Carolyn Woo of CRS Previews Pope Francis's New Encyclical

06/17/2015 Comment

Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services. All photos below are courtesy of Catholic Relief Services. Photos show areas of the Philippines hit by some of the strongest typhoons on record, or drought stricken parts of Ethiopia due to changing weather patterns.

ROME — As one of the encyclical presenters for the Vatican, Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the international development and relief agency of the U.S. Catholic bishops, knows what’s coming with Laudato Si: On the Care of Our Common Home. What she sees is a game-changer in the discussion on climate change and man’s impact on the environment.

The Vatican’s press office announced Monday that Woo will be one of four presenters when the Pope Francis’s encyclical is rolled out on June 18.

Speaking with the Register by phone from Rome, Woo speaks about the role private enterprise and individuals can play in addressing climate change, where multiple man-made factors may be at play...READ MORE

Filed under carolyn woo, catholic, catholic relief services, climate change, crs, environment, environmental encyclical, global cooling, global warming, laudato si

Bishop Consecrates Virgin This Sunday — Pittsburgh Makes History

05/29/2015 Comment

Bishop David Zubik.


PITTSBURGH — The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is witnessing history on Sunday, when Bishop David Zubik for the first time — and for the first time in local church’s history — consecrates a woman to perpetual virginity with an ancient rite restored in 1970.

Sheila Ryan will be specially consecrated to Jesus Christ at St. Richard’s parish in Richland Township during the 8 a.m. Mass on May 31, when Bishop Zubik will celebrate the Rite of Consecration of Virgins Living in the World. When the rite is celebrated, Ryan will be dressed like a bride, and Bishop Zubik will give her a veil, a ring, and a book of the Liturgy of the Hours — all symbols of her new life committed to Christ.

This rite...READ MORE

Filed under bishop zubik, consecrated life, consecrated virgin, consecrated vocation, david zubik, diocese of pittsburgh, perpetual virginity, pittsburgh, public witness, secular vocation

Making Benedict XVI’s Dream Come True in Denver

05/26/2015 Comments (1)
Elise Harris/CNA

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver.

– Elise Harris/CNA

On Pentecost Sunday, Archbishop Samuel Aquila made history in the U.S. by announcing that the Archdiocese of Denver would be the first U.S. Latin-rite archdiocese to restore the order of the sacraments of initiation to Baptism, then Confirmation, and finally Holy Eucharist.

As the Register reported on Saturday, the age for Confirmation will be lowered to third grade and received right before First Holy Communion at the same Mass, reversing a century long custom in the Latin Church in favor of a traditional order for receiving the sacraments that dates back to the Acts of the Apostles.

In this Register interview, Archbishop Samuel Aquila shares that he decided to restore the order to help...READ MORE

Filed under aquila, confirmation, denver, denver archdiocese, diocese of fargo, diocese of phoenix, fargo, first eucharist, holy communion, lectio divina

‘Grave, But Not Without Hope’: Iraqi Nun's Full Testimony to Congress

05/15/2015 Comment
Matt Hadro/CNA.

Sister Diana Momeka, OP appeared before the House of Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington D.C. on May 13, 2015.

– Matt Hadro/CNA.

WASHINGTON — “Grave, but not without hope.” Those words summarize the situation of the future of Christianity in Iraq, and the future of Iraq itself, according to Sister Diana Momeka, a Dominican Sister of St. Catherine of Siena from Mosul, Iraq. She appeared on Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday to testify about the persecution her people have endured at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group that forced more than 120,000 Christians to flee northern Iraq for the safety of the Kurdistan region last summer.

Sister Diana is a refugee in her own country while ISIS occupies the birthplace of Christianity in Iraq: Mosul and the Nineveh Plain. She...READ MORE

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Catholic Relief Services: Caught in the Terror of Nepal’s Latest Quake

05/13/2015 Comment
Catholic Relief Services.

Jennifer Poidatz (above) was in the middle of supervising 37 CRS staff distributing aid in Nepal when the second disaster hit.

– Catholic Relief Services.

KATHMANDU — A terrifying second earthquake struck Nepal on Tuesday, wreaking new terror and destruction just as the afflicted Himalayan nation had begun to recover from the first. Now emergency relief workers from Catholic Relief Services share another bond solidarity with Nepal’s Catholic Church: they too are survivors.

All 37 CRS staff in Nepal are safe and accounted for, and so far — although lines of communication and transport are badly damaged — the May 12 earthquake appears to have taken far fewer lives than the 8,000 victims of the April 25 quake, even though both tremblors were comparable in their intensity (7.3 and 7.8 magnitudes respectively).

As Wednesday night descended on...READ MORE

Filed under caritas, caritas nepal, caritas network, catholic relief services, crs, crs rice bowl, earthquake, emergency relief, himalayas, kathmandu

Five Key Provisions in New Pain-Capable Abortion Ban: NRLC

05/12/2015 Comment
Shutterstock/Valentina Razumova

– Shutterstock/Valentina Razumova

The new and improved pain-capable abortion ban is set to get its first vote in the House of Representatives on May 13: the second anniversary of notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s murder conviction, and the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. (In case you missed it: House GOP Leaders Announce Pain-Capable Bill Set for Gosnell Anniversary)

The text of the bill has been published, and National Right to Life Committee was kind enough to share a summary of the bill’s new improved features.

From NRLC’s summary of the new late term abortion ban:
The federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) would ban abortion nationwide after 20 weeks fetal age (equivalent to 22 weeks of...READ MORE

Filed under #theyfeelpain, abortion, civil action, incest, kermit gosnell, late-term abortion, may 13, national right to life committee, nrlc, our lady of fatima

BREAKING: House GOP Leaders Announce Pain-Capable Bill Set for Gosnell Anniversary

05/08/2015 Comment
Shutterstock/Valentina Razumova

– Shutterstock/Valentina Razumova

WASHINGTON — After three months of deadlock within their caucus, House GOP leaders have revealed that lawmakers will vote next week on a bill to ban late-term abortions at 20 weeks on the two-year anniversary of notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s conviction.

The Weekly Standard reported Friday morning that GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said his caucus finally had forged a compromise on the rape and incest exception language in the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which seeks to ban abortion at 20 weeks gestation on the basis that scientific evidence shows unborn children feel pain at that age.

House leaders had originally scheduled the bill, sponsored by...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, fetal pain, gop, gosnell, kermit gosnell, late term abortion ban, pain-capable abortion ban, pain-capable unborn child protection act, pro-life

National Catholic Prayer Breakfast: Saving the Family Means Opening the Doors to God

05/07/2015 Comment
National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

Gov. Gregg Abbott of Texas.

– National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

WASHINGTON — “If you had gone through all I had gone through, you would never again question the Lord.”

Sitting there in his wheelchair, before a gathering of more than a thousand attendees at Thursday’s National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas shared his own witness as to why Catholics must keep the doors open to God through prayer, trusting him in all hardships public and private.

The theme of this year’s breakfast focused on the family. Abbott acknowledged that Catholics face many storms: from the redefinition of marriage in the courts, to religious liberty battles, to the ongoing fight over legal abortion. But the governor drew on his own personal story to...READ MORE

Filed under bishop richard malone, greg abbott, national catholic prayer breakfast, peter jesserer smith, pope francis, prayer, the family

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About Peter Jesserer Smith

Peter Jesserer Smith
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Peter Jesserer Smith is the Washington correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He helped cover Pope Francis's historic visit to Jerusalem and the Holy Land in 2014. Later that same year, he covered the Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis by traveling to Jordan and Lebanon, representing the Register through Catholic Relief Services's Egan Fellowship. Before coming on board the Register in 2013, he was a freelance writer, reporting for Catholic media outlets as the Register and Our Sunday Visitor. He is a graduate of the National Journalism Center and earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Christendom College, where he co-founded the student newspaper, The Rambler, and served as its editor. He comes originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York State.