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Catholic News

IMAGE: CNS photos/Bob Roller/Jeffrey BrunoBy WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francishas ratified the members elected by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops torepresent the United States at Synod of Bishops Oct. 3-28.The synod will meet at theVatican to discuss "young people, faith and vocational discernment."The USCCB announced July 23 thatthe U.S. church's delegates will be:-- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo ofGalveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.-- Archbishop Jose H. Gomez ofLos Angeles, vice president of the USCCB.-- Archbishop Charles J. Chaputof Philadelphia, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, FamilyLife and Youth.-- Bishop Frank J. Caggiano ofBridgeport, Connecticut, a member of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage,Family Life and Youth.-- Auxiliary Bishop Robert E.Barron of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization andCatechesis.In preparation for the synod,the USCCB and other episcopal conferences, as well as...

IMAGE: CNS photos/Bob Roller/Jeffrey Bruno

By

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has ratified the members elected by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to represent the United States at Synod of Bishops Oct. 3-28.

The synod will meet at the Vatican to discuss "young people, faith and vocational discernment."

The USCCB announced July 23 that the U.S. church's delegates will be:

-- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

-- Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB.

-- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

-- Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, a member of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

-- Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.

In preparation for the synod, the USCCB and other episcopal conferences, as well as ecclesial movements, associations and experts in the field, were consulted throughout 2017 on the synod topic of "young people, the faith, and vocational discernment."

The Vatican also collected responses from an online questionnaire aimed at youth and young adults conducted last year.

In March of this year, over 300 young adult delegates gathered in Rome, where Pope Francis convened a presynod gathering to listen directly to the voice of young people from around the world. The gathering produced a final presynodal document.

The USCCB sent three delegates to that meeting: De La Salle Christian Brother Javier Hansen, who teaches at Cathedral High School in El Paso, Texas; Nick Lopez, director of campus ministry for the University of Dallas; and Katie Prejean-McGrady, a wife, new mother, youth minister, and a popular speaker from the Diocese of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The working document was released in late June and includes a summary of all the synod consultations to date. It describes the purpose of the upcoming Synod of Bishops as an opportunity for the church "to accompany all young people, without exception, toward the joy of love," realizing that "taking care of young people is not an optional task for the church, but an integral part of her vocation and mission is history."

On July 14, the Vatican announced Pope Francis has chosen his delegates to the synod -- four cardinals from countries where young people are facing special challenges.

He named Cardinals Louis Sako of Baghdad, the Chaldean patriarch; Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar; Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar; and John Ribat of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. As presidents-delegate, the cardinals will alternate presiding over the synod sessions.

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Editor's Note: The official USCCB webpage for the synod is www.usccb.org/synod-2018.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Jon Nazca, ReutersBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With the rising death toll of migrants and refugees attemptingthe treacherous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea, Pope Francis urgedworld leaders to act to prevent further tragedy."I makea heartfelt appeal tothe international community to act decisively and promptly in order to preventsuch tragedies from recurring and to guarantee the safety, respect for therights and dignity of all," the pope said July 22 after reciting theAngelus prayer with an estimated 25,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square.According to the International Organization for Migration'sMissing Migrant Project, an estimated 1,490 migrants have died in the MediterraneanSea this year. The pope expressed his pain "in the midst of suchtragedies" and offeredhis prayers "for the missing and their families."In Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has barred severalrescue ships from docking and has vowed to stop any foreign boats carry...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jon Nazca, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With the rising death toll of migrants and refugees attempting the treacherous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea, Pope Francis urged world leaders to act to prevent further tragedy.

"I make a heartfelt appeal to the international community to act decisively and promptly in order to prevent such tragedies from recurring and to guarantee the safety, respect for the rights and dignity of all," the pope said July 22 after reciting the Angelus prayer with an estimated 25,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

According to the International Organization for Migration's Missing Migrant Project, an estimated 1,490 migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea this year. The pope expressed his pain "in the midst of such tragedies" and offered his prayers "for the missing and their families."

In Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has barred several rescue ships from docking and has vowed to stop any foreign boats carrying rescued migrants into the country. The move has hampered rescue efforts of migrants trying to escape war, violence, persecution and poverty.

Before making his appeal, the pope reflected on the day's Gospel reading in which Jesus invites his disciples to rest after their first mission, but the gathering of a large crowd prevents them from relaxing and eating.

"The same thing can happen today as well," the pope said. "Sometimes we don't succeed in carrying out our plans because something urgent occurs that messes up our plans and requires flexibility and availability to the needs of others."

In those situations, he continued, Christians are called to imitate Jesus who wasn't upset but rather was compassionate toward the people because "they were like sheep without a shepherd."

"Jesus' gaze isn't a neutral gaze or, worse, cold and distant because Jesus always looks with the eyes of the heart. And his heart is so tender and full of compassion that he is able to see even the most hidden needs of people," the pope said.

The same compassion, he added, is the "behavior and predisposition of God toward humankind and its history."

"With Jesus at our side, we can proceed safely, we can be overcome trials, we can progress in love toward God and toward our neighbor. Jesus has made himself a gift for others, becoming a model of love and service for each one of us," Pope Francis said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Dennis SadwoskiBy Dennis SadowskiWASHINGTON(CNS) -- Denise Ssettimbajust began her brief presentation to an aide to Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana,on the need to maintain U.S. funding for global anti-hunger efforts when twocongressional dining staffers with food carts in tow asked to squeeze by in abusy hallway in the DirksenSenate Office Building.The 18-year-oldXavier University of Louisianastudent stepped a little closer into the tight circle around the aide, Kaitlyn Dwyer, staying on message."Wewant to share that there are a lot of ways that this aid helps people avoid migration,"Ssetimba said.Fellow XavierUniversity students Ja'CheMalone and SarahBertrand and Madeleine Woolverton,a student at Tulane University, picked up the call as Ssetimba finished."Theissues of global hunger and migration are intimately linked because hunger isone of the causes of migration," Woolverton said. "When we canprovide funding for programs that can provide sustainable solutions ......

IMAGE: CNS photo/Dennis Sadwoski

By Dennis Sadowski

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Denise Ssettimba just began her brief presentation to an aide to Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, on the need to maintain U.S. funding for global anti-hunger efforts when two congressional dining staffers with food carts in tow asked to squeeze by in a busy hallway in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

The 18-year-old Xavier University of Louisiana student stepped a little closer into the tight circle around the aide, Kaitlyn Dwyer, staying on message.

"We want to share that there are a lot of ways that this aid helps people avoid migration," Ssetimba said.

Fellow Xavier University students Ja'Che Malone and Sarah Bertrand and Madeleine Woolverton, a student at Tulane University, picked up the call as Ssetimba finished.

"The issues of global hunger and migration are intimately linked because hunger is one of the causes of migration," Woolverton said. "When we can provide funding for programs that can provide sustainable solutions ... not creating dependency but creating systemic change in farming communities, we can prevent some of these problems."

The four students asked Dwyer to be sure to share with Kennedy their concern that no funding be cut from international poverty-reducing programs.

Preserving current spending levels for disaster relief, health care, nutrition, anti-human trafficking efforts, migration and refugee assistance is a major priority of Catholic Relief Services and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The students from New Orleans, part of the CRS Student Ambassador Leaders Together initiative, were helping carry that message to Congress July 18. In a second meeting, they were able to share their concerns directly with Sen. Bill Cassidy after talking for 15 minutes with Maria Sierra, a policy adviser to the Louisiana Republican.

They joined more than 150 students from 58 Catholic and non-Catholic colleges and universities who participated in the four-day Student Ambassador Leadership Summit July 15-18 organized by CRS.

The students spent their last day of the summit visiting members of Congress, sharing the same message that Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Alaska, and Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, Philippines, brought to Capitol Hill a day earlier.

The programs they addressed were targeted for an overall 36 percent cut in federal spending in the White House Office of Management and Budget's proposed fiscal year 2019 spending outline. The OMB plan seeks to reduce funding to $15.1 billion from nearly $23.8 billion authorized for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Such spending comprises about 0.5 percent of the federal budget.

Having so many young people bringing a consistent message to Congress was sure to have an impact, Kathleen Kahlau, senior adviser at CRS, told the students before they fanned out across Capitol Hill.

"You're bringing some good news. Not the Gospel in the religious sense, but good news in the sense that you're sharing with these staffers the fact that what America does through its aid is effective, is efficient, does really save lives," Kahlau said.

Three days preparing for the congressional visits served to create broader awareness of the work of CRS and deeper understanding of the importance of U.S. aid for that work, students said. Several students who are CRS campus ambassadors told Catholic News Service they were willing to step away from jobs, summer internships and research projects to advocate for people without a voice.

"Coming here has shown me how everything is so connected," said Emily Baca, a student at St. Martin's University in Lacey, Washington. "I think that this program can really help by bringing together different people who are passionate in different ways."

Manhattan College student Kaiyun Chen explained that although she doesn't practice any faith, she was motivated to become involved as a campus ambassador because of the nature of the agency's work.

"When I was introduced to the organization and asked to be a student ambassador I was thinking about what the organization stands for and what they believe in and what they do for other people and it makes me feel more passionate toward what I can do," Chen said.

Students also said they planned to return to their campuses this fall ready to share what they learned about the global work of CRS and encourage others to join them in promoting the agency.

"We want to bring more attention to global issues," said Carla Aguirre Puerto, a student at the University of San Diego, following a meeting with an aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California. "We need to be more aware of and advocating for the services provided across the ocean."

It's that role as an advocate that motivated Kaitlyn Toth, a political science major at Ohio State University student, to become a campus ambassador two years ago and make the trip to Washington this year. She earlier worked with the Diocese of Cleveland's Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services and saw the challenges facing migrants around the world.

"I really believe there's power in each individual's voice," she said. "Spending time and showing up and showing people that you do care enough to speak for others holds a lot of weight."

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Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Saadia AzimBy Saadia AzimRANCHI, India (CNS) -- Theodore Kiro held 13-month-oldNavya on her return to his family after they were separated for a week. The cryingbaby happily clung to Kiro, whom she knows as her grandfather. Navya is one of the four babies whose fatebecame entangled in the recent child trafficking scandal broke at Rachi's NirmalHriday (Tender Heart) home, run by the Missionaries of Charity. A five-memberdistrict child welfare committee decided it was not fair for the foster motherand the child to be separated for long and ruled they should be unitedconditionally. The welfare committee asked the foster parents to take the childbefore the committee every week and keep it informed of the child's schedule. "The child and the mother were intrauma after separation, so the committee members decided compassionately tounite them. But this status has been fixed for the next two months only," saidKiro, a local political leader using his clout to prepare legal p...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Saadia Azim

By Saadia Azim

RANCHI, India (CNS) -- Theodore Kiro held 13-month-old Navya on her return to his family after they were separated for a week. The crying baby happily clung to Kiro, whom she knows as her grandfather.

Navya is one of the four babies whose fate became entangled in the recent child trafficking scandal broke at Rachi's Nirmal Hriday (Tender Heart) home, run by the Missionaries of Charity. A five-member district child welfare committee decided it was not fair for the foster mother and the child to be separated for long and ruled they should be united conditionally. The welfare committee asked the foster parents to take the child before the committee every week and keep it informed of the child's schedule.

"The child and the mother were in trauma after separation, so the committee members decided compassionately to unite them. But this status has been fixed for the next two months only," said Kiro, a local political leader using his clout to prepare legal papers for adoption of the toddler. Navya was brought to their home in Ranchi just after her birth and was reclaimed by the child welfare committee as one of the babies who allegedly was sold illegally by an employee of the Missionaries of Charity home.

Though the parents confess that there was no exchange of money yet, the officers are investigating the process of adoption without proper paperwork. This makes Anuka Tigga, another adoptive mother of a 4-year-old, jittery. She is scared for her child after the central government announced July 17 that all records and child care homes run by the Missionaries of Charity will be inspected and adoption processes scrutinized.

"It is not that I have committed any wrong. Rather, these happenings will adversely affect the well-being of my child," said Tigga.

The Indian Ministry for Women and Child Development has directed the state governments that all child care institutions should be registered and linked to the Central Adoption Resource Authority within a month. Many mothers such as Tigga question the fate of children already living with adoptive parents, for fear the government will say the process was not followed and their children will be taken away.

In 2015, the Missionaries of Charity stopped offering adoption of children because the Indian government introduced new rules making it easier for single women and men to adopt. The government rules said prospective adoptive parents must pay a fixed amount of 40,000 rupees ($580).

Police said Jharkhand state's Child Welfare Committee came to suspect the Ranchi home was involved in the illegal trading of children after a couple complained they were not given a child, despite paying 120,000 rupees (US$1,850) as an adoption fee. Sister Mary Prema Pierick, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, said in a July 17 statement from Kolkata that the order was cooperating with authorities, and that when a lay employee, Anima Indwar, admitted to the welfare committee in early July that the baby had not been given to the couple, Indwar was handed over to police.

During recent raids at Nirmal Hriday and Shishu Bhawan (Children's Home) in Ranchi, 11 unwed pregnant women were shifted to government homes and 22 children, including one child as young as a month old, were sent to the Karuna Center, a government-run home. Navya's family complained that, after the separation, they found their child to be in a miserable condition in the government facility.

Those children who remain in many of homes run by Missionaries of Charity are destitute, orphans and unwanted children who are nursed and cared for and prepared for adoption through the Central Adoption Resource Authority system. The police are investigating now as to why the nuns continued to keep children in their facility when they were no longer a registered body for adoption. The norm has been that though the unwed mothers are provided with nursing and support by the nuns, it is the responsibility of the guardians and families who want to adopt to register with the child welfare committees. The nuns and the Missionaries of Charity staff facilitate the process.

The Missionaries of Charity and other Christian bodies are questioning the intention of the government in the recent actions against the order. They say that, after the arrests of Indwar and Sister Concelia, the nun in charge of accompanying mothers and babies to the welfare committee, the Missionaries of Charity were not given a chance to be heard and were not warned about the raids.

The Christian community and some politicians are also questioning the role of the media, which widely published a video of Indwar's confession leaked by police.

Police have seized record books from the Missionaries of Charity homes in Jharkhand state. Christian leaders say this is deliberate antagonism by the state's extremist Bharatiya Janata Party government, which has accused the Missionaries of Charity of religious conversion in the pretext of social service. Sister Concelia was sent to two weeks of judicial custody.

After the incident, Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal state, where the religious order is based, called the actions against the Missionaries of Charity a move to undermine the work of St. Teresa of Kolkata, who founded the order.

Abraham Mathai, former vice chairman of the Indian Minorities Commission, has asked for independent judicial inquiry if need be to stop what he calls persecution of the Missionaries of Charity, saying it is bringing disrepute to the whole organization.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Jerry MennengaBy Joanne FoxWEST BEND, Iowa (CNS) -- With apologies to Fats Domino,Father Lawrence Carney is "walkin' and talkin' aboutyou and me," and hoping that listeners will come back to -- not "me"-- but God.Known as the "walking priest,"Father Carney brought his message of street evangelization to Sts. Peter andPaul Church in the north central Iowa town of West Bend in early July.The event was sponsored by the Shrine of the Grotto of theRedemption in collaboration with the Office of Discipleship and Evangelization for theDiocese of Sioux City.Ordained for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, FatherCarney is on loan to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, where he serves as chaplainto the Benedictines of Mary,Queen of Apostles, in Gower. He visits the nuns daily to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, offers thesacrament of reconciliation and provides spiritual direction.Once his duties are complete, Father Carney, 42, takes tothe streets of St. Joseph. Armed ...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jerry Mennenga

By Joanne Fox

WEST BEND, Iowa (CNS) -- With apologies to Fats Domino, Father Lawrence Carney is "walkin' and talkin' about you and me," and hoping that listeners will come back to -- not "me" -- but God.

Known as the "walking priest," Father Carney brought his message of street evangelization to Sts. Peter and Paul Church in the north central Iowa town of West Bend in early July.

The event was sponsored by the Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption in collaboration with the Office of Discipleship and Evangelization for the Diocese of Sioux City.

Ordained for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, Father Carney is on loan to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, where he serves as chaplain to the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, in Gower. He visits the nuns daily to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, offers the sacrament of reconciliation and provides spiritual direction.

Once his duties are complete, Father Carney, 42, takes to the streets of St. Joseph. Armed with a rosary in one hand and a large crucifix in the other, the tall priest in a black cassock and wide-brimmed clerical hat known as a "saturno" shares the Gospel with anyone who approaches.

The oldest of three boys in his family, Father Carney recalled his first inkling of a vocation surfaced in kindergarten.

"A Redemptorist priest visited and held up a card of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and it seemed like the eyes of Our Lady would follow me," he said.

"I thought, 'If a priest can do that with a holy card, then I want to be a priest,'" he said, smiling.

Father Carney confessed he "fought" the idea of the priesthood in high school.

"I was convinced I was to marry a beautiful young woman and have 12 children," he said. "God ultimately won that battle."

Following his 2007 ordination, Father Carney served as a parish priest in the Wichita Diocese. His life changed when he chose to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain -- opting to wear a cassock -- talking to about 1,000 people during his 32 days on the trail.

The experience led to his decision to walk the streets.

Father Carney's ministry led him to pen "Walking the Road to God," published in 2017 by Caritas Press. The book is subtitled, "Why I left everything behind and took to the streets to save souls."

"I'm a horrible author," the priest said. "Isn't is something how God chooses the worst people to do his will?"

But save souls, he has, in his travels in Missouri and elsewhere.

"Three years ago, I was approached by a non-Catholic family who insisted their home was possessed by demons; the children were saying they saw red eyes in the house," he said. "They asked me to pray for them and I did."

When he later saw the family, Father Carney asked about the house.

"'Oh, Father, after you prayed and left, the devils left,' the mother reported," he said. "After one year of instruction, they were received into the church and one of the sons is discerning a vocation to the priesthood."

The story was one of several the priest shared with the 125 people who attended his talk.

In his book, Father Carney expressed his dream of a new order of priests, clerics and brothers, who walk and pray in cities around the U.S. to reach out to lukewarm and fallen-away Catholics and non-Catholics.

The Vatican approved his request for the new order Dec. 8 -- to accept men into the Canons Regular of St. Martin of Tours. The new community will be based in St. Joseph. About a dozen men have indicated an interest in joining, Father Carney said.

"I am in the process of discernment myself for this new community," he said. "God willing, I will profess my first vows on Nov. 11, 2019."

Meanwhile, Father Carney "walks the walk and talks the talk" to about 10 people a day, about 2,000 to 5,000 folks in the last four years.

"The best part of the walking is I get to contemplate God," he said. "I pray the rosary, get some exercise, look at nature and someone might talk to me and then, I share my contemplation with them."

After his presentation, Father Carney took questions, with one person asking if he walked the 245 miles from St. Joseph to West Bend.

With a grin, Father Carney shook his head in response. However, he did admit to being somewhat of an expert on shoes.

"I have discovered 'shandals' work well," he said, referring to a part-shoe, part-sandal, which he had on his feet.

Father Carney reported the Canons Regular are looking into creating the hybrid and marketing them.

"We will be calling them, Father Martens," he said, chuckling repeatedly at the reference to the popular Doc Martens footwear.

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Fox is managing editor of The Catholic Globe, newspaper of the Diocese of Sioux City.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Gina Christian, catholicphilly.comBy Gina ChristianAUDUBON, Pa. (CNS) -- When hearrived at St. Gabriel's Hall in Audubon nine years ago, Quamiir Trice was inhandcuffs.Arrested for dealing crack, the15-year-old had been sent to a residential treatment program for at-risk youthoffered by St. Gabriel's, part of the Philadelphia Archdiocese's CatholicSocial Services.On June 27, Trice returned toSt. Gabriel's -- this time, as a Pennsylvania state certified educator, freshfrom his fourth-grade classroom and ready to teach mathematics at summerschool."They took the handcuffs off assoon as my feet hit the ground here," Trice said, recalling his first momentsat St. Gabriel's as a troubled teenager. "Everything here was so green andbeautiful and peaceful. It definitely made me feel like I was in a good place."During his time at the MiddleStates accredited school, Trice earned his GED while displaying a gift formathematics. Through intensive counseling sessions, he learned to ...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Gina Christian, catholicphilly.com

By Gina Christian

AUDUBON, Pa. (CNS) -- When he arrived at St. Gabriel's Hall in Audubon nine years ago, Quamiir Trice was in handcuffs.

Arrested for dealing crack, the 15-year-old had been sent to a residential treatment program for at-risk youth offered by St. Gabriel's, part of the Philadelphia Archdiocese's Catholic Social Services.

On June 27, Trice returned to St. Gabriel's -- this time, as a Pennsylvania state certified educator, fresh from his fourth-grade classroom and ready to teach mathematics at summer school.

"They took the handcuffs off as soon as my feet hit the ground here," Trice said, recalling his first moments at St. Gabriel's as a troubled teenager. "Everything here was so green and beautiful and peaceful. It definitely made me feel like I was in a good place."

During his time at the Middle States accredited school, Trice earned his GED while displaying a gift for mathematics. Through intensive counseling sessions, he learned to manage his emotions and to make more constructive life choices.

And he discovered that the variables in his life added up to something new: hope through faith in God.

"I became spiritually grounded when I came to St. Gabe's," Trice told CatholicPhilly.com, Philadelphia's archdiocesan news outlet. "That was vital."

"We can't preach or proselytize a specific faith because we're publicly funded," said John Mulroney, principal of St. Gabriel's. "But we're allowed to let the students explore their own faith traditions, and we seize every opportunity to help them do just that."

Mulroney said that Trice, who had been raised as a Christian, embraced the 12-step program directive to "let go and let God" often heard in the school's drug and alcohol rehabilitation unit, where he recovered from addiction. In doing so, Trice had to confront his pent-up rage, frustration and grief -- the legacy of life on the street, where drugs and guns claim a disproportionate number of minority youth.

"I actually remember my best friend getting killed while I was here," he said. "My social worker called me to his office that day; we had a great relationship and he knew that something was off about me. And of course there was. My best friend was dead."

Trice said that having a safe space in which to process his harrowing experiences -- which included an unstable home life, substance abuse, truancy, drug dealing and lost relationships -- was "pivotal."

Mulroney cites the school's trauma-informed care treatment as the key to reaching its students. By addressing the core reasons why youth engage in at-risk behavior, staff can foster communication skills, emotional intelligence, nonviolence and a sense of social responsibility among students.

"These kids are wounded human beings, not damaged goods," said Mulroney. "There's a difference, and our first step is making these young men feel safe and cared for in this environment," he said.

Once students are assured of their protection, they can work through their anger and sorrow, often through what Mulroney describes as "cleansing tears" that unclench both fists and hearts. During the grieving process, students participate in multiple therapy groups, meeting even on weekends to share their stories and to support each other's growth.

As they come to terms with their losses, students can then begin to focus on the future, developing the talents and skills buried under their scars. Mulroney noted that Trice's mathematical aptitude, masked by a straight-F report card at his former high school, emerged at St. Gabriel's.

"He was our top GED math student when he was here," Mulroney said, adding that Trice quickly rose to the head of his class, graduating as salutatorian in 2011 and then enrolling in Community College of Philadelphia.

After obtaining his associate's degree, Trice completed his undergraduate studies at Howard University in Washington, majoring in elementary education. His leadership roles in several education initiatives have led Mulroney to tease Trice for "hobnobbing with presidents."

"He's met President (Barack) Obama several times, along with the president of the MacArthur Foundation," said Mulroney. "Actually, in one photograph, it looked like he had Obama's ear, rather than the other way around."

Because of his academic credentials and a need for greater diversity in educational staffing, Trice was heavily recruited by several school districts and graduate schools throughout the country. He chose to return to his hometown, accepting a position as a fourth-grade instructor at Bethune Elementary School in North Philadelphia.

As he was wrapping up the school year, Trice approached Mulroney about returning to teach at St. Gabriel's during the summer.

"We have a quote all through St. Gabe's that says, 'Enter to learn, leave to serve,'" Trice said. "Coming back here is a dream come true."

In a sense, Trice had never completely left St. Gabriel's, which reintegrates its graduates through an after-care program. A counselor with Catholic Social Services, assigned by the city's family court, follows up regularly with former students for approximately six months after they leave St. Gabriel's to ensure their progress.

Trice needed that safety net when he hit a rough spot after his St. Gabriel's graduation and got kicked out of his grandparent's house. Distraught, he called a former dean at the school for guidance.

"I knew my goal was to still stay on track and stay focused, but I needed help," Trice said. "He listened and encouraged me, and he said, 'You have our support.' And just knowing that really made me feel a lot more confident moving forward."

As a new teacher, Trice continued to consult his mentors at St. Gabriel's for advice on classroom management and teaching strategies.

Trice is passionate about cultivating math skills in his students, especially since urban youth are underrepresented in scientific disciplines. He relishes the clarity of mathematics, which hones students' analytical skills while building confidence, and he weaves life lessons into his lectures.

"I tell my students that whenever you have a variable in an equation that you're solving for, that is your goal," Trice explained. "You focus on that goal, and all of the other numbers, all those distractions, don't really matter."

For Trice, who plans to attend law school and to develop educational policy, faith in God is the ultimate variable.

"I came to the conclusion that I don't teach for my students any more -- I teach for God," said. "I don't feel like I'm doing any of this on my own. It feels like a movie script, and God is writing this story to give himself the glory."

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Christian is senior content producer at CatholicPhilly.com, the news outlet of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Amigos for ChristBy Priscilla GreearBUFORD,Ga. (CNS) -- The Buford-based Amigos for Christ nonprofit serving Nicaragua'spoorest has canceled all summer mission trips due to an upsurge in violence inthe Central American country.Yet,several Nicaraguan churches near the organization's Chinandega headquartershave stepped in to serve their neighbors and partner with Amigos to finish constructionof 100 modern bathrooms and a clean water system for El Pedregal village."Wenormally have about 1,800 people come down each year, and we've had to postponethe trips until we can tell people it's going to be OK to travel," saidexecutive director John Bland from the group's headquarters, a three-hour drivefrom the capital, Managua.Humanrights groups put the death toll in Nicaragua at more than 350 since April 18,when protests erupted over reforms to the country's social security system. Catholicclergy have been attacked and anti-government protesters are besieged by Nicarag...

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Amigos for Christ

By Priscilla Greear

BUFORD, Ga. (CNS) -- The Buford-based Amigos for Christ nonprofit serving Nicaragua's poorest has canceled all summer mission trips due to an upsurge in violence in the Central American country.

Yet, several Nicaraguan churches near the organization's Chinandega headquarters have stepped in to serve their neighbors and partner with Amigos to finish construction of 100 modern bathrooms and a clean water system for El Pedregal village.

"We normally have about 1,800 people come down each year, and we've had to postpone the trips until we can tell people it's going to be OK to travel," said executive director John Bland from the group's headquarters, a three-hour drive from the capital, Managua.

Human rights groups put the death toll in Nicaragua at more than 350 since April 18, when protests erupted over reforms to the country's social security system. Catholic clergy have been attacked and anti-government protesters are besieged by Nicaraguan police and paramilitaries.

Despite the turmoil, conditions remain relatively calm and peaceful around Chinandega and daily operations continue.

"Here in Chinandega we're able to get around without any problems," and Amigos asked local churches and organizations if they would be interested in doing one-day mission trips to help in El Pedregal, said Bland. "It's been phenomenal to see people ' taking time away from their work, which is tough, to come and work in other communities."

El Pedregal is the 18th community in Nicaragua served by Amigos. Families had no running water and their hand-dug shallow wells all contained E. coli, contaminated from nearby latrines. While treating residents for diarrhea, intestinal parasites and severe dehydration, Amigos also is providing clean water.

"We drill a deep well about 160 feet, and we've got good clean water so we're going to pump that into a tank and distribute through pipes and gravity to everybody's home," said Bland, who lives in Nicaragua with his family.

Visiting his home parish in Atlanta in late June, Bland said there are some "basic things that are barriers in people's lives to growth," such as having clean water or a school to go to.

"When the local people are able to serve other people to eliminate those barriers, they in turn get to see people grow," he said at Marietta's Transfiguration Church, which had to cancel its planned mission trip with nearly 60 participants.

"We're trying to model Jesus, and his model was to make disciples and those disciples go out and make other disciples, and we're doing the same thing through service," he said.

Thinking long term, Amigos has always invested first in local community leadership to make projects sustainable, said Bland. And they've either built schools or supported existing schools in partnership with Nicaragua's ministry of education with a goal to get kids to complete at least high school. Amigos stays apolitical amidst the protests.

"Whenever we work with a community with no school ' one of the first projects we do is to build a school," said Bland. Amigos focuses on attractive physical structures "so that the kids really want to go" to school, "because we know that education is going to change the country for the long term."

Also, farmers are going greener through crop diversification and organic certification. "We're growing dragon fruit, a lot of papaya, getting farmers access to capital and helping them have access to market," he said. "We're going to be investing heavily in that over the next 10 years."

Amigos has come a long way since Bland, a former software engineer, established the nonprofit in 1999 as an outgrowth of a youth mission project through Prince of Peace Church in Flowery Branch. The nonprofit now has 116 employees, a $3.6 million operating budget and an extensive network of churches across the United States. About 80 percent of Amigos' workers are Nicaraguan, which is a key to growth and sustainability, said Bland.

Board member and Prince of Peace parishioner Sue LaFave has participated in mission trips to Nicaragua every year since 2002, most recently leading a team from her parish over spring break.

She even owns a home a few blocks from the nonprofit's headquarters and eagerly awaits a return to Chinandega.

On her first trip, LaFave accompanied her teen daughter and others from Prince of Peace. Since then she has taken her niece and nephews and many parish teens.

It is the Nicaraguan people who inspire her to continue service.

"Their humility and their strong faith set such a great example for my daughter when we first went and for me always. They are so grateful for the hand up that we give them. ' We are the Lord's hands and feet when we go to Nicaragua," she told The Georgia Bulletin, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

LaFave, who said she has never felt unsafe in Chinandega, first met the Narvaez family when they lived in a plastic shack with a tin roof near the city trash dump. She worked side by side with the family and other Amigos to relocate them to a new home in Villa Catalina. Now living in a decent home with running water, the mother has a small business and her children attend an afterschool program called Teatro Catalina.

"I now see them being very successful in their daily lives, and it makes me very happy," said LaFave.

And she sees firsthand the difference having clean running water makes to the 18 communities served by Amigos. Parents would spend half their day fetching water instead of looking for employment, and children would babysit siblings instead of attending school, she recalled.

Sharing faith through action has profoundly impacted LaFave.

"Every shovel full of dirt that I've dug ' helps me to understand that we can't always do big things, but every little thing adds up to something big. I see the Lord there," she said.

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Greear writes for The Georgia Bulletin, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Loren Elliott, ReutersBy Rhina GuidosWASHINGTON(CNS) -- During a time when immigrants around the country have come underattack, the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, and representatives from other dioceses in Texas and nearby New Mexicoare joining a variety of faith groups in a show of support and solidarity formigrants in their communities. "Bea light in the times of darkness," said El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz in a YouTubevideo posted July 18 announcing an interfaith procession in El Paso on July 20,which will be joined by faith leaders from the Presbyterian, Unitarian,Lutheran, Muslim, Baha'i and indigenous Tigua traditions. A vigilfollowing the procession will feature testimony from separated families.The second day, which focuses on the church's teaching on migrants,will begin with a Mass celebrated by the bishops in attendance and includes akeynote speech by a Vatican representative, a social justice drama by the youthof the diocese, as well suggestions for how to o...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Loren Elliott, Reuters

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- During a time when immigrants around the country have come under attack, the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, and representatives from other dioceses in Texas and nearby New Mexico are joining a variety of faith groups in a show of support and solidarity for migrants in their communities.

"Be a light in the times of darkness," said El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz in a YouTube video posted July 18 announcing an interfaith procession in El Paso on July 20, which will be joined by faith leaders from the Presbyterian, Unitarian, Lutheran, Muslim, Baha'i and indigenous Tigua traditions. A vigil following the procession will feature testimony from separated families.

The second day, which focuses on the church's teaching on migrants, will begin with a Mass celebrated by the bishops in attendance and includes a keynote speech by a Vatican representative, a social justice drama by the youth of the diocese, as well suggestions for how to offer hospitality to migrants.

Father Robert Stark, of the Migrants and Refugee Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, will participate as a keynote speaker. Other Catholic bishops from dioceses nearby plan to attend, including Bishop Edward J. Burns and Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly of Dallas, as well as Bishop Oscar Cantu and retired Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

"You may have heard in the news about the pain, the violation of human rights and the suffering of our migrant brothers and sisters in our border communities," said Bishop Seitz in the video. "I'm calling on all our parishes, parishioners and clergy to put their faith into action."

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican MediaBy VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis added an Italian teenager tothe list of peoplehe will formally recognizeas saints Oct. 14 during the monthlong meeting of the world Synod of Bishops onyoung people.During an "ordinary public consistory" July 19,Pope Francis announced he would declare Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio a saint the same day he will canonize BlessedsOscar Romero, Paul VI and four others. An ordinary public consistory is ameeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formallyends the sainthood process.Sulprizio was born April 13, 1817, in the Abruzzo region near Pescara.Both of his parents died when he was an infant and his maternal grandmother,who raised him, died when he was nine.An uncle took him under his guardianship and had theyoung boy work for him in his blacksmith shop. However, the work was toostrenuous for a boy his age and he developed a problem in his leg, which becamegangrenous.A military colonel took care of...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican Media

By

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis added an Italian teenager to the list of people he will formally recognize as saints Oct. 14 during the monthlong meeting of the world Synod of Bishops on young people.

During an "ordinary public consistory" July 19, Pope Francis announced he would declare Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio a saint the same day he will canonize Blesseds Oscar Romero, Paul VI and four others. An ordinary public consistory is a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process.

Sulprizio was born April 13, 1817, in the Abruzzo region near Pescara. Both of his parents died when he was an infant and his maternal grandmother, who raised him, died when he was nine.

An uncle took him under his guardianship and had the young boy work for him in his blacksmith shop. However, the work was too strenuous for a boy his age and he developed a problem in his leg, which became gangrenous.

A military colonel took care of Sulprizio, who was eventually hospitalized in Naples. The young teen faced tremendous pain with patience and serenity and offered up his sufferings to God.   

He died in Naples in 1836 at the age of 19. He was declared blessed in 1963 by Blessed Paul VI, who will be canonized together with the teen.

During the ceremony, Blessed Paul had said, "Nunzio Sulprizio will tell you that the period of youth should not be considered the age of free passions, of inevitable falls, of invincible crises, of decadent pessimism, of harmful selfishness. Rather, he will rather tell you how being young is a grace."

Together with Blesseds Paul and Romero, Sulprizio will be canonized along with: Father Francesco Spinelli of Italy, founder of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament; Father Vincenzo Romano, who worked with the poor of Naples, Italy, until his death in 1831; Mother Catherine Kasper, the German founder of the religious congregation, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ; and Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa, the Spanish founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church.

The Oct. 14 date for the canonizations had already been announced during an ordinary public consistory in mid-May.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Oswaldo Rivas, ReutersBy MANAGUA, Nicaragua (CNS) -- Police andparamilitaries in Nicaragua have attacked another parish in an indigenous communityas churches and clergy come under attack for trying to protect populationsprotesting authoritarian rule.Gunfire and was directed at Mary Magdalene Parishin Monimbo, "where the priest is seeking shelter," tweeted Managua AuxiliaryBishop Silvio Jose Baez July 17. Later in the day he tweeted, "I havesuffered and I have prayed intensely for my city of Masaya and the belovedbarrio of Monimbo. There still is not clear news. What is clear is that Monimbo,even hurt, lives and today obtained a great moral victory of courage and loveof the homeland."Father Augusto Gutierrez, pastor at MaryMagdalene Parish, told Spanish radio: "It's been four hours of attack withheavy military weapons, destroying churches. ' It's genocide. There's no othername for it."Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, apostolicnuncio to Nicaragua, said in an m...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Oswaldo Rivas, Reuters

By

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (CNS) -- Police and paramilitaries in Nicaragua have attacked another parish in an indigenous community as churches and clergy come under attack for trying to protect populations protesting authoritarian rule.

Gunfire and was directed at Mary Magdalene Parish in Monimbo, "where the priest is seeking shelter," tweeted Managua Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Jose Baez July 17.

Later in the day he tweeted, "I have suffered and I have prayed intensely for my city of Masaya and the beloved barrio of Monimbo. There still is not clear news. What is clear is that Monimbo, even hurt, lives and today obtained a great moral victory of courage and love of the homeland."

Father Augusto Gutierrez, pastor at Mary Magdalene Parish, told Spanish radio: "It's been four hours of attack with heavy military weapons, destroying churches. ' It's genocide. There's no other name for it."

Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua, said in an message July 17: "Violence cannot solve the political crisis and guarantee future peace in Nicaragua. Crying for the dead and praying for their families, I call the consciences of everyone to truce and a return to the national dialogue."

As attacks on Catholic clergy continued and anti-government protesters were besieged by Nicaraguan police and paramilitaries, the country's bishops said they would pray an exorcism prayer.

The bishops said July 20 would be a day of prayer and fasting "as an act of atonement for the profanation carried out in recent months against God." On that day, "We will pray the prayer of exorcism to St. Michael Archangel."

On July 15, the vehicle of Bishop Juan Mata Guevara of Esteli was shot as he traveled to the city of Nindiri, where he had hoped to stop an attack by police and paramilitaries. The bishop escaped unharmed, but the vehicle's tires were shot out and windows broken, said Father Victor Rivas, executive secretary of the Nicaraguan bishops' conference.

An attack July 14 at the nearby National Autonomous University of Nicaragua campus in Managua left two students dead and injured 15 more. Some of the fleeing protesters sought shelter in Divine Mercy Church, where the injured were being treated, but armed assailants stopped ambulances from reaching the church.

A Washington Post reporter was among those trapped in the parish, which churchmen said had been "profaned," and pictures posted to social media showed the church had been pockmarked by bullets.

"They are shooting at a church," Father Erick Alvarado Cole, a pastor at the parish, told The Washington Post. "The government says it respects human rights. Is this respecting human rights?"

On July 9, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes Solorzano of Managua, Bishop Baez and Archbishop Sommertag were among clergy from Managua pummeled as they attempted to protect St. Sebastian Basilica in the city of Diriamba from an incursion by a pro-government mob. Bishop Baez and at least one other priest were injured. Journalists also were attacked and had cameras and other equipment stolen.

A July 14 statement from the bishops said: "In recent days, the repression and violence carried out by the pro-government paramilitaries against the people who protest civically has gotten worse. ... Today, like never before, human rights are being violated in Nicaragua. ... Members of the national dialogue" -- convened by the bishops' conference -- "defenders of human rights and independent media have been the objects of campaigns of defamation by the government."

In their statement, the bishops said brokering a deal through dialogue has proved difficult.

"We have been witnesses to a lack of political will of the government to dialogue in a sincere way and look for real processes that will lead us to a true democracy" and not carrying out "the urgent dismantling of the armed pro-government forces," the bishops' statement said. "Government representatives have twisted the principal objective for which the national dialogue was established."

Human rights groups put the death toll in Nicaragua at more than 350 since April 18, when protests erupted over reforms to the Central American country's social security system. Protests later demanded the ouster of President Daniel Ortega, who has dismissed proposals for early elections and repressed protests with violence.

Churches in Nicaragua have served as centers for treating the wounded and allowing the work of human rights groups. Priests toll church bells to warn local populations of the police and paramilitaries arriving.

Covenant House, known as Casa Alianza in Latin America, issued an urgent call for donations, saying staff were forced to sleep in the shelters due to security concerns and its homes had to buy months of supplies such as food and medicines in advance. Casa Alianza works with homeless and trafficked children.

A Catholic analyst in Nicaragua, who preferred not to be named for security reasons, said the dialogue has been interpreted as an attempt by Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, to buy time. The bishops also run the risk of being blamed for the collapse of the talks if they withdraw as mediators, the analyst said.

"(The government) and vice president have been appropriating religious language for some time and now are saying the government is doing God's work," the analyst told CNS.

The bishops said they would continue working as mediators, but their role goes beyond sitting at the negotiating table.

"Given the prophetic dimension of our ministry we have seen the urgency of going to the places of conflict to defend the lives of the defenseless, to bring comfort to the victims and mediate with the goal of a peaceful solution to the situation," the bishops said. "The Nicaraguan church will continue to use all of the means it is able to. Our mission as pastors and prophets does not contradict our role as mediators and witnesses, given that what we seek is peace and justice as Nicaraguans."


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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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