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A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. Get the latest news about Pope Francis and the Vatican, and much more. This is a service of EWTN News. For more information or to report a problem, please contact All of CNA's news can be found at


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A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. Get the latest news about Pope Francis and the Vatican, and much more. This is a service of EWTN News. For more information or to report a problem, please contact All of CNA's news can be found at



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Thank you for listening to Catholic News — this podcast is going on hiatus. Please check back later for more on the future of this podcast. As always, the latest Catholic news is available at May God Bless you.


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February 19, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - Today, the Church celebrates Saint Conrad of Piacenza. Conrad was born into a noble family in northern Italy. Conrad was born into a noble family in northern Italy. He married the daughter of a nobleman, Euphrosyne. One day, while he was hunting, Conrad ordered his attendants to make a fire. The wind carried the flames, which set fire to nearby fields, forests, towns and villages. Upon seeing this, Conrad ran away in fear. Because he ran, an innocent man was convicted for spreading the fire and was condemned to death as punishment. Upon hearing of this, Conrad stepped forth to accept the blame, saving the innocent man's life. He paid for the damaged property and he and his wife gave everything they owned to the poor in recompense. Conrad then left to join a group of Franciscan hermits, and his wife joined the Poor Clares. Word eventually spread of Conrad's holiness, piety and gift of healing. When many visitors began to destroy his life of silence and solitude, he moved to Sicily where he lived and prayed as a hermit for 36 years. Legends say that when the Bishop of Syracuse visited him, the bishop asked Conrad if he had any food to offer guests. Conrad went to his cell and returned with newly made cakes, which the bishop accepted as a miracle. Conrad visited the bishop later to make a general confession to him. As he arrived, Conrad was surrounded by fluttering birds. Conrad died kneeling before a crucifix.


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February 16, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - The balcony floor of a Catholic church in the Philippines collapsed during Ash Wednesday Mass on February 14, leaving one woman dead and dozens injured. According to the Public Information Office (PIO) of the city of San José del Monte in the Philippine province of Bulacan, around 7 am local time the balcony of Saint Peter the Apostle Church collapsed, creating fear and chaos among the faithful attending the Mass on the first day of Lent. According to the PIO, witnesses heard a loud noise and then screams from the people who fell from the balcony and from some who were on the first floor, all participating in the Mass. According to the Philippine newspaper PhilStar, 52 people were injured and immediately taken to different local hospitals. So far, an 80-year-old woman died in the collapse. The Vatican Press Office reported February 15 that Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán as bishop of the Diocese of David in Panama, two weeks after his yet-to-be-explained disappearance, and named Father Luis Enrique Saldaña Guerra as his successor. The appointment occurs a few days before Lacunza turns 80 on February 24, the day on which he will cease to be an elector in a possible conclave to elect Pope Francis’ successor should he die or resign. On the morning of February 1, the Catholic Church in Panama reported that Lacunza had been missing since January 30. On February 4, the cardinal apologized for what had happened, although he did not explain what transpired. It is still not known precisely what happened to Lacunza or why the Catholic Church and civil authorities remain silent about it. Nor is it known what the cardinal’s “prank” may have been, as he himself described what took place. The theme for the fourth World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated on July 28, has been chosen by Pope Francis. Bishop Peter Muhich of the Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota, announced Wednesday he will be moving soon into hospice care amid treatment for esophogeal and lymphatic cancer. Following a shooting in downtown Kansas City yesterday afternoon during a packed Super Bowl victory rally, nearly two dozen people were injured. The lone fatality was Lisa Lopez-Galvan, a local radio DJ and a parishioner at Sacred Heart-Guadalupe Parish in Kansas City. Today, the Church celebrates Saint Onesimus, a slave to Philemon, an influential man who had been converted by Saint Paul. Onesimus offended Philemon and fled in order to escape any sort of retribution. He then met Saint Paul while Paul was in a Roman prison. Shortly after, Onesimus was baptized and later was martyred.


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February 15, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - The unveiling process for the newly rebuilt spire of Paris’ legendary Notre Dame Cathedral began this week, with the process expected to be completed in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics in July. The cathedral has been closed ever since a devastating fire April 15, 2019, saw the spire crash through the centuries-old timber roof. Deconstruction of the scaffolding surrounding the spire — which reaches 330 feet in height — will take several months. The spire’s new cross was mounted on December 6, 2023, and on December 16 a golden rooster — a symbol of France — was blessed and added, replacing one that was destroyed in the fire. The spire was not original to the 800-year-old structure, having been added during a 19th-century renovation. Nearly three dozen Christians have lost their lives in the Gaza Strip since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war last October, a Christian aid group in the region said this week. Pope Francis will become the first pope to visit the prestigious Venice Biennale art exhibition when he travels to the “city of canals” this spring. A local police investigation into the vandalization of a Blessed Virgin Mary statue outside a Catholic charitable group’s headquarters in Nebraska is currently listed as “inactive” after police were unable to identify the perpetrator, even though one of the building’s security cameras caught the vandal on video. Katie Patrick, executive director of Catholic Social Services, told CNA that this was the first time an incident such as this had occurred on their campus. Today, the Church celebrates Saint Claude de la Colombière, the 17th century French Jesuit who authenticated and wrote about Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque's visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


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February 14, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - After serving as a museum for more than 79 years, the Turkish government is proceeding with plans to make the Church of the Holy Savior in Istanbul a mosque. Mirroring the 2020 reversion of the Hagia Sophia, prayers and Islamic rites will be performed once again in the ancient church, according to Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The Church of the Holy Savior, also known as Chora Church, is recognized as one of the most important Byzantine gems in the world and is adorned with many unique icons and frescoes. The museum-to-mosque conversion project began in 2020, with plans to implement it by October of that year. Restoration work delayed the project. Sitting in the northeast of Istanbul’s historic center near Adrianople Byzantine Gate, the Church of the Holy Savior was built in the 12th century and restored in the early 14th century. Major expansions are coming to the Benedictine-run Belmont Abbey College after the North Carolina school quickly hit its fundraising goal of $100 million two years ahead of schedule. Men and women who are married and who attend church regularly are among the happiest couples, according to data compiled by a prominent sociological professor. A religious freedom advocate from Hong Kong is warning that proposed legislation could further restrict religious liberty and lead to the persecution of the Catholic Church and other Christians. Today, the Church celebrates Saints Cyril and Methodius, who are called the “Apostles of the Slavs” for their tireless work in spreading the Gospel throughout Eastern Europe in the ninth century. Such was their influence in Church history, through their evangelization efforts, that the late Pope John Paul II named the two brothers the patron saints of Europe along with fifth century monastic leader Saint Benedict. Cyril and Methodius' missionary work among the Slavs laid the essential foundation for the later Christianization of Ukraine and Russia in 988, when the Russian Prince Vladimir accepted Baptism. Today is also Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.


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February 13, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - Two missionary priests who were abducted from a parish rectory in Nigeria earlier this month have been released and admitted to the hospital for examination. Father Kenneth Kanwa and Father Jude Nwachukwu were taken from the rectory at St. Vincent de Paul Fier Parish in the Diocese of Pankshin in Plateau state on February 1. The two are members of the Congregation of Missionaries Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (CMF), also known as the Claretians. Nigeria has been battling a surge of violence orchestrated by gangs, whose members carry out indiscriminate attacks, kidnapping for ransom, and in some cases, killing. Insurgency by Boko Haram, a group that allegedly aims to turn Africa’s most populous nation into an Islamic nation, has been a major challenge in the country since 2009. Pope Francis met with Argentine President Javier Milei in a highly anticipated private audience on Monday morning, showcasing a possible improvement to their relationship after the South American politician voiced sharp criticisms of the pontiff last year. The Catholic prayer app Hallow aired its first-ever commercial during Super Bowl LVIII, which saw the Kansas City Chiefs win their second consecutive championship on February 11. Immediately following the airing of the ad, Hallow saw the biggest spike in downloads in its history, according to Alex Jones, CEO of Hallow. The 30-second ad was shown in 15 markets across the country. A Nobel-prize winning biochemist and researcher who helped develop the mRNA technology used to create the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines — Katalin Karikó — is one of the newest members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. Pope Francis announced the appointment of Karikó, who lectures at the University of Szeged in Hungary, in a news release on February 10. Today, the Church celebrates Saint Catherine de Ricci. The Ricci are an ancient family in Tuscany. Catherine was born at Florence in 1522, and called at her baptism Alexandrina, but she took the name of Catherine at her religious profession. One of the miracles that was documented for her canonization was her appearance many hundreds of miles away from where she was physically located.


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February 12, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - A foundation dedicated to spreading devotion to Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, better known as Padre Pio, opened a chapel in rural Kansas this weekend that will permanently host a first-class relic of the saint. The plan is to inaugurate five chapels dedicated to the saint, each with a first-class relic, across the United States in the four cardinal directions so that they form the shape of a cross on a map, with the Kansas chapel forming the cross’ center. The inaugural chapel, located inside Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Beloit, Kansas, opened February 11 with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Gerald Vincke of the Diocese of Salina. The plans for the four other chapels are still in the works. Padre Pio, born Francesco Forgione in 1887 in Italy, became a Franciscan priest around the turn of the 20th century. He took the new name Pio, a modernized Italian form of “Pius,” in honor of Saint Pius V. He is perhaps best known for receiving the stigmata — Christ’s wounds present in his own flesh. He is remembered for his patient suffering in the face of pain and health issues, his fervent prayer, and compassionate spiritual guidance. He was declared a saint in 2002 after dying in 1968. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published a document to explain its concerns about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval and deregulation of a chemical abortion pill, which is the subject of an ongoing US Supreme Court case. Catholic bishops in Nigeria’s Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province (IEP) are alarmed by the recurrent and “pervasive” security challenges in the West African nation, which they compare to a battlefield characterized with hostility and killing. Katalin Novák resigned as president of Hungary on Saturday amid protests over her decision to pardon a man last year who had been convicted of hiding a string of child sexual abuses in a state-run children’s home. Today, the Church celebrates Saint Julian the Hospitaller, or "the Poor Man," who came from a wealthy, noble family in the early 4th century and is a popular saint in Western Europe. According to a legend, while Julian was a baby, he was cursed to one-day kill his own parents, which he did. He swore to devote the remainder of his life to good works. He and his wife then undertook a pilgrimage to a distant country where he established a hospital. The hospital was near a river that was frequently crossed by people prompted to travel by the Holy Crusades. People frequently drowned crossing this river so Julian took responsibility of ferrying travelers across and tending to the sick. Julian is considered the patron of ferrymen, innkeepers and circus performers.


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February 9, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - In a February 7 ruling, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador decriminalized euthanasia in response to the lawsuit filed by Paola Roldán, a woman who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an incurable degenerative disease. According to a pro-life leader, “this is a very hard blow against the human dignity and constitutional rights of Ecuadorians.” The Catholic prayer app Hallow announced that its first-ever Super Bowl commercial will air during the big game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, February 11. He shared that the 30-second commercial is “just a simple invitation to pray together.” A religious community of 14 Discalced Carmelite nuns has moved from a busy street in Buffalo, New York, where their order has lived for more than a century, to the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, in pursuit of “silence and solitude.” Health and mental health ministers in three Canadian territories and five provinces were successful in getting Canada’s government to indefinitely pause implementing medical assistance in dying (MAID). But the pause does not mean a permanent halt to the plan. Implementing the expansion of euthanasia for the mentally ill had been scheduled for March 17. However, Canada’s health minister, Mark Holland, stated that there are not enough psychiatrists willing to sign off on requests by mentally ill people who seek MAID. Today, the Church celebrates Saint Apollonia of Alexandria, a holy virgin who suffered martyrdom in Alexandria during a local uprising against the Christians in the early 3rd century. She is popularly invoked for toothaches because of the torments she had to endure. She is represented in art with pincers holding a tooth.


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February 8, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - The House Foreign Affairs Committee has advanced a resolution to increase sanctions and pressure on the Nigerian government over the rampant persecution of Christians and other minorities in the country. Sponsored by Representative Chris Smith, the resolution would call on the Biden administration to designate Nigeria a “country of particular concern” (CPC), a designation that comes with additional sanctions. The resolution would also urge the administration to appoint a special US envoy to Nigeria to monitor and report on incidents of persecution. For years now Nigeria has been recognized by religious rights groups as one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a Christian. Smith and other proponents of the bill, including Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADF), maintain that adding Nigeria to the State Department’s CPC blacklist would be an effective means to pressure the Nigerian government to address the persecution. Record rainfall in Southern California led to flooding and landslides this week, particularly in the Los Angeles area, where the local branch of Catholic Charities is soliciting donations to help with relief efforts. Alexandria Arnold, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, told CNA that the geographic area they serve — which includes the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara — is facing flooding and mudslides expected to be some of the “largest and most significant in our counties’ history.” She encouraged people of goodwill to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund of Catholic Charities of Los Angeles online. After years of serious drought, California endured an extremely wet 2023 that saw “atmospheric rivers” bring drenching rains and mudslides to parts of the state. After four straight days of heavy rain ended on Wednesday, some parts of the LA metro area had received more than a foot of rain. The bishops of Virginia condemned a bill advancing in the state Legislature that could legalize assisted suicide, warning that it “makes the most vulnerable even more vulnerable” and puts them at risk of “deadly harm.” Today, the Church celebrates Saint Josephine Bakhita, a Canossian Sister who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Sudan. Josephine Bakhita was born in 1869, in a small village in the Darfur region of Sudan. She was kidnapped while working in the fields with her family and subsequently sold into slavery. She bore her suffering valiantly though she did not yet know Christ or the redemptive nature of suffering. When she was bought and freed in Italy, Josephine remained there and decided to enter Canossians in 1893. She made her profession in 1896 and was sent to Northern Italy, where she dedicated her life to assisting her community and teaching others to love God.


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February 7, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - A religious missionary order in Nigeria is appealing for the safe release of two of its members who were abducted from a parish rectory on February 1. Freedom of religion is “deteriorating” in Hong Kong, and the United States — along with other democracies — should use its influence to promote religious liberty in the region, a new report on communist Chinese persecution in the city said. A group of 90 Catholic priests, scholars, and authors are asking bishops and cardinals to reject a Vatican declaration that approved the pastoral, nonliturgical blessings of same-sex couples and to refuse to implement it within their dioceses. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to Senate leaders Tuesday in which they expressed “serious concerns” about the Senate’s new bipartisan border deal, urging them to reject portions of the bill that the bishops said would “restrict access to asylum” and further endanger migrants, especially women and children. “As shepherds committed to defending the sanctity of human life and upholding the God-given dignity of all, we implore you to reject those changes,” the letter said. After months of secret negotiations, the details of the border deal were finally released Sunday evening. Since being made public, the bill has been lambasted by progressives for being too restrictive and by conservatives for being too lax. Today, the Church celebrates Saint Richard. Richard was orphaned at a young age and eventually elected as bishop, and lived an ascetic lifestyle. Richard was the father of Saints Willibald, Winnebald, and Walburga. He was on a pilgrimage to Rome from his native Wessex, England, with his two sons when he was stricken and died at Lucca, Italy. Miracles were reported at his tomb and he became greatly venerated by the citizens of Lucca, who embellished accounts of his life by calling him "King of the English.”


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February 6, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster offered prayers for King Charles III after Buckingham Palace announced Monday that the king would step away from some public duties amid treatment for cancer. “I am saddened to learn that King Charles is now facing a time of treatment for cancer. On behalf of the entire Catholic Community in England and Wales, I offer His Majesty our warmest wishes and assurance of steadfast prayers for his full and speedy recovery. God bless the King,” Nichols, who heads the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said. King Charles, 75, underwent treatment recently for an enlarged prostate, and an unspecified cancer was discovered during that treatment, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace. The king remains “wholly positive about his treatment,” which has already begun, the statement said. The statement did not say what kind of cancer or at what stage it is. King Charles ascended to the throne in 2022 following the death of his mother, Elizabeth II, and was crowned last spring. The English monarch is supreme governor of the Church of England, which broke away from the Catholic Church in 1534 under King Henry VIII. Cardinal José Luis Lacunza, the bishop of the Diocese of David in Panama, apologized February 4 at the end of the Sunday Mass at Saint Joseph Cathedral in David after having been missing for two days but found safe and sound earlier in the week. Without offering details of what happened during the time he was reported missing, the cardinal commented: “It was a stupid prank.” “I thank you for all the love and all the prayers on my behalf. A thousand pardons and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your concern,” the cardinal concluded. Lacunza, originally from Pamplona, Spain, disappeared on January 30 and was found safe and sound on February 1. The Diocese of David reported his disappearance to the police and an investigation was launched by the prosecutor’s office. Today, the Church celebrates a group of 26 Christians — three native Jesuits, six foreign Franciscans, and several lay Catholics, including some children — who were crucified in 1597 in Nagasaki after first being death-marched for 600 miles. All 26 Christians reportedly held out courageously, even singing the hymn of praise “Te Deum” when they arrived at the hill where they would be crucified. The group is widely known collectively as the 26 Martyrs of Japan — also as Saint Paul Miki and Companions, named after a Japanese leader of the group who was training for the Jesuit priesthood and who publicly forgave his persecutors. The example of the 26 martyrs helped to inspire Christians in Japan to carry on, with many churches and seminaries continuing to be developed.


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February 5 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - In a letter addressed to “my Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel” and released Saturday, Pope Francis lamented the “terrible increase in attacks against Jews around the world” that has taken place since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war last October. The bishop of Lourdes, France, says that he has received a “pile of letters” from Catholics all over the world as he considers whether to remove the shrine’s mosaics by alleged abuser Father Marko Rupnik. Bishop Jean-Marc Micas of Tarbes and Lourdes told CNA that he hopes to make a decision by this spring. The bishop formed a special commission last year to determine the future of the Rupnik mosaics. “This occupies my mind, my prayer, and my heart every day, especially when I meet victims of abuse,” Micas said. In an interview at the bishop’s residence in Lourdes, Micas acknowledged that, for him, this is a “very, very difficult decision to make.” The Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) released a note on Saturday on discerning the validity of the sacraments. The new document signed by Pope Francis and DDF Prefect Cardinal Victor Fernández is titled “Gestis Verbisque,” or “Deeds and Words.” Fernández wrote in his introduction to the text that the note on the sacraments was written “to help bishops in their task as promoters and custodians of the liturgical life of the particular Churches entrusted to them.” The 11-page text published only in Italian on February 3 reiterates that for all sacraments in the Catholic Church, the “observance of both matter and form has always been required for the validity of the celebration.” Today, the Church celebrates Saint Agatha. Although we have evidece that Agatha was venerated at least as far back as the sixth century, the only facts we have about her are that she was born in Sicily and died there a martyr. Because she was asked for help during the eruption of Mount Etna she is considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. She is also considered the patroness of bellmakers for an unknown reason -- though some speculate it may have something to do with the fact that bells were used as fire alarms.


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February 2, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - The Panamanian Episcopal Conference (CEP) announced that Cardinal José Luis Lacunza was found safe and sound today after being missing since January 30. The Archdiocese of Panama had called for prayers and expressed its concern over Lacunza’s disappearance. The cardinal is a prominent figure in the Catholic Church in Panama. Ordained a priest in 1969 in Pamplona, Spain, for the Order of the Augustinian Recollects, he was named auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Panama in 1985, and Saint John Paul II subsequently appointed him bishop of Chitré on October 29, 1994. On August 28, 1999, he was appointed bishop of the Diocese of David, where he currently serves. In 2015, Pope Francis made him the first cardinal of the Catholic Church in Panama and of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects. Several of France’s Catholic leaders have expressed solidarity with the country’s agricultural workers amid historic protests that have seen farmers block major roadways near Paris with their tractors to protest environmental regulations, taxes, and competition from cheap imports. Bishop Jean-Marc Micas of the Diocese of Tarbes-et-Lourdes, which is a largely rural diocese that includes the world-famous Marian shrine of Lourdes, said he wants to “express all my support to the farmers of the diocese.” He encouraged all the diocese’s parishes and religious communities to pray for those involved in the protest. Falling food prices, high taxes, increased foreign competition, demographic factors, environmental regulations, and unforeseen circumstances such as recent adverse weather conditions have tightened pressures on the country’s shrinking agricultural workforce. Today, the Church celebrates the Presentation of the Lord. This feast commemorates Jesus’ first appearance in the Temple more than Mary’s purification. The observance spread throughout the Western Church in the fifth and sixth centuries. Because the Church in the West celebrated Jesus’ birth on December 25, the Presentation was moved to February 2, 40 days after Christmas. At the beginning of the eighth century, Pope Sergius inaugurated a candlelight procession; at the end of the same century the blessing and distribution of candles which continues to this day became part of the celebration, giving the feast its popular name: Candlemass.


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February 1, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - The sole victim of Sunday’s attack on a Catholic church in Istanbul was a Muslim man who regularly attended Mass, according to his relatives. Tuncer Murat Cihan, a 52-year-old Turkish man, was killed when two gunmen opened fire in Santa Maria Church in Istanbul’s Sariyer district during Mass on January 28. The Vatican announced on Wednesday the appointment of Father Peter Wu Yishun as the bishop of the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu (Minbei), the third appointment of a bishop in China in just a week. Half a dozen pro-life activists on Tuesday were found guilty of violating a federal law, the FACE Act, that forbids protesters from blocking the entrances to abortion clinics. The federal FACE Act prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.” It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994. The defendants had been charged with a blockade that occurred at the Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, in 2021. The defendants will be sentenced on July 2. They “each face up to a maximum of 10 and a half years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $260,000,” the Department of Justice said. At least one of the defendants plans to appeal. The US Supreme Court announced Monday that oral arguments in a high-stakes abortion pill case will be heard on March 26. The decision in the case could determine whether the abortion pill mifepristone can be prescribed by telemedicine or sent through the mail. The Biden administration is challenging a federal court ruling that found that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) did not follow proper testing and safety protocols when it approved the abortion drug in 2000. Over the years, other restrictions on the drug have been removed. In 2016, the FDA determined that the drug can be used when a woman is pregnant with a child at 70 days gestation. Before 2016, the gestational limit was seven weeks. The FDA also decided in 2016 that non-physicians could prescribe the pill. Today, the Church celebrates Saint Brigid of Kildare, a monastic foundress who is – together with Saint Patrick and Saint Columcille – one of Ireland’s three patron saints. Saint Brigid directly influenced several other future saints of Ireland, and her many religious communities helped to secure the country's conversion from paganism to the Catholic faith. Under Brigid's leadership, the abbey she founded at Kildare played a major role in the successful Christianization of Ireland. The abbess' influence was felt in the subsequent era of the Irish Church, a time when the country became known for its many monasteries and their intellectual achievements.


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January 31, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - A retired Catholic priest with the Diocese of Orlando and his sister were among the four people killed in Sunday afternoon shootings in Palm Bay, Florida, according to a diocesan statement. Father Robert Hoeffner, who celebrated his 50th year in the priesthood last year, was allegedly killed by a 24-year-old man named Brandon Kapas on Sunday, January 28. In addition to Hoeffner and his sister, Sally, the suspected shooter also allegedly killed his grandfather, William Kapas, and one other person whose name has not yet been released. The shooting of Hoeffner and his sister took place at a different location than the shooting of Kapas’ grandfather and the person who has not yet been identified. The motive for the shootings is still unclear. Police shot and killed the alleged gunman on Sunday after he shot at police and injured two officers, according to Palm Bay Police Chief Mariano Augello, who addressed the incidents in a news conference. Both officers “are going to survive,” Augello said. Pope Francis confirmed that he will meet with the president of Argentina, Javier Milei, who will be attending the canonization of Blessed María Antonia of Saint Joseph — also known as Mama Antula — the first Argentine female saint, to be held Febuary 11 in Rome. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on Monday revived a 2019 lawsuit brought by a number of abortion providers in the state that challenges, on discrimination grounds, a longtime state law barring public funding for most abortions. Bishop Wilfred Anagbe of Nigeria shared details of the worsening persecution of Christians in Nigeria, accusing members of the government there of being complicit in what he called a Christian “genocide” and an erasure of the Christian presence from the country. Anagbe, who leads the Makurdi Diocese, warned that if greater action is not taken he believes the Christian population, which currently numbers over 86 million, roughly half of the total Nigerian populace, could disappear entirely in the next few decades. Though the Nigerian Christian population is massive and is known as having some of the most devoted faithful in the world, Anagbe said the Christian presence in Nigeria is “gradually and systematically” being reduced by radical Islamists through “killings, kidnappings, torture, and burning of churches.” Today, the church celebrates Saint John Bosco (or “Don Bosco”), a 19th century Italian priest who reached out to young people to remedy their lack of education, opportunities, and faith. John Bosco was born in August of 1815 into a family of peasant farmers in Castelnuovo d'Asti – a place which would one day be renamed in the saint's honor as “Castelnuovo Don Bosco.” In 1841, John Bosco was ordained a priest. In the city of Turin, he began ministering to boys and young men who lived on the streets, many of whom were without work or education. The priest was determined to save as many young people as he could from a life of degradation. He established a group known as the Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales, and became a kindly spiritual father to boys in need. The Salesians were helping 130,000 children in 250 houses by the end of Don Bosco's life.


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January 30, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - The Vatican announced Monday that Pope Francis has created a “new” diocese in mainland China — a decision that tacitly recognizes diocesan borders drawn by Beijing. The pope has suppressed the former Apostolic Prefecture of Yiduxian, which had been a vacant see since 2008, and replaced it with the Diocese of Weifang, which takes its name from the prefecture-level city of more than 9 million people in China’s central Shandong province. The Holy See Press Office said that Pope Francis established the diocese on April 20, 2023, “in the desire to promote the pastoral care of the Lord’s flock and to attend more effectively to its spiritual good.” Diocesan borders have been an area of dispute between the Vatican and China in the decades since the Chinese Communist Party came to power and started to redraw diocesan lines. The Catholic Church has 147 ecclesiastical jurisdictions in China with 20 archdioceses, 97 dioceses, 28 apostolic prefectures, and two ecclesiastical administrations. However, the Chinese Communist Party government has claimed that only 104 dioceses exist in mainland China and has redrawn borders in a way that combines dioceses. The Vatican signed a provisional agreement with Beijing in 2018 on the appointment of bishops, which is up for renewal in October. Pope Francis suggested that the opposition to the Vatican’s approval of nonliturgical blessings for same-sex couples mostly comes from “small ideological groups” with the exception of Africa, which he said is “a special case.” Regarding the bishops in Africa, who have expressed some of the strongest criticisms of such blessings, the pontiff said they are “a special case” because “for them, homosexuality is something ‘ugly’ from a cultural point of view; they do not tolerate it.” The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith , led by Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, published a declaration on December 18, 2023, titled Fiducia Supplicans, which prompted the backlash. The declaration permits “spontaneous” pastoral blessings for “same-sex couples” and other couples in “irregular situations” but does not allow liturgical blessings, recognition of civil unions, or any actions that would make the blessings appear like a marriage. Francis said that he trusts that “gradually, everyone will be reassured about the spirit of the declaration,” which he said “aims to include; not divide.” He added that the declaration “invites us to welcome and then entrust people, and to trust in God.” Today, the church celebrates Saint Hyacintha of Mariscotti. Born of a noble family near Viterbo (Italy,) Hyacintha entered a local convent of sisters and lived comfortably until a spiritual director advised her to live more humbly. After hearing this, Hyacintha then disposed of her fine clothes and special foods. She eventually became very penitential in food and clothing, and was ready to do the most humble work in the convent. She developed a special devotion to the sufferings of Christ and by her penances became an inspiration to the sisters in her convent. The people loved her so much that her veil had to be replaced multiple times due to people clipping off pieces of it to keep for themselves. She was canonized in 1807.


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January 29, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a Catholic church in Istanbul during Sunday Mass that left one man dead. Two suspects described as members of the Islamic State group have been arrested following the shooting on January 28 at Santa Maria Church in Istanbul’s Sariyer district. Turkish Minister of the Interior Ali Yerlikaya announced late on Sunday night that police had conducted raids on 30 locations across Istanbul following the attack during which the arrests were made. The Turkish bishops’ conference has asked for prayers for the victim and his family in a statement released on January 28. The Turkish bishops also urged people “not to spread the culture of hatred and religious discrimination.” Earlier this month, Turkish news outlet Anadolu Agency reported that 25 suspected Islamic State members were arrested in Turkey on January 3 under accusation that they were plotting attacks on churches and synagogues. Six pro-life activists are on trial in Nashville, Tennessee, facing federal charges related to a 2021 blockade of a nearby abortion clinic. The blockade, documented in a March 5, 2021, video posted on Facebook, showed a large group of pro-life activists ranging from elderly to young children walking into an abortion clinic and blocking access to the door by sitting in front of it. The video shows pro-life activists singing Christian hymns and praying. Police can be seen demanding they leave the Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, and while some do, others refuse. The federal government announced in October 2022 that it had charged 11 of the individuals under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. Today, the church celebrates Saint Gildas the Wise. Gildas was probably born around 517 in the North of England or Wales. He is regarded as being one of the most influential figures of the early English Church. The influence of his writing was felt until well into the middle ages, particularly in the Celtic Church. He is also important to us today as the first British writer whose works have survived fairly intact.


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January 26, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - Religiously unaffiliated people, often referred to as “nones,” now make up the largest religious category in the US, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. Pew’s new report, released January 24, shows that nones now account for 28% of the total U.S. population, outstripping the next largest group, Catholics, who make up 20%. The recent data is consistent with a long-term trend of Americans rejecting religious affiliation in growing numbers, with the percentage nearly doubling from 16% in 2007. The six Haitian religious sisters who were abducted on the morning of January 19 in Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince were released Thursday morning. Father Simon-Peter Engurait has been chosen as diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana following the unexpected death last week of Bishop Mario Dorsonville. Father Thaddeus Wang Yuesheng was consecrated bishop of Zhengzhou, China, on Thursday, bringing an end to a 70-year-long vacancy. The Holy See Press Office announced on Thursday morning that Wang was appointed by Pope Francis as the bishop of Zhengzhou on December 16, 2023. The report noted that the decision took place “in the framework of the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China.” Pope Francis signed a decree on January 24 allowing for the canonization of Canadian sister Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis, founder of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family. Born Virginie Alodie on May 12, 1840, in L’Acadie, Quebec, the future foundress was the only daughter in a family of six children. At the age of 14, she entered the Marianite convent in Saint-Laurent, Montreal, the female branch of the Congregation of Holy Cross. She spent several years teaching in and around Montreal. In 1862 she was sent to Saint Vincent de Paul’s orphanage in New York for eight years. In 1870, Paradis moved to the community of the Holy Cross Sisters in Indiana. Today, the Church celebrates Saints Timothy and Titus, close companions of the Apostle Paul and bishops of the Catholic Church in its earliest days. Both men received letters from Saint Paul, which are included in the New Testament.


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January 25, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - Residents of Massachusetts and New York are being urged by pro-life leaders and Catholic bishops to raise their voices against upcoming legislation that would legalize assisted suicide. In New York, the “Medical Aid in Dying Act” would allow a terminally ill patient to request medication that would put an end to their life. The New York State Catholic Conference, which opposed the bill the past two legislative sessions, put out a call to action following the start of the 2024 legislative session on January 3. New Yorkers can write to their state legislators through the New York State Catholic Conference web page. The Massachusetts “End of Life Options Act” says that “a terminally ill patient may voluntarily make an oral request for medical aid in dying and a prescription for medication” if the patient is a “mentally capable adult,” a resident of Massachusetts, and has been determined by a physician to be terminally ill. Massachusetts Citizens for Life (MCFL) in an email Wednesday urged supporters to voice their opinions against the bill by submitting testimony to state representatives and senators. The bishops of Massachusetts, who have opposed the bill since it was first introduced in 2021, again raised their voices against the legislation ahead of the hearing last year. A statement put out by the conference called the bills “deeply troubling” and added that “the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts stand united in our strong opposition to physician assisted suicide.” The US Supreme Court announced Monday that it will review the case of an Oklahoma man on death row who may have been wrongfully convicted, a decision the Oklahoma City archbishop says could help further respect for “the dignity of life” for all people. The leader of the US bishops’ domestic justice committee this week praised a pending congressional plan for an enhanced child tax credit for taxpayers, calling it “exactly the sort of policy” on which lawmakers should be focused. The federal child tax credit allows parents and guardians to claim their dependent children on their tax forms, granting a tax break of up to $2,000. Up to $1,600 of that credit may be “refundable,” meaning taxpayers can receive cash payments for the credit. Today, the Church celebrates the Conversion of Saint Paul. Paul was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin who persecuted Christians until his miraculous conversion, when God chose him to be one of the principal instruments of God in the conversion of the world. The feast commemorating his conversion is mentioned in several calendars and missals of the eighth and ninth centuries.


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January 24, 2024

A daily news briefing from Catholic News Agency, powered by artificial intelligence. Ask your smart speaker to play “Catholic News,” or listen every morning wherever you get podcasts. - In the Diocese of Honolulu, Hawaii, the local phase concluded Sunday for the cause of canonization of Servant of God Joseph Dutton, a companion of Saint Damien of Molokai and layman who lived among and served those suffering with leprosy. Evidence from the local phase, which included 2,000 pages of investigation, will now be sent to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints in Rome for review. During a Mass on Sunday in celebration of the next phase toward Dutton’s potential canonization, Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva said that Dutton “exiled himself” to the remote part of Molokai island where lepers were forcibly segregated “so that he could do penance for his own wayward life.” Dutton, a Civil War veteran for the Union from Wisconsin, was married after the war but pursued a divorce after his wife was unfaithful and left him after one year. After he stopped drinking, he began studying Catholicism and officially became Catholic in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1883 when he turned 40. Dutton went to the remote part of the island with those suffering from leprosy, now known as Hansen’s disease, “so that he could change course completely from thinking about himself and his own needs to unselfish service of others in extreme need.” He became an expert in caring for the sick and continued his work after Damien died in 1889 from leprosy. Dutton himself inherited responsibility of an orphanage for boys and young men in 1895 and served there for the following 35 years. He died in 1931 at the age of 87 at Saint Francis Hospital in Honolulu. An international group of bishops is calling for “universal, verifiable nuclear disarmament” on the third anniversary of a key global nuclear disarmament treaty. The bishops of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Seattle as well as those of the Japanese Archdiocese of Nagasaki and the Diocese of Hiroshima issued the letter on Monday on the third anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons going into effect. That treaty, adopted by the United Nations in 2017 and entered into force in January 2021, includes “a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities,” including directives “not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use, or threaten to use nuclear weapons.” The Catholic Polytechnic University (CPU) in Los Angeles announced that it will welcome its first inaugural class of students in fall 2024 after receiving its license from California at the end of 2023. Today, the Church celebrates Saint Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and Christian unity whose role as a priest and bishop helped bring thousands of Protestants back to the Catholic Church. In the late 16th and early 17th century, Saint Frances de Sales conducted spiritual direction both in person and in written correspondence. This inspired his famous work “Introduction to the Devout Life.” During his ministry in Switzerland, he wrote and distributed religious tracts that made inroads among Protestants and helped between 40,000 and 70,000 return to the Catholic faith.