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Pope Francis and other Catholic leaders are pleading for help to liberate villages in Iraq controlled by the Islamic State terrorists and to provide the displaced with international protection. Church leaders have deplored the persecution of Christians and other minorities throughout the Middle East, especially in northeastern Iraq, and called for Catholics to pray for peace and provide material aid to those fleeing the violence.
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The cost of a one-year subscription to the Western Catholic Reporter will increase by $5 effective Oct. 15, 2014. For subscribers who live in Alberta, that means the price of a one-year subscription to the biweekly newspaper will increase from $30 to $35.
More than 1,200 students returned to school early at three Catholic schools in downtown Edmonton. Mother Teresa Elementary, St. Catherine Elementary/Junior High and St. Alphonsus Elementary/Junior High had students at their desks Aug. 11, the fourth year the trio of schools has run on a year-round calendar.
More than 60 years after the end of the Korean War, Pope Francis has urged the people of South Korea to seek the reunification of their divided country. "Are there two Koreas?" Pope Francis asked participants in an Asian Youth Day gathering Aug. 15. "No, there is one, but it is divided; the family is divided." To promote reunification, the pope said he had one piece of advice to offer.
The memory of that brutal June evening in his home near Mosul, Iraq, brought 48-year-old Joseph, now a refugee in Lebanon, to tears. "These people know no limits of humanity, decency, or respect for human life," he said of the Islamic State fighters. Meeting with Catholic News Service Aug. 8 at the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center in Beirut, he and other Catholic Iraqi refugees asked that their real names not be used to protect their identities as they shared the traumatic experiences that led to their exodus.
Every year since 1919, Catholics have been coming to the beautiful Skaro shrine to celebrate the solemnity of the Assumption. And for the Aug. 14 vigil Mass and candlelight procession, the number of pilgrims was in the usual range of 3,000 to 4,000. For a few dedicated souls, however, the Skaro shrine receives more than a once-a-year visit.
Although the Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches (Orientalium Ecclesarium) is the third shortest document produced by the Second Vatican Council, it is a significant statement that goes far beyond maintaining the status quo. While the decree is not exactly a Magna Carta for the churches of the East which are in union with Rome, it does signal a shift to a more positive view of those churches than had been the practice of recent centuries.