Nation & world briefs


Priest: Kennedy left a legacy of words, deeds and spirit

WASHINGTON -- A Nov. 22 Mass of remembrance at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington commemorated the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy, and an Easter candle was placed at the spot where the president's casket had been placed during his funeral Mass there Nov. 25, 1963, three days after he was assassinated. As he welcomed the 1,000 people attending the Nov. 22 Mass, Msgr. W. Ronald Jameson, cathedral rector, said that candle's light, like the candle placed near the body at every Catholic funeral Mass, reminds people of the light of Christ that they are called to share with others. "Today we remember a president who gave us hope, a president who gave a sense of service to our country. Today at St. Matthew's Cathedral, 50 years later, we remember John F. Kennedy in prayer, and we ask God to bless our country and its people," Msgr. Jameson said.

Tornado-ravaged town will 'triumph through sorrows'

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- Father Stephen Willard told parishioners who packed St. Patrick Church a week after a powerful tornado devastated this community that "we'll triumph through our sorrows" and "prove to the world that we are strong in Christ Jesus. The Lord will always raise us up." Prior to beginning the 11 a.m. Mass Nov. 24, Father Willard exposed the Blessed Sacrament on the altar and knelt along with the assembly to prayerfully mark the moment the tornado struck the previous Sunday, destroying 1,000 homes in the community -- including those of at least 130 parish families. One person was killed and more than 100 were injured. "Tears can flow. It's OK," said Father Willard, who asked God for the gifts of peace, healing and consolation. "The Lord is here with us," he assured the parish.

Cdl. Dolan: Pope Francis restoring heart of Church

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Pope Francis' words are an examination of conscience and a necessary prodding that keeps New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan tied to the vision and mission of Pentecost. Speaking at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, the cardinal quipped, "Every morning, I'm almost dreading to see what he preached about, because I know it's going to be a push, I know it's going to be just a little bit of a prod." The New York prelate spoke at an event Nov. 24 to close out the Year of Faith. St. Joseph's, in the Dunwoodie section of Yonkers in Westchester County, is the major seminary for the Archdiocese of New York and the Brooklyn and Rockville Centre dioceses. Cardinal Dolan's address was the final event of a lecture series at the seminary celebrating the Year of Faith. Expanding on a metaphor he developed earlier this fall, Cardinal Dolan said the three most recent popes exemplify the soul, mind and heart of the mystical body of Christ.

Former national director of Propagation of Faith dies

NEW YORK -- Retired Auxiliary Bishop William J. McCormack of New York, who was the longest-serving national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, died Nov. 23 at a New York nursing home, two months shy of his 90th birthday. Bishop McCormack had been in declining health for several years. He headed the society, one of four Pontifical Mission Societies, for 21 years, from 1980 until his retirement in 2001. The late bishop, a New York native, was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York in 1959 and served in a variety of parish and archdiocesan posts -- including as director of its office of World Justice and Peace and vice chancellor.

Catholic sees comedy as everyday life, evangelization

INDIANAPOLIS -- A peek into the halls of the Indiana Convention Center during the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis Nov. 21-23 would show different aspects of the faith. A bishop talked about turning off electronic devices to find time for God. A priest discussed how to combine fitness and prayer time. And on a stage in a large exhibit hall, comedian Judy McDonald and her service dog Daisy were part of the conference's afternoon recreation portion Nov. 23 in an hour-and-a-half session called the Comedy Club. The pair was joined by seven other comedy acts to lighten the mood after two-and-a-half days of praise, worship and faith-growing sessions. "Comedy is in our life every day, like depression and dinner and pancakes and snot," said McDonald, a lifelong Catholic and former youth and campus minister. McDonald has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder for the last three years, and Daisy helps her cope.


Philippine archdiocese ordains seven priests

PALO, Philippines -- Seven priests of the Archdiocese of Palo were ordained amid the ruins of the typhoon-ravaged Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Nov. 25 ceremonies. Although Super Typhoon Haiyan caused the roof of the 16th-century cathedral to collapse and destroy much of the interior furnishings, Archbishop John Forrosuelo Du decided to ordain the priests in the church as a sign of hope for the Catholic community. The ordination occurred as clergy and hundreds of faithful filled the Church in bright sunshine. Blue lightweight coverings strung from the cathedral's walls provided some shade for the congregation as the new priests vowed to serve the Church and God in ministering to the people of the archdiocese. Palo is located a few miles south of Tacloban, the provincial capital of Leyte, one of the provinces scoured by the storm Nov. 8. "We may have lost everything, but our faith is becoming stronger ever. No trial or storm or typhoon can destroy our resolve to have faith in Jesus. And it should be manifested in action," Father Amadeo Alvero, the archdiocese's spokesman, told the Asian Church news agency UCA News. He said the ordinations served as a "concrete action" to show the people's faith in God despite the devastation brought about by Typhoon Haiyan that claimed more than 5,200 lives and left millions of people homeless. The new priests will play a major role in helping Catholics reeling from the typhoon's effects, he added.

Priest resigned from hospital board over Irish abortion law

SHREWSBURY, England -- An Irish priest said he stepped down from the board of directors of a Catholic hospital in Ireland after it promised to comply with the country's new law that allows abortion in limited circumstances. Father Kevin Doran stepped down from the board of the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin in September shortly after it announced its intention to comply with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. The law permits abortion if medical professionals believe the mother is at risk of committing suicide. Speaking to Catholic News Service after a Nov. 24 symposium on the new evangelization in Shrewsbury, Father Doran said he found the hospital's "statement of adherence to a law which provided for the direct taking of human life was something which I, as a Catholic priest, couldn't support and so I resigned." The priest, who served as general secretary of the 2012 International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, said the hospital took its action after it appeared on a government list of health care institutions that would have to comply with the law because it receives public funding to deliver health services. The priest said the law was "dangerous" and "against the spirit of the Irish Constitution," which explicitly prohibits abortion.

The journey to Christmas is reflected in Ukrainian icons

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Catholics are called to prepare spiritually for Christmas by looking into the life and journey of Christ, said the bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton. Bishop David Motiuk compared Christmas to a book, saying people cannot only read the last chapter, but must read the whole book, page by page. "Christianity is a journey, which requires preparation and, in order to prepare well for it, you need to take time to prepare the home, to prepare the table and to prepare ourselves spiritually," the bishop said. During a November retreat on preparing for Christmas, Bishop Motiuk said icons present a "beautiful theology" of Scripture and tradition through which one can reflect on the mystery of God. The bishop picked three icons for the retreat: the Annunciation, where the Archangel Gabriel tells Mary she is the mother of God, the Nativity, and Jesus' baptism. "All of these tell the same story. With the icon of the Annunciation the beginning of salvation is announced to Mary and to the world," he said. "Then nine months later, she physically gives birth to Christ the child."

-- Catholic News Service

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