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Nation and world briefs


CDC director gives nod to indoor worship services for masked, vaccinated

WASHINGTON — When the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said April 27 that fully vaccinated people who wear masks can safely attend many indoor events such as worship services, the announcement likely did not catch many Catholics by surprise. That’s because most Catholic parishes nationwide have been having in-person indoor Masses since last summer, although often with limited congregation sizes. The setup of these Masses varies in each diocese and even at different parishes within a diocese. Parishes are also following state and county health guidelines that determine how many people may attend indoor services. At the beginning of the pandemic, most bishops issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, but in recent months a growing number of bishops have lifted that dispensation. Also, across the country, many parishes that quickly figured out how to livestream their Masses last spring are now continuing to provide this service, even as their congregations are starting to return.

Cardinal Turkson urges graduates to impact world, promote change

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The head of the Vatican’s justice, peace and human development efforts urged over 700 graduates of the University of Saint Francis to follow the example of their school’s namesake and the advice of the pope who shares his name. “Consider what impact you make in life,” said Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. He urged graduates to be “sowers of hope” in his May 1 address at the commencement ceremony at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. “Impact provokes change and makes beneficiaries of this change full of hope for the future,” he told the graduating class. He also noted how St. Francis of Assisi, in his poverty, found the means to impact all things. “With no master but Christ and no possession but his own soul, Francis was free to relate to all things and all people,” said Cardinal Turkson. He added that for the saint, “the only real relationship available for human beings to live in is the relationship of brothers and sisters, equal in dignity.”

Pope appoints new bishops for Colorado Springs, Wilmington

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of 76-year-old Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has named as his successor Father James Golka, vicar general of the Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska. The changes in the Colorado diocese were announced April 30 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio. Bishop Sheridan, a native of St. Louis and former auxiliary bishop here, was named coadjutor bishop of Colorado Springs in 2001 and became bishop in 2003 upon the resignation of the first bishop of the diocese, Bishop Richard C. Hanifen. In addition to being vicar general, Bishop-designate Golka, 54, has served since 2016 as the rector of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Grand Island, his hometown. Pope Francis also accepted the resignation of Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Delaware April 30 and named Msgr. William E. Koenig, vicar for clergy for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, to succeed him. The changes were announced in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican nuncio to the United States. Bishop Malooly, a native of Baltimore, has led the diocese of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore since 2008 and celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in 2020. Bishop-designate Koenig, 64, was born in Queens and ordained for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 1983.


Church leaders offer prayers after Mexico City metro crash

MEXICO CITY — Mexican Church leaders offered prayers for the victims of a metro line collapse that left at least 23 dead and more than 70 people injured. Bishop Andrés Vargas Peña of Xochimilco — which serves three southern boroughs in Mexico City — offered condolences to the victims, while announcing each priest in the diocese would celebrate Mass three times May 4 “for the deceased, the injured and their families.” The bishop asked parishioners to pray for the victims and also asked diocesan priests in the affected area and hospitals treating the injured to provide spiritual support. An elevated portion of a metro line in Mexico City collapsed at around 10:30 p.m. May 3, sending two train cars crashing onto a busy thoroughfare below and crushing at least one vehicle. Rescuers worked through the night to free trapped passengers and search for victims.

Pope approves canonizations, but doesn’t set date because of pandemic

VATICAN CITY — The sainthood causes of seven men and women — including the hermit Blessed Charles de Foucauld and the Indian martyr Devasahayam Pillai — cleared their final hurdle May 3 during an “ordinary public consistory,” a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process. The meeting included a prayer, an affirmation that Church law had been followed in preparing for the candidates’ declaration of sainthood and a formal request “in the name of Holy Mother Church” that Pope Francis set a date for the canonizations. Speaking in Latin, Pope Francis approved the canonizations but said the date for the ceremony would have to be determined later, Vatican News reported, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Pope updates Vatican judicial laws so cardinals, bishops can face trial

VATICAN CITY — Updating the laws that govern the Vatican’s civil judicial system, Pope Francis stated that cardinals and bishops accused of a crime can now be tried in a Vatican court. The pope said the new measure, issued “motu proprio,” on his own accord, reflects the “fundamental equality of all” by ensuring that the Vatican judicial system conforms to the principle that “among all the faithful there is true equality in dignity and in action.” The new law says, the pope must give his “prior consent” before a cardinal or bishop is tried by city-state’s court. The court handles crimes against Vatican civil law, not the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law.

Pope places 40-euro cap on personal gifts

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis approved a new set of laws that require Vatican officials and employees to sign a declaration stating they have not been and are not suspected of committing crimes, including money laundering, corruption or exploitation of minors. The measures, issued “motu proprio,” on the pope’s own accord, and published April 29, also prohibit all Vatican employees from “accepting or soliciting, for themselves or for parties other than the entity for which they work, by reason of or on the occasion of their office, gifts, presents or other benefits with a value greater than 40 euros,” the equivalent of about $48.

Pope Francis asks for prayers for peace in Myanmar

VATICAN CITY — With an ongoing military crackdown and political upheaval in Myanmar, Pope Francis called for prayers for peace and reconciliation in the country. After reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer with visitors in St. Peter’s Square May 2, the pope said, “We have entered the month of May in which popular piety expresses devotion to the Virgin Mary in many ways.” The pope said that in addition to the global marathon praying for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, the Church in Myanmar was leading an initiative inviting everyone “to pray for peace with a ‘Hail Mary’ for Myanmar in our daily Rosary. Each of us turns to our mother when we are in need or in difficulty; this month, we ask our mother of heaven to speak to the hearts of all leaders in Myanmar so that they may find the courage to walk the path of encounter, reconciliation and peace,” he said.

— Catholic News Service

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