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‘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.

Amid polarization, nation urged to reclaim civility through dialogue

WASHINGTON — Political polarization in America has recently peaked, according to surveys conducted by Pew Research Center and Gallup, among others.

At a time in which such polarization threatens civility in public discourse, Catholic leaders called for respect, trust in dialogue and awareness of opinions for people with whom one disagrees.

Catholic leaders: Health care reform bill must uphold moral principles

Health care activists protested the Republican health care bill July 17 at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington. The bill collapsed in the Senate later that day after two more GOP senators said they couldn’t support it.

WASHINGTON — After efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act collapsed late July 17 in the U.S. Senate, Catholic health care leaders said they hope Congress will work together, in small steps, to fix flaws in the current legislation.

The bill lost ground when two Republican senators announced their opposition to it, joining two other senators who opposed the bill and leaving Republican leaders at least two votes short of the 50 needed to start debate on the measure.

Pope approves new path to sainthood: heroic act of loving service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has approved the fourth pathway to possible sainthood — giving one's life in a heroic act of loving service to others.

In a new apostolic letter, the pope approved new norms allowing for candidates to be considered for sainthood because of the heroic way they freely risked their lives and died prematurely because of "an extreme act of charity."

For convocation delegates, it’s about unifying in faith in a troubled world

Nick Lee, left, Karen Nollkemper, Theresa Ruzicka and Kurt Nelson prayed at an evening Marian devotion service July 1 at the Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America in Orlando, Fla. They were among the St. Louis delegates that are now charged with leading the archdiocese toward building missionary disciples.

ORLANDO, Fla. — For some it was about keeping young people in the Church. Others wanted to hear about diocesan ministries in another locale and perhaps bring an idea home. A few more were glad they could be heard by a bishop or two.

Whatever their reason to travel to hot, humid Florida for four days in the middle of summer, the 3,500 delegates to the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" headed home July 4 with renewed energy to set a new course for the U.S. Catholic Church.

Catholics urged to work for ‘holiness of freedom, freedom for holiness’

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori delivered the homily at the opening Mass of the Fortnight for Freedom June 21 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. Archbishop Lori is chairman of the bishops’ religious liberty committee.

BALTIMORE — When Henry VIII, as England's reigning monarch, was declared "a defender of the faith," the future "must have seemed so bright to Thomas More and John Fisher," Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said in a homily June 21.

He described an England which "seemed to have been spared the painful divisions that racked the Catholic Church on the continent of Europe." Under Henry, he said, "monastic life and learning were flourishing" while "ordinary Catholics showed their love and loyalty to the Church."

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