Nation and World News

As violence spirals, Salvadorans look to Archbishop Romero as example

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- If there's a place in need of salvation at this moment, it's this country named after Jesus Christ. Even as it gets ready to mark one of the biggest events in its history -- the May 23 beatification of slain archbishop Oscar Romero -- El Salvador, which in Spanish means "the savior," is in the midst of one of its most violent periods.

March marked one of the deadliest months in a decade, with 481 people murdered, an average of 16 homicides a day, many committed by violent and ubiquitous gangs, said officials from the National Civil Police.

Periphery pope: Bosnia trip aims to build bridges in divided nation

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis' concern for those suffering on the margins and for small Catholic communities that have kept the faith alive through war or repression will take him to Bosnia-Herzegovina in early June.

By making a one-day trip June 6 to Sarajevo, he said he hoped he could "be an encouragement for the Catholic faithful, give rise to the development of the good and contribute to strengthening fraternity, peace, interreligious dialogue and friendship."

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Calif. abortion-alternative pregnancy clinics targeted

Greek Church uses human, material resources to help shipwrecked migrants

RHODES, Greece -- When a wooden sailboat carrying some 100 refugees capsized in the crystal clear waters of this tiny paradise-like Greek island, local fisherman and the Greek coast guard immediately went to their rescue.

While only three drowned in the April incident, 30 had to be taken to the hospital, where Franciscan Father John Luke Gregory, Santa Maria Parish priest and a native of Sheffield, England, is often called on for help because of his knowledge of Arabic.

Faith is expressed in charity, unity, pope says at canonization Mass

Devotees presented a relic of new St. Mary of Jesus Crucified at the canonization Mass for four new saints celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 17. The pope canonized four 19th-century nuns: Marie-Alphonsine and Mary of Jesus Crucified, both from historic Palestine; Jeanne Emilie De Villeneuve from France; and Maria Cristina Brando from Italy.

VATICAN CITY -- Declaring four 19th-century women religious saints, Pope Francis said they are models for all Christians of how faith, nourished in prayer, is expressed concretely in acts of charity and the promotion of unity.

The new saints, proclaimed at a Mass May 17 in St. Peter's Square, included two Palestinians -- Sts. Marie-Alphonsine, founder of the Rosary Sisters, and Mary of Jesus Crucified, a Melkite Carmelite -- as well as French St. Jeanne Emilie de Villeneuve and Italian St. Maria Cristina Brando.

Raul Castro says pope is so impressive he might start praying again

Pope Francis exchanged gifts with Cuban President Raul Castro at a private audience May 10 at the Vatican. Castro gave Pope Francis a painting that shows a cross made up of migrants’ boats with a migrant kneeling before it in prayer.

VATICAN CITY -- After spending close to an hour with Pope Francis, Cuban President Raul Castro told reporters he is so impressed by what the pope does and says that he might start praying and could even return to the Church.

"I had a very agreeable meeting this morning with Pope Francis. He is a Jesuit, as you well know. I am, too, in a certain sense because I was always in Jesuit schools," Castro told reporters May 10.

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