Pope Francis greets children in traditional dress as he arrives at Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador, July 5. Also pictured is Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, left. The pope is making an eight-day trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.
|Pray synod will deepen Church's
spiritual discernment, pope asks
GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador — During a Mass said July 6, the first full day of his visit to Ecuador, Pope Francis called for prayers that the upcoming Synod on the Family might discern the needs of the family, an institution irreplaceable to society.
"The Church will celebrate the Ordinary Synod devoted to the family, deepen her spiritual discernment and consider concrete solutions to the many difficult and significant challenges facing families in our time," he said in his homily.
The family "cannot be replaced by other institutions," he added. For this reason, "it needs to be helped and strengthened, lest we lose our proper sense of the services which society as a whole provides."
The Mass with the Holy Father was celebrated in Ecuador's Los Samanes Park in Guayaquil, the country's largest city, with 1 million people in attendance, according to estimates.
Ecuador was the first stop in Pope Francis' visit to the continent of his birth, which is taking place July 5-13. The journey will also include stops in Bolivia and Paraguay.
||Five Texas missions
World Heritage Sites
Visitors walk in front of the Alamo, the most-visited tourist site in Texas March 2. The United Nations named the Alamo and the four other Spanish colonial missions in San Antonio as a World Heritage Site. "They are still a haven of culture and history," Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said. "We especially value that they continue as active parishes of the archdiocese." The missions are: San Jose, Concepcion, San Juan, Espada and San Antonio de Valero, better known as the Alamo.
Lisa Maria Garza/Reuters, cns
Same-sex marriage legal nationwide
WASHINGTON — In a landmark ruling, a divided Supreme Court June 26 said same-sex marriage is constitutional nationwide. "The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the 5-4 majority. "This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation." The four justices who dissented from the ruling included warnings about dire consequences for the nation, ranging from "a threat to American democracy" to future battles the court will have to settle over how religious institutions may apply faith-based opposition to such marriages in day-to-day functions in society. Analyzing the ramifications of the June 26 same-sex marriage ruling for the Catholic Church at the national, state and local levels will take time, said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore. It has implications for "hundreds, if not thousands" of laws at all levels, and there is "a difficult road ahead for people of faith," he said. "Tragically the court was wrong," said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military. Archbishop Broglio said the church will continue to follow Christ, "in solidarity with the pope," in adhering to the church's teaching on marriage being between one man and one woman. Archbishop Lori acknowledged that the court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges "makes a nod in the direction of religious liberty. But that, too, he said is narrow.
Top stars to sing
PHILADELPHIA— Though thousands may be drawn to the Festival of Families Sept. 26 where Andrea Bocelli, Juanes and the Philadelphia Orchestra will be performing, local parish members may have the opportunity to grace the very same stage. Each parish choir in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been asked to nominate four members to audition for possible inclusion in a 500-member archdiocesan choir that will sing at the Mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Sept. 27 for an expected 1.5 million people.
Knights help poor
WASHINGTON — The volunteerism of the Knights of Columbus and the fraternal organization's fundraising for charitable works fit right in with Pope Francis' emphasis on the idea of "a church of and for the poor," according to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. Lending a hand for charity is not only giving "the gift of your own time" but also "the gift of yourself" to those in need, he said. "Once you see what a difference your work makes, it encourages you to do more," he added. Anderson spoke with Catholic News Service shortly after the release of an annual report showing the Knights set a record last year for charitable giving and service hours with more than $173 million in donations and more than 71.5 million hours of service.
Father Flanagan cause
OMAHA, Neb. — About 800 people witnessed history June 18 as the Archdiocese of Omaha advanced to Rome the sainthood cause for Father Edward Flanagan, Boys Town founder. Archbishop George J. Lucas was the main celebrant of a morning Mass at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha that marked the closing of the archdiocesan phase of the canonization effort with a special ceremony to encase and officially seal four boxes — 4,600 pages — of documents detailing the archdiocese's three-year investigation. The documents will be shipped to the Congregation for Saints' Causes at the Vatican. If the findings are accepted, recognizing Father Flanagan's heroic virtues, he will be declared "venerable." In general, two approved miracles attributed to the intercession of the candidate are needed for sainthood — one for beatification and the second for canonization.
Execution drug OK
WASHINGTON — In another in a series of bitterly divided end-of-term cases, the Supreme Court June 29 upheld the execution protocol used by Oklahoma and several other states. The 5-4 ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito upheld lower courts that said the use of the drug midazolam in lethal injection does not violate Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling was among the last three opinions released, closing out the court's 2014 term.
Mexico OKs marriage
MEXICO CITY — Mexico's Supreme Court has declared state-level laws, defining marriage only as the union of a man and a woman, discriminatory and unconstitutional. The decision, in effect, legalizes same-sex marriages in all 31 of the country's states. The court's decision, published June 19 in the Judicial Weekly journal, said "procreation" was not a purpose for marriage and therefore limiting marriages to heterosexual couples amounted to discrimination against other couples seeking marriage.
Won't recognize unions
MANILA, Philippines — The predominantly Catholic Republic of The Philippines is not likely to recognize same-sex marriage despite its legalization in the United States. "Our laws are clear. The Family Code only recognizes the marriage between a man and a woman," presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma Jr. said June 26, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the United States. In a radio interview, reported on by the Asian church news portal ucanews.com, Coloma said same-sex marriage by Filipinos in a foreign country will not be recognized in the Philippines.
Armenian patriarch dies
BEIRUT — Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, the head of the Armenian Catholic Church since 1999, died of a heart attack June 25 in Lebanon. He was 75. The son of displaced parents who fled from Mardin province in southeastern Turkey to Egypt in 1915 during a campaign by the Ottoman government to rid the country of the minority Armenian community, Patriarch Bedros was born in Cairo and rose to become an influential Catholic voice advocating for the rights of Christians in the Middle East.
Paulists to leave Canada
TORONTO — The Paulist Fathers don't want to leave Toronto, but they say they must. The unusual uptick in vocations after World War II has worked its way through the system and there are not enough priests left to staff the ambitious little empire of Paulist ministries that once dotted cities across Canada. So, after a century in Toronto, the U.S.-based Paulists are going home.
KOLKATA, India — Sister Nirmala Joshi, who succeeded Blessed Teresa of Kolkata as superior general of the Missionaries of Charity and led the order for 12 years until retiring in 2009, died early June 23 in Kolkota at age 81. Church and political leaders paid tribute to Sister Nirmala for her devotion to serving poor, sick and hungry people.
— Catholic News Service
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