February 21, 2024 // National

News Briefs: February 25, 2024

Dates for Second Synod Assembly Announced

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The second assembly of the Synod of Bishops on synodality will meet October 2-27 and will be preceded by several formal studies coordinated by the Synod General Secretariat, Vatican officials announced on Saturday, February 17. Bishop Rhoades, who is serving as a synod delegate and was in Rome for the first assembly, will return to Rome to participate in the second session. He and other members will join a pre-synodal retreat from September 30 to October 1. In response to a formal call by members of the first assembly of the synod, Pope Francis has agreed to the establishment of “study groups that will initiate, with a synodal method, the in-depth study of some of the themes that emerged.” However, the papal note did not list the topics to be studied nor the members of the groups. Officials within the General Secretariat of the Synod said they hope the approved groups and their members could be announced by mid-March.

Rapid City Bishop Dies from Cancer

RAPID CITY, South Dakota (OSV News) – Officials with the Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota, announced “with sorrow” that their shepherd, Bishop Peter M. Muhich, died on Saturday, February 17. “Bishop Peter, 62, was in hospice care after suffering from esophageal cancer. Please continue to pray for the soul of our shepherd,” the diocesan officials said in a statement. Funeral arrangements were pending as of Monday, February 19. On Wednesday, February 14, Bishop Muhich announced he was moving into hospice treatment and planned to offer his suffering from cancer to increase devotion to the Eucharist. “I have reached another step along my journey with cancer. Despite the best efforts of my health care team, all treatment options have been exhausted, and there is no more that can be done without causing greater harm to my system,” Bishop Muhich said.

Bishops Offer Prayers for Victims of Shooting at Super Bowl Parade

Kansas City, Missouri (OSV News) – Two bishops offered prayers for victims after a shooting left one person dead and more than 20 people injured, 11 of whom are children, at the conclusion of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade in front of Union Station on Ash Wednesday. “Let’s offer our prayers for the victims of today’s shooting after the parade and rally and their loved ones,” Bishop James V. Johnston of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, wrote in a message shared on Facebook. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, called for unity in prayer following the shooting. Lisa Lopez-Galvan, a Catholic mother of two and beloved disc jockey for the KKFI radio station in Kansas City, Missouri, was the lone person killed in the shooting. Lopez-Galvan was an active parishioner at Sacred Heart-Guadalupe Parish in Kansas City, Missouri, where she was fondly remembered by her fellow parishioners. Ramona Arroyo, Director of Religious Education at the parish, told OSV News that Lopez-Galvan’s family is “devoted to the Church” and that the loss was “devastating” to the community.

Indiana Parents Ask Court to Correct ‘Dangerous Precedent’ on Parental Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – Jeremy and Mary Cox, Catholic parents in Anderson, Indiana, petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, February 15, to hear their case involving parental rights and a state social service agency’s removal of their child in a dispute in their home over the child’s gender identity. Any decision on the petition submitted to the high court won’t result in the teen – named in court filings as A.C. and identifying as a transgender girl – being returned to the family home because their child is now legally an adult. Rather, the Coxes’ arguments pertain to their rights regarding their younger children as well as their decisions about A.C. The Coxes lost custody of the then-16-year-old in 2021 in a directive from the Indiana Department of Child Services alleging the teen was in danger of physical and mental abuse by the Coxes as parents who believe that children should be raised based on their biological sex. Ultimately, an Indiana court agreed the Coxes were fit parents but upheld the removal of their child. An appeals court upheld the removal. After the Indiana Supreme Court declined to intervene, the Coxes took their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mass of Reparation Offered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

NEW YORK (OSV News) – Two days after St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City was filled with mourners for an irreverent “homecoming” funeral for a prominent activist who identified as transgender, the cathedral’s rector acknowledged that many people “have let us know they share our outrage over the scandalous behavior” that took place at the service. Father Enrique Salvo said in a February 17 statement that, at New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan’s “directive, we have offered an appropriate Mass of Reparation.” “The Cathedral only knew that family and friends were requesting a funeral Mass for a Catholic and had no idea our welcome and prayer would be degraded in such a sacrilegious and deceptive way,” Father Salvo said. According to The New York Times, hundreds packed the cathedral on Thursday, February 15, to mourn the passing of Cecilia Gentili, 52, an Argentinian-born activist who identified as transgender and worked to decriminalize sex work. The funeral’s organizer, Ceyenne Doroshow, Founder and Director of Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society Inc., told the Times that she had not advised cathedral pastoral staff that Gentili identified as an atheist and transgender, saying, “I kind of kept it under wraps.”

Archbishop Warns Catholics Are in Russia’s Crosshairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – As the U.S. House left for a recess on Thursday, February 15, without first bringing a Senate-passed bill providing military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and other allies facing conflict to the floor for a vote, Metropolitan Archbishop Borys A. Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia warned that failing to aid Ukraine will have a vast impact on religious freedom in the region, as well as on global security. “It’s really quite amazing, because there’s so much devastation, there’s so much death, there’s so much displacement, and yet the people are pretty clear in their resolve,” Archbishop Gudziak told OSV News ahead of the two-year anniversary of Russia’s February 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine. He warned that a Russian victory would lead to the liquidation of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and other Christian groups not aligned with the Russian Orthodox Church, in addition to millions of more Ukrainians becoming refugees. The Senate recently passed an approximately $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, following months of a stalemate in Congress.

Theme for World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly Set

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has chosen a line from Psalm 71 – “Do not cast me off in my old age” – as the theme for the 2024 celebration of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. In a note announcing the theme for the day, which will be celebrated on Sunday, July 28, Vatican officials said the choice was “meant to call attention to the fact that, sadly, loneliness is the bitter lot in life of many elderly persons, so often the victims of the throwaway culture.” Pope Francis celebrated the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in 2021 and decreed that it be observed each year on the Sunday closest to the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents. As the Catholic Church prepares for the Holy Year 2025, Pope Francis has asked Catholics to focus on prayer, which is why he chose the prayer of an elderly person from the Psalms for the theme, Vatican officials said in a statement released on Thursday, February 15. “By cherishing the charisms of grandparents and the elderly, and the contribution they make to the life of the Church, the World Day seeks to support the efforts of every ecclesial community to forge bonds between the generations and to combat loneliness,” the officials said.

Actors Mark Wahlberg, left, and Jonathan Roumie, right, received ashes from Father Mark-Mary Ames, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal, Feb. 14, 2024. (OSV News photo/courtesy Prevish Marketing)

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