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By Nancy Frazier O’Brien Catholic News Service

cns-logoWASHINGTON (CNS) — The family under discussion when the extraordinary Synod of Bishops convenes at the Vatican Oct. 5 will bear little resemblance to the family of 50 or even 20 years ago.

The blended and extended families created by high rates of divorce, remarriage and cohabitation — along with the worldwide migration prompted by economic turmoil and war — have combined to change forever the view of family as limited to a mother, father and their children.

But children are still most likely to live in two-parent families in all countries except South Africa, according to the World Family Map 2014, a research project sponsored by the Bethesda, Maryland-based nonprofit Child Trends and a variety of educational and nongovernmental institutions from across the globe. Continue Reading »

IMG_0112Students from St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica School, Beaumont, prayed a rosary Sept. 11 in remembrance of victims of 9/11 and honoring those who survived. The rosary was led by Charlie Baldwin, religion and history teacher, who told the students “we pray for everyone like Father Jerry prayed for everyone the day after 9/11.” Boy Scouts from Pack 779 led the students from the Cathedral Basilica to the 9/11 Cross where the rosary was completed. Continue Reading »

By Catholic News Service

Steven Sotloff, the second American journalist reportedly beheaded by Islamic State extremists, is pictured in a 2010 photo. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, sent a letter on behalf of Pope Francis to express the pontiff's condolences to the Sotloff family for the loss of their son. (CNS photo/Mazen Mahdi, EPA

Steven Sotloff, the second American journalist reportedly beheaded by Islamic State extremists, is pictured in a 2010 photo. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, sent a letter on behalf of Pope Francis to express the pontiff’s condolences to the Sotloff family for the loss of their son. (CNS photo/Mazen Mahdi, EPA

MIAMI (CNS) — Pope Francis sent a letter of condolence to the family a Steven Sotloff, the second U.S. journalist slain this summer by ISIS, also known as Islamic State.

“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of your son and brother, Steven Joel, and he has asked me to convey to you his prayerful condolences,” said the Sept. 5 letter, signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

“He entrusts Steven’s soul to the Lord and offers prayers for you and all who mourn his death,” the letter said.

“His Holiness urges people everywhere to reject violence, aggression and lack of compassion, and asks each one to pray and work for forgiveness, healing and peace,” Cardinal Parolin wrote.

“Upon you and your loved ones, he invokes the Almighty’s blessings of consolation and strength.” Continue Reading »

IMG_0003Close to 50 priests gathered together at the Holy Family Retreat Center in Beaumont Sept. 4 and 5 to participate in a workshop on financial management. The workshop, Stewarding What We Have Received: A Money Catechesis for Presbyters, was made available through a grant from the Catholic Extension Society. Priests participated in sessions focused on parish bookkeeping, budgeting and financial statements that were designed to help empower pastors to competently act as chief stewards of parish resources.

“In seminary, I was taught sacramental work and to focus on doing good things,” Father Vincent Alexius, SVD, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Cleveland, said. “This workshop will help me understand the accounting system of the diocese and how to comply with the law.” Continue Reading »

IMG_0057Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver from all around Southeast Texas gathered together Sept. 7 at St. Therese Church, Orange, for Mass to celebrate the feast day of St. Peter Claver. After Mass, James Carter presented Bishop Curtis J. Guillory, SVD, with the President’s Award from the Inter-Diocese Council Court of Assemblies and Chapters. Lady Volena Chatman received the Dorothy Baker Award for Outstanding Lady and Briana Thibedeaux was Outstanding Junior. The annual celebration honors St. Peter Claver who ministered to slaves and those who were marginalized. After Mass, lunch was served in the Family Life Center. Continue Reading »

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis mourned the deaths of three Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary, who were murdered in two separate attacks in their residence in Burundi.

Sister Lucia Pulici, 75, and Sister Olga Raschietti, 82, were found dead Sept. 7 in their mission residence in the capital of Bujumbura. Sister Bernadetta Bogianni, 79, who had found the bodies, was killed the next night.

In telegrams sent to Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye of Bujumbura and Sister Ines Frizza superior general of the Xaverian Missionary Sister of Mary, the pope expressed his sadness concerning the “tragic deaths” of these “faithful and devout nuns.”

The messages, sent on behalf of the pope by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said the pope hoped that “the blood they have shed may become the seed of hope to build true fraternity between peoples.” Continue Reading »

WASHINGTON–The chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, applauded the decision on Sept. 3, by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana upholding Louisiana’s marriage amendment.

“The federal court rightly declared that Louisiana’s marriage laws ‘serve a central state interest  of linking children to an intact family formed by their biological parents,’” Archbishop Cordileone said.  He continued, “The federal court affirmed that the voters of Louisiana who overwhelmingly chose to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman in their state constitution made a rational decision by embracing the definition of marriage ‘that has endured in history for thousands of years, and prevails in a majority of states today.’” Continue Reading »

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