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Nation and world briefs


Young adults at FOCUS summit urged to help others live their faith

PHOENIX — Young adult Catholics can lead others to God through their actions and daily experiences, a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix told the annual Student Leadership Summit of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Father John Parks, vicar for evangelization for the Diocese of Phoenix, told more than 8,500 young adults at the opening Mass Dec. 30 that they can bring unbelieving individuals to belief in God. “You’re the solution. That’s why you’re here at SLS, that’s why God called you. He wants to use you to help those people come to live in faith,” he said. Father Parks cited Anna from the day’s Gospel reading who waited on the Lord. He encouraged attendees to use Anna as a model of the faith. “When you wait on the Lord, when He’s the number one desire of your heart, that increases your awareness of the Lord and you start to see the Lord in everything,” Father Parks said. The five-day conference focused on the theme of responding to the Lord.

Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Higgins from military archdiocese

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Richard B. Higgins, the episcopal vicar for veterans affairs of the Archdiocese for the Military Services. The retirement of Bishop Higgins, who reached the normal retirement age of 75 last February, was announced Jan. 2 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States. Bishop Higgins’ duties as vicar for veterans affairs included responsibility for the more than 200 chaplains serving at more than 150 VA hospitals in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam. Born Feb. 22, 1944, in Longford, Ireland, he studied at Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University and was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Sacramento, California, March 9, 1968. After serving in several parishes in the diocese, he joined the U.S. Air Force in September 1974 and served as a Catholic chaplain at bases in the United States, Iceland, Germany and in the Pacific.

Bishop Conlon of Joliet, Ill., takes medical leave

JOLIET, Ill. — Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Joliet announced he is taking a medical leave of absence starting Dec. 27. Retired Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, will be apostolic administrator of the diocese while Bishop Conlon is away. A statement from the diocese did not disclose the reason for the medical leave. Bishop Conlon expressed in the statement “his deep affection” for the clergy, religious and laity of Joliet and said he planned to keep them in his prayers during the time away from his responsibilities. He also asked for prayers from the faithful of the diocese.


‘No end in sight to the horror’: Australian bishops respond to fires

CANBERRA, Australia — Saying that “there is no end in sight to the horror which confronts us,” Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the bishops have implemented a national response to months of wildfires. The bishops have set up a national network, connecting people affected by the fires with “people who can help with tasks such as preparing meals, clearing properties, rebuilding communities, as well as pastoral and counseling support.” They are collaborating with other religious agencies and their institutes and will take up a special collection the last weekend in January, when Australia Day is celebrated. “We have all seen the apocalyptic images, even if we are not in the areas most affected,” the archbishop said.

Put the phone away and talk to each other, pope urges families

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis prayed that people all over the world would end 2019 “in peace, peace in their hearts,” and that families would mark New Year’s by “communicating with one another.” Reciting the Angelus prayer Dec. 29, the feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis entrusted to Mary, “Queen of the Family,” all the families of the world, “especially those experiencing suffering or distress, and we invoke upon them her maternal protection.” The pope also offered special prayers “for the victims of the horrible terrorist attack yesterday in Mogadishu, Somalia, where more than 70 people were killed in the explosion of a car bomb. I am close to all their families and those who mourn their deaths.” He led the crowd in St. Peter’s Square in reciting a Hail Mary for the victims as the death toll continued to rise.

— Catholic News Service

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