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Nation and world briefs


Lay Catholics, Indigenous leaders to head Canadian healing fund

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Three prominent lay Catholics and three prominent Indigenous leaders have been named to the board of the Canadian bishops’ new charity to promote Indigenous healing and reconciliation initiatives. The board will help manage the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund, which will accept contributions from 73 dioceses across Canada to fulfill a financial commitment of 30 million Canadian dollars (US$23.6 million) made by Canada’s bishops in September. The fund will publish annual reports and will be subject to an audit by an independent accounting firm each year. The three lay leaders are Barbara Dowding, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Vancouver and a former National Catholic Women’s League president with a long history of lay leadership in Canada; Natale Gallo, former supreme director of the Knights of Columbus, who represented Canada on the International Board of Directors; and Claude Bédard, national president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Canada.

Also, a delegation of Indigenous leaders announced a rescheduled meeting with Pope Francis. More than two dozen Indigenous delegates, accompanied by a handful of Canadian bishops, plan to meet with Pope Francis the last week of March. The trip to Rome, originally scheduled Dec. 17-20, was derailed by rocketing COVID-19 numbers, which were a particular threat to elderly residential school survivors, who will play a central role in meetings with the pope. Though March 28-April 1 dates are firm enough to be announced, “the health and safety of all delegates remain our first priority,” said a joint statement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the three Indigenous organizations that will send representatives to meet with the pope.

Vietnamese Dominican stabbed to death while hearing confession

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — A Dominican priest serving ethnic groups in Vietnam’s Central Highlands was stabbed to death while he was hearing confession. An informed source from Kon Tum told ucanews.com that Dominican Father Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh, who provided pastoral care for ethnic groups in Kon Tum province, was stabbed in a church Jan. 29. The source said Father Thanh, 40, died hours after being hospitalized, reported ucanews.com. Local police said they arrested his killer.

Vatican projects budget deficit for 2022 as pandemic continues

VATICAN CITY — Presenting a budget projection that foresees a deficit of $37.1 million in 2022, the prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy said he believes the Vatican is on the path to honesty and transparency in financial matters. “We are well aware that we have made major mistakes in financial management, which have undermined the credibility of the Holy See. We seek to learn from them, and we believe we have remedied them so that they do not happen again,” the prefect, Jesuit Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, told Vatican News. The secretariat Jan. 28 released the Vatican’s 2022 “Mission Budget,” reflecting a new approach to reporting the income and expenses of the offices of the Roman Curia and related institutions. The “Mission Budget” includes not just the Vatican Secretariat of State, apostolic nunciatures around the globe and the dicasteries, councils and commissions of the Roman Curia, Father Guerrero said. It also includes entities that “are either the property of the Holy See or depend on and are under the financial responsibility of the Holy See.”

Bishop in Cabo Delgado: ‘The attacks on the villages continue’

PEMBA, Mozambique — Bishop António Juliasse Sandramo of Pemba said that the situation in Cabo Delgado province has fallen out of the news, so the diocese is receiving fewer donations. “The world does not talk about Cabo Delgado anymore,” he said. “At times, people say the situation is going back to normal, but it is not true. The attacks on the villages continue.” He said military progress forced the terrorists to leave the bases they had, and now “they have been assaulting more distant locations, whose residents end up fleeing. In many places we have an emergency, so we have been distributing food, clothes, and medicines to the displaced. In other regions, our challenge is to improve the conditions of the people living in the camps,” Bishop Sandramo said.

Pakistani Christians mourn after minister killed, another injured

LAHORE, Pakistan — The daylight attack by motorcycle-riding gunmen on two Church of Pakistan ministers, killing one and wounding another, has reignited fears among Pakistan’s beleaguered minority community. The priests were attacked as they drove home from a service in the northwestern city of Peshawar Jan. 30. Assistant lay Pastor William Siraj died while the Rev. Patrick Naeem lived, reported ucanews.com. “The bullets scratched my body. (The gunmen) wore a shawl, I couldn’t recognize them. It was a planned attack,” recalled the Church of Pakistan pastor in a video message recorded later. “I thank God for saving me to share His witness. … We need your prayers,” he appealed to the faithful.

New Zealand bishops publish report on abuse cases

VATICAN CITY— A report released by the New Zealand bishops’ conference found allegations of abuse were made against 14% of diocesan clergy who have ministered in the country since 1950. The report, published Feb. 1, said that “a total of 1,680 reports of abuse were made by 1,122 individuals against Catholic clergy, brothers, nuns, sisters and laypeople from 1950 to the present, with 592 alleged abusers named. Almost half the reported abuse involved sexual harm,” the report said. “The 1960s and 1970s were the decades with the most abuse reported, with 75% dated before 1990.”

— Catholic News Service

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