OSV News Showcase | May 31, 2024

Good evening!

Hands up if you’re grateful this is the last day of Maycember, Mayhem or whatever nickname you’ve given to the madness that is May. (Meeeee!) In the church, the already crazed month of school capstone projects, final exams, graduations, pre-summer work deadlines, and lawn and garden demands meets first Communions, deacon and priest ordinations, and this year, the launch of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. I’m grateful that this whirlwind month is also dedicated to Mary, who has wrapped all of these beautiful things — signs of growth, new life and promised abundance — in her mantle. 

This week’s showcase includes stories that reflect that hope, such as the perpetual pilgrims’ stories of conversion and encounter on the four National Eucharistic Pilgrimage routes — appropriate, might I note, for this feast of the Visitation. On the first night of the pilgrimage, a chaplain on the Marian route noted that Mary was the first monstrance, her pregnant belly “showing” Jesus to the world. This feast celebrates Mary bringing Jesus to Elizabeth, the very same Jesus the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is bringing across the United States right now. Check out that story and others below!

Have a great weekend (and yay, June)!

Maria Wiering

Senior Writer

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NASA scientist, Salvadoran-born bishop, podcasting priest among 2024 commencement speakers

On May 19 at Fairfield University in Connecticut, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano talked to the graduates there about “setting the world on fire.” “St. Ignatius speaks of setting the world on fire, but that fire begins deep within you and me,” said Bishop Caggiano, who has headed the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, since 2013. “It’s a passion, a burning desire for each of us to seek greater excellence, more authentic integrity, to challenge the accepted beliefs of modern society.”

Stories of conversion, ‘amazing’ encounters mark Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s first 10 days

As a Eucharistic procession made its way May 28 through Victoria, Texas, a 20-something man sitting on the side of a street caught Charlie McCullough’s attention. McCullough stopped to talk with him, explaining what was going on: The procession was part of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage en route to Indianapolis for the National Eucharistic Congress, and the Eucharist they were walking behind is really, truly Jesus.” About five blocks later, McCullough, one of six perpetual pilgrims on the pilgrimage’s southern St. Juan Diego Route, looked over his shoulder and saw the man running after the procession. He caught up to McCullough and asked if they could talk more.

South Africans heed bishops call for massive polls turnout

Catholic leaders in South Africa praised the good turnout, as voting wrapped up May 29 in Africa’s southernmost country. Thousands of men, women and youth trooped to polling stations to cast ballots in one of the most pivotal general elections since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Experts: Trump’s felony conviction is historic, with potential ramifications for US

A Manhattan jury found President Donald Trump guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records. Catholic legal and political experts note that the conviction is historic, marking the first time in American history that a current or former president has been convicted on criminal charges, with potential ramifications for the U.S.

Euthanasia bill in France may be ‘the marker of the end of a society influenced by Christianity,’ expert says

As presented to the entire parliamentary assembly on May 27, the bill would be even more flexible than the laws already in force in Canada or Belgium — the latter considered the world’s most liberal law on physician-assisted suicide.

With 6 in 10 priests aged 65-70 by 2030, Buffalo Diocese orders parish merger plan

In what increasingly represents a pattern in the Northeast and Midwest, the Diocese of Buffalo on May 28 announced a restructuring plan designed to merge approximately 34% of its 160 parishes.

Calif. Catholic groups urge Legislature to fix bill, protect all minors from sex trafficking

Catholics in California are urging state lawmakers to include all minors in legislation that would make it a felony to purchase or solicit a child for commercial sex, after the Senate Public Safety Committee limited the bill to include those 15 and under.

CRS official says agency has been unable to to get aid to southern Gaza Strip since May 6

As tensions and the number of victims mount in southern Gaza Strip, Catholic Relief Services has not been able to get humanitarian aid through to the southern Gaza Strip since May 6 and it no longer has any supplies left in its warehouses in that area, said Jason Knapp, CRS country director for Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza. He also called for all crossings into Gaza to be opened for humanitarian aid.

Synod report for U.S. shows growth, tensions and ‘deep desire to rebuild’ the body of Christ

The “National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America for the Interim Stage of the 2021-2024 Synod” summarizes responses from more than 35,000 participants and over 1,000 listening sessions, with 76% of the nation’s dioceses and eparchies submitting reports to the U.S. synod team. In addition, more than 350 people met in 15 listening sessions that focused on Church life, social justice and vocations, while U.S. bishops also met for a synod listening session.

The Catholic Project to host panel on dating at National Eucharistic Congress

The Catholic Project, an initiative of The Catholic University of America, will host a panel titled “Catholic Dating: Why Is It So Hard?” July 19 at the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis.

Experts discuss the urgency and effect of climate issues among U.S. Latinos

Environmental change is a great challenge, a priority, and, often, a matter of life and death for some vulnerable Hispanic communities — which is why caring for the planet is vital, said experts May 22 at an event sponsored by Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life.

Church calls for vote in polarized, violent Mexican election

The elections will be the largest in the country’s history as the Mexicans will elect more than 20,000 congressional and public office holders on the federal, state and local levels — and it promises to be historic as the country is likely to elect its first female president and its first Jewish head of state, Claudia Sheinbaum. But campaigns have unfolded amid bloodshed, with over 30 candidates killed, according to Animal Politico media outlet, as drug cartels move into elected politics — facilitating further criminal control over swaths of national territory.

John Paul II’s first visit to Poland led to Iron Curtain’s fall, say historians

Forty-five years ago, on June 2, St. John Paul II started his first papal pilgrimage to his native Poland, then shackled by a communist dictatorship. The visit had not only an enormous impact on the spiritual renewal of the Polish nation, paving the way for democratic changes, but it also inspired future freedom fighters in other parts of the Soviet empire.

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