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  • Some Catholic schools focus on prayer, dialogue during April walkout

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Some Catholic schools across the country treated the National School Walkout April 20 -- commemorating the 19th anniversary of the school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado -- much like how they responded to the March 14 walkout marking one month since the Parkland, Florida, school shooting: with prayer and dialogue on school grounds.

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  • Be fruitful and multiply: Threatened trees planted in Vatican Gardens

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican Gardens has branched out and added a small orchard to its hillsides, becoming a safe haven for a number of endangered native Italian fruit and nut tree species. If all goes well with weather and pollination, the eight new saplings planted behind St. Peter's Basilica should be bearing fruit in just a few years. Hopes are for a harvest including pomegranates that can weigh as much as three pounds each and a natural hybrid fruit called the "susincocco," which could be translated as a "plumpricot" -- a dark red fruit that has the juiciness of a plum with the tastiness and velvety feel of an apricot.

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  • Fourteen ordained transitional deacons

    LOWELL -- Taking the last major step in a long journey towards priesthood, 14 men were ordained transitional deacons in the presence of family, friends, fellow seminarians, clergy, and religious during a standing-room-only Mass April 14 in Immaculate Conception Church in Lowell.

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  • Ordination class of 2018: Deacon Baldemar Garza

    [This is the second in a series of articles profiling each of the seven men who will be ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Mission Church) on May 19.]

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  • ICSF Dinner Gala raises $3.3M to support inner-city Catholic schools

    BOSTON -- Every school day, more than 4,000 students in 82 of the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston don their uniforms, clutch their backpacks and get to do something extraordinary: learn. Each of their stories is different, but all of these students receive partial scholarships from the Inner City Scholarship Fund (ICSF), a scholarship program overseen by the Catholic Schools Foundation.

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  • Program seeks to foster future school leaders

    BRAINTREE -- A new collaborative initiative between the Archdiocese of Boston's Catholic Schools Office and the Catholic Schools Foundation (CSF) is providing local Catholic educators with the training and opportunity to grow into school leaders.

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  • From Cardinal Seán's blog

    Gaudete et Exsultate This week, the Holy Father issued a beautiful new apostolic exhortation,, Gaudete et Exsultate ("Rejoice and be Glad"). It was actually signed on the Feast of St. Joseph, but it was published on Monday, April 9.

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  • Don't be 'couch potatoes,' get up and evangelize, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians must be willing to move where the Spirit leads them and not be benchwarmers on the sidelines of efforts to evangelize, Pope Francis said. Evangelization "isn't a well-thought-out plan of proselytism" but rather an occasion in which the Holy Spirit "tells you how you should go to bring the word of God, to carry Jesus' name," the pope said in his homily April 19 during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

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  • Irish pro-lifers launch 'vote no' campaign for referendum on unborn

    DUBLIN (CNS) -- Pro-life activists have launched a campaign urging citizens to vote no in a forthcoming referendum to remove the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. That amendment provides legal protection for unborn children "with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother."

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  • Circuitous route led to director's second film on exorcism

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Sometimes the best opportunities result from a mix of asking and having things fall into your lap. So it was for William Friedkin, who directed "The Exorcist" 45 years ago and thought he was through with the subgenre he helped create. Then came his documentary on exorcism, "The Devil and Father Amorth."

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  • In Henan, Chinese Catholics warned to follow rules on religious affairs

    HONG KONG (CNS) -- Catholics in China's Henan province have been warned that venues will be closed if they do not adhere to the revised regulations on religious affairs. Ucanews.com reported that a clampdown on religious freedom has intensified in the province in recent months, with crosses removed from churches, minors banned from entering churches, church-run kindergartens closed and children expelled from Mass.

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  • 'Seamless garment' revisited: Pope insists all life deserves defense

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Pope Francis insisted that the lives of the unborn and of the poor are "equally sacred," he was not trying to shift the focus of Catholics from fighting abortion to fighting poverty, he was trying to show they are part of the same battle, said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

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  • Name given at baptism gives sense of identity, belonging, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Naming a child is an important task for parents, because it gives children a sense of identity and belonging to their family and to God, Pope Francis said. "Without a name, we remain unknown, without rights and duties. God calls each one of us by name, loving us individually in the concreteness of our history," the pope said April 18 during his weekly general audience.

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  • Iceland's Catholic leaders condemn circumcision law as anti-Semitic

    The Catholic Church in Iceland is speaking out against a popular proposed law that could land Jewish and Muslim parents in prison for up to six years for circumcising their infant boys. "If this bill goes through, it would mean regular persecution of Jewish people," Father Jakob Rolland, chancellor of the Diocese of Reykjavik, told Catholic News Service. "That brings us back to 1933, when Hitler took power in Germany. And we know how it ended."

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  • Scottish bishop criticizes BBC film for mockery of Eucharist

    PAISLEY, Scotland (CNS) -- A Scottish bishop has criticized the BBC for making a film that describes the Eucharist as smelling "like hate." The video, produced by BBC Scotland, a publicly funded "public service broadcaster," seeks to show how people who experience same-sex attraction continue to be made to feel outcast and ostracized in 2018.

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  • Violent extremists tarnish image of their own faith, cardinal says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Meeting with a top Muslim leader in Saudi Arabia, the Vatican's chief interreligious dialogue official called for the equal treatment of people of all religions, saying discrimination and double standards based on religious affiliation only increase Islamophobia and Christianophobia.

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  • They were going to get married. Now he's a priest and she's a sister

    Buenos Aires, Argentina, Apr 12, 2018 CNA.- Before discovering their vocations, Fr. Javier Olivera and Sister Marie de la Sagesse were engaged and planning their wedding. God had other plans. Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language sister agency, Fr. Olivera said that they both grew up in Catholic families and that “our parents knew each other when they were young.” They saw each other frequently when they were children.

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  • Family seeks Archbishop Sheen's intercession for newborn son's healing

    ST. ANTHONY, Minn. (CNS) -- Even before Katherine and Jeff Dobbs were married, they had a name picked out for a future son: Fulton Francis. Fulton, for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, known for his mid-20th century broadcast evangelism, and Francis, for Pope Francis, whom the couple met at a general audience during their honeymoon in 2017.

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  • Retired pope celebrates 91st birthday

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI had a "peaceful and familial" 91st birthday April 16, celebrating with his 94-year-old brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who was visiting from Germany, the Vatican said.

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  • Pope joins meeting to prepare synod for the Amazon

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis met with members of the preparatory council for the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon region, which will take place in Rome in October 2019. Meeting in Rome April 12-13, the presynod council worked with Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, to finalize the preparatory document and related questionnaire for the special assembly next year.

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  • Chilean abuse victims welcome pope's letter, call for zero tolerance

    SANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) -- Victims of clergy sexual abuse welcomed Pope Francis' letter in which he apologized for underestimating the seriousness of the crisis in Chile. James Hamilton, Jose Andres Murillo and Juan Carlos Cruz, victims of Father Fernando Karadima, released a statement April 11 saying they appreciated the pope's letter and were "evaluating the possibilities" for meeting with the pope.

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  • 'Is my dad in heaven?' little boy asks pope

    ROME (CNS) -- After circling a massive, crumbling public housing complex on the outskirts of Rome, Pope Francis had an emotional encounter with the neighborhood's children. Question-and-answer sessions with youngsters are a standard part of Pope Francis' parish visits. And, at St. Paul of the Cross parish April 15, there were the usual questions like, "How did you feel when you were elected pope?"

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