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Refugee family now in Chicago shares experiences of fleeing religious persecution

CHICAGO—The Sharifs were living contentedly in Pakistan when life turned into a nightmare in 2012. An al Qaida-related group called BLA targeted Amir Sharif, a Catholic and a well-known professor at a university in Quetta. He was told to embrace Islam or leave the country. Amir, 45, and his wife, Saira, 30, a high school […]


Pastor suggests giving of your time as part of Lent

SIOUX CITY, Iowa—Holy Cross-Blessed Sacrament sixth-graders started Lent on Valentine’s Day — sort of. Father Daniel Rupp, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Sioux City, took time Feb. 14 to talk to the students about the importance of Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season. This year it is March 1. “How many […]


Consult, respect indigenous peoples and their land, pope says

VATICAN CITY—Development projects involving indigenous communities must be planned in consultation with them and must respect their traditional relationship to the land, Pope Francis said. Having the “prior and informed consent” of the native communities who could be impacted by development projects is essential for “peaceful cooperation between governing authorities and indigenous peoples, overcoming confrontation […]


New gender policy won’t affect Catholic Scouting units, committee says

IRVING, Texas—The Boy Scouts of America’s new policy to accept members based on their gender identity will have no impact on Scouting units sponsored by the Catholic Church, said the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. The Boy Scouts announced Jan. 30 that effective immediately, the Texas-based organization will determine membership eligibility for Cub Scouts and […]


Local phase of Fatima visionary’s sainthood cause completed

VATICAN CITY—The Diocese of Coimbra concluded its phase of the sainthood cause of Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three children who saw Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. Bishop Virgilio Antunes of Coimbra formally closed the local phase of investigation into her life and holiness Feb. 13 in the Carmelite convent of […]


The Church helps celebrate love and marriage every day

WASHINGTON, D.C.—It’s Valentine’s Day, and in countries across the world, people are focused on love and marriage. But for the Catholic Church, the celebration of — and support for — marriage is not limited to one day, but all year round. “Marriage is not private,” explained Father Richard Kramer, director of Family Life and Pastoral […]


Council of Cardinals publicly expresses support of pope

VATICAN CITY—After a handful of public challenges to Pope Francis’ teaching and authority, the members of the pope’s international Council of Cardinals began their February meeting expressing their “full support” for his work. Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the council, began the meeting Feb. 13 assuring the pope of the cardinals’ “full support […]


Health care is not a business, but a service to life, pope says

VATICAN CITY—A nation’s health care system cannot be run simply as a business because human lives are at stake, Pope Francis said. “If there is a sector in which the ‘throwaway culture’ demonstrates its most painful consequences, it is the health care sector,” the pope told patients, medical professionals, pastors and volunteers attending a meeting […]


U.S. bishops call for solidarity with Middle East victims of violence

WASHINGTON—Christians and all people in the Middle East need the solidarity of the U.S. Catholic Church, said the chairmen of three committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the head of the Catholic Relief Services board. “A concern for our Christian brethren is inclusive and does not exclude a concern for all the […]


Pope: Educators crucial in creating more humane world

VATICAN CITY—Catholic schools and universities play a key role in evangelization and in creating a more humane world built on dialogue and hope, Pope Francis said. Future generations who are “educated in a Christian way for dialogue, will come out of the classroom motivated to build bridges and, therefore, to find new answers to the […]


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