Romanians flock to beatification of ‘major apostolic vagabond’
BUCHAREST, Romania (CNS) -- A pavilion designed for trade fairs became Eastern Europe's biggest church when more than 10,000 people participated in the beatification of Msgr. Vladimir Ghika, tortured to death at age 80 in 1954. As believers from across the country flowed into the massive, round hall, volunteers greeted each with a scarf to wear, printed with the martyr's serene face and signature white beard.
Pope Francis to lead prayer vigil for peace in Syria
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On the evening of Sept. 7, days before U.S. lawmakers vote on President Barack Obama's proposal for a military attack on Syria, Pope Francis will lead thousands in St. Peter's Square in a prayer vigil for peace.
Reverting to tradition, pope names veteran diplomat as Vatican’s No. 2
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Although Pope Francis has not hesitated to break with convention during his brief pontificate, in appointing a seasoned member of the diplomatic corps as the top Vatican official, he resumed a long-standing tradition. The pope appointed Archbishop Pietro Parolin, 58, a longtime official in the Vatican secretariat of state and nuncio to Venezuela since 2009, to be his secretary of state.
Pope, Jordanian king say dialogue is only hope for peace in Syria
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As Western leaders expressed strong convictions that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack against its own citizens and vowed to take action, Pope Francis met at the Vatican Aug. 29 with Jordan's King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. Jordan borders Syria and hosts hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled the fighting that began in March 2011 in an attempt to oust President Bashar Assad.
Western church leaders warn against intervention in Syria
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As speculation mounted about Western air strikes on Syria, a committee of U.S. bishops called for a political solution, and Catholic leaders in Europe warned military intervention could lead to an escalation of hostilities.
Many of Egypt’s Christians think U.S. has aligned with the wrong side
CAIRO (CNS) --Two weeks after the churches he used to pray in were ransacked and burned to the ground in the Egyptian port city of Suez, Istafanos Youssif sat "searching for God" in a Cairo convent. He said he hoped to get over the pain, and that he understood who was behind the church burnings. What he said he could not understand was the U.S. position toward his country, Egypt.
Lasting bonds: Vatican invites extended families to join pilgrimage
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As part of the Year of Faith, the Vatican wants to celebrate bonds that last a lifetime. The international pilgrimage of families Oct. 26-27 is being planned as a celebration and not a protest against any policy or trend, said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Pope tells youth to ‘make noise,’ fight hazards of culture
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Fight off a drug- and alcohol-pushing culture and other hazardous trends sweeping across today's world, Pope Francis told young people. "In life, there will always be people who will make you offers to slow or impede you on your way. Please, go against the current. Be courageous," he said.
Romanian priest who died in communist prison to be beatified
WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- A priest who died of cold and hunger in a communist prison will be beatified as a martyr Aug. 31 in Bucharest, Romania. The sanctity of Msgr. Vladimir Ghika has "given us an important new example of a life lived for church and faith," said Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest, president of the Romanian bishops' conference.
Pope Francis says Christians should have restless hearts like St. Augustine’s
ROME (CNS) -- St. Augustine famously said that people's hearts are restless until they rest in God. But too many people have allowed their hearts to be "anesthetized" and no longer search for God and for love, Pope Francis said when he met with members of the Order of St. Augustine on the saint's feast day Aug. 28.