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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Stealing tabernacle is ‘heinous act,’ pastor says

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A burglar cut through a metal protective casing to steal a historic tabernacle valued at $2 million at a Brooklyn Catholic church. In the course of the crime, angel statues flanking the tabernacle were decapitated, and consecrated hosts from inside the tabernacle were thrown all over the altar, according to a Brooklyn diocesan news release. The burglary is suspected to have taken place May 27 at St. Augustine Catholic Church in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn and the theft was discovered by the pastor May 28, the release said. A safe in the sacristy also was cut open but nothing was inside, it added. “This is devastating, as the tabernacle is the central focus of our church outside of worship, holding the body of Christ, the Eucharist, which is delivered to the sick and homebound,” said Father Frank Tumino, the pastor. The tabernacle dates back to when the church was built in the 1890s.

New Oklahoma law bans nearly all abortions from fertilization stage

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion bills May 25. It bans abortions from the stage of “fertilization” and allows private citizens to sue abortion providers who “knowingly” perform or induce an abortion “on a pregnant woman.” It does allow exceptions for medical emergencies or if the pregnancy was a result of rape, sexual assault or incest and reported to law enforcement. “From the moment life begins at conception is when we have a responsibility as human beings to do everything we can to protect that baby’s life and the life of the mother,” Stitt tweeted. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City thanked legislative leaders and Stitt “for supporting pro-life measures.”

WORLD

Pope names members to worship congregation

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has appointed new members of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, including Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich. The Vatican announced the appointments June 1. The congregation, led by Cardinal-designate Arthur Roche, deals with regulating and promoting the liturgy and the sacraments, is responsible for the development and promulgation of liturgical books and reviews their translations. The other members named include: Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life; Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who had also served as secretary of the worship congregation from 2009 to 2012; and Bishop David Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, Ontario.

World Meeting of Families opens June 22 in Rome and online

VATICAN CITY — The COVID-19 pandemic not only caused a one-year delay in holding the World Meeting of Families, it also prompted a look at new ways to involve Catholic families from around the world and to ensure that they take the lead in ministering to each other. Gabriella Gambino, undersecretary of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, presided over a news conference at the Vatican May 31 to present the final program for the gathering June 22-26 online and in Rome. Instead of including academic theological conferences, she said, the 2022 version of the World Meeting of Families will feature moments of “encounter, listening and discussion” among those engaged in pastoral work with couples and families. And, she said, the lead will be taken by families from around the world who are working with priests and bishops to promote healthy marriages and strong families and to assist those in difficulty.

Pope to visit Congo, make ecumenical pilgrimage to South Sudan in July

VATICAN CITY — Despite ongoing knee pain and trouble walking, Pope Francis will travel to Congo and South Sudan as planned July 2-7, the Vatican confirmed May 28. Peace, unity and reconciliation are the chief themes of the trips to both African nations, which are rich in natural resources but have been torn apart by violence not only for political power, but also for control of the resources. The theme for the Congo visit July 2-5 is “All Reconciled in Jesus Christ,” which emphasizes how more than 95% of the nation’s people are Christian, yet sporadic violence continues. The visit to South Sudan July 5-7 is an ecumenical pilgrimage, which the pope will be making with Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and the Rev. Iain Greenshields, who was installed as the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland May 21.

— Catholic News Service

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