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Nation and world briefs


Savannah, Ga., bishop named Atlanta’s archbishop

WASHINGTON— Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer of Savannah, Georgia, to be the archbishop of Atlanta. He succeeds Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who was Atlanta’s archbishop from 2005 until he was appointed to head the Archdiocese of Washington in 2019. The appointment was announced March 5 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. A Conventual Franciscan, Archbishop Hartmayer, 68, has served as Savannah’s 14th bishop since Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to head that diocese July 19, 2011. In Atlanta, Auxiliary Bishop Joel M. Konzen has been serving as administrator of the Archdiocese of Atlanta since Archbishop Gregory’s appointment to Washington.

Full assessment underway of tornado damage to historic Nashville church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — At the Church of the Assumption in Nashville’s Germantown neighborhood, the pastor, Father S. Bede Price, was asleep in the rectory when a massive tornado roared through the neighborhood in the early morning hours of March 3. The damage to the church, built in 1859 and one of the oldest in the diocese, is extensive. Besides the damaged stained-glass windows, part of the west wall collapsed. The powerful winds of the tornado shifted the position of the roof, which caused damage to the walls of the church. The steeple is tilted and will need to be repaired. However, the altar and much of the art in the church were spared.


Listen to God in order to follow Him, Jesuit tells curia officials

VATICAN CITY — The purpose of the Lenten journey is to spiritually retrace the journey of Exodus — from the desert to the mountain of God, a Jesuit theologian told top Vatican officials. Jesuit Father Pietro Bovati, secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, led the spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia at a Pauline Fathers’ retreat center in Ariccia, 20 miles southeast of Rome, March 1-6. Normally, the pope attends the traditional Lenten retreat; however, because he had a cold, Pope Francis followed the meditations from his room at his Vatican residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Father Bovati chose the theme, “‘The bush was on fire’ (Exodus 3:2) — The encounter between God and man in light of the book of Exodus, the Gospel of Matthew and the prayer of the Psalms.”

Vatican announces theme for World Day of Migrants and Refugees

VATICAN CITY — For the next World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis wants Catholics to focus on the pastoral care of people displaced within the borders of their own country and the church’s mission to serve them. The Vatican celebration of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020 will be celebrated Sept. 27, the Vatican said, and the pope’s choice for a theme is: “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee.” The theme “provides a Christological grounding for the Christian action of welcome or hospitality,” said a March 6 statement from the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Special attention will be given to “the pastoral care of internally displaced persons (IDPs), who currently number over 41 million worldwide,” the Vatican said.

Pope accepts resignation of 69-year-old French cardinal

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, five weeks after a French appeals court overturned his conviction for failing to report clerical sexual abuse. The Vatican announced the resignation of the 69-year-old cardinal March 6. A French appeals court Jan. 30 had overturned his conviction for failing to report sexual abuse accusations against Father Bernard Preynat, who currently awaits sentencing for abusing at least 75 boys. The cardinal was convicted in March 2019 and given a six-month suspended sentence. At the time, he announced that he had presented his letter of resignation to the pope, but the Vatican said the pope would not act on it until the cardinal’s appeal process had run its course.

CRS reviews allegations that educational materials breach church teaching

BALTIMORE — Catholic Relief Services said it is reviewing allegations that educational materials and websites produced by partner agencies include practices that are contrary to Church teaching. The response from CRS March 9 comes after Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, charged that a project operating in Africa affiliated with the U.S. bishops’ overseas development and relief agency promotes the use and distribution of condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS and pregnancy. “CRS has, in the past, discovered errors, taken them extremely seriously and corrected them immediately. Should we discover any such inconsistencies with Catholic teaching, CRS will take immediate corrective action,” the agency said in referencing “a recent report.” The CRS statement noted that it regularly participates in humanitarian initiatives with “a wide range of groups,” including other Catholic institutions, faith communities, governments and secular institutions in an effort to deliver much-needed services around the world. “Although some positions and practices of these institutions are not always consistent with the full range of Catholic teaching, CRS’ association with them is always and only focused on activities that are fully consistent with Catholic teaching,” said CRS.

— Catholic News Service

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