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Nation and world briefs


Diocese takes first step toward possible cause for former FOCUS missionary

BISMARCK, N.D. — Bishop David D. Kagan of Bismarck announced June 16 that the diocese will open an investigation into “the holiness of life and love for God” of North Dakota native Michelle Christine Duppong, who died of cancer Dec. 25, 2015. She was 31. At the time of her death, Duppong was the director of adult faith formation for the Diocese of Bismarck. Before that, she was a missionary for six years with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, or FOCUS. She mentored hundreds of students on college campuses and her final assignment with FOCUS was on its inaugural team at the University of Mary in Bismarck. “Michelle’s holiness of life and love for God certainly touched us here in the Diocese of Bismarck, at the University of Mary and throughout FOCUS, but hers is also a witness which should also be shared with the universal Church,” Bishop Kagan said. He announced the diocesan investigation into her life and faith at the FOCUS new staff training at the University of Mary. The investigation could lead to her beatification and canonization.

U.S. Maronite bishop: ‘I’ve never seen Lebanon like this before’

BEIRUT — Two U.S. Maronite Catholic dioceses are sponsoring 450 families each month in Lebanon and have provided several hundred thousand dollars for hospitalization costs. “I’ve never seen Lebanon like this before,” Maronite Bishop A. Elias Zaidan of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles told Catholic News Service in mid-June. “What concerns me the most,” he said of his homeland, “is the dire need of the people. It’s a very, very sad situation.” Bishop Zaidan is a U.S. board member for Caritas, the hurch’s charitable aid agency in Lebanon, and the two U.S. Maronite dioceses work through Caritas Lebanon. Since late 2019, Lebanon has been in an unprecedented economic crisis, such that nearly 90% of the population is now living in poverty. “We need to save the Lebanese people,” said Bishop Zaidan. During his visit to Lebanon, the Los Angeles bishop met with Carmelite Father Michel Abboud, president of Caritas Lebanon, who said the organization is experiencing an increase in the number of families asking for support. The priest said the coming year is expected “to be a very difficult one” and thus is asking for more help.


Dominicans beatified as Spanish Civil War martyrs

SEVILLE, Spain — An elderly nun whose head was crushed with a boulder during Spain’s 1936-1939 Civil War was beatified as a martyr with 26 male Dominicans in Seville cathedral. “Showing an extraordinary adherence to the faith and forgiveness for their killers, these martyrs met a premature, inhuman death — they can now rejoice in the glory of eternal light,” Spain’s Dominican order said in a statement. “The sociopolitical situation that arose in Spain before and during the war period is historically known, as is the climate of persecution that republican militiamen exerted against all professing membership of the Catholic Church, whether consecrated or lay. This was the context, poisoned by ideological prejudice and psychological and physical violence.” The statement was published ahead of the June 18 beatification of Sister Ascensión de San José (1861-1937) and three groups of Dominicans martyred during the four-year conflict. It said the nun had been noted for a “childlike simplicity and innocence that enchanted everyone” after joining the Huéscar convent from a large farming family. It added she had suffered lifelong ill health “with great patience and love.”

Vietnamese bishops plan soccer tourney for priests to promote synodality

HUE, Vietnam — Catholic priests from dioceses across Vietnam will compete in the first-ever national soccer championship to promote the spirit of synodality, reported ucanews.com. The National Synodal Cup 2022-23 will be in July and October to coincide with the 15th National Congress of Vietnamese bishops, which is organizing the event. The tournament is designed to foster fraternity among local clergy before the 2023 assembly of the Synod of Bishops on synodality. The bishops’ National Congress is held every three years for the bishops to select a new president, secretary-general, deputies and heads of the 17 episcopal commissions during, ucanews.com reported. The Hue Archdiocese said the tournament is expected to include 19 teams, from the archdioceses of Hanoi and Hue and 17 of the 27 dioceses. The teams will be divided into four groups according to their ecclesiastical provinces and will compete in their group’s round robins. The two best teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals.

Peter’s Pence donations stable in 2021; U.S. leads giving, Vatican says

VATICAN CITY — Donations to the annual Peter’s Pence collection, which supports the work of the Roman Curia and funds the charitable activity of the pope, held steady in 2021, but the total still was significantly lower than in 2018, the Vatican said. Peter’s Pence donations and income from investments totaled 46.9 million euros (about $49 million) in 2021, while the expenses — grants and the money used to support the work of the Curia — totaled 65.3 million euros, drawing on funds set aside from previous years, said the annual report published June 16 by the Vatican. The Vatican Secretariat for the Economy previously reported Peter’s Pence brought in 44 million euros in 2020. The collection had reached 74 million euros in 2018 before starting a decline. Some 13 million euros — just under 30% of the money sent to the Vatican in 2021 — came from dioceses and individuals in the United States, the Vatican said.

World free of nuclear weapons is necessary, possible, pope says

VATICAN CITY — Nuclear weapons do not increase a nation’s or region’s security, in fact, they are a “risk multiplier” that gives people a false sense of security, Pope Francis said in a message to an international conference. Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, the Vatican foreign minister, read the pope’s message in Vienna June 21 at the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty, which prohibits the deployment, possession, moving, storing and stationing of nuclear weapons, entered into force in 2021; it has been signed by 86 nations and ratified by 62 of them, including the Holy See. The United States, Canada and other members of NATO have not signed the treaty, nor have Russia and China. “A world free from nuclear weapons is both necessary and possible,” Pope Francis wrote in his message to the conference. “In a system of collective security, there is no place for nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.” Nuclear deterrence, he said, is in no way a deterrent to most of the world’s most serious problems, including terrorism, cyber attacks, environmental catastrophes and poverty. Then, he said, one must consider “the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences that would follow from any use of nuclear weapons, with devastating, indiscriminate and uncontainable effects, over time and space.”

— Catholic News Service

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