National News

Utah parish vandalized for the fourth time in two years

MAGNA, Utah (CNS) -- Vandals kicked in the basement door of the rectory to break into Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church for the second time this year, smashing statues and glass doors and spraying a fire extinguisher throughout the chapel. The intruders left behind blood stains, fingerprints and a cellphone, police said. When Father Christopher Gray arrived at 8:25 a.m., to prepare for the Sunday liturgy, he saw people standing outside, some weeping, and police cars all around.

St. John’s U probe reveals ‘errors in judgment’ but no crime

JAMAICA, N.Y. (CNS) -- An independent investigation by St. John's University found "no criminal wrongdoing" on the part of its recently retired president, but "errors in judgment" by top university officials over financial conflicts of interest and lack of disclosure to the school's board of trustees.

Priest chaplain nurtures soldiers’ faith in Afghanistan deployment

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (CNS) — After more than a year of preparation, Father Christopher Butera has made his way to Afghanistan, serving as chaplain to an Army unit helping train Afghan soldiers as the U.S. presence in the mountainous country winds down. A priest of the Diocese of Allentown, Father Butera began his deployment in mid-August. […]

Black Catholics felt the need to be at March on Washington anniversary

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The presence of Catholic priests and religious was unmistakable at the first March on Washington in 1963; their clerical collars and full habits with wimples stood out even among the black-and-white images of the day. Clergy and religious weren't as visible at the first of two major anniversary events in 2013, but African American Catholics were in attendance, just as they were a half-century earlier. There was, they said in interviews with Catholic News Service, no place else they could imagine being on Aug. 24.

Hawaii bishop urges Catholics to mobilize against same-sex marriage

HONOLULU (CNS) -- Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu urged Catholics across the island state to oppose same-sex marriage in an "urgent request" to pastors. In a letter that was included in parish bulletins the weekend of Aug. 24-25, Bishop Silva asked Catholics to pray the rosary daily over the next several weeks, "if possible" while walking around the state Capitol block, "so that just as God tumbled down the walls of Jericho, he will be able to do so through the prayers and action of his beloved people."

We remember: Brooklyn parish’s sculpture recalls 9/11

A sculpture of Jesus embracing the twin towers of New York's former World Trade Center is seen outside St. Ephrem Church in the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York. The sculpture honors the nine members of the parish who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This year marks the 12th anniversary of the attacks that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people in New York, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa.

Poverty, ‘ignorance’ blamed in destruction of Egypt Christian churches

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Two Egyptian-born Christian clergy, in separate telephone interviews with Catholic News Service, each blamed both poverty and "ignorance" for the attacks on Christian churches in Egypt. Through Aug. 20, 38 Christian churches were known to have been destroyed, with attacks on another 23 houses of worship, according to statistics compiled by a Coptic Christian group in Egypt called the Maspero Youth Union.

Priests find physical health to be as important as spirituality

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- On a recent hot summer evening, a group of lacrosse players gathered around a fellow athlete on the Gonzaga College High School field before the start of their game. The 35-year-old man with perspiration beading on his forehead was more than just another player leading them in a prayer. He was a priest.

Helping priests, seminarians maintain good health of concern to church

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic priests are not immune to the more sedentary lifestyle affecting much of society today, brought about by technological advances over the past century. Several priests Catholic News Service interviewed talked about the need to stay physically fit to ward off illnesses and avoid being overweight.

Bishop Madden urges ‘culture of encounter’ among Catholics, Lutherans

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- Citing the words of Pope Francis, the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs called for a "culture of encounter" among Catholics and Lutherans during the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's churchwide assembly in Pittsburgh. Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden of Baltimore told the assembly Aug. 13 that the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 offers an opportunity to "point the way toward Christian unity" rather than focusing on what keeps the two faith communities divided.