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Nation and world briefs


Faith leaders call for ‘Day of Mourning and Lament’ for victims of virus June 1

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Leadership Conference of Women Religious said May 27 it will join a group of over 100 national faith leaders — from Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions — who have called for a National Day of Mourning and Lament June 1 for those who have died from COVID-19. The group is urging federal, state and local elected officials to observe the day as well, which will be marked by marked by moments of silence, lowering of flags, interfaith vigils, ringing of bells and civic memorials. In the United States, the death toll from COVID had reached 102,391, as of May 28. LCWR said it asked its more than 1,300 members to invite the more than 40,000 Catholic sisters they represent to participate “in these actions of grieving and lament.”

Detroit Archdiocese to shift to ‘family of parishes’ over next two years

DETROIT — Over the next two years, the Archdiocese of Detroit will transition to a new pastoral and governance model for its 218 parishes called “families of parishes,” Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron announced May 31, the feast of Pentecost. Calling it a “very important step in the life and mission of our local Church,” he said the move will allow parishes to more robustly serve their mission while proactively responding to historic challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Even before the pandemic, we knew God wanted to renew our parishes. The structures we inherited served our mission well in the past, but they need to be renewed and aligned for mission,” Archbishop Vigneron said. While the health and economic crises have contributed to a reduction in material resources, the archdiocese also faces a looming priest shortage, the archbishop noted.

St. Cloud Diocese, abuse survivors agree on plan to resolve claims

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The Diocese of St. Cloud and survivors of clergy sexual abuse have reached an agreement on a framework for a resolution of all clergy sexual abuse claims against the diocese and area parishes. The resolution will include the diocese filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the near future, according to a May 26 diocesan news release. In the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, this framework for resolution will include a plan of reorganization mutually agreed upon that will provide for a $22.5 million trust to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse. “This framework for resolution represents the diocese’s commitment to finding a fair resolution for survivors of sexual abuse while continuing its ministry to those it serves throughout the 16-county diocese,” according to the release. The funds that will be used to compensate survivors will come from insurance coverage settlements and cash and property contributions from the diocese and parishes within the diocese. “


Pope asks consecrated virgins to help the poor, stand up for justice

VATICAN CITY — Women who have discerned a call to consecrate their virginity to God in service to the Church must be living signs of God’s love in the world, especially where too many people live in poverty or suffer from discrimination, Pope Francis said. “Be women of mercy, experts in humanity. Women who believe in the ‘revolutionary nature of love and tenderness,’” the pope said in a message to the estimated 5,000 women around the world who formally belong to the Order of Virgins. Pope Francis’ message, released by the Vatican June 1, marked the 50th anniversary of St. Paul VI’s revival of the “Ritual for the Consecration of Virgins.” “Your virginal consecration helps the Church to love the poor, to discern forms of material and spiritual poverty, to help those who are weak and vulnerable, those suffering from physical and mental illness, the young and the elderly, and all those in danger of being marginalized or discarded,” the pope told the women.

Wounded world needs Christ’s Gospel, pope tells charismatic movement

VATICAN CITY — Christians are called to witness to the Holy Spirit who can renew and heal a world suffering in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis said. In a May 30 video message to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service, also known as “Charis,” the pope said the world “needs our witness to the Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus.” “Today the world suffers, it is wounded,” he said. “We live in a very wounded world, which suffers especially in the poorest who are discarded; when all our human securities have disappeared, the world needs us to give it Jesus.” The pope’s message was broadcast during the movement’s worldwide Pentecost vigil, celebrated online due to restrictive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Reflecting on the current pandemic, Pope Francis said it has changed the world and “we will no longer be able to do what we have been doing and how we have been doing it.”

Bishop urges U.K. to act to protect Hong Kong democracy agreement

MANCHESTER, England — An English bishop urged the U.K. government to take action against violations of democratic freedoms in Hong Kong. Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton said China was violating the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration by imposing anti-democratic national security legislation on the autonomous Chinese territory. In a letter to Dominic Raab, the British foreign secretary, the bishop said Britain still had a responsibility to the people of its former colony and “a clear legal, moral and historical duty to safeguard fundamental freedoms” there. Speaking on behalf of the bishops of England and Wales, he said: “Like so many others in the Catholic community I am deeply concerned by the continuing erosion of autonomy, suppression of political freedoms, and violent response to peaceful protests taking place in breach of this treaty.”

Vatican Museums, archive, library prepare to reopen

VATICAN CITY— The Vatican Museums, Vatican Apostolic Archives and Vatican Library will reopen June 1, almost three months after being closed as part of the lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The closure of the museums dealt a major financial blow to the Vatican; more than 6 million people visit the museums each year, generating an income of more than $100 million. The closure of the archives interrupted scholars’ long-anticipated access to the archives of Pope Pius XII. Material related to the pope and his actions during World War II became available to scholars March 2, but that access ended a week later with the lockdown. To reopen the facilities, the Vatican has instituted a series of precautionary measures in line with health and safety guidelines, including reservations, requiring facemasks to be worn and social distance policies.

— Catholic News Service

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