National News

Rwandan genocide survivor becomes American citizen

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- At the end of a process that has taken her 15 years to complete, world-renowned Rwandan genocide survivor and peace advocate Immaculee Ilibagiza became an American citizen the morning of April 17 in New York City.

Texas responds to blast that casts wide destruction in small town

WEST, Texas (CNS) -- Emergency personnel were carefully combing through blocks of wreckage in this town of 2,900 a day after a chemical fertilizer factory caught fire and exploded with the force of a small earthquake April 17, injuring perhaps hundreds and killing others.

Boston interfaith service stresses city’s grace and strength in tragedy

BOSTON (CNS) -- In an April 18 interfaith prayer service, religious and political leaders emphasized the enduring strength of the people of Boston and urged them to find consolation and healing in their continued support of one another. Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley welcomed the congregation that packed the cathedral and told them the service was offered in solidarity with those who lost their lives or were injured in the bombings at the Boston Marathon April 15.

Catholic doctor running in Boston cared for bomb victims, relied on spiritual strength

BOSTON (CNS) — Though events at the 2013 Boston Marathon included mayhem and the need for swift action, the father of a heroic runner slowed down to reflect in prayer at a Catholic shrine the next day. After experiencing firsthand the events as two bombs exploded April 15 at the finish line, Dr. Joseph Stavas, […]

Pope calls for prayers for victims of Texas factory explosion

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called for prayers for the victims of a deadly explosion in Texas. In a short message sent from his @Pontifex Twitter account, the pope told the more than 2.3 million followers on his English account to “Please join me in praying for the victims of the explosion in Texas […]

Advocates study immigration reform bill introduced in Senate

Among other provisions, the bill introduced April 17 incorporates the popular DREAM Act, without an upper age limit; would offer a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who arrived before 2012; would expand the pool of visas for skilled and unskilled workers; dramatically changes the process for adult children or siblings of legal residents to immigrate; and would create a new set of "triggers" for determining that the border is "secure" before parts of the law may be implemented.

Boston cardinal says all feel ‘deep sorrow’ for victims of explosions

UPDATE -- BOSTON (CNS) -- Within hours of two explosions taking place near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley sent a message of prayer and support for those injured, their loved ones and those who experienced the trauma of the tragedy. "The Archdiocese of Boston joins all people of good will in expressing deep sorrow following the senseless acts of violence perpetrated at the Boston Marathon today," he said.

Father of boy killed in bombings grateful for ‘thoughts and prayers’

BOSTON (CNS) -- The first name released of someone killed in the April 15 explosions at the Boston Marathon was that of 8-year-old Martin Richard, whose picture in newspapers showed him grinning broadly, apparently at his first Communion. Two bombs that exploded near the end of the marathon route, about four hours into the race, left at least three people dead and more than 170 injured. The Dorchester Reporter, the local newspaper in Martin's hometown, said his sister, Jane, 7, suffered a "grievous injury" to her leg and their mother, Denise, was critically injured.

As Gosnell trial continues, voices rise against regulatory lapses

When a team of investigators looking into illegal drug use raided Dr. Kermit Barron Gosnell's Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia Feb. 18, 2010, they happened upon what many are calling a "house of horrors." He was arrested in January 2011 and charged with seven counts of infanticide and one count of murder in the case of a Nepalese woman who died during an abortion. During the fifth week of his trial, prosecutors were continuing to call witnesses who testified about the squalid conditions they saw at the clinic. Meanwhile observers reflected on the laws regulating such clinics, including a Pennsylvania law enacted after Gosnell's arrest.

Religious leaders mark 50th anniversary of famed King letter from jail

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Fifty years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. took a group of white Alabama clergymen to task for suggesting he find ways, other than demonstrations and protests, to seek racial equality. The letter, written by King while he was held in solitary confinement for eight days for violating the Birmingham's ban on civil rights demonstrations, was addressed to "My Dear Fellow Clergymen" and became the famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail."