May 20, 2024 // National

News Briefs: May 26, 2024

National Eucharistic Pilgrimage Begins

BEMIDJI, Minnesota (OSV News) – A two-day regional Eucharistic congress May 17-18 in the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, preceded the launch of the Marian Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage – the northern trek of the nationwide pilgrimage’s four routes. Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota was joined by Father Mike Schmitz of “The Bible in a Year” podcast and Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Chairman of the Board of the National Eucharistic Congress, in speaking at the local congress in Bemidji. On Sunday, May 19, the pilgrimage was set to launch with an outdoor Mass near Itasca State Park, home to the Mississippi River headwaters. Following the Mass, Bishop Cozzens was scheduled to lead a one-mile Eucharistic procession to the Mississippi headwaters. That evening, the perpetual pilgrims were to join perpetual adoration at St. Theodore of Tarsus Parish in nearby Laporte, Minnesota, and the following day, they were scheduled to participate in Mass and a 12-mile Eucharistic procession. The Marian Route will continue through Minnesota to Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, including stops in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend from July 5-10. For more information, visit

Vatican to Host Tens of Thousands on First World Children’s Day

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Vatican officials are expecting some 70,000 children between the ages of 5 and 12, as well as their chaperones, to fill Rome’s Olympic Stadium for the opening events of the first World Children’s Day on Saturday, May 25, and to join Pope Francis for Mass in St. Peter’s Square the next morning. Franciscan Father Enzo Fortunato, coordinator of the event, told reporters on Thursday, May 16, that, given school schedules and travel logistics, only about 10 percent of the participants will be children from outside of Italy. But, he said, 101 nations will be represented. Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, Prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, said that while there will be games, singing, and dancing, at its heart World Children’s Day is “a great ecclesial gathering.” “Children have a right to encounter Christ and to experience the joy of the Gospel,” he said, “but we adults also need to listen to the Gospel that bubbles over in the lives of children.”

Pope Urges Global Leaders, U.S. Governors to Take Climate Action

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis urged three U.S. governors and a group of mayors from around the world to work with international partners in developing a “holistic” approach to climate action that reduces emissions and combats inequality. “The refusal to act quickly to protect the most vulnerable who are exposed to climate change caused by human activity is a serious offense,” the pope told scholars and government leaders gathered at the Vatican on Thursday, May 16. “The climate crisis requires a symphony of cooperation and global solidarity,” which includes “emissions reduction, lifestyle education, innovative financing, and the use of proven nature-based solutions.” Eight governors from around the world, including the governors of California, New York, and Massachusetts, and 16 mayors from international cities met the pope during a three-day Vatican summit on climate resiliency.

Patriarch Says Pope Will Visit Turkey in 2025

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said he will host Pope Francis in 2025 and that they will go together to Iznik, Turkey, to celebrate the 1,700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea. According to Radio Renascença, a radio station owned by the Portuguese bishops, the Patriarch announced the trip during a visit to Lisbon on Wednesday, May 15, to participate in an interreligious meeting. The Vatican did not confirm the trip. In his document formally proclaiming the Holy Year 2025, Pope Francis drew attention to the fact that the jubilee coincides with celebrations of the Nicaea anniversary. The council, which began meeting in May of 325, gave birth to the Nicene Creed, affirmed the full divinity of Christ, and set a formula for determining the date of Easter.

Pope Encourages Faithful to Visit Roman Catacombs

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Everything found in ancient Christian catacombs – from hand-painted frescoes to ancient graffiti – speaks of hope, Pope Francis said, encouraging the faithful to visit these underground cemeteries during the Holy Year 2025. “Indeed, the theme of the Jubilee, ‘Pilgrims of Hope,’ finds a unique and evocative expression precisely in the catacomb routes,” he said during an audience on Friday, May 17, with people taking part in a plenary meeting of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, the Vatican office in charge of safeguarding the Christian catacombs of Rome. A pilgrimage in the catacombs is an occasion “to experience the meaning of Christian expectation and hope; it reminds us that we are all pilgrims, on our way to the goal of the encounter with God, who in the Risen Christ calls us to share his bliss and peace,” he said, adding that “the Christian catacombs will naturally be one of the most significant destinations” of those visiting Rome during the Jubilee.

Agenda Set for U.S. Bishops’ Spring Assembly

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – Liturgical texts, Indigenous Catholics, youth and young adults – along with funding for a decadeslong anti-poverty effort – will be discussed when the nation’s Catholic bishops convene in June for their annual spring meeting. Officials with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced on Monday, May 13, that the group’s 2024 Spring Plenary Assembly will take place June 12-14 in Louisville, Kentucky. Public sessions of the gathering, the agenda for which has not yet been finalized, will be livestreamed on Thursday, June 13, and Friday, June 14, at Before their public sessions, the bishops, whose schedules include communal prayer and dialogue, will evaluate the status and future of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the USCCB’s long-running anti-poverty initiative that has suffered in recent years from declining donations and criticism of grant awardees. Pastoral plans for Indigenous and Native ministry and for youth and young adults will be evaluated, as will translations for several texts relating to the liturgy of the hours.

Pope Francis gets ready to ring a bell called “The Voice of the Unborn,” before his general audience at the Vatican May 15, 2024. The bell was made for a parish in Kazakhstan by the Yes to Life Foundation, a pro-life group in Poland. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

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