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Nation and world briefs


Longtime peace educator Marie Dennis is Pax Christi USA’s Teacher of Peace

ARLINGTON, Va. — For more than 50 years, Marie Dennis has been asking herself how she could respond as a Catholic to the cries for justice of people around the world. It’s not an easy question to explore, she admitted to Catholic News Service Aug. 6 on the eve of receiving Pax Christi USA’s Teacher of Peace Award during the organizations’ 50th anniversary conference. She realizes even today as program director of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, her latest stop on her journey, that this requires listening to and, just as importantly, learning from the people who are struggling to overcome racism, poverty, war or environmental degradation. “I’m a product of the Second Vatican Council and that whole time of change, of transition, of challenge, of rethinking what does it mean to be a Catholic Christian, what does it mean to follow Jesus,” Dennis said. The teaching began with herself and with her six children. “To me, that was the most important education that I did,” said Dennis, a trained physicist who worked on the development of nuclear-powered submarines.

Orlando priest to head Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life, Vocations

WASHINGTON — Father Jorge Torres, a priest of the Diocese of Orlando, Florida, has been appointed as the next executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations at the conference’s headquarters in Washington. Father Torres has served as a specialist in the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis since June 2021 to help implement the multiyear National Eucharistic Revival, which was launched this year on June 19, the feast of Corpus Christi, and culminates in the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in 2024. Father Michael J.K. Fuller, USCCB general secretary, appointed him to his new post Aug. 5. It takes effect Jan. 1. Father Torres succeeds Father Luke Ballman.


Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, pope tells young people

VATICAN CITY — Christians must never give in to fear when evangelizing, especially when reaching out to those in need in the digital space, Pope Francis said. “Do not be afraid to make mistakes,” the pope said in a video message sent Aug. 6 to participants of Hechos 29, a youth conference in Monterrey, Mexico, on evangelization in the digital age. “I never tire of repeating that I prefer a Church that is wounded because it goes out to the existential peripheries of the world, rather than a Church that is sick because it remains closed up in its own little securities,” Pope Francis said. According to its website, the Aug. 5-6 conference is “an international meeting of digital evangelizers that seeks to awaken in all participants (the desire) to become and to build up the Church.” In his message, the pope greeted the young people attending Hechos 29 and said the meeting was “an important initiative for missionary work in digital environments.”

Three days of fighting in Gazaput parish activities on hold

JERUSALEM — Until Israel launched an attack on a top military commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, there had been relative calm in the Gaza Strip for over a year, said Father Gabriel Romanelli, parish priest of Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza. “This past year people were feeling a bit more relaxed; after the May 2021 war, thank God there have been almost no bombings or rockets,” said Father Romanelli, who had needed to go to Israel a few days and was caught by surprise outside Gaza Aug. 5. “In general there was an atmosphere of tranquility. When they closed the border and started the bombing, it was a very big contrast. It was very sad.” After three days, an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire went into effect late Aug. 7 and, the following day, Father Romanelli said he had convinced authorities to let him return to his parish Aug. 9. “I have to return to the parish, to help the parish families and other people in need,” he said earlier. Israel launched airstrikes into the Gaza Strip Aug. 5 to target leaders of the Iran-backed Palestinian Jihad; Israel said it had information about an imminent attack on Israel.

Vatican reports $3.3 million deficit was less than expected

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican reported that projections of an expected deficit of 33.4 million euros ($34 million) for 2021 ended in a shortfall of just 3.3 million euros ($3.36 million). “We are not looking for surpluses but for sustainability of the Holy See’s service,” Jesuit Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, told Vatican News Aug. 5. “A deficit of 3 million euros in a budget of 1.1 billion ($1.12 billion) is not a lot; it is practically balanced, and it does not seem like a figure to cause concern. But if we do a more detailed analysis, there are some areas for improvement ahead,” he said the day before the publication of the Holy See’s consolidated financial statement for 2021. For the second year in a row, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, known by its Italian initials APSA, published a summary of its budget and financial assets. The smaller deficit and an 8.11 million-euro ($8.27 million) surplus in the operational budget was due in part to reduced expenditures and an increase in the amount of money APSA contributed to cover the expenses of the Roman Curia — an extra 4.6 million euros ($4.69 million) compared to 2020.

Pope advances sainthood causes, including priest killed in Ukraine in 1953

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of Hungarian Father Péter Oros, who was killed at the height of the Cold War by Soviets in Ukraine. During a meeting Aug. 5 with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, the pope also signed decrees advancing the sainthood causes of four other men and one woman. According to the dicastery’s website, Father Oros was born in Biri, present-day Hungary, in 1917 and was ordained a priest for the Ruthenian Eparchy of Mukachevo in 1942. After the annexation of the Transcarpathian territory in present-day Ukraine, the suppression of Eastern Catholic Churches forced Father Oros into hiding. After a warrant for his arrest was issued in 1953, he was shot and killed by a police officer at a train station in Siltse, Ukraine, while attempting to flee.

— Catholic News Service

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