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Nation and world briefs


Social ministry ‘fundamentally a work of faith,’ cardinal says

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington thanked attendees at the 2023 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering for “the service and sacrifices” they make to “preach the Gospel and share Catholic teaching in these discordant times.” “Yours is a worthy and holy vocation, and a sign of faith, hope and love coming alive,” he said in his homily during the gathering’s “Sending Mass” Jan. 31, the feast of St. John Bosco. “It is ‘good news’ which brings us together around this altar, this day. I ask you to continue to pursue this mission with creativity, persistence and fidelity.” The cardinal said, “In these difficult days we need to reach out more broadly to make our case more effectively and call the entire Catholic community in the United States to a renewed and more urgent sense of social mission.” The morning Mass celebrated by Cardinal Gregory came on the final day of the Jan. 28-31 ministry gathering. (OSV News)

Washington auxiliary appointed to Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, La.

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington to head the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. The appointment was publicized Feb. 1 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican nuncio to the United States. The Colombian-born bishop, 62, was named a Washington auxiliary bishop by the pope the March 20, 2015, and he was ordained to the episcopate on April 20 of that year. He has served as vicar general for the Archdiocese of Washington since 2015. (OSV News)


Joy, gratitude and honest words mark end of synod’s North American phase

WASHINGTON — Joy, gratitude and a longing to be formed in the faith are among the takeaways from the latest stage in the North American phase of the world Synod of Bishops on synodality, according to U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ synod team co-coordinators Richard Coll and Julia McStravog. With listening session reports in from 236 dioceses throughout the U.S. and Canada, Coll, McStravog and their colleagues point to respondents’ love for their faith and the Church, as well as their gratitude for the opportunity to honestly discuss the wounds of the clerical sex abuse scandals in a context that McStravog called “a sacred space.” Even when discussing difficult topics, “so many of the participants … started out with words of thanks,” said Coll. “They appreciated being together, and having the opportunity to reflect on these issues.” (OSV News)

Day of Consecrated Life is time to renew missionary zeal, cardinal says

VATICAN CITY — The religious-order brothers, sisters and priests and the hermits, monks and consecrated virgins who serve God and the Catholic Church are called to stoke the “missionary fire” in their souls, said Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz. “To live mission in God’s way as consecrated persons, we need the breath of the Spirit, who oxygenates our consecration, who widens our tent, who does not allow the desire to go out and reach out to others to proclaim the Gospel fade or be eclipsed,” said the cardinal, who is prefect of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In a letter preparing for the celebration Feb. 2 of the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day for Consecrated Life, Cardinal Bráz de Aviz pointed to the Catholic Church’s preparations for the Synod of Bishops on synodality, its focus on mission and the image of “enlarging the tent” used in the working document for the synod’s continental meetings. (CNS)

Where in the world is Catholic Mass attendance highest?

WASHINGTON — The nation with the best Catholic Mass attendance in the world could be Nigeria, according to a new study published by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). When asked the question “Apart from weddings, funerals and christenings, about how often do you attend religious services these days?” 94% of self-identified Nigerian Catholics surveyed said they attend weekly or daily Mass. The poll was conducted by the World Values Survey, which began tracking the data in the 1980s and has statistics for 36 countries with large Catholic populations. CARA, which gathered the results, also noted some surprises in Mass attendance numbers by people who consider themselves to be “very religious” and found a correlation between Mass attendance and wealth or poverty. (OSV News)

Attacker kills sacristan, severely injures priest and other faithful in Spain

ALGECIRAS, Spain — A Moroccan national is under arrest after a horrific attack in several Catholic churches in the southern Spanish city of Algeciras, killing one person. According to Spanish agency EFE, the attacker — identified as Yasin Kanza — first entered the Church of Santa Maria Auxiliadora around 8 p.m. Jan. 25 and attacked 74-year-old Salesian Father Antonio Rodríguez with a machete as he celebrated Mass. Although seriously wounded in the neck, Father Rodriguez underwent surgery and was in stable condition. Kanza then walked over to the Church of Nuestra Señora de La Palma where he attacked Diego Valencia, a sacristan at the parish. Although the victim fled, Kanza gave chase and mortally wounded Valencia. (OSV News)

U.S.-born priest to lead Vatican body overseeing selection of world’s bishops

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has chosen Chicago-born Archbishop Robert F. Prevost of Chiclayo, Peru, to succeed Canadian Cardinal Ouellet as prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. The Vatican announced Jan. 30 the retirement of Cardinal Ouellet and the appointment of Archbishop Prevost. The archbishop, who is 67, holds degrees from Villanova University in Pennsylvania and the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. An Augustinian friar, he joined the Augustinian mission in Peru in 1985 and largely worked in the country until in 1999 when he was elected head of the Augustinians Chicago-based province. From 2001 to 2013, he served as prior general of the worldwide order. In 2014, Pope Francis named him bishop of Chiclayo, in northern Peru. As prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, Archbishop Prevost will lead the Vatican body responsible for recommending to the pope candidates to fill the office of bishop in many of the Latin-rite dioceses of the world. (CNS)

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