Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

Update: Brief biographical sketches of 14 new cardinals

Update: Texas archdiocese, bishops offer healing, support after shooting

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jonathan Bachman, Reuters


HOUSTON (CNS) -- In response to the May 18 school shooting at a Houston-area high school, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said the archdiocesan community would "unite to support and offer healing to those affected."

"As a society, we must strive for a way to end such acts of senseless gun violence in our schools and communities," he added in a May 18 statement.

The cardinal said he was "deeply saddened" and that his prayer and the prayers of Catholics in the archdiocese are with the "victims and families of those killed and injured in this horrific tragedy."

In a separate statement as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal DiNardo said: "Our community and our local church joins an ever-growing list of those impacted by the evil of gun violence. I extend my heartfelt prayers, along with my brother bishops, for all of those who have died, their families and friends, those who were injured, and for our local community."

The school shooting, occurring just three months after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, took place when a male shooter opened fire at a Santa Fe High School the morning of May 18 killing 10 -- eight students and two teachers -- and injuring another 13 people.

A suspect taken into custody was identified as 17-year old Dimitrios Pagourtzis and another person of interest also was detained and questioned. Explosive devices also were found at the school and off campus.

At a late-afternoon hearing May 18 before a magistrate judge, Pagourtzis acknowledged that he understood the murder charges against him and was ordered held without bond. Authorities offered no motive for the shootings.

The shooting was the deadliest in Texas since a gunman attacked a rural church late last year, killing more than two dozen people.

"Sadly, I must yet again point out the obvious brokenness in our culture and society, such that children who went to school this morning to learn and teachers who went to inspire them will not come home," Cardinal DiNardo said in his statement at USCCB president. "We as a nation must, here and now, say definitively: no more death!"

He prayed that "the Lord of life" would be "with us in our sorrow and show us how to honor the precious gift of life and live in peace."

"We experienced an unthinkable tragedy at our high school this morning," Santa Fe Superintendent Leigh Wall said in a message posted to Facebook.

"As soon as the alarms went off, everybody just started running outside," 10th-grader Dakota Shrader told reporters, "and next thing you know everybody looks, and you hear boom, boom, boom, and I just ran as fast as I could to the nearest floor so I could hide, and I called my mom."

Another student told CBS News he ran behind some trees, heard more shots, jumped a fence and ran to a car wash. He said he saw firefighters treat a girl who had a bandage around her knee and may have been shot.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, said in a May 18 tweet: "Please keep the victims of the Houston-area school shooting in your prayers. Pray also for their family members and friends who now begin a tragic grieving process. For those killed, grant eternal rest unto them, O Lord, and bestow grace and strength to all in their community."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the assault "one of the most heinous attacks that we've ever seen in the history of Texas schools." He called for a statewide moment of silence the morning of May 21 and announced a series of roundtable discussions to be held about school safety and ending school shootings.

White cross with the names of those shot at the Santa Fe school have been put up along a memorial outside the school. Churchgoers offered prayers for the shooting victims at Sunday services May 20.

- - -

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Accompanying families, reaching out to youth recurring encuentro themes

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard

By Norma Montenegro Flynn

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Catholic Church needs to walk with and accompany Hispanic and immigrant families, reach out to youth and young adults, and strengthen faith and leadership formation.

These were the recurring themes voiced by participants of the episcopal Region IV encuentro held May 19, at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

As part of the National Fifth Encuentro process, nearly 100 regional participants -- lay and religious leaders from seven dioceses -- from Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia, gathered for the day to "encounter," as the word "encuentro" suggests, each other and listen to the voices from parish communities and organizations within the region.

They discerned priorities and strategies on Hispanic ministry and how to better answer Pope Francis' call to become missionary disciples reaching out to those on the peripheries.

"It's important for us to get to know the drama, the anxieties of our people to bring the peaceful presence of Jesus Christ into their lives," said Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington and lead bishop for the Region IV encuentro.

"We have to be able to speak the same language from soul to soul in order to be able to connect them," he said in an interview with Catholic News Service, noting that such accompaniment doesn't change through the years.

Participants sharing in small groups and at-large, widely spoke about the ways Hispanic families need the Catholic church community to accompany them in their struggles, their desire for a better and more accessible faith formation, on outreach to youth and young adults, on family values and on keeping families together.

In a region with high numbers of recent immigrants, Central Americans who were Temporary Protected Status recipients and others covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, many voiced fears of deportation that breaks families apart.

TPS was recently terminated by the Department of Homeland Security leaving over 300,000 Salvadorans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans and Haitians facing possible deportations. About 690,000 DACA recipients are in a similar immigration limbo.

"Over and over, we saw that specially youth are feeling overwhelmed with the many stresses that they have, stresses because of immigration issues that affect them directly, especially those with DACA, those under TPS, and those whose parents, relatives or friends are undocumented," said Lia Salinas, director of Hispanic ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Region VI encuentro co-chair. "That is a voice that needs to be heard and that needs to be addressed."

Proposed strategies to accompany families include: nurturing families through each stage, helping families integrate into their communities and following up with pastoral care. They also proposed to provide support for families who suffer separation and be involved in advocacy.

As part of advocacy efforts, many participants signed letters to their senators seeking a legislative solution for TPS recipients. The letters are part of the Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative led by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services.

Throughout the day, participants shared priorities and strategies in the ministerial areas of evangelization and mission; vocations and leadership development; youth and young adult ministry; family ministry; immigration and social justice; faith formation and catechesis; intercultural competencies, stewardship and development; and Hispanics and public and professional life.

Priorities across the different areas of work included: the need to prepare catechists, priests, deacons and lay leaders to be multilingual and multicultural to reflect the universal church, placing greater emphasis on cultural integration and competencies.

"We have to develop the competencies, they're very important, but I just want to stress the importance of developing an open heart," noted Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore to participants. He noted that although more needs to be done in the different areas, the church is headed down the right path.

Other priorities addressed were: finding ways to strengthen Hispanic ministry by strengthening the formation of Hispanic leaders; making available training in Spanish and scholarships to assist those who want to further their formation but lack the resources to do it; supporting and build up leaders, particularly among youth and young adults; access to Catholic education for youth, and providing a greater support for families, single parents and women.

In the afternoon, a group of bishops or their representatives joined the small group conversations and later exchanged views and answered questions with the participants.

We're called to proclaim and live the joy of the Gospel, we come here today very much aware of the real struggles that so many immigrants, people, families experience in their lives, and struggles are difficult," said Father Thomas Ferguson, vicar general of the Diocese of Arlington, who represented Bishop Michael Burbidge. "But even in the midst of carrying the cross or embracing the struggle and the sorrow and the suffering, it is radiated in this room joy, because we've been called by Jesus to carry out his work."

Other panel participants were: Archbishop Lori; Bishop Dorsonville, Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Mark E. Brennan and Msgr. John J.M. Foster, vicar general for the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, representing Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio.

Episcopal Region IV includes the dioceses of Arlington and Richmond, Virginia; Wilmington, Delaware; Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia; and the Washington and Baltimore archdioceses; and the U.S. military archdiocese.

Participants came from all walks of life including immigrants and nonimmigrants; ministry leaders from city, suburbs and rural communities; and leaders of Catholic ecclesial movements, organizations and institutions.

"We want to in some way continue the encuentro process in the parishes and the diocesan teams to prepare and ignite that fire that it's still there," said Gabriel Garza, a delegate in the Archdiocese of Washington, voicing the desire of many to continue being engaged in the process of leadership, consultation and discernment that the Fifth Encuentro has begun.

Military spouses and active duty members stationed in Japan, Italy, Hawaii and the eastern and western U.S., also participated in the meeting as part of the delegation representing the U.S. military archdiocese, which is based in Washington.

The military archdiocese facilitated access to the encuentro process for Catholics in the military services who wished to participate.

Zack Mackeller is a senior airman in the Air Force and became involved after attending a Catholic conference in Chicago. He represents the voices of young Catholics in the military and embraces the call to be a missionary disciple.

"I try to engage people as they are, where they're at. Just that very basic, person to person connection, that's really all you can do. Then the Holy Spirit will unite people in its own way," he said.

Recommendations will be included in a final report, which will form part of the working document for the National Fifth Encuentro, or V Encuentro, to be held in Grapevine, Texas, Sept. 20-24.

The Region IV participants will be part of over 3,000 delegates from across the country who are expected to convene during those four days to discern priorities and develop strategies for the "Pastoral Hispana," or Hispanic ministry, in the United States, including seeking ways to better respond to the call to be missionary disciples.

"Evangelizacion y alegria," or evangelization and joy, were the two words of encouragement that captured what Archbishop Lori wished for the delegates who will attend the National Fifth Encuentro.

The day concluded with a sending-off Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, with Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl presiding and Bishop Burbidge, Archbishop Lori and Bishop Dorsonville concelebrating.


- - -

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Pope moves 12 sainthood causes ahead, including U.S. missionary's

Encore: Diploma a source of pride, uncertainty for graduating Dreamers

IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz Muth

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A group of current Trinity Washington University graduates are proud of what they've accomplished but also very anxious about the future.

These emotions could ring true for almost any graduate, but for this group of 21 graduating Dreamers -- among the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. protected, for now, by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA -- these feelings are even more intense.

That's because many of these students who came to the United States as children when their parents immigrated here without documentation, never imagined they would be able to afford to go to college or graduate in four years. And now, like other graduates across the country, they worry about financing grad school or getting good jobs all while fearing the worst: possible deportation for themselves or their family members as immigration laws remain in flux.

Two of these Dreamer graduates who spoke to Catholic News Service May 10 -- in between finishing final exams and awaiting their May 19 graduation ceremony -- asked that their last names or the states where they came from not be used to protect their families. 

They are among the 20 DACA recipients who started at Trinity four years ago and the first group of Dreamers to graduate from the school. The term "Dreamer" is coined from the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act. One student from the initial group left Trinity and two others joined later as transfer students. The students were among 100 Dreamers who attended the university this year.

All of these students are recipients of scholarships from TheDream.US, a scholarship program for DACA students that partners with colleges. Trinity was the first Catholic college to partner with the program when it started in 2014 and two other Catholic colleges have since joined: Dominican University, just outside Chicago, and Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago.

Brenda, who came to the United States from Mexico with her family when she was 6, said she will probably cry when she gets her diploma mainly because when she was a senior in high school, she didn't think she'd be able to even go to college, let alone finish in four years.

She said her mom found out about scholarship program and urged her to apply, but Brenda was skeptical because as she put it: "No one even knew about Dreamers" or DACA four years ago. Which means they didn't know immigrants without documentation don't have access to Pell grants, federal education loans or work-study programs and that many of them have to pay out-of-state tuition to go to college in their home states.

Brenda, who is graduating with a double major in business and international affairs, said she wants to get her master's and doctorate degrees, but she knows it won't be easy.

"It will be a challenge. I might have to work even harder to get financial support to figure out how I'm going to get there, but I will," she said with the confidence of someone who has already worked pretty hard.

Brenda disputes a misconception that DACA students are just looking for handouts, noting that everything she and fellow Dreamer students have attained is through hard work. The scholarship program, for example, is only for top academic students.

"We're competing for a spot and what we do has to be two, three, four and five times better than everyone else," she said. "We have to earn it."

Yarely, a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry with a minor in math, similarly stressed the pressure to work hard and the weight of not knowing what the future holds.

The 22-year-old who came to the United States from Mexico with her mother and sister when she was 8, said: "Sometimes I feel like there really is no choice for me, no path, but then I stop and think about my family, my friends and I just keep going because that's the only thing I can do."

In the days before graduating, she kept her eyes on the ceremony itself. "I feel that is a win -- no matter what -- that is definitely a win," she said.

She doesn't focus on the fact that her mom won't be able to attend her graduation. Yarely is used to having to face challenges on her own. Like Brenda, she didn't do college tours nor did family members help her move in. She simply came to Trinity on her first airplane ride, moved on campus and got to work, literally, holding down two jobs as a student, often tutoring both college and high school students.

A big unknown for her now is the future of DACA, saying she needs it to work and to keep going to school, which she hopes will eventually be medical school. "Not knowing if I am going to even be able to finance that it is definitely something that makes me really scared; it makes me terrified," she said.

Senior year for these students has been a particular roller coaster starting last September when the Trump administration announced the government was terminating DACA. Multiple lawsuits have since challenged that decision and a recent court ruling issued an order to strike down the end to DACA and reinstate the original program while still giving the government 90 days to explain its decision. In early May, seven states filed a lawsuit to try to end DACA.

Yarely and Brenda have seen both sides of the immigration battle. Neither of them are immune to anti-immigrant rhetoric, but they also are grateful for support from their families, teachers and administrators at Trinity, the scholarship program and the Catholic Church at large.

Yarely said she has had nightmares of "being out on the streets and people yelling to me and to my family, just yelling things that I know aren't true," but she also said there are "so many great people out there. ... I know people who yell or say incredibly hurtful things are the minority so I feel like that helps me get into perspective that America is not that way; America is not place of hate and ugliness."

Brenda said she is thankful "for all those who have seen there's a gap, there's injustice leaving us out of opportunities just because of our status." She has hope from those who advocate on behalf of immigrants, especially the Catholic Church, which she saw firsthand during an internship with U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Knowing that the church is involved and wants to be involved does give me hope," she said, adding that church leaders "won't be quiet about it and are willing to stand up for us and with us."

Brenda, who has spent most of her life in this country, considers herself to be American and said she is thankful for the opportunities here that she knows she would not have had in Mexico.

"I love this country," she said, adding: "I do want to stay here and I have all the faith in God that that will be the case."

Pat McGuire, president of Trinity, compared the first class of Dreamers to graduate from the university to Trinity's first graduating class in 1900 because both had "vision for how a great college education can change the fortunes of their children and families."

In an email to CNS, she said the Dreamer graduates were a "force for solidarity" as students of all backgrounds, faculty, staff and alumnae offered personal support and did advocacy work. She said the immigrant students were role models for other students coping with discrimination and setbacks.

The Dreamers' presence also helped the entire school community to sharpen its "sense of mission and commitment to challenge injustice," she said.

- - -

Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim

- - -

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Pope: Church must go where people are indifferent, hostile to the faith

Church is a mother, not a bachelor, pope says at morning Mass

The Holy Spirit changes hearts, pope says on Pentecost

Pope will create 14 new cardinals in June

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis announced he would make 14 new cardinals June 29, giving the red cardinal's hat to the papal almoner, the Iraq-based patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan, among others.

Announcing his choices May 20, the pope said that coming from 11 nations, the new cardinals "express the universality of the church, which continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all people of the earth."

Pope Francis' list included three men over the age of 80 "who have distinguished themselves for their service to the church."

When the pope made the announcement, the College of Cardinals had 213 members, 115 of whom were under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, was to celebrate his 80th birthday June 8.

Under Pope Francis, the idea that some church posts and large archdioceses always are led by a cardinal is fading, but is not altogether gone. His latest choices included the papal vicar of Rome, Cardinal-designate Angelo De Donatis, and the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal-designate Luis F. Ladaria. But other traditional cardinal sees like Venice and Milan in Italy or Baltimore and Philadelphia in the United States were not included in the pope's latest picks.

With the new nominations, the number of cardinal-electors -- those under 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave -- will exceed by five the limit of 120 set by Pope Paul VI. But previous popes also set the limit aside without formally changing the limit.

After the consistory June 29, Pope Francis will have created almost half of the voting cardinals. Nineteen of those under 80 in late June will be cardinals given red hats by St. John Paul II; 47 will have been created by retired Pope Benedict XVI; and 59 will have been welcomed into the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis.

The new cardinals hail from: Iraq, Spain, Italy, Poland, Pakistan, Portugal, Peru, Madagascar, Japan, Mexico and Bolivia.

The new cardinals, listed in the order Pope Francis announced them, are:

-- Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, 69, Iraq.

-- Spanish Archbishop Luis F. Ladaria, 74, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

-- Italian Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, 64, papal vicar for the Diocese of Rome.

-- Italian Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, 69, substitute secretary of state.

-- Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, 54, papal almoner.

-- Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan, 72.

-- Bishop Antonio dos Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima, Portugal, 71.

-- Archbishop Pedro Barreto of Huancayo, Peru, 74.

-- Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar, 63.

-- Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of L'Aquila, Italy, 69.

-- Archbishop Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda of Osaka, Japan, 69.

-- Archbishop Sergio Obeso Rivera, retired archbishop of Xalapa, Mexico, 86.

-- Bishop Toribio Ticona Porco, retired prelate of Corocoro, Bolivia, 81.

-- Spanish Claretian Father Aquilino Bocos Merino, 80.

- - -

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Pope will create 14 new cardinals in June