Nation and world briefs

U.S.

USCCB names assistant general secretary for human development

WASHINGTON — Jonathan Reyes has been named assistant general secretary for integral human development, a new position within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In the position, Reyes also will be executive administrator of the Office of Government Relations and will continue to oversee the USCCB's Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development. Msgr. Brian Bransfield, USCCB general secretary, announced the appointment Nov. 28. Reyes will assume his duties Jan. 1. He has been with the USCCB since December 2012 when he became executive director of the justice and peace department after serving for three years as president and CEO of Catholic Charities and Community Services of the Archdiocese of Denver. The department supports the bishops' committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development, International Justice and Peace and Religious Liberty and more.

U.S., Mexico bishops renew their 'Alta-Baja' friendship

SAN DIEGO — Three archbishops and nine bishops representing at least 13 million Catholics from Sacramento to the Mexican coastal city of Ensenada have resurrected their "Alta-Baja" friendship, paving the way to potentially working together in the future. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez and Archbishop Francisco Moreno Barron of Tijuana, Mexico, worked with their respective episcopal organizations for more than a year to coordinate the meeting. Their efforts culminated in an "Encuentro de los Obispos de Alta y Baja California" held recently in the San Diego Diocese. The California Conference of Catholic Bishops organized the participants north of the border.

WORLD

Pope, USCCB president pray for victims of Egyptian mosque attack

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis led pilgrims in prayer for the victims of a bombing at a mosque in Egypt's northern Sinai region. Addressing thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis said he received news of the attack with "great sorrow. May God deliver us from these tragedies and sustain the efforts of all those who work for peace, harmony and coexistence," the pope said after reciting the Angelus on the feast of Christ the King, Nov. 26. The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was among other Catholic leaders who condemned the attack, calling it a "monstrous terrorist attack on innocent people at prayer." The Nov. 24 attack took place at the Al-Rawdah Mosque in Bir al-Abd.

Priest in Bangladesh missing before papal visit

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A priest in Bangladesh who was helping prepare for the visit of Pope Francis has gone missing, just days before the papal visit. Ucanews.com report that Father Walter William Rozario, 41, assistant parish priest of Maria Virgo Potens Church in Borni, has been missing since the evening of Nov. 27. His cellphone has been switched off since then. The priest went to the Bonpara Christian stronghold area to oversee printing of a souvenir magazine dedicated to two local deacons to be ordained by Pope Francis in Dhaka Dec. 1. He disappeared on his way back to his parish by motorbike. Police had not determined whether abduction or personal enmity could be involved, ucanews reported. Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi, whose diocese covers the district, expressed concern. "We suspect this to be kidnapping case as we came to know he received calls from unknown people demanding money," Bishop Rozario said.

Nuncio: Wars, conflicts drive human trafficking

UNITED NATIONS — As long as wars and conflicts rage, "trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation, forced labor and similar crimes will continue to flourish," said the Vatican's nuncio to the United Nations. "To eradicate trafficking in persons, we must confront all its economic, environmental, political, and ethical causes, but it is particularly important to prevent and end the wars and conflicts that make people especially vulnerable to being trafficked," Archbishop Bernardito Auza said. He made the comments in an intervention during a U.N. Security Council open debate Nov. 21 on human trafficking in conflict situations. (War and conflict is) "an enabling environment for human traffickers, who increasingly exploit this tragic humanitarian situation to target refugees, forced migrants and internally displaced persons themselves in their criminal enterprises."

Bishops from Europe, Africa urge summit to help migrants, young people

OXFORD, England — Catholic bishops from Europe and Africa urged an upcoming intercontinental summit to launch a "human dignity initiative" to help migrants and refugees and shelter young people against "conflict, corruption and climate change." In a joint statement issued before the Nov. 29-30 EU-Africa summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the bishops noted that migration "will not go away. ... It is the responsibility of the political leadership to make sure migrants are treated with dignity and protected against criminal exploitation. Africa and Europe share common roots, which originate in the earliest days of human history — a genuine long-term partnership, which induces the correction of economic and social imbalances," said the statement from the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar.

— Catholic News Service 

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