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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Priests take ‘Walk for the Poor’ to raise money, pray for all hit by virus

WASHINGTON — As four priests of the Archdiocese of Washington started out on a three-day, 54-mile “Walk for the Poor,” they wanted those suffering from the impact of the coronavirus to know they are not alone and that Jesus is with them. They set out early April 29 from the parking lot of St. Andrew Apostle Church in suburban Silver Spring, Maryland, on a pilgrimage to the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Father Dan Leary, St. Andrew’s pastor, along with Father Mario Majano, parochial vicar there, and with Father Shaun Foggo, administrator of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Takoma Park, Maryland, about what they could do as priests to raise funds for the poor impacted by the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic. The walk, which ended May 1, raised more than $153,000 in pledges from more than 1,000 donors for local and international charitable programs.

Anchorage Archdiocese, Juneau Diocese merged; archbishop named

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has merged the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska, and the Diocese of Juneau, Alaska, and erected the new ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau. He also has appointed Juneau Bishop Andrew E. Bellisario to head the newly configured archdiocese. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican nuncio to the United States, announced the merger and the new appointment May 19 in Washington. The new archbishop has been serving as apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Anchorage since Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Paul D. Etienne as coadjutor of the Seattle Archdiocese in April 2019. Archbishop Bellisario, 63, was named the sixth bishop of Juneau July 11, 2017. He entered the Congregation of the Mission in 1975 and was ordained a Vincentian priest June 16, 1984.

WORLD

St. Peter’s Basilica reopens to the public

VATICAN CITY — Almost 10 weeks after St. Peter’s Basilica was closed to the public in cooperation with Italy’s COVID-19 lockdown measures, the faithful and tourists were allowed back in May 18. Pope Francis celebrated Mass at 7 a.m. at the tomb of St. John Paul II to mark the 100th anniversary of the Polish pope’s birth. Then, at 8 a.m., the general public was admitted. The basilica was sanitized May 15 in preparation for the reopening. It had been closed to the public since March 10. On the edge of St. Peter’s Square, a sign advises visitors they must wear a mask and stay 2 meters (6.5 feet) away from others in order to enter the basilica. The Vatican sanitation service placed hand-sanitizer dispensers at the end of the colonnade surrounding St. Peter’s Square. From there, the public finds “keep your distance” labels and tape on the cobblestone path leading to the health and security checks before entering the basilica.

Vatican announces Laudato Si’ anniversary year

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican announced that it will commemorate the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment with a yearlong series of initiatives dedicated to the safeguarding and care for the Earth. In a statement released by the Vatican press office May 16, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development announced a “Special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year” from May 24, 2020, to May 24, 2021, which will emphasize “ecological conversion in action.” As the world continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the dicastery stated, the encyclical’s message is “just as prophetic today as it was in 2015. Truly, COVID-19 has made clear how deeply we are all interconnected and interdependent.” Among the events set to take place throughout the year are prayer services and webinars dedicated to environmental care, education and the economy.

Retired English bishop dies of COVID-19

MANCHESTER, England — A retired English bishop has died from COVID-19 a week after he tested positive for the virus at his nursing home. He was 88. Retired Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Malone of Liverpool died May 18 in Royal Liverpool Hospital, said a May 18 statement by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, formerly a priest of the Archdiocese of Liverpool, said he recalled the bishop “as a lovely man to be with” because of his “endless patience” and “unfailing courtesy. He offered warm hospitality, without ever being ostentatious, and a quiet witty conversation,” he wrote in a statement May 18.

— Catholic News Service

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