Católicos en el Mundo

PANAMA CITY (CNS) – El Papa Francisco oró por encontrar una solución pacífica a la inestabilidad e incertidumbre que reina en Venezuela. (Por Junno Arocho Esteves)
CARACAS, Venezuela (CNS) – La conferencia episcopal venezolana dice que el nuevo gobierno de Nicolás Maduro es ilegítimo y ha pedido un cambio de gobierno. (Por Cody Weddle)
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Al no ser escuchados en su país, nicaragüenses piden ayuda de la OEA. (Por Rhina Guidos)
PINAR DEL RIO, Cuba – La Parroquia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, en el poblado de Sandino fue inaugurada en febrero 27 y es una de las únicas tres iglesias que el Gobierno cubano ha autorizado construir.
CIUDAD DE MÉXICO (CNS) – La conferencia de obispos mexicanos confirmó que 152 sacerdotes en los últimos nueve años han sido suspendidos de su ministerio por abusar sexualmente de menores. En una declaración publicada el 12 de febrero, la conferencia publicó la figura preliminar, aunque prometió que: “En los siguientes meses se continuará con el esfuerzo por tener el diagnóstico completo de casos de abuso sexual infantil en México”. (Por David Agren)
CUCUTA, Colombia (CNS)—Iglesias en la frontera de Colombia trabajan para asistir a venezolanos desesperados. En Colombia, agencias de caridad católicas están haciendo todo lo posible para ayudar a los venezolanos que entran al país buscando medicina, comida, y trabajo. El comedor social de la Divina Providencia en Cucutá, proporciona unas 4,000 comidas diarias para migrantes y refugiados, cuatro veces más de lo que hacía cuando se abrió en 2017. (Por Manuel Rueda)

A damaged church is seen Jan. 28, 2019, the day after a tornado ripped through a neighborhood in Havana. An EF3 tornado and pounding rains smashed into the eastern part of Cuba’s capital, toppling trees, bending power poles and flinging shards of metal roofing through the air. (CNS photo/Reuters)

40 Days founder to speak at Mississippi kickoff event

JACKSON – Shawn Carney, the national president of the peaceful, prayerful, effective 40 Days for Life project, will tell the story of this groundbreaking effort in Jackson on March 6. Carney will be speaking at 40 Days for Life Kickoff, which is set for 6 p.m. at 2903 North State Street in Jackson, the site of the state’s last abortion clinic.
“People in Jackson have made extraordinary sacrifices to expose the abortion industry and to protect pre-born children and their mothers from abortion,” Carney said. “I’m honored to be able to join these folks in prayer. Their efforts illustrate why we’re seeing historic changes – more mothers choosing life, more abortion workers experiencing conversions and leaving the abortion industry, and more abortion centers closing their doors for good.”

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin – Shawn Carney, president and founder of 40 Days for Life, at right in stocking cap, speaks at a 2018 event. Carney will speak at the kickoff to the prayer vigil to end abortion in Jackson on March 6. (Photo courtesy of 40 Days for Life)

“We are tremendously pleased that Shawn will be here to support our 40 Days for Life effort,” said Barbara Beavers, spokesperson for the local 40 Days for Life campaign in Jackson. “He’s an energetic, enthusiastic speaker and we know he will be an inspiration.”
Jackson is one of 6,020 communities around the world conducting simultaneous 40 Days for Life campaigns from March 6 through April 14.
40 Days for Life is an intensive campaign that focuses on 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion, peaceful vigil at abortion facilities, and grassroots educational outreach. Since 40 Days for Life began, 15,256 mothers have chosen life for their children; 186 abortion workers have quit their jobs; and 99 abortion centers where 40 Days for Life vigils have been held have gone out of business.
Carney led the first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Bryan/College Station, Texas in 2004 and has helped coordinate more than 20 national 40 Days for Life campaigns that have engaged communities coast to coast – and internationally.
Planned Parenthood recognized the effectiveness of Carney’s efforts when it labeled Bryan/College Station “the most anti-choice place in the nation.” Following more than a dozen 40 Days for Life campaigns at that location, Planned Parenthood closed that abortion center in the summer of 2013.
To learn more about 40 Days for Life, visit: www.40daysforlife.com. For information about the Jackson campaign, visit: www.40daysforlife.com/Jackson-2
For assistance or for more information, please contact Barbara Beavers at plm@prolifemississippi.org or 601-956-8636.

Mississippi moves toward more restrictions while other states expand abortion

By Jacob Comello
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Since the end of January, the legislatures of New York, Virginia and other states have made headlines by approving or introducing policies that relax abortion restrictions, even in the third trimester and during labor.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Mississippi passed a pair of bills that would prohibit abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected — which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant indicated earlier this year he would sign such a bill into law.
Similar bills are making their ways through the legislatures in five other states, mostly in the Southeast.
Last year the state passed one of the most restrictive laws in the nation to ban abortions after 15 weeks, but that ban was halted by a federal judge. State Attorney General Jim Hood said at that time he would appeal to have the law reinstated.Pro-Life Mississippi immediately praised the passage of the bills. “We thank all our representatives and senators who helped on the Mississippi Bill HB732 and SB2116 to ban abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected. We pray that others will check their heart and see the importance of saving lives in Mississippi,” organization president Laura Duran wrote in a press release.
Now New Mexico is one step closer to passing a similar bill that loosens the state’s already liberal abortion laws and would erase virtually all abortion restrictions in the event that the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The “Decriminalize Abortion Bill,” or H.B. 51, has now made its way through the New Mexico House of Representatives, receiving the body’s overall approval in a 40-29 floor vote Feb. 6 after being confirmed by several committees. It is now headed for the Senate, where it will be the subject of further debate and another vote.
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican daily newspaper, there are three main parts of New Mexico’s pre-Roe abortion law that would be invalidated by the act: a prohibition that makes abortion a felony; language that permits abortions in some circumstances as determined by a physician, such as rape or threat to a mother’s life; and an opt-out provision for hospitals or providers that register moral or religious objections to performing the procedure.
Most of these were invalidated already by Roe v. Wade or the New Mexico Court of Appeals, giving New Mexico some of the laxest abortion policy in the country.
But if Roe v. Wade is eventually overturned, this state law would ensure that abortion would be available on-demand in New Mexico.
In multiple statements, the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops has condemned the bill and urged Catholics in the state’s three dioceses to take action against it.
In one statement released before H.B. 51 had passed the House Judiciary Committee, the bishops criticized the bill as a whole but especially the portions that would be in effect even without a Roe v. Wade repeal. For example, as per the Jan. 31 release, “H.B. 51 guarantees that parents will NOT be involved in their minor daughter’s abortion,” which the bishops see as extremely damaging and opening the door to abuse.
Additionally, in that statement the bishops lamented the lack of protections for doctors who object to abortion on moral or religious grounds: “H.B. 51 strips away the only explicit conscience protection for doctors and other medical professionals that protect them from being forced to participate in abortions. … Medical professionals should not have to worry that the state of New Mexico and private companies could have the power to force them to choose between their faith and their profession.”
The statement included statistics collected from the New Mexico Alliance for Life, which seemed to demonstrate that the principles of the bill are not attuned to New Mexican opinion. Included were claims that “67 percent of New Mexicans support parental involvement in a minor’s abortion” and that “70 percent of New Mexicans oppose allowing abortions after five months up to birth.”
After H.B. 51 had cleared the House, the bishops released another statement, again denouncing the elimination of religious protections, which would be enforceable without a Roe overturn: “Two parts of the statute are not void by the U.S. Supreme Court and are enforced. We oppose H.B. 51 and urge our legislators to protect the conscience of our health care workers and protect women by maintaining the conscience clause and requirement of the doctor.”

McCarrick removed from priesthood, convicted of abuse

By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has confirmed the removal from the priesthood of Theodore E. McCarrick, the 88-year-old former cardinal and archbishop of Washington.
The Vatican announced the decision Feb. 16, saying he was found guilty of “solicitation in the sacrament of confession and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”
A panel of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith found him guilty Jan. 11, the Vatican said. McCarrick appealed the decision, but the appeal was rejected Feb. 13 by the congregation itself. McCarrick was informed of the decision Feb. 15 and Pope Francis “recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law,” making a further appeal impossible.

Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, arrives for the Jan. 1, 2017, installation Mass of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. On Feb. 16, 2019, Pope Francis confirmed the removal from the priesthood of McCarrick. Even though the decision was not unexpected, the news cast a somber mood over the faith communities in the dioceses and archdioceses where he had served. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By ordering McCarrick’s “dismissal from the clerical state,” the decision means that McCarrick loses all rights and duties associated with being a priest, cannot present himself as a priest and is forbidden to celebrate the sacraments, except to grant absolution for sins to a person in imminent danger of death.
The only church penalty that is more severe is excommunication, which would have banned him from receiving the sacraments. The other possible punishment was to sentence him to a “life of prayer and penance,” a penalty often imposed on elderly clerics; the penalty is similar to house arrest and usually includes banning the person from public ministry, limiting his interactions with others and restricting his ability to leave the place he is assigned to live.
McCarrick’s punishment is the toughest meted out to a cardinal by the Vatican in modern times.
McCarrick’s initial suspension from ministry and removal from the College of Cardinals in 2018 came after a man alleged that McCarrick began sexually abusing him in 1971 when he was a 16-year-old altar server in New York; the Archdiocese of New York found the allegation “credible and substantiated” and turned the case over to the Vatican.
At that point, in June, then-Cardinal McCarrick said he would no longer exercise any public ministry “in obedience” to the Vatican, although he maintained he was innocent.
In late July, the pope accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals and ordered him to maintain “a life of prayer and penance” until the accusation that he had sexually abused a minor could be examined by a Vatican court.
In the weeks that followed the initial announcement, another man came forward claiming he was abused as a child by McCarrick, and several former seminarians spoke out about being sexually harassed by the cardinal at a beach house he had in New Jersey.
Since September, McCarrick has been living in a Capuchin friary in rural Kansas.
The allegations against McCarrick, including what appeared to be years of sexual harassment of seminarians, also led to serious questions about who may have known about his activities and how he was able to rise to the level of cardinal.
At least two former seminarians reported the sexual misconduct of McCarrick to their local bishops as far back as the 1990s. The Archdiocese of Newark and the dioceses of Metuchen and Trenton made a settlement with one man in 2005, and the Diocese of Metuchen settled with the other man in 2007.
A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Metuchen told Catholic News Service in August that both settlements were reported to the Vatican nuncio in Washington. The two archbishops who held the position of nuncio in 2004 and 2006 have since died.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who served as nuncio in Washington from 2011-2016, made headlines in mid-August when he called for Pope Francis to resign, claiming the pope had known of allegations against McCarrick and had lifted sanctions imposed on McCarrick by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI.
The former nuncio later clarified that Pope Benedict issued the sanctions “privately” perhaps “due to the fact that he (McCarrick) was already retired, maybe due to the fact that he (Pope Benedict) was thinking he was ready to obey.”
In an open letter to Archbishop Vigano released in October, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops since 2010, said that in 2011, “I told you verbally of the situation of the bishop emeritus (McCarrick) who was to observe certain conditions and restrictions because of rumors about his behavior in the past.”
Then-Cardinal McCarrick “was strongly exhorted not to travel and not to appear in public so as not to provoke further rumors,” Cardinal Ouellet said, but “it is false to present these measures taken in his regard as ‘sanctions’ decreed by Pope Benedict XVI and annulled by Pope Francis. After re-examining the archives, I certify that there are no such documents signed by either pope.”
Cardinal Ouellet’s letter was published a few days after the Vatican issued a statement saying that it would, “in due course, make known the conclusions of the matter regarding Archbishop McCarrick.”
In addition, Pope Francis ordered “a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the archives of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.”
The Vatican statement said it is aware “that, from the examination of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were made that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues. However, as Pope Francis has said: ‘We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead.’ Both abuse and its cover-up can no longer be tolerated, and a different treatment for bishops who have committed or covered up abuse, in fact, represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable.”
McCarrick had been ordained to the priesthood in 1958 for the Archdiocese of New York. James, the first child he baptized after ordination, claimed that from the time he was 11 years old and for some 20 years, McCarrick sexually abused him.
In 1977, McCarrick was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of New York and, in 1981, St. John Paul II named him the first bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey. Five years later, he became the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and in November 2000 St. John Paul named him archbishop of Washington, D.C., and made him a cardinal early in 2001. McCarrick retired in 2006.
At least three other cardinals have been accused of sexual abuse or impropriety in the past 25 years. In the 1990s Austrian Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer was forced to step down as archbishop of Vienna and eventually to relinquish all public ministry after allegations of the sexual abuse and harassment of seminarians and priests; he died in 2003 without having undergone a canonical trial.
Pope Benedict XVI forced Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien to step down as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh in early 2013; after an investigation, Pope Francis withdrew his “rights and duties” as a cardinal, although he retained the title until his death in March 2018.
Australian Cardinal George Pell, facing charges of abusing minors, has been on leave from his post as head of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy since mid-2017; he reportedly was found guilty of some charges in December, but the court has imposed an injunction on press coverage of the trial. Pope Francis told reporters he would not speak about the case until the court proceedings have run their course.

Super Bowl Blues: When Atlanta rhymes with Mylanta

By Peter Finney Jr.
NEW ORLEANS (CNS) – I get it when people tell us to just get over it.
That’s normally a therapeutic suggestion. Holding onto anger – like tightly clenching shards of glass in a balled fist – can become much more than a flesh wound to the soul.
Just open your hand and let the shards fall to the floor!
And yet …
There is something about what happened – or did not happen – in the NFC Championship Game Jan. 20 that has left citizens of the Who Dat Nation in shock, anger and denial, prompting spiritual leaders to pick up the pieces.
Father Joe Palermo, who spent many years as a spiritual adviser to young men studying for the priesthood at Notre Dame Seminary, became pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Metairie last July. Because he was free on weekends to celebrate Masses across the Archdiocese of New Orleans, he frequently received calls from pastors looking for a “supply priest” for the evening Mass on the first Sunday of February.
“The priest who needed the substitute never would call me personally – it was the poor, unsuspecting secretary who would have no clue and call in October or November,” Father Palermo said, laughing. “I would say, ‘Oh, he’s got a Super Bowl party to go to.’ And she would say, ‘Huh?’ I would tell her, ‘I’ll take the Mass.'”
In all of his years doing the Super Bowl evening Mass – kickoff for the game is 5:25 p.m. – Father Palermo barely was able to fulfill Jesus’ command: “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
“Fifty is the most I’ve ever seen at a Super Bowl Mass,” Father Palermo said.
So when Father Palermo became a new pastor, he started thinking about his lonely, echo-inducing Super Bowl Sunday liturgy experience.
“There’s usually only a handful of people in the church, and you want to have a vibrant liturgy,” Father Palermo said. “The more I thought about it, I thought we might not have a Mass during the time of the Super Bowl. But, if the Saints were in the Super Bowl, we were absolutely not going to have it. We would have nobody in the church, and I would be missing the game.”
Father Palermo posted the cancellation notice in his Jan. 27 bulletin, which went to press a couple of days before the Jan. 20 NFC Championship Game between the Saints and the Rams.
Then, all larceny broke out in the Superdome.
The non-call heard round the world robbed the Saints of a near-certain berth in Super Bowl LIII – which, someone noted the other day, might forever be remembered as Super Bowl “LIIIE.”
“That was a game-changer,” said Father Palermo, who was at the game and saw the officials’ sin of omission face-to-face on the HD Jumbotron, not as a shadowy crime through a confessional screen.

Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman breaks up a pass intended for New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis during the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome Jan. 20, 2019. (CNS photo/Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters) See NFC-SAINTS-PIECES Feb. 1, 2019.

The next day, at morning Mass, Father Palermo encountered black-and-gold parishioners who were red-eyed and blue, hurting just as much as he was.
“It was clear that people had been hurt and that they were emotionally down,” Father Palermo said. “It’s funny, because even people who are not big Saints’ fans were telling me, ‘Father, this just doesn’t seem fair and just.’ So, I thought, rather than not have Mass on Super Bowl Sunday evening, we needed to have Mass to celebrate our unity as a community and celebrate all the good things that the Saints have done for us and brought to us – and pray for healing. All those things seemed very well-suited to a celebration.”
As Father Palermo reflected on what he would write for his “Pastor’s Corner” column for the Feb. 3 bulletin, he decided first that the parish would, in fact, offer a Super Bowl Sunday Mass at 5:30 p.m., and he invited everyone attending all five weekend Masses to wear black and gold and stay after Mass for Saints-themed hospitality.
But then, the muse in him could not sit still. In just a few minutes, he penned a new blues’ tune, which he titled, “Super Bowl Blues!”
At the end of Mass on Jan. 27 – during the announcements – he debuted his Casey Kasem Top 40 hit:
“I had my heart set on Atlanta/I’ve got the Super Bowl Blues/The ref’s blown call made me a ranter/I’ve got the Super Bowl Blues/Now I’m drinking straight Mylanta/To shake the Super Bowl Blues!
“I didn’t think anything could rhyme with Mylanta,” Father Palermo said. “That came from out of left field.”
The response? “Applause,” Father Palermo said.
In addition to the post-Mass pastries and coffee Feb. 3, Father Palermo also offered the blessing of the throats, courtesy of the feast of St. Blaise. Many throats were still raw from overuse injuries two weeks earlier.
In his Feb. 3 bulletin, Father Palermo recognized the unique bond between the Saints and the city, especially the team’s role in lifting spirits after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and then winning Super Bowl XLIV in 2010.
“Thanks be to God we have the Saints,” he wrote. “May we stand with them in this time of suffering, remembering that God didn’t promise justice in this life but victory for the Saints in the life to come. O Lord, bring healing to our grieving team and city, and, next year, help us to win a second Lombardi Trophy – with a heaping helping of Ram gumbo!”
Until then, I’m opening my clenched fist just enough to pick up a baby blue bottle – and swigging straight Mylanta.
A priest told me it would be good for the hole in my soul.

(Finney is executive editor and general manager of Clarion Herald, newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.)

Briefs nation and world

NATION
Catholic Charities USA leaders outline immediate, long-term goals
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Two top Catholic Charities USA leaders outlined some of the short-term and long-term goals for the organization and its affiliates throughout the country Feb. 3 during the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington. Catholic Charities is in the midst of a five-year strategic plan to more sharply identify areas where it believes it can make a difference, said Brian Corbin, executive vice president of member services. One of those areas is refugee resettlement and immigration policy. Corbin said it has worked with Migration and Refugees Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to place 16,000 refugees across the country in collaboration with local Catholic Charities affiliates that have located sponsor families to help resettle those refugees. It also has partnered with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Corbin said, on issues surrounding the continued migration of Latin Americans to the United States. Affordable housing is another of Catholic Charities USA’s strategic priorities. “In your own town, you probably know there are housing issues,” Corbin said. “Catholic Charities as an institution is the largest nonpublic provider of housing after the government. We are there. We will continue to be there,” he said to applause. Catholic Charities’ commitment extends to shelters, domestic-violence shelters, transitional housing and permanent housing, he said.

House members introduce bipartisan measure to ban abortions at 20 weeks
WASHINGTON (CNS) – U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, was joined by more than 100 other members of the House Jan. 24 in introducing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act of 2019, a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. Smith, a Catholic, who is co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, is the lead sponsor of the bill, which cites research showing that unborn babies “can feel agonizing pain” at 20 weeks of development. “The majority of Americans — some 59 percent according to a recent poll — support legal protection for pain-capable unborn children,” Smith said in introducing the bill. He was referring to results of an annual poll of Americans’ views on abortion conducted by the Marist Poll at Marist College and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. The poll also showed that 75 percent of respondents want “substantial” restrictions on abortion access even as more than half of respondents describe themselves as “pro-choice.” The poll was conducted Jan. 8-10 and the results were released ahead of the Jan. 18 March for Life. “Today we know that unborn babies not only die but suffer excruciating pain during dismemberment abortion — a cruelty that rips arms and legs off a helpless child,” Smith said. “This tragic human rights abuse must end.”

Priest who was former national Renew leader and beloved pastor dies
TUCSON, Ariz. (CNS) – Msgr. Robert D. Fuller, an Arizona priest who was a national leader of the Renew movement in the early 1980s and a beloved pastor in the Tucson Diocese, died Jan. 23. He was 88. “We are privileged from time to time to meet a living giant,” said retired Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, who worked with Msgr. Fuller for most of the last two decades. “I experienced that when I met Msgr. Fuller. He was an outstanding priest, a great preacher and a person of deep faith. He now enjoys the fulfillment of what he preached.” Tucson Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger will be the main concelebrant of a funeral Mass Feb. 1 for Msgr. Fuller at St. Augustine Cathedral in Tucson, followed by interment at Holy Hope Cemetery. Ordained a priest for the Tucson Diocese April 25, 1956, his assignments included serving as director of the Bureau of Information, which later became the diocesan Communications Office. He was appointed editor and business manager of the Arizona Register, as the diocesan newspaper was called, on June 7, 1963, after serving as assistant editor in 1961-63. Msgr. Fuller left Tucson for five years, from 1981 to 1986, to work for Renew, which is based in Newark, New Jersey. Renew fosters spiritual renewal in the Catholic tradition at the parish level by empowering individuals and communities to encounter God in everyday life.

Bishop tells Covington Catholic High School community he stands with them
COVINGTON, Ky. (CNS) – You could literally hear a pin drop as the faculty, staff and student body of Covington Catholic High School waited in the gym Jan. 23 for the arrival of Covington Bishop Roger J. Foys. The bishop was there to address the students about the events that took place Jan. 18, after the March for Life in Washington, where a student standing face-to-face with a Native American elder was captured on video and ignited a firestorm on social media — making headlines around the world. Bob Rowe, principal, opened with a prayer and introduced Bishop Foys, who said: “These last four days have been a living hell for many of you, for your parents, for your relatives, for your friends and it certainly has been for me.” He told the assembly they are “under all kinds of pressure from a lot of different people, for a lot of different reasons.” The bishop also told the assembly that the contingent of students who went to the March for Life represented the best of the church and the diocese by standing up for life. Bishop Foys said an independent third party is investigating the Jan. 18 events that followed the march and he asked everyone to stay off of social media with regard to those events until the matter is resolved. “Regardless of what you heard or what you’ve read or what you think, I am on your side. I want you to come out of this in a positive light,” he said.

VATICAN
Vatican underlines support of universal health care coverage
GENEVA (CNS) – The Vatican supports efforts to build stronger and sustainable essential health care services on the way toward achieving universal health coverage, a Vatican official said. The Catholic Church is part of this effort in providing primary care to people in need and always “with due recognition to the sacredness of human life, from conception to natural death,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva. Speaking to the executive board of the World Health Organization Jan. 28, the archbishop noted the organization’s call for a renewal of primary health care and the Sustainable Development Goals’ target of universal health coverage to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The Holy See affirms the call to mobilize all stakeholders to take joint action to build stronger and sustainable primary health care toward achieving universal health coverage,” he said in a brief address. In fact, over the course of 2018, “Catholic-inspired organizations provided health care at 5,287 hospitals and 15,397 dispensaries, 15,722 residential programs for the elderly and for persons living with debilitating chronic illnesses and other disabilities in all parts of the world,” he said.

Pope arrives in Abu Dhabi, praying for nearby Yemen
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The sun had set long before Pope Francis arrived in Abu Dhabi Feb. 3, but Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince, and Egyptian Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar, still went to the airport to welcome him. It had been a rare rainy day on the southeast coast of the Arabian peninsula, which, the pope told reporters traveling with him, was seen as a sign of blessing by the people of the United Arab Emirates. Since the pope arrived at almost 10 p.m. local time, the official welcoming ceremony was scheduled for the next day. But there was a brief greeting inside the President’s Airport. The pope then went to Al Mushrif Palace, the government’s guesthouse for visiting foreign dignitaries.

Youth at Mass for Life thanked for offering sign of hope for the future

By Mark Zimmermann
WASHINGTON (CNS) – They came from near and far, and even from Down Under, united in prayer and in standing together for life at the Archdiocese of Washington’s annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life, held Jan. 18 at the Capital One Arena in Washington.
The estimated crowd of 18,000 came from the Washington area and from across the country and were joined by young adults from Sydney on their way to World Youth Day in Panama.
The main celebrant at the Mass, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, entered and left the arena smiling and waving a blessing to the spirited crowd of teens and young adults, many of whom wore colorful, matching hats or sweatshirts along with their school uniforms.
They had come, the archbishop said, for a day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children and to stand up and speak out for all those who are vulnerable in society, and also “to give thanks to God for the gift of life.”
“Dear young people, thank you for the witness of your Catholic faith, both now in holy Mass, on the streets of Washington, and more importantly, when you return home to your families and neighborhoods,” he said.
Archbishop Pierre read a message from Pope Francis, who said he was united in prayer with the thousands of young people who had come to Washington to join the March for Life. The pontiff in his message said the challenging task for each generation is “to uphold the inviolable dignity of human life.” The pope’s message said respect for the sacredness of every life is essential in building a just society, where every child, and every person, is welcomed as a brother and sister.
Fifteen other bishops concelebrated the Mass including the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher who was accompanying the Australian pilgrims. About 175 priests also concelebrated the Mass, assisted by about 30 permanent deacons.
The arena crowd also included an estimated 500 seminarians and 100 women religious.
Opening his homily at the Mass, Father Robert Boxie III, the parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Largo, Maryland, said, “To see this arena filled with the Body of Christ, I’m looking out and seeing hope for the future of our church, and hope for the future of our country. It’s an awesome and beautiful sight!”
Noting that the first reading at the Mass included the passage from Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” the priest added, “The womb is the first place God encounters us. God encounters us in the womb and seeks to encounter us in each moment of our lives.”

A participant cheers while attending a pro-life youth rally and Mass at Capital One Arena in Washington Jan. 18 before the annual March for Life. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

 

West Point native appointed to USCCB post

Allison McGinn

WASHINGTON — West Point, Mississippi native Allison McGinn has been appointed as Executive Director of the Office of Human Resources for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
McGinn was not raised Catholic. She started RCIA to learn more about the faith when her children started Catholic school in Virginia. She felt called to the church through the classes. Monsignor Brian Bransfield, USCCB General Secretary, made the appointment which took effect January 7.
“Allison has a wealth of experience as a Human Resources professional. I am confident that her skills and abilities will be of tremendous value to the USCCB, and I am grateful to her for accepting this important position in service to the bishops and to the Church,” said Msgr. Bransfield.
McGinn earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Educational Psychology from Mississippi State University. She holds senior-level certifications in Human Resources from both the Society for Human Resources Management and the Human Resources Certification Institute.
Most recently, McGinn was self-employed as a Human Resources Consultant, working with firms in the areas of performance management, employee benefits and compensation, recruiting, HR policy and compliance. Prior to her consulting work, McGinn oversaw the HR function for organizations in the government contracting and airline industries, including over 18 years of service with US Airways.
McGinn lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband and two daughters. They attend the Basilica of St. Mary Church in Old Town.
McGinn takes on the leadership of the department after the tenure of Theresa Ridderhoff, who had served until recently as Executive Director of Human Resources and was appointed as USCCB Associate General Secretary.

Bishop Howze dies at 95; was founding bishop of Diocese of Biloxi, Miss.

By Terrance P. Dickson (CNS)
BILOXI – Bishop Joseph Lawson Howze, the founding bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi and the first black bishop in the 20th century to head a U.S. diocese, was laid to rest Wednesday, Jan. 16. He died Jan. 9 at the age of 95.

Bishop Howze

Eight bishops, including Bishop Joseph Kopacz of the Diocese of Jackson, presided at this funeral along with another 50 priests and about as many family members. Archbishop Thomas Rodi, of the Archdiocese of Mobile, presided.
“While we are saddened by the death of Bishop Joseph Lawson Howze, we rejoice in his life,” said Bishop Louis F. Kihneman III of Biloxi. “His was a life well lived in faithful service to almighty God and to the people of Mississippi, both as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson and later as first bishop of Biloxi from 1977 to 2001.”
Noting that establishing a new diocese was difficult work, Bishop Kihneman said Bishop Howze was “very proud of what he, with the help of devoted clergy, religious and laity, accomplished during his tenure” and was “forever grateful to the people of the diocese for their unfailing generosity of time, talent and treasure.”
Bishop Kopacz commented on Bishop Howze’s legacy as a leader and evangelizer in the black Catholic community locally and nationally.
Despite deteriorating health in recent years, Bishop Howze remained interested in events in the diocese, Bishop Kihneman said.
“He loved the Diocese of Biloxi and prayed unceasingly for its continued success. He had a genuine concern for the salvation of souls,” he added.
Joseph Lawson Howze was born in Daphne, Alabama, Aug. 30, 1923, to Albert Otis Howze Sr. and Helen (Lawson) Howze. He began his school years at Most Pure Heart of Mary School in Mobile, Alabama, but his first year of school was interrupted in 1928 by the death of his mother, just six days after she bore her fourth child. The eldest, then age 5, young Lawson (Joseph is his baptismal name) was shuttled back and forth between the homes of his grandparents, aunts and father, who later remarried and fathered three more children.
After graduating as valedictorian of his 1944 high school class, a young Lawson Howze graduated with honors and as president of the senior class from Alabama State College. He had intended to study medicine, but instead earned a bachelor’s degree in science and education and began teaching biology and chemistry at Central High School in Mobile.

Bishop Howze first had been a Baptist, then a Methodist, serving as a choir director and church organist and pianist. But while teaching at Central High School he was drawn to the Catholic faith through the example of Marion Carroll Jr., one of seven Catholic students in his biology class. Soon he began instruction in the Catholic faith under the direction of Josephite Father Benjamin Horton.
At age 25 on Dec. 4, 1948, he was baptized a Catholic at Most Pure Heart of Mary Church in Mobile. An interest in the priesthood soon developed. After inquiring about becoming a priest with Bishop Vincent S. Waters of Raleigh, North Carolina, he later was adopted as a student for the diocese and began studies at the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary in Buffalo, New York.
The young Howze became the first black priest ordained in North Carolina, when he was welcomed to the priesthood in 1959 in the Diocese of Raleigh. He subsequently celebrated his first Mass at the parish in Mobile where he was baptized. He served as pastor of several parishes in North Carolina during his 13 years of ministry there.
In November 1972, St. Paul VI appoint Father Howze as auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson, Mississippi. His episcopal ordination followed on Jan. 28, 1973, in Jackson.
Within a year, Bishop Howze accepted the presidency of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus.
On March 8, 1977, Bishop Howze was appointed as the first bishop of the newly established Diocese of Biloxi.
Bishop Joseph Latino, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Jackson, sent his condolences to the church in Biloxi. “From being a convert to Catholicism and then following His Lord’s call to the priesthood, Bishop Howze was fully enveloped in his Christian faith. With his appointment as auxiliary bishop of the then Diocese of Natchez-Jackson and subsequent historic appointment as the first Bishop of Biloxi, he ministered through good times and challenges with the steady hand and heart of a devoted shepherd,” said Bishop Latino.
During his leadership of the Biloxi Diocese, Bishop Howze served on several U.S. bishops’ committees focusing on justice, peace, interreligious and ecumenical affairs, and black Catholic ministry.
Bishop Howze held several honorary degrees and was a member of the Knights of Peter Claver and the Knights of Columbus.
He retired May 15, 2001, after serving the Biloxi Diocese for 24 years.
After his funeral, a horse-drawn carriage took him to the newly-esablished prayer garden for bishops behind the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral.

(Dickson is editor of Gulf Pine Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Biloxi. Maureen Smith contributed to this report.)

Retiro de los Obispos

Por Carol Zimmermann
WASHINGTON (CNS) Catholic News Service
Aunque el retiro de una semana de duración para los obispos católicos de Estados Unidos hizo hincapié en la reflexión tranquila, varios obispos hablaron en las redes sociales durante y luego del retiro, que concluyó el 8 de enero, con una reacción positiva al respecto y ensalzar al líder del retiro, el padre capuchino Raniero Cantalamessa, quien ha predicado a los papas y altos funcionarios de la Curia romana durante casi 40 años.

U.S. bishops listen to the homily at Mass Jan. 3 in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception during their Jan. 2-8 retreat at Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Illinois, near Chicago. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Un obispo dijo que escuchar al padre Cantalamessa era como estar en presencia de los primeros teólogos cristianos. “Claro, intensamente lleno del Espíritu Santo, y todo por el Reino de Dios”, dijo el obispo auxiliar Michael J. Boulette de San Antonio en un tweet. “Sigamos orando los unos por los otros, nuestra iglesia y nuestro mundo. ¡Una bendición de estar aquí!” El arzobispo Paul D. Etienne de Anchorage, Alaska,
tuiteó que el líder del retiro era un “verdadero instrumento del Señor”. El obispo Lawrence T. Persico, de Erie, Pensilvania, describió las pláticas y homilías del padre Cantalamessa como “poderosas y atractivas”. El obispo auxiliar de Boston, Mark W. O’Connell, dijo que fue una “experiencia verdaderamente bendecida” estar en un retiro con el padre Cantalamessa, “El Espíritu Santo estaba poderosamente presente, y yo estaba bastante conmovido”, tuiteó.
El Papa Francisco sugirió al Padre Cantalamessa de 84 años, que ha servido como predicador de la casa papal desde 1980. El tiempo de oración del 2 al 8 de enero en el Seminario Mundelein en la Universidad de St. Mary of the Lake, cerca de Chicago, se planificó en gran medida en respuesta a las revelaciones del verano pasado sobre las denuncias de abuso sexual que alcanzaron los niveles más altos de la iglesia de Estados Unidos.
En un correo electrónico a CNS semanas antes del retiro, el Padre Cantalamessa dijo: “El Santo Padre me pidió que estuviera disponible para dirigir una serie de ejercicios espirituales para la conferencia episcopal para que los obispos, lejos de sus compromisos diarios, en un clima de oración, en silencio y en un encuentro personal con el Señor, puedan recibir la fuerza y la luz del Espíritu Santo para encontrar las soluciones correctas para los problemas que afligen a la iglesia de los Estados Unidos hoy en día “, agregó..