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Nation and world briefs

Bishop Flores named to synod preparatory commission

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the synod, has named Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, and six others to be members of the preparatory commission for the general assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October. The names of the seven commission members were released by the Vatican March 15, the same day all seven were meeting with Cardinal Grech and with Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, general relator of the upcoming synod. The theme Pope Francis chose for the synod is: “For a Church that Journeys Together: Fellowship, Participation and Mission.” It will meet at the Vatican Oct. 4-29. A second assembly has been scheduled for October 2024. Mercedarian Sister Shizue “Filo” Hirota from Tokyo, Japan, was the only woman named to the preparatory commission. She is a consultant for the Catholic Council for Justice and Peace of the Japanese bishops’ conference of Japan. The other members are: Jesuit Father Giacomo Costa, who will serve as coordinator; Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth, president of the Australian bishops’ conference; Bishop Lucio A. Muandula of Xai-Xai, Mozambique; Father Dario Vitali, a professor of theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; and Polish Msgr. Tomasz Trafny, a member of the synod secretariat staff, who will serve as secretary of the commission.

Franciscans in Holy Land advance next phase of Jerusalem’s Terra Sancta Museum

JERUSALEM (OSV News) — Objects cared for by the Franciscans in the Holy Land, including a collection of 13 church bells discovered hidden in Bethlehem and dating back to the Middle Ages, have traveled to some of the great museums of the world. But now they will have a permanent home in Jerusalem as the Custody of the Holy Land moves forward toward creating a new “Historical Section” of its popular Terra Sancta Museum, which opened to the public in 2017. The museum is situated at the Church of the Flagellation, the first station of the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem. Until now, that section has been limited to archeological artifacts from the first millennium. A new section of the museum will serve as a point of dialogue and exchange with the local Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities, as well as pilgrims and visitors of all faiths and backgrounds who come to Jerusualem to explore its history and cultures. “We want to make a Christian museum here in Jerusalem so there is something Christian to occupy the space of culture even if you are only one and half percent of the population,” Franciscan Father Stéphane Milovitch, director of the Cultural Heritage Office for the Custodia Terrae Sanctae, said. “The Church is still here and has 2,000 years of presence here; it can be a bridge with the different communities.”

Brazilian Church groups propose ways to meet children’s needs

SÃO PAULO (OSV News) — As severe childhood malnutrition grows in Brazil, Church organizations have been active in proposing public policies concerning the protection of children and are taking part in state councils that define and monitor the application of such decisions. A recent study conducted by the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics showed that every day, 11 children under age 5 are hospitalized in the South American nation due to malnutrition. Between January and November of 2022, 4,135 children were hospitalized — the worst number in more than 10 years. “On his first day in office, in January 2019, Bolsonaro extinguished the National Council for Food and Nutritional Security,” Fábio Garcia Paes, advocacy coordinator of the Franciscan Solidarity Service (SEFRAS) and a longtime activist for children’s rights, told OSV News. Since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office in January, the government has been reinstating the public policy councils or reinforcing their structure. “This week, the Children’s Pastoral Ministry will have meetings with different ministers to present the current humanitarian crisis concerning childhood malnutrition and to suggest actions,” Maristela Cizeski, a national coordinator at the Brazilian bishops’ Children’s Pastoral Ministry, said.

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