Pope’s 2015 World Peace Day message will focus on human trafficking

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Human trafficking destroys the lives of millions of children, women and men each year, making it a real threat to peace, the Vatican said as it announced Pope Francis’ 2015 World Peace Day message would focus on the phenomenon. “Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters” will be the theme for…

Catholic, Orthodox patriarchs visit Irbil to support displaced Iraqis

BEIRUT (CNS) — A delegation of Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs visited Irbil, Iraq, to show their support and solidarity with the more than 100,000 Christians and minorities displaced in the country by the advance of Islamist militants. Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, patriarch of the Maronite Catholics, said the Aug. 20 trip was “a first step…

Pope thanks people for prayers for his family after deadly crash

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis, in mourning for the deaths of his nephew’s wife and two small children, thanked people at his weekly general audience Aug. 20 for their prayers. After each of the priests who translate the pope’s words offered him condolences for the tragedy that struck his family, Pope Francis explained to the…

Faith, prayer sources of strength for slain U.S. journalist, his family

ROCHESTER, N.H. (CNS) – In April 2013, the parents of slain U.S. journalist James Foley attended a prayer vigil at Marquette University in Milwaukee to pray for their son, who at that time had disappeared in Syria. Before Diane and John Foley had confirmation that spring that their son was missing, Diane said she just felt…

Pope Francis backs intervention in Iraq to stop ‘aggressor’

Aboard the papal plane Pope Francis supports international intervention in Iraq and is willing to go to there personally if it will help end the violence against Christians and other religious minorities. “In these cases where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” Pope…

Former sex slave says she still feels impact of meeting with pope

SEOUL, South Korea (CNS) — A day after Pope Francis left South Korea, a former sex slave who spent a few minutes with the pontiff said she still felt the impact of their meeting. In an interview with Catholic News Service, Kim Bok-dong, 88, said through an interpreter she told Pope Francis she wished for…

St. Louis archbishop urges prayers for peace to calm chaos in streets

ST. LOUIS (CNS) — Residents of Ferguson “are struggling to find peace in the chaos” that has followed the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer and “as people of Christ, we are struggling to find direction in the unrest,” said Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis. “We are all aware…

The secret to his success? Korean press analyzes Papal Visit

Vatican Radio – As Pope Francis makes his way back to Rome, Vatican Radio’s Seán Patrick Lovett looks at the how the local press is analyzing the Holy Father’s Apostolic Voyage to Korea. What is the secret to Pope Francis’ success? How does he keep up his energy level? What is it exactly that makes…

Caritas Ukraine mobilizes to provide aid amid continued fighting

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Caritas Ukraine and other humanitarian agencies in the country met in mid-August to face two big challenges: helping the thousands of displaced people find adequate shelter for the fall and winter; and, particularly, finding ways to deliver aid without getting shot at. Andrij Waskowycz, Caritas Ukraine president, said that while no…