The French Prime Minister says the martyrdom of Father Jacques Hamel, who was murdered four years ago by two Islamist attackers, gave France the strength to unite in the face of terrorist barbarism. Jean Castex made his comments this week on Twitter upon the anniversary of Father Hamel’s murder. The 85-year-old cleric was killed on July 26, 2016, while offering Holy Mass in the parish church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen in Normandy. Mr Castex recalled how at that moment France, struck in her heart, discovered Jacques Hamel, his face and his message. It was this, he said, that gave the French people the strength to confront terrorism. The anniversary of Father Hamel’s murder also saw a Mass for the Dead offered in the parish church where he was slain. It was followed outside the church by a ceremony for peace and fraternity.
Vatican reaffirms commitment to protect human trafficking victims
The Vatican has reaffirmed its commitment to protecting the rights of victims of human trafficking. That commitment was made during the 20th Conference of the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons, held last week in Austria. Among the participants was Monsignor Joseph Grech from the Holy See’s Permanent Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna. He noted the discrepancy between the high number of victims and the low rate of prosecutions and convictions of human traffickers. Monsignor Grech suggested that this was due, in large measure, to the lack of resources put into combatting human trafficking by many governments. Too often, he said, this can lead to states focusing on immediate results rather than trying to catch, quote, the “big fish” in the world of human trafficking.
United States in “extraordinary hour of cultural conflict,” says USCCB
The United States of America is in an extraordinary hour of cultural conflict. That is the stark assessment of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops or USCCB. It’s been made in response to reports of increasing incidents of church vandalism and fires across the North American country. The comment was made on behalf of the USCCB by the Chairman of the their Committee on Religious Liberty, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, and the Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City. The two bishops said that the path forward for all Americans must be through the compassion and understanding practiced and taught by Jesus Christ and his Holy Mother. In recent weeks statues of the Virgin Mary have been defaced, set on fire and, even, beheaded in various locations across the United States.
Pope Francis writes to congratulate young Camino pilgrim
Pope Francis has sent a letter of congratulations to a Spanish boy with a mental health condition who has just completed the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across the north of Spain. 15-year-old Alvaro Calente’s father wrote to Pope Francis to inform him of his son’s pilgrim journey – which was also charted along the way on social media. In return, the Holy Father said he admired Alvaro’s courage in undertaking the journey during the Covid-19 crisis. He thanked young Alvaro for his daring, his sincerity, his joy and his cheerfulness which, said the Pope, would spark hope in the many people he met along the way or through social media.
Youth 2000 Summer Festival goes virtual
Ireland’s largest Catholic Youth event will take place next month…but only online due to COVID-19 restrictions. (OOV) The Youth 2000 Summer E-Festival will be held from the 14th to the 16th of August. The organizers say that virtual attendees will still find opportunities to experience the love of God, to receive the grace of conversion and also to discern a call to priesthood or religious life. Youth 2000 is a Catholic youth organization which hosts festivals, retreats, prayer groups and other events for young people across Ireland. It was founded in the UK by Englishman Ernest Williams in response to Pope Saint John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization
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