Nation and World News

Inspired by pope, BridgeBuilder Challenge picks winning social innovators

WASHINGTON — Salim, a Syrian refugee, fled an unwanted draft into the Syrian army, escaping the potential of having to join the Islamic State or other groups. Leaving behind his friends and family, Salim was left without an income or any form of identification in Lebanon.

Today, Salim is an assistant professor of Arabic in Italy.

The game changer was NaTakallam, a platform that assists refugees in becoming tutors for Arabic learners around the world via Skype. After working as a tutor for more than a year and a half, Salim was able to raise enough money to start a new life.

Bp. Dewane: Health care laws must begin and end with human person

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., spoke with reporters ahead of a health care vote July 28 on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate rejected legislation to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act.

WASHINGTON — Throughout the summer, while Congress was looking for ways to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Catholic bishops have continually reiterated the need to put care for the human person at the forefront of any health care legislation.

"Concern for the human person is our beginning and end point," said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, who has issued multiple statements on health care legislation in the past several weeks.

‘We are bridge builders’: Maronite Catholic youth gather in Lebanon

Young people clapped during the World Maronite Youth Days July 19 in Beirut. The July 15-25 event, organized by the Maronite Patriarchate Youth Pastoral Office, followed the World Youth Day model.

BEIRUT — They came from around the world, from Australia, South America, Europe and the United States. Some came from Africa, and some from nearby countries in the Middle East.

They clapped and ululated, creating a celebratory atmosphere as nearly 500 young people from other countries joined 1,000 Maronite Catholic youths from Lebanon for World Maronite Youth Days.

Bring a Christian town back to life

The Knights of Columbus has pledged $2 million to rebuild Karamdes, Iraq, where this church was destroyed.

In a letter to Christians in the Middle East in 2014, Pope Francis wrote of a "newer and disturbing terrorist organization, of previously unimaginable dimensions, which has perpetrated all kinds of abuses and inhuman acts. It has particularly affected a number of you, who have been brutally driven out of your native lands, where Christians have been present since apostolic times."

Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Catholic leaders mourn for victims killed, injured in trafficking tragedy

Pope’s visit to Cartagena to highlight inequality in Latin America

Pope Francis’ visit to Colombia in September will include a visit to where St. Peter Claver, seen here in a stained glass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, Ill., ministered to slaves arriving in the New World. Canonized in 1888, St. Peter Claver is the patron saint of human rights in Colombia.

LIMA, Peru — When Pope Francis visits Colombia in September, he will take his message of mercy and reconciliation to Cartagena, a city that still bears scars of its painful history as a slave port. And he will walk the streets where another Jesuit, St. Peter Claver, put that message into practice four centuries ago.

Canonized in 1888, St. Peter Claver is now considered the patron saint of human rights in Colombia. But although the country abolished slavery in 1851 and passed a law prohibiting discrimination in 1993, racism persists.

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