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September 18, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

People in the crowd are seen before Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Contecar terminal in Cartagena, Colombia, Sept. 10.

During his trip to Cartagena, Colombia, Pope Francis cut and bruised his face on the popemobile window when he was greeting people.

Pope calls for change of culture

CARTAGENA, Colombia — Pope Francis capped a five-day trip to Colombia Sept. 10 with a call for culture change in a country attempting to pursue a path of peace and reconciliation after decades of armed conflict and centuries of social exclusion. The pope issued his call in Cartagena, on Colombia's Caribbean Coast, where he remembered St. Peter Claver and urged the country to follow the example set centuries earlier by the priest, who tended to slaves arriving on ships by showing kind gestures and dignity.

The final Mass, celebrated at the docks and full of up-tempo music and worship, reiterated many of the themes Pope Francis raised throughout his trip to Colombia: peace, reconciliation and social inclusion, to name but three.

Meanwhile, Church leaders prayed for Mexicans and Guatemalans affected by the magnitude 8.1 earthquake that struck the Pacific Coast. At the end of Mass in Villavicencio, Colombia, Sept. 8, Pope Francis prayed "for all the people who are suffering because of the earthquake last night in Mexico."

Pope Francis offered special prayers for Venezuela and its people suffering in the midst of a huge political and economic crisis. Venezuela has been torn by violence and stricken with severe shortages of food and medicine as its political crisis drags on. More than 100 people have died in protests as President Nicolas Maduro has attempted to consolidate his power.

Pope Francis called on Catholics to find their future priests and religious in rough and imperfect places. People from such places, he told an audience of priests, seminarians and religious, were indispensable for promoting peace and reconciliation in a country such as Colombia.

The destroyed St. Peter Church in Rockport, Texas, is seen Sept. 8 in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The parish is home to mainly Vietnamese-American Catholics.

Millions for relief

SAN ANTONIO — Catholic Charities USA presented a $2 million check Sept. 4 representing donations received to date for immediate emergency assistance for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and its catastrophic flooding. One hundred percent of the funds raised will go directly to immediate and long-term recovery efforts.

In addition, the Knights of Columbus has raised more than $1.3 million to help recovery efforts in Texas. Funds have been used to provide food and shelter for residents in Houston and surrounding communities, Corpus Christi, Beaumont and Ingleside.

Meanwhile, exhausted people in the Southeast and Caribbean suffered through Hurricane Irma, the first major hurricane to hit the United States in a dozen years. Other hurricanes were backing up behind Irma.

Feinstein attacks Catholic
WASHINGTON — Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, spurred outrage about possible religious tests for judicial appointees when she criticized a Catholic judicial nominee Sept. 6 about what impact her faith would have on her interpretation of the law. Reaction from Catholic leaders to the hearing for Amy Coney Barrett, nominee for a seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. was swift. Feinstein did not question Barrett about capital punishment cases, but rather the upholding of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal. "When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And — that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country."

Father Hesburgh stamp
A postage stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Father Theodore Hesburgh, a Holy Cross priest who served as president of the University of Notre Dame for 35 years, was issued Sept. 1 in the Joyce Center on campus by the U.S. Postal Service. The stamp features an oil-on-panel painting of the educational and civic leader standing on the Notre Dame campus by artist Tim O'Brien.

Justice backs baker
WASHINGTON — A Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake to celebrate the wedding of a same-sex couple has gained an ally in the U.S. Justice Department. In a Sept. 7 brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall wrote that the government agreed with baker Jack Phillips' argument that his cakes are a form of expression and that he cannot be compelled to use talents for something that he does not believe in.

Not on travel ban
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said it would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a lower court's ruling that rejected the Trump administration's limits on who can be allowed into the United States under the administration's travel ban. The announcement came late Sept. 7, after a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously decided that grandparents, cousins and other close relatives of people in the United States should not be prevented from entering the country.

Catholic News Service


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