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Nation and world briefs


Bishop Murry undergoing treatment for leukemia

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown has been diagnosed with “a form of acute leukemia” and will be undergoing chemotherapy, the diocese announced April 30. In 2017, Bishop Murry, 69, a Jesuit, became the chair of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. He also serves as chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education. According to the diocese’s statement, he was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic April 29 and will undergo intensive treatment throughout the month of May. He won’t be taking visitors, “Please keep Bishop Murry in your prayers,” read the statement.

Pittsburgh Diocese plan will see number of parishes drop from 188 to 57

PITTSBURGH — After three years of discussions, Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik said the 188 parishes of the diocese will be placed into 57 groupings that will eventually become new parishes. Bishop Zubik announced the plan April 28 at a media conference, saying the effort was designed to promote vibrant faith and revitalize parishes. The announcement detailed the maximum number of weekend Masses per grouping and timelines for each grouping to work toward mergers and clergy assignments. The move to groupings were to take effect Oct. 15. No church closings are part of the plan’s first phase. The groupings are expected to merge into new parishes between 2020 and 2023, however.


Cardinal Pell to stand trial on abuse charges

MELBOURNE, Australia — After a monthlong pre-trial hearing, an Australian judge ordered Cardinal George Pell to stand trial on multiple charges of sexual abuse of minors, charges the cardinal consistently has denied. While dropping some of the charges, including what Cardinal Pell’s lawyer described as the most “vile,” Magistrate Belinda Wallington announced May 1 that she believed there was enough evidence presented in connection with about half the original charges to warrant a full trial. The Melbourne court didn’t publish a complete list of the allegations, but news reports indicated they involved alleged sexual offenses committed in the 1970s at a pool in Ballarat, where then-Father Pell was a priest, and at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in the 1990s when he was Archbishop of Melbourne. The 76-year-old Cardinal Pell, head of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, took a leave of absence from his position in the summer of 2017 to face the charges.

Clergy abuse survivors grateful after private meetings with pope

VATICAN CITY — After private meetings with Pope Francis, three survivors of clergy sexual abuse from Chile said they felt they had been heard and were hopeful for changes in how the Catholic Church handles accusations of abuse. “I spoke for more than two and a half hours alone with Pope Francis. He listened to me with great respect, affection and closeness, like a father. We talked about many subjects. Today, I have more hope in the future of our Church. Even though the task is enormous,” Juan Carlos Cruz tweeted April 29 after meeting with the pope. Pope Francis had invited Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo to stay at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican residence where he lives, and to meet with him individually April 27-29.

Pope, others mourn death of British toddler Alfie Evans

LIVERPOOL, England — Pope Francis said he was mourning the death of English toddler Alfie Evans, who died five days after doctors withdrew his life support system. The 23-month-old boy died at about 2:30 a.m. April 28 after his father, Tom Evans, spent 10 minutes trying to revive him by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, according to reports in the British media. Tom Evans, a Catholic, announced the death of his son on Facebook later that day. Soon afterward, Pope Francis, who had met Tom Evans at the Vatican April 18, tweeted: “I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in His tender embrace.”

Nigerian religious leaders condemn attack that killed 19 during Mass

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigerian religious leaders condemned the killing of about 19 people during a morning Mass in Benue state. Two priests — Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha — and about 17 parishioners of St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Ayar Mbalom were killed April 24 in the church. Attackers also burned about 50 houses, nearly destroying the small community. Father Aondover Moses Iorapuu, communications director for the Diocese of Makurdi, called the killings shocking and barbaric and said one would not think they could occur in the 21st century. Benue Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni said an investigation led police to believe about 30 Fulani herdsmen, a mainly nomadic group, carried out the attack. Father Iorapuu appealed to federal and state authorities to provide adequate security for the residents.

— Catholic News Service

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