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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Across the nation, aborted children remembered and mourned

PHILADELPHIA — A coast-to-coast observance will commemorate the souls of children lost to abortion. The National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children will take place Sept. 9, with services and gatherings at some 225 locations across the country. About 56 of those locations are gravesites for the remains of aborted children, while the majority are memorials. Now in its 15th year, the event — which is annually held on the second Saturday of September — is jointly sponsored by two Midwestern-based organizations, Citizens for a Pro-life Society in Michigan and the Pro-Life Action League in Illinois. The day has become “an important opportunity for healing from abortion,” Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, said. “Whether you were pushed into that choice, or you made it yourself, the reality is that abortion is an incredible tragedy,” said Scheidler, noting that a willingness to face such pain offers a chance to “reconcile with our pasts … and to ask for God’s healing to come and infuse our memories and experiences, and transform us.” (OSV News)

Catholic student center at Washington’s Howard University named for Sister Thea Bowman

WASHINGTON — On a day when history was made 60 years earlier with the March on Washington, Father Robert Boxie III, the Catholic chaplain at Howard University in the nation’s capital, noted that the campus ministry program there was making history of its own, with the blessing and dedication of its new Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Student Center. Howard University, one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, was founded in 1867. Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory blessed and dedicated the new Catholic student center at Howard University, named for the late Sister Bowman. The Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration was a dynamic evangelist and noted educator who died of cancer in 1990. She has the title “Servant of God.” (OSV News)

Pope names seminary rector to head Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Father Robert M. Pipta, who is a priest of Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix and a seminary rector in Pittsburgh, as bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ohio. Ordained in 1994, Bishop-designate Pipta, 56, has been rector of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh since 2014. The appointment was publicized in Washington Aug. 31 by Msgr. Séamus P. Horgan, chargé d’affaires (ad interim) at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, in the temporary absence of Cardinal-designate Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Bishop-designate Pipta will be consecrated the eparchy’s sixth bishop Nov. 8. The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma encompasses the geographical area of Ohio (except the eastern border counties), Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. (OSV News)

WORLD

Synod assembly won’t be secret, but won’t be open to press, pope says

The Synod of Bishops is not a television show or a parliamentary debate, and its discussions will not be open to the public or to reporters, Pope Francis said. “We must safeguard the synodal climate,” the pope responded Sept. 4 when asked by journalists about access to the discussions at the assembly of the Synod of Bishops Oct. 4-29. “This isn’t a television program where you talk about everything; no, it is a religious moment, a religious exchange,” he told reporters flying back to Rome with him from Mongolia. The synod process began in October 2021 with a succession of listening sessions on the parish, diocesan, national and regional levels focused on creating a more “synodal Church,” where each person feels welcomed, valued and called to contribute and to share the Gospel. (CNS)

Rwanda president’s threat to ‘arrest’ Catholic pilgrims stirs reaction

NAIROBI, Kenya — Days after President Paul Kagame of Rwanda warned Catholic pilgrims who “worship poverty” that he would round them up and jail them, Catholic clergy in the East Africa nation remained tight-lipped, even as the warning reverberated across the region. On Aug. 23, in the capital city of Kigali, Kagame told 2,000 youth at the 10th anniversary celebration of YouthConnekt, “I learned that many young people, as many as thousands … wake up in the early morning, walk for three days to go to (a place) where a vision appeared, a pilgrim land, a place associated with poverty,” Kagame told a youth conference. “No one must worship poverty. Do not ever do that again … If I ever hear about this again, that people traveled to go and worship poverty, I will bring trucks and round them up and imprison them, and only release them when the poverty mentality has left them,” Kagame, who is himself a Catholic, said. Though a spokesperson said Kagame never mentioned a specific shrine, the local media interpreted the reference as pointing to an annual pilgrimage undertaken by thousands of youth to Our Lady of Kibeho shrine. (OSV News)

Church demands justice for families of Mexico’s missing persons

MEXICO CITY — Alicia Trejo clutched a missing person poster of her son Francisco Albavera Trejo as she spoke to reporters. She affectionately remembered him as ambitious, a stellar student completing an engineering degree and fond of his family. She also bitterly recalled 11 years of fruitless searching — along with the crushing indifference of the authorities at all levels of government. “It’s been nothing but promises,” she said of the authorities while attending an ecumenical service at a monument for the missing in Mexico City. “Sometimes the authorities tell us that (our children) are away by choice. I have total certainty that he is not absent by choice.” The service offered a rude reminder of the national tragedy of the disappeared as more than 110,000 Mexicans remain missing, according to a federal registry that dates back to 1962. Priests and activists for families of the disappeared say the Catholic Church was slow to respond to the missing persons’ crisis, but prominent Church leaders have been raising their voices and accompanying families. (OSV News)

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