wheelchair and avoid most standing and walking.
Francis was also undergoing over two hours of rehabilitation for his knee every day, according to an Argentine archbishop close to the pontiff.
The treatment “is giving results,” Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández wrote on Twitter on May 14 after he had a private meeting with Francis.
Other than his knee, “he’s better than ever,” Fernández added.
Earlier, Lebanon’s tourism minister had said that a reported papal visit to the country in June was being postponed due to the pope’s health.
The pope did stand for longer periods when celebrating a May 15 Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Afterward, a seminarian from Mexico caught a moment of lightheartedness between pilgrims and the pope as he greeted them from the popemobile.
Someone thanked the pope for being present at the Mass, despite his knee pain, to which Francis responded: “Do you know what I need for my knee? A bit of tequila.”
In early June, the Vatican postponed Pope Francis’ planned visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan for health reasons. The trip was planned for July 2–7 but was put off “at the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee,” according to the Vatican.
Less than a week later, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis would not preside over the June 16 Corpus Christi Mass because of his knee problems and “the specific liturgical needs of the celebration.”
Pope Francis commented on his health and spoke about the effects of old age in general terms during his June 15 general audience.
“When you are old, you are no longer in control of your body. One has to learn to choose what to do and what not to do,” the pope said. “The vigor of the body fails and abandons us, even though our heart does not stop yearning. One must then learn to purify desire: Be patient, choose what to ask of the body and of life. When we are old, we cannot do the same things we did when we were young: The body has another pace, and we must listen to the body and accept its limits. We all have them. I too have to use a walking stick now.”
Toward the end of the month, on June 28, Pope Francis walked with a cane to meet bishops from Brazil and told them, “I have been able to walk for three days.”
On Aug. 4, the Vatican announced that Massimiliano Strappetti, a Vatican nurse, had been appointed as Pope Francis’ “personal health care assistant.”
José María Villalón, the head doctor of the Atlético de Madrid soccer team, was recruited to assist Pope Francis with his knee problems. He said the pope is “a very nice and very stubborn patient in the sense that there are surgical procedures that he does not want” and that “we have to offer him more conservative treatments so that he will agree to them.”
In an interview published by the Associated Press on Jan. 25, Pope Francis announced that his diverticulitis had returned. He emphasized that he is in “good health” and that, for his age, he is “normal.”
On Feb. 23 the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had a “strong cold.” The pope distributed copies of his speeches at two morning appointments rather than read them aloud as usual.
On March 29 the Vatican announced that Pope Francis was expected to remain in a hospital in Rome for “some days” due to a respiratory infection. It had been announced earlier in the day that he was in the hospital for previously scheduled medical checkups.
The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis visited Gemelli Hospital’s center for the elderly for a 40-minute appointment on June 6.
On June 7, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope would undergo an abdominal surgery under general anesthesia in the afternoon.
The operation, a laparotomy and abdominal wall reconstruction with prosthetic material, was necessary due to a hernia causing recurrent, painful, and worsening symptoms, Bruni said.
This story was originally published May 21, 2022, and updated on March 29, 2023, and June 7, 2023.
BREAKING: Pope Francis to have abdominal surgery under general anesthesia
Posted on 06/7/2023 08:01 AM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, Jun 7, 2023 / 03:01 am (CNA).
Pope Francis will undergo abdominal surgery under general anesthesia on Wednesday afternoon, the Vatican has confirmed.
The operation was planned by the pope’s medical team in recent days after it became necessary due to a hernia that was causing recurrent, painful, and worsening symptoms, according to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.
Bruni said that Pope Francis will have a laparotomy and abdominal wall reconstruction with prosthetic material in the early afternoon on June 7.
The pope will be taken to Rome’s Gemelli Hospital immediately after his general audience in St. Peter’s Square and will recover in the hospital for several days post-surgery.
The news of Pope Francis’ surgery comes one day after Italian media reported that he went to Gemelli hospital’s center for the elderly for a 40-minute visit on June 6.
Pope Francis, 86, was hospitalized for four days in March for a lung infection and canceled all of his scheduled activities on May 26 due to a fever.
Since early 2022 the pope has suffered from knee pain. He started to have difficulty standing and walking and has been using a cane and wheelchair for over a year.
Pope Francis told the Italian bishops in May last year that he did not want to have his knee operated on because he did not want to recover from general anesthesia again following his July 2021 colon surgery.
The pope has also dealt this year with a recurrence of diverticulitis, a painful inflammation of bulges in the large intestine, for which he was operated on in July 2021.
Despite his recent medical challenges, the Vatican recently announced the pope’s intention to visit Mongolia Aug. 31–Sept. 1.
Francis is also scheduled to be in Lisbon, Portugal, for World Youth Day Aug. 2–6. The trip also includes a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima.
Parents in Honduras launch movement to oppose imposition of gender ideology in schools
Posted on 06/6/2023 21:15 PM (CNA Daily News)
ACI Prensa Staff, Jun 6, 2023 / 16:15 pm (CNA).
Last Saturday, hundreds of parents in Honduras officially launched the “For Our Children” movement, a citizen platform that seeks to stop the attempt to impose gender ideology in the public school curriculum.
With the slogan “Don’t mess with my children,” a group of approximately 500 people met June 3 at the Cortés Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the city of San Pedro de Sula to present a manifesto highlighting the “inalienable right” of parents to educate their children according to their “values, principles, and beliefs.”
Martha Lorena de Casco, a member of the Pro-Life Honduras Committee, explained to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, that this movement was formed to respond to the attempt by the administration of President Xiomara Castro to “mandate the implementation [of] a sex education guide with gender ideology starting in kindergarten.”
“This has got people worked up, because many people understand what gender is. Consequently, a movement was created that opposes the attempt of the presidency to apply a law that was designed without consulting parents and that was debated only among NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], trans groups, feminist groups. That is an affront,” the pro-life leader explained.
On March 8, the Honduran Congress passed the “Comprehensive Education Law for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy” with the intention of creating “sex education curricula appropriate to the age of the students to prevent teen pregnancies.”
The manifesto published by For Our Children opposes this law because it “unilaterally incorporates ideologies promoted by international organizations that are not consistent with Honduran values or what we parents want for our children.”
The parents specified that any change in the curriculum must have their agreement because their “participation in educational institutions — public, private, Christian, and non-Christian — is a right and a prerogative.”
“We expressly state our right to participate directly and without mediators in any content review process, pedagogical forms, and key educational issues, etc., and in any attempt by this or future governments to modify the curriculum without our consent or to use its implementation to indoctrinate our children,” For Our Children stressed.
The parents also repudiated the intention to include comprehensive sex education.
This involves “the introduction of homosexuality, transgenderism, masturbation, sexual experimentation, gender fluid, and other identities to minors, even more so, to children in early childhood, which we consider perversion and abuse.”
The manifesto states it is “in favor of sex education with values based on biology and respect for the integrity of children.”
“No current educational model promoted by governments and international organizations should be implemented without the express consent of parents at any age,” the movement asserts.
Lastly, Honduran parents called on President Castro to veto the Comprehensive Sexual Education Law for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy. They also urged her to publicly promise “that she will not continue the social experiment of gender ideology in our educational system.”
In addition, the manifesto requires the president to “promote and publicize a bill to strengthen the family and the preferential right of parents to the education of their children.”
“We will be vigilant, alert, and committed in every school in the country. Know [that] those that are behind this plan to ideologize our children … are not going to achieve it and that they will be met with a united and determined people,” the manifesto concludes.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Thousands of United Methodist churches break away over LGBTQ+ disagreements
Posted on 06/6/2023 20:45 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Jun 6, 2023 / 15:45 pm (CNA).
As the United Methodist Church (UMC) is rocked by disagreement over LGBTQ+ issues, more than 4,000 congregations have officially split from the denomination this year.
More congregations joined the growing schism this weekend with 60 leaving in Michigan on Saturday and 250 in Kentucky splitting with the UMC on Sunday.
Jay Therrell, president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and a leader in the “disaffiliation” movement, told CNA that “the authority of Scripture and the lordship of Christ” has “deteriorated for many, many years in the United Methodist Church.”
Today, Therrell said, that problem is “playing out in the issue of human sexuality.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, 4,876 Methodist churches this year have officially completed the process to break away from the UMC, Therrell said.
According to Therrell, many of those churches have gone on to join the more theologically conservative Global Methodist Church, which was founded in 2022 with the help of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and now numbers approximately 2,500 congregations.
“We absolutely believe that the United Methodist Church is drifting day by day ever more progressive,” Therrell said. “We have bishops all across the globe who are completely violating the Book of Discipline [the primary Methodist book of teachings, similar to the Catholic catechism]. They are allowing all sorts of things to happen that violate various paragraphs, much of it to do with human sexuality.”
The conflict erupted in full force in 2019 after a special session of the General Conference of the entire UMC debated whether to adopt new rules promoting homosexuality in the church. The propositions were ultimately defeated in a 53% to 46% vote approving a “Traditional Plan” reaffirming the UMC’s stance on traditional marriage and sexuality.
Since 2019, however, the UMC has steered the church toward the left on key social issues such as LGBTQ+ ideology.
Though denying the ordination of homosexual individuals, the UMC’s official website states that “everyone is welcome to worship and actively participate in the life of our churches” and that “laypersons may become members and live out their faith through their local church without respect to sexual orientation or practice.”
The UMC’s website further admits that the denomination’s teaching on homosexuality may be changed in the future. “When the next General Conference convenes (April–May 3, 2024) it will address multiple legislative proposals to alter existing church policies on human sexuality and to divide or restructure the denomination as a result of differences on these and other issues,” the UMC’s website states.
In the United States, the UMC is divided into five “jurisdictions.” Each of these jurisdictions passed similar measures in 2022 stating that “LGBTQIA+ people will be protected, affirmed, and empowered” in the church, according to the AP.
Of the 46 active UMC bishops, two are openly homosexual, despite official UMC policy denying the ordination of LGBTQ+ persons.
Meanwhile, the influence of LGBTQ+ supportive groups has been increasing within the UMC.
The Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) is a group that, according to its website, is “committed to intersectional justice across and beyond the United Methodist connection” and is “working for the full participation of all LGBTQ+ people throughout the life and leadership of the Church.”
According to a November 2022 RMN statement, conferences of the UMC’s five jurisdictions resulted in “a historic slate of episcopal elections for the Reconciling movement” in which 13 new LGBTQ+ supportive bishops were elected.
“Episcopal elections are important for LGBTQ+ justice because our Church’s moral direction is deeply influenced by the values of the elected bishops and because bishops hold immense power to affect the livelihoods of LGBTQ+ clergy and congregations seeking justice and inclusion,” RMN said. “We celebrate these newly elected justice-seeking bishops who represent more of the whole of humanity and whose wisdom is invaluable in the ongoing co-creation of our Church.”
Besides electing openly homosexual bishops, some members of the UMC clergy have called for official apologies to be made for even challenging their election.
At the 2022 South Central Jurisdiction Conference, RMN reported that Rev. Katie McKay Simpson, a pastor from Louisiana, “called the jurisdiction to collective confession and apology for challenging the historic election of Bishop Karen Oliveto, the Church’s first out gay bishop.”
To Therrell, the jurisdictions’ adoption of pro-LGBTQ+ resolutions “telegraph where the future of the UMC is.”
“We think it is highly likely at the General Conference in 2024 that the definition of marriage will change, that the ordination standards will change, and that most of the traditional provisions we’ve passed in recent years will be repealed,” Therrell said.
As of now, nearly one-quarter of UMC congregations have officially broken away within the last five years.
The departures have only been increasing exponentially. According to UM News, the official news-gathering agency of the UMC, 4,645 churches officially split from the UMC so far this year. That is more than double the number of churches that left in the previous year (2,003) and almost 10 times the number in 2021 (486).
NFL champ Harrison Butker makes a statement with pro-life necktie at White House visit
Posted on 06/6/2023 20:15 PM (CNA Daily News)
Boston, Mass., Jun 6, 2023 / 15:15 pm (CNA).
During the Kansas City Chiefs’ visit to the White House on Monday in celebration of their Super Bowl victory in February, the team’s kicker, Harrison Butker, made a statement in support of the unborn by wearing a custom-made necktie with a pro-life message.
Butker, a faithful Catholic, wore a tie that says “Vulnerari Praesidio,” a Latin phrase he says means “protect the most vulnerable.”
“I want to give the most vulnerable, the unborn, a voice at a place where every effort has been made to allow and normalize the tragic termination of their lives,” Butker said in a June 6 statement.
Butker is referring to the Biden administration’s aggressive pro-abortion stance, a position that has put Biden at odds with the U.S. bishops and members of his own faith.
“As a father who has experienced three miscarriages, my wife and I understand the hardships that come with losing a child. Every life is precious and should be valued whether outside or inside the womb,” he said.
The gray tie was created in conjunction with the pro-life advocacy group Live Action.
According to the organization, accompanying the tie on Butker’s suit is a gold pin of two tiny feet — the exact-size feet a 10-week-old baby would have.
BREAKING:— Live Action (@LiveAction) June 6, 2023
Chiefs Kicker @buttkicker7 stands for LIFE at the White House!
His Live Action-designed tie reads “PROTECT THE VULNERABLE” in Latin & is paired with a gold pin created with the reference photo and the exact size of a 10-week-old aborted baby’s feet. 🙏🏾
Biden gave a speech at the event praising the Super Bowl champions not only for their football skills but also for using their platforms for good.
“As much as these guys know about football, they know about life and how to use their platform to make a difference,” the president said in a speech celebrating the team’s victory.
In a statement to CNA on Tuesday, Live Action president Lila Rose said that “Live Action was proud to partner with NFL superstar and pro-life advocate Harrison Butker to create a necktie in honor of the preborn to wear while meeting President Biden at the White House.”
“President Biden is a professing Catholic who, as the most powerful man in the world, is responsible for leading the most pro-abortion administration in our history that has overseen a horrific death toll of 2,548 children every day lost to abortion,” she said.
“I call on President Biden to reject the extremism of the abortion lobby and to protect the vulnerable children of his nation,” Rose added.
Hundreds of thousands of unborn children are killed in the womb every year through abortion.
Butker kicked the Super Bowl-winning field goal for the Chiefs during his team’s stunning Feb. 12 Super Bowl victory against the Philadelphia Eagles.
In addition to his game-clinching kick, he captured media attention for his scapular, which made a timely appearance as it slipped out of his jersey while more than 100 million fans across the globe watched him line up for a 27-yard field goal attempt with 11 seconds left on the clock in a tie game.
“I think that was our Blessed Mother asking for the spotlight to be shown on her and reminding me that all the glory goes to God and to her,” Butker told CNA in March.
Papal envoy to Ukraine meets with President Zelenskyy, concludes ‘intense’ visit
Posted on 06/6/2023 18:15 PM (CNA Daily News)
CNA Newsroom, Jun 6, 2023 / 13:15 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis’ envoy to Ukraine Cardinal Matteo Zuppi on Tuesday finished a “brief but intense” two-day visit to Kyiv, which included a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“The results of these talks, such as those with religious representatives, as well as the direct experience of the atrocious suffering of the Ukrainian people as a result of the ongoing war, will be brought to the Holy Father’s attention,” the Holy See Press Office said in a bulletin Tuesday.
Zuppi’s conversations “will undoubtedly be useful in assessing the steps to be taken both on the humanitarian level and in the search for paths to a just and lasting peace,” the bulletin said.
On Tuesday morning, Zuppi stopped to pray at Kyiv’s St. Sophia Cathedral, a historic center of Christianity.
He then met with Zelenskyy and other political leaders. The meeting with the president was “very cordial” according to Avvenire, the newspaper published by the Italian Episcopal Conference.
Zelenskyy, writing on the messaging internet service Telegram, said he and Zuppi discussed the situation in Ukraine and humanitarian cooperation.
“Only joint efforts, diplomatic isolation, and pressure on Russia can bring a just peace on Ukrainian soil,” the president said. “I ask the Holy See to help implement the Ukrainian peace plan. Ukraine welcomes the willingness of other states and partners to find ways to peace, but since the war is on our territory the solution for achieving peace can only be Ukrainian.”
The cardinal thanked Ukraine’s civil authorities for the meetings, especially for the meeting with Ukraine’s president, the Holy See Press Office said.
Last month Pope Francis asked Zuppi, who is archbishop of Bologna and president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, to serve as a papal envoy to “initiate paths of peace” between Russia and Ukraine.
The cardinal has strong ties to the influential peace-building community Sant’Egidio, a lay Catholic association. Sant’Egidio has taken part in peace negotiations in many countries including Mozambique, South Sudan, Congo, Burundi, and the Central African Republic.
On Monday, the first day of his visit, Zuppi visited the town of Bucha about 16 miles west of Kyiv, Vatican News reported. He prayed at the graves of dozens of civilians massacred by Russian troops in March 2022. Many of the victims were tortured and buried in mass graves.
He met with Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliament’s human rights commissioner. Topics of discussion included the treatment of Ukrainian children in Russian-occupied territories and the treatment of prisoners, including civilians.
Also on Monday, the cardinal met with representatives of the Council of Churches and Religious Organizations.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on May 26 said that Zuppi’s mission does not have mediation as its immediate goal. Rather, his role aims to create a climate for mediation and “help move toward a peaceful solution.”
‘We have much to celebrate’: USCCB pro-life chair releases Dobbs anniversary statement
Posted on 06/6/2023 17:45 PM (CNA Daily News)
CNA Newsroom, Jun 6, 2023 / 12:45 pm (CNA).
Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, released a statement June 6 ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s June 24, 2022, decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.
“We have much to celebrate,” Burbidge wrote. “By the grace of God, the nearly 50-year reign of national abortion on demand has been put to an end. Roe v. Wade — a seemingly insurmountable blight on our nation — is no more!”
Amid the time for celebration, however, “we are reminded that this is not the end, but the beginning of a critical new phase in our efforts to protect human life,” Burbidge said in the statement. “Despite this momentous legal victory, sobering and varied challenges lie ahead of us.”
Burbidge pointed out that in the last year, several states have passed legislation to protect unborn life while other states enacted “extreme abortion policies that leave children vulnerable to abortion, even until the moment of birth.”
“In this shifting political landscape, we persist confidently in our efforts to defend life,” he continued. “The work that lies ahead continues to be not just changing laws but also helping to change hearts, with steadfast faith in the power of God to do so.”
Burbidge called for “radical solidarity” with women facing unexpected or challenging pregnancies as well as compassion for those who suffer due to their participation in abortion. He also called for prayer.
“May all people of faith and good will work together to proclaim that human life is a precious gift from God; that each person who receives this gift has responsibilities toward God, self and others; and that society, through its laws and social institutions, must protect and nurture human life at every stage of its existence,” he concluded.
Here is Pope Francis’ schedule for World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon
Posted on 06/6/2023 16:45 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, Jun 6, 2023 / 11:45 am (CNA).
Pope Francis’ schedule for his trip to Portugal for World Youth Day 2023 was published by the Vatican on Tuesday.
During his Aug. 2–6 visit to the southern European country, the 86-year-old pope will split his time between WYD events and meetings with local government and religious leaders and other organizations.
He will also spend the morning of Aug. 5 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, about 75 miles northeast of Lisbon, where he will pray the rosary with sick young adults in the Marian shrine’s Chapel of Apparitions.
On the evening of Aug. 5, Pope Francis will participate in a vigil with World Youth Day participants at Tejo Park in Lisbon, a green space of more than 220 acres flanked by the Tagus River and with a view of Europe’s second-longest bridge, Vasco da Gama.
The park will be the site for WYD 2023’s main festivities, including Mass with Pope Francis on the final day.
Sunday Mass followed by a meeting with World Youth Day volunteers will be the pope’s final encounters before returning to Rome on the evening of Aug. 6.
The five-day trip will begin with a meeting with Portugal’s Catholic President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa followed by an address to government authorities, civil society members, and the diplomatic corps.
He will later meet with the country’s prime minister, António Costa, before praying vespers with local priests, bishops, seminarians, and consecrated men and women at the 16th-century Jerónimos Monastery, one of Lisbon’s top-visited sites.
On Aug. 3, Francis will meet students from the Portuguese Catholic University before traveling to the Cascais suburb west of Lisbon to spend time with young people from Scholas Occurentes, an international group that promotes education in poor communities.
That afternoon he will take part in his first World Youth Day event, a welcome ceremony at Eduardo VII Park.
On Friday, Aug. 4, Pope Francis will hear confessions, meet representatives of charity organizations, have lunch with young adults, and pray the Stations of the Cross.
The trip will mark Francis’ fourth World Youth Day after taking part in the international Catholic gatherings in Panama, Poland, and Brazil.
World Youth Day was established by Pope John Paul II in 1985. The weeklong celebration usually attracts hundreds of thousands of young people.
The theme of Lisbon’s World Youth Day, which will take place Aug. 1-6, is “Mary arose and went with haste.”
Pope Francis names two new auxiliary bishops for San Diego who immigrated to US as teens
Posted on 06/6/2023 15:34 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, Jun 6, 2023 / 10:34 am (CNA).
Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed two new auxiliary bishops for San Diego who both immigrated to the U.S. as teenagers.
The Vatican announced on June 6 that Father Michael Pham, 56, and Father Felipe Pulido, 53, will be consecrated as bishops for the Diocese of San Diego.
Pham is San Diego’s current vicar general and escaped Vietnam in a refugee boat with his siblings when he was 13 years old.
“Being appointed auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of San Diego by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, is incredible and unfathomable news for me. I am so deeply honored,” Pham told CNA.
While growing up in South Vietnam in the 1970s, Pham noticed a Catholic priest in town who was very involved with his parishioners and kind to everyone. At 10 years old Pham thought: “I want to be like that.”
After the Vietnam War ended with the fall of Saigon, Pham and two of his siblings fled the country in July 1980 in a harrowing boat journey in the South China Sea with no food and little water.
“We were jammed in like sardines.There was barely room to sit down,” Pham recounted to the Mission Times Courier.
Pham and his siblings spent three months in a refugee camp in Malaysia before finding asylum in the United States as unaccompanied minors.
The siblings were hosted by a family in Minnesota until Pham’s father, who had aided the Americans during his service in the South Vietnamese army, also gained asylum in the U.S. and moved the family to San Diego.
Pham finished high school in San Diego and went on to earn a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from San Diego State University. While working for a company that maintained databases for Boeing, he felt a call to the priesthood.
His father was strongly against him becoming a priest, but Pham’s call to his vocation became more intense and he applied to the seminary without his father’s approval.
“My parents soon realized that they couldn’t stop me from entering the seminary, and they finally accepted my request for their approval. I truly felt the hands of God working throughout the whole process for me to become a priest,” Pham said.
He enrolled in St. Francis Seminary and later studied at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California, before he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of San Diego in 1999 at the age of 32. Pham spent four years as the diocesan vocation director and has been the pastor of Good Shepherd Parish since 2016.
“It is truly a privilege and an honor to become a priest. And now, I am being called to serve the Church in a greater capacity as bishop. I don’t know what I have, but I hope and pray through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom, knowledge, and strength to take on this task that the pope has entrusted to me to serve God’s people,” Pham told CNA.
Pulido is the vicar for clergy and vocations director for the Diocese of Yakima, Washington. He was born in a small town in Mexico in the state of Michoacán and is the oldest of seven children.
At age 12 he entered a minor seminary in Mexico, where he studied through high school.
When he was 18, Pulido came to the U.S. with his parents and worked in the fields in Washington picking and packing fruit. He worked as a teacher assistant for three years at the Epic Migrant Head Start program before entering Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon in 1994 at the age of 24.
He spent time in Rome as a student at the Pontifical North American College and earned a degree in sacred theology with high honors at the Angelicum in Rome in 2000. Pulido also studied at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Rome from 2001 to 2002 and was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Yakima in 2002.
Pulido has served as the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Kennewick, Washington, since 2020.
“Father Pulido is the first priest of the Yakima Diocese named to be a bishop since its founding in 1951. We are all very proud of him,” Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima said after the appointment was announced.
As auxiliary bishops, Pham and Pulido will join Auxiliary Bishop Ramon Bejarano in assisting Cardinal Robert McElroy in his duties as bishop of San Diego. The Diocese of San Diego serves more than 1.3 million Catholics.