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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Cdl. Wuerl: Make persecution 'difficult for others to ignore'

WASHINGTON — With religious persecution against Christians on the rise worldwide, it is important for other Christians to stand in solidarity with them, said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington. Christians in the United States and elsewhere must raise their voices on behalf of "the millions who are suffering," he said April 20 during a symposium held in connection with the release of "In Response to Persecution, Findings of the Under Caesar's Sword Project on Global Christian Communities," a report detailing the nature of persecution against Christians in different nations across the globe. "Make it difficult for others to ignore," the cardinal said. Doing so, Cardinal Wuerl noted, may require Christians "to be aware" of the persecution their fellow believers face on different continents.

After shooting, Fresno Catholics urged to be a light to community

FRESNO, Calif. — After three men were killed April 18 in a shooting rampage in Fresno by a gunman who was captured and admitted to the shootings, the Diocese of Fresno urged the local Catholic community to "seize this moment as an opportunity to live as people of light not darkness by rejecting the temptation to hate the hater. Once again, our community is touched by darkness," according to a statement posted on the diocese's website. "Family, friends, neighbors and the vast multitude of good and caring people in our community must now decide, once again, how we will respond to this senseless tragedy." One of the three victims was shot at a bus stop near a Catholic Charities office and another was shot in the agency's parking lot. The gunman, Kori Ali Muhammad, also was wanted in the slaying of a security guard in Fresno the previous week. All four victims were white. The Associated Press reported that Muhammad, who is black, fired 16 rounds in less than two minutes at four places within a block.

Florida clergy coalition creates interfaith bonds to counter hate crimes

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — While two culprits behind a yearlong wave of anonymous phone threats to Jewish community centers in Florida and elsewhere have been apprehended, members of an interfaith clergy group are concerned that ongoing political and social tension warrants ongoing vigilance. Members of the Clergy Coalition of Coral Springs and Parkland have been meeting in an effort to strengthen clergy bonds and better respond to hate crimes and ease anxieties affecting faith communities. The clergy coalition is an informal professional federation of the spiritual leaders of local houses of worship. With the motto "supporting each other in fellowship as we serve our maker and our community," the coalition enables local religious professionals to learn from each other and work together to strengthen their ministries and to enhance the quality of life in the community.

Pope appoints bishop to head Ukrainian eparchy

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Ukrainian-born Bishop Venedykt "Valery" Aleksiychuk as bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Nicholas in Chicago. Bishop Aleksiychuk, 49, has been auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Lviv, Ukraine, since 2010. The appointment was announced April 20 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. He succeeds Bishop Richard S. Seminack, who died Aug. 16, 2016, after a long battle with a heart ailment. Bishop Aleksiychuk will be the fifth head of the eparchy. The Eparchy of St. Nicholas of Chicago has 46 parishes and missions in 16 states. About 70 priests and deacons serve the eparchy, which has a Catholic population of about 11,000.

WORLD

Pope makes donation to handicapped-accessible beach project

VATICAN CITY — An Italian association that runs and maintains a Roman beach for disabled people received an unexpected donation from Pope Francis. In an April 25 statement, the "Work of Love," a charitable association dedicated to St. Aloysius Gonzaga, expressed their "enthusiasm and astonishment" upon receiving a contribution made in the pope's name by Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner. The association runs "La Madonnina" beach near Fiumicino, located 17 miles southwest of Rome, that is specially designed for disabled people and equipped with walkways for easy access in and around the area. According to the association's website, volunteers and medical personnel from the Italian Paralympic Swimming Federation are on hand to ensure a "safe and enjoyable" experience for visitors.

—Catholic News Service 

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