Catholic News Service recently published the following news briefs on these topics: Ukrainian Catholic Church’s mission; Sainthood cause of Father Stanley Rother; Catholic Social Teaching’s role; Papal visit to Myanmar, Bangladesh; Church repair, reform.
Kansas nun shares memories of her brother who is on path to sainthood
WICHITA, Kan. -- Sister Marita Rother really didn't get to know her brother, Father Stanley Rother, as a priest until she visited him in Guatemala in the 1970s. She was at the Adorers of the Blood of Christ convent in Wichita when he left to study for the priesthood. "He went to the seminary right after high school," she said, adding that he didn't tell his parents of his interest in the priesthood until after he graduated. "We never talked about it," Sister Marita told the Catholic Advance, newspaper of the Wichita Diocese. "We were both rather quiet. I didn't even tell my friends until shortly before I left that I was actually leaving (to become a nun)." Still, she and her three brothers were close to one another and to their parents, she recalled. "We were very seldom not doing things together. Our parents really did keep us in line. We had great respect for each other ... anytime they would hear squabbling -- if it was in their earshot -- they would calm us down."
New Ukrainian Catholic bishops in U.S. envision a missionary Church
LVIV, Ukraine -- With the appointment of two new Ukrainian Catholic bishops in the United States, Church leaders are hoping to reach out to Church members in the diaspora. "We are used to thinking about our Church in the U.S. as a stabilized and settled Church. However, it still is a missionary Church," said Bishop-elect Andriy Rabiy, who will be ordained in Lviv, where he was born, Sept. 3. He will serve as auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. "Our parishes established a hundred years ago are not as strong as they used to be because people had moved," he told Catholic News Service. "They go where the jobs are. And in these new places we don't have our parishes and missions. We need to examine carefully these migration processes and go where our people are." Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk, former auxiliary bishop of Lviv, was enthroned as the new head of the Eparchy of St. Nicholas in Chicago June 29. He, too, told CNS he felt the need to reach out to his people.
Pope: Catholic social teaching can contribute to building just society
VATICAN CITY -- Catholic politicians should be guided by the Church's moral and social teachings when crafting legislation, Pope Francis said. Meeting with participants in the annual meeting of the International Catholic Legislators Network Aug. 27, the Pope said that Church teaching can contribute to a more humane and just society, but only if the Church is allowed a voice in answering "the great questions of society in our time. The laws that you enact and apply ought to build bridges of dialogue between different political perspectives, also when responding to precise aims in order to promote greater care for the defenseless and the marginalized, especially toward the many who are forced to leave their countries, as well as to promote a correct human and natural ecology," the Pope said according to Vatican Radio. Founded in 2010 by Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna and British parliamentarian Sir David Alton, the Catholic Legislators Network meets annually "to discuss the promotion of Christian principles in the political arena," according to the organization's website. "Every year, the network brings together about 120 people, including top-level politicians from a wide range of countries spanning all continents, to discuss urgent policy issues in different regions of the globe," the website said.
Vatican confirms Pope's visit to Myanmar, Bangladesh in late November
VATICAN CITY -- A day after appealing for an end the violent persecution of the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, the Vatican announced Pope Francis will visit the country in late November. After the visit Nov. 27-30 to the cities of Yangon and Naypyitaw in Myanmar, the Pope will travel on to Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, the Vatican said Aug. 28. After praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square Aug. 27, Pope Francis said he was saddened by the news "of the persecution of a religious minority, our Rohingya brothers and sisters." News media reported violent clashes Aug. 25-26 after Rohingya fighters attacked 30 police stations. More than 100 people, mostly insurgents, have been reported killed, according to the BBC. Most of the Rohingya population in Myanmar's Rakhine state have been denied citizenship in Myanmar, which is predominantly Buddhist. About 120,000 Rohingya are trapped in internally displaced person camps near the state capital, Sittwe. A further 400,000 live in the state's north, which is currently under martial law.
Church is always in need of repair, reform, Pope says
VATICAN CITY -- Although the Church is built upon a strong foundation, it is always in need of being reformed and repaired, Pope Francis said. Before reciting the Angelus prayer Aug. 27, Pope Francis said that Christians are the "living stones" that Christ uses to fill in the gaps and crevices that continually appear. "Even with us today, Jesus wants to continue building his Church, this house with solid foundations yet where cracks aren't lacking and which still needs to be repaired. Always," the Pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope spoke about the day's Gospel reading from St. Matthew in which Peter proclaims that Jesus is "the Christ, the son of the living God." With Peter's affirmation, the Pope said, Jesus understands that "thanks to the faith given him by the father, there is a solid foundation upon which he can build his community, his Church."
Oklahoma set to welcome world for beatification of 'ordinary' native son
WASHINGTON -- Catholics in Oklahoma have been preparing for a long time for this moment. Many, like Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, had faith it would come, but there's still a sense of awe, to think that a farm boy, one of their own, is about to take a step toward official sainthood. On Sept. 23, Oklahomans will get a front row seat to the beatification of Father Stanley Rother, an ordinary man from an ordinary town, who died extraordinarily as a martyr in Guatemala while serving in a mission. He knew well the dangers of the Guatemalan highlands, where government forces tortured and killed anyone suspected of dissent during the most politically tumultuous moments in the country's history. However, Father Rother refused to abandon the community he so loved from 1968 until his 1981 assassination. Like many of the poor and persecuted he served, he died long before he had to at age 46, shot in the head in the parish rectory. "People are justly proud of this native son, but one wouldn't expect something like this, such a recognition to be accorded to somebody from Okarche, Oklahoma," said Archbishop Coakley in a phone interview with Catholic News Service.