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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Initiative’s goal is to help build connections between young Catholic adults and parishes

INDIANAPOLIS — Cassie Schutzer smiles when she thinks about the unexpected changes that happened in the lives of the four young adults. All four were part of the Young Adult Initiative program that the 29-year-old Schutzer had planned on the grounds of St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Indiana — a weekend gathering in which young adults from across the Midwest and the South came together to learn better ways of connecting young adults to their parishes. Schutzer had arranged a weekend filled with activities, community prayer and small-group interactions. Yet, she believes God had more personal plans for the four individuals who were a part of the larger group last November. By the end of the weekend, a young man and a young woman became engaged to each other. Another young man said that weekend was the first time he felt a sense of belonging. And a third young man felt drawn to consider a religious vocation. “These moments were a confirmation that the weekend achieved what we were hoping for — creating a space for encounter with the Lord and one another,” said Schutzer, director of the Young Adult Initiative, a program of St. Meinrad’s Center for Youth and Young Adult Evangelization. Helping young adults create a meaningful relationship with God and living it within the community of a Catholic parish are two of the main goals of the Young Adult Initiative — a program whose second phase is being funded through a $1.25 million grant from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. This phase will last five years and involves 10 parishes in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee. (OSV News)

U.S. sisters mark 10 years fighting human trafficking

BRIGHTON, Mich. — U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT) is marking its 10th anniversary, now counting more than 115 congregations of women religious, individual members, faith-based coalitions and secular organizations. The group began in 2013 after Sister Margaret Nacke, a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas, asked what religious sisters in the U.S. were doing to counter what is now a global issue affecting some 50 million victims. USCSAHT, part of the international Talitha Kum organization in Rome, provides an array of resources based on education, advocacy and access to survivor services. USCSAHT is committed to pursuing justice and healing for those victimized by trafficking, said president and Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Ann Oestreich. “We won’t go away,” she said. “They’ll have to contend with us for a long, long time.” (OSV News)

Bishop Tobin of Providence, R.I., retires, is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Henning

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, and Coadjutor Bishop Richard G. Henning of Providence immediately succeeds him. Bishop Tobin turned 75 April 1, the age when canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation to the pope. He had headed the statewide diocese since 2005. Pope Francis named Bishop Henning, 58, as Providence’s coadjutor Nov. 23. Before that he was auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York. The changes were publicized in Washington May 1 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. (OSV News)

WORLD

After praying for peace in Ukraine, pope greets Russian Orthodox official

VATICAN CITY — Shortly after urging people to pray the rosary for peace and entrusting the people of Ukraine to Mary’s care, Pope Francis met briefly with Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, director of external relations for the Russian Orthodox Church. The pope’s prayer requests and his meeting with the Russian Orthodox official came just three days after he told reporters the Vatican has a “mission” underway to promote peace in Ukraine, although he said it was too soon to provide details. Ukrainian and Russian officials said their governments were not involved. At the end of the pope’s weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square May 3, Metropolitan Anthony was the first of the special guests to greet Pope Francis. The two shook hands and Pope Francis reached out and kissed the metropolitan’s encolpion, an icon Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic bishops wear instead of a pectoral cross. The Russian Orthodox official spoke to the pope briefly before giving him an encolpion of his own. The Vatican press office did not provide information about Metropolitan Anthony’s visit. A brief statement on the website of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church said Metropolitan Anthony traveled to Rome, with the blessing of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, “for a brief working visit.” On his return flight to Rome from Budapest, Hungary, April 30, Pope Francis told reporters that the Holy See was engaged in a “mission” related to peace between Russia and Ukraine. “There is a mission underway that is not public yet; when it is public, I will tell you about it,” the pope said. He did not say if the “mission” was diplomatic, humanitarian or something else. According to CNN, the Ukrainian and Russian governments denied engaging with the Vatican in peace talks. (CNS)

Pope, Council of Cardinals look at Church peacemaking efforts

VATICAN CITY — Seven weeks after announcing the new composition of his international Council of Cardinals, Pope Francis led a two-day meeting of the council focused on situations of conflict in the world and on progress in implementing his reform of the Roman Curia. The pope and the council members met April 24-25 at the Vatican, said a communiqué from the Vatican press office. “At the center of the conversations were the situations of war and conflict affecting many parts of the world and the need for a united peace-building effort on the part of the entire Church,” the statement said. And each of the cardinals, who represent different parts of the world, also spoke about the “socio-political and ecclesial situation” in their regions. The group also discussed “the preparations for the synod assembly in October and the implementation of the apostolic constitution ‘Praedicate Evangelium,’” which was published in March 2022 and ordered the reform of the Roman Curia. Reviewing the work of each Vatican office and drafting the reform document was a major part of the Council of Cardinals’ role for the first nine years of the council’s existence. (CNS)

Church must protect its huge audiovisual archives, media assets, pope says

VATICAN CITY — There is real “cultural urgency” for the entire Catholic Church to preserve its audiovisual, documentary and other media archives and assets, Pope Francis said. Even recently created materials are “a fragile asset that require constant care,” he wrote. “The Catholic Church has already unfortunately lost a major part of the audiovisual documentation that recounts her 19th- and 20th-century history, as a result of neglect and a lack of resources and skills.” The pope’s comments came in a written message to the recently established Fondazione MAC — Memorie Audiovisive del Cattolicesimo (The Audiovisual Memories of Catholicism Foundation). The message, dated March 3, was published by the Vatican May 2 as foundation members held their first plenary meeting at the Vatican Library. The technology used in producing audiovisual media “has traveled at great speed, creating a quantity of sounds and images unimaginable a few years ago, documenting the history of the world and of the Church,” the pope wrote. “Today, therefore, it is also time to stop to gather and protect this enormous audiovisual patrimony to embark on a new great process of building a collective memory.” (CNS)

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