Nation and World News

Killing of priest act of 'absurd violence'; Father Jacques Hamel murdered during Mass in France

VATICAN CITY — The murder of a priest in northern France, taken hostage with a handful of other faithful during a weekday morning Mass July 26, is another act of "absurd violence" added to too many stories of senseless violence and death, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said.

Pope Francis was informed about the hostage situation at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen and the murder of 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel.

Prelates say House bill would protect religious freedom at federal level

WASHINGTON — The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing July 12 on the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill two U.S archbishops said would provide "a measure of protection for religious freedom at the federal level."

The legislation was introduced June 17 by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. The same day Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced the measure as S. 1598 in the Senate. Members of Congress adjourned July 14 for a seven-week recess.

Pope’s visit to Poland for World Youth Day will be inspired by mercy

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said he looks forward to his upcoming visit to Poland for World Youth Day and that his visit will be inspired by mercy during this Jubilee Year.

The "blessed memory of St. John Paul II, who instituted the World Youth Days and was the guide of the Polish people in its recent historic journey toward freedom," will also serve as an inspiration, the pope said in a July 19 video message to the people of Poland.

The pope will join hundreds of thousands of young people from around the world during his July 27-31 visit to celebrate World Youth Day.

Has God Pikachu? Popularity of Pokemon Go opens door for church evangelization

Father Thomas Keller, pastor of Assumption Parish in St. Louis visited with Pokemon game players in the church parking lot.  The Parish grounds are a hot spot for the game, and so he and his associate pastor, Father David Miloscia have used the Pokemon craze for some creative evangelization. The high school friends are Alex Koelz, Adam Salman, Blake Koelz, Alec Richardson and Brennan Moore.

The messages are posted across campus at Assumption Church in south St. Louis County:

Attention Pokemon trainers: Feeling alone? God already Pikachu!

Looking for Pokemon? Maybe God is looking for you!

Playing with cheat codes? We've got a sacrament that can fix that!

GO SLOWPOKE! CHILDREN AT PLAY

Pope Francis condems attack on Nice as act of 'blind violence'

Paramedics rushed a young woman to a waiting ambulance July 14 as they evacuated victims from the scene where a truck crashed into the crowd during the Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France. More than 80 people were killed and the death toll was rising.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis condemned the attack on Bastille Day celebrations in France, calling it an act of "blind violence."

The pope expressed his "deep sorrow" and "spiritual closeness" with the French people in a message to Bishop Andre Marceau of Nice. The message, signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said Pope Francis entrusted the victims and their families to God's mercy.

Church urged to ‘feed the sheep where they are’ — on the internet

Young women tweet messages during a 2012 conference in Washington. Low-cost video messaging carried across increasingly video-friendly social media platforms will define this year's World Youth Day experience in Krakow, Poland, say several organizations.

NEW YORK — The digital world is the richest, most challenging and limitless territory for evangelization ever devised, but Catholic communicators must be professional, creative and empathetic to realize its full potential.

That was the view of speakers at a July 6 Catholic Digital Communications Conference at Jesuit-run Fordham University.

They examined myriad ways to use social media and the internet to spread the faith to nonbelievers and help believers grow in their understanding and practice.

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