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Nation and world briefs


John Lewis remembered as ‘determined, forceful, thoughtful’

WASHINGTON — Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Catholic social justice lobby Network, reflected on her fondest memories of the late Congressman John Lewis. Lewis, who was an icon of the civil rights movement and a colleague of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died July 17 after a six-month battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. He was 80. Lewis represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District from 1987 until his death. “Not only was he connected with the people, but he knew his job could make their lives better. And I think just because he worked on civil rights, he knew what a difference he could make. He embodied that piece about caring for everyone, including those who opposed him,” Sister Campbell said. “Determined, forceful, thoughtful,” she said, are the attributes that led to Lewis being a distinguished man in history.

Texas dioceses still assessing damage from Hurricane Hanna

WASHINGTON — Some dioceses in the state of Texas had services affected and some are still trying to determine damage from the July 25 landfall of Hurricane Hanna. The hurricane hit southern Texas — a region already battered by the coronavirus — particularly hard, causing widespread damage, though no casualties were reported, at least in the U.S. “The Diocese of Corpus Christi is currently evaluating the damages caused by Hurricane Hanna to its parishes and schools,” the diocese said in a July 28 news release. “Several parish communities in the diocese experienced varying degrees of damage as a result of Hurricane Hanna.” Disaster teams were evaluating and “assisting with the mitigation and stabilization of affected buildings to prevent further damages and to lessen any possible issue with mold,” the diocese said. Hurricane Hanna made landfall about 90 miles south of Corpus Christi and later barreled through parts of Mexico, where at least four casualties have been reported.

Faith leaders criticize plan to reject new DACA applicants

WASHINGTON — Faith leaders and immigrant advocates have denounced the Trump administration’s plan to reject first-time applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, and limit DACA renewals to one-year extensions instead of two. Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California, said the administration’s action, announced July 28 in a memo issued by the Department of Homeland Security, was “irresponsible and recalcitrant.” The memo was written by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and issued more than a month after the Supreme Court ruled against efforts by the Trump administration to end DACA. When the administration failed to move on DACA after this ruling, a federal judge in Maryland July 24 said it had to publicly clarify the status of the DACA program within 30 days. DACA, a program that was started in 2012 by President Barack Obama with an executive order, has enabled about 700,000 qualifying young people, described as “Dreamers,” to work, go to college, get health insurance, a driver’s license and not face deportation.

‘Journeying Together’ will focus on Church’s engagement with youth

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Catholic Church will convene a yearlong intercultural process with young adults and ministry leaders July 25. Called “Journeying Together,” the initiative aims to explore the Catholic Church’s engagement with young people of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and mobilize U.S. Catholics on issues and concerns related to culture and race in the United States, according to a July 22 news release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The USCCB’s Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church is leading the initiative, with the involvement of several USCCB secretariats — Catholic Education, Evangelization and Catechesis, and Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. They will be joined by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry. Due to health concerns created by the novel coronavirus, the initiative will primarily take place online from July through next May. Plans call for a live gathering to take place next summer, pending health and safety directives. It is based on Pope Francis’ call for encounter and dialogue in his 2019 apostolic exhortation “Christus Vivit,” (“Christ Lives”). More information can be found at www.usccb.org/journey2020.

Beatification of Father McGivney to take place Oct. 31 in Hartford, Conn.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Father Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, will be beatified during a special Mass Oct. 31 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford. On May 27, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis, who met with the board of directors of the Knights of Columbus in February, had signed the decree recognizing a miracle through the intercession of Father McGivney, clearing the way for his beatification. Once he is beatified, he will be given the title “Blessed.” Details of the beatification ceremony have not been released. The Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes announced the date for the beatification July 20.


Group alleges China hacked computers of Vatican, other entities

China has been accused of hacking Vatican computers as well as those in the Diocese of Hong Kong and other Catholic organizations in May. The hacking appears to be an attempt to gain an advantage in talks between the Vatican and China, due to resume as early as this week, about a fresh deal on the appointment of bishops. U.S. data monitoring group Recorded Future and its Insikt Group used sophisticated data analysis tools to uncover the cyber espionage, reported ucanews.com. A landmark provisional Vatican-China agreement was signed in September 2018, the culmination of efforts by Pope Francis and his predecessors, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, aimed at normalizing the appointment of bishops and bringing the entire Catholic Church in China into communion with Rome.

Some see Turkey’s Hagia Sophia move as attempt to expand Islam

AMMAN, Jordan — Catholics and other Christians are upset by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conversion of Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, into a functioning mosque where Muslim Friday prayers were recited recently. Many observers see the controversial move as part of Erdogan’s bigger attempt to reenact the Ottoman Empire expansionism in the Middle East by pushing his Islamist agenda. “I was very much shocked by the news that Hagia Sophia had become a mosque. It’s a provocative act,” Jesuit Father Samir Khalil Samir, a noted Egyptian Catholic theologian and Islamic studies scholar, said. An architectural masterpiece, the massive Hagia Sophia was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral and stood as the seat of Eastern Christianity for a thousand years before Ottoman Turks conquered its host city, then known as Constantinople, in 1453.

— Catholic News Service

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