U.S. bishop says Palestinians in Cremisan Valley ‘have lost hope’

January 11, 2016 BEIT JALLA, West Bank (CNS) — A U.S. bishop visiting the Holy Land for the second year in a row said Palestinians whose land has been divided by the Israeli separation barrier “have lost hope.” “It was very sad to see the present situation where individuals have their lands confiscated and trees…

Church’s credibility found in showing mercy, pope says in new book

January 11, 2016 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Being ministers of God’s mercy, church members overcome “prejudice and rigidity,” taking risks like Jesus did in order to heal and to save, Pope Francis said. In Jesus’ day, lepers were cast out of the community “to avoid contamination: the healthy needed to be protected,” but Jesus, at…

Mobile apps help some Catholics in freezing northeastern China

January 9, 2016 HONG KONG (CNS) — Catholic communities in China’s northeastern provinces are using social media to evangelize in the freezing and smoggy winter while still offering pastoral care directly to the elderly Catholics to fill the digital gap, reported ucanews.com. In Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning provinces, the average temperature drops below freezing for…

Lawmakers’ action on guns less swift and sure than the president’s

January 8, 2016 WASHINGTON (CNS) — When President Barack Obama unveiled a series of executive orders Jan. 5 intended to make a dent in gun violence in the United States, people reacted. And how. “Thank God that someone finally has the courage to close the loopholes in our pitiful gun control laws to reduce the…

‘Soap opera’ love isn’t true love, pope says

January 8, 2016 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — True love comes from God and is expressed through his mercy and forgiveness, not through sentimental expressions that can easily vanish, Pope Francis said. Although many people use the word ‘love,’ “when used, it is not known what it exactly means,” the pope said in his homily Jan….

Video messages of pope’s prayer intentions will hit social media

January 4, 2016 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will deliver his monthly prayer intentions on video over social media as part of a Jesuit-run global prayer network. The new video messages, featuring the pope asking for prayers and action on various challenges facing the world today, will begin Jan. 6, the feast of the…

Canada on track to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees, says ambassador

January 4, 2016 AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — As a cautious world rang in the New Year with concerns over terrorism and security, Catholics in Canada were continuing to welcome Syrian refugees to their newly adopted homeland. The Canadian target of accepting 25,000 Syrian refugees by late February “is well in hand, and we should meet…

Pope erects Syro-Malankara eparchy for U.S., Canada

January 4, 2016 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis erected a new Syro-Malankara eparchy for the United States and Canada. The pope also named Bishop Thomas Eusebios Naickamparambil, who served as the apostolic exarch for Syro-Malankaran Catholics in the United States, as its first bishop. The new diocese is called the Eparchy of St. Mary,…

Mercy enlightens past year, gives hope for new year, pope says

December 31, 2015 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The gift of mercy is a light that helps Christians reflect on the past year and radiates hope at the start of the new year, Pope Francis said. While retracing the events of 2015 may recall moments of both joy and sorrow, it also offers a moment to…