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Nation and world briefs for August 27

U.S.

Dominican sister’s pregame first pitch wows crowd, online world

CHICAGO — Not only is Dominican Sister Mary Jo Sobieck a nun, she’s also an internet sensation. The ceremonial first pitch she tossed prior to a Chicago White Sox-Kansas City Royals game in Chicago Aug. 18 — a curveball with what baseball insiders called “12-to-6” action — was a perfect strike. It also didn’t hurt that Sister Sobieck bounced the ball off her bicep before making the memorable pitch. One 24-second clip of Sister Sobieck throwing the pitch had garnered 2.73 million internet views by midday Aug. 21. Even the Chisox’s own Twitter account called it “one of the most impressive first pitches of all time.” Sister Sobieck, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Ill., is a theology teacher at Marian Catholic High School in suburban Chicago Heights.

Indiana bishop announces he’ll release list of accused abusers in diocese

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — At a news conference Aug. 17, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, said that in response to the release of the grand jury report on abuse claims in six Pennsylvania dioceses over a 70- year period, he will collect and release a list of the names of priests in the diocese he currently heads who committed similar offenses. Bishop Rhoades called the details of the grand jury “equally appalling and heartbreaking.” He expressed sympathy and support to the victims and their families, adding, “The Church failed you. For that, I apologize.” He emphasized that during his tenure as bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend he has released the name of every priest removed from ministry as a result of a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. He said he has learned, as a result of the grand jury, that it’s also important to victims to see the names of their abusers made public “for all to see. … It is my hope … that by releasing these names, the innocent victims of these horrific and heartbreaking crimes can finally begin the process of healing.” The list will be compiled beginning immediately.

WORLD

Slovak teen to be beatified as martyr to purity

OXFORD, England — A 16-year-old peasant girl will be beatified as a martyr in Slovakia, seven decades after she was shot in front of her family for resisting rape by a drunken Soviet soldier. Anna Kolaserova “embodies the faithful layperson living in their family, regularly receiving sacraments, praying the Rosary and approaching God through good works. Her heroic testimony, drawn from a sincere spiritual life, is something every Catholic and believer can aspire to,” Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia, told Catholic News Service Aug. 21. He said honoring Kolaserova, whose “reputation for holiness” had inspired young Slovaks, would give the local Church a unique chance for spiritual growth. “The story of 16-year-old Anna Kolesarova offers a strong message, of course, for the younger generation,” he said. “Celebrating the divine grace which was present in her life will enable us to gather the faithful, but also to reach the wider civil society,” Archbishop Bober said.

Pope will meet abuse survivors in Ireland

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will meet survivors of sexual abuse during his trip to Ireland Aug. 25-26, but it will be up to the survivors to decide whether any information about the meeting will be released, said the director of the Vatican press office. Greg Burke, press director, told reporters Aug. 21 that from the moment the Vatican decided the World Meeting of Families 2018 would be in Dublin, it was clear that the pope would have to acknowledge the crimes committed against thousands of Irish Catholics by priests in parishes and by priests, religious brothers and nuns in schools, orphanages and other institutions. The date, time and location of the meeting and the list of survivors invited will not be released until after the meeting, and then only with the permission of the survivors taking part, Burke said. Pope Francis wants the trip to focus on families; even the moments dictated by protocol — for example, meetings with government officials — will focus on the family, he said.

— Catholic News Service

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