Nation & world briefs

U.S.

Utah parish vandalized for the fourth time in two years

MAGNA, Utah -- Vandals kicked in the basement door of the rectory to break into Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church for the second time this year, smashing statues and glass doors and spraying a fire extinguisher throughout the chapel. The intruders left behind blood stains, fingerprints and a cellphone, police said. When Father Christopher Gray arrived at 8:25 a.m., to prepare for the Sunday liturgy, he saw people standing outside, some weeping, and police cars all around. Inside the church, Father Gray found smashed benches and beer in the holy water font, but he was relieved that the tabernacle, containing the consecrated Eucharist, was locked. The 9 a.m. Mass was canceled to allow police to finish their investigation.

Bishop urges mobilization against same-sex marriage

HONOLULU -- Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu urged Catholics across the island state to oppose same-sex marriage in an "urgent request" to pastors. In a letter that was included in parish bulletins the weekend of Aug. 24-25, Bishop Silva asked Catholics to pray the rosary daily over the next several weeks, "if possible" while walking around the state Capitol block, "so that just as God tumbled down the walls of Jericho, he will be able to do so through the prayers and action of his beloved people." The bishop said quick action is required because Gov. Neil Abercrombie "is considering calling a special session of the legislature to consider the issue of same-sex marriage.

Latino leaders urged to put Gospel in action at work

LOS ANGELES -- Peter J. Coulchinsky, a San Antonio businessman, was one of nearly 200 people, including clergy, who attended the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders eighth annual conference hosted by its Los Angeles chapter. Coulchinsky said CALL is committed to "put the Gospel in action at the workplace, and in the political and social arenas."

WORLD

Pope to meet Jordan's king, discuss ongoing strife

VATICAN CITY -- As international leaders increasingly discussed the possibility of some form of armed intervention in Syria, the Vatican announced Pope Francis would interrupt the last week of his summer break in order to meet Aug. 29 with Jordan's King Abdullah II. Jordan and Syria share a border, and Jordan is hosting some 500,000 Syrian refugees. Both the pope and the king have repeatedly called for the international community to help broker a negotiated end to the fighting in Syria. Pope Francis also denounced the "multiplication of massacres and atrocious acts," including the suspected chemical weapons attack that left hundreds dead.

Russian Catholic leader: No stance on Olympic boycott

WARSAW, Poland -- Calls for an Olympic boycott because of a Russian law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" have become "highly politicized," said an official of the Russian bishops' conference. Msgr. Igor Kovalevsky, secretary-general of the bishops' conference, said the Catholic Church would not be adopting an official stance on either the boycott or the law. Russia is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics Feb. 7-23 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Dozens of World Youth Day pilgrims seek asylum

SAO PAULO -- More than 50 pilgrims who attended World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro are seeking asylum in Brazil. Aline Thuller, Caritas' coordinator for refugees in the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, said the archdiocese received approximately 40 asylum requests from pilgrims from Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Congo. Thuller said two parishes in Rio are providing housing for these asylum seekers. The Archdiocese of Sao Paulo reported that at least 12 pilgrims -- including five Pakistani nationals -- who attended World Youth Day have approached the archdiocese to ask for help in staying in the country. As with all who seek asylum in Brazil, the pilgrims will have their cases analyzed by the National Committee for Refugees, an agency of the Justice Ministry.

Nashville Dominicans join Scottish diocese

ABERDEEN, Scotland -- A bishop has likened the arrival of American nuns in his Scottish diocese to a Western drama, with the cavalry coming over the hill at the moment Catholics thought they were going to be scalped. In a homily during an Aug. 24 Mass to welcome the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia into the Diocese of Aberdeen, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said the nuns were rescuing the local Church in the same way that the U.S. Cavalry saved cowboys from Indians in the movies. "Here they are, armed not with carbines but rosaries," Bishop Gilbert said. The new community, based in Elgin, will be the second European convent of the 300-strong Tennessee-based order known as the Nashville Dominicans.

-- Catholic News Service

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