January 26, 2024 // National

News Briefs: January 28, 2024

Bishop Dorsonville of Louisiana Dies Unexpectedly at 63

SCHRIEVER, Louisiana (OSV News) – Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, January 19, due to complications from recent health problems, according to diocesan officials. He was 63. He is remembered for his various teaching and pastoral roles in his native Colombia as well as his service as auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. Bishop Dorsonville had headed the Houma-Thibodaux Diocese as its fifth bishop for less than a year since his installation on March 29, 2023. Before that, he had served as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., for eight years. “It is with great sadness and deep shock that I announce to you that our beloved shepherd, Bishop Mario Dorsonville, passed away at 6:50 p.m. this evening after he gave in to complications arising from recent health problems,” Father Simon Peter Engurait, the diocese’s Vicar General, said in posting the news of the bishop’s death on social media on January 19. “My heart is broken.” Bishop Dorsonville was a former chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration from 2019 to 2022. As of Monday, January 22, no funeral arrangements had been announced.

Washington Bishops Urge Faithful to Advocate for the Homeless

SEATTLE (OSV News) – The bishops of Washington state are urging the state’s 1 million Catholics to join the Washington State Catholic Conference in asking legislators for more resources to help the homeless and serve them with dignity. “In a nation and state of such great wealth, no person should spend their golden years in a shelter or on a city street, no family should ever worry about where they will spend the night, no one should ever lose the roof over their head because of a temporary economic crisis, and no low-income individual should have to accept a dangerous housing environment,” the bishops said in a statement released on Thursday, January 18. The statement, “Our Call to Serve Vulnerable Populations in Our Communities,” is signed by Seattle Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, Yakima Bishop Joseph J. Tyson, Spokane Bishop Thomas A. Daly, and Seattle Auxiliary Bishops Eusebio Elizondo and Frank R. Schuster. According to data from the 2022 Point in Time count, more than 25,000 people in the state are either experiencing homelessness or on the brink of homelessness, the bishops said in the statement. “It is incumbent to remember that care for the poor is one of the recurring themes throughout both the Old and New Testaments,” the bishops said. “Care for the poor is not optional for the Christian.”

Pope Asks Leaders at Devos: Why Is World Plagued by Poverty

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Nations and businesses must work together to promote ethically sound models of globalization, Pope Francis told global business and government leaders participating in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, January 17. “How is it possible that in today’s world people are still dying of hunger, being exploited, condemned to illiteracy, lacking basic medical care, and left without shelter?” he asked. “The process of globalization, which has by now clearly demonstrated the interdependence of the world’s nations and peoples, thus has a fundamentally moral dimension, which must make itself felt in the economic, cultural, political, and religious discussions that aim to shape the future of the international community,” he wrote. The pope’s message, addressed to Klaus Schwab, Chairperson of the World Economic Forum, was published by the Vatican on January 17.

Collection for the Church in Latin America Set for January 27-28

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – The U.S. bishops’ upcoming collection for the Church in Latin America helps meet the “myriad spiritual and material needs among the most impoverished people in the Western Hemisphere,” said Bishop Octavio Cisneros, Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America. “In an era with too much focus on what divides us from our sisters and brothers in Latin America,” he said that U.S. Catholics “continue to strengthen bonds of faith, hope, and love” and show solidarity with them. Parishes in most U.S. dioceses take the collection during Masses the weekend of January 27-28. The #iGiveCatholicTogether campaign also accepts online donations at usccb.igivecatholictogether.org, where visitors can give by selecting the “Church in Latin America” campaign. The collection supports pastoral projects – locally designed for specific needs – in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2022, it provided 251 grants totaling nearly $6.6 million “to support a region where poverty, political and religious oppression, and other hardships” make the Catholic Church’s work “exceptionally difficult,” Bishop Cisneros said.

Six Nuns, Others Kidnapped in Haitian Capital

MEXICO CITY (OSV News) – Six nuns from the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne were kidnapped on Friday, January 19, while traveling on a bus in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, according to officials with the Haitian Conference of Religious. Other passengers on the bus also were taken in the abduction, the officials said in a statement. “These many kidnappings fill the consecrated people of Haiti with sadness and fear,” said the statement, signed by P. Morachel Bonhomme, Conference President. He prayed that “the spirit of strength be given” to the sisters “to find a way out of this terrible situation.” On Sunday, January 21, in remarks after the Angelus, Pope Francis appealed for the release of all the hostages, while praying for “social harmony” in the country. Bishop Pierre-André Dumas of Anse-à-Veau et Miragoâne prayed “to help us put an end to this bitter nightmare and this tragic ordeal of our people which has lasted too long.”

Two U.S. Bishops Call for ‘Immediate and Total’ Ceasefire in Gaza Strip

SAN DIEGO (OSV News) – Two U.S. prelates are urging an “immediate and total” ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which has experienced more than 100 days of war, while condemning Hamas and urging the release of Israeli hostages taken by the group. In a joint statement released on Wednesday, January 17, Cardinal Robert W. McElroy of San Diego and Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico, said the “tens of thousands” of deaths resulting from the Israel-Hamas war and the risk of wider escalation “calls us as Americans to press for a national policy which is focused unswervingly” on ending the conflict. Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 people, taking 253 hostages, and sexually assaulting numerous women and girls, most of whom were brutally killed. Israel declared war the next day, and Palestinian authorities report more than 24,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Gaza. “Our country has a powerful voice on these issues,” the bishops said. “Let it echo Pope Francis’ call amidst suffering on all sides, ‘No to weapons, yes to peace.’ For this will be the only true pathway for justice in the land that so deeply reflects the presence of God.”

Catholic Universities Must Be More Than a Business, Pope Says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Respect for the dignity of every person and for his or her values is as much a part of the identity of a Catholic university as faith is, Pope Francis said. “This is perhaps the most beautiful and greatest thing about your universities,” the pope told university chancellors, rectors, and other leaders of Catholic institutions belonging to the International Federation of Catholic Universities on Friday, January 19. In an age when many universities have become businesses, Catholic universities “must take a stand,” helping students discover their vocations to contribute to peace and the betterment of society, Pope Francis wrote in his prepared text, which was distributed to participants. “A Catholic university must make choices, choices that reflect the Gospel,” he wrote to members of the federation of more than 225 Catholic universities and institutes of higher education.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, concelebrates Mass with other prelates, including Boston Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, to the left of Archbishop Lori, and more than 70 priests, during Life Fest at the D.C. Armory in Washington Jan. 19, 2024, ahead of the annual March for Life. The event was organized and co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Sisters of Life. (OSV News photo/Jeffrey Bruno, Knights of Columbus)

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