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Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service has a rich history of journalistic professionalism and is a leader in the world of Catholic and religious media. With headquarters in Washington, offices in New York and Rome, and correspondents around the world, CNS provides the most comprehensive coverage of the church today. Website URL: http://www.catholicnews.com/

Pope announces 17 new cardinals, including three from U.S.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will conclude the Year of Mercy by creating 17 new cardinals, including three from the United States: Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago; Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, prefect of the new Vatican office for laity, family and life; and Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis.
 
Announcing the names of the new cardinals Oct. 9, Pope Francis said, "Their coming from 11 nations expresses the universality of the Church that proclaims and witnesses the good news of God's mercy in every corner of the earth."
 
The new cardinals -- 13 of whom are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope and four over 80 being honored for their "clear Christian witness" -- will be inducted into the College of Cardinals Nov. 19, the eve of the close of the Year of Mercy.
 
The next day, Nov. 20, they will join Pope Francis and other cardinals in celebrating the feast of Christ the King and closing the Year of Mercy, the pope said.
 
Shortly after the pope's announcement, Archbishop Tobin tweeted: "I am shocked beyond words by the decision of the Holy Father. Please pray for me."
 
The first of the new cardinals announced by the pope was Archbishop Mario Zenari, who, the pope explained, "will remain apostolic nuncio to the beloved and martyred Syria."
 
The last of the cardinals he named was Albanian Father Ernest Simoni, an priest of the Archdiocese of Shkodre-Pult, who will turn 88 Oct. 18. He had moved Pope Francis to tears in 2014 when he spoke about his 30 years in prison or forced labor under Albania's militant atheistic regime.
 
Ordained in 1956, he was arrested on Christmas Eve 1963 while celebrating Mass and was sentenced to death by firing squad. He was beaten, placed for three months in solitary confinement and then tortured because he refused to denounce the Church.
 
He was eventually freed, but later arrested again and sent to a prison camp, where he was forced to work in a mine for 18 years and then 10 more years in sewage canals.
 
In creating 13 cardinal-electors -- those under the age of 80 -- Pope Francis will exceed by one the 120 cardinal-elector limit set by Blessed Paul VI. The number of potential electors will return to 120 Nov. 28 when Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, Senegal, celebrates his 80th birthday.
 
The youngest of the new cardinals -- who will be the youngest member of the College of Cardinals -- is 49-year-old Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic.
 
When violence broke out in his country, the archbishop along with a Protestant leader and a local imam began working together to build peace and counter efforts to turn the conflict into a religious war. Archbishop Nzapalainga hosted Pope Francis during a visit to Central African Republic in November 2015.
 
Seven of the 11 nations represented by the new cardinals did not have a cardinal at the time of the pope's announcement: Central African Republic, Bangladesh, Mauritius and Papua New Guinea will now have cardinal-electors. Malayasia, Lesotho and Albania will be represented in the College of Cardinals, although their cardinals will be too old to vote in a conclave.
 
Here is the list of new cardinals in the order in which Pope Francis announced them:
-- Archbishop Zenari, an Italian who is 70 years old.
-- Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic, 49.
-- Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid, 71.
-- Archbishop Sergio da Rocha of Brasilia, Brazil, who will be 57 Oct. 21.
-- Archbishop Cupich, 67.
-- Archbishop Patrick D'Rozario of Dhaka, Bangladesh, 73.
-- Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Merida, Venezuela, who turns 72 Oct. 10.
-- Archbishop Jozef De Kesel of Malines-Brussels, Belgium, 69.
-- Archbishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis, Mauritius, 75.
-- Bishop Farrell, 69.
-- Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, 66.
-- Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 59.
-- Archbishop Tobin, 64.
-- Retired Archbishop Anthony Soter Fernandez of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 84.
-- Retired Archbishop Renato Corti of Novara, Italy, 80.
-- Retired Bishop Sebastian Koto Khoarai of Mohale's Hoek, Lesotho, 87.
-- Father Simoni, 87.
 
 
  • Published in World

Actor Mark Wahlberg praised priesthood in video

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Typically, the Facebook page for the Diocese of Providence Office of Vocations in Rhode Island gets anywhere from three to 40 likes on its posts — most which celebrate seminarians, priests and their ministry.
 
But it took an actor and former member of a boy band to set its Facebook page on fire, not with a song, but with a video praising the priesthood, and one which had been viewed — as of Oct. 6 — 560,000 times and received more than 6,000 likes and upward of 8,000 shares.
 
Actor Mark Wahlberg, a native of Boston, where the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors had its annual conference Sept. 30–Oct.7, made the homemade video shown to those who attended and later posted on the Diocese of Providence vocations office Facebook page.
 
"We, the Catholic faithful, are counting on you to bring us good and holy priests," Wahlberg said in the video. "Enjoy my hometown this week and know that I will pray for you and for your success. Thank you for all that you do and God bless."
 
Some priests from the Boston area, who know Wahlberg, had brought up the idea of asking the actor to attend the conference once the city had been chosen as the location, said Rosemary Sullivan, executive director of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors. But as his schedule got tighter and tighter, he asked if he could do a video instead.
 
Wahlberg was promoting a film in which he stars, "Deepwater Horizon," about the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and how it affected the workers. The film was released the day the conference began.
 
He wasn't given a script for the priesthood video, but spoke from his heart, Sullivan said in a phone interview with Catholic News Service from Boston Oct. 6. Wahlberg spoke about how priests have helped him during difficult moments in his life and also are there for the good times: when he got married, when his children were baptized, when members of his family died and were buried, when he needs God's forgiveness, when he receives the body and blood of Jesus Christ to replenish his faith.
 
In the video, Wahlberg said he wants his children and future generations to have "good priests in their lives, just like I had." And even though he got into trouble in his youth, "I always had a priest to stick by me," he said.
 
When the video was shown in the conference, the reaction was silence, but a good kind of silence, Sullivan said: "He was so deeply sincere and you could feel it when you're watching the video."
 
"My Catholic faith is the anchor that supports everything I do in life," said Wahlberg, adding that he would be praying for the success of the conference and of the vocation directors.
 
What's plain to see is that the actor "spoke as a son of Christ" in his plea to keep the priesthood alive and about a responsibility that doesn't belong to vocation directors alone, Sullivan said.
 
"We all bear that responsibility," she added.
 
And Wahlberg, as a Catholic, took that responsibility seriously in trying to see what he could do to help.
 
"This is an example where you use a gift God has given you," she said, adding that Wahlberg also was present at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015 and emceed an event attended by the pope.
 
It's important to follow his example and, as Wahlberg did, let priests, those who are thinking about the priesthood and vocation directors know what they mean to Catholic communities, Sullivan said.
 
"They need to know how much we love them and support them," she said. "Mark Wahlberg is challenging them, saying 'We need you to help us.'"

[Wahlberg's video can be viewed on the Diocese of Providence Office of Vocations Facebook page.]
 
 
 
  • Published in Nation

'Moved by Mercy' is theme of Respect Life Month, yearlong observance

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Each year, October is designated as Respect Life Month by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and this year's theme is "Moved by Mercy."

It draws on a quote from Pope Francis: "We are called to show mercy because mercy has been shown to us."

The first Sunday of October, which is Oct. 2 this year, is Respect Life Sunday and kicks off what is a yearlong pro-life program for the U.S. Catholic Church.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities has prepared a packet for the 2016-2017 program containing materials and resources that can be downloaded in English and Spanish at usccb.org/respectlife.

"Like the good Samaritan, may we always treat each person with merciful love and respect that affirms the gift of his or her life," says the introduction to the packet of materials, which include brochures, fliers and posters. 

The yearlong observance aims "to help Catholics understand, value and become engaged with supporting the dignity of the human person, and therefore the gift of every person's life."

Launched in 1972, the Respect Life Program was created to celebrate the value and dignity of human life in Catholic dioceses across the United States. Each year, as a part of the program, Respect Life Month is observed with liturgies and marked by special events that take place during the month of October and continue through the following September.

The 2016-17 materials focus on the issues of infertility, post-abortion healing, end-of-life care, suicide and care for creation, as well as how to accompany expectant mothers who are considering giving up their baby for adoption.

The materials -- available in Spanish and English -- can be used in parishes, schools and faith-based ministries, but also are suitable for individual use, according to the pro-life secretariat.
  • Published in Nation

Pope highlights sanctity of life in Year of Mercy visits

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis donned a green hospital gown over his white cassock and entered the neonatal unit of a Rome hospital, peering in the incubators, making the sign of the cross and encouraging worried parents.

The trip to the babies' ward of Rome's San Giovanni Hospital and then to a hospice Sept. 16 were part of a series of Mercy Friday activities Pope Francis has been doing once a month during the Year of Mercy.

By visiting the ailing newborns and the dying on the same day, the Vatican said, Pope Francis "wanted to give a strong sign of the importance of life from its first moment to its natural end."

"Welcoming life and guaranteeing its dignity at every moment of its development is a teaching Pope Francis has underlined many times," the statement said. With the September visits he wanted to put "a concrete and tangible seal" on his teaching that living a life of mercy means giving special attention to those in the most precarious situations.

During the Mercy Friday visits, Pope Francis has spent time with migrants, the aged, at a recovery community for former drug addicts and at a shelter for women rescued from human trafficking and prostitution.

Pope Francis stopped by the emergency room of San Giovanni Hospital before going to the neonatal unit, where 12 little patients were being treated. Five of the newborns, including a pair of twins, were in intensive care and were intubated, the Vatican said. The pope also went to the maternity ward and nursery upstairs, greeting new parents and holding their bundles of joy.

At the neonatal unit, the Vatican said, the pope was "welcomed by the surprised personnel" and, like everyone else, put on a gown and followed all the hygiene procedures. 

Leaving the hospital, he drove across town to the Villa Speranza hospice, which hosts 30 terminally ill patients. The hospice is connected to Rome's Gemelli Hospital.

Pope Francis went into each of the rooms and greeted each patient, the Vatican said. "There was great surprise on the part of all -- patients and relatives -- who experienced moments of intense emotion with tears and smiles of joy."
  • Published in Vatican
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