World Youth Day pilgrims hold candles during eucharistic adoration with Pope Francis at the July 30 prayer vigil at the Field of Mercy in Krakow, Poland.
JACLYN LIPPELMANN/CATHOLIC STANDARD, cns
Panama's bishops look to 2019 'fiesta Latina'
Pope Francis hears a confession as he visits the Divine Mercy Shrine in Lagiewniki, a suburb of Krakow, Poland, July 30.
KRAKOW, Poland — Panama, which will host World Youth Day in 2019, is a small country, but the head of its bishops' conference has no doubts the church will be able to organize the event. "Panama, with its canal, is a bridge between two continents, and we'll also make it a symbolic bridge between young people, especially in Latin America," said Cardinal Jose Lacunza Maestrojuan of David, Panama.
Earlier at WYD in Poland, Pope Francis lamented the murder of an 85-year-old priest while saying Mass in France. "This holy priest died precisely at the moment he was offering prayers for the whole church," he said. The priest was one of countless innocents butchered by a war fought in pieces. "How many Christians, how many children, how many innocents?" he said. "We are not afraid of saying this truth: The world is at war because it has lost peace. … Someone may think that I am speaking about a war of religions. No, all religions want peace. Others want war," the pope said.
At the closing Mass July 31, Pope Francis told more than 1 million young people to take risks and to not let life's obstacles get in the way of encountering the true joy and life that Jesus can give.
"Don't be afraid to say 'yes' to him with all your heart, to respond generously and to follow him," the pope told the pilgrims. "Don't let your soul grow numb, but aim for the goal of a beautiful love which also demands sacrifice."
"When it comes to Jesus, we cannot sit around waiting with arms folded; he offers us life. We can't respond by thinking about it or 'texting' a few words," he told the young people, thousands of whom had spent the night camping at an area dubbed the Field of Mercy.
Pope Francis thanked World Youth Day organizers and volunteers and urged them to be "the hope of the future."
"I had a speech of five pages — but it's boring," Pope Francis said in Spanish, setting aside his prepared remarks.
He thanked more than 15,000 organizers and volunteers gathered at Tauron Arena for their "hours of prayer." He also thanked the estimated 50,000 priests and religious order members who had accompanied pilgrims from around the world to the festival.
||Swimmer prays before
Four years ago, at age 15, swimmer Katie Ledecky won Olympic gold in the women's 800-meter freestyle. Since then Ledecky, who attended Catholic schools in Bethesda, Maryland, has become the world record holder in the 400-, 800- and 1500-meter freestyles, and the American record holder in the 500-, 1000- and 1650-yard freestyles. In the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro Aug. 5-21, she will compete in the 200-, 400-, and 800-meter freestyle. Yet before every race, she'll offer a prayer. "I do say a prayer — or two — before any race. The Hail Mary is a beautiful prayer and I find that it calms me," she said.
Michael Hoyt/CATHOLIC STANDARD, cns
French priest's death
WASHINGTON — While Catholics mourn the senseless killing of a beloved French priest church leaders have emphasized that shock and grief over this attack cannot fuel hatred against Muslims or immigrants. "Whoever makes this choice, profanes Christian martyrdom," said Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, warning that responding with hatred or increased suspicion is "sacrilegious blasphemy" of the priest's death. The 85-year-old priest was killed during Mass in Saint Etienne-du-Rouvray. The attackers, who slit the priest's throat, claimed allegiance to the Islamic State and the group later claimed responsibility for Father Jacques Hamel's murder.
HOUSTON — The Harris County district attorney's office dropped the last remaining charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt July 26. Daleiden, who founded the pro-life Center for Medical Progress in California, and investigator Merritt created a series of undercover videos last year alleging Planned Parenthood affiliate officials committed improprieties regarding fetal tissue and organs. The officials are shown discussing the illegal marketing and sale of fetal tissue with Daleiden and Merritt, who posed as representatives of a mythical fetal tissue procurement firm. Planned Parenthood said any allegations it "profits in any way from tissue donation is not true" and that any money it received from labs were processing fees. Daleiden and Merritt had been charged with a felony and a misdemeanor for tampering with government records and using fake IDs to enter a Planned Parenthood facility, the Houston Chronicle reported. A grand jury convened in September 2015 to decide the case but had taken no action by December, when it was put on hold until last January. On Jan. 25, the jury indicted Merritt and Daleiden, who posted bond and went to court in February, rejecting plea deals.
PARMA, Ohio — Interest in starting Byzantine Catholic communities in the American Midwest is sprouting. One such outreach, under the auspices of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma since August 2015, is operating at St. Joseph Church in West Liberty, Iowa. Another community in Omaha, Nebraska, was inaugurated this past April.
— Catholic News Service
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