BALTIMORE (OSV News) – Attendees of the National Eucharistic Congress July 17-21 in Indianapolis now have the option of purchasing single-day and weekend passes in order to make attendance more affordable and flexible, the bishop overseeing the congress announced Nov. 15. Speaking at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall plenary assembly, Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, also said scholarship funds may help ease the costs for some attendees, via the bishops’ Solidarity Fund. Standard passes for the five-day congress are $299-$375 for adults, and $99 for children ages 2-18 traveling with their family. The single-day passes will range $49-$95 depending on the day, and weekend passes will be $125. Registration does not include housing, transportation or meals related to the congress. Registration for day and weekend passes will open in January. A limited number of discounted single-day passes will be available for early registrants. The National Eucharistic Congress is the pinnacle of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative the USCCB launched in 2022 to renew and strengthen Catholics’ understanding of and love for Jesus in the Eucharist.
MENLO PARK, Calif. (OSV News) – At age 50, seminarian Scott-Vincent Borba doesn’t consider his to be a late vocation. “God called me at age 10,” he told OSV News. “I just accepted late.” Now in his pastoral year at St. Patrick’s University and Seminary in Menlo Park, California, Borba shared with OSV News how he traded a life as a young, highly successful cosmetics industry executive – a career that included co-founding the e.l.f. line of products, regular media appearances, and clients such as actress Mila Kunis – for a life of priestly service. Fame, fortune and a nonstop work schedule ultimately couldn’t silence a call Borba experienced at age 10, and his journey back to his childhood faith and his vocation has brought profound joy, he said. “I have never been happier. I have never been more full of joy,” he said. “With everything the world can give me, I would give it back a million times over to be united to Jesus,” added Borba, who is studying to be a priest for the Diocese of Fresno, California.
WASHINGTON (OSV News) – The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee has sent a letter to lawmakers in Congress urging enhanced protections be put in place for migrant children. “In recent months, several concerning reports have emerged regarding incidents of migrant children in the United States suffering exploitative labor conditions and other harmful situations,” Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, said in his Nov. 9 letter. “Among migrants, unaccompanied children constitute the most vulnerable group,” added the bishop, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration. His letter follows the Nov. 1 introduction of a bipartisan, bicameral measure that would add protections for minors to immigration courts, which do not currently have protocols specifically for processing children. Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, alongside Reps. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., and Maria Salazar, R-Fla., introduced the Immigration Court Efficiency and Children’s Court Act, legislation they said would establish a Children’s Court within the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which they argued would both combat the immigration court backlog and strengthen due process rights for unaccompanied migrant children. Reps. Hillary Scholten, D-Mich., and Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ore., are also original co-sponsors of the legislation, according to a release from Bennett’s office.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Embrace God’s unconditional love and live in a way that is based on and radiates hope, Pope Francis told Catholic young people. Christian hope “is the celebration of the love of the risen Christ, who is always at our side, even when he seems far from us,” the pope said in his annual message for local celebrations of World Youth Day. Hope is nurtured by prayer and the concrete choices one makes every day, he said in the message, published Nov. 14 at the Vatican. “I urge all of you to choose a style of life grounded in hope,” he wrote. For example, instead of sharing negative things on social media, share things that inspire hope. “Each day, try to share a word of hope with others. Try to sow seeds of hope in the lives of your friends and everyone around you,” the pope wrote. While the next international celebration of World Youth Day will be held in Seoul, South Korea, in 2027, Pope Francis has asked Catholic young people around the world to prepare for the Holy Year 2025 and its Jubilee of Young People in Rome, which will be part of the Holy Year celebration. In the two years preceding the Jubilee of Young People, dioceses around the world are to celebrate World Youth Day on a local level on the feast of Christ the King, which will be Nov. 26 this year and Nov. 24, 2024.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Often enough, the first people who need to be evangelized are Christians themselves, Pope Francis said. “A Christian who is discontented, sad, dissatisfied, or worse still, resentful or rancorous, is not credible” and will not attract anyone to a relationship with Jesus and a life of faith, the pope said Nov. 15 at his weekly general audience. After almost a year of audience talks about “zeal for evangelization” and highlighting the example of saints and other exemplary men and women from around the world, Pope Francis said his last talks in the series would focus on four points from his 2013 apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel.” The first point, the subject of his talk Nov. 15, was the essential role of joy in the life of Christians and in their ability to share the Gospel with others. “The Gospel is not an ideology; the Gospel is a proclamation of joy,” he said. “All ideologies are cold, but the Gospel has the warmth of joy. Ideologies don’t make people smile, but the Gospel is a smile. It makes you smile because it touches your soul with the Good News.”
NOTTINGHAM, England (OSV News) – British bishops expressed their condolences to Dean and Claire Gregory, parents of 8-month-old Indi who died Nov. 13 after neither a court battle nor Italian citizenship granted to the infant prevented the British courts from halting her life-support. Following the death of baby Indi, Bishop Patrick McKinney of Nottingham and Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues and Auxiliary of Westminster, wrote in a statement that they learned about the death of the child with “deep sadness,” assuring the parents “of our prayers and those of all the Catholic Community, including Pope Francis, at this sad time.” “As a baptized child of God, we believe that she will now share in the joy of heaven after her short life which brought deep joy to her parents who loved and protected her as a precious gift of God,” the bishops said. The father of the girl said earlier that he was not religious, but he had chosen to have his child baptized Sept. 23 after feeling the “pull of hell” in their court battle to extend her life. Indi died at 1:45 a.m. U.K. time Nov. 13.
NICE, France (OSV News) – The Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order founded in 1839 by St. Jeanne Jugan, serves the elderly poor in over 30 countries around the world. They serve the neediest with assistance, care and prayer. Now one of their own needs prayers. On Oct. 31, the Little Sisters in Nice experienced a devastating blow when “a car went out of control and up onto a sidewalk, striking two sisters,” the congregation said in a message sent to supporters. “One, less seriously injured, was hospitalized and has now returned home. The other, a 28-year-old sister from India, sustained serious head injuries and doctors do not give any hope for her recovery,” Sister Constance Veit, U.S. communications director for the order, said on behalf of the French sisters. “If this is God’s will, we accept, but we also see this as a call to arms, to pray for her healing, knowing that nothing is impossible to our loving God,” the sisters wrote. “Would you please join us in praying through the intercession of Father Ernest Lelièvre for the healing of Sister Isabelle Antoinette? … Because of his holiness and missionary zeal we believe he could be a powerful role model and intercessor for the clergy of our day.” Father Lelièvre (1826-1889) traveled the world to establish homes run by the sisters.
WARSAW, Poland (OSV News) – On Warsaw’s Rakowiecka street, flanked by a smart new Metro station and office building, a gray cement wall runs mournfully along a damp surface of fallen leaves. At midpoint in the wall, a narrow gateway opens out onto crumbling barrack buildings, still daubed with political graffiti between tightly barred windows. When Mokotow prison was opened as the Museum of Cursed Soldiers and Political Prisoners of the Polish People’s Republic in March, six years after shedding its last inmates, it was agreed regular Masses and liturgies should be held to dispel the site’s dark, malevolent associations. Today, dedicated to communist-era resistance fighters and political prisoners, the museum’s melancholy courtyards and corridors gain special poignancy during the commemorative month of November. “Though this is a secular institution, it’s also a place of prayer,” explained Father Tomasz Trzaska, the museum’s chaplain. “While Poles place candles each year on the graves of loved ones, we should remember many victims of past misrule have no known resting place. It’s especially those people we pray for in November, as work continues to uncover and identify their remains.” Given the horrors perpetrated here, Father Trzaska thinks religious ceremonies are important – especially for ex-inmates who sometimes show up with friends and relatives. “This museum should serve as a visible warning of humanity’s darker side,” said Lidia Ujazdowska, a Warsaw historian.