Nation and World News

On Easter, Salvadorans bury priest assassinated during Holy Week

Pallbearers travel through a massive crowd April 1 with the coffin carrying slain Father Walter Vasquez Jimenez to Holy Trinity Church in Lolotique, El Salvador. The 36-year-old priest was killed March 29, Holy Thursday, shortly after renewing his vows.

LOLOTIQUE, El Salvador — On Easter, as thousands of Salvadorans from around the country packed into the rural town of Lolotique, Catholic Church officials laid to rest a 36-year-old priest violently killed during Holy Week — the latest victim of a wave of violence that plagues the country.

NCAA championship is a win-win for Catholic universities

Villanova Wildcats guard Jalen Brunson hoists the national championship trophy after defeating the Michigan Wolverines, 79-62, in the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball championship April 2 in San Antonio.

WASHINGTON — The ball was in the court for Catholic universities in the NCAA basketball tournaments this year.

For the first time, Catholic university teams won both the men's and women's national championship games. The women's team, the Fighting Irish from the University of Notre Dame, beat Mississippi State University on Easter 61-58, thanks to Arike Ogunbowale's dramatic, 3-point shot with less than one second left.

The next night, the Villanova University Wildcats men beat the University of Michigan 79-62, winning their second national title in three years.

Trevi Fountain coins to continue bringing fortune to Rome’s needy

People gather in front of the landmark Trevi Fountain after its 2015 restoration in Rome. While millions of tourists throw a coin over their shoulder into the fountain hoping to return to Rome one day, the money scooped out of the fountain each week offers more concrete hope to the city’s poor.

VATICAN CITY — While millions of tourists throw a coin over their shoulder into Rome's Trevi Fountain hoping to return to Rome one day, the money scooped out of the fountain each week offers more concrete hope to the city's poor.

Rome's city council extended an agreement March 29 with Caritas Rome to entrust it with the tourists' coins to provide food and shelter to the city's poor and needy.

Nation marks MLK’s legacy 50 years after assassination

People marched along Beale Street in Memphis April 4 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The signs are reproductions of those carried in the 1968 sanitation workers strike, which King had been in Memphis to support when he was killed.

WASHINGTON — Fifty years after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights advocate continues to be an example of how to live the Gospel message, according to Catholic clergy and others.

"This tragic loss (of Rev. King) did not still his voice — it continues to ring out and inspire new generations in confronting the challenges of prejudice, injustice and division today," Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington wrote in a blog April 4.

Compassion guides Father Dempsey’s Charities

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Charlie Bean has lived at St. Dempsey's Charities since 2012. He describes being "down and out" when he first came, a result of living on the streets of St. Louis.

"I was strung out, stressed out and didn't know if I was going to make it to the next day," he said. He had a rough life — addicted to heroin, he stole to support himself and went to prison, then returned on a parole violation. In 2006 he came out of prison, got a job and stayed out of trouble but his life was unstable.

Fund helps SLU students ‘accompany’ Nicaraguans

Suzy Kickham visited with a 7-year-old friend she made while volunteering in a children’s program in a village in Nicaragua. Kickham, a St. Louis University student, said she appreciated the beauty and challenges she found in the Central American country thanks to a program in memory of a 1985 graduate of SLU, Mev Puleo.

Last summer, St. Louis University student Suzy Kickham volunteered on a project in Nicaragua in an impoverished rural community without paved roads or running water. Kickham doesn't speak much Spanish but connected with a 7-year-old child who made her comfortable and became a friend.

"She showed me how to accompany others. It's wild to think that someone that age can teach you something that profound," Kickham said.

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