October 28, 2017 // World News

CNS News Briefs

Actress Patricia Heaton emcees the 72nd Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York Oct. 19. (CNS photo/Andrew Kelly, Reuters)

Senate confirms Callista Gingrich as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Senate confirmed Callista Gingrich as the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. Voting late Oct. 16, senators approved her nomination 70-23. More than 20 Democrats joined Republicans in supporting Gingrich, the wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a vocal ally of President Donald Trump. Gingrich, 51, a lifelong Catholic and a former congressional aide, has been president of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production and consulting company in Arlington, Virginia, since 2007. She was expected to present her credentials at the Vatican in the coming weeks. Gingrich’s associates welcomed the vote. Among them was Msgr. Walter R. Rossi, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, where Gingrich has been a longtime member of the choir. “Callista has been part of our shrine family for two decades and so, as any family rejoices when good news arrives, we rejoice with Callista,” Msgr. Rossi said in an Oct. 17 statement. “Both Callista and Speaker Gingrich are wonderful supporters of our ministry here at Mary’s shrine, most especially our music program.”

Pope condemns deadly terrorist attack in Somalia

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis prayed for the victims of a terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Somalia, that left hundreds dead and countless wounded in one of the deadliest attacks in the country’s history. Before concluding his weekly general audience Oct. 18, the pope expressed his sorrow and denounced the “massacre which caused more than 300 deaths, including several children. This terrorist act deserves the fiercest condemnation, especially because it victimizes people that are already so tried,” the pope said. Mogadishu erupted into chaos Oct. 14 when a minivan and a truck carrying military grade explosives exploded near a security checkpoint. Investigators believe the attackers were targeting a heavily guarded compound that housed many embassies, United Nations’ offices and African Union peacekeeping forces. 

Italian priest
kidnapped in Nigeria freed

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Italian Father Maurizio Pallu, who was kidnapped by several gunmen in Nigeria and held captive for nearly a week, was freed Oct. 17. Father Pallu, a 63-year-old missionary affiliated with the Neocatechumenal Way, and a group of pilgrims were on their way to Mass in Benin City Oct. 12 when they were ambushed. The priest told the Italian website Vatican Insider that contrary to initial reports, two members of the group were taken hostage. “We were very scared, especially the two young people who were with me: a young man employed by the parish and a female student, both from Nigeria, both very young,” Father Pallu told Vatican Insider Oct. 18. Under guard, “we walked for several hours, hoping that someone would notice us,” he said. “Instead, we were taken to an isolated place.” 

Bishops’ migration chairman asks for extension of
immigration status

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The head of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration said some migrants from Honduras and El Salvador cannot safely return to their home countries in the near future and should have a special immigration permit extended. The U.S. government will consider in early November whether to extend, for some migrants hailing from the two countries, what’s known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. The designation is for those who come to the U.S. from certain countries because of a natural disaster, continuing armed conflict or other extraordinary conditions. The status for Honduras and El Salvador is set to expire in early 2018. “There is ample evidence to suggest that current TPS recipients from Honduras and El Salvador cannot return safely to their home country at this time,” said Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration. He cited a report issued by bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Services titled “Temporary Protected Status: A Vital Piece of the Central American Protection and Prosperity Puzzle.” The report recommends that the U.S. government extend TPS for some 257,000 people from El Salvador and Honduras in the U.S., who currently have a work permit and reprieve from deportation. 

Pope urges Christians to think about what they say in the Our Father

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — To pray the Lord’s Prayer and believe what one is reciting takes real courage, Pope Francis said. One must be bold “to truly believe that God is the father who accompanies me, forgives me, gives me bread, is attentive to everything I ask,” Pope Francis said in a filmed conversation about the Our Father. The Italian bishops’ television station, TV2000, was to begin airing a nine-part series Oct. 25 featuring Pope Francis’ conversation with Father Marco Pozza, an Italian prison chaplain and theologian. A long trailer for the program was released Oct. 18. The original idea for the project was that Father Pozza would explain the Our Father phrase by phrase and discuss its meaning and implications with a handful of famous Italians from the world of culture and entertainment. But, the priest told reporters at a news conference, when he told one of the prisoners in Padua about it, the man said, “If he knew about it, Pope Francis would participate, too.” 

New shrine enables Catholics to renew devotion to Fatima, says bishop

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (CNS) — A new shrine to Our Lady of Fatima in West Virginia invites Catholics “to live the Fatima message with renewed commitment and gives us the means to do so,” said Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston. The new shrine next to St. James Church in Charles Town will enable Catholics “to pray the rosary with greater devotion and to be renewed in our dedication to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” the bishop said to the congregation at Mass Oct. 14. Following the liturgy, he dedicated the new shrine. Hundreds gathered for a moment long anticipated by the parish community including many from the surrounding area and Virginia, who began the day by gathering in the new shrine to pray the rosary that morning. They then proceeded to the church, where Bishop Bransfield celebrated the special Mass with area priests concelebrating. 

Martyred Spanish Claretians offered culture of peace, says cardinal

BARCELONA, Spain (CNS) — More than a hundred Spanish Claretian missionaries were beatified as Catholic martyrs, eight decades after they were killed during their country’s 1936-39 civil war. “During the last century, Spanish religious persecution became a virulent epidemic of death and destruction, leaving thousands and thousands of defenseless, innocent victims behind,” said Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, at an Oct. 21 beatification Mass at Sagrada Familia basilica. “Faced by this devastating tsunami, these 109 Claretian religious reacted with the effective weapon of charity and forgiveness. To those wishing to annihilate the Christian presence in Spain, the martyrs responded by forgiving, praying and calling, ‘We are not afraid.’” He said the beatification was a reminder that Christianity offered “a culture of peace and fraternity, not war.” The 109 martyrs included 49 priests, 31 lay brothers and 29 students, all killed in late 1936 and early 1937 by Spain’s communist republicans. 

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.