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Texas parish thrilled to have pope as surprise guest at ABC town hall
Pope Francis refers to Alberto Gasparri, left, papal trip planner, while answering a question from a French journalist aboard his flight to Manila, Philippines, Jan. 15. In response to the French reporter's question about freedom of religion and freedom of expression, the pope offered a hypothetical example of how Gasparri would receive a punch if he said a swear word against the pope's mother. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-PRESS (UPDATED) Jan. 15, 2015.

Pope Francis refers to Alberto Gasparri, left, papal trip planner, while answering a question from a French journalist aboard his flight to Manila, Philippines, Jan. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Catholic News Service

MCALLEN, Texas — At Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, members of the community, most of them volunteers at a respite center for immigrants at Sacred Heart parish hall, were invited to a special event by ABC News, but were not informed in advance of just how special that event would be.

People started arriving at the church before 7 a.m., local time, Aug. 31. The event began at 9 a.m. Continue reading

 
Archbishop Cordileone thankful for San Francisco teacher contract agreement
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, of San Francisco, in Rome on June 28, 2013. (CNA Photo/Lauren Cater)

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, of San Francisco, in Rome on June 28, 2013. (CNA Photo/Lauren Cater)

CNA/EWTN News

Efforts to promote Catholic culture in the San Francisco archdiocese’s high schools and to agree on a contract acceptable for the schools’ teachers concluded on Wednesday with a new contract.

The months-long dispute months drew protests, interference from activist groups, and the attention of wealthy critics of Catholic teaching. Continue reading

 
Labor Day statement: Reflection, action ‘critical’ for care of workers
Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami gives the homily during a July 4 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on the final day of the U.S. bishops' Fortnight for Freedom campaign. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami gives the homily during a July 4 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on the final day of the U.S. bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom campaign. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — “Individual reflection and action is critical” when it comes to improving the conditions of workers in the United States and elsewhere, said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in the U.S. bishops’ annual Labor Day statement.

“We are in need of a profound conversion of heart at all levels of our lives. Let us examine our choices,” Archbishop Wenski said in the statement, dated Labor Day Sept. 7, but issued Aug. 24 in Washington.

“How do we participate in this wounding of human dignity,” he asked, through choices about the clothes we wear, food we eat, and things we buy — most of which is unaffordable to the very workers who make it? Do we give a thought to this truth, that for our wants to be met, economic realities are created that cause others to live in ways that we ourselves would not?” Continue reading

 
Is Planned Parenthood ‘aborting’ babies after birth?
Holly O'Donnell. (Screenshot from Video)

Holly O’Donnell. (Screenshot from Video)

By Matt Hadro & Adelaide Mena
CNA/EWTN News

Warning: this article contains graphic content. Reader discretion is advised.

A new video in an investigative series on Planned Parenthood shows a former technician saying that she had once been traumatized by the experience of gathering tissue from an aborted baby whose heart was still beating.

Holly O’Donnell, former technician for the biotech company StemExpress, LLC, said that after the intact delivery of “the most gestated fetus and closest thing to a baby that I’ve seen,” a clinic worker called for her to come over and see something “kind of cool.” Continue reading

 
New Mexico bishops laud court decision barring assisted suicide
Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., interacts with a Palestinian girl Jan. 14 in the Hogar Nino Dios, a home for abandoned and disabled children in Bethlehem, West Bank. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill)

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., interacts with a Palestinian girl Jan. 14 in the Hogar Nino Dios, a home for abandoned and disabled children in Bethlehem, West Bank. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill)

Catholic News Service

SANTA FE, N.M. — The Catholic bishops of New Mexico in a joint statement welcomed a ruling by the state’s Court of Appeals that reversed a lower court’s approval of physician-assisted suicide.

“The Catholic Church strongly believes that life is a gift from a loving God, which extends from conception to natural death,” they said. “Only God can give or take life and the state does not have the competency to shorten this precious gift, even for seemingly laudable purposes.” Continue reading

 
Cardinal Dolan, other speakers urge Catholic teens to live faith openly
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York delivers his homily during Mass Aug. 8 at the Steubenville NYC youth conference at St. John's University in the Jamaica section of the New York borough of Queens. More than 1,800 teenagers attended the Aug. 7-9 event. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York delivers his homily during Mass Aug. 8 at the Steubenville NYC youth conference at St. John’s University in the Jamaica section of the New York borough of Queens. More than 1,800 teenagers attended the Aug. 7-9 event. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Angela Cave
Catholic News Service

JAMAICA, N.Y. — Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and other speakers at a Steubenville Youth Conference inspired 1,800 Catholic teenagers to live their faith openly.

The conference was held Aug. 7-9 at St. John’s University in the Jamaica section of the New York borough of Queens.

For Mass Aug. 8, about 50 priests and seminarians processed into a sports arena at the university to the sound of upbeat worship music as participants clapped and sang.

Cardinal Dolan charmed the youth with his trademark sense of humor early on in his homily.

“I’m a little uncomfortable today having Mass in a gym,” he said, gesturing toward his stomach, “because I don’t go to gyms very often. That’s all right, because nowhere are we more at home than to gather around the table of Jesus Christ.”

The cardinal preached about St. Dominic’s work with the Albigensians, a 12th-century sect.

“They had such a lofty concept of God, and they just went off the wrong track,” he said. “(They thought), ‘How could God leave heaven and enter this stupid, sinful, corrupt, dirty world?’ They said, ‘This Incarnation is a big, fat lie, and we don’t believe it. God could not have been conceived in the womb of a woman. God could not have sweated and cried and been nailed to a cross.'” Continue reading

 
Teens say Steubenville conference inspires them, bolsters their faith
Participants and youth leaders pray during Mass Aug. 8 at the Steubenville NYC youth conference at St. John's University in the Jamaica section of the New York borough of Queens. More than 1,800 teenagers attended the Aug. 7-9 event. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Participants and youth leaders pray during Mass Aug. 8 at the Steubenville NYC youth conference at St. John’s University in the Jamaica section of the New York borough of Queens. More than 1,800 teenagers attended the Aug. 7-9 event. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Angela Cave
Catholic News Service

JAMAICA, N.Y.  — The first Steubenville Youth Conference to be held in New York drew 1,800 teenagers from around the country Aug. 7-9 to St. John’s University in Jamaica in the New York borough of Queens.

They came seeking to bolster their faith and left feeling inspired by the turnout and enlightened about topics such as spiritual friendships, self-esteem, recognizing sin, chivalry and surrendering to God.

“This experience is nothing like I’ve ever had before,” said Olivia Helbach, an incoming high school sophomore who spent three days traveling by bus with a group of 97 other teens from central Wisconsin.

They donned T-shirts reading in Star Wars style, “Jesus Is My Life Saver,” featuring a cartoon Jesus wielding a cross like a lightsaber.

“It was amazing,” she told Catholic News Service. “There are over 1,000 people here, and everyone knows the same prayers and sings the same songs. There’s a unity.

“Before,” Olivia continued, “I was afraid to share my ideas with my friends and even my family. I feel confident expressing it now.”

Olivia’s friend Megan Manske, a fellow sophomore, chimed in to explain this phenomenon: “They’re all here for the same reason you are.”

Megan also took comfort in the fact that other teens struggle with the same issues as she. Continue reading

 
Pope Francis to speak from lectern Lincoln used for Gettysburg Address
The lectern that President Abraham Lincoln used to deliver the Gettysburg Address almost 152 years ago is seen Aug. 7 at the Union League of Philadelphia in front of a statue of Lincoln. Pope Francis will use same lectern when he speaks at Independence Hall Sept. 26 during his two-day visit to Philadelphia this fall. (CNS photo/Sarah Webb, CatholicPhilly.com)

The lectern that President Abraham Lincoln used to deliver the Gettysburg Address almost 152 years ago is seen Aug. 7 at the Union League of Philadelphia in front of a statue of Lincoln. Pope Francis will use same lectern when he speaks at Independence Hall Sept. 26 during his two-day visit to Philadelphia this fall. (CNS photo/Sarah Webb, CatholicPhilly.com)

By Lou Baldwin
Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — As lecterns go, it is strictly utilitarian, a simple walnut stand with none of the ornamentation commonly found in mid-19th-century furnishings.

Yet it has a distinguished past and is about to have a distinguished future.

At a news conference Aug. 7 at the Union League of Philadelphia, Robert Ciaruffoli, president of the World Meeting of Families, announced that Pope Francis, during his Sept. 26 speech at Independence Hall while in Philadelphia for the families’ meeting, will use the lectern that was most famously used by President Abraham Lincoln when he gave his Gettysburg Address.

The lectern, which is privately owned, is on long-term loan to the Union League as part of its Abraham Lincoln Foundation exhibit. The league, a private club, was founded in 1862 specifically to support Lincoln’s policies.

“We are both honored and grateful for the generosity of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation in offering to the Holy Father the opportunity to speak from the lectern from which Abraham Lincoln delivered probably the most important American speech,” Ciaruffoli said. Continue reading

 
In U.S. many expect pope to discuss ‘shameful plague’ of trafficking
Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Manila, Philippines, to Rome Jan. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Manila, Philippines, to Rome Jan. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Tom Tracy
Catholic News Service

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Last spring, a Cincinnati man who was convicted of imprisoning and transporting multiple women for the purpose of commercial sex in the Ohio-Kentucky region was sentenced to 180 months for operating a sex trafficking scheme.

In addition, the U.S. Justice Department said that Christopher Hisle, who through force and violence kept women locked up in his Cincinnati home, also will have to pay restitution to some 12 women identified as victims of his crimes.

The arrest and conviction were seen nationally as a sign of the greater law enforcement focus given to such cases in recent years and of the more severe penalties exacted of perpetrators of human trafficking in the U.S. Continue reading

 
Undercover reports on fetal body parts trade face legal hurdles
A screenshot from a video released by the Center for Medical Process shows a Planned Parenthood official allegedly discussing the sale of fetal tissue. (Screenshot)

A screenshot from a video released by the Center for Medical Process shows a Planned Parenthood official allegedly discussing the sale of fetal tissue. (Screenshot)

CNA/EWTN News

A citizen journalism group investigating abortion clinics’ procurement of organs and tissue from unborn babies has pledged to contest a court order barring the release of recordings made of an abortionists’ conference.

The Center for Medical Progress said that it follows “all applicable laws” and that it will fight “any attempts to suppress our First Amendment rights to free speech or silence the freedom of the citizen press.” Continue reading