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U.N. Refugee Olympic team: A victory cheer for all refugees

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Catholic News Service

RIO DE JANEIRO — Glued to the improvised screen set up on the patio of the Caritas house, the refugees yelled and they cried. But most of all, they cheered. They cheered for their two Congolese colleagues, Popole Misenga, 24, and Yolande Mabika, 28, who were competing in judo as part of the United Nations’ Refugee Olympic team. Read more »

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At Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue, cardinal blesses Olympic torch

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Catholic News Service
RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) — High above the city, beneath the statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio Cardinal Orani Tempesta blessed the Olympic torch, held by Brazil’s former Olympic volleyball player, Maria Isabel Barroso Salgado.
“This is the moment for us to surpass our difficulties and work together as a team, making our country and our world safer, less unequal, and putting love in the hearts of all,” the cardinal told reporters.
From there, the Olympic torch was carried on the last leg of its 95-day Brazilian journey toward Maracana Stadium, where the opening ceremony was to be held the evening of Aug. 5. Read more »

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Pope accepts resignation of Brazilian archbishop

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Catholic News Service

SAO PAULO — Catholics in the northeastern Brazilian state of Paraiba woke July 6 to find that Archbishop Aldo di Cillo Pagotto was stepping down after having his resignation accepted by Pope Francis.

The Vatican said the pope accepted his resignation in accordance with Canon 401.2 of the Code of Canon Law, which covers “ill health or some other grave cause.”

In a letter about his resignation, the archbishop said he always tried to give the best of himself and admitted he made mistakes.

“I gave shelter to priests and seminarians, in order to offer them new chances in life. Among those were some who were later suspected of committing serious derelictions. I made the mistake of being too trusting,” stated the letter.

Some of the priests taken in by Archbishop Pagotto have been accused of pedophilia. In June, Pope Francis warned that bishops guilty of looking the other way or covering up child abuse by priests within their congregations could be removed from their duties.

In his letter, Archbishop Pagotto, who headed the Archdiocese of Paraiba for the past 12 years, said he took tough and urgent measures regarding the reorganization of the administration and recovery of the archdiocese’s assets, displeasing many people along the way. And for those actions, he said, there was retaliation.

He said that in addition to internal and external retaliation, there was an effort to destabilize the archdiocese by pressure groups, including those labeled “anonymous priests” who received wide media coverage.

With the pressure, the archbishop said, his power of coordination was lost, and the church became divided. He said he thought it was best “for the church as a whole and in particular for the church of Paraiba” to offer his resignation.

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Abortion is not the answer for the Zika virus, archbishop says

February 18th, 2016 Posted in Senior / Health Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

 

SAO PAULO — The president of the Brazilian bishops’ conference criticized a proposal by the U.N. Human Rights Commission that countries allow abortion in cases in which the mother was infected with the Zika virus.

“Abortion is not the answer for the Zika virus,” Archbishop Sergio da Rocha of Brasilia told reporters during a Feb. 10 news conference to announce the bishops’ Lenten Fraternity Campaign. “We need to value life in any situation or condition. Less quality of life does not mean less rights to live or less human dignity.” Read more »

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Brazilian priest recalls prayers to Mother Teresa, possible miracle

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Catholic News Service

SAO PAULO — Although some may say it was by chance, Brazilian Father Elmiran Ferreira Santos believes that God’s hands were leading him when he arrived late one afternoon at his Our Lady of Aparecida Parish and found, waiting for him, a grief-stricken parishioner, whose husband had been diagnosed with several brain tumors.

Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, is pictured in a 2002 photo. Brazilian Father Elmiran Ferreira Santos, pastor of Our Lady of Aparecida Parish in Sao Paulo, believes prayers to Blessed Teresa for a parishioner with brain tumors led to a possible miracle. (CNS photo/Thomas Cheng, EPA)

Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, is pictured in a 2002 photo. Brazilian Father Elmiran Ferreira Santos, pastor of Our Lady of Aparecida Parish in Sao Paulo, believes prayers to Blessed Teresa for a parishioner with brain tumors led to a possible miracle. (CNS photo/Thomas Cheng, EPA)

“The husband’s condition had deteriorated and he had been placed in the ICU,” Father Santos told Catholic News Service.

“The wife just didn’t know who to turn to,” he added. Father Santos said he asked the woman to sit and pray with him to Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, founder of the Missionaries of Charity.

“I had just returned from a Mass with the nuns at the Missionaries of Charity and even had a little medal that was given to me by the sisters in my pocket,” said the priest, who added he gave the medal to the patient’s wife and asked her and her family to pray to Blessed Teresa even more fervently in the days to come.

Father Santos said that, with the grace of God and the prayers to Mother Teresa, the patient improved, was taken out of the intensive care unit and, in a period of two days, was given a clean bill of health and discharged.

“When a complete recovery of his health was seen and the doctors could not explain how, I understood that Blessed Mother Teresa had helped,” said Father Santos. He said he reported the occurrence to the sisters, who in turn told their superior. The priest also said the doctor who took care of the patient was the doctor on call for Pope Francis during his visit to Brazil in 2013 for World Youth Day, and that the doctor had spoken to the pope about the patient.

The word about the patient’s recovery soon spread throughout the parishes, the diocese and beyond Father Caetano Rizzi, the judicial vicar who oversaw the case at the Santos Diocese, said the entire diocesan process occurred very quickly.

He said he received a telephone call in mid-June 2015 from a friend in Rome telling him that the Vatican was looking at a possible miracle attributed to Mother Teresa and that two Vatican representatives would be flying to Brazil in a week’s time to look at the evidence. The vicar said that, a week later, Vatican representatives were there to hear testimony from witnesses, medical experts and theologians. There were four sessions per day during four days. On June 26, the process ended, and the representatives returned to Rome with all the evidence gathered by the Santos Diocese.

After a diocesan investigation into a potential miracle yields positive results, the case goes to the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. A panel of physicians is convoked by the congregation to study whether the healing is authentic and lasting, and that there is no natural, medical explanation for it. With the doctors’ approval, the files are passed on to a panel of theologians.

The theologians study the events, especially the prayers, surrounding the alleged miracle and give their opinion on whether the healing can be attributed to the intercession of a particular sainthood candidate.

If the theologians give a positive opinion, the cardinals who are members of the congregation vote on whether to recommend that the pope recognize the healing as a miracle and set a canonization date.

Father Santos says that the experience reinforced his belief of just how merciful God is and “confirmed the Gospel, which states that we are all called upon to be saints.”

In 2000 Josephine Bakhita was declared a saint; one miracle attributed to her intercession involved a Catholic in the Santos Diocese.

Contributing to this story was Cindy Wooden at the Vatican.

 

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At Rio’s Christ statue, a light and sound display welcome World Cup teams

June 12th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

SAO PAULO — Hours before the kickoff of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of the main symbols of Brazil, welcomed the 32 teams competing in the event with a special light and sound program.

Rio’s Christ the Redeemer Statue glows green to help kickoff the 2014 FIFA World Cup. (CNS photo/Daniel Coelho, RIOLUZ)

From one of the highest mountains overlooking Rio de Janeiro, the statue was “dressed up” with the colors of the flags of the 32 national teams while playing part of each country’s national anthem. The program was promoted by Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro and city officials.

The welcoming ceremony included a small prayer by Father Omar Raposo, rector of the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary.

“Sports always give us a chance to witness the beauty of the brotherhood that exists among the different nations,” said Father Raposo.

He said everyone should heed the words of Pope Francis.

“He said that to belong to a sports team means to reject all forms of selfishness and isolation; it is an opportunity to meet and be with others, to help each other, to compete in mutual esteem and grow in brotherhood.”

The archdiocese also said that the Christ the Redeemer statue would be illuminated with Brazil’s flag colors, green and yellow, every time the Brazilian team plays. Brazil kicks off the games June 12 in Sao Paulo, playing Croatia.

The World Cup will be in 12 host cities and run through July 13, when the finals will be in Rio de Janeiro.

 

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Pope pledges almost $5 million to help pay World Youth Day debt

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Catholic News Service

RIO DE JANEIRO — Pope Francis has pledged a donation of almost $5 million to help pay part of the debt incurred by the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day, said the Local Organizing Committee.

A statement from the committee said the pope recognized “the great effort made by the Local Organizing Committee to hold World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro and demonstrated his intention to financially help pay off part of the investments made” for the event.

An independent audit of the event, conducted by Ernst & Young, confirmed that on Aug. 31, World Youth Day had an accumulated debt of $38.4 million. After renegotiating with suppliers and selling a property, the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro was able to reduce the debt to a little over $18 million.

World Youth Day was Pope Francis’ first international trip after being named pontiff. The event brought nearly 3 million pilgrims to Copacabana beach July 23-28.

An October-December public campaign to obtain donations to pay off the debt collected $336,600.

The Local Organizing Committee said World Youth Day was funded entirely by the church and donations. Federal, state and local governments’ participation was limited to guaranteeing the security of pilgrims and public services during the event, it said.

 

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