Nation and World News

Mary’s message of hope to be celebrated in small Wisconsin town

A priest listened to confessions outside of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wis., last year. On May 18, 2017, the shrine will host a Marian Day in celebration of the hope-filled message of Mary in her appearances at Fatima 100 years ago.

CHAMPION, Wis. — A Marian Day to celebrate the hope-filled message Mary delivered to three children 100 years ago in the village of Fatima Portugal was being planned in the Diocese of Green Bay.

The event May 18 will include a presentation by Father Francisco Pereira, chaplain at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.

The Marian Day is an effort between the Green Bay Diocesan Council for Catholic Women and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion.

Hungry, scared South Sudanese stay in cathedral compound for protection

A mother and her children ate a meal at a camp for internally displaced persons on the grounds of St. Mary Catholic Cathedral April 24 in Wau, South Sudan. Drought and armed conflict have pushed tens of thousands of Wau-area residents out of their homes, away from their farms and unable to adequately feed themselves.

WAU, South Sudan — Rita Williams slept under a tree beside St. Mary Catholic Cathedral, her three hungry children beside her. Around them, as many as 16,000 other displaced people filled the cathedral compound, hoping the church would keep them safe as their country spirals into greater violence.

"I've been here two weeks, since the soldiers chased us out of our house and burned it," she said April 26. "We have nothing, not even salt. Our clothes are dirty, and some days all we have to eat or drink is water. We're waiting. I don't know for what, but we're afraid to go back home."

Catholics bring Pope Francis’ call to protect creation to climate march

Nancy Lorence, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier Church in New York City, marched in the People’s Climate March April 29 in Washington.

WASHINGTON — Carrying banners and signs with quotes from Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si'," hundreds of Catholics joined the People's Climate March to call for moral and prayerful action to protect creation.

On a sweltering day that reinforced the message about the need to respond to climate change — the 91-degree temperature at 3 p.m. April 29 tied a 43-year-old Washington record for the date — many in the Catholic contingent said they felt they had a moral obligation to witness in the streets.

Bp. Dewane, Catholic leaders call on Senate to strip 'harmful proposals' from health care bill

The U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen April 5. The House of Representatives May 4 passed a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by a four-vote margin, 217-213.

WASHINGTON -- The House passed a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by a four-vote margin May 4. The final vote was 217-213.

Assuming that all Democrats voted against the bill -- which they did -- the Republicans needed to avoid having 22 of its own House members defect to the "no" camp. In the finally tally, 20 Republicans voted against the measure.

Some Catholic leaders were wary of the repeal-and-replace efforts.

Catholic leaders: Papal trip was blessing for Christian, Muslim Egyptians

Pope Francis and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II attended an ecumenical prayer service at St. Peter’s Church in Cairo April 28. The church was the site of a December 2016 bombing. At a later meeting, the two signed a joint declaration to end a disagreement between the two churches over the sacrament of baptism.

AMMAN, Jordan — Pope Francis' historic, 72-hour visit to Cairo has left a profound mark on Egyptians, Catholic leaders said, as they anticipate increased ties with fellow Orthodox Christians and Muslims.

"The pope's visit was a big blessing to the Egyptians, both Muslims and Christians. It boosted the morale of the Egyptian people, especially after the Palm Sunday blasts," Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian bishops, told Catholic News Service by phone. "He gave a message of love, peace and hope."

Belize 2020 projects make impact in Central American nation

Swift Hall, named after Belizean Jesuit Brother Karl Swift, is nearing completion at St. Martin de Porres Parish in Belize City. The facility, built by workers who otherwise would be homeless, will be open to people of the neighborhood.

A new multipurpose building nearing completion at St. Martin de Porres Parish in Belize City is just one result of Belize 2020, a partnership in which St. Louisans support Jesuit ministries in a poverty-stricken neighborhood known for drug-gang violence, unemployment and family instability.

The building will serve the parish, its school and community. Programs there will "keep students positively engaged and off the streets," said Misty Michael, coordinator of Belize 2020.

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