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Nation and world briefs


Christian victims of persecution remembered at ‘Night of Witness’ service

WASHINGTON — A chalice from a Catholic parish in Qaraqosh, in the Nineveh Plains of Iraq, scarred by bullets from Islamic State militants was a mute witness at a vespers service for Christian martyrs. The Nov. 23 observance at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington gave a voice to those who have died from religious persecution during the past two years, mostly in the Middle East, South Asia and African nations where Christians are in the minority. Candles were lit as their names were read. “Many of these victims suffer and perish anonymously,” said George Marlin, chairman of Aid to the Church in Need-USA, the charity sponsoring the service. The exterior of the basilica was bathed in red light to symbolize the color of martyrdom, and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, presided. The vespers marked the end of the charity’s Courage in Red campaign.

Bishop Caggiano named chairman of Catholic Relief Services board

BALTIMORE — Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, is the new chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services following his appointment by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Bishop Caggiano succeeds Maronite Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of Brooklyn, whose three-year term has ended. “All of God’s children have the right to live in just and peaceful societies, and for more than 75 years CRS has worked toward making that a reality. I look forward to joining forces to build on all of the organization’s substantial achievements and to tackling the challenges that affect so many members of God’s family,” Bishop Caggiano wrote in a statement.

Pope names rector of Michigan shrine to head Diocese of Gary

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Msgr. Robert J. McClory, rector of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Michigan, to head the Diocese of Gary, Indiana. Bishop-designate McClory, 56, has been shrine rector since 2000. A native of Detroit, he is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit. The appointment was announced in Washington Nov. 26 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Bishop-designate McClory is scheduled to be ordained a bishop and installed Feb. 11.


Caritas expresses outrage over former director in Africa accused of abuse

VATICAN CITY — Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based confederation of 165 national Catholic charities, has expressed sadness and outrage over incidents of child abuse by a Belgian Salesian priest who had been the national director of Caritas in the Central African Republic. Caritas Internationalis in Rome released a written statement Nov. 21, the same day CNN published an investigative report outlining new accusations against Father Luk Delft, including his 2012 conviction in Belgium of two counts of child abuse and of possession of child pornography. “Caritas Internationalis is assisting the local Caritas in the Central African Republic as it investigates the allegations, strengthens its safeguarding mechanisms and offers care and support to any possible victims and their families,” the statement said. “Caritas Internationalis has asked all national organizations worldwide to vet their governance, staff, volunteers and international staff,” it added. The national office of Caritas Internationalis in Belgium issued a statement Nov. 19 saying it was “appalled by the serious accusations of child abuse against a staff member of the Caritas global network.”

Vatican announces formation of new youth advisory body

VATICAN CITY — The Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life announced it is setting up a specialized team of young Catholic leaders as advisers. The new international advisory body was established following a proposal in the final document of the 2018 Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment. The Vatican made the announcement Nov. 24, the feast of Christ the King. The Youth Advisory Body consists of 20 young leaders who participated in the various phases of the synodal process, including the international youth forum in June, and who are active in Catholic lay movements, associations, communities or their respective dioceses. “The group will have an important consultative and proposal-making role to play. They will assist the dicastery with issues related to youth ministry and other topics of more general interest,” the dicastery said on its website, www.laityfamilylife.va.

Vancouver Archdiocese releases abuse report

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller released an archdiocesan review committee report on clerical sexual abuse, the culmination of a months-long survey of sexual abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Vancouver since 1950. It is the first report of its kind released by any diocese in Canada. The report contained 31 recommendations and responses and named Vancouver priests who have been criminally convicted, named in settled lawsuits or the subject of other public cases. Archbishop Michael Miller accepted all the committee’s recommendations and launched an Implementation Working Group to work out the practical details for carrying out the recommendations. The nine priests named in the report were alleged to have assaulted minors over a span of about 50 years beginning in the 1950s. Five of the nine are dead. Although the archdiocese knows of many other priests who have assaulted children, it has not named them due to privacy laws and other impediments.

— Catholic News Service

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