June 11, 2024 // National

News Briefs: June 16, 2024

U.S. Ambassador to Holy See to Step Down in July

Joe Donnelly

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly will leave his post in July, embassy officials announced.
The ambassador will step down from his role and return to his native Indiana on Monday, July 8, representatives of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See said in a post on X published on Thursday, May 30.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my country in this unique way,” Donnelly was quoted as saying in the post.
The former Indiana senator assumed his role in Rome in April of 2022 when he presented his letters of credential to Pope Francis. His posting coincided with the 40th anniversary of the United States establishing formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1984.
In a March interview with Catholic News Service, Donnelly said that when interacting with Vatican officials his job was “to try to make sure that where the United States stands, it’s understood.”
As an example, when Pope Francis said the Russian invasion of Ukraine may have been “facilitated” in part “because NATO is barking at Russia’s doors,” Donnelly said, “We tried to let them know, well, here’s what’s actually going on” in the various parts of Ukraine and “here’s the plans that Russia actually had to invade Ukraine based on that they just wanted to take Ukraine back.”
Embassy officials announced that Laura Hochla, a career diplomat who has served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See since July of 2023, will serve as chargé d’affaires of the embassy.

OSV’s Jason Shanks Named CEO of National Eucharistic Congress Inc.

FORT WAYNE (OSV News) – Jason Shanks, Executive Director of the OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation, has been named the next CEO of the National Eucharistic Congress Inc., the organization implementing key elements of the U.S. bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival. Shanks, who, with his family, lives in Fort Wayne, has served as NEC President since August of 2023 to help the organization prepare for the upcoming five-day National Eucharistic Congress, which is being held July 17-21 in Indianapolis. The NEC board approved Shanks taking the role on Tuesday, June 4. For Shanks, 48, the position merges professional expertise with a personal passion, and a desire to see the revival’s work continue well beyond the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2022-2025 National Eucharistic Revival initiative.

Pope to Hold Consistory July 1 on Canonization of Carlo Acutis, Others

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Although Pope Francis usually takes the month of July off, he will hold a consistory with cardinals in Rome on Monday, July 1, for the final approval of the canonization of several sainthood candidates. In late May, officials with the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints said Pope Francis would be convoking the meeting of cardinals to vote on approving the canonizations of Blessed Carlo Acutis, an Italian teen and computer whiz; Blessed Giuseppe Allamano, Founder of the Consolata Missionaries; eight Franciscan friars and three Maronite laymen who were martyred in Syria in 1860; Canada-born Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis, Founder of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family; and Blessed Elena Guerra, an Italian nun who founded the Oblates of the Holy Spirit. The date or dates for the canonizations could be announced during the ceremony.

On D-Day Anniversary, Pope Says Attacking Peace Is a Grave Sin

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Marking 80 years since some 4,400 Allied troops “heroically gave their lives” to the cause of freedom by storming the beach in Normandy, France, D-Day commemorations remind the world that disrupting peace in pursuit of worldly interests is a grave sin, Pope Francis said. To pursue “ideological, nationalistic, or economic ambitions” at the cost of peace “is a grave fault before humanity and history, a sin before God,” he wrote in a message to Bishop Jacques Habert of Bayeux and Lisieux, France, whose diocese includes the beaches where Allied troops landed on June 6, 1944. The pope’s message was read on Wednesday, June 5, during an ecumenical prayer service at the cathedral of Bayeux. While the memory of the war previously bolstered people’s determination to avoid provoking another global conflict, “I note with sadness that this is no longer the case today and that humankind has a short memory,” the pope wrote. “May this commemoration help us to recover it!”

Bishops Congratulate Mexico’s First Female President

MEXICO CITY (OSV News) – Mexico’s bishops congratulated Claudia Sheinbaum, who overwhelmingly won Mexico’s presidential election to become the country’s first female president – a historic accomplishment overshadowed by the killing of candidates and questions about the future of the country’s democratic institutions. In a June 3 statement, the Mexican bishops’ conference described the previous day’s voting as “a great citizen celebration, despite the obstacles and problems that arose during the electoral process, especially due to criminal violence and interference with legality by some authorities.” Sheinbaum’s ruling Morena party and its allies took majorities in both houses of Congress. The bishops alluded to the prospect of supermajorities in Congress by pledging “a commitment ahead to care for and improve our democratic institutions.” Sheinbaum begins her six-year presidential term on October 1.

Pope Preparing Document on Sacred Heart of Jesus

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis announced that he is preparing a document on the Sacred Heart of Jesus to “illuminate the path of ecclesial renewal, but also to say something significant to a world that seems to have lost its heart.” The document is expected to be released in September, he said. The pope made the announcement during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, June 5. The Catholic Church traditionally dedicates the month of June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The document will include reflections from “previous magisterial texts” and it will aim to “re-propose to the whole Church this devotion laden with spiritual beauty. I believe it will do us much good to meditate on various aspects of the Lord’s love,” the pope said.

The faithful depart the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception June 8, 2024, as they follow the Blessed Sacrament in procession through the streets of the Brookland neighborhood of Washington. The procession was held as the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s Seton Route made a stop in the Archdiocese of Washington as it makes its way to Indianapolis for the National Eucharistic Congress to be held in July. (OSV News photo/Mihoko Owada, Catholic Standard)

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