Medical personnel spray disinfectant on the body of a person who died from the Ebola virus in this undated photo in Foya, Liberia. Symptoms of the illness, which has no known cure, include vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding. The fatality rate of the current outbreak is about 60 percent. "Our situation is desperate," said Father Peter Konteh, executive director of Caritas in the Archdiocese of Freetown, Sierra Leone, in a July 30 telephone interview. "It is hard for people in Sierra Leone not to lose hope as the death toll rises and worldwide fear grows over the worst Ebola outbreak on record." He said the mood was bleak after the July 29 death of the doctor who had been leading the country's fight against the highly contagious disease.
Samaritan's Purse via Reuters/cns
||Procession of the
Virgen del Carmen
Girls in traditional costumes hold hands July 16 as spectators with flowers watch the procession of the Virgen del Carmen before the statue was carried into the sea in Malaga, Spain. Many seaside towns celebrate the annual feast of the Virgen del Carmen, a patron saint of sailors.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., delivers a policy address on the nation's values at The Catholic University of America in Washington July 23. Titled "Strong Values for a Strong America," the senator's speech addressed American families, the erosion of values, and the impact such cultural issues have on economic life.
Logo, prayer of WY Day 2016
Here is the official logo and prayer for World Youth Day 2016, which were unveiled July 3 in the event's host city — Krakow, Poland — by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. The logo and prayer focus on the theme chosen by Pope Francis from the Gospel of Matthew: "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy."
courtesy of World Youth Day Krakow 2016/cns
||Support for Israel
Activists hold flags in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 29 to show support for Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip. Tour operators interviewed by Catholic News Service say the ongoing violence in the Middle East has not affected pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
Safe for pilgrimages
WASHINGTON — The head of a Michigan-based tour company that leads trips to the Holy Land said the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas so far has not had an impact on pilgrimages he and his associates lead. "Everything is still functioning like in any other normal business day. The sector of tourism industry to the Holy Land is not affected," said Steve Ray, a tour guide and CEO of Footprints of God in Ann Arbor.
Archbishop won't resign
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis said the archdiocese has made significant progress in improving procedures for addressing sexual abuse claims and he will not resign over past missteps on such cases. Archbishop Nienstedt and the archdiocese have faced severe criticism amid sexual misconduct allegations in the media last year concerning certain priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and how their cases were handled by archdiocesan officials.
People displaced for faith
WASHINGTON — The displacement of people around the globe because of their religious beliefs in 2013 rose to levels unseen in years, the State Department reported. Millions of Christians, Muslim and Hindus as well as people of other faiths were displaced by violence or threats because of their religious practice or for not holding any religious belief, said the 2013 Report on International Religious Freedom released July 28.
Strong families necessary
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said that growing up in a "strong and stable family" has given him an advantage in life because he was "taught certain values that result in success. My background is certainly not one of privilege. My parents migrated here, worked service sector jobs," the junior Republican senator told a standing-room crowd. "Yet I consider myself a child of privilege because I was raised by two parents who were married, who instilled in (us) that we would get an education, find careers and start families of our own." In a policy address at The Catholic University of America July 23, Rubio spoke on cultural and societal values in America and emphasized the connection between a moral society and economic prosperity.
Sulpicians elect superior
BALTIMORE — Sulpician Father Ronald D. Witherup, a former vice rector, academic dean and professor at St. Patrick's Seminary and University in Menlo Park, has been re-elected for a second six-year term as superior general of the Society of the Priests of St. Sulpice, as the Sulpicians are formally known. The Sulpicians are an international society of diocesan priests focused on the education and formation of priests and future priests.
$1.4M to Special Olympics
LOS ANGELES — The Knights of Columbus has pledged $1.4 million to help cover costs for next year's Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. The donation, announced July 14 in Los Angeles, will help cover on-the-ground costs for the 7,000 participants expected to compete in the games.
Dioceses ban guns, knives
ATLANTA — Guns and other weapons are officially unwelcome at Catholic churches, schools and other buildings owned, leased or operated by the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah in Georgia. Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and Savannah Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer issued a decree prohibiting guns and knives with blades longer than 5 inches from parishes, churches, schools, administrative offices and other buildings owned or used by the Catholic community effective July 1.
Common Core debate
WASHINGTON — There was no summer break for the love-them-or-hate-them Common Core State Standards. The standards — an initiative of expectations for students to master in each grade level — have been embraced or rebuked; no one seems to have a lukewarm reaction to them nor have they stopped talking about them even while schools aren't in session. They emphasize critical thinking and problem solving and have been touted, since they were launched in 2009, as a way to better prepare students for college and the job market. Politicians and parents alike have not been sold. The standards were initially adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. Five states never adopted them; three backed out of using them; and a handful of governors are now talking about dropping them, citing constituents' concerns about the federal government's overreach into classrooms.
Asian Youth Day focus
MANILA, Philippines — Asian Youth Day, scheduled Aug. 13-17 in South Korea, is a smaller event than the international World Youth Day celebrations, said the Bangladeshi priest organizing the event. Father Patrick Simon Gomes, executive secretary of the Youth Desk of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, described the event as an intimate, "private" affair with "usually (around) 2,000" people participating. About 30 countries will be participating in the event that is focused on formation and spiritual life, particularly for youth leaders.
— Catholic News Service
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