Men take part during "Agostinas," or August festival, in San Salvador, Aug. 5. The Agostinas parties are held annually from August 1-6 in honor of the "Divino Salvador del Mundo" (Divine Savior of the World), patron of the Salvadoran capital.
Auxiliary Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Brooklyn, New York, smiles during a July 31 press conference in Bridgeport, Connecticut, after Pope Francis appointed him to head the Diocese of Bridgeport. He succeeds then-Bishop William E. Lori, who was named archbishop of Baltimore in 2012.
Bishop-designate Abdallah Zaidan of the U.S. Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon is pictured July 12 at the Maronite Pastoral Center in St. Louis. Rector of Our Lady of Mount Lebanon-St. Peter Maronite Cathedral in Los Angeles, he has been appointed by Pope Francis to lead the eparchy with its 34,000 Maronite Catholics in 34 states. His episcopal ordination is set for Sept. 28 in Lebanon.
Lindy Boggs receives the first Education for Parish Service Award in Washington in this Oct. 28, 1998, file photo. Boggs, a former member of Congress and a former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, died July 27 at age 97. The EPS award she received recognized a layperson for living out the ideals and practices of the Catholic faith.
CRS: No contraceptives
WASHINGTON — A Madagascar archbishop confirmed in talks with leading U.S. church leaders that Catholic Relief Services is not providing or facilitating access to contraceptives and abortifacients in its health care programs in his archdiocese. The Population Research Institute had alleged in a series of reports in July that some CRS workers were engaged in family planning programs and the widespread distribution of contraceptives and abortifacients in the island nation off the southeast coast of Africa. But Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, president of the bishops' conference of Madagascar, expressed "strong support" for CRS and told U.S. church leaders that although "there had been some confusion in his archdiocese that was quickly resolved" in the past, CRS is "acting in accord with Catholic teaching and does not provide or facilitate access to contraception or abortion," according to a news release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
SACRAMENTO — A suspended Sacramento priest was sentenced Aug. 2 to eight years in a California state prison for pleading no contest a month earlier to charges that he molested a girl when she was 13. The Sacramento Bee reported that after Father Uriel Ojeda apologized to the girl, her parents and to Catholic officials, Judge Eugene L. Balonon of Sacramento Superior Court, handed down the sentence.
WASHINGTON — Jesuit education strives to find God in all things, and thanks to an initiative of the Society of Jesus, about 500 refugees are able to experience that education through online courses from Jesuit institutions around the world. The opportunity is made possible by Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins.
Liturgical reform older
WASHINGTON — For those who think the movement to reform Catholic liturgical practices started sometime early in the 20th century, Jesuit Father John Baldovin suggested looking back earlier in time. Like, say, 1786. That was when the synod of a diocese in the Holy Roman Empire suggested several changes now taken for granted, such as one altar per church, earlier and more frequent reception of Communion, the abolition of the silently prayed eucharistic prayer, and a simplified liturgical rite.
Call to proclaim faith
WASHINGTON — With hands moving quickly through the air, members of the International Catholic Deaf Association signed all the responses in unison for a July 16 Mass celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington as part of their seventh biennial conference. "We have been called to life, we have been called to holiness, we have been called to mystery," said Washington Auxiliary Bishop Francisco Gonzalez, homilist for the Mass in the shrine's Crypt Church.
PARAMUS, N.J. — Officials at Te Deum Ministries in Paramus hope their two-hour multimedia presentation called "Array of Hope" will help U.S. Catholic dioceses and parishes engage Catholics in the universal church's new evangelization efforts. Details of the project are available at www.arrayofhope.net. It was developed, according to Te Deum Ministries, as a response to a strategic plan the U.S. Catholic bishops adopted at their annual fall general assembly in Baltimore last November.
Hobby Lobby wins
OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal judge in Oklahoma City July 19 granted a temporary injunction to the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, saying it would not have to comply with the federal health care law mandating that employers provide coverage of contraceptives in their health insurance plans.
Bishops criticize ruling
BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota's Catholic bishops called a decision by a state judge that a 2011 law prohibiting the use of one of two drugs used in nonsurgical abortions violates the state and U.S. constitutions. North Dakota Judge Wickham Corwin July 15 said the two-year-old law was "simply wrongheaded" and that "no compelling state interest justifies this infringement." But Bishops David D. Kagan of Bismarck and John T. Folda of Fargo said in a statement that with his ruling, Corwin recognized a right to abortion in the state constitution more expansive than that recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.
BALTIMORE — Seven Catholics and four Pentecostals met in Baltimore to focus on understanding their commonalities and differences. The 11 church leaders attended the third session of the sixth phase of the international Catholic-Pentecostal dialogue, which began with Mass July 14 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.
Perry signs life bill
AUSTIN, Texas — The drama in Texas over abortion that drew national and international attention came to an end for the moment after the state House of Representatives then the state Senate voted to adopt tougher abortion regulations. Gov. Rick Perry signed the measure into law during a ceremony July 17. The new law prohibits abortions in the 20th week of pregnancy, requires abortion clinics to be certified as surgical centers and increases regulations on doctors and abortion-inducing drugs.
ARLINGTON, Va. — Pro-lifers are celebrating the closure of one of the largest abortion clinics in Virginia. Opened in 2006, NOVA Women's Healthcare in Fairfax City closed its doors in June. According to The Washington Post, the clinic performed more abortions than any other facility in the state — 3,567 in 2011 and 3,066 in 2012. The clinic was forced to close after two lawsuits and an out-of-court settlement with its landlord, Eaton Place Associates
TRENTON, N.J. — Catholics need to put aside "any partisan differences" they have on the immigration issue and come together to pray for the welfare of their brother and sister immigrants and for Congress to pass much-hoped-for comprehensive immigration reform, said Bishop David M. O'Connell of Trenton. Immigration reform in the United States is "a moral imperative" that goes beyond politics, the bishop said.
WASHINGTON — Archbishop Timothy M. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services praised the efforts of a new coalition formed to fight what the organizers see as growing hostility toward service members' religious expression. "No one who raises a right hand to defend the Constitution should sacrifice one of its fundamental principles," Archbishop Broglio said.
Society unifies provinces
ST. LOUIS — The Society of the Sacred Heart, an international congregation of women religious, has unified its provinces in the United States and Canada to form the Province of the United States-Canada. Its headquarters will be based in St. Louis. There are currently 330 members — 308 in the United States and 22 in Canada — in the newly formed province.
Author funds writing chair
NEW YORK — Mary Higgins Clark, whose 42 books have sold 100 million copies in the United States alone, has pledged $2 million to Fordham University to create the Mary Higgins Clark chair in creative writing. With her gift Jesuit-run Fordham will hire a professor of creative writing within the English department.
UN queries on abuse
GENEVA — A United Nations' committee concerned with children's rights is requesting that the Vatican provide complete details about every accusation it has ever received of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors implementation of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, published July 1 "a list of issues" it found lacking in the Vatican's latest report on its compliance with the international obligations it accepted when it ratified the convention.
Vow to repeal law
DUBLIN — Irish pro-life campaigners vowed to work to repeal a new law that permits abortion in limited circumstances. President Michael D. Higgins signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill July 30 after tense parliamentary debates during which several legislators resigned.
Britain's marriage law
MANCHESTER, England — Britain's two leading archbishops said the new same-sex marriage law represented "a watershed in English law and heralds a profound social change. The new act breaks the existing legal links between the institution of marriage and sexual complementarity," said a statement by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, vice president.
Newtown pastor, parish Knights honored
SAN ANTONIO (CNS) — The pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, Conn., and the parish's Knights of Columbus Council were honored Aug. 6 with a new award from the Knights of Columbus at the order's 131st supreme convention in San Antonio.
Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima, and St. Virgilius Knights of Columbus Council 185, represented by Grand Knight Timothy Haas, were presented the first Caritas Awards by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in recognition of "extraordinary works of charity and service."
Newtown was the scene of last December's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that resulted in the deaths of 26 residents, most of whom were young schoolchildren.
— Catholic News Service
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