Obama greets trick or treaters
U.S. President Barack Obama greets a boy dressed as Pope Francis and riding in a toy Fiat as the president distributes candy during a Halloween trick-or-treating celebration at the White House in Washington Oct. 30. Invitees included local children and the children of military families.
Carlos Barria/Reuters, cns
A woman visiting the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia Oct. 23 takes a close look at a 14-by-6-foot Lego rendition of the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica, crafted by Father Bob Simon, 51, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Moscow, Pennsylvania. Father Simon says his Lego-building hobby has served as an evangelization tool. It's part of the "Vatican Splendors" exhibit, which opened Sept. 19 in time for Pope Francis' visit to the city and will close Feb. 15.
Newly elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan, R-Wis., raises his hand and places the other on a Bible as he is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington Oct. 29. The Wisconsin Catholic succeeds outgoing speaker, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, also a Catholic.
Gary Cameron/Reuters, cns
China ends one child policy
A young girl carrying a stuffed toy holds on to her mother's hand in 2013 as they walk outside the train station in Beijing. China's Communist Party leaders announced they would change the nation's one-child policy, imposed in 1979 and which most strictly applied to Han Chinese living in urban areas of the country. The Oct. 29 announcement was contained in a Xinhua news agency report on the Communist Party's Central Committee in Beijing. It said China would allow all couples to have two children, but did not provide additional details. The one-child policy often was enforced at the provincial level, and enforcement varied; some provinces relaxed the restrictions.
Diego Azubel/EPA, cns
Church attracts 'Mass Mob'
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Bigger than usual crowds filled the pews for Mass on a recent Sunday at St. Agnes Church when a "Mass Mob" visited Brooklyn's Cobble Hill neighborhood. Inspired by the idea of a "flash mob," the NYC Mass Mob organizes people through social media to attend Mass at a set date and time at Catholic churches around New York's five boroughs. The first Mass Mob took place in 2013 in Buffalo, and since then similar groups have formed across the country to generate interest in Catholic churches where attendance is declining.
Clinic stops abortions
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The only facility still performing abortions in the northeast Wisconsin has suspended abortions for the next six months. Planned Parenthood in Grand Chute suspended abortions in mid-October, citing a lack of medical staff. The building, and Planned Parenthood's office in Appleton, remain open.
Maureen O'Hara dies
BOISE, Idaho — Maureen O'Hara, one of the last icons of the golden age of movies, died Oct. 24 in Boise. She was 95. A lifelong Catholic and native of Ireland, she moved to Boise in 2012 to be close to her grandson. Among her notable film credits were "How Green Was My Valley," "Miracle on 34th Street" and "The Quiet Man."
Martyrs' cause opens
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — An outdoor Mass and opening of the sainthood cause for 86 Florida martyrs — Spanish missionaries and converts known as Antonio Cuipa and Companions — was celebrated Oct. 12, just east of Tallahassee, the site of what will become the Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Martyrs. Nearby, atrocities were committed by the forces of a Protestant English king against these same people, in the name of conquest and colonization more than 300 years ago.
Lumen Christi winner
RAY CITY, Ga. — The construction of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Ray City, scheduled to be dedicated in March, is a dream come true for Catholics in this area of southern Georgia near Valdosta in the Savannah Diocese. For the past eight years, Father Fredy Angel has been the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua's predecessor parish — Queen of Peace in Lakeland and its missions — which covers three counties. In that role he has been the energetic, tireless and enthusiastic shepherd, teacher, motivator and guiding force behind what one of his parishioners called a "revival" among Catholics there. On Oct. 5, Catholic Extension announced that Father Angel is the recipient of the 2015-16 Lumen Christi Award from Catholic Extension.
St. Maria Goretti visit
MADISON, Wis. — From September to November of this year, — the 125th anniversary of her birth — the major relics of St. Maria Goretti are making a pilgrimage to the United States in what is called the "pilgrimage of mercy" — an effort to prepare and catechize the U.S. for the Year of Mercy beginning Dec. 8. The relics are touring the East Coast and central US, with the possibility of a West Coast visit next year.
Catholics insist on 'sinicization'
HONG KONG — Authorities overseeing religion in China told a group of Catholic bishops and leaders to insist on "sinicization," in a gathering that took place soon after Beijing concluded closed-door meetings with a Vatican delegation. "Sinicization" of religion was first used by Chinese President Xi Jinping in May. As part of the policy, churches are urged to adapt to Chinese society under communist rule.
Movement pledges inquiry
LIMA, Peru — Allegations of physical, psychological and sexual abuse by leaders of a Catholic movement founded here in the 1970s have led to a lawsuit against Lima Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani and a promise of an internal investigation from the group's leader. The allegations were described in a new book, "Mitad Monjes, Mitad Soldados" ("Half Monks, Half Soldiers"), by Pedro Salinas, a former member of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, who interviewed about 30 other former members.
— Catholic News Service
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