Archive of May 14, 2014

Catholic publishers see boost from interest in Pope Francis

Turin, Italy, May 14, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - The “Francis effect” has invigorated Catholic publishing houses, and religious books are becoming less of a niche market, publishers at a recent international book fair in Italy have explained.

This year’s Turin International Book Fair, held May 8-12, was the first instance in which the Holy See had been invited as a special guest to the event; its publisher set up a booth featuring a large St. Peter’s dome made of books.

“The invitation of the Holy See as special guest at the Turin book fair should mark the beginning of a new approach to religious publishing in the world,” Fr. Giuseppe Costa, director of Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Holy See’s publisher, told CNA May 9.

Widespread interest in Pope Francis can help relaunch Catholic publishing; the boost from Pope Francis has built upon the success of the works of Benedict XVI, which began to spread in secular environments.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, said May 10 at the book fair that Pope Francis’ “communicative strength is not the result of a ‘communications strategy.’ The source of his communication’s effectiveness lies in his evangelical authority.”

Greg Erlandson, president of Our Sunday Visitor, explained that “the Catholic market in the United States is difficult” since “it is fragmented by demographics, politics, and cultures, and many of these divisions impact how broadly a Catholic best-seller is likely to reach.”

At the same time, Erlandson said “all is not lost,” praising the “undeniable ‘Francis bounce’ that has invigorated Catholic publishing.”

“Books about Pope Francis, and collections of his homilies both before and after he was made Pope, continue to sell strongly,” he emphasized.

According to Albrecht Weiland, president of Verlag Schnell und Steiner GmbH, the situation is similar for publishers in Germany.

He said that “5.9 percent of the global production of books deals with religion,” since “readers, both believers and non-believers, show a great interest toward religion.”

Henrique Mota, president of the Portuguese Principia Publishing House, underscored that a Catholic publisher “must face two challenges: the first is the cooperation between Catholic publishers and booksellers, and the second is the acknowledgement of the importance of Catholic publishing houses, which are not second class.”
“Catholic publishing houses can play a relevant role in fostering an alternative mainstream in contemporary society, where the voice of Catholics is increasingly becoming a minority,” Mota said.

And in Italy, in the first year of Francis’ pontificate, there were published 111 books of his writings, and 139 about him.

Giovanni Cappelletto, president of the Catholic bookseller’s union in Italy, commented that religious books have “gained an important space thanks to the developing interest in religion,” while adding that they have yet to “rid themselves of the label of a ‘niche sector’ of the market.”

Cappelletto also said that Catholic publishers should foster the publication of books which will maintain readers’ interest over time, rather than “instant books,” which he said will make a difference with secular publishers “who tend to look for religious best-sellers only with a view to enlarging their market, rather than delivering a message.”

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Students inspired by John Paul II to revitalize college town

Steubenville, Ohio, May 14, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - A group of college classmates have set out on a mission to revamp their university town in Ohio after learning more about Saint John Paul II and Catholic social teaching.

“My friends were all just taking summer classes and reading a lot about Pope John Paul II and about Catholic social teaching and just realized that Steubenville is such a great place,” Patrick Walters told CNA.

Now finishing up his senior year at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Walters said that the school has been a place where he has been able to grow in holiness and develop as a person, but that there has always seemed to be a “disconnect” between the school and the town where it resides.

Last summer when his friends, Joseph Antoniello, Samantha McCoy, and Marc Barnes, discussed the writings of Karol Wojtyla, they realized the need to engage in revitalizing their “hometown” of Steubenville, Ohio.

Out of these discussions, an initiative called The Harmonium Project was born – a “daring recognition that we already are together and need to start acting like it,” Barnes said on his Patheos blog, “Bad Catholic.”

“Just driving down there you can tell there’s drugs, there’s crime,” Walters explained. However, along with that, “there’s so many good people,” he added.

“And that's what one of our missions is: just to be there and to find the good and show what's good about it and then build upon what’s good,” Walters said.

For years, downtown Steubenville has been falling into an economic slump and has gained a reputation among university students as being a place to avoid not only due to crime and poverty, but also because it was assumed that there were no businesses worth visiting.

Although many devoted volunteers and missionaries have been in the area for years serving the poor and marginalized, many people – especially university students – go elsewhere when it comes to entertainment.

The Harmonium Project has set out to renovate the ballroom of a downtown building where they plan to offer free music lessons to inner-city youth and host concerts in hopes of bringing more traffic and business to the area.

“Music has done a lot in our lives, music has given us a lot of hope,” Walters said. “This is a great way to bring life to something because of how much life it’s brought us as individuals.”

While the group is taking care of the legal work required to become a childcare provider, they have been promoting their project through a series of concerts and open-mic nights at local bars.

“They’re the greatest people to work with,” Walters said of the business-owners. “We care about them and they care about us; it’s a real relationship that’s forming between us students at the school and the members of the town.”

Along with bringing more business to local establishments through concerts, the group provides free marketing by creating promotional videos and spreading the word about local businesses on campus.

Business owners have told the group that profits are up and they’re doing more business with university students – especially in the form of food deliveries.

Students at University of Notre Dame are following the lead of the Franciscan students with their own approach to revive the ailing city of South Bend, Ind. in an initiative called, “The Bridge Project.”

“They’re actually looking at what we’re doing and are in contact with us,” Walters said. “We’re hoping more universities will be interested in doing more things like this.”

Antoniello, Barnes, and Walters are joined by fellow students, Emilio Marquez, Samantha McCoy and Matt Seal, to make up the core team of The Harmonium Project, although many students have volunteered their time and skills to the project this year.

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DC procession celebrates John Paul II's sainthood

Washington D.C., May 14, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Several hundred people took part in a procession to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., on May 11 in celebration of the canonizations of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII.

“In the years and decades ahead, may each pilgrim be inspired by St. John Paul II’s total entrustment to Christ, Redeemer of man, and to the Mother of God,” Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said at the Polish Pope’s U.S. shrine. “And may each pilgrim to this shrine, through his intercession, follow in his footsteps as a courageous disciple of the Lord.”

“Here we will tell the story of this great saint – how it was that his heart was formed and how it was that he was able to form so many other hearts.”

The procession carried a relic of the blood of St. John Paul II from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception more than half a mile away.

It was led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and an honor guard of 100 Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. Cardinal Wuerl had celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at the basilica.

At the St. John Paul II shrine, those gathered prayed a Chaplet of Divine Mercy, said a prayer for the intercession of St. John Paul II, and received a blessing with the saint’s relic.

The apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, read a papal greeting praising the work of the shrine. In the shrine’s chapel, Cardinal Wuerl presented the Knights of Columbus leadership and shrine executive director Patrick Kelly with a painting of St. John Paul II.

The shrine was acquired in 2011 by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal order, to create a memorial to the Polish Pope and to teach about his contributions to the Church and society.

The shrine’s main floor will be converted to a church, while its chapel will serve as a reliquary chapel. Both places of worship will have mosaics from floor to ceiling.

The shrine is currently hosting an exhibit entitled “Be Not Afraid: the Life and Legacy of John Paul II.”

Beginning later this year, the shrine’s lower level will host a 16,000 square foot permanent exhibition on the Pope’s life and teaching.

Anderson cited Pope Benedict XVI’s words about John Paul II at his beatification in 2011.

“With his witness of faith, of love and of apostolic courage, accompanied by a great human drive, this exemplary son of the Polish nation helped Christians worldwide not to be afraid to call themselves Christians, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word, he helped us not to be afraid of the truth, because the truth is the guarantee of freedom,” Pope Benedict said.

At the April 27 canonization, Pope Francis said St. John Paul II “made himself everything to everyone” and “continues to inspire us.”

“We are inspired by his words, his writings, his gestures, his style of service. We are inspired by his suffering lived with heroic hope. We are inspired by his total entrustment to Christ, Redeemer of man, and to the Mother of God.”

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Pope: gift of fortitude not just for 'extraordinary circumstances'

Vatican City, May 14, 2014 (CNA) - During his General Audience address Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke on the gift of fortitude, explaining that it helps us to remain faithful not only with the big things, but also in our daily activities.

“We shouldn't think this gift is only for extraordinary circumstances,” the Pope noted in his May 14 audience, because “For most of us, the gift of fortitude is exercised in our patient pursuit of holiness in the circumstances of our daily lives.”

Continuing his catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Roman Pontiff observed how in the past few weeks “we have seen that the first three gifts of the Spirit – wisdom, understanding and counsel – enable us to contemplate God’s loving plan and to know his will.”

Now “we turn to the gift of fortitude” he said, through which “we receive the strength to do God’s will in spite of our own natural weakness and limitations.”

“In our lives we frequently experience fragility, our limitations and shortcomings;” however “with the gift of fortitude, the Holy Spirit helps us to overcome weakness, so that we are able to respond to the love of the Lord.”

Drawing attention to the Gospel parable of the sower and the seed, the Bishop of Rome recalled how Jesus taught that “the seed of God’s word sown in our hearts can encounter not only interior resistance, but also be choked by life’s sufferings and trials.”

By the gift of fortitude “the Holy Spirit enables us to remain faithful amid every difficulty and – as the experience of so many Christians around the world shows – even amid persecution and martyrdom,” he observed, but “this is only possible by the action of the Holy Spirit that infuses fortitude and trust.”

“In our everyday lives the Holy Spirit also makes us feel the closeness of the Lord, sustains us and fortifies in the fatigues and trials of life, so that we won't be led into the temptation of discouragement,” the Bishop of Rome observed.

“But for all of this to be a reality, it is necessary that humility of heart be united to the gift of fortitude.”

Concluding, Pope Francis explained that whenever we feel tired or burdened on our journey, we can “ask the Holy Spirit to grant us the gift of fortitude, to refresh us and to guide our steps with renewed enthusiasm.”

“We ask the Virgin Mary that by her intercession, the Holy Spirit grants us the gift of fortitude so that we may always follow Jesus with joy and perseverance.”

Following his catechesis Pope Francis lamented the climbing death toll, currently at 17, of those migrants who lost their lives while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea earlier this week when a boat carrying around 400 migrants capsized, exclaiming that these “shameful carnages” need to stop.

He also offered prayers and solidarity to the victims of a mine explosion yesterday in Soma, Turkey and their families. So far more than 200 miners have been confirmed dead, while many are still trapped in the underground tunnels where the fire is still burning, obscuring rescue efforts and stifling the hope of finding survivors.

Entreating those in attendance to also offer their prayers, the Pope asked that "the Lord receive the deceased in his house and give comfort to their families.”

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Vocation is 'never static,' reflects newly appointed Irish bishop

Dublin, Ireland, May 14, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Father Kevin Doran, whom Pope Francis appointed Bishop of Elphin, Ireland, on May 14 has emphasized that one’s personal vocation must be discerned daily, in faithfulness to God who calls us.

“I must confess to being a little surprised to find myself here this morning … I have learnt over the years, however, that vocation is never static,” Bishop-designate Doran said to the faithful of his new diocese May 14, after a short greeting in Irish.

“God is always calling us and, while we can only see a short way ahead, he has a plan for each one of us, which extends beyond time into eternity.”

“Each day brings with it the challenge of discerning what God is asking. In that sense, we are never done learning what it is to be a Christian or to be a disciple.”

He said he has been learning daily, since his ordination, “what it means to be a priest,” and asked that the people of the Elphin diocese will help him “learn to be a bishop.”

Bishop-designate Doran, 60, was born in Dublin, and attended seminary at the city’s Holy Cross Seminary and at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome; he holds a doctorate in philosophy from the Angelicum.

He was ordained a priest of the Dublin archdiocese in 1977, at the age of 24. As a priest of the archdiocese, he has worked in medical and bioethics, and prepared for the introduction of the permanent diaconate, and organized the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, held in 2012. The congress was hailed as a great success, and brought some 150,000 pilgrims to Dublin.

Bishop-designate Doran has also served as spiritual director of the Irish College, a consultor to the Congregation for Catholic Education, and vocations director. Most recently, he has been administrator of Sacred Heart parish in Donnybrook, a district of Dublin.

Bishop Christopher Jones, who retired as Bishop of Elphin upon Bishop-designate Doran’s appointment and who has been the diocese’s head since 1994, commented that “Fr. Kevin comes with great gifts and talents together with experience in many different ministries. I know you will welcome him with great warmth and joy, and that all of us priests, religious and laity will give him huge support as he leads the Diocese of Elphin into the future.”

Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh stated that the new bishop’s “advocacy and championing of the right to life of the unborn child, and his work in promoting vocations to the priesthood, are but two of the many talents and gifts which Bishop-elect Kevin has shared during his priestly ministry for the good of the Church and of our society.”

Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam – to which the Elphin diocese is suffragan, or under, – commented that he has worked closely with Bishop-designate Doran, “in particular to promote the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life. He is well known nationally as a brave advocate for the right to life of the unborn child, as well as being an articulate Church spokesperson for the important, complex and ever more relevant moral issues of medical ethics and bioethics.”

Bishop-designate Doran, continuing his address to his new diocese, noted that chanceries can necessarily “look like a cross between a business and a government department,” but that the Church “must never lose sight of the fact that, first and foremost, it is a community of faith.”

This community is built by baptism and the Eucharist, he noted, saying that as bishop his role is “to be the servant of Communion,” adding that this “includes recognising the diverse gifts which the Spirit has given to everyone in the community of the diocese, religious, clergy and members of the lay faithful, and making it possible for those gifts to be developed and placed at the service of all.”

He greeted the priests of Elphin, thanking them for their generosity and reminding them of the profundity of priestly identity.

Bishop-designate Doran added that “I am delighted to come to a diocese where the permanent diaconate is already established and I look forward to the growth of this ministry as part of the service of communion.”

He called the Church to fight loneliness and isolation, noting particularly the elderly, the homeless, and youth.

The bishop-designate then reflected on the relation between Church and state, saying that “as Christians, we must be actively involved in the public space … to place our gospel vision at the service of society.”

He continued, “Our primary reason for being involved in education, healthcare and social services, is to bear witness to the Gospel. In keeping with that Gospel, there are a number of principles that should be at the heart of everything we do. These include a love of preference for the poor, the safeguarding of children, support for marriage and the family and an unambiguous respect for human life from its origins to its natural end.”

“We need never apologise for these.”

Bishop-designate Doran’s consecration has yet to be scheduled. The Elphin diocese, which he will lead, is located in the northwest of the Republic of Ireland. It was founded in the fifth century by St. Asicus, an associate of St. Patrick. Some 97 percent of its population of 72,000 are Catholic, and it is served by 75 priests.

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Theme for upcoming World Meeting of Families announced

Vatican City, May 14, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - During a press conference held in Philadelphia, USA Vatican officials announced the theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families, which will center on humanity’s universal vocation to love.

“Ladies and gentleman, the theme for the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 is, ‘Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,’” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput revealed during the May 13 press conference.

Archbishop Chaput, who heads the diocese of Philadelphia, Penn. and was recently appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Council of the Laity, explained to attendees that the theme draws its inspiration from the famous saying of St Iranaeus of Lyons, who said that “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

“In like manner, the glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves, and no better means exist to teach the meaning of love than the family.”

Present alongside Archbishop Chaput was Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, monsignor Carlos Simone Vasquez of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Father Andrea Ciucci of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who traveled from Rome for the announcement.

Occurring Sept. 22-27, 2015, the World Meeting of Families initially began with the 1994 “Year of the Family” instituted by Saint John Paul II, and is now organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family every three years in order to strengthen sacred familial bonds all over the world.

Speaking again of the theme, Archbishop Chaput noted that it was also inspired by the life and actions of Pope Francis, “who embodies the message of mercy, joy and love that lies at the heart of the Gospel.”

“His compassion for the genuine needs of people and his deep care for the institution of the family are very much part of this scene” he observed, adding that “Irenaeus reminds each of us that love should be our life's mission and that it's the engine of life.”

Recalling the theme of the 2012 event, which followed the theme “The Family: Work and Celebration,” the archbishop explained that while brainstorming about what the possible theme for 2015 could be, they tried to keep in mind the historical elements of the city where it would take place.

“As many of you know from our history books, William Penn founded this colony as a holy experiment – an example to the nations” he recalled, noting that “His Charter of Privileges guaranteed religious freedom to all.”

Drawing attention to how the city of Philadelphia opened its doors to various different religions including Quakers, Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists and Mennonites, the archbishop pointed out that the city “was a blueprint for democracy. It was founded upon liberty and tolerance.”

“Surely there were tensions that arose as customs and languages weren't necessarily shared, but as we know Philadelphians, even today, strive to find what unites rather than divides us.”

Referring to the building selected to make the official announcement of the theme, which overlooks the city’s Independence Mall, Archbishop Chaput explained that it was chosen precisely “because it is a beautiful reflection of why Philadelphia will be an extraordinary host to the World Meeting of Families, and hopefully, a place to welcome Pope Francis.”

Bringing his comments to a close, the archbishop expressed his excitement “to see how this theme will inspire all that will happen” during the events of the encounter.

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Animated video on John Paul II aims to evangelize youth

Rome, Italy, May 14, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - In honor of the canonization of St. John Paul II, audiovisual resource page Catholic Link has created an animated video detailing the profound spiritual life of the saint with the hope of reaching youth.

“With the video we try to tell people and share his life, but in a way that really emphasizes this central point…what the core, the nucleus of all of this was his relationship with Christ,” Garrett Johnson told CNA in a May 13 interview.

Johnson is the administrator for the English page of Catholic Link, which also has editions in Spanish and Italian, and has been living in Rome for the past two years studying philosophy.

Entitled “Saint John Paul II: the life of a holy Pope,” the video was launched by the site May 13 in all three languages.

Speaking of the specific mission of Catholic Link, Johnson noted that the organization originally developed when a group of young Catholics “got together” and brainstormed about how to evangelize in a new way, particularly through the use of the internet.

Catholic Link then developed as a resource page where administrators search for any videos or audiovisual content that would be useful for doing apostolate, such as working in small groups, in parishes or when giving a talk.

“What we try to do is we look in various channels for videos that can be religious or they can be secular without any specific religious content, but videos that can speak to the youth today and that have a message.”

Having had roaring success with a video they produced about Pope Francis following his election to the Seat of Peter, Johnson explained that when they first heard St. John Paul II was to be canonized, “we knew we had to do something about it.”

When thinking about how to create a video that would be unique amid so many others, the administrator recalled how he had seen numerous videos come out about the saint, but that “many people still didn’t really understand who he was still.”

“And the most important part about John Paul II wasn’t only the fact that he did a lot of trips, that he spoke to a lot of people, that he was very famous, that he had a political role to play in communism and all these kind of things,” he continued.

 “The most important part and to really understand who he was you have to understand his relationship with Christ. So with the video we try to tell people and share his life, but in a way that really emphasizes this central point.”

Explaining that the video was crafted and edited by a young Ecuadorian man named Canva Ma who is currently studying digital animation, Johnson noted that he is “a very talented guy who has offered his gifts to help us out with this project.”

Ma “has spent hours and hours and long nights working on it, so we’re all extremely thankful for what he’s offered,” the administrator continued, pointing out that he also edited the first video they produced on Pope Francis.

“He’s really made this impressive jump of quality, and he’s improved the graphics, so we’re excited to see that he’s also growing in this.”

Johnson also spoke of the organization’s new website, which is slated to launch within the next two weeks. The idea was “to modernize it, to improve the ascetic values of the page” and “to improve the features that it has.”

“We’re about ready and we’re extremely excited and anxious to finally get this thing going” he stated, explaining that as far as future goals for Catholic Link are concerned, “the sky’s the limit.”

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Christians and Muslims united in Nigeria, says bishop

Jos, Nigeria, May 14, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Boko Haram’s April kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls has brought Nigerians, as well as people across the world, into solidarity with each other across religious divides, one of the country’s bishops has said.

The girls, most of them aged between 16 and 18, were kidnapped April 14 from their boarding school in Borno, Nigeria's northeastern-most state. Members of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram have claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. All but 53 of the girls, who escaped, are still in the hands of their captors.

“They are just innocent girls and every human being feels bad about this. Life is sacred,” Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos told the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need May 13.

Boko Haram has been terrorizing Nigeria since 2009, but this incident attracted international attention, Archbishop Kaigama said, “I think, because they are innocent young girls and also because it touches directly the suffering of women, the mothers of these children. And women can identify themselves more with the pain of others. The women started holding demonstrations – both Christian and Muslim women.”

“Nigerians are standing up together for freedom and dignity; a common voice is growing up, a voice that says: ‘violence is never the way.’”

The archbishop noted that while Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sinful,” began with opposition to Christianity and Western values, its onus has spread. The radical Islamist group has also killed moderate Muslim clergy and seeks to impose Sharia law on Nigeria.

“It is no longer about north or south, nor about Muslims or Christians. It is about human beings.”

Archbishop Kaigama noted that while most of the kidnapped girls are Christian, “it is also true that there are some Muslims who were also kidnapped. So this incident is further evidence to show that Boko Haram is also targeting Muslims to some extent.”

The militant group – which was labeled by the U.S. last year as a foreign terrorist organization after years of human rights advocacy groups calling for the designation – is strongly opposed to the education of girls.

Boko Haram, the archbishop said, wants “to hurt the heart of Nigeria. I am very worried. These girls have never been outside of their village, and now they are in the bush. I just pray that the religious values that Boko Haram promotes are sufficient to influence them to respect the dignity of these girls.”

Boko Haram’s attacks have killed thousands since 2009; according to the BBC, they have killed 1,500 in 2014 alone. The U.N. estimates that the attacks have led to more than 470,000 internally displaced persons, and some 57,000 refugees.

The Nigerian government has come under criticism for failing to provide security or to respond adequately to the mass kidnapping, and to the crisis in general; on May 13, it announced its readiness to negotiate with Boko Haram for the girls’ release.

“The government underestimated the Boko Haram crisis and was therefore slow in reacting,” Archbishop Kaigama reflected. “Part of the problem is that resources were not used in the right way to provide adequate support for the security agents and the proper equipment they need to combat the violence.”

He added that according to some security sources, Boko Haram is equipped with more sophisticated and developed weapons than are the Nigerian police and military.

At three villages in Borno on May 14, vigilantes in three villages repelled an attack by Boko Haram; an eyewitness told the BBC that some 200 militants had been killed.

It was reported that at the same time, disgruntled Nigerian soldiers elsewhere in Borno had opened fire on the convoy of a military commander, protesting poor pay and the lack of proper equipment needed to combat Boko Haram.

Archbishop Kaigama also noted that “soldiers have been killed trying to defend people and their families have not received enough help.”

“It is important that these families receive assistance.”

Returning to a discussion of the abducted schoolgirls, Archbishop Kaigama said that “at this stage, what we need to do is to pray: only God can move the heart of these people.”

The archbishop is praying that the kidnappers return the girls soon, without harm; that Boko Haram abandons violence; and that the Nigerian government will be aided by other nations to combat terrorism, hunger, and poverty.

“We pray and we request your prayers,” he concluded. “As president of the bishops’ conference, I wrote to all the Catholics in Nigeria to have an hour of adoration, asking all the bishops, priests and faithful to offer prayer.”

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EWTN honored as religious TV station of the year

Irondale, Ala., May 14, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - EWTN Global Catholic Network and its news show EWTN News Nightly have won two Gabriel Awards in recognition of their uplifting work, including one for religious television station of the year.

Michael P. Warsaw, EWTN Chairman of the Board and CEO, said the network is “honored” that the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals recognized EWTN and its employees.

“We look forward to another 33 years of helping to bring the world to Christ and His Church,” he said.

Doug Keck, president and chief operation officer of EWTN, said May 14 the award “acknowledges the years of hard work by dedicated Catholic media professionals who are truly playing their part in the ‘new evangelization’.”

One Gabriel Award recognized EWTN as religious television station of the year for its total programming and community service. Another Gabriel Award recognized the network’s news show EWTN News Nightly for best single news story series in a national release.

The Gabriel Awards recognize broadcasters and programs that “uplift and nourish the human spirit,” the awards website says.

“A Gabriel-worthy film or program affirms the dignity of human persons; it recognizes and upholds universally recognized human values such as community, creativity, tolerance, justice, compassion and the dedication to excellence,” said the Gabriel Awards.

EWTN News Nightly won a Gabriel Award for its report on Saint Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, Md., which focused on the primary school’s classical curriculum. Wyatt Goolsby was the reporter for the story.

“As someone whose confirmation saint is the angel Gabriel, it feels great to be a Gabriel award winner,” Goolsby said.

He praised the work of photographer Tom Haller, saying he “went above and beyond” in working to report on the school.

“We were more than happy to feature their classical curriculum which is setting the standard for Catholic schools across the country,” Goolsby said. “I thank the teachers, students, parents, and staff for being so welcome to EWTN and our team. This award affirms the hard work they do every day.”

EWTN News Nightly, anchored by Brian Patrick, airs weekdays at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

In 2013 EWTN provided coverage of 148 papal events and 138 live events. It broadcast 30 original series and 21 international series.

“We have assembled the hardest working television team it has ever been my pleasure to work with,” Keck said.

EWTN Global Catholic Network, the largest religious media network in the world, has been broadcasting for 33 years. It reaches 230 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. It also reaches a wide audience through its radio broadcasts, website, print news services and publishing arm.

The Gabriel Awards’ sponsor, the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals, is made up of diocesan communications directors and communications professionals involved in Catholic Church dioceses, ministries, religious orders and other organizations.

The awards are open to media producers of all faiths and to both secular and religious broadcasters and producers in the U.S. and Canada.

The Gabriel Awards will be presented June 19 at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.

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Cardinal O'Malley: reject indifference toward immigrants

Washington D.C., May 14, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston called for a greater awareness of the situation faced by many immigrants to the U.S., as well as the need to reform a “broken and woefully inadequate” system.

“Pope Francis’ presence at Lampedusa was a clarion call to reject the attitude of indifference to the plight of immigrants,” he said.

The cardinal’s remarks came May 13 during his keynote address at the 2014 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. He discussed the need to be bold disciples, unafraid of proclaiming the Gospel on issues from the sanctity of human life to the dignity of marriage.

In addition, he spent time focusing specifically on the issue of immigration and the need for immigration reform.

The cardinal described how he worked for 20 years with the immigrant community in Washington, D.C., recalling the experience as “a great joy.”

“I did not find this to be a corrupting influence on my life, but rather an uplifting experience and indeed a great privilege,” he said. “Coming from a lace curtain Irish community in the Midwest, being thrust into the challenges and sufferings of the immigrant community was truly an eye-opener.”

“Most of my parishioners were undocumented workers, refugees from the wars in Central America,” Cardinal O’Malley acknowledged. “They were not evil invaders but people seeking to feed and clothe their families in safety, much like the immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany and Poland.”

“If they broke the law to come to this country, they were like Jean Val Jean,” he said, pointing to the protagonist of the well-known musical, Les Miserables.

“The solution is not to punish them but to initiate new and more just laws to replace a system that is broken and woefully inadequate.”

After proposals for immigration reform stalled in Congress, the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the need to address the issue in a timely manner.

Cardinal O’Malley was among a group of U.S. bishops who visited the U.S.-Mexico border in April to offer Mass in remembrance of migrants who died during their journey and to call attention to the humanitarian consequences of America’s immigration policy.

The U.S. bishops’ conference has laid out several goals for comprehensive immigration reform, including an “earned legalization program” with an “eventual path to citizenship” for those who pass background checks and pay a fine, along with “targeted, proportional, and humane” enforcement measures.

The conference has also called for a program to help low-skilled migrant workers to enter and work in the U.S. legally, as well as the restoration of due process protections for immigrants, an emphasis on family unification, and policy changes to address the deeper causes of immigration.

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Prayer breakfast speakers: US Church called to missionary role

Washington D.C., May 14, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - In an increasingly antagonistic culture, American Catholics must realize that they are not called to comfort, but to fearlessly proclaim the Gospel, said speakers at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

“We need to find new ways of bringing the Gospel to the contemporary world, of proclaiming Christ anew and of implanting the faith,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston.

Pointing to “the United States or other Western Europe where secularization and dechristianization are gaining ground,” he said that “these are the new mission territories for the Church.”

Cardinal O’Malley delivered the keynote address at the 2014 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, held May 13 in Washington, D.C.

He was joined by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, who gave the invocation prayer and Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, who gave the closing blessing.

Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University, who chairs the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, also gave a special address to the group.

“My message is a somber one,” George said, warning that “the days of acceptable Christianity are over, the days of comfortable Catholicism are past” as society finds it increasingly objectionable for people of faith to profess the Church’s teachings on human dignity, life, marriage and the family.

While a Catholic “can be safe” by remaining “completely silent” about the teachings of the faith, George warned, “a Catholic who makes it clear that he or she is not afraid of the Gospel is in for a rough go.”

Contemporary society places pressure on Catholics “to be ashamed of the Gospels,” he continued. Catholics today are therefore faced with the question: “am I willing or am I in the end simply unwilling to take up my cross and follow Christ?”

While secular society may threaten those who proclaim Church teaching on dignity, marriage and family as being “on the wrong side of history,” George reminded the crowd that “history has no sides” but instead that judgments are made by people and, ultimately, by God.

“History is not God; God is God. History is not our judge; God is our judge.”

At the end of all things, he said, “one thing and one thing alone will matter: was I a faithful witness to the Gospel.”

Cardinal O’Malley stated that Catholics today must ask “what does it does it mean to live in a culture without belief.”

“Business as usual is not enough: we must move from a maintenance role to missionary one,” he said.

For American Catholics today, he explained, “our task is to turn consumers into disciples and disciple makers,” adding that “every Catholic can be a minister of welcome, reconciliation and understanding to those who have stopped practicing the faith.”

Cardinal O’Malley also emphasized the importance “of the culture of encounter and the art of accompaniment” that Pope Francis often references, saying that Christian disciples are called to nurture a culture that focuses on following Christ and passing that example of the faith on to those around them.

This is precisely what the Church has been doing “for 2,000 years,” he observed, pointing to how the first Christians shared all they had with one another, responded to a variety of challenges in their community and passed on the faith through mentorship and example.

In contrast, the cardinal noted, “the privatization of religion in today’s climate of new age of individualism is poison to the Gospel message of community and connectedness in the Body of Christ.”

The hostile culture makes it all the more important to form true disciples, he said.

The Church’s duty to proclaim the truth about the human person leads Catholics to share teaching that may be unpopular, he explained, whether that may be the sanctity of marriage and human life or the need for public ethics and virtue to prevent “unjust structures and oppressive political and economic systems.”

The cardinal particularly stressed the plight of immigrants and need to reform “a system that is broken and woefully inadequate.”

“Our striving for the common good in society is simply a logical corollary of our love of neighbor,” he said.

Looking forward, Cardinal O’Malley said, Catholics need to know the truths of the faith “and need to know how to live those truths.”

“We all need to discover more deeply our vocation to live the Gospel teaching.”

He urged those present to focus on the saints as their models and to remember the critical importance of the sacraments.

“Love and justice must motivate us to work for a transformation of our own heart so that we can transform the world around us,” he said.

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